Categories
College Fun Life

What’s in a name?

A name’s the most primary identification mark of any person. It’s one of the only entities about us that’s both intensely personal and unabashedly public. It’s something you take pride in (not always, but in general) and hold closest to your heart – and it’s also that piece of info about yourself that you’d willingly share with almost every other person you acquaint with. Your name says a lot about you; it signifies your caste, your religion and even your persona: Often “You are what your name means!” 😛 (Okay, that’s an inaccurate hypothesis and I’ll elaborate why).

what-is-in-a-name

Now, all of us aren’t exactly in love with our names, are we? Many change names in the course of their lives. The reasons being social (change of religion, marriage), astrological (Think Numerlogy and astrology), or even personal (sheer hatred of your weird name). But our names have been lovingly bestowed upon us by our parents, and changing your name would mean, changing our identity altogether, won’t it? And in these days of inane red-tape, a name-change would mean countless forms, corrections, modifications and what not! Changing what you’re called, just once, can be such a pain in the ass, right?

How would you feel if you you had a new name each day? 😛

Here’s an anecdote. Rewind 54 years.

1956. Picture a village in Rural Kerala. A kid is born into a fading aristocratic Nair family. Now, the once-prosperous Tharavaadu is in the throes of total destruction, thanks to economic mismanagement and a profusion of Legal Troubles. This kid is born as the youngest in a family of 8. Now, this family has a huge disparity in terms of ages, best explained by the fact that the kid’s oldest brother got married when the kid was one year old! 😐 Way back in the ’50s, being the youngest kid wasn’t as cool as it is right now. The kid’s parents were too busy managing his seven siblings and their own troubles,  to give him a second look. His mother didn’t have enough time to even breastfeed the kid. What’s worse, the kid did not have a name, even when he was two years old! 😐 😐 He was too small an entity to be considered, when the landlord father of his was losing acres of land and his imported Ford to a slew of court-cases!! Heights of bad parenting, if you ask me.

By the time the kid was three years old, the family was impoverished, more or less. Most of the property was in dispute – the sole lifeline of the family was a ten acre rice-field, and some cattle. The kid-who-had-no-name wasn’t even encouraged to eat three meals a day, let alone go to school. He had no issues with the lackadaisical attitude of his parents, however. Too mature for his age, he learned to mingle with neighbourhood kids and enjoyed his life, blissfully unaware of the troubles around him.

One day, a group of middle-aged men and women marched into the Tharavaadu. They were greeted by the kid’s mom with trembling arms. Were they officials from the court, all set to attach the only property they had? They coterie of well dressed people turned out to be teachers from the local Government school. Apparently, the school was about to be closed down due to lack of attendance, and there was an DEO (District Education Officer)-inspection due. The teachers were hunting for kids to substitute  ‘real’ children so that the school wouldn’t get decommissioned; their jobs were at stake. While the teachers were explaining their predicament to a now-relieved mom, our kid marched into the courtyard, clad in a loincloth-style knicker, happily playing with a discarded cycle tyre – his only toy. As soon as he entered, this lady teacher pounced upon him immediately, the way a lioness would perch upon a zebra, and bribed him with a bunch of toffees. That was the first time the kid tasted a toffee, and boy, he loved it! 😛 Within a few minutes, a deal was fixed. The kid would attend school whenever an inspector came to school, and he’d get free meals as a gift. The kid was too satiated to relent – milk, countless toffees and nourished WHO-sponsored meals were a welcome relief from his daily-porridge.

The very next day, he set off to school donning the new ‘uniform’ the guests had bestowed him with. Walking four kilometers, criss-crossing rivers and jumping fences, the kid finally reached his destination. Tired he was, but sweet promises of delicious milk and meals kept him going. No sooner had the kid reached school, he was ushered in by a peon, and was rushed to the lady teacher from yesterday. She had a bunch of kids of various shapes and sizes beside her. The teacher smiled at him, and examined a list. Then she gently told him:

“Monte peru innu Mohandas ennu aanu ketto? Aa inspector attendance edukkumbo ‘Mohandas’ ennu vilikkum. Appo kai pokkanam ketto. Ennittu namukku kazhikkaame?”

(Your name today, is Mohandas. That inspector will take attendance and he’ll call ‘Mohandas’. Raise your hands then. After he leaves, you can have your lunch. “)

The kid happily nodded. 🙂

Soon the inspector was in class, and called out the names. He must have been astonished as to how tiny a kid Mohandas was – he did frown at seeing a seven year old who was more of a three year old, but he let it pass and moved on to the next person. ‘Mohandas’ rushed after class to have a satiating meal. He loved his school!

