Tuesday, December 06, 2005


The worst thing about trying to get yourself three degrees is that it does away with a lot of your time – time which could be spent pursuing the better things in life – like sleep, women, alcohol and a literary career. Particularly the first, as I never had what one would term stunning successes with the opposite sex, and a literary career may come quicker to a dyslexic than to me (as the award of the Booker Prize to my old friend whom I don’t like illustrates).

The grapevine brought to me, as grapevines are oft wont to do, news of a tag. Having battled a book tag with reasonable success and having come out tops, it was a grim prospect for the Warrier soul to be confronted with. A sea-serpent had tagged me a few weeks ago, asking me to torment the world with twenty random things about myself.

I faced two problems – the first being that I had written so many technical reports and research reviews of late that I knew the first words I wrote would be along the lines of -

It has been stated by several scholarly sources [1,2] that the life of Siddhu Warrier is not one that would spark great interest in most living creatures. The reasons for his insanity are chronicled by Boneh, Durfee and Frankel in their seminal work in 1998 [3] in great detail However, to go into this is beyond the scope of this report, and this report will therefore not delve any depper into this topic.

This report is organized as follows. The first section describes…

I can hear the multitudes (all 8 of them) scream out for mercy. The word goes around, this is not what we want of our young Warrier. (What we want is his complete extermination, which is unfortunately beyond the sphere of practical politics – unless one is an armed member of the London Metropolitan Police with a healthy disdain for brown skin)

And therefore, I waited, biding my time until the pressures of Java, CORBA, Xenoservers, Combinatorial Auction Algorithms and other unsightly creatures I would not share my bed with eased a bit.

And then, I put fingers to my ugly new Chinese keyboard and began to type. And realization dawned upon me that I can still be as boring as ever. So without further ado, leave me descend upon the aforementioned tag. Twenty wholesome facts about me (in no particular order) -

1. I admire Eminem, and have often been reprimanded strongly by some prudes whom I associate with for my excessive usage of the F word (and the B, and the S and the U and the Z words). But I persist, for I wager I am one of a dying breed of biggas.
2. I can’t stand women who attempt to paint a picture of themselves as nuns who would die of coronary haemorrhage if they were to hear unparliamentary language or an off-colour joke – the propensity to do this is unfortunately high among women of my country. 
3. I once attempted to burn my house down. Before people start boarding their doors to protect themselves against a raging pyromaniac with a torch in hand, let me hasten to explain – how on earth was I supposed to know that the wrapping of a pack of butter contained aluminium? Even more importantly, it cannot be expected of a man of my commitments to think of things like switching off the power to the microwave.

But, may it never be said that I played the fiddle while 65/5 West Mains Road burnt itself down. Displaying the utmost sagacity (and a burning desire to avoid paying for the house, the microwave and the people residing therein – not to mention the desire to save what remained of the burning butter), I ran from room to room at six in the morning, attempting to wake its sleeping denizens with my ringing cries for everyone to join in on the bonfire in the kitchen.

And be it never be said that I did not thank the kindly person who switched the microwave off. I was exceedingly kind to him (and did not play Rammstein at twelve in the night for three days), even if he unfairly labelled me a ‘certified chootiya’.

4. Unlike an idiot friend of mine named Jormund Elver, I would never turn down a girl who wished to make out with me. It’s a simple matter of asking, girls! I’m waiting…

5. The world is full of short-sighted women who do not understand the enormity of the opportunity that they have missed out on all these years.

6. A lifetime of reading Archie comics has turned me as clumsy as Archie. Like the Boy Scout who basks in the joy of having done a good deed everyday, I spend most days under the shadow of my latest act of clumsiness – the act, as of even date, being spilling a whole glass of Pepsi on a girl’s jeans (and trying to blame someone else for having scratched their left nostril).

7. The most famous line that I ever mouthed was – ‘Ma’am, Siddhu was a good boy, Ma’am. Peyi eriduthu. (A ghost took possession of him)’. I still await an Oscar for that brilliant and melodramatic performace , executed off-the-cuff immediately after having been caught drawing my vice-principal dancing the Charleston in his underpants.

8. I am no Fred Astaire. My dancing style has oft been compared to a pig’s, Gandhi’s and the obese driver of an Onyx dumpster – to the latters’ advantage.

This entertaining and insightful glance into the depraved and debauched life of Siddhu Warrier will be continued, as soon as the author returns after a bacchanalian night of revelry in the company of SQL, PHP and XML.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A new blog as well

Hello everyone,

For those of you who may have thought that I have gone into hiding, been shot seven times in the head while travelling on the London tube, or met some equally miserable fate, I have bad news.

I'm alive, well and kicking. Well, to temper the bad news with some good for all the sadists out there, I'm not physically in the pink.

Anyway, I write this to notify all of you that I have a new photoblog at http://sidspics.blogspot.com, and this week's instalment is a few pictures I have put up - of London and the bunch of lunatics (myself included) who travelled to the great city.

And now, I return to my arcane, and often hideous, world of totient functions, Corbas and FDs. Comment allez vous, as always. :)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A tale of two countries...

As this author pens this piece, he realizes that he has been terribly inactive on the blogging front for the last couple of weeks. But I must hasten to explain that it is because I have had to be terribly active in the real world – something I’m not particularly keen about, but something I have to do to justify the faith that the European Union has (mis)placed in me.

To get down to actually writing (and trying to figure out if I still remember to write in languages other than Java), here goes…

The Glaswegian, myself and (part of) an unfortunate Englishman

Around three weeks ago, a young Warrier packed his little all and scooted to a not-so-little place called Glasgow.

Glasgow was, to sum it up, rather a disappointment. But then, living in a place like Edinburgh prejudices you against most places (unless of course you’re visiting El Dorado or Shangri La).

But that doesn’t take away from it the fact that Glaswegians are terribly interesting people. If one were to be a little more unkind, one would use the word ‘weird’ – but being the nice, well-bred and sweet young man that I am, I will not say so.

Standing by a bridge in Glasgow at two in the afternoon, I asked my Nigerian friend to snap a picture of me and an English friend of mine. As I primped myself to look even more dashing than I usually do, I did not notice a slightly inebriated-looking middle aged man walk towards us.

But the inebriated-looking middle aged man did notice us. Before I could say a word (or two, for that matter), he put his arm around me, pushed Ian (the English chap) out of the frame and plastered a very drunk grin on his face. It was a laughing self that posed for the camera with the old soak. The normally reticent Ian was too shocked to say much, but merely looked a little more perplexed than he usually looks.

After my clearly amused friend had snapped a picture of us, we assumed the old soak would go along to whichever pub he haunted at this early hour. But the friendly neighbourhood Glaswegian had different ideas. Energetically shaking me by the hand, he asked me,

‘Where ya from, mate?’

‘Er…India…’, said I, for I had still not overcome my initial surprise.

‘Welcome to Glasgow, mate! We’re SO glad to have you here… Have a great time in Glasgow!’

He asked Deji, the Nigerian bloke, the same question, and welcomed him equally effusively - the ridiculous grin still in place.

And then, he turned to Ian, who looked like he would have much rather preferred to have been in a cave in Afghanistan hunting for bin Laden, butter knife in hand.

Ian is as English as the English get, if not even more. The ‘Englishness’ of his English accent would probably put the Queen to shame – what with his erudition oozing out of every syllable. He is, to cut a long story short, the kind of chap who’d never have caused Queen Victoria to raise a cultured eyebrow and snort a nasty ‘We are not amused!’ (though Queen Victoria would have been equally likely to bellow an uncultured ‘Off with his f***ing head’ if faced with our Glaswegian hero.)

‘Oh, rather, I’m from England, what what?’

It was the work of a moment for our hero to wipe the grin off his face. He glared balefully at Ian and said,

‘You’re a ruddy Englishman! Go away, f*** off!!’

If Ian had looked perplexed til then, he now seemed a trifle shocked – as shocked as he ever gets.

‘I say! What?’, was all he could come up with.

The Glaswegian continued, ignoring Ian’s protests that he could not possibly f*** out of Scotland at such short notice.

‘You!’, he said – the grin back on - pointing a stubby finger at me, ‘and you’, this time looking cheerfully at the Nigerian, ‘are invited to the pub – free drinks on me. You’re visitors to Scotland!’

Ian had by now lapsed into silence, and was probably wondering when the Glaswegian would pull a carving knife out to expedite the process of his f***ing out of Scotland.

The Glaswegian turned to him and said, ‘NO Drinks for You, mate.’

And then, with a parting wave to us, and a muttered ‘go back to England’ to Ian, our cheery Glaswegian took leave of us.

And he never did tell us what the name of ‘his’ pub was…

I’m leaving on a short tour of London during my mid-semester break next week. It promises to be a fun trip – what with six of us haunting the old metropolis for three whole days. But unfortunately, before I can leave, there are pressing issues such as an assignment that I have to deal with. So the next week will presumably be spent in writing in a little-known but much-hated foreign language called Java. So, until then, adios amigos…or as the Scots are wont to say, Cheers Mate!!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Scottish photoblog

Weekdays being what they are, I did not have any time at all to get down to penning a blog. But since my weekend begins on Friday and I don't plan to get up before 12 tomorrow in any case, I spent hours toiling over my first photo blog on The Blog of Small Things

This photoblog takes the reader/viewer through the whole of my last Saturday, which was - to put it very mildly - a great day!

