Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Is feeling burnt out

I have not had a break since January this year. I don't know why it gets to me, but it somehow has, this time. Well, actually I haven't been on a holiday since mid 2010. And even that holiday and the one earlier, in late 2009 was pretty hectic. Our team basically went on a weekend and took a couple of days off the following week and went to hill stations and the like. And then we came back and slogged as usual. So the last time I really put up my feet and enjoyed the feeling of having absolutely nothing to do was in 2008, which was between the time I completed my under-graduation and my joining date. Well, I did go and have some fun in Mysore, so that wasn't too bad. But I'm sure you get my point. The last time I did absolutely nothing was in 2008, and a couple of wonderful weeks last winter in Chicago. I made a mistake of working till the last minute and then immediately flying off to the US to start grad school. I should really have taken a month or so off and relaxed.

Now, at grad school I joined this place where I work part time. It pays my tuitions, so that's good. But it's part time work that takes too much time. And energy. And this irritating professor that I work for made me agree to work over the summer. Which I should never have agreed to. But the money. It paid my fees. So I stayed. Everyone else left for a summer internship. And went to all these exotic locales. Here I was, stuck in this lab with not a single day's holiday. No, not one. Apparently grad students who are "research assistants" are on par with faculty. Apparently grad "research assistants" have to work the same time as faculty. Apparently they have to be in the lab and work on their "research tasks" at all times they don't have classes regardless of how many hours they are actually employed for. Apparently civil engineering professors have exquisite knowledge of the ins and outs of software development and know enough to dictate terms constantly under the implied threat of being fired.

I wish I could just throw the kitchen sink at it and say I was done for good. I wish I could just study with nothing else to do. I wish I had taken the decision to do an internship and get away for the summer. Or even go home for the summer. Three months of heavenly bliss, that would have been. With cricket in the week-ends. How I miss cricket!

But I cannot. I cannot do any of that. Not because I need the money to pay for college fees. But why am I paying the fees if all I do is work? Why is there this humorous catch-22 where I work to pay fees so that I can attend college where all I do is work?

This isn't going to end any time soon. It's going to be the same way till the end of May. At least I get a whole month off then. Or maybe even more. One and a half months. Solid. That's the only thought that keeps me going.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Ay hairathe

The Ay Hairathe song is one of my all time favourites. The music is well, mellifluous, and the lyrics, lilting. But, what does it mean? Well, here are the lyrics with translation from hindilyrics.net. Sit back and enjoy.

dam dara dam dara, chashm chashme nam - 2
sun mere hum dum

listen, my soulmate

hamesha ishq mein hi jeena
always live in love

ay hairathe aashiqui jagaa math
oh wonderous love, don't ever wake up

pairon se zameen zameen lagaa math
don't let your feet touch the ground

ay hairathe aashqui

kyon urdu faarsi bolthe ho
why do you talk urdu and farsi

das kehthe ho do tolthe ho
you say ten when you mean two

jhooton ke shehenshah bolo na
you king of liars, don't talk!

kabhi jhaankhon meri aankhen
look into my eyes sometimes

sunaaye ek daastaan jo honton se kholona
they tell a story which cannot be put into words

do char maheen se lamhon mein
sometimes, in a few months

umron ke hisaab bhi hothe hain
a lifetime can be gauged

jinhen dekha nahin kal tak kahin bhi
one who has never been seen before

ab kok mein woh chahre bothe hain
is now forming a face in my womb

Thursday, October 20, 2011

You have a good run rate guys

There is this India club in the university where I study. All ABCDs[1] meet up every now and then and indulge in dubious activities like dancing the bhangra, throwing coloured water on each other, chatting-up female undergrads and in general making a fool out of themselves. They also indulge in the occasional game of cricket with our friendly cricketing cousins - the Pakistanis. So, at 8 PM one Friday, Prashanth and I made our way to the Campus Recreation Center. There, all cricket enthusiasts[2] had turned up and were warming up[3]. Eventually, a couple of people managed to get hold of a bat each. The people who'd managed to get a ball stood some 60 feet away from the batsmen and were giving suave impressions of Shane Warne spinning the ball from one hand to another across their face.

The ball was a tape ball. This was the first time I'd ever seen one, let alone play with one. It was no more squishy like a tennis ball. It was no more furry like a tennis ball. It was the end of cricket as we knew it. There also was a mongoose bat[5] lying around and I picked it up. Someone bowled and it was pretty nice to get bat on ball. We swung around for a while and suddenly it was time for us to start the match. Our captain won the toss and elected to field in a fitting imitation of Sourav Ganguly at Johannesburg circa 2003.

