Small things

Is your day made up of big achievements or small happy moments? Quite a mix right? But if you see on an average, it is the latter. I will be putting some of my thoughts in this post and expect it to be quite fragmented.

Many a times, I found that the shop helpers or the errand boys in our college messes tend to be alone, working and being shouted at by irritated students. We cannot always hold the students at fault, since the heat does take a toll. However, it is not fair to treat them that way. What more, they do find themselves quite lonely at times. Unconsciously, I have a quick conversation with them on a very light vein. Talking about bland mess food, or the heat in the city, or perhaps that the day is quite windy. I have seen them go happy for some time.

The guy at the lime soda stall, a Bihari is an awesome guy. I talk to him a lot about his city, my home town and how the heat is at our places(Yes you observed right, heat is the discussion most of the time, thanks to Chennai). I always compliment him for the excellent soda he makes, or let it just pass when the soda is hardly cold.

Our hostel zone has a cycle repair person who is almost mute. He is considered arrogant by a lot, since he outright rejects requests for repairing cycles when his shed is full.  For some reason, he does not do that with me. We have a good rapport. I quite easily understand what he means by his sign language. We say hi to each other when we meet at some other place.

The much talked about barber talks? Of course I do that too. The barber shop I go in Hyderabad is an M.Sc pursuing student, who talks a lot to me about life in Chennai, studies in general, latest movies (and my inability to comment on them as I hardly watch movies) and the politics.

It is not the costliest dinner you have one day that makes you happy. It is these small socializing events that make our day. A parting message by our close friend. A warm hug from our friends when we achieve something. Cousins calling up when you feel that you always wanted an elder sister. A small talk with a shop keeper. It is these small things that make my day. Perhaps this is a trait I have inherited from my father, who has enemies at his official level, but is revered in the driver and the helper circle (and the barbers too).

So if you want to make your day, go ahead and have a small chat with the coffee shop person. Perhaps buy a coffee for him and ask him to savor it along with you. Or buy a bunch of books for a driver who wishes to learn. Make your day with these small things.

A kind gesture

Some of the popular events in my campus comes under the umbrella of Literature and Social activities, or Lit-Soc in our institute lingo. One of the events, which I happened to see in my last year ( I was lazy the other years) was mono acting. A particular event in this acting was so spectacular that I felt a blog article would be the right justice on my part.

A total of 14 students participated in the event. While I was sitting at the back and judging the acting skill without being an expert in it, I was completely aware of the guts we needed to go on the stage in front of a huge crowd of students and act. I don’t think I have that courage. But let us not digress too much. One of the participants was a junior from my hostel, whom I like for his jovial and never say never attitude. He also happens to be our Literary affairs secretary. The 7th or the 8th person on the stage was a sophomore. He was going to enact a play on television interview of a famous person in India. Now the play included enacting two people, so the fete was not an easy one. The start was good, though I did feel it was sloppy. But not something to worry about, as he seemed a new comer to this art.

After 30 seconds of play, he walked out of the stage saying that he had cold and that he could not carry forward the play. clearly, his stage fear had got the better of him. I felt no pity or anger. Just simple apathy. The judge, who was an amazing guy with a good diction tried encouraging him but his efforts were in vain.

After all the participants were done with their acts, the judge gave him another chance, asking him to do it as it was now or never. He still could not gather enough courage. Then the judge offered him to play for one minute instead of five to get rid of his stage fear. So he went to the stage and started his act again. However, in 30 seconds again, he was mentally out cold. I was of the view that he did not prepare, but that was just my view. Then something amazing happened. My junior went up to the stage and acted as the other guy in the play. The combo of the two was amazing and the play went hilarious. I am sure the post graduate student was very comfortable, as was evident from his confident voice and body language. The play pulled off well and the judge congratulated them both.

