Wednesday, September 28, 2005


August 8th, 1996

1650 hrs – Out of the Engineering Drawing class

1710 hrs – Meet outside the Saradharam hotel
1730 hrs – Take the point to point bus to Chennai and live happily ever after
No, this is not the plan devised by a couple to elope and marry.
More than 12 late teen first year folks (freshmen) were devising this amazing fool-proof plan to get the hell out of what once considered as an obnoxious cant-stay-for-even-a-week place. However, this place was later termed as heaven by the same folks. Annamalai University, my undergraduate institution, is the place that was accused to have instilled the Chemical engineering concepts inside me, instead in reality, ended up teaching the art of learning more than Chemical engineering.
Anyways, all these plans were to fly away from the senior pressure. To avoid ragging!

Everything worked out well except for the fact that we had two seniors who were waiting for us in the bus and tagged along till the end. The journey, itself is a big story all together, was filled with public dance performances, accosting a stranger girl, selling watches, asking the flight timings to the bus-conductor etc. Nevertheless, its one of the best trips we all had. As a matter of fact, this so-called interaction was entirely positive. Even though at one point of time atleast one of our gang member’s stupidities was glorified in public, every one of us enjoyed it. At the end of journey, every one of us had this same thought process if this is what ragging all about then I am having fun with it.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case, most of the time. Some people not only fail to understand the reason for the very existence of this culture, but fail to even listen. The attitudes of some of our forgettable acquaintances are astonishing, extracting fun by shear intimidation. Some of them get their work done in a harmless fashion. Whereas, some might get hurt in the process, if I can just use “hurt” for that matter.
I have heard suicide stories, homo-sexual encounters, physical abuse and even murder. For people from South India who knew about my institution, I am sure that the title of this post would have definitely popped up the shocking Navarasu story that happened in 1996. For others, in short, a first year student was murdered and his body was sliced into pieces and was transported to different parts of the state in order to create a diversion and escape from the murder trial. The reason was later found and was termed as ragging.

Following the incident, a very stringent Tamilnadu Prevention of Ragging Act was enforced in 1997. When he died on November 6, 1996, authorities found his severed body parts in a hostel room. Navarasu was a first year student of the Raja Muthaiah Medical College, Annamalai University, in Chidambaram. He was 19. Though his hostel-mate John David later admitted to ragging Navarasu to death and the Cuddalore district and sessions judge on March 11, 1988, awarded him a 36-year sentence, a division bench of the Madras high court acquitted him in October 2001. There was a furor across the state, and rumors of money changing hands between the judges and the defendant's family gained ground.

Now I see that the person who killed this fresher is outside based on the reason that circumstantial evidence was not sufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

Well, let me not get deeper into this piece of information and digress.
Anyways, the point I was trying to nail here is the attitude and understanding. Most of us are blind followers of tradition. People for some reason, are happy following what was executed earlier and reported to be successful in extracting fun. If we pay a little attention, we can understand that the people who tend to go away from these unwritten rules called tradition and sill find a way to extract more positive outcome are called trend setters. Sometimes, we come across different kind of people who create a negative impact and assume them to trend setters. Ragging was one such activity. What was once an interaction medium was converted in to intimidation medium!
Some people claim that ragging helps in preparing the fresher to the more demanding life ahead of them. It instills patience and teaches them how to cope with the ever changing world around! Well, atleast for the professional colleges in India, the teachers themselves are behaving well enough to intimidate and tease the pride of the students to instill patience and all other sub qualities that we were supposed to learn through ragging. So, the middle finger is way up for this reason to promote ragging!
I don’t want to be the lord, preaching you to seek happiness in other’s peace. Get practical! Most of us forget to understand actions. If we take a minute and think, why are we doing this? What are the reasons behind our actions? I guess we would be able to get rid of the intimidation part out of this and start to extract more positive fun.
The best part of ragging in India is that the wrong culture is slowly disappearing. Let’s hope the wrong culture vanishes and positive ways of increasing interaction prevails.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Communication hain! In vain!

Don’t worry this is not a Hindi post.

