Monday, March 13, 2006

...On Why I'll Never Drink Again

Typical day today...

Woke up at 11:00 a.m. and cursed myself the second thing (the first being noticing the time) of the day. With THAT fantastic start, went on to watch a few videos and whiled away my time upto the afternoon.

Entertained visitors and ended up with a pocket lighter by 50 bucks, had to give a "friend" some money for "some urgent work".

Celebrated Holi in the Hostel with whatever 50-60 guys who are here staying back, ended up not recognising myself in the mirror, amidst the shades of red, blue, green and yellow!!!
Had a tought time getting cleaned up and thereafter caught up with Dubey (old friend, for the uninitiated).

Now here's where the masala (spice) begins.
Dubey and I are very very impulsive people, espcially when it comes to partying and having fun. So we 'decided' that we should just spend the evening at "Dominoes" (a pizza place, for the uninitiated, heh heh). So there I was, shelling out 303 bucks for 2 pizzas that would have costed the lala (owner) of dominoes not more than 50 rupees to produce. Call it high society luxury, or call it extravagance, or call it...wait, let's keep THAT for a later post.

...Anyways, WE found out (and I found out for the second time) that two medium sized pizas are waay too much for two people to devour. So, we kind-of finished the pizza (and made the rest of it look like unedible, before throwing it away) and started back home.

IIT Kanpur (my college) has its main gate opening to the GT Road, a major highway of North India. So basically, the tempo that we catch from the city (yeah we call it that, a "city", we love to say that our college is in a "city", a big "almost-metro-like city"...sigh!...hey i am not good at this!!!), so anyways, the tempo that we take from the city stop to IIT spends most of its time on the GT road.

Now a kilometer before the IIT Gate, we both have a devilish thought, we both think about getting drunk. Now I had spent money on drinks once but had failed miserably at attempted binging, so I was not quite much into the idea of getting drunk. But Dubey, my friend, is a good friend, he won't let me accept defeat so easily. He gave me another chance.

So two minutes and 130 bucks later, we were the proud owners of a Romanov 375 ml. bottle. Hey...wait a minute, this is turning out to be a Drinking 101 case study...anyhow who cares the fuck about that? there we were, all equipped with Romanov, Sprite and two glasses.

Dubey poured me the first peg and told me to take it easy. Meanwhile Shukla (don't just yell out "Shukla Who?" right on and you'll come to know...) told me to try a neat one. I gulped a neat one in a bottle cap. It burnt my insides. I felt strange. Sick actually. Not because of anything else, but the taste and the smell reminded me of Cough Syrups. and that made me sick. With a bottle-capful of Vodka inside, I overheard Dubey telling Shukla, "Yaar vodka toh shots mein hi peeni chahiye" ("Buddy, vodka is best enjoyed in shots, not as a drink") and I was inspired.

Gulped down the first peg. and the second. and the third.
By that time, we were at Dubey's room listening to racy numbers courtesy Shukla, and yes before I forget, Shukla was there to take care of us, in case either of us lost it. Now the bottle was only one-third full. (take inspiration, i could also have said, two thirds does that show something about my personality, or does it?) So the fourth peg was almost a full glass, especially after Dubey had mixed it with the Soft Drink.

There we were, all pegged up ;) and waiting for something to happen.

And then, Nothing happened.


Zook, zeroh, zilch.

I started fiddling with Photoshop, worked on a picture of a girl, a very beautiful girl, adding some Glow and Focus, so as to make it look like "one of those" pictures (heck I even wrote, "A (that's her name), Say yes...please", but I am not gonna tell you that) However, that was not a part of being drunk. We sat down to watch a movie. And it had to be "Jerry Maguire". It had to be romance. It had to be Zellweger and Cruise. Oh Shit! just couldn't handle all that mush. Dubey was conspicuously silent after the round of drinks. Anyways, I watched the movie, bid adieu to Dubey and started off for my room.

Vodka does something to you, I do feel that. My hands and legs stop responding in their usual way and my eyes droop a bit. But that's all that is there. If I am alive and mentally fit after 4 proper pegs, I guess somebody up there really hates me, I guess THAT SOMEBODY does not want me to get drunk, does not want me to lose it. Shukla is out of business when I drink. And I hate it.

...P.S. : After I came to my room, I chatted up with an old friend in B'lore and then wrote this post. This Post. THIS POST THAT NEVER FELT LIKE IT HAD BEEN WRITTEN BY A DRUNK GUY. God I want to lose myself. God I don't want to spend all that money and end up literally drinking Sprites and 7 Ups only. God have some mercy. Till then, God, I'll never drink again.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

"Fi.L.L.Ex", or, "Musings before an exam"

I sit down to write this on the "eve" (if you may deem it so, its 2:30 a.m. actually!) of my Flight Mechanics Mid Term it's gonna be short and snappy.