The match started with captain sir asking the host team for a pair of gloves because he was the wicket keeper. The opposing captain stared him down with such viciousness that our man retreated into the uncharted backwaters of deep long stop. Play began. Our strike bowler bowled the first ball. A peach of a delivery. Swung in, pitched on off, and cut away. I could almost hear Ravi Shastri chant the previous two sentences. I could almost hear Gavaskar go on about how the weight of the batsman was not forward, how the elbow wasn't high and how the maker of the said bat wasn't shown to the bowler. I could really hear Arun Lal go on about the local flora and fauna.

Things pretty much started going down hill from then. The second ball was a wide down the leg side. The umpire stretched out both his arms and shouted "Wide". He then counted the score - One for no loss. Oh-oh. Wides and no balls were counted as runs. This wasn't acceptable under the rules of street cricket. Anyway, we rolled with the punches. At the end of ten overs, they'd managed a meagre score of 117. This included one over where yours truly restricted them to a mere 22 runs.

Now it was our turn to bat. Our openers hit a couple of boundaries in the very first over. Things were looking up. We were rejoicing. Then one of the openers got out. Then the other opener got out. So did the following batsmen. Presently it was my turn to bat. I stood at the crease and squinted down the pitch. The bowler, a midget wearing a Pakistani shirt walked out to the outskirts of Dubai where the top of his run-up was. I stood and waited. Suddenly he appeared out of the gloom and bowled a ripper. The ball was coming at the off-stump, swung late and went past my bat. Is it in their genes? Pretty soon it was down to the last wicket. Prashanth and I were batting.

Prashanth played the sheet anchor role while I played the - sheet anchor role. We essayed perfect forward defensive strokes, closely watched the ball as it went past the stumps and weaved away from the occasional bouncer. Our captain demonstrated the perfect pose of the head-in-hands-asana. We were generally having a good time out there and laughing and joking about everything, when one the fielder at silly point said, "Guys, they still have a good run rate. Get them out!" We doubled up with laughter. Eventually a Shane Warne wannabe actually managed to turn the ball a bit and I nicked it to the keeper. The Pakistanis vociferously appealed while the umpire turned it down. I however, had enough. So, in the spirit of cricket and in the interest of friendly relations with our neighbours, I walked[6].

Thus it came to pass that one of the greatest games of cricket played passed into the murky depths of history with neither ICC nor Sharad Pawar noticing.

Glossary: 1. ABCD - American Born Confused Desi
2. Cricket Enthusiast - All men who're currently not at the bar drinking
3. Warming up - making a beeline for the two available bats, calling up friends and begging them to come so as to reach a strength of 11, making jokes not generally made in the company of women or children
4. Tape ball - Tennis ball covered in a layer of adhesive tape so that it swings more in the air
5. Mongoose Bat - Stop bugging me. Go google it
6. Walking - The act of getting the hell out of the ground when you don't want to make a fool out of yourself anymore.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How I am bored of windows and other stories

I landed in Atlanta, Georgia, the USA on the tenth of this month. The world's "best" nation is turning out to be a bit of an anti-climax. It's 32 C outside and as humid as Chennai. There's garbage flying around, homeless people lounging about and asking you for money, and thugs out to mug you. So, there you are, I am living the American dream.

Al-right, it's not bad. Most people are really nice and helpful, they're always smiling, polite and greet you whenever they make eye contact with you. I've been here for a week, and here's what I have observed:

Culture shock is overrated. I've seen a lot of westerners walking around in each other's arms, wearing extremely short shorts and talking loudly about sex, but that doesn't bother me one bit. It's only when I see the Indians do that, that it becomes a bit of a shock. It's sad really. It doesn't suit them.

Jet lag is underrated. All this nonsense of sleeping it off one good night is humbug. I'm still finding myself drifting off at 3 in the afternoon for no reason.

The Indians who are joining with you suddenly spout fake accents. They start speaking like they've lived here all their life. Of course, they aren't as bad as the ABCDs (American Born Confused Desis). These are the ones who deliberately ignore other desis and make desperately dumb attempts to integrate themselves into American society properly. You might think they'd have given up by now, given that they've not managed to do that for more than twenty years. However, they insist on persisting.

