Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What insomnia is not

I'd like to start this long-over-due post by stealing this from Lemony Snicket.

"There are two kinds of fears: rational and irrational. Or in simpler terms, fears that make sense and fears that don't. Being afraid of realtors is an irrational fear."

Being afraid of making a new post is far from being a rational fear. This truth has dawned upon me only today as I'm making this post to clear up the dust.

I'm now on the edge of a really long summer vacation. When I mean really, I really mean really really long. Saying that twice would still not convey how really long it was. And its about to end now. With mixed feelings, I'm writing this, as this vacation has been the best so far. Many interesting things had happened worth a lot more blog posts.

But in this post, its just about how my sleeping habits had gone berserk all this while. Its not that I give a damn about it anyway. But well, its just interesting to have a look at.

Whats below has been as much close to my actual sleep timings as possible. These 24 hour clocks have the green zones which is the sleep zone on an average day. Click to enlarge.

Try sketching your own sleep patterns. Might turn out to be quite a something!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Stop Action

Its amazing how one thing leads to another. And if there was a break in the chain, you'd be in a completely different situation altogether. Okay lets get to the point.
I recently got fascinated in Tarantino movies for obvious reasons. If its not obvious to you, well lets just say, his movies are so good you wont move a muscle for as long as the media player plays it.

So this day, I had to watch 3 of his best films back to back. Thats like 7 hours of pure Tarantino. My head spun.

Then began the mad Google searching for why exactly his films are so good. Screenplay and Camera it seems. The story is nothing.

Then one thing lead to another and Google got me exposed to a couple of awesome camera techniques.

Of them, there's something called Stop Action animation which is pretty interesting. Its a style where you take loads of sequential pictures and put together to make a video. You'd have done this before. Remember the times when we used to draw pictures on the bottom right corner of many pages of a notebook and then flip it fast so that it looks like a moving thing?
That is exactly what Stop Action is about.

All you need is a digital camera and Windows Movie Maker (penguin lovers can suckit).
So I ventured out to a terrace and took loads of pictures (300 odd) sequentially and compiled them and made this videoclip. Its pretty amateurish, I know.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's wrong?

It was a sunday morning with bright skies. I don't know how thats remotely relevant to this story. But lets just stick to traditions and start the post with a description of the weather situation.
As I was saying, it was a sunday morning with bright skies and I had been awake throughout the night. Doing nothing. Doing what? Doing nothing.
Yeah nothing.
What? Nothing.
When someone pings me with the most epic question mankind has ever come up with, the I-would-really-jump-down-6floors-to-show-my-concern-towards-finding-out-what-you're-doing,
What you doing?
I don't know, I was just poking my nose. Glad that you asked anyway.
I always had put up a fight with myself to make sure I don't type out 'nothing' or 'nothing much' or a lazy 'nm'. But this sunday morning had someone had attacked me with the epic question, I'd have lost my battle. Nothing.

So there I was, doing nothing. The sun came out around 6 am, when my mom walked by my room, stood there, gaping,
"Don't tell me you didn't sleep all night"
"I obviously slept. I just woke up." Such a liar.
She took a quick look at the bed, which still had the all rubbish I had thrown-on, the previous day.
"No I'm going to sleep. Going back to I sleep I meant." I'm bad at this.
Thats when she gave me a look from which it became obvious that the end of the world is drawing nearer. It was the day my sister's giving an important exam and I had totally forgot about it.

Being a honorary member of the Indian Education System since kindergarden, let me tell you what important really means. Any exam which is going to bother your future is termed important. Simply put, every exam you write in your grade 12 is important. Everything has a weightage. Even the physical training exam, which you've thought you're writing it simply because you're otherwise jobless at home, has some weightage. Just wait and watch. The Board would soon find ways to penetrate its way to your Facebook profile and give 5% weightage to all the quizes you take. Even Anita, the psychic can't help you.

As I was saying, she was about to write this superimportant exam, the final level of the Pre-Medical Pre-Dental. She had always wanted to be a doctor. Everyone in my family did. So naturally, the house had a very tense situation. We packed and left, 2 hours before the exam. My golly, TWO HOURS.

After much of pep talk, the bell rang and the fighters, heavily armed with hall tickets and pencilerasersharpnerscale entered the arena with roaring excitement as the crowd watched tensed. They disappeared into the walls of the exam halls and we were left alone, blinking. It was all amusing. It was just a year ago what I was one among the fighters, leaving behind the amused crowd. Now I'm a veteran.