The First Law of the Last Exam (Fi.L.L.Ex) :
The last examination of any series of exams has the inherent property that deems it doomed the day it is announced.

Fi.L.L.Ex. for Dummies :
(Read "For the Mathematically Uninitiated")
In a string of examinations, like the Mid Semesters, the End Semesters or whatevathehell, the subject whose examination is scheduled on the last slot of 'em all, is bound to be fudged up by the incumbent(look it up!) examinee.

Proof :
This proof is going to be chiefly theoretical in nature, and investigations shall be made so as to cover all the possible outcomes, of which only the said event is designated to occur, as we shall soon see.

Now supposing you have N exams in M days.

The Nth exam is scheduled on the Mth day, which is the last slot of your examinations.

Now let us denote your Average Performance Satisfaction (APS -> Your self-evaluation for the N-1 exams) by a value amidst the following :-

APS -> Interpretation
0...Whoops! Exams? Shit! Uh-Oh!!! (Seriously fudged 'em up)
1...Hmm, Exams? Yeah, had 'em, gave 'em. (I don't care)
2...Well, well, well, Exams? Yeaaah! (Yaay! I'm gonna top this time!)

So, once we have decided upon your APS, we can correlate the APS with the performance in the final exam.

Case APS==0 : Now since you have really not performed well in the other exams, you don't have any motivation/self-confidence/desire to perform well in this one as well. Basically we are talking about "Oh I am so much deep in this, I just can't get any deeper, so what the hell! I just can't study!" kind of a feeling.

Case APS==1 : Hey you are one guy/gal who doesn't care about the exam. How can the exam care about you? Case closed. Getting screwed up is the result.

Case APS==2 :I bet you are already so so SO elated at cracking the other exams, you'll be puffed up with confidence, and eventually will not study for the final one. Classic case of "I am the king of the world" syndrome.

Thus, it is seen that the examination, unfortunately will be screwed up.

Corollary 1 to Fi.L.L.Ex :
Although the APS value seemingly has an inductive effect on the performance in the last paper, however, by virtue of the argument stated in proving Fi.L.L.Ex above, has absolutely no implication on the result thereof.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The AboutMe Post

Now the first post announcing my arrival to the blog-o-sphere done, I sit down to write my first "meaningful" post.

What could count as a meaningful post? I mean, what do I blog about?

Do I blog about myself?
Do I write about things in my life?
About things going on around?
About things that "should be" going on around?
Do I write poems/stories/articles and post here?
Do I vomit out anything about anything that comes to my mind?
Or do I just see what happens and let things flow?

I really don't know.

Well, for starters, I can talk about myself. That is one thing I do well. If you know me personally you'll know what I am talking about. But then even if you don't, I guess you WILL at the end of this post.

Let's make it more interesting. Let me frame it like a FAQ...

Q. Who is Saumya Jain?

A. Saumya Jain is...

  • ...male, Indian, b. Jan 7 1985
  • ...a student of Aerospace Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
  • ...a very vehla(adj. "someone who has all the time in the world to do all the nonsense under the sun, or the moon, if you rather!") person
  • ...available for gup-shup(v. "chatting") anytime you want
  • ...a difficult-to-handle friend (ask my friends, the close ones)
  • ...relatively easy to be overawed by anybody. Sometimes even a two year old can put me into self-contemplation
  • ...definitely a non-conformist, ego-ecccentric, sadistic, procastinating, burnt-out genius
  • ...a blatantly honest and blunt mouth

  • And before I forget,
  • ...hopelessly in love with someone :)

Guess that does it for today.

More FAQs next time, promise.

~Enjoy the little things, for one day you might look back and realise that they were the big things~

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Figure o' Eight

A Story that I'll call "The Figure of Eight".

Once there was a boy who lived near the sea. Everyday he would run up to the sea and watch the ships as they docked and undocked from the port. He would do it regularly without fail, rising at daybreakwith the foghorn, rushing up to the dyke and observe the giant vessels coming in and going by. And he used to think of the places they had been to, and then he wished that one day he would be going exploring the world on one of these ships.

The boy's name was Sumer, and his father was a great seafarer of his time, and as any good father, he wanted his son to follow his footsteps in becoming a sailor. He had stocked a good amount of money for the boy's future, but he hadn't told the boy this, because he wanted the boy to try it out in the world on his own. The boy had been enrolled in the best school of the city that had produced the best of the sailors, ship captains, navy admirals even! "This boy is going to make it big someday" the father reflected to himself whenever he saw the boy looking eagerly at the blue blue sea and the mighty ships.

Sumer had always wanted to explore the world on his own. He did not like the things they taught him at school. "All they teach me are stupid things, like reading maps and making knots. Who'll need a map when one is going into uncharted territory?" he would think, "and why do I need to learn how to tie knots?" He knew his father wanted him to be a sailor, but he had always wanted to be an explorer instead. He'd heard about the new continent that had just been discovered just beyond the southern end of the sea. He had heard from people in taverns about the large desert there, and the ferocious animals around, and he was fascinated by these stories, he wished that someday he would sit around in an old inn with dozens of people crowding around him as he told stories of his daring.

