Mostly Thoughtless

Tam Brahm, thank you ma'am

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Hot Couture.....

The annual inter-departmental culturals in my college is just around the corner, next week, in fact and various events have already started to happen. The funda is this, all the off-stage events happen in the week leading up to the big day and the glamourous on-stage events will take place this year on the 4th of March, which also happens to be the College Day.

So, today, I was quietly sitting in the lab, doing nothing when my peace was shattered by one of my classmates who came with an unexpected request for help. She wanted me to think up a suitable theme for the fashion show we were putting up on Culturals day. Me! Before I continue, lemme tell you that I'm the last person anybody would want involved with a fashion show but as long as I was just thinking up the theme, it was ok!

So, I put on my thinking cap and immediately, all the common cliched themes flashed in front of my eyes, you know - emotions, the elements etc and I didn't want to suggest any of those because you, know, those themes had been like abused and I just felt that it was better that we just let them rest. I wanted to do something different, wacky and make everyone go, "Whoa, that was weird! Was that a fashion show?" So, with that mindset, I thought up a theme and put it forth as my suggestion. My theme - 'Occult'.

The response was mixed. Some liked it, thinking it would be cool while others thought that it was too wacky to make any sense. I'm basically a guy who enjoys seeing nauseated expressions on people's faces, so I had like bloody mouthed vampires and decomposing bodies planned for the show. I know it sounds more like a fancy dress contest but then, most fashion shows here are, in fact, that. As of yet, people in charge are still considering the idea (however unbelievable that may sound!) while others just think that I'm a stark raving lunatic!

Speaking of lunatic, I'm a member of an e-group called Quiznet which is basically a mailing list for quizzers all over the world. People put up quizzes, info about quizzes etc and others reply and stuff. So, recently, on quiznet, one guy's started a contest called 'Cluenatic' which is a mixture of crossword and trivia quizzing. It's quite a complicated thing and I'm in no mood to go into the details but the guy who started it has said that he's going to set one puzzle for every day of the year, 365 of them! 8 of them are over and so far, 80 people out of around 5000 on quiznet have started playing the game. I'm in the lead at this early stage and it's turning out to be pretty good fun.

By the by, (that's the way Tamilians say "By the way" and I always crack up when i hear it) I'm leaving tomorrow for Coimbatore to compete in a Business Quiz that's happening there. One of the biggest names in Indian Quizing, Siddhartha Basu is going to be hosting the quiz and so, it promises to be a great event. And the first prize, not that it matters, is a pair of motorbikes! And yes, tomorrow's also the inter-departmental dumb-c contest and we're the favourites going into it. Hope we win. That's all fer now, so, till the next time, bye and take care

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Accidental etiquette......

My college is situated in Tambaram which is quite a way off from the centre of the city and although a fleet of college buses is available to ferry students to college everyday, I find that the quickest and most convenient way to get to college is by taking the suburban train service. Most of my trips are uneventful and slightly boring even but occasionally, it gets interesting when the train runs over somebody. (There's no need for that look of horror, it happens quite frequently in this city.) These occasions generally leave a bad taste in my mouth and I'll tell you why shortly. The reason why I'm telling you all this is that I was prompted to write this particular blog because of a related incident that occurred yesterday.

It was going to be just another routine trip and the train hadn't even left my station when the driver braked and the train slowly came to a screeching halt. Immediately, all of us knew that something had gone wrong but what happened later was just plain pathetic. Scores of people, even from the compartments towards the far end of the train were running towards the engine, wanting to see what had happened and some of them had highly expectant grins on their sorry faces. An old lady had stumbled on the tracks and some onlookers had pulled out of harm's way before the driver had braked. So, in actual fact, nothing had happened but the way the people had gone running in the hope of seeing a dead person made me think about what a sorry life they led. In fact, it's pretty common to see huge crowds of people at similar train-run-over sites. They always manage to disgust and nauseate me. Hundreds of onlookers creating an almost festive atmosphere around the accident scene, willing to wait for hours before the bodies are extricated.

And always, in these crowds, there's a certain unspoken set of rules - an etiquette, if you will, that everyone follows. Let's call it the accidental etiquette. Here is what I think is a small list of the salient points…

Hang your head down with a look of dejection on your face, occasionally turn to person standing next to you and mumble philosophically about the beauty of life and the unpredictability of death.

If you're one of the closest to the body, don't forget to crouch 'cos you don't want to rob the others of a clear view.

It's generally considered bad manners to eat at such a scene but if you're really hungry and don't want to miss the action (although dead bodies generally don't have much action), chocolate bars a small bag of crisps are ok, I guess.

