Friday, June 26, 2009


Question (by a very agitated old man, in a very agitated little tone, to a bunch of friends, yours truly included): What do you intend to be, engineers, or clerks?

Answer (by a very amused AB, the most outspoken in the group): We prefer being clerks, Sir, because Indian engineers are nothing but roadside mechanics. [:D]

Reference: "Indian engineers are merely roadside mechanics" -Kiran Karnik, President of NASSCOM, Feb 15, 2005

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The world will never be the same once you've seen it through the eyes of...

...Forrest Gump.

Watched it a couple of days ago (thanks to an insistent friend). A Tom Hanks-starrer from the middle 90s. At first glance, the 6 Oscars that the movie clinched would seem a wash over. Put in one line, the movie is the most non-happening one you'd have ever caught. It was only while looking up the Vietnam War did I learn that it was one of the stormiest and most meaningful phases in American history. But not for Gump. The filmmaker enthrallingly manipulates historical footage to accidentally present Gump at many significant events of the time, and many because of his own actions. Even though he doesn't realize their significance. He gets to meet the President three times, he's the man who exposes the Watergate scandal, he's at the school doors when Governor George Wallace tries to get some Negroes into a white school, and so on and so forth.

The movie is about one simple man's journey through life. Surprised? The people around him dictate his life, but not so. He's stupid, but not so, naive, still, not so. The only times he ever loses control is when he thinks Jenny's being misbehaved with. His ability to run like the wind gets him inducted into the college football team, where he excels; post-college graduation sees him in the army, where he displays unnerving valour, rushing into the for(r)est countless times to rescue his fellow men, he excels again; war-wounded, he unexpectedly has a tryst with ping-pong, follows the first and last line he's ever known about ping-pong 'Never, ever, take your eye off the ball', and excels again. The only things he ever knows about shrimps are the never-ending delicacies that can be prepared from them, from his best friend Bubba in the army, but he becomes shrimp boat captain when his friend dies and, well, excels again.

So what's special about Forrest? Regardless of his intelligence, he has learnt to discover simple truth in life, that all the others around him miss. A struggling Lt. Dan stares on helplessly as Forrest, with superhuman strength, tows him away from death. He loses his mind when he sees his legs being amputated and blames Forrest for this miserable fate of his. He feels every one has a destiny, and his was to die a hero, not to lead a crippled dependent life. But years after, when he's Forrest's first mate on his shrimp boat, he realizes (just as we ourselves do) what Forrest taught him. To keep living life, at all costs. Forrest doesn't suffer humiliation, because he doesn't know the meaning of it. He's not afraid of death, so he can snatch himself (and his loved ones) out of it. He listens to others, but chooses his own. What makes it misleading is that most of the times, he doesn't want to have any particular choice of his own.
Forrest's specialty lies in his simplicity itself.

He lives in a world that derides him as stupid but, as Mrs Gump says, "stupid is as stupid does", and in this movie it's the other characters who seem to engage in acts of relentless and tragic idiocy. All through this Forrest is the constant: intent on doing the right thing. In this movie it's not Forrest that's retarded; it's the rest of the world.

The acting is strong, the narrative is compelling enough and its semi-documentary style direction is consistent and provides clarity and pace. The movie leaves one intensely aware that many of our problems are because of our higher intellect, which, ironically, makes us know what we're missing, and in turn, compels us to crave for it. Imagining a world where the best-intentioned half-wit could pop up at opportune moments in history, winning hearts, amassing a fortune, becoming famous, is tempting. Sadly, the world today belongs to those who have screwed over someone else to get there - and that isn't Forrest, he's too nice a guy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

WHY it that when you sit down to write random thoughts, you never get a single one, no matter how hard you try to extract them from your snooker of a mind?

...does your intellectual rationalization of pain stay only till you are not left alone with yourself?

...does power make it feel deliciously content for people possessing it to wield it, just for the sake of wielding it?

...does your strongest point let you down in the most unexpected of places, but probably where it's quite verily needed?

...can people never live up to what they preach? they preach?