He wanted to see new places, but a sailor's life is not what he wanted. It was a thin line that separated what his father wanted him to do and what he wanted himself, sailors and explorers are not THAT far apart as professions you see, but then to him it meant his life, and so he sometimes worried about it, hoping to tell his father someday. Yes, someday he'll tell his old man that he's just going to go out on one of these ships, and not as a sailor, but as an explorer bravely edging his way across the new continent.

The knots were what bothered him, he was never good at knots. His father said, "Son, knots are life savers, a sailor must know how to tie knots." And he could not knot. He was very bad at it. Whenever he saw someone tying a knot, he would feel sorry for himself, then think, maybe they are good at this, but they cannot read the directions from the stars as well as I do. Maybe they won't survive in the desert because they don't know about the harsh life and the scarce water. Yes, he knew what he wanted to do, yes he knew all about it, he knew he had to go on someday exploring the new continent, and he was preparing himself for it.

But he just could not tie knots.

Not that he could not because he lacked the ability to, but he did lack the motivation. He thought it useless for an explorer to tie knots the way they taught him at school. He knew to tie the "Double Stopper" which was a good strong knot and very very versatile knot as well. He thought it was eough for an explorer to know one knot, just in case, and he knew that one knot well.

He knew that one knot, the "Double Stopper" well.

That day at school, they had the knot test, and all his friends had memorised all the 50 odd knots that were there in their course. The teacher arrived and gave each one of them a pair of ropes. Now Sumer had spent the day before reading up a traveller's account of the Desert, so by the time he'd finished with the diary, it was already dark. He did not want to stay up late, so he went to his room, practised his one good knot and said his prayers before snuggling into bed.

The teacher came upto him, "Figure o' Eight" he said, and Sumer didn't know what that meant. He just looked at the teacher. An old, wrinkly man. Had been a very strict teacher. Sumer stood there with the rope in hand, and meekly said, "Sir, I know only the Double Stopper, and I can make that well." The teacher did not seem to like the idea. He repeated, "are you showing me the Figure o' Eight or not?" Sumer wasn't one of those who would just try and guess, so he said, "Sorry Sir, I don't know the Figure o' Eight. I guess I should fail the test and learn it sometime." The teacher was understanding this time. He said, "Okay Sumer, I'll meet you tomorrow by which time you should be able to learn the Figure o' Eight. Now go."

And Sumer returned that day, thinking about the "Figure o' Eight"

That was the longest night of his life. He kept thinking, kept admonishing himself, kept wondering what the Figure o' Eight would be. He was ashamed to ask anybody, to him this Figure o' Eight had suddenly become a self evaluation test. He wanted to see if he could really make himself perform that feat. He wanted to show to the teacher that he was a good student, a good learner. A simple knot had suddenly rose to becoming a means to tell himself that he would do good in life, whatever he would do, and it was not necessarily becoming a sailor or an explorer, but doing things well. But it all depended on the Figure o' Eight.

Alas! Where should he find out what the knot means. To him all the knots looked same. It was a Double Stopper that he had tied on his practice rope right now and he was fiddling with it, when it suddenly dawned on him. He looked carefully at the knot now, slightly loosened up so that the contours of the knot were clearly visible. He could make out a distinct shape, a distinct figure.

It was a Figure of the number 8!!!

Sumer couldn't believe his eyes. It was the Figure o' Eight knot. He had had it all along with him, thinking that it was something else, he had just not realised that the "Double Stopper" could also have another name, another stupid silly name like the "Figure o' Eight". He realised he was smiling to himself now, no actually laughing. How in a minute all his self doubts had melted away. How a few moments ago, this stupid silly knot was an all-out bechmark for his success or failure in life, and how in a second, it had ben reduced to a mere "Double Stopper"!

But he had learnt something.

He had seen that the Figure o' Eight was not a prize. It was him who had made it as one. It was just a stupid silly knot. And it was something that he already had with him, he already knew how to reach that "Figure o' Eight". Only he had not realised that he knew. Just knowing that he knew made all the difference. Given a situation, he would have tied the very same knot as a Double Stopper, and the teacher would have judged it as the Figure o' Eight.

He realised, that sometimes you have to give the world what it wants in its own terms, not yours.

He realised that it is important to know, but it is also important to know that you know, and to know that you know it well.

He realised that if you don't know something, its maybe something that you have not discovered yet, but that is no reason you should muse about it and raise it to the importance a performance marker.

Sumer had realised this, smiled to himself and made a "Double Stopper" again. "This is my Figure o' Eight," he said, and slowly fell into a quiet peaceful slumber, thinking of the teacher and the test the next day.

In the misty ocean, the foghorn sounded, and a ship had found its way home.