There were two things that I had seen that day. The support garnered by the judge was truly amazing and added to this was the cheering by all the students. But what took the cake was the gesture by my junior, whose act was commendable. I believe going to the stage and standing up for the post graduate student was the best thing anyone could do. While it needs guts to enact a mono acting scene on the stage, it requires true courage and selflessness to be the support for another student. It gave me great happiness seeing this act. I would like to quote a popular phrase from the meme world, ‘Faith in humanity restored’.

Nostalgia

The time I am writing this post is a little abnormal. 11:30 PM at night is surely strange, but had to write this down, lest my mind changes. I have been thinking of writing many articles in the past few months but was just lazy to do so. Hence, this time, I decided to take action immediately and write on my thoughts.
I was coming back from a play by our institute guys and was in the bus, way back to the campus. Suddenly, I was reminded of Batman series in cartoon network, long ago and that was how it started. Nostalgia. The old Cartoon Network. Boy, such lovely days. This article is just to collate all the cartoons I have seen when I was a child (Argument: Did I grow up?).

Let us start of with Batman itself. Though the memories are a little vague, but still I can remember the series. It was incredible. I felt it a little eerie, but nevertheless, it was an amazing serial. I remember watching the series in the morning, sometime around 10 AM(Two notes here. All the times are Indian Standard Time. I could be wrong about the timings. I would be glad if someone comments about the same). And then, swat cats at around 4 PM. I think Swat cats was the best cartoon ever in terms of the coolness. T-Bone and Razor, the aircraft, past master and other characters. I am a fan of Razor. He seems cooler and more swift. My favorite cartoon till today has been Ninja Robots. It is a little sad that none of my friends know about it. Man, it is just an amazing show. Cybertron, Golden lion, Purple dragon, Red falcon. I should say that this was true hardcore cartoon show. I would greatly appreciate if someone reading this article could give me the link for getting all the episodes.
        Jonny Quest. A really weird cartoon. Though I did watch, I could not follow it completely. Perhaps I always watched it unconsciously. Yet another cartoon was Adams family. I still remember the hand, perhaps the most famous character in the show. And then, the all time golder, Scooby do. Scooby do was totally involving show. Comedy and mystery were perfectly blended. Couldn’t ask for anything better. Yes, I did not forget Tom and Jerry. I believe, everyone will know that. One cartoon which you can watch anytime anyplace, any age. I am pretty sure parents of every child who was born in 1990s will surely know tom and jerry. I should say, ‘The deadly duo.’
        Tiny TV was another awesome time pass in the afternoon. Bob the builder, Koala brothers, Pingu, Oswald, Noddy etc. Once in a while, Bob the builder song does ring in my head. I was such a fan of Bob the builder that time that I had also started making clay models of Scoop, Mug and Dizzy . And Pingu’s gibberish language was also fun.
And then the real action cartoons. These cartoons were totally worth following. Starting off with Transformers Armada. Till date, I am a hardcore fan of the transformers. I used to collect action toys, I used to make the convertibles, and yes, they used to convert from vehicles to robots and back to vehicles again(Boy, I just realize how creative and patient I was those days. I wish I go back to those days). I did start following Energon but left it in the middle due to the odd timings. And then, Beyblade. The first season was amazing show. I left the show after the first season. I used to collect the cheaper ones and used to have a battle with my brother. Though they were cheap, they were astonishingly powerful. Digimon was yet another amazing show. Followed the whole of the first season. I guess I remember some names. Garurumon, Greymon, Metal Greymon etc. I even made some of the action figures of these digimons with clay. No, they don’t exist today. They all were lost or were broken when we moved into a new house. Dragon ball Z. A recent cartoon but was very good. The annoying part was the repeating of chunk of episodes. Left it after Cell takes over.
A few more of the Cartoon Network cartoons include Powerpuff girls, G I Joe (I still adore the action figures, though left collecting them), Teen Titans, Scooby Do the laffa-lympics(spelling could be totally wrong), Batman of the future, and perhaps other cartoons I am unable to recollect while writing this article.
Nickelodian was nothing less. Spongebob square pants was an awesome cartoon. My all time favorite in Nickelodian was The legends of the hidden temple. I suppose that it was the first of its kind. It used to come around 4 PM in the evening. A sure time pass after school hours. Pogo too had its share of awesome cartoons. Many of the cartoon network cartoons were transferred to pogo, which were considered as cartoons for small children.
Today, the whole treasure seems to be lost. I don’t see any of these amazing cartoons in Cartoon network today. I write this passage with a very sad tone. It is very disheartening that these cartoons are just a fragment of memory, a piece of past. I can only call it nostalgia. I wish they repeated all these cartoons. The generation born in 2000 will not be knowing any of these awesome cartoons. I wish I don’t have the reason to sit infront of the computer instead of the TV because there is nothing worthwhile. I wish I need not search torrents and our institute network for these amazing cartoons because I can’t find them on TV. I WISH CARTOON NETWORK(And not CN) was back. I can only wish.
If anyone reading this article has the same feelings as me, share your thoughts. Perhaps one day, we can ask Cartoon Network to replay all of them. However, if you feel that present cartoon are also better, please do go ahead and sit in front of the TV and enjoy your cartoons, don’t comment here.