I was day dreaming in this profound amusement, when my dad called me over,
"This is Dr Something Swaminathan. And he's my son, studying in IIT."
That 3 letter word forced me into a mini career guidance session which included finding responses to questions like
"Do which is better? Mechanical or Electrical?",
"Chemical Engineering? No no my son hates chemistry",
"D'you think Computer science at NIT is better than Aerospace at IIT?" (My personal favorite. Browny points for creativity)

Thats when I began to wonder. Fundamentally there's something seriously wrong. I know people who clear JEE and have not a single clue of what stream they want to put their rest of their life into. Whatever the rank they get, their choice is just the same as the choice of the crowd who get ranks close to theirs.
This strangely reminds me of this scene from Bug's Life where new born babies come rolling down the conveyor belt and the queen ant looks at the each baby and decides whether it could become a soldier or a worker. Just a look. Points to it and the queen mutters 'soldier', next, 'worker', next, 'soldier'...
This resemblance is just sad. Its all upto that rank you get, that exam you write, your performance at the conveyor belt. Smile. You're a worker. Act tough. You're a soldier. The baby does not even know what its putting its life into.
"Perform at the conveyor belt well and the rest is taken care of", they assure the baby.
"Wagawaga", it replies in Baby(UK) which translates to "Why don't you give me a break?" in English(UK).

"So tell me, which is better? Mechanical or Electrical?"

I had day dreamed a bit and this was parent#6 I was talking to. Same questions. Same mentality.
"I don't know ma'm. I belong to neither." I was polite.
Something's strangely wrong.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stuff I've always loathed to hear

"The subscriber you are trying to reach is currently switched off. Please try again later."

"Please close the door. Please close the door. Please close the door..." *Elevator female*

"Its 8:30 and you're still in bed! Rahul, wake up! Rahul! See I have a mug of water in hand..."

"In today's class we're going to deal with organic meta subtituents in sterioheterochemicycl..."

"Drive slowly. Don't go too close behind the bus. Stick to the median. Go slow. Go slow." *Mom riding pillion*

"Look he's wearing pink. Hahahaha. Look he's got ear rings. Hahahaha. Look he's..."

"I'd like the students sitting in the last 3 rows to come to the front. No no no not there. Only the front seats."

"Half an hour left" * If its a Math paper*

"Two and a half hours left" * If its a Computer science paper *

".. then take left, keep on cycling for another 5 kms. Then take the next right to a petrol bunk. Cycle for another 2 and a half kms and you'll reach a fancy store. Just buy some jumkies worth 5 rupees. D'you have cash?"

"Can you 'put' doubles?"

"Hey freshie, come here..."

"How much did you get last quiz?"

"Dude upload the minutes of the meeting asap"

"Hey we're going for a movie. Coming? Cool! Btw, its in hindi."

"Is this your OWN design?"

Arrrgh!! :X

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A change in layout

"Check out my blog now dude. And tell me if you have any cribs.", I pinged Sanjith.
"I read your post yesterday itself and even commented on it!", his reply.
Err.. It took him another 30 seconds to realise there's something else different here. Yes. The layout!
I'll just briefly explain the "funda" behind it here. I got used to this funda-for-everything way of life after a whole year in IIT. :) Anyway, since its a personal blog, the pics represent very random pieces of my life.
The trademark yellow autorickshaw has ever been the mascot of Chennai. I was born, fed, scratched, pinged, loved, kicked all my life in Chennai. I owe a lot to this city.
Idli, Dosa, Vada. Mmmmmm. Period.
The main gates of IIT. Everytime I used to cross by it during my school days, I used take a deep look inside, telling myself, "for one day, I'm somehow going to get in!". Now as I go past the gate, I'd be like "Why can't on earth cant the auto guy drive faster? I want to get home fast!".
Next, a cinema camera. Well I'm a great fan of great movies!
To the right side, is a diffraction pattern in our physics lab. Physics has been my fascination since early schooling. Err.. Seriously.
Below it is my shadow clicking my shadow as a general interest for photography.
The picture below the shadow guy is dedicated specially for the beauty in feminity.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S.. Ah there's not a single person on this planet without getting wooed by this altime super awesome sitcom. No other TV show has ever dared to replace it!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The tale of floating heads

"Can you please pass me a spider? I need one urgently."
"Sure. But before that I want you to make this lizard look good. Remove a leg or a hand if necessary."

Well, my blog is not the right kindof spot to start off a heavy discussion on animal rights. But before Tamanna attempts a suicide, let me clarify (I'm going to pull off a Vijay). This was a regular conversation which happened in one of the brightly lit rooms of the Centre For Innovation (CFI). Yes, if you haven't guessed it yet, the Shaastra 2010 Graphics Design team is working there!

If you're blank on what (or who?!) Shaastra is, well, there's always Google. For the rest, yes I'm a coordinator for Shaastra (who?what?) Graphics Design and I, with the design team, has been made to surrender our vacation for the noble cause of well, Graphics Design!

Its fun to be a Graphics Designer. Seriously. I'm just in my beginning stages but can still feel how awesome it is. First of all you get this immense pleasure out of actually creating something. There's a commonly used adjective in insti dictionary - "godly". That would be the EXACT description of how you would feel after finishing your piece of work and hit Save.