Hold a loud discussion about what to go about doing with the body but lifting a finger to actually do something is more than what is expected of you.

Looking at the incident optimistically, if a routine run-over case can manage to attract such large crowds, then it means that the folks here in Chennai are that starved for entertainment. So, maybe Bollywood flicks have a more than reasonable chance of succeeding down here.

Coming back to a more domestic problem, I can't hear any sound from my speakers. The power cord is connected, the speaker is definitely on. The connection to my CPU is also pretty firm and the real clincher is that (I have a 2 OS dual boot system) the audio works fine on Windows 98 and refuses to do so on XP. Some of you wise guys may be going, "Check Volume Control to see if mute is checked." But unfortunately, I've done that too and I don't have a clue as to what's going on. If anybody has any ideas, feel free. Till the next time, bye and take care.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

The real you - A Scientific Analysis.....

Today was hectic as hell! I had to do an event for a first year symposium in my college and I won't bore you with the details. So I'll stop with saying that the event went off really well and everyone had lots of fun. Now to the real matter - while I was preparing for the event, I happily bunked classes and sat in the computer lab. The fact that I didn't do any actual work is elementary to even the slowest of minds and I spent the best part of two whole working days on the internet. After I'd done all the routine stuff - checking mail, etc. etc. and I was feeling bored, someone suggested emode, a site that lets you take all kinds of personality and psychology tests and gives you your results immediately. It's a purely fun thing with a little bit of seriousness involved. I was interested. I visited the site and found that there was a plethora of tests to choose from. All of them had a corny questionnaire to fill up (multiple choice) and the questions were basically to test your aptitude and stuff.

Being a guy like any other, the first test I took on the site was the Celebrity Matchmaker test, which decided, based on my response, which celebrity would be my perfect match. Once I'd answered the questions and the result page was loading, I had my fingers crossed, hoping I didn't get some troll. Once it was loaded fully, my jaw dropped and there was a throbbing pain from where it had landed on the ground. Anna Kournikova! Along with a rather flattering description of why she was my perfect match. This was a bit too much even for me but at that moment, emode had just become my favourite site on the world wide web. I took some other tests and got some other good results too.

For example, my signature colour is Red and my lucky number is 6. My teen celebrity match was Kirsten Dunst. The rock-star inside me waiting to come out bears a close resemblance to Ricky Martin and although I identify myself more with Chandler, the F.R.I.E.N.D who I'm most like is Joey. The dog I'm like is a Golden Retriever (Don't ask me why?) There was even an intriguing 'What kind of sexy are you?' and I found out that I was 'Sweet 'n' Sexy'. Girls, if you're reading this?... Overall, that site is the source for a major feel-good factor. Just as I was feeling great about myself, it happened, I took this test called 'What is your perfect career?'. I finished answering all the questions and my result page said calmly that I would be perfect for a career as a POLITICIAN!

I was shocked! A politician? Me? I don't know what I was expecting to see but it definitely wasn't that. The site even had this long writeup about the different qualities that I had that would make me a successful politician. I hadn't gotten over the initial shock when I started wondering about why I had reacted with so much disgust. After all, what was wrong with becoming a politician? It was the profession that offered the most power, control and public standing. But there is something missing. That something is respect. The one profession which should logically attract the most respect is perhaps the one that gets the least of it and the people to blame are a bunch of narrow-minded corrupt a$$holes who've spoilt the name of the entire political community.

In fact, some people say that politics is a thankless job. Those people have got to watch the news more often. Recently, there was an item about a Minister who had charged his 2 lakh vacation hotel bill to his ministry's expense account. I mean, that is just plain shitty! Numerous other instances of Politicians spending tax-payers' money for personal reasons just leave a really bad taste in the mouth. Therefore, the conclusion is that the one way to save this country truckloads of money is by abolishing the parliament, the people who decide how we're going to spend it. No one, absolutely no one will miss these fools, who are sending the country to the dogs with their stinking self-centered policies. While the country is going broke, all these people are bothered about is keeping their position the next time around.

With that last emotional outburst, I've now spat out all my venom and I'll stop with that today. And yeah, if you ever see me contest an election, please vote for me! I promise to solve all your problems. Till then, bye and take care.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

New Drive - that's about it, really...

Today, I finally got my combo drive. I say 'finally' because I've been meaning or rather wanting to get it for the past one and a half years. Sometimes, I'd put it off or my dad'd put it off and it'd been going on like that but yesterday was when it finally happened. It's a Sony. DVD ROM combined with a CD writer. Now, finally I can start on my preferred career, master bootlegger!