Then on, the kid was a sure-pick whenever inspectors attended class. Each time, he’d be attending a new class, sporting a new name. “Vijaya Kumar”, “Raghavan”, “Krishna Kumar”, “Rajeev Pillai”, “Shekhar Nair”, “Peter Simon”, “Adel Aziz” – he’d gotten used to being referred to with new names. As the kid was six years old, he’d attended all classes and division from the first grade to the fourth grade – and he enjoyed it! Soon, he’d deliberately attend classes, seating himself in different classes each day, choosing a new name for himself; the school was perennially-underpopulated, so no one really cared. The teachers loved him, he’d saved their asses plenty of times, and the kid was too good a student for his age. He was doted upon, and got to drink plenty of WHO-certified milk, subsidized by the U.N. The kid was fat and healthy as he turned 11 – a far cry from the impoverished, knicker-clad three year old. With time, the kid developed a strong penchant for studies. He loved science and math – and he excelled in the latter, thanks to a Mathematics exponent of a brother who enjoyed passing on lessons to his sibling.

Years passed, and the kid had reached tenth grade (fifth form, as it was called, back then). He still had no definite name, but his ‘names’ were narrowed down to five or six, maybe. The date came to register for the SSLC Board Exams. The kid went to the teacher in charge of examinations – who was new to the school. When he approached the teacher, she asked the kid for his name. Now, that question was quite a googly for our buddy, no one had asked him what his name was, till then (apart from the occasional visiting government inspector, of course)! 😐 He was referred to by his classmates by whatever nickname they chose for him, and he never really bothered about it till date. The realization stuck him hard! He did not have a name to himself! For the first time, the school’s most brilliant student could not blurt out an answer to a question posed by a teacher.

Noticing his silence, the teacher looked up from her register and quipped:


“Oh, I know you! You’re Ramesh Babu! 🙂 I taught you the other day at class. Sorry, I forgot you.”

That was the name he’d assumed during the previous inspection; this teacher was taking the class whilst the inspector came over. She did seem to have a good memory.

Before the kid could answer, the teacher wrote down ‘Ramesh Babu’, onto the register. The kid finally got himself a name.

The kid’s mom was about to return his hall-ticket back to the post man citing the absence of a ‘Ramesh babu’ in the family, when the kid rushed and grabbed it from the postman. He wrote the SSLC exams and passed them with flying colours. He did well for his Pre-Degree and went on to be an Electrical Engineer at a reputed Engineering College. After working in different companies all across the country, Ramesh joined Kerala State Electricity Board as an Assistant Engineer. His quest for knowledge spurred him to take an MBA while he was working. Now he’s a Chief Engineer at KSEB – widely respected and honoured, even by the Hon. Minister of Electricity, in Kerala.

The kid who had no name happens to be my father. 🙂

Bottom Line:

“Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony”.

– Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne), The Matrix Reloaded.

Categories
Engineering Fun

Sagar Aliyan’s Suppli | Another one from The Latest Pirates

The Latest Pirates – my movie-making buddies from College of Engineering, Trivandrum, are BACK, with a BANG! Check out the new video from their ‘Pirate cove’, “Sagar Aliyan’s Suppli’ – a humorous introspection into the Engineering student’s closest companion – the Suppli.

Check the video out, guys:

P.S.

To know more about these pirates, check out their website: http://thelatestpirates.jimdo.com/ I’ve blogged about them before, in this post. Incidentally, my first published article in The Hindu, is also about them. Find the article here.

Don’t forget to leave your comment here! 🙂

Categories
College Life

Au Revoir.

The past few weeks of my life have been the best ones I’ve ever had in my life. After a series of unending misfortunes, my life entered an entirely new phase. I started realizing the meaning of the word happiness. Many personal lows later, I struck jackpot with happiness – it all started with a decent CAT Score (96.48%ile), which set off a spree of celebrations. There was nothing to celebrate about, really – despite the score, no B School called me, mainly because the score caught me by surprise and that I hadn’t applied anywhere. Yet, it was a huge personal morale boost and I virtually had a blast with buddies. Of course, I ended up being a lot poor (bankrupt, actually). But yet, the lightness of the empty purse brought a smile onto my face, for the first time. 😀

Before I digress further, let me get on to my point – the prime reason behind my happiness ain’t the CAT score and the ensued happiness. It’s nothing far-fetched, so to speak. I’m just too happy about college life getting over.

Aghast as it might seem at the outset, I’m EXHILERATED at the thought of moving out of the ‘comfort’ (ahem) of my ‘wonderful college’, into the portals of this big bad world. To fight it out with the rest of ’em 6 billion human beings. To even die fighting! Let me make it crystal clear for ya, every moment I spent in this super-awesome college of mine was exhaustingly-crappy. I was stopmed upon, berated, and pinned onto the wall in every way possible, during my life in this weak excuse of an educational institution. All I’ve left is a few buddies – who aren’t exactly “best friends”, but some endearing people whom I adore.