Bandar mere bhai

That translates into ‘Monkey my brother’ in hindi. I am not trying to prove the fact the monkeys are actually our brother, which was proved by Charles Darwin ages ago. What I will talk about are the musings of the monkeys here in our campus(IITM).

It will not be surprising that I call these monkeys the IITian monkeys. They seem to be very intelligent(No offence). They tend to be a nuisance, since they like playing with our clothes hung outside, especially the young ones. Also, they are very fond of our home made food(For that matter, they don’t mind eating Dominos cheese burst or choco lava cake). If anyone makes a mistake of keeping the food on the table and forgets to close the door, he can as well forget the food.

However, our monkey friends are very punctual. They have very tight timing. Morning 7 AM is their arrival time, just when we start getting up(Conditions apply). They leave around 7:30 AM, creating a mess in  our corridor. Once again, they come around 4 PM in the afternoon, but this time they go back a little empty mouthed. But the young ones have a gala time with our clothes, our foot wear etc. They seem to be synchronized with the habits of the students. They come 2 hours late on weekends, since we also wake up 2 hours late on weekends. But I think they have an off on the weekend afternoons. Also, they make their visit less frequent in the winter and summer holidays, since the students are also back home.

Our monkey friends are very playful, sober at times, fearful, ferocious, lazy, over enthusiastic etc. Most of the monkeys have stopped caring about the hostel inmates(Don’t get confused, they are the actual IITM students). They just don’t give a damn whether we give a damn about them or not. In fact, when my friend and I were brushing our teeth in the morning, they were just walking past us, something like 5cm away, not even looking at us. The fat and the big ones especially are too careless about us. There was one exception however. Once when my friend was talking on the phone, leaning on the parapet, the monkey was sitting near him, waiting for him to finish talking, so that it can go ahead. The young ones, who are yet to know that we are too lazy to bug them get scared of us, or sometimes try to scare us. The mothers are too protective about their young ones. They generally tend to stay away from the us, sitting at a place and keeping an eye on the young ones. Yet there are other monkeys, which are very sober. All they do is sit on the branches of the tree and keep looking at the sky. Sometimes in the middle, they may scratch their tail or leg. The naughty and the energetic ones do all kinds of random things. One of the monkeys was simply standing on the parapet wall. Then, a monkey jumps near it and shows it back side to the other monkey, as if challenging it to a duel. They also play(Don’t know exactly, but may be they fight over some serious issues also), by pulling their tails, catching their necks and so on.

What astonishes me is their handling of things. They know how to drink water from a tap, opening and closing it. They also know how to open a cool drink bottle and drink from it. They make the bathrooms very dirty, but they do close the taps, which they open. Once, in our math class, a monkey came and sat on professor’s table, opened his bottle and started drinking water. We just were amused, but the monkey, once again, did not even care about us.

