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!

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