So then, once the drive had been screwed in and detected by Windows, and after all the necessary software had been installed, I was ready to write my first CD. Auspicously, I thought I should first write a porn cd, and I still feel I should have but for some reason, actually, I still can't figure out what it was (but it wasn't non-availability let me assure you), I decided not to write porn but instead I wrote 'Memento', one of the best movies you'll ever get to see. I don't think they even released that movie in India 'cos they must've realized that no one'd understand. After all, a country that collectively enjoyed a fart like 'Hum Apke Hain Kaun' is just not mature or grown-up enough for 'Memento'. If any of you reading this haven't seen it yet, go do it now! It's got to be one of my all-time favourites, along with 'Fight Club', 'Seven', 'The Shawshank Redemption' and the like. The list could go on and on.

Just as I was installing the drive, I got a call from one of my friends, a girl and I was quite obviously excited about my brand new acquisition. She was like 'Oh, all you guys... you're going gaga over such a stupid drive!' That's where, psychologically, girls and boys are so different. The things that are important to guys don't seem all that important to girls. For example, you'll never hear a guy tell another 'Whoa, that's a great design on your shirt, what flowers are those and where'd you buy it?', I mean, you might but the probability is always very low.

Speaking about boys and girls, there's one thing I don't understand about bicycles. Exacty why is it boys' bikes have a bar between the seat and the handlebar, and girls' bikes don't? Shouldn't it be the other way around? I mean, if one were to go over a bump on the road and slip off the seat, ..... I think you get the point. So, on that rather painful thought, I'm going to bid adieu for the day. So, bye and take care.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Prizes, more prizes and Valentine's Day.

To cut a really long and winding story short, I won 7 prizes at Techofes 2004 and earned around 2000 odd bucks and yeah, around 5000 bucks worth of gift vouchers from the infamous Mahavir Optics. Great, now that that's done with, let's turn to what this blog's gonna be all about - Valentine's Day.

Valentine's Day never disappoints me. It's the same, every year - my lowest point of the year. Everywhere I look, there are couples walking around, hand in hand, all kinds of them and my hands are safely tucked away inside my pockets. And to make matters worse, there's an incredible amount of hype and hoopla associated with this blessed day. Millions of guys are selling heart-shaped balloons on the streets. Every guy is carrying around a bunch of flowers. I turn on MTV and the logo is encapsulated in a heart. Every other channel runs ads every five minutes wishing me a Happy Valentine's Day. I'm thinking, "Do these guys know?". What the fuck? Not that I'm complaining, (actually I am) I think it's all very sweet and all that, but I don't think Valentine's day deserves all this ruckus. All the movies on television suddenly turn into mushy, cheesy feel-good romantic movies and although I generally like these movies, on February 14th, I can't stand even a minute of it.

I could turn this blog into a long bitchy rant about the many things I hate about Valentine's day but I won't, so relax, go out with your sweetheart and enjoy yourself. Wish you a Happy Valentine's day.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Somebody pinch me.....

I think this should be getting a bit too boring for all of you, so I'll keep it short. Today was Techofes 2004, the annual culfest of the College of Engineering, Guindy. I won the J.A.M and the general quiz which was really special because it was the first time that I'd won a quiz with my two regular team mates (Nandan and Goach). We'd done a lot of great things before, like making the finals of the Landmark Quiz twice in a row and all that, but we'd never won a quiz. So, yesterday's was an extra sweet victory. We also finished third in the Business Quiz but that was perhaps the most boring quiz I'd ever taken part in. The day on the whole was brilliant and I expect more of the same tomorrow. That's it, I hope I've kept it short enough but before I bid adieu, here are some general wonderings which could entertain you or even better, get you wondering as well...

Was Mahatma Gandhi's brother the uncle of the nation? If he was the Father, then logically.....

What do you call a male ladybug? Really, what?

All of us need exercise. It takes 42 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile. So, why are we being constantly told to keep smiling?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard? Yeah, what's that all about, living in the jungle for years....

Why is the alphabet in that particular order? i.e. why can't it be zbpkjimts….etc

You know that little indestructible black box that is used on planes? Why can't they make the whole plane out of the same substance?

Why do blind people wear dark glasses?

Why is it that at most sports stadiums, people sit in 'stands'?

P.S: The day after tomorrow is Valentine's day and I'm, as usual, depressed and jealous just thinking about it.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Devolution of species....

Today was really hectic. At Kalakrithi 2004 for the second day and not yet fully recovered after the stupidity on show yesterday, I was slightly apprehensive as I reached the venue today in the afternoon. There were two events that I wanted to participate in - The Sports Quiz and The Cine Quiz.