Yet in another event, it pulled a chocolate wrapper from my friend. Then, when it found out that it was empty, it started shouting at me, as if saying “Couldn’t you say that the wrapper was empty?“.

Though it would seem that monkeys are a nuisance here, the truth is we have invaded their home(Our campus is a part of the Guindy national park. So, the next time you come, don’t be surprised if you spot a lot of monkeys, deer, black bucks and white black bucks). Our formed director used to say, ‘Apart from monkeys and deer, we have B.Tech and other students and faculty.‘. There was a proposal to move some of the monkeys out, since their population was increasing rapidly, but the director was warned against such actions by the wildlife protection guys.

Having said all these, I am sure that it is convincing to say that the monkeys here are actually our brothers, sharing the same land and food and water( Literally 😉 ).

A lesson in humility

It was the winter of 2010. We were attending a camp in Sargoor, near Mysore in Karnataka, as a part of NSS. A very cold place indeed. We arrived at the camp, which is a primary health care center. Our cribbing started, about anything and everything about that place, though personally i was very excited about the place. After completion of our morning chores, we sat down for lunch(Yes, we started off with lunch). The food was good, considering that a male doctor from Gujarat had cooked it.

After the lunch was over, came my biggest shock. We were asked to clean our plates. I grew in a home where I did not even pick up the plate after eating(Yep, you are welcome to conclude I am arrogant or pampered). My ego was hurt. Though I did wash the plate, I argued with my friends about how unfair it was to clean the plates ourselves. Then came my biggest shock. My friends scolded me saying that they used to clean their plates every time they ate and that is how it happens in their home. I was astonished. It was then that i realized that i was pampered. Then on wards, I cleaned the plates with a sense of satisfaction and with an elated feeling.

Before the camp concluded, we were asked what had we learnt in the camp. I had very proudly said that I had learn how to clean plates.

Put lift da!!

A very general comment our friends in IITM will know. Yes, i am talking about the cycles. Today morning, i was riding my cycle and i thought i should write an article on it. The cycles here, are not any other random vehicles to be neglected. They are the Benz for the lazy, rocket for the lazier and useless for the laziest. What the hell? does it make any sense at all?

Let me go ahead and explain. First things first, there is no person who doesn’t fall into the above three categories. So, people who are just lazy, will generally start a little early and slowly wile away their time on the cycle. The lazier, who don’t want to repair their punctured or tattered or whatever cycle, they wait for lift, hop on to the cycle and zoom past the roads. The laziest, will not even care to repair it once it goes out of condition. So, it is obvious it is of no use for them anymore.

But our focus is on the cycles, not on the riders. I am not sure if any enthusiastic biker has traveled more than us on our cycles. For every random reason, we take our cycle out. Go 200 meter away, get your cycle. Go 50KM away, get your cycle. Cycle is like the universal mode of transport here. I am unable to imagine life here without cycles. Life looks very energetic with all the cycles here.

We here, are also very proud of our cycles. We dont pollute our environment, it is a good exercise for us, and above that, a savior during the exams(we make promises to ourselves that we will wake up early during exams, but as expected, we dont wake up early, since we dont sleep early).

I personally feel like a racer when i ride my cycle, especially when i zap across a slow cycler or across an old(but the best and the sturdiest) cycle. I am quite generous also, i keep taking lift from people. You heard it right. I provide the lift, convince them that they are heavier than me and hence they need to ride the cycle and i get the lift on my own cycle. Fun isnt it? But there is also a trade off. I get frequent cycle repairs. Especially, if you buy the cycle in the campus during the start of the semester, you will realize that they are a sort of rotten cycle.

Experience has told me that simplicity is better than anything else. Not that riding cycles is simple enough, but my cycle, hercules fusion looks like a monster, but is a slowpoke. On the other hand, BSA photon, the simplest of all cycles looks like a lean, dead lizard, but flies across the road. I guess i need to get away with my cycle for another 2 years here, unless someone decides to keep it for themselves.

All in all, one sentence, cycle away with your cycle.