So, please do scroll down and look through the images I have painstakingly compiled, and maybe read the corny captions that I've penned.

(Of course you can leave, but you won't, will you? Huh huh?)

Till then, comment allez vous monseuirs et mesdames. (Pleeease!)
Motoring down the A-720 towards a little place in the middle of nowhere called North Berwick. The beginning of one of the greatest days I’ve had in recent times. Posted by Picasa
At North Berwick, right next to a mouldy old ruin that you have to pay three pounds to see. Fiscal prudence and common sense prevailed, and we decided to climb a beautiful (and free) hill instead. Posted by Picasa
Zonka (I’m sorry but I really can’t spell his name right L ), Arnav and Rohit standing next to the wall that separated us from a very picturesque beach (and an even more picturesque girl). Posted by Picasa
Steven from Germany, flanked by an incredibly handsome young man from India…er…Oops, wrong photo. Posted by Picasa
Spending a Saturday morning walking down the long, beautiful and easy road to Perdition, when we should have unraveling the mysteries of TCP/IP or some other such unpleasant creature. Posted by Picasa
Scotland is so incredibly beautiful that I can’t think of anything derogatory to say about this photo. Posted by Picasa
A typically unfit CS student after a breathless climb of fifty feet. Posted by Picasa
John from Germany and Eva from China Posted by Picasa
‘Er…where are we?’

‘Hmmm…that’s a very good question…’

‘Will we ever get back home?’

‘Not if we wait for those two (ref last pic) to catch up.’ Posted by Picasa

At the Seabird café, trying to chill out while not thinking of the horrendously expensive hot chocolate (and the horrendously ferocious Doberman at the next table who was eyeing me most unpleasantly) Posted by Picasa

Arnav likes the birds! Sometimes even the ones that actually fly… Posted by Picasa
It wasn’t all over at North Berwick. Back at Edinburgh, Die Deutschen in meiner Wohnung waren genug freundlich, eine Partei an ihrem Haus zu organisieren. Danke schol Stephan, Florian und John. (Try using babelfish to figure that bit out, Auslanders ;) )

N.B: You see here an unscrupulous young man who looks eerily like the author of this blog cheating at poker. Also in the frame are Parag and another chap whose name I don’t know. Posted by Picasa
Balaji and Shehzad. N.B: No, Shehzad’s not drunk, he’s ‘like that only’! Posted by Picasa
Kalpesh bin Laden – who came out of the closet just about when Osama stepped into one, (I mean the terrorist hide-out kind-of closet, you perverts!), George (of the Jungle), and Shehzad Posted by Picasa
Balaji, the most eligible Indian bachelor in the University of Edinburgh. He knows to dance the Salsa, Cha Cha Cha, Swing and a few hundred other dance forms. All he needs now is a girl who’ll actually dance with him.;) Posted by Picasa
Extremely dangerous creature. Statutory Warning: Could be easily mistaken for that thing in The Exorcist, the alien in E.T or George W Bush. Posted by Picasa

Damn! I told the **** that my right profile was more...er... glamourous! (Or was it my left?) From (L) to ( R), that’s Meisze from Malaysia and moi. Posted by Picasa
The extremely uncouth individual who was our host for the evening. An equally uncouth individual in the background adds to the vulgar garishness of the picture. (Somehow that hand looks very familiar! :-P ) Posted by Picasa

Everybody loves Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Jordan. Not some terribly jealous people who walk around trying to ruin pictures in which they feature, though. Posted by Picasa

It happened to Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana! It happen to Tom Cruise and Shah Rukh Khan! Oh, the trials and tribulations of being famous and handsome (and incredibly modest)! Posted by Picasa

The Erasmus Mundus class of 2007. The guy with the funky, Dil Chahta Hai-style facial growth is our professor, supervisor, God and Mwbangwa (For those who came in late, that’s Swahili for He-Whom-We-Must-Worship-and-Prostrate-Before-If-We-Don’t-Want -Our-Grades-To-Stink-Worse-Than-Our-Shit). As for me, I’m (mercifully) in the shadows towards the end of the table.

And so, That's all, folks!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A week and I know not where it went!

It has been almost a whole week since I stepped into the land of the Scots. And, if I were to put it mildly and try to understate it a bit, I think I would just use the word fabulous.

The past week was what is called orientation by the brass hats, and funtime by most students.

Edinburgh is a gloriously multicultural city, and my flat seems to reflect this multiculturatism to a T. I stay with another Indian, a Pakistani, a Jordanian, a Nigerian, an Englishman, and three Chinese. And that’s quite a lot – even if I am yet to speak to the Chinese, mainly because my Chinese doesn’t pass muster.;-)

Apart from the usual free pizza lunches and orientation programmes that are the hallmark of orientation weeks everywhere, the Students’ Association at Edinburgh offers a LOT more in the form of free parties. The international student centre is what is usually at the forefront of these parties, and provide the free drinks. And usually ensure there is a good attendance of hot chicks from the continent. Phew!!

Another interesting bit I noticed over this past one week was how much people knew about India. And more interestingly, how little I knew about India.

I reproduce below snatches of a conversation I had with a Polish girl –

‘Hey, so you’re Indian! Wow, I’m really interested in India’

‘So am I’, said I, rather wittily, for one always tries to impress with the Warrier charm, ‘, though that’s probably because I’m Indian. But I’m interested in Poland too.’

‘Ah Poland is a small place – India is beautiful. Are you Hindu or muslim?’

That was an easy one. I answered it with a smile playing on my lips.

But it was not over. She continued with an even trickier one,

‘Are you shivite or vaishnavite?’

When one tries to strike a conversation with a girl, one prefers to talk of lots of things. But my religious affliation is not often among my favourite topics. Though nonplussed, I hummed and hawed non-committaly about believing in monotheism.

‘Oh wow! Have you been to Vaishno Devi?’

It was then that another Austrian chap who, also, unfortunately seemed to know a little too much about India stepped in.

‘Have you seen the widows of Varanasi?’

I knew this one! I answered with aplomb, ‘Oh! That was the story of that movie called Water. A bunch of simians from the Bajrang Dal burnt the sets down – so didn’t watch it. Did you read the script?’

The two of them looked at each other.

‘Uh…there are real widows in Varanasi’

‘There are widows everywhere. And they are often as real as you or me.’

‘No, I mean, there are widows who are prostitutes.’

I thought of talking of the parts of India I knew and said, ‘Shah Rukh Khan’s cool’

The polish girl waved it off, ‘Ahh bollywood is good, but I want to know if you speak Sanskrit!’

This was my chance. I’d sweep her off her feet with a rendition of a few choice words in Sanskrit. Even if I couldn’t remember them, I could make something up.

‘Aham Vaanar: asti – that means, I am pleased to meet you!’

‘No you just told me about your ancestry. Tvam Vanaar: aevam kukkur: asti’

‘Er…what exactly are you studying here?’, I asked, desperate to change the topic.

‘Oh, I’m doing my B.A. in Sanskrit. I wanted to study at JNU, but they didn’t give me an admit’

…… Next time, I don't pretend to be an Indian intellectual, but reveal myself for the boor I am!

P.S: I've also been awarded a Laboratory Demonstrator position to teach First Years with water in the brain how to program. Maybe it's an all-girl class!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Felis Collegica

Blimey, I leave to the land of the limeys in the wee hours of tomorrow. By the evening, I should have moved home and hearth to Edinburgh, Scotland. But because of all the activities concomitant with arriving at a new place, I may not be able to post anything for a few days. Till then, I put forth to the general populace a story I had written a long while back. It's not the kind I usually write, but (for all those people who appreciate Gandhi's machiavellian machinations) Gandhi features here (though not prominently).)

The heat was stifling. The boredom - even worse.

The lecturer droned on, unfazed neither by the heat nor by the plaintive pleas of the students. I chewed my pen meditatively as I shifted my gaze from the blackboard to the window. There was nothing spectacular about the window in the least.

As I stared at the window, thinking deep, dark thoughts, I suddenly noticed a cat, who was clearly into adventure sports, jump on to the window sill from the corridor, clearing the chasm between the two with aplomb.

I watched it, as I could think of nothing better to do. And besides, the cat appeared to me as one capable of performing far more interesting feats than the lecturer could ever hope to.

The cat was sunning itself on the window sill. But this cat did not seem to have that arrogant, holier-than-thou expression that is the hallmark of cats around the world. This cat looked every bit a personable, suave, young cat. The kind with which it would be a pleasure to chat idly on world affairs.

The cat’s expression almost looked sympathetic. I began to wonder if it actually felt sorry for us humans, who - by virtue of being higher up on the evolutionary ladder - had to sit in confined classrooms and suffer from boredom, claustrophobia and god knows what else.

A couple of minutes later, the cat sprang into action. It jumped off the window sill and began running towards the lectern and across the lecturer’s legs. The whole class was stunned. The lecturer dropped the piece of chalk she had been using as her chief instrument of mass torture and began to scream.

Her scream spurred us natives into action as well. Half of them, led by the backbenchers, began to egg the cat on, cheering and clapping.