The Sports Quiz was first and it didn't pose too much of a problem. I had teamed up with one of my regular quizmates, Goach a.k.a Krishnamurti and we comfortably topped the prelims. Needless to say, we were the favourites going into the finals. However, before the finals, The Cine Quiz had started and we had some idea that the quiz would be mostly about Tamil movies and so were not too keen on participating. At the last moment, we decided to go and my team mate was a guy called Vijay, who apparently knew a lot of Tamil movie trivia. Surprisingly, in the prelims, there were quite a few questions on English and Hindi movies as well. Thanks to these, we rocked and qualified for the finals. So I was in two quiz finals and both were back to back.

The Cine Quiz Finals - it was an absolute laugh riot. After a lot of unintended jokes from the quizmasters - two absolutely clueless guys, the finals finally ended with us in a creditable second place. We were too stunned to even acknowledge the appaluse. As soon as the results had been officially announced, I ran to the venue of the Sports Quiz finals, leaving Vijay to take care of the prize formalities. Now our team name for the event had been 'Virumandi and Sorimuthu', after a current Tamil movie, where the names referred to the hero and a bull that he fights in the movie. Note this point for it makes a triumphant re-entry later in this piece.

The Sports Quiz began in right earnest and we quickly went into a comfortable lead, and stayed there for quite some time. Then another team started catching up and soon were only five points away. It was the last question of the quiz and it was being passed around the teams. We attempted a guess but were wrong. the team next to us, which was only five points behind, also took a wild guess. Correct! We were tied. A tie-breaker was quickly organized and after a lot of nervous guessing, we finally won the cliffhanger. Relief flooded me as closure set in. So, at the end of it all, my Kalakrithi had been quite good - 3 quizzes, 2 first places and 1 second place. Feeling satisfied, I went to the prize desk to collect my prizes.

At the prize desk, after I'd collected my prize for yesterday's General Quiz, I asked about the Cine Quiz and was given 2 certificates which proclaimed as second place winners, one Mr.Virumandi and one Mr.Sorimuthu. they had actually made out the certificates to the ridiculously named characters in our team name! And to think that these guys were some of the brightest minds in the state! My stomach hurts just thinking about the guys, who, for laughs, had called themselves Songi (loser) and Karadi (hairy bear). It's this kind of stupidity that makes me wonder if we humans are actually devolving or something. You know, getting dumber by the day. With that thought, I'm gonna call it a day, hoping I don't get nightmares about stupid people taking over the world. So, till the next time, bye and take care.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Good Times Roll On....

The last two weeks have been really good for me, touchwood. First, I won the annual grandmaster quiz at the Quiz Foundation of India, with quite a bit of luck. Then, the Saarang Main Quiz and then most importantly, cleared all my papers comfortably in my fifth semester of engineering. Today, my good run continued at Kalakrithi 2004, the annual cultural fest hosted by A.C Tech, Chennai.

The quiz today was scheduled to start at 10:30 in the morning and so, I reached the venue at around 10:00. I don't know why, maybe the A.C Tech guys wanted to ape the IITians, but the bloody prelims started only at 12:30. In the two hours before it, we had to endure some of the most inarticulate and stupid teams trying their hands at 20 questions. (For the uninitiated, in 20 q, one team member gets a celebrity and the other team member has to guess who the celebrity is by asking the former upto 20 questions. The former can only answer in Yes, No or Maybe.) Here are some of the choiciest excerpts from today's competition.

A: male?

B: No

A: female?

A: Asian?

B: No

A: Indian?

After that brilliance, I wasn't sure I wanted to sit for the quiz at all, as I had lost all faith in mankind. But in the end, I did, and a good thing it was that I did too for the quiz turned out to be pretty ok after all. The prelims were decent and we topped it (I teamed up with a guy called Vikram from S.R.M Engineering College). Most of my friends made it to the finals as well and it was all set to be a good contest.

The finals were supposed to start at 4:00 but ended up starting at around 6:00 (IIT influence acting up again?). The quiz finally ended at 8:15 and we had won, by quite a margin at the end. Now that was the good news of the day. The bad news is that most of the prizes are sponsored by Mahavir Optics. If you're not an active member of the cultural scene in Chennai, you're probably wondering 'What's wrong with that? Go get yourself a cool set of shades.' I could do that but the problem is that these people give gift vouchers of such vulgarly low amounts, like 50 bucks or 150 bucks or something and also add the clause on top of it that only one voucher can be used on any one purchase. So, the bottom line is that they're basically useless pieces of paper. The one consolation is that we'll also be getting a bit of cash along with the vouchers. Oh god, do I sound cheap or what!