I reached my college by a sad quirk of fate, I was meant to study elsewhere, but a minor technical lag with the “allotment”, landed me here. The first sight was app(e)al(l)ing, the ‘HUGE” buildings, the friendly, super-awesome teachers, the mind-blowingly endearing staff (apologies for the hyperbole, but I’m truly short of words here, if you know what I mean. 😐 ) Then on, there was no looking back. Life was a cycle – from bad to worse and a vice versa. A bloody negatively-clamped sine wave, if you would apologize me for being geeky. It’s been so, for the past four years and I’ve had every screw up an 18-22 year old could’ve gone through.

In an optimistic manner of speaking, it was all for good. I learned a LOT. I learned how tough life is with backpapers. I had to accept serious insults to my intelligence. I had to live with crap being hurled on to me on a daily basis. I saw bitching, up close and personal. I learned how life would be in shambles once you choose to be different. I learned how being original and creative is WRONG! I learned the value of mugging. I learned how bits of paper saves lives in exam halls. I learned every lesson about unrequited love – about how it feels to be in love with a classmate for over three long years and not mentioning it to her – being so sure that she’d reject me; (still haven’t done that and don’t intend to either). Worse of them all – I learned how closing my eyes to to the piled up shit would dig my grave deeper.  Now that the end is near, and I’m elated that I’m finally getting an opportunity to let go of everything.

Looking back, I’m clearly worse-off than what I was, when I started. Of course, I did gain a lot, other than valuable experiential lessons. A course in technology brought out the creative in me. Had I studied elsewhere, the budding creative in me would’ve been stillborn. But the technology ‘education’, if I may call it so undeservedly,  killed the techie in me – and today, I’m a full-blown creative. And I’m happy about it!

Doesn’t mean I’d miss college – I’d miss the buddies, I’d miss the occasional good times, I’ll miss the random moment of fun. I’d even miss being in unrequited love, don’t think I’ll see her – she’s evidently departing for greener pastures, while I’m stuck in good ol’ desert.  😉

On that note, I bid adieu to three and a half years of college life. 😀

P.S.

Came here looking for nostalgia and got none? Check this video out. Made in IIMA! Wish I could sing this song in the portals of the insti as I pass out! 😀

Categories
daily blunder Engineering

Daily Blunder | Confiscation!

This is a live-update post. You get the updates as they happen. The live update is over. 🙂

The day itself started off on a sour note. Well, as a matter of fact, for the past couple of years, no day of mine has started off ‘sweet’, but generally speaking (i.e. in comparison with others), this day was particularly gross. Woke up with a volley of abuses from dad (who actually caught me by my throat in intense anger 😐 ). And dad, who had to go to office early, forgot his room’s keys. He calls me up as I’m about to leave college, barking orders to bring him the keys. Since the situation was urgent, I was allowed (albeit reluctantly) by my mother to take the Maruti 800 (unused mostly, thanks to the Tata Indigo). I dropped mom at her office, hand-delivered keys to a furious dad and entered college, 30 minutes late.

Till then, the day wasn’t as bad. ‘Cause I was actually happy. We had a ‘Demo week’ planned. And today is would have been the ‘Paandi day’, where every single guy/girl would come, dressed up as a ‘Paandi’ (for the uninitated, a ‘Paandi’ is a typical guy/girl from the state of Tamil Nadu, characterised by dark skin colour/loud clothes/loud-mouthed tamil). And I had all my ‘costumes’ ready, and had even worn my flashiest, loudest orange shirt. I’d also taken my semi-aviator Polaroid sunglasses and hidden dad’s worst lungi, and burmoodas for ‘effect’. I hadn’t worn them yet, but I soon would. Or so, I imagined.

The first shock came as a message from my friend Mithun – “Da no demo today.” I got it as I walked to the class, parking my car precariously in the ‘parking lot’. Enraged, I decided to bunk the class, and headed to the library. Chatting up with friends from the electronics department, and after writing a couple of autograph books, I returned to my class. Two hours were gone, and there was seriously no point in sitting in class. Yet, something forced me to sit in class as my staff advisor strode in. Alright, she’s a lady with whom I’ve some VERY huge problems. Nothing personal, but she’s been screwing me up in every possible way, since the very first month of college – the principal reason why I hate college so much. This lady comes in, and puts to display her appallingly-bad sense of humor, only to get forced-half-smiles, and that too, from just the ‘teacher-pleasing-girls’. “Warming up” done, she gets back to the board.

Meanwhile, I get a late delivered message from Mithun, citing the absense of teachers in class. I couldn’t help but smile at the late delivery. As I bent down, reading the message, I heard a voice call my name:

The lady had caught me.

“What are you doing?”

“Ma’am, I was …uh… checking my book.”

Lying comes naturally to me.