‘Go CAT!!!’, screamed somebody, making himself heard over the din.

The first bench squatters, on the other hand, saw this as a golden opportunity to squirm their way further into the lecturer’s good books. Around five of them rushed to the lecturer’s aid and began chasing the cat around the class.

The cat ran over desks and benches displaying a degree of athleticism that would have put Marion Jones to shame until it reached the window sill, where it stopped, turned its head and stared for a moment at its supporters in the last bench. Then it jumped out of view.

The lecturer regained her equanimity and smiled sheepishly at the class. With some difficulty, she managed to utter a few broken words about how the ‘damn cat’ had made her forget what she was talking about.

‘I’ll deal with the rest of it tomorrow, class….,’ she said brusquely and rushed out of the class looking highly embarrassed.

A huge sigh of relief ran through the entire class. Everybody began to look for the cat who had by then been proclaimed a hero.

There was no need for a prolonged hunt. As soon as the lecturer left, the cat came back onto the window sill to receive his dues. The whole class (including the first benchers who had displayed strong anti-cat sentiments a few minutes ago) rushed to where the cat had positioned himself.

Everybody began fawning over him – some squealing ‘cho chweeeeeet’ (which the cat didn’t seem to particularly like) and some more practical chaps offering him rotis purloined from somebody else’s lunch box (which the cat seemed to appreciate).

When the question of naming him arose, requests by certain frivolous wastrels to name him after our principal were ignored. (As one chap aptly put it – ‘for a spider, maybe; for a boa constrictor, definitely; but for a hero like this, NO WAY!!’)

After prolonged deliberation, the whole class decided to refer to him simply as Cat.

From that day on, Cat became an integral part of our class. He held durbar at the window sill every recess where he graciously accepted food from his loyal subjects and allowed a select few to stroke his fur.

He was a ubiquitous presence at every lecture, staring at the lecturer from his window sill as blankly as we did. Whenever he felt that a lecture was going on for too long or that it was just too plain boring, he would do something to attract attention. That was the sign for all of us to begin shouting, screaming and generally wreaking havoc until the lecturer gave up attempting to take class.

Most lecturers tolerated Cat. Some of them even liked him, in spite of the fact that he instigated more than half the disturbances in class. But my electronics lecturer - the woman whom Cat had scared half to death the day he made his first appearance – positively detested him. From the look on Cat’s highly expressive face, we knew that the hatred was most definitely mutual.

Another day a few months later, another terribly tortuous electronics lecture. The electronics lecturer was attempting to do us to death by lecturing to us three hours in a row. All of us were either asleep or in a deep stupor.

Placing my head on the desk in despair, I looked at my philosopher and guide, Cat. Cat seemed to have a greatly resentful expression on his face.

As I kept staring at him, I unexpectedly noticed that his lips were moving. I strained to catch what he was saying.

‘Do not despair for I am here…’, said Cat, softly.

I was awestruck. I turned towards my bench-mate to draw his attention towards Cat’s sudden loquaciousness! But he was too fast asleep to take any notice.

I turned to the cat and begged,


‘I have made the choice. I think the time has come…’

Cat looked and sounded like a feline version of the Oracle, what with cryptic statements and prophecies on choices.

Before I could ask him to quantify his argument, he had left for places unknown with a swish of his tail.

A few minutes later, a glint of metal caught my eye. I turned in the direction of the glint. What I saw left me dumbstruck. Cat had decided to go in for the final solution.

The glint of metal that I caught was from the scope of the sniper rifle that Cat was fondly cradling in his paws, perched on the window sill of the class opposite ours. Cat seemed to have powerful friends in rather unlikely places.

I continued to watch in silent admiration as he methodically loaded cartridges into the rifle, inspected the sight and clicked the safety catch off. He gazed upwards in the direction of the great feline goddess up in the sky for a few seconds, and took aim. This cat was a pro, I thought. He’s even better than those two sniper dudes in America, I whispered to myself, as he pointed the rifle in the direction of our lecturer.

Nobody in the class was looking at Cat. Even a convention of druggies would have been more observant than my classmates when Cat placed his paw on the trigger.

But I did not notice the principal. I should have. I did not see him until he was almost directly behind Cat. The principal, realizing Cat’s malevolent intentions, attempted to grab the gun from Cat’s paws. In the ensuing struggle, Cat accidentally fired the rifle. Exactly when the rifle was pointing right at me…

I prepared myself for the death that stared me in the face. I could see the path traced by the bullet with great clarity, rather like those bullets in the Matrix.

But I wasn’t the One. Though I attempted Neo-esque moves to avoid the bullet, I couldn’t do it the way Neo could. The bullet struck me on the temple. I did not feel it going into my brain, shattering it into tiny pieces.

All I could feel was terrible, piercing pain. All I could hear, apart from the monotonous drone of the lecturer, was the raspy voice of a classmate of mine popularly known as Gandhi.

‘Dai…Stop staring at the cat! You’ve been looking at it with a glazed expression on your eyes for ten minutes! Are you stoned?!’

‘Er…did you by any chance fire at me…I mean…’

‘Yeah, I did snap a rubber band. Hit you right on the temple too…’, he said, grinning grotesquely.

‘Erhhh…ok…guess I just fell asleep for a few minutes, y’know…’, I said, and turned towards the teacher. My eyes passed by the window, where Cat was perched.

Did Cat just smile at me then...?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Junkie and the Teddy Bear - Part III

This bit winds to a logical(?) conclusion the saga that began two episodes ago.

It was with a fair amount of trepidation that I rang the bell to her place.

Lakshmi opened the door with an almost unnaturally bright smile. Just as I switched on that charming smile of mine that has most women go weak-kneed, she switched hers off abruptly.

‘Oh its you… wait here! I have some work inside.’

Before I could say anything; hell, before I could wipe that increasingly ridiculous grin off my face, she’d gone inside, leaving behind nothing but the wafting stench of cheap perfume.

A few minutes later, as I stood waiting for her at the door, she swept past me with an imperious wave of her hand and began walking down the stairs.

I realized this was the cue for me to follow her.

Experience has taught me that a capricious chap up there in the sky creates two kinds of people – the first, who are nature’s doormats, and the second, who wipe their feet, faces and other bodily orifices with nature’s doormats. I am one of the former, without a shadow of doubt. And therefore, I walked behind her docilely.

The day was evidently something special. We picked another equally malodourous female who was overdosed on perfume on the way to the theatre.

It was then that it struck me that I didn’t know which movie we were going for?

‘Er…Lakshmi…’, I spoke cautiously.

She turned to me, slightly piqued for having interrupted an earth-shaking discussion on the merits of bubblegum-pink corsets or some other equally uninteresting creature.


‘Er, what movie are we going to watch?’

‘Boys!, of course. It is such a cool movie, no?’

‘No…er…I mean, yes, it is…’

I was shocked and disgusted. I had had the misfortune of attending the press preview for the movie, and did not want to watch it again. Ah, Kismet, I muttered to myself, looking heavenward.

Cut to: The Theatre

It was at the parking lot that I remembered the nasty looking bear that I’d unearthed from a corner of Amma Fancy Stores the day before.

After I parked the car, I noisily searched through my bag, trying to find where the ugly bastard had hidden himself.

The filthy little teddy bear looked back at me. It was then that it dawned upon me that the bear’s countenance bore an uncanny resemblance to 50 cent’s.

‘Happy Birthday, Lakshmi. You can call him 50 cent bear, if you so wish.’, I said, brightly.

She looked at me blankly, ’50 send aa? What are you saying?’

‘Oh nothing… a token of my gratitude, affection and all that kind of jazz. Er… I mean, a happy birthday gift.’, ended I, rather lamely, sounding like a 4th standard kid out of a cheap Hindi movie.

I thought of singing Happy birthday out loud, or telling her that I’d sacrificed yesterday’s drug fix to get her this, but thought the better of it.

‘Oh, thanks’, she said shortly.

In a few minutes we were at the ticket counter, where a few others, including Gandhi, himself awaited our arrival. It was then that Lakshmi spoke.

‘I’m thirsty.’, she grunted.

It was then that Machiavellian blighter, the biggest pestilence to inflict India since the Bengal famine, spoke up.

‘Dai, Siddhu… go get us some Mirindas da. We’re thirsty’, said Gandhi.

I looked at him incredulously.

I gave him a scathing look and asked him, ‘Do I look like a big brown pot marked ‘Kudineer Thanni’ (Drinking Water) with Jayalalitha’s picture on it? Go get your own Mirinda.’

A few minutes later, I walked alone towards the refreshment stand to get the six Mirindas requested for.

As I distributed the Mirindas around, Lakshmi turned to me.

‘Aeey, really sweet of you, wokay? Now give me forty rupees.’

I looked at her, surprised.


‘Dai, ticket charge, da…’

‘Bu..but, your treat.. birth..day..what?’, I muttered, a man in a daze.

‘Aeey, you know how costly tickets are these days. And a birthday is so expensive –‘, and went on to detail a whole list of (frivolous) things she had had to gift herself on her birthday.

Cut to: Inside the Theatre

Boys, to a man of refined tastes and sensibilities, is an unbearable movie. And therefore, being a man of refined tastes and sensibilities, I considered it my responsibility to jeer and boo loudly around 20 minutes into the movie.