The chief motive for me getting into design would be my Design Core. His works which he constantly uploads to his blog inspired me a lot! Damnit its cool stuff!

The next chief motive ("How many chief motives you dumb ass?", a random blog reader) would be the 100s of threads in the EP department group discussing ideas for a department tee shirt but with no final conclusion. Every group member swears an oath to remain silent after that.

The next chief motive (Patience please. This is the last!) would be the commonly agreed fact that being a Designer is just plain too cool.

I still do have a long way to go. Being in the Shaastra design team has definitely been a very good chance to learn! And oh well, how can someone forget the grub coupons! Sluurp..

Monday, April 19, 2010

He Who Facebooks

He opens Google Chrome.
He goes to the Facebook login page.
He enters his username and password.
He logs in.
All that it takes for this average teenager named He to enter a world where people do things they never normally do in real life is simply to follow these 4 steps, strictly in sequence.
Mr. Who, He's concerned father,
"I hear from his friends that He spends almost 4 hours a day on Facebook. I don't know what he does so long. He is supposed to be studyi-"
thats when Who's FB chat starts blinking feverishly, like the Eject button in a crashing plane.
"-ing his ass off! Now if you don't mind, I have some urgent business to do."
he finishes, shooing me off.
"Its a world where Don Sharma goes to war with Don Mehta and loses since he doesn't have a Pair of Dillinger's Sunglasses!
Its a world where a Penguin would walk all the way from the Antarctica to your paddy farm and forces you raise it!
Its a world where you have hundreds of friends but you haven't met a good 80% of them EVER in your life!
Its awesome. Its addictive."
says Mrs Whoever, panting heavily for breath, while He gets his mom a glass of water.

Whoever He or Who is, its a fact that everyone Facebooks! (v. to Facebook)
"Yeah I do." moans Everyone.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The First Night

My watch claimed it was 1:30 am. I had to believe it, since my eye lids felt heavy. REALLY heavy. I opened the door to find Vasant in his white bulging vest.
"Hey I skipped dinner and I'm damn hungry."
"Sexy. Lets hit Basera!"
It was way before my vocabulary had "put" replacing all the verbs known to mankind!

Well, let me explain the situation here. Remember the scene where Andy Dufresne enters the Shawshank Prison for his first time and the prison in-mates shouting from their cells? Fresh meat! Fresh meat! Fresh meat! That night, I was totally able to relate to it.

We gave our orders and waited at a table somewhere in the back of Basera. However hard I tried controlling my hunger, that computerised female voice announcing the bill numbers got on my nerves.
"Token number one zero eight","Token number one zero eight","Token number one zero eight".
Dear Computer female, now just SHUT UP! You've established what you wished to say. Thrice.
Urgh.. It didn't listen to me as it went on screaming more bill numbers..

I looked around and there were about 8 people sitting in the next table. I couldn't care less. Thats when one of them started eyeing on me. Had it been a girl, that would've made me feel good. Had it been some random guy, that would've made me uncomfortable. But the problem here, ladies and gentlemen, is that it was a guy and he looked like a senior. Fresh meat! That made me feel like one!

The number of people eying us began to increase exponentially as we finished eating and went back to the hostel. It was 2:30 am. The security guard, sound asleep with some really shitty song playing on his transistor. I reached for a glass of water at the dispenser when around 7 familiar faces walked down the entrance. "Follow me", was all that I heard. Vasant and I exchanged stares. We did as told, crossed the quadrangle and got shut into a room 10 by 7.

All 7 of them, as a display of superiority, sat on the bed cramped against each other. While we sat in 2 chairs. I couldn't control smirking. :P

Now, let me tell you this also. If two people meet for their first time they could say a lot of things. "Hi", "Hey !", or even the outdated "Hello". But in this place, things work a bit differently. There are 2 holy words. PUT INTRO. And you have to, with the right format and facial expression and hand gesture and eye ball movement and visible toe-nail length and million other things.

"Put intro". And so I began putting. Half way through and already exhausted, "Stop smiling! Start from first!". Whew! And I did, for a double digit number of times. Then I slumped. It was Vasant's turn to chant the mantras and my turn to mock at him!

Once got over with these formalities, they were very friendly. No more STAND AT EASE! ATTENTION! PUT INTRO! kinda handling. I started liking it. It became more fun as the discussions grew to involve more interesting and shady stuff. I totally loved it!

It was 3:45 and he opened the door ,"What happened now is called Personality Development Program, in short, POP. Hope you enjoyed it." in the same tone of an air hostess at the end of a flight.

And thats how it all began, my first night in a hostel!

Soon, I got addicted to getting ragged. I went from hostel to hostel, room to room for more POPs and putting the putted intros! Its a very simple process. Just walk up to a senior and ask him if he's a freshie. You're sure to be booked for that night! Fresh meat. ;)

P.S. If you were looking for something else as suggested by the title (or in short, if you're a desparate male IITian) , Well umm.. Get a life! :D