Intelligent that she was, she strode over to my seat, as I hid my mobile within the recess underneath the bench. She bent over, took the phone, and muttered ‘advises’ about not lying and crap. She strode off back with my mobile, and hid it within her Distributed Systems text. My 9k worth Samsung Star was reduced to the status of a bookmark! 😐

I was counting each moment, as she taught, and wasn’t paying any attention to what was going around the class. The star was my most priced possession. It is a part of my body – and I felt amputated without it! My mind raced, searching for excuses. But still, I had a belief that I’d get my phone back. As the class got over, I rushed to the teacher. She was adamant. She wasn’t going to return my mobile, whatever be the case. I pleaded and went down as much as my ego did permit. She did not. And before I could say anything else, she stormed out of the class.

I’m so screwed up! Which is why I’m blogging.

The main issue, is I’ve to call up my mom from office, and hence I’ve to communicate with her. And, I’ve been texting friends about some personal problems – one sight of the messages would be enough for serious misunderstanding! Luckily, I’ve the strict no-porn policy, thanks to which I won’t be affected by such problems, if the lady tends to check the phone. But if my mom calls, I’m seriously doomed!

Right now, I’m wondering what to do next. Hopefully, I’ll get the phone back. Hope is the keyword here. 😐

Will keep you posted.

A lot of interesting things happened after that. 🙂

So, I walked hither-tither, peace of mind lacking. Classmates offered words of solace, but none could console me. Finally, I took the desperate measure of actually writing a letter to the lady, pleading for the phone – yes I actually wrote a full written request, only to tear it down, realizing the very futility of the act. To add on to my pain, it seemed that the teacher had magically disappeared from the environs of the college! She was nowhere to be seen. Exasperated and utterly demoralized, I trudged back to my class, only to notice that lunchbreak was long over and another lecturer had gotten into the class. She, being a guest-lecturer (hardly a year older than most of us – some of us were actually as old as, or perhaps older than her!), was correcting answer sheets of the series exam in class, letting us free to do whatever we wanted. I was let inside, and no sooner did I rest my ass on the bench, I flopped down into deep, tired, sad slumber. Only to be woken up by colleagues who directed me to the piercing eyes of this teacher, that were transfixed upon me. I was summoned by the lady, cause my paper was being corrected. I went, dreamy eyed, and asleep, sat on the first bench. She realized I was too sleepy to even open my eyes straight and entertained my request to wash my face. As I got back, my paper was corrected and ready. Another failure, duh! I grudgingly collected the paper only to learn that I had actually gotten very good marks (and that’s not a very common thing for me).  First shot of happiness for the day. Woohoo! 🙂

Revitalized by the sudden shot of inspiration, I went downstairs to the staffroom to plead about the phone to the teacher. To my bad luck, she still hadn’t apparated. Rumour had it that she’d gone home, and if such be the situation, I’m practically doomed. 😐 I was on the verge of tears – well I’m an emotional person, and guys don’t cry. Had to take up a superhuman effort to hold ’em back. 😐 I had to go and call my mom from office, and she couldn’t be informed of the situation, whatever be the situation. My mind shuddered even to think of the occasion if mom’d place a call to my phone. Trudging with a boiling pot of a mind, I reached class again. Friends realized that I was seriously off; their soothing words did quite a bit to lift me up. Soon class was over for the day and I walked out of the class. The lady was nowhere to be found. Some guys had to show their project’s progress to the lady, who happened to be their project guide. So I waited along with them. Along came news that she was actually teaching in a class – I heaved a sigh of relief when I heard that. 🙂 No sooner, I called my mom and asked her to leave, cause I had to meet the lady. Didn’t mention that part to her though.

Thus started the long wait.

Now, she’s (in)famous for teaching extra-time. Hence, our wait got extended by ten more minutes and finally, she showed up. After dealing with her ‘students’, I went to her.  Thus started an exasperated grilling session. Grilling is too mild a word for it; it was actual verbal demoralized. My legs were pulled and tied up in the ceiling – such was the state of mine. Yet, I forgot my ego and stooped down as much as she wanted me to. I pleaded her, trying to make her understand my plight. Finally, she compromised, saying that she’d give me my phone, if  I buy her Dairy Milk. 😐 Guess what, I was so broke that I had to forgo lunch that day. And a lot of bystanders (including classmates) now joined in, supporting her. I was a lone wolf, fighting against a crowd of marauders. :((

In the end, she gave me my handset. It was ice cold from the a/c. And the message which I had opened, while she’d confiscated my phone, was intact. Which means, she hadn’t used the phone. My sole saving grace. Plenty of missed calls and messages. Answering them, I walked back to the car.

One thought/decision was engulfing my mind, as I trudged away.

I WOULD NEVER USE A MOBILE PHONE IN CLASS ANYMORE!! 😐