‘Shhhh….’, said Gandhi, a nasty glint in his eyes.

‘Fuck you da, bastard!’, I said, a little too loudly.

‘Hey, we are with girls. Please conduct yourself with more propriety, and behave less like a boor, and more like… Er… just don’t be yourself, that’ll do.’

This from a bloke who had danced more vigorously than the auto drivers in the front row at a screening of Baba.

I was about to bamboozle him with a stinging rebuke when Lakshmi brusquely asked me to shut up. I shut up.

At the end of the day, I had decided that I would have to end this charade the next day.

The next day came, as surely as the one before it had.

I walked towards Lakshmi in the Computer Lab. After a few minutes spent searching for a voice that had gone A.W.O.L, I spoke -

‘Er…Lakshmi I do not intend to burn my yellow t-shirt... or cut my toe nails.’

Not the strong stuff that curls the blood and curdles the hair –or even the other way around. And not exactly what I intended to say, either.

‘What?’, said she, rather surprised.

‘I mean, I’m not on drugs.’

She looked at me with a puzzled expression on her face, ‘Yeah, I know. I speak to you now, no? So your lovesick heart doesn’t need dope anymore. You already told me so.’, and turned away.

‘N…no, I never was on dope. I don’t like you. We were pulling a prank on you.’

‘What? Are you stoned now?’, asked she, incredulously.

‘No… I mean, yes. I mean, no I am not crazy about you… Ask Gandhi. He was involved in the plan from the very outset’, and pointed to Gandhi who sat nearby, smirking.

Now, this would be fun, I thought to myself. Gandhi’s silver tongued oratory would teach Lakshmi what was what! Never again would she try to get a chappie to burn his beloved yellow t-shirt. Or clean his toe-nails.

‘What plan? See, Lakshmi. This poor old fruit was head over heels in love with you.

‘I tried telling him several times that with a brain like Salman Khan’s and looks like a B-grade Hindi film villain’s, he didn’t stand a chance. Oh but he wouldn’t listen. He started doing drugs. He was pining for you.

Then I got him to speak to you. But you, very obviously, gave him the raspberry and sent him away with a flea in his ear.’

‘Yeah, that’s what I did. I told him not to darken my doorstep ever again. But these persistent pests, you know.So I thought, seri, Iyyoo paavam…’, said Lakshmi.

I watched thunderstruck

‘Anyway, the point is – Siddhu, don’t try to cover your tracks up by pretending not to be in love with her. Hell, wasn’t I with you when you spent 350 bucks on that really cute teddy bear who looked just like Dr. Dre…I mean, Winnie the Pooh?’, said Gandhi viciously.

I was at a loss for words. All my mind could focus on was the little voice which kept yelling, ‘Machiavelli strikes again…’

And again…

I could barely hear in the background Gandhi assuring Lakshmi that I wouldn’t bother her again, and that yeah, he agreed completely with her on how all ‘em desperate bastards were the same.


‘Tis the year 2005. The year 2006 inches closer.

I walk through the portals of the old institution one last time to collect a few certificates.

A couple of juniors I know smirk as I pass by them.

I hear one of them whisper to another, ‘This guy was crazy about some chick, and actually got her lots of gifts worth over a thousand bucks. But didn’t work out for him, poor fellow…’

I desperately tried to ignore an impulse to punch both the bastards and walked away. Besides, they were bigger than me…

‘Tis the year 2015. The year 2016 inches closer.

I walk through the portals of the old institution yet again, to attend a reunion of the class of 2005. I look much the same – ugly as sin – except for a few inches around the waist.

Gandhi walks up to me with the rest of the ingrates who populated my room that fateful night.

‘Dai, Siddhu! Machcha, still remember how you went so crazy over that Lakshmi chick that you stole five thousand bucks from your dad’s wallet to treat her at the Park?’

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Junkie and the Teddy Bear - Part II

This is the second part of the saga, the first part of which ended with the young, innocent (and incredibly stupid) hero allowing himself to be persuaded to make a prank call at 5 in the morning.

The phone began to ring. I began to have second thoughts.

The little voices in my head whose wise counsel I had so often ignored began to whisper.

To digress for a bit; recent medical research indicates that alcohol injects a little bug into your brain. This bug – let us call him Idi Amin for want of a better name – is not happy to merely traipsy around nerve endings and leave you pleasantly high.

Instead, he speaks to your brain. Most of what he speaks may be twaddle, but the brain unfortunately listens to him – rather like the American electorate listens to George W Bush.

Idi Amin convinced me that the little voices were drunk and didn’t know what they were talking about.

And so I waited till a hoarse voice piped up at the other end.


‘Uh, hello, Lakshmi, er, how are you?’, said I, rather affably.

At this point, Gandhi slapped me on the side of my head, and spoke in a penetrating whisper.

‘Dai bastard! Druggies don’t say hello Lakshmi! How are you? Did you do the AI assignment?. Haven’t you watched Devdas, you prick?!’

‘No…Do you want me to sing or something?!’, I asked him exasperatedly, remembering that Shah Rukh Khan seemed to be doing a lot of that in the trailers.

Gandhi gave me one of his patronizing looks.

‘You SOB! Sob!’

I was befogged.

‘Uh?’, I said, perplexed. I could hear Lakshmi’s increasingly hoarse voice screaming down the other end.

‘I called you a son of a bitch, and asked you to sob as you speak – like so!’, said Gandhi, and gave a passable imitation of a pig’s mating call.

I would have, under normal circumstances, refused to behave like the Empress of Blandings. But Idi Amin had other ideas, and so I continued.

‘Lakshmi’, I said, with a sob that sounded a little better than Gandhi’s, ‘I’m dying for you. I am on dope as I pine for you!’

‘Aeey? Enna, dopeaa? Shiva shiva!’, she screamed, nearly busting my eardrum.

‘Yeah, da! My unrequited and unspoken love has driven me to that plant that was made by god (as Axl Rose once said)!’

‘Axleaaa, what are you saying?’

‘Oh let it pass!’, said I, impatiently, ‘The nub of the issue is I’ll soon be in rehab if I don’t express my undying love for you.’

At this point, Gandhi began to give a very accurate imitation of a swine barfing into his feeding trough. Looking at that, I sniggered.

Silence at the other end. The game was over, I thought, and was about to hang up in disgrace.

‘Siddhu, you are crying for me?’, said she, a mixture of pity (the kind that is generally reserved for stray dogs on the street, and chimps locked in cages) and condescension in her voice.

‘Y..yeah, that’s it!’, said I, and began to laugh uncontrollably.

‘Oh my god! I know I’m very attractive and all that, but you shouldn’t do drugs because of this!’

At this, the eggs, beans and crumpets who were listening in on the extension began to convulse in mirth.

She continued, blissfully unaware of a room full of drunk, laughing hyenas.

‘Listen, I’ll meet you at Qwikys in the afternoon. We have to talk this out! Bring money…’


‘Because you can’t haunt an establishment like Qwiky’s unless you pay! It’s not your Nayar tea kadai’, said she, in a stinging rebuke.

‘Doesn’t the Nayar tea kadai at the beach sound wonderful?’, I pleaded.

‘No, it doesn’t! Pick me up later – I can’t get my bike, petrol’s bloody expensive these days’, she said firmly, and hung up rather haughtily.

I cast a malevolent glance at Gandhi.

‘Fine mess you’ve got me into! Hope you enjoyed the show…’, I said.

Scathing sarcasm, yes, but the remark was meant to scald.

But Gandhi had all the sensitivity of a hippopotamus, and wouldn’t recognize sarcasm if it were served to him on a plate with watercress around it.

‘Oh yeah I did…’, said he, sounding sinfully cheerful.

‘And now what do I do?’, I asked him desperately.

‘Even to one of your intelligence, it should be clear! Go meet her…’

‘Who’ll pay for that? That place is run by daylight robbers!’

Gandhi waxed eloquent for the next fifteen minutes, and in conjunction with the Idi Amin in my brain, convinced me that continuing to pull the prank was a pippin of an idea.

Cut to: Qwikys

It was not with a song in my heart that I watched Lakshmi pick the most expensive items on the menu. I tried pointing out to her the dangers that Banana soufflé le ice cream la frenchie posed to the heart, the liver and the pocket, but all to no avail. Plugs for a nice, steaming cup of filter coffee met with the same fate.

She spoke first.

‘I understand what you’re going through. It’s happened to lots of boys before. They just can’t help it. I guess it’s just something about me…’, said she, a smirk playing on her face.

‘Your modesty, maybe?’, I said, trying hard not to smirk myself.

‘No…its not entirely about my personality da. I guess I’m physically attractive as well, naa?’, said she, and paused for a second.

I figured it was my cue to speak.

‘I guess that’s how the dope came about!’

‘Anyway, now I shall speak to you. So you can come off dope…’

I thought of suggesting that a bit more than speaking would help me get off it a lot quicker, but decided it was dashed injudicious.

‘Oh wow, you’ll actually SPEAK to me!’, said I, lacing each word with the sarcasm that stings, and trying to feign a look of delirious joy on my face.