...does there have to be a substantial difference between public opinion and professional? your friends' takes on you matter, over your own? Or, do they? you lose all known power of communication when...(Wait! Is that what's happening to me right now?)

...does having lunatic thoughts that you know no one could know you're having give you insane pleasure?

If you had to choose between Innovation and Joshi Vadewale, what would it be?

P.S. The privacy and limitedness of the last question are such that its technomics won't make more than a handful of people start. And even those who did might just give it the slip.
PPS: Those who weren't meant to get the last question can ignore the PS too.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Mathematician

Today, I happened to come across a post about JVK ('the legendary pune engineering graphics guy', as the author says :D) as I was blog-hopping, and the only person who came to my mind when I read that last tribute-rendering line 'miss those classes' was another legendary coaching class guy, N.M. Kulkarni.
You wouldn't find a cutter Puneite who doesn't know about NM, and you'd rarely find people who haven't attended his classes, most of them would probably tell you with a regretful face how they couldn't be under the wing of the great NM because they stayed in some far flung area and couldn't find means of transport. And you thought you'd never see a day when you'd see students falling over each other to attend classes :|

The guy taught Mathematics. 11th and 12th grade. He didn't teach it, he literally etched it onto people's minds. His trademark ishtyle of pronouncing zero as jheero, his unique quality of seamlessly transforming complex calculus formulae into self-made tunes, the way he banged the front door (if you could call it front, it was more of in the middle of the room :P) on the faces of guys who came running in late, the dreaded pointer that fell like lightning on potent mischief-makers, all the memories mesmerise! All the back-benchers had 2 traditional brand names: 'chaavat', and 'dambrat', the closest word in English would be naughty, I suppose. Which doesn't come anywhere close to conveying the relish with which he used to utter the word, at least 7 times in every batch. I was lucky enough to be in the cream of batches, M*, which I later on realized contained the most scheming of people, it goes according to the ancient law which says, the more intelligent you are, the more the urge to do more cunning mischief :P

Probably the only guy on earth whom God grants more than 24 hours in a day. What else would you be inclined to think when you see someone managing six 12th batches and two 11th batches every day (with extra timings for almost every batch on Sundays) round the year, each batch that went on for a minimum of 1.5 hours, apart from online night coaching classes to enthusiastic students across the states? And this was 2 years ago, i don't have any idea to what 2 digit number it must have increased to today! The guy eats, drinks, walks, talks, plays and sleeps maths. Each of his dialogues are straight from Incredibleland; 'chaaaaavat!!', 'Khanvilkar, distance formula sang!', 'ata apan thode sundry sums sodvuya...they're not very difficult, but they're the sums examiners will ask in exam, so we'll call them sundry, kay bolnar apan tyanna? sundry!!' (this was our introduction to sundry sums :P), 'thiiiiiiikay!' (where we all used to yell along with him, the most awesome style of ending a lecture I've ever seen till date), Each batch contained a minimum of 200 people, every one in the class had fixed places, 10 people cramped onto every bench meant for, well, 10 if you sit the way we used to sit, 6 or 7 if you want to sit in a way so that you'd be able to recognize your body organs after 90 minutes. And then when Miss Electricity used to ditch us during the hottest part of the day, Namya defended the situation only the way he could: 'Tumhi ikde shiknyasathi alela ahaat mulanno, ani shikshan he kathin paristhititach hote, mi tumhala ithe mast AC ani basnyasathi sofa lavun devu shakto, pan mag upayog kaay??' The way we used to shout 'Walve, walve!!' (the guy who used to teach physics in the opposite building), and the booing at the feeble attempts of a meagre 50 people trying to shout back 'NM' from there, and then his mock-serious line 'asa nav nahi ghyaycha konacha...tya walvencha ani apala kahi sambandh ahe ka!'; to the occasional straddler, that affectionate 'tula sangu ka tu kasa ahes? goonda pravrutticha..' :P, the twinkle in his eyes after demonstrating how to solve a difficult sum, and then, 'hya sumchya pudhe tick mark karun liha, YENARACH!', 'ha sum khup sopa ahe, pan mi sangto, ha sum tumhi chukavnarach!' (lol), and then, when he's too much in the mood, 'Aaj apla xxx kay chan distoy nahi..', and then looking at some girl in the corner..'kay mhanata yyy..khara aahe ki nahi..' and then the mischievous laughter, and the class goes all oooh and aaah; 'mi roj midnight la yeun problems lihito boardvar', once he comes into the class and says 'I have two pet dogs', and while everyone is staring, he continues 'their names are derivation and integration' (!!), then during Diwali, 'When the world will celebrate the festival of lights, we shall celebrate the festival of I.N.T.E.G.R.A.T.I.O.N', his imaginative punishments, his sudden outbursts of philosophy, the outrageous anger on certain other (but rare) occasions, cracking non-veg jokes without blinking an eye in front of a 200 strong teenager crowd, followed by 'Majhya ani tumchyamadhe shevti farakach kay ahe!' in that laughing tone; the hours of standing beneath the building chitchatting with friends, till a frustrated NM shouts out from atop to vacate immediately; I miss all of it, ALL OF IT.