Anyways, those were the events of the day and tomorrow, there's a Sports Quiz happening at the same place. Think I should do pretty well in that, considering sports is my quizzing 'forte', so to speak. Well, my next post should be all about it, so till then, bye and take care.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Well begun is half done....

Well begun is half the famous saying goes and I hope I'm beginning well here. This blog is going to be about a lot of things that I want to say and this blog is going to be because it's the only way I can say them.

At first, I didn't want to write this. But unfortunately for you, I changed my mind and now, here you are, stuck with poor old me. This blog will be like my taking you for a long ride in my sturdy Hercules AXN bicycle (I can literally see you guys turn green with envy at the thought of the cool set of wheels that I own!) We'll go where I'd like to go and see the things that I'd like to see. But on the way, you'll have to be slightly careful because my balance isn't too good. Also, I don't do a lot of things without any purpose. So, I'm hoping that through this blog, you'll have thought a little more about the things that I most often think about and lose a lot of hair in the process. But first things first, this blog is going to be really long 'cos we have a lot to catch up on. I promise that future entries will be much shorter.

Ok, let's get started, shall we? I'm a guy and I'm at that point in life where I'm under the impression that I already know what most men only learn by the time they're forty. Of course, that's not true and I'm just an irritating know-it-all but then this is my blog and here, I'm GOD. A lot of things have happened in my life and I've decided that it's finally time to share them with others as well. It's been an interesting trip so far and this blog will be about how I've got to where I am (which isn't very far from where I started) and how I go along in this magnificent journey of life. But that's not all, this blog'll also be about you. Yes, YOU, 'cos you're such a great person.

"What? Why?", you ask, with a puzzled expression on your face. "You might not even know me."

Exactly. I may not even know you but in this modern world of hustle and bustle, you're actually sitting down to read a stupid blog written by some stranger and in this case, that stranger happens to be me, which only makes you extra special. Now, that's why I like you, and that's why I trust you. And that's why I'm going to open up to you. Own up. Confess. Let it all out.

Ok, enough of the prologue. Formal intro time. My name is Vinod and I'm studying for a B.Tech in Information Technology at Sri Sai Ram Engineering College in Chennai, India. I did most of my schooling at St.Michael's Academy, also in Chennai and it was there that I spent the most unforgettable years of my life. I was born on the 6th of June, 1984, (supposedly, the DOB of the devil) and my zodiac sign is Gemini. I'm interested in lot of things. Everything, in fact. Over the years, I've undergone formal training in a lot of disciplines - Carnatic Music, Painting etc etc. but never caught on to any of them. You see, that's my biggest problem. I easily get bored with stuff. But that could prove to have been my biggest strength yet. Because I was interested in all this different stuff, I started doing well in quizzes for I knew about a lot of things. And gradually, I grew to love quizzing and that's one interest that has persisted with me for a long time now.

Quizzing has given me some of the happiest moments of my life and I've won plenty of big quizzes both in school and in college but my biggest win so far would have to be one that came a couple of weeks ago at Saarang, the annual inter-college cultural fest hosted by IIT Madras, one of the biggest cultural fests in the country. The Saarang Main Quiz is considered the Holy Grail of Quizzing by many a college quizzer and it's a marathon lone wolf (individual) event comprising of a written prelims, a semi-final and a gruelling six-hour final which goes on through the night. This year, it was on the night of the 25th of January. The quiz started at 12:15 a.m and finished at 5:55 a.m with all the finalists red-eyed and visibly exhausted. At the end of it all, I had won and the prize for my efforts was four grand in cash and the world's thinnest digital camera, worth around fifteen grand. But the prize was not the most important thing. The prestige and the stud-value associated with being the Saarang Main Quiz champ kicks the digicam's ass anyday.

More about my interests. I love reading books and watching movies of any kind. I also love music. I listen to all genres depending on my mood at any point of time but my favourite band of all time is The Beatles. They absolutely rock! Apart from quizzing, I also like creating and solving crossword puzzles and participating in whole lot of literay events like elocution etc.

From all the above, I'm pretty sure you have a Dilton-Dexter kind of picture forming in your head but let me tell you that I'm not like that at all. By the way, I'm also a member of Mensa, the International High I.Q society, which admits only people whose I.Qs are in the top 2% of the population! No, seriously, I'm not a brain box!

Phew, this is turning out to be really long, isn't it? And there's so much more that I want to say but it's late at night and I have a long day tomorrow. So, I guess I'll just have to let it wait for another day. I think this'll do for now but I assure you that you'll learn a lot more about me from my future blogs. And I also hope that they turn out a lot funnier than this one did. So, till the next time, bye and take care!