‘Yeah I shall speak to you when I have nothing else to do. But try not to look like this. Oh, and don’t wear those yellow t-shirts of yours – they’re awful! Burn them if you can! And yeah, when you speak, you’ve got to stop that irritating habit of dabbing your nose and mouth with a handkerchief. And cut your toe nails – they’re hideous.’

I was flabbergasted. My toe nails were a product of love and affection. I had carefully allowed dust and mud to accumulate on them, so as not to interfere with its growth. It had taken me months of care to grow my big toe nail to the length of three whole inches. But I nodded in assent.

‘Okay, my birthday’s on the day after. Though I guess you would know that…’, she said, sounding so hoarse that I was reminded of that old Vicks jingle.

‘Oh yes, I do! I mark birthdays of people like Mahatma Gandhi, Pamela Anderson and yours in red ink on my calendar’.

She didn’t get the subtle barb, and continued, ‘So get me a present! Something nice, something furry would do. And yeah, some of us may go for a movie. You can come if you bring your car along.’

‘Yes,’, said I, too stunned to say anything else.

‘Okay, I’ve got to leave now. Drop me home’, commanded she, pleased at the thought that she’d spread so much happiness and light into my life.

Cut to: The next day

I espied Gandhi in class – asleep in the last bench as usual. I walked over to him. Machiavelli or not, I needed his advice.

‘Dai Gandhi! Big trouble, machcha!’, said I, running towards him.

Gandhi bestowed upon me a beatific smile, and tried to look as much like Mata Amritanandamayee as he could.

‘Don’t worry, my child… I shall work around it.’

I told him of the latest twist in the kahaani and asked him if it were time to reveal all.

Gandhi convinced me that getting her something for her birthday would be exactly the kind of thing that would lead to something he called ‘an inherent belief in the suppression of the male ego, which is the alpha female’s ultimate desire’ (whatever that meant!), and that all could be revealed after more fawning on her birthday.

‘What do you mean by all that ‘suppresion’ shit you said?’, I asked, puzzled.

They wouldn’t have let me in on those Princetonian mettings I was talking about either.

‘That means, my dear retarded imbecile, that she’ll think she’s got a sniveling, slimy, subservient, love-crazed little retard of an admirer. Which is what we want her thinking.’

I did not like Gandhi’s description of what I was supposed to be, but let it go.

‘We want her thinking that?’

‘Yes! The higher the mountain she is on, the greater the fall shall be – Newton’s second law or something’, Gandhi said pompously.

I highly doubted if Newton would ever have spoken of how to push women up on pedestals and also pull them down. I also had grave doubts as to whether a luminary like Newton would have anything at all to do with Gandhi’s ilk. I was about to state that when Gandhi spoke again.

‘And don’t worry about buying something expensive. You can get her one of those little twenty five buck teddy bears who look like gangsters from the hood.’

I walked away, pleased that things were going according to plan. The little voice in my head appeared to have forgotten all about the lurid past as I browsed a store for the cheapest (and ugliest) teddy bear I could find.

But it was with the faintest of suspicions that I drove toward her home on the fateful day…

To be continued…soon

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Junkie and the Teddy Bear - Part I

It was a very lazy night – the kind of night during which one does not have much to do. The kind of night that seems to be getting ever more frequent in my life these days. But I digress. The nub of the issue was what happened on one such lazy night.

This was a lazy night that came along during a period when lazy nights were rather a scarce commodity. Being diligent students of engineering, we had very little time for lazy nights. We had to think of several important things – like AI classes (or to be more precise, what the hot lecturer would wear to the next AI class) and Graphics classes (whether fortune would continue to favour us and engineer another fall of the Graphics lecturer’s pallu).

On this lazy night that I have spoken at length on, I decided to call a few friends over. Among the many headed who graced my house on that fateful night was Gandhi – the Machiavellian blighter who is undoubtedly familiar to regular readers of my blog.

As the clock ticked away the precious minutes we had left of this lazy night, and we became less and less conscious of the clock (and several other things), Gandhi spoke –

‘Ahem….’, said he, rather regally.

I ignored him, and continued to sip on the blushed hippocrene that makes these long, lazy nights bearable. If only the rest of the idiots had, the lazy night would have wound itself to an uneventful close.

But the rest of them did not. In spite of having proven himself to be a rotten swizz in the affair of the Mysterious Prank SMSes (not to mention his being a mercenary who enjoyed dropping unsuspecting fellows into boiling broth), the rest of them idolized him.

It was as if a thunderbolt had struck. The mane of shaggy hair that was Gandhi, the dreg of Eastern civilization, had spoken.

‘Yes, Gandhi…’, said an over-eager blighter, the very same who was responsible for my unfortunate predicament in class a few months ago.

‘Let’s do something….’, said Gandhi as he gulped down another glass, for which he had not paid his share.

There was a chorus of agreement from the inebriated souls who surrounded him, drowning the only voice of sanity in the room.

‘You know that female Lakshmi of our class….’, said he, rather unnecessarily. For Lakshmi was a girl who, while having all the smarts of a dodo, had the assets of a Pamela Anderson. That the rest of her reminded most people of E.T and Close Encounters of the Third Kind was not something that concerned the average Indian engineering student – whose definition of female beauty amounted to anything that dressed in a salwar.

It was therefore hardly surprising that a couple of tongues lolled as Gandhi continued,

‘We should play a prank on her! It’s 5 in the morning...’, said he, drawing our attention to the fact that we’d spent all of the night in a Bacchanalian orgy of Roman proportions.

‘….and being the pious (&^&*^*& she is, she’s probably just done her fertility rites for the morning.’

Gandhi’s opinion of most women amounted to the unprintable – being of the kind that would elicit a loud guffaw from the average prurient male, and fire from the nostrils of the average feminist.

‘So’, continued he,’ someone calls her up and tells her that he’s head over heels in love with her…’

‘Oh shut up, you piece of shit! You’re drunk’, I said, and continued my one eyed survey of the ants climbing up the wall.

It was unfortunate that I did not look the part of the sober uncle counseling sense to the drunk young men (and looked more like the drunkest of the drunk young men). That is why what happened happened.

A couple of his apostles tried to stuff waste paper into my mouth as Gandhi ignored me and continued his discourse, ’Now, just being in love with her is not good enough – there are a hundred other bastards who’d say that to get a piece of her. The ardent lover should have turned to drugs in his unspoken desire for the young woman.’

The crowd, which even in normal circumstances was very unlike the crowd that discussed Mathematics in Princeton, was rendered particularly slow by the organic compounds that sloshed within them. They were befogged and managed to say as much.

‘You drunk retards’, said Gandhi, in that condescending and patronizing way of his, ‘Siddhu is going to call her up and tell her that he’s on dope because of his unrequited love.’

I looked up, startled. The ants would have to wait until I could resume my one-eyed survey of their migratory practices. Gandhi was hatching one of his vile schemes that usually spelt doom for the pure-at-heart who loved a quiet life.

‘F*** you’, said I, but was unfortunately ignored again.

‘Siddhu is ready, alright! Hell, he looks ugly enough to be a junkie!’, said he, to a loud chorus of approval.

‘Balls, f*** you *&(&)(&( , no f****ing way!! I’ll do it over my dead body!!’, screamed I, forgetting all about the ants.

A few minutes later, I was punching her number.

To be continued...

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Freedom Special Post

This post (or rather, a part of it) is scheduled to appear in the Deccan Chronicle on the 15th of August.

It’s that time of the year again, when we push carnations into our buttonholes, pin a flag to our chests and run out into the sunshine and sing the national anthem – while in the bargain getting baked to a crisp listening to a (usually fat), middle-aged man wax eloquent on how we were once a jewel in the British crown, and how the British ruined it all.

But, do not get me wrong, brand me a traitor, and set the NSG, RAW, IB, CBI (and for good measure, the CIA) on me. I love Independence day as much as anyone of you do – not counting a few maniacs in Srinagar who cheer hardest when Miandad sends a particularly juicy full toss crashing into the stands.

Of all my life, it is this year that I realize completely the value of freedom. The simple pleasures of democracy and freedom of expression that we take for granted in India; pleasures which I began to notice only when I was deprived of it for the short period I spent outside my country.