It wasn't just a coaching class, it was a place for refreshment. He could be as strict as a teacher should be, and at the same time could effortlessly extract humour out of any statement. True, he's a bit crazy, but then, all geniuses are :D Nothing deterred him, or his faithful students, neither the incessant complaints from the surrounding societywallahs, nor the threatening looks from his wife when she came to visit during 5 minute breaks between consecutive batches, neither holidays, nor diseases, nothing. He was a man for his students. The huge ever-increasing, never-ending queues for admission under his wing year after year stand testimony. I can go on and on and on forever about this guy (anyone who's been taught by him will!), and he's probably the only reason why I would want to go back to my 12th. Any student who gets into junior college and has Maths as a subject should definitely attend his classes; in fact, volunteer for the subject just so you can attend his classes. He'll breathe Maths into you as effortlessly as, well, breathing. It's something I just can't endeavour to put into words, you have to be there to experience it, it's the stuff of legend, the days that'll make you go 'Gosh!' when you recollect them.
Thank you, N.M. Sir.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Name Game

I recently noticed that I automatically associated almost all names of people to a particular nature. Like, Nikita meant plump, Ameya meant full of attitude, Tejas meant fair. I didn't know where this came from, but coming across a girl named Nikita who was waif-thin made me feel surprised for a bit. Now, I realize that these preconceived associations come from long back, from my schooldays. School being the first platform where you start socialising and making friends, staying 12 years with the same people had sort of given their name an identity, rather than the other way round. I was so used to Nikita being fat that even after breaking out of school, the name Nikita always meant plumpness, and anything otherwise initially felt strange, if not outright impossible, just like thinking of a subdued Ameya was like thinking of Sachin Tendulkar without a bat.
Fortunately for my current friends, not many have the same names that my school friends had. But those who are unlucky enough, shall continue to be the silent butt of jokes in my mind! :P

Monday, June 15, 2009


My friends will tell you I keep swinging my mobile phone in my hand almost always unless I'm driving, and more often than not, gravity embellishes its presence as plastic meets mud with a dull thud. But this incident hardly commands any interest in the circle anymore; the only thing that happens further on is, I bend over, pick up the phone, dust it off, and continue the swinging, along with the conversation that I was having with the people around. Apart from these highly frequent ground-cell meetings, my cell phone has once fallen off a moving vehicle (at 40kmph), tumbled down thrice from the tops of tekdis, plonked into muddy water at the panshet dam (unintentional) and soapy water in the shower (intentional), and has had curd and lukewarm coffee spilled over it (which I'd washed off using liberal amounts of water), and yet, it continues to display remarkable perfectness in all of its limited functionalities, except mixing up text message contents into one another, creating funny combinations.

Congratulations, Nokia, for bringing out such a destruction-resistant mobile phone, for making me choose it 2 years ago, for making me despise losing things on purpose and for making me not absent-minded and so not losing it not-on-purpose, and for ruining my chances of getting a more envied model for the next 2 years at a minimum.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Maths is so strange, yet so logical!"
-My 14 year old brother, after a gruelling session of 9th grade maths (during vacation time).