All the dumbest desi girls invariably end up in your college. They are either idiots, or vetthu scene parties. Or both. And anal-retentive to moot. I know one that said: I want to go for a mac because I am bored of windows. $1500 is not costly!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Of bikes and bikers

You see, I've always wanted a bike. It's presence in arbitrary definitions of adolescent masculinity not withstanding, it also had the added advantage of being able to get you from point A to point B without all this tedious mucking around waiting in bus-stops and hanging off foot-boards.

So, one fine day, I decided that I'd buy myself a bike. And I figured that while I was at it, I might as well go for the full monty and buy the best I could afford. That's how, last April, I brought home a brand new Yamaha FZ-16 that appeared to have all the bells and whistles of a modern race-bike. ('appeared' of course, being the operative word here. But that's a different story altogether). As soon as I came home, I started typing a blog entry about it, but then my interest tapered away after a para or so. A month later, and a service later, I started with another entry, but then my interest tapered away again. This happened a couple of times more too. And that is how I now find quite a few perfectly worded first paragraphs about my bike lying around on my desktop.

Anyway, all that's history, and it's close to one year since I bought it. Now people ask me why I bought this mammoth of a bike that operates on terms of liters per kilometer instead of the other way around. My answer is, this bike looks cool. Like this:

However, what I really wanted to achieve with my bike was this:

I reckon I have come close. Like this:


Java Forever

My dear faithful followers, all three of you, here's a long awaited blog update from my end. Although it'd give me immense pleasure to bore you all to death as usual with a long winded post about nothing in particular, today I will have to settle for the usual blog-update stand by used by all bloggers when they have nothing particular to post: A youtube video.

Found this on facebook:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This is a blog update

You are reading this blog-post. This blog now stands updated.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My tryst with scrabble

There's this scrabble club here where I work. They meet up every Monday and play into the late hours of the night. Then they send out e-mails to every one on the DL proclaiming how great their last session was - how one girl managed to score a full 50 by coming up with 'urinates', and how another managed to place four swear words in a row and all that. Naturally, my attention was piqued. And when my attention is piqued, Hari's the fall guy. So, last Monday, away we went, Hari and I, to the uncharted back-waters that make up third floor, Building-1.

We meet up with this Karthik guy who's the typical nerd. Plays scrabble, is a quizzer, and can also tell you the color of Darth Vader's light-sabre. (That yours truly can do all that too is a completely different story). Anyway, Govind (I do not know much about him), Rajeshwari (female version of the typical nerd), Hari and I start a game. Hari plays first, and comes up with a spectacularly imaginative 'TO' for a first word. Rajeshwari then plays out some 5 tiles and comes up with a strange word no one's heard. Hari challenges, loses, and straightaway sends his score plunging into the negative. Govind then comes up with another whopping 6 letter word, and enters a huge number into under his name. I do better than Hari - 'AND'. :D

So, we're well and truly into the game - no one opening up anything for anyone, and everyone except Hari and me making double digit scores on every word they put down. Hari's never played the game before, so he's a real mess. I put up an inspired performance and gradually catch up on Govind - more of a fluke though. I just managed to keep three tiles and make many words and send my score rocketing while Govind had to exchange his tiles twice after being blessed with a bevy of Zs, Qs, Js, Xs, and no U to go with the Q.

Suddenly I see an opening. I have a blank and the letters T, O, N, E, D. Right, I think - The blank can be S, and if I can fit these letters down somewhere, I might shoot my score to an unassailable lead. And then I see it - Two Os with a blank space between them - And the column along the blank begins with a Triple word score. So, I put my tiles out. Down STONED, Across ODO. (Ok, some 20 odd points only, but a good start nonetheless) The only snag was that I wasn't sure ODO was a word. I'd made vague plans of bluffing my way through how ODO was a widely accepted shortening of Odometer, but Rajeshwari would have none of it. So, she challenges, and bloody ZYZZYVA, yes, that's the name of the dictionary they use, says the word is unacceptable. In red. Well, that's me stumped. Rajeshwari grins, and for an encore, goes on to add 60 points to her tally by the strategic placement of a single Q. She then declares she's bored off this game and goes on to start a parallel timed game with Karthik.

We wind up the game - I am the first player to finish off all the tiles, which means everyone's remaining tiles are minused off their scores and added into mine. Whoppee!! And by sheer dint of this strange rule, I manage to over take Govind and come in second. Rajeshwari is in first place with a good 90 point lead over me. All in all a delightful experience. Looking forward to more such games in the future.