I am proud of my country. Why, the skeptic bean may ask. An equally skeptic crumpet may smirk, as a cynical egg asks me this. Well, that’s because:

• Because India is a free society, but is definitely not a fine society unlike some of these South East Asian tigers. I am yet to be fined for spitting on the roads or urinating on that (illegally pasted) poster of the latest porno playing in the Pilot Theatre.
• Because the Indian police work to the best of their abilities to reduce paperwork – the cop doesn’t issue you tickets or ask you to come to court. Getting fines paid and transgressions done with is a quick, easy process involving the cop and yourself. Now if only the cops would allow the use of debit cards when bribing them; we could cut the paperwork down even further
• Because we can engage in mass murder with a smile playing on our lips and a song in our heart, and still become a mantri.
• Because I can switch lanes with impunity. (Just watch out for that idiot switching from the other lane to the lane you are on)
• Because I can crib about corrupt cops, murderous ministers and inefficient bureaucrats. Not that it does any good, but I can crib, can’t I? :D

More seriously, it’s

• Because years spent fighting terror hasn’t resulted in India being turned over to all powerful Junta. Because our army does its job, but doesn’t assault us with ridiculous posters of our soldiers in jungles.
• Because a Veermati can grab a policeman’s beret and try to set a new shotput record with it, in front of fifteen television cameras.
• Because a Nanavati can pop up from nowhere and provide hope to thousands that the deaths shall not be forgotten with the bodies.
• Because I can say ‘No! I don’t want to join the Army!’ if I want to. And fight for my country if I want to.
• Because my news media doesn’t believe in embedded reportage.
• Because I hear not just of the valour of the soldiers who fight to save my country, but their wretched cowardice as well.
• Because I am allowed to hold my own views on things, and disagree with the powers that be.
• Because India is human, with all the frailties that characterize a human. And we are not ashamed of being wrong.
• Because, when I set foot on the ‘free world’ as they call it, I can hold my head up high and tell them that my country is as free as theirs.
• Because I was born here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Eccentric Teachers I have met - Part II

This post is a rather insipid continuation of the post I'd begun ten days ago - I write it to draw things out to their logical conclusion. In the meanwhile, I've managed to secure myself entry into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (no wonder they prefer calling themselves the UK), and will be moving home and hearth to Scotland on the 9th of September. So, for the next coupla years at least, don't be surprised to hear me belt out an inspired rendition of 'Rule Britannia' - though with my voice, that would probably be deemed sufficient grounds to eject me from the UK.

Year: 2001

Lunatic under the microscope: Jinnu Bonny, Physics lecturer

Ms. Bonny was not just a lunatic, but also a sadist. To look at her, one wouldn’t by a long shot call her a sadist. One (if one’s a straight male or lesbian, that is) would be too busy goggling at her to delve into such minor details as her latent sadism.

Wodehouse, being the politically correct bastard he is, would have called her a pippin and the kind that would elicit a whistle from the least susceptible of America’s armed forces.

I, being the politically incorrect bastard I am, choose to describe her as hot, with the right amounts in the right places.

But, beauty is but skin-deep and often hides a heart black enough to put George W to shame. Her sadism was not of the Kamasutran mould; she did not routinely try to cleave heads into two with a carving knife. But in her own way, she was crazy enough to compete with luminaries like Kamini Mannan and Kamasutran.

Jinnu Bonny was never a forgiving woman. Legend goes that she flunked a young man on suspicion of his eyes having been a few inches below where his eyes should have been. The young man’s repeated pleas that he had a squint, he was colour blind, and that he was gay, fell on deaf ears.

Since then, Ms. Bonny has been exceedingly cautious of allegedly straying eyes. This has spelt doom for several classroom cartoonists, including yours truly. I was executing a particularly fine recreation of Ahmed Shah Masood fighting a President Musharaff dressed as a drag queen when she called out loudly.

‘Siddhu Warrier, are you drowing the figure awn the board or are you drowing my figure?’, and struck a pose, which seemed to convince me that the latter wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.

Stumbling to my feet, I answered in the negative and tried to shove the notebook under my desk.

But Jinnu Bonny, apart from being a lunatic who saw people drawing her nude in every corner, was also an accomplished sprinter. Before I could react, the book was in Ms. Bonny’s hands.

‘You are drowing me wearing belly dancing costume. You come to vice-principal!’

I spent the next half an hour trying to convince her that it wasn’t a picture of her belly dancing, but Pervez Musharaff dressed in drag expressly for fighting Hamid Karzai. I even pointed the moustache out to her, but all to no avail…

Year: 2001 – 2005

Lunatic under the microscope: ******

***** is what one could term the eccentric to end all eccentrics. Since his eccentricities are too great in number to document using an anecdote or two, as I have done while documenting the eccentrics who preceded him in this series.

• Mr. *****’s prefer

Eccentric Teachers I have met - Part II

This post is a rather insipid continuation of the post I'd begun ten days ago - I write it to draw things out to a logical conclusion. In the meanwhile, I've managed to secure myself entry into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (no wonder they prefer calling themselves the UK), and will be moving home and hearth to Scotland on the 9th of September. So, for the next coupla years at least, don't be surprised to hear me belt out an inspired rendition of 'Rule Britannia' - though with my voice being as it were, that would probably be deemed sufficient grounds to eject me from the UK.

Year: 2001

Lunatic under the microscope: Jinnu Bonny, Physics lecturer

Ms. Bonny was not just a lunatic, but also a sadist. To look at her, one wouldn’t by a long shot call her a sadist. One (if one’s a straight male or lesbian, that is) would be too busy goggling at her to delve into such minor details as her latent sadism.

Wodehouse, being the politically correct bastard he is, would have called her a pippin and the kind that would elicit a whistle from the least susceptible of America’s armed forces.

I, being the politically incorrect bastard I am, choose to describe her as hot, with the right amounts in the right places.

But, beauty is but skin-deep and often hides a heart black enough to put George W to shame. Her sadism was not of the Kamasutran mould; she did not routinely try to cleave heads into two with a carving knife. But in her own way, she was crazy enough to compete with luminaries like Kamini Mannan and Kamasutran.

Jinnu Bonny was never a forgiving woman. Legend goes that she flunked a young man on suspicion of his eyes having been a few inches below where his eyes should have been. The young man’s repeated pleas that he had a squint, he was colour blind, and that he was gay, fell on deaf ears.

Since then, Ms. Bonny has been exceedingly cautious of allegedly straying eyes. This has spelt doom for several classroom cartoonists, including yours truly. I was executing a particularly fine recreation of Ahmed Shah Masood fighting a President Musharaff dressed as a drag queen when she called out loudly.

‘Siddhu Warrier, are you drowing the figure awn the board or are you drowing my figure?’, and struck a pose, which seemed to convince me that the latter wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.

Stumbling to my feet, I answered in the negative and tried to shove the notebook under my desk.

But Jinnu Bonny, apart from being a lunatic who saw people drawing her nude in every corner, was also an accomplished sprinter. Before I could react, the book was in Ms. Bonny’s hands.

‘You are drowing me wearing belly dancing costume. You come to vice-principal!’

I spent the next half an hour trying to convince her that it wasn’t a picture of her belly dancing, but Pervez Musharaff dressed in drag expressly for fighting Hamid Karzai. I even pointed the moustache out to her, but all to no avail…

Year: 2001 – 2005

Lunatic under the microscope: ******

***** is what one could term the eccentric to end all eccentrics. Since his eccentricities are too great in number to document using an anecdote or two, as I have done while documenting the eccentrics who preceded him in this series.

• Mr. *****’s preferred mode of traversing college corridors was to march with feet straight up to an angle of 75 degrees and down again, while keeping his hands pinned behind his back.
• Mr. ***** also had the same weakness as Mr. Joludhu – women. Though lusting for a college-going chick is understandable (considering 90% of us lusted for one of them or the other), doing so at the age of 70 is not. Unlike Mr. Joludhu whose greatest ambition was to have his point caught, Mr. ***** liked to do the catching, grabbing and pinching himself (as several people I know have discovered to their utter dismay as they nursed sore bottoms.)
• Mr. ***** is a marksman who could teach Indian Olympians a trick or two, if only chalk throwing was added into the list of Olympic events. Most lecturers are adept at throwing chalks at young men and women in the last bench who display a propensity towards yawning with their mouths wide open. But Mr. ***** proved that he can, from a distance of fifteen feet, throw a chalk right into gaping mouths. Ask a perpetually sleepy friend of mine with a small three-letter name! If he’s not too busy washing the Calcium Carbonate out of his mouth, that is…
• Mr. *****, apart from providing first benchers with the gentle shower that cleanses the soul and infects the skin, also had the inexplicable habit of shoving papers into the faces of unsuspecting first benchers. And mouldy, thirty year old papers in the mouth tastes rotten!
• Visiting Mr. ***** in his office was always fraught with danger, for he loved throwing paperweights (and anything else he could get hold of) onto incoming arrivals. Why, you may ask? Well, ours is not to reason why…

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Eccentric Teachers I have met

It was just the other day that I lay in bed, thinking deep thoughts on the life of sin that I had led thus far. These deep thoughts led me to other not-so-deep thoughts – mainly about the eccentric teachers I had met. And teachers being as they are, I realized that I had seen quite a huge haul of them over the years.

Year: 1999

Lunatic under the microscope: Mr. Joludhu, English teacher

My English teachers and I were, as a rule, rather like Damon and Pythias. I got along with most of them so well that I could probably have gained entry into their caves and met the rest of their wolf pack if I so desired.

But, my equation with Joludhu was unfortunately not as favourable. I did not particularly care for Joludhu; he had an annoying habit of bathing us first benchers in a sea of his freshly minted saliva. Joludhu despised me almost as much as my Maths teachers usually did; so much so that he directed an additional jet of spitstream towards me.

Joludhu, like most other eccentrics, had a weakness – and no, I’m not referring to how he went about murdering the English language with impunity, while speaking all the while of the Received Pronunciation (RP) they used at Aaxford.

It was a weakness he shared with several great (and not-so-great) men like JFK and Bill Clinton. A terrible weakness for young women…

The blighter loved bending towards where the girls sat, his chest hair liberally on display (he never believed in buttoning himself up) as he scratched it furiously, giving his belly a cute little jiggle, and saying loudly,

‘So, girls, did you catch my point?’

(jet of spit followed by a (what seemed to most of us guys) lecherous grin)

Unfortunately for him, none of the girls ever did. ;-)

Year: 1999

Lunatic under the microscope:
Ms. Karpagam Mannan

To state that Ms. Mannan taught us Social Studies would be stretching the truth, considering she spent her classes reading out from her notebook, and we spent it chanting ‘Karpaga Mannan, bhooton ki rani…’ under our breath. Not to mention praying for some exorcist to exorcise her and deliver us from the never-ending lectures on the hanging gardens of the Amazons (F*** the hanging gardens, whatever happened to Xena?!!!)

If this is not enough to convince you of her (and my) lunacy, this should do. Any Lunacy Comissioner going through the following paragraphs would not hesitate a second before locking her up in a padded cell (preferably the same one as the Backstreet Boys’)!

But I was proved right on that fateful day when torrential rains flooded all of our campus, making the sewers completely indistinguishable from the rest of the grounds.

Ms. Mannan alighted regally from an autorickshaw, eyeing haughtily the bedraggled students who watched her in silence.

She took her first step, sari daintily held up and faithful little first bencher in tow (holding that huge bag where she stored her make up, pistol and other assorted torture implements, including that notebook from which she dictated her notes). There was to be no second step, as Ms. Mannan had completely disappeared into the murky water.

She had stepped right into the sewer!

In unision, every one of us burst out into peals of laughter; the faithful little first-bencher included.

Quite a few seconds passed before we noticed a hand struggle to come repeatedly out of the surface of the sewer. A couple of us ran towards the hand and managed to extract Ms. Mannan out of it. We could hardly hold our laughter back any longer when we saw Ms. Mannan’s make-up run down all over her face. It was rather like a Fair and Lovely ad run in rewind mode.

And instead of thanking us for us fortitude and courage, and promising to pass us in our examinations, the lunatic walked away from us, water dripping from every pore, screaming that her vengeance would be terrible indeed, and that she knew very well that we’d placed the drain there to have her fall in.

I mean to say, the gall of the ingrate, after my selfless service!! :*(

Year: 1994-2001

Lunatic under the microscope: Kamasutran, (tries to teach) Socially Useful Productive Work

Mr. Kamasutran is the kind of chap who would do the Marquis de Sade proud.

A typical class with Mr. Kamasutran went something like this:

(Kamasutran jumps about playing the fool, looking more like a bald chimpanzee fed on a diet of boot polish than anything else.)

Parthasarathy: (giggles) Good afternoon, Sir

Kamasutran: Dai, notebook engae da?

Parthasarathy: (running away)Illa, Sir

(Kamasutran, being the maniac he is, runs behind him, a length of coiled wire in tow. Parthasarathy, being the insane idiot he is, decides to plant his posterior next to me. Kamasutran runs comically towards him – a walrus on steroids. I, being the idiot I am, laugh out loud, awaiting the sharp crack when the wire would strike Parthasarathy’s naked flesh.)

(I hear the crack, and notice that it is accompanied by a sharp burning pain in the thigh. I, being the idiot I am, do not notice the second blow descending upon my thighs. I, being an idiot, but a perceptive one at that, notice the glowing red welts on my thighs.)

Puzzled moi: Why me, Sir?

Kamasutran: (accompanied by insane, Amrish Puriesque laughter) Simply.
(Descends the makeshift whip on the shoulder blades of the bloke next to me)

This series continues soon with a few more eccentrics expected to join in this list. Unless I’m certified myself in the meanwhile, of course…

N.B: All names changed, in case you were wondering. :)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Snapshots From Hell

Chandamama Institute of Technology is the kind of institute that would give Mr. Squeers a complex.

The pain and sorrow that is felt within this modern day Dotheboy’s hall will, in all likelihood, leave your blood curdled. I was unfortunate enough to visit the institute to attend a technical symposium.

It happened a couple of years ago, but the terribly memories fail to die…

Therefore, what follows is not recommended reading for pregnant women, children with water in the brain and students who’ve just paid their first year fees at Chandamama.

First Impressions

The first view of Chandamama is hardly encouraging. One espies buildings in every colour of the rainbow – blue buildings, green buildings, violet buildings, and even a pink building with blue stained glass.

These buildings are placed right in the middle of nowhere – surrounded by acres upon acres of flat bushland. Informed sources tell me that it is to prevent procreation on-campus, though I cannot assure you of the veracity of that report. Some other theorists state that this is to prevent the inmates from trying to stage a break-out.

For it would be child’s play for the look-outs (purportedly armed with sniper rifles) to pick out a haggard human form trying to limp away towards civilization.

I bet what the luminaries envisaged when they built this was something along these lines.

A. Arokiyaachaami, Student of 3rd Year CSE, tries to escape from prison…er…college.

At Look-out tower number 15, Tevidiya Ponniyan, a dutiful Chandamama guard, notices the glint of steel as the sunlight falls upon poor Arokiyaachaami’s leg irons and dog tag.

He cocks his sniper rifle, looks carefully into the sight, and fires.

Arokiyaachaami stands no chance. He feels nothing but a burning rod run right through a bodily orifice. He falls to the ground screaming. The vultures circling overhead swoop in for the kill.

Tevidiya Ponniyan smirks in satisfaction, and paints another skull on his sniper rifle – ‘The sixth student this semester’, he mutters to himself. ‘Chairman Aiyya will surely give me a raise and let me plant landmines on the grounds now!’

Inside the fortress

Not being Chandamama inmates, my friends and I were thoroughly frisked by the octogenarian standing guard outside the buildings. He probably wanted to ensure that we weren’t carrying in any cakes with files hidden inside.

Once inside, we were asked by a petrified-looking chap who was wearing a tie tight enough to choke him to stand in line for registration.

We pointed out to him that there were only two other people anyway.

A lecturer, with eagle eyes and a nose like a particularly ugly vulture (a scion of the family that devoured poor Aarokiyachaami’s flesh) walked toward me with an expression that reminded me strongly of a villain in a C-grade hindi movie.

‘Enna da? This is a discipline caallege. Not like yer Hindustan. You stand in line, ar else…’, said he, rather dramatically.

And then he suddenly noticed one of my friends wearing a T-shirt.

‘Dai, enna da? Porki rascal mathiri varae? (What? How can you walk in dressed like a vagabond rascal?) You no wear T-shirt in good callege. You wear proper formals, or you properly punished’

He gestured rudely to the terrified looking underling and walked away. The underling scooted away, and returned a moment later with a shirt as ugly as the one everyone else in the college seemed to be wearing.

The underling asked my friend to wear it, pretty please, and that if he didn’t wear it, the lecturer would roast him – the underling, not my friend - over a slow fire and call over his – the lecturer’s, not the underling’s - grandparents to make a meal of it.

My friend relented, and walked around the rest of the day looking a slave on a Roman galley.

Another terrified looking inmate came running towards us and begged us to remain seated, for the chairman was about to walk in and make a speech.

Used to walking away from a hundred such speeches, we decided to follow Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and bugger off. It was then that another of the vulture family ordered us to sit down.

The chairman was an erudite man. He had performed most creditably during his education, and had even scored 76 percent in his second standard examinations. But, after that, realization dawned upon him that running an engineering college was more profitable than struggling with LCMs and GCDs in class three.

We learnt a lot during the speech – mainly how the Queen’s English can be brutally butchered - and were intensely glad that we were forced to attend it.

Some of the gems that we were fortunate to listen to were:

• In this callege, boys boys chit chit no prablem, girls girls chat chat no prablem – but boys, girls chit chat no no.
• Now all baays, girls father mother thinking child flying Amerigha. All flying my college to Amerigha.
• I feel like I have four legal daaters and four hundred illegal daaters.
• Boy hardware, girl software. Hardware-software combine means new technology.

We walked away with a warm glow inside – the kind of glow that suffuses through one after one has had the opportunity to listen to a great orator. Kind of like how the masses probably felt after Hitler or Churchill delivered a particularly hot one!

Want to learn How not to conduct an event? Don’t do it as it is done at Chandamama!

The ad-zap competition is, in most of the civilized world, a fun event.

But Chandamama, as I have had reason to mention before, tries to break away from civilization.

As the competition started, a scrawny looking ferret and the vulture whose taste in human flesh and blood was akin to Dracula’s, walked in. We could see nothing in the room that could appeal to their bloodthirsty natures, and wondered why they’d decided to haunt the room.

Then, the human vampire spoke. His eyes raced around the room, and he bestowed a glare of Snapeian proportions as his eyes rested upon us ‘goondas’ from Hindustan.

‘I yam the judge, and Mr. Selvakumar is the judge also. Yin the ad-zap program, you should naat use obscenity worrds, you should naat say anything about paliticians, yactresses , yactors and wother VIPs. No boy-girl team – wautomatic disqualification.‘

(read: you say something about our honourable chairman, I will personally see to it that you are castrated.)

This was a body blow to us. Being exactly the kind of politically incorrect blokes who revel in using obscene language calculated to turn the air around us blue, the vampire had practically driven a stake right through us!

The first team made the lecturers laugh, and us barf. The second team actually got them to laugh harder – not a pretty sight, trust me!

And they did it all in Tamil.

And we knew that if we spoke in Tamil, we were likely to get the rest of the audience laughing at us – what with our undeniable skills in waxing eloquent in Classical Divine Tamizh being as it were.

The non-controversial, politically correct topic given us was ‘Suchi mango pickles’ – an ad that Prahlad Kakkar would have been hard pressed to create. And we couldn’t even get some woman to strip on stage to grab eyeballs (and a few other similarly rotund objects), like Mr. Kakkar would have done.

After arguing with each other for five minutes – an argument which culminated in one of my team-mates trying to strangulate the other for reasons lost in the mists of time today – we went on stage and said:

‘Suchi pickles, semma taste machchi.’

After that, being at a loss for what to say, we decided to inform the audience that it was a 10 second radio ad, and the company couldn’t afford any more airtime.

The ferret spoke for the first time, ‘Why you are saying radio? How we know how the pickle taste on radio?’

I was going to give the retarded blighter some non-committal answer when my friend grabbed the mike,

‘Sir, have you seen a Durex ad for a lemon-flavoured condom? Were you able to see how it tastes? But you still buy it, don’t you?’

A stunned silence followed, and we executed a hurried exit, followed by bear – like that chap in one of Shakespeare’s plays.

If you’re wondering what happened next, it will suffice to say that we weren’t castrated.


As we left ignominiously, I espied in the distance an old schoolmate of mine. I waved out to her, smiled that smile that so many have found irresistible, and mimed a salutation.

She merely glared at me and turned away.

I remained perplexed until I received a call from her in the evening.

You retarded b******, why on earth did you have to say hi? My lecturer screwed my happiness for being chummy with a guy and now I have to bake in the sun for the next three days - punishment!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dares and other techniques to embarrass yourself (or some readily available scapegoat)

These anecdotes of real-life dares performed by real people should give you an inkling of the kind of dares you can perform (and the kind of people myself and my comrades are.)

Dares to pester the teacher with-

For years, I have mulled over how lecturers manage to make topics which make such interesting reading in magazines like Chip and Digit so dull when it comes to putting chalk to blackboard.

And therefore, due to this enforced idleness, I have spent many of these aforementioned idle hours researching how a student could contribute to the fair cause of making lectures less tortuous.

And indeed, nothing livens up a boring lecture more than some student playing a prank on the lecturer as a dare.

Students who are game for a dare or two can be classified into two sub-genres –

1. The insanes–

These are the people who are ready to do anything for a lark. And thankfully for bored instigators like myself, their definition of anything really means anything! Sadly, the insanes are a dying breed and their declining numbers stand testimony to the increasing efficacy of lunatic asylums around the country.

2. The mercenaries

The mercenaries are, quite literally, mercenaries.

These are the blokes who refrain from spitting on Singaporean streets only because of the fines, and not because of Lee Kuan Yew’s efficient handling of the whip.

These are the blighters who would dance naked over a minefield in Doda if paid five rupees to perform the feat. Most people who agree to do dares are, rather unfortunately, mercenaries.

Anecdote # 1 - ‘Miss, miss, this boy, no, miss…‘ – a.k.a The Return of Gandhi

NOTE: To gain a quick introduction to Gandhi, the character who features prominently in this tome, please read my earlier post on PRANK SMSes

It was during a lecture which was breaking every contemporary record (by turning out to be the most boring ever in the long and dreary history of engineering education)
that one of my friends placed the offer on the table.

I was astounded, shocked and proud of my friend for coming up with the idea. It was an idea worthy of Gandhi, that reincarnation of Machiaveli who had repeatedly proved himself to be twice as villainous as the original (readers who have read the post where I had spoken of my tryst with being a prank SMSer will definitely agree). I told him so.

The chap seemed pleased as punch and beckoned to Gandhi who was sprawled over the last bench, snoring.

‘Dai, Gandhi…’

The snoring continued unabated.

However my friend was a rubber-band snapper of such note that he could have won India an Olympic medal in the event, if only the Olympics organizers showed enough sense to turn the ancient rubber-band snapping into an event. So, he decided that the moment was ripe to snap a rubber-band or two at Gandhi.

The rubber-band achieved what neither the monotonous drone of the lecturer nor our repeated pleas could. Gandhi snapped up, wide awake.

The lecturer looked startled as this was probably the first time she was actually seeing signs of life in Gandhi. Till that moment, she had imagined Gandhi to be a motionless mane of shaggy hair buried under the desk. Gandhi’s sudden movement moved the lecturer so much that she took it upon herself to thank Gandhi for indicating to her for the first time that he was not part of the classroom furniture.

My friend beckoned him over. Gandhi rose up groggily and walked across the classroom to where we were. Since the lecturer’s back was turned by then, she was not witness to this astonishing sign of life in the man!

My friend quickly explained his master plan to Gandhi.

‘Good… I’m proud of you, m’boy…’, said Gandhi, in a fatherly manner I found terribly patronizing.

‘Shall we do it?’, my friend asked, bouncing up and down in his eagerness.

‘Sure…go ahead. I plant firmly my seal of approval on this plan…’

‘Er… I was more like, y’know, thinking of you doing it, y’know!’, said my friend in
a rather awe-struck manner which was entirely unbecoming when he was talking to a rank swindler like Gandhi.

‘How much do I get?’, asked he.

I couldn’t stay silent any longer.

‘How the f*** can you sell yourself in this way, you &%^&!!?’, I screamed. A first bencher turned around and glared at me for disturbing her concentration with such ungentlemanly language.

‘I’ll leave being a gigolo to you. I’m a mercenary, pure and simple…’

Ignoring my guffaw that was laced with the purest brand of sarcasm, my friend forked out a twenty rupee note out of his wallet.

Gandhi viewed his (unfortunate) namesake who beamed at him beatifically from the face of the note greedily. The deal was sealed…

A few minutes later, the lecturer turned towards the class and began reflecting on the wonders of the RISC architecture. Gandhi stood up.

The lecturer stared at Gandhi, dumbfounded. A few seconds later, she collected her wits and had a pleased expression on her face. She was probably congratulating herself for weaning someone she considered a dreg of society back into the world of the living. And he was actually attempting to ask a question.

‘Yes, tell me, S&^&%&, how can I help you?’, she said rather expansively, referring to him by his given name, which had never been used by a single one of his classmates in the three years he had spent as a student - most of us preferred to savour the irony of calling the blighter Gandhi.

Gandhi stood silent, staring at her with a blank expression on his face. Then he slowly lifted his hand and pointed a finger at me. The lecturer was taken aback. She could see nothing on my person that had anything to do with RISC architectures (or other less RISCy architectures, if that came to that! ;)). She goggled like lecturers are wont to do.

Gandhi blinked a few times, stroked the abomination he pompously proclaimed was a beard, and opened his mouth.

‘Miss, miss, this boy, no, miss… I am asking him for pencil and he is instead poking me with compass miss!’

This done, he sat down, still with the same blank expression on his face.

The lecturer stared at me in disbelief, made a general plea for order during her lecture, and continued…

A few minutes later, Gandhi stood up again, his previously dazed expression giving way to a more annoyed one.

‘What?’, said she, hoping against hope that he actually had something important to state.

The hand went out again in the same direction.

‘Miss, this boy is scribbling in my Rough note book, miss. I won’t be able to write notes into fair copy tonight, miss…’

This from a bloke who was still using the same exercise book he used in his fifth standard for ‘writing’ notes in class…!

The lecturer did not say much, but threw a terrible glance in my direction.

I began to have misgivings. The lecturer did not seem to be reacting the way I had hoped she would. But Gandhi and my other friend (whom we fondly call Big Ass for obvious reasons) over-ruled my objections and proceeded with the plan. I silenced the little voice in my head that kept reminding me of what happened the last time I ignored a bad feeling.

A couple of minutes later when the lecturer was clarifying one those doubts that first benchers seem to perpetually keep asking, Gandhi leapt up screaming shrilly,

‘Miss, miss, this boy is troubling me too much, miss… he is pinching me and grabbing my pen and trying to push me, miss’

‘Get out!!!’, the teacher yelled.

Gandhi tried to look shocked and maligned, though he just succeeded in looking more like a gargoyle than he usually did.

‘Ma’am, this boy only no…?’, he said, forgetting to put his falsetto on.

Then the teacher made the most ludicrous statement that I had ever heard in my life.

‘Not you, dear… you sit down…’, and pointed her finger at me.

I was at a loss of words. All my mind could focus on was the little voice which kept yelling, ‘Machiavelli strikes again…’

She turned to me.

‘You are a total menace. I’ve been watching you torture this boy for so long. Can’t you see he’s trying to rehabilitate himself – become a good student! People like you are enemies of mankind’.

Upon giving the request to leave a little more thought, I realized it wasn’t such a bad thing after all. The canteen offered immensely greater scope for entertaining onself.

But as I stalked away, the lecturer – who had probably spent her time till the year before last teaching inky fingered first standard babies – called to my retreating self.

‘And you dirty boy, you just watch what happens to your internals this semester!’

And a few months letter, as I beheld a scoresheet which read like Ganguly’s batting average, I knew what she meant…