“Abbe, Mere ko thoda help chaaiyiye, tu free hain na?”, he asked, assuming that I can understand whatever he was trying to convey!
“Kabhi haan kabhi naa” I said, the first movie title that came to my mind, as my ass fuming on his assumption!
“Acha, sun…” and he started talking something which is no where near my comprehending capabilities! After extreme difficulties, I had to search, invent and live with words like Ruk… Nahi or something like that to stop him in the middle to say that I really did not know that my first answer failed to convey the message that I don’t know Hindi and am really bad at it.
Hindi along with English is listed as the official language of India and a significant number of people use this language to communicate, yet I was able to survive my 25 years, actually 26 as of today, without knowing it. As a south Indian, it was never a big deal for me. I am not sure about the other states, but as for Tamilnadu, you aren’t lost without Hindi. Considering the fact that my school population was dominated by a fair amount of Hindi speaking people, my Hindi skills(!) are quite surprising to most of my acquaintances. On the other hand the Northern most part I have been to, in India, is may be somewhere in Andhra! So, I never felt the necessity.
Yet, it never stopped me from going to all those so-called contemporary classics of my age! Hindi movies! I still can’t forget Dil to pagal hain 1st day 1st show. Couldn’t get a better ticket, so paid Rs.65 for Rs.6.50 ticket and was watching the movie from the second row. This is time when subtitles were like time travel….impossible to achieve….especially in theatres . The climax was on…needless to say that I was lost…
“Rahul! Nam tho sunna hoga!” or something like that. Shahrukh Khan was about to dump the gorgeous Madhuri (the very reason for me being there) and himself, when Guna and myself couldn’t understand a single speck of what’s happening in the movie! …What the hell..? They were just singing together…why in the world they are dumping each other! is what I was thinking!
That’s when I saw that….two typical Indian girls in the first row…in tears with uncontrollable emotions!
“Guna! I think this is an emotional scene. May be we should react!...What ya say?” I did not have a clue how to respond!
“Ok! Mams. Let’s appreciate the acting! There is nothing else we can do” he said, and thus we ended the emotional exhibitions with a row of whistles for Shahrukh and Madhuri’s acting…who as usual did nothing but walked away from each other and called it as acting skills. Ended up saving some of the worst “Are you from this planet?” stares from the folks who were involved in the senti”mental” sorrow.
So, in summary! This is how we both reach each other. I meant Hindi and Myself! Never goes well together.
But it’s quite different when you are outside India or may be outside Tamilnadu. Almost, everyone assumes that you understand Hindi. Let me not delve deeper in to the sanity of that assumption. But, not knowing a language that most of the other country folks think as one of the basic attributes of a person from India could be hurting. I have had people asking me, “You mean to say that you don’t know the language the most of your country folks speak?” Before explaining the fact that, I can still be at my best in my country without knowing it, and sometimes arguing it based on the distributed Hindi speaking populations and dialect stories, it would occur that perhaps I could have avoided a whole lot of crap by knowing Hindi.
For some reasons, all my attempts to marry Hindi failed miserably.
I still remember one of my good friends emailing me about my completeness as an Indian association Leader with a little Hindi skill. In the end, I turned out to be better than few of my predecessors who were blessed with all language capability.
Perhaps it’s a South Indian thing, which is sealing my brains from learning and understanding Hindi. Or it’s a jinx of some kind. But from where I was, I have certainly improved and have started to accept and understand it or at the least attempting for it.
“Abbe, amazing catch! yaar!” I was attempting to appreciate a decent catch on the field that day, when a friend of mine noticed a tinge of Hindi.
“Baratha…Kya bath hain! You are good man! Hindi and you…may be you both are coming together yaar” he said.
Abbe, amazing catch! Yaar, if this is Hindi. I think I can survive anywhere overseas.
In anycase, as you see, I have never felt the necessity of learning it. I was never pushed to a point, where Hindi was my only way out. All I hope is that if a situation arises and when I understand the necessity, it shouldn’t be late. Right now, may be the Abbe, amazing catch! Yaar Hindi is good enough to be in this clan and say that I can manage with the language that atleast 180 million people in India speak!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Student..! Eternal!?

“6 X 7 = 44”, I said as the Evert in my mom demonstrated her forehand skills to my Cerebellum!

“Tables are the most important thing for the rest of your life! You make sure you are not making any mistakes!” she said as I struggled without realizing a calculator would help me in years to come! – It was 1983 and I was forced to listen.

“Physics, Chemistry, Biology….ah you go! it’s not going to be easy this year. You better start getting serious…No more baby talks brother!” my brother was competing for the most improved Satan of the year award! It was 1987 and I was confused and did not have a clue if I have to listen or not.

“Well, it's 9th standard. This means no more street-cricket. You need to pull your socks and work your heart and soul to get in to the first group!” my father was dead serious and something in my heart said may be he is right! Lets do it! …after last few days of cricket and fun....... It was 1993 and I was changing.

“What do I say? I still can’t understand why and how you screwed it up! Your marks are not that bad …but certainly doesn’t reflect your skills” my mom was concerned.

“Maa! No worries…for this mark I will get the group that I want to go in…Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Comp. Sci with French!…I still can’t understand what’s the big deal in this 10th standard exams. Its just a formality to get in to a group” with vengeance and furious anger I claimed myself to be the Lord!

“Shut up Barath! After scoring like this, you dare to raise your voice!?” that’s mom’s way of telling I don’t have an answer!! It was 1994 and I started to talk.

“Barath!!? Its 4.10 in the morning!!” my dad woke me up!

“Yes appa! Am up!!” I responded with my 12th standard chemistry book right beside me.

0420 coffee. 0745 breakfast. 0815-1405 Gill Adarsh. 1445-1700 Math or French tution. 1800-2130 Physics and Chemistry. 2200 dinner. 2230 homeworks, exams preps etc., 2345 and after sleep. ….0420 coffee again! No weekends! No holidays! Day in and Day out this was my schedule for a year! That’s how middle class corps works!!

I fell in love! With an open category (OC) dream, called a professional degree. May be it was a forced dream!It was 1995, I was focused for the first time.

“Well, you have options Mr.Barath. Chemical or Computer Science? Which one do you prefer!?” I can’t bet if I was the first on in the world, but I am sure I was the only one in the room thinking that Chemical Engineering sounded geekier than computer science! It was 1996 and I started to see a future!

“Machi! Could you explain this shrinking core model!?” my friend was absolutely lost in translation. As for him, Chemical Engineering was Latin.

“Mams, it’s the first one on the Appadithan concept list!” I kindled!

“What the f(*& is that? Man are we in the same planet..did I skip a chapter”, he was thinking loud!

“Appadithan means “it’s like that”, which means you can’t understand a shit! You will, when you do your masters degree! So, shut your garb and assume that you understood and just puke it back if you need marks. For heavens sake, we just have 2 hrs before the exam”…did I just let my secret out!!? I guess it was 1998 and I was not even attempting to work!

“Perfidious?” I asked Vivek, who ran the query in his word-list-data-base-system and said, “Treacherous, Disloyal..!”

“Perfecto!” I said as we explored our brilliance with Barrons! It was 1999, I was preparing for the inevitable brain drain.

“Did you finish the assignment? If so, email the file to me. I will make some changes and submit! After the cafeteria job…I don’t think I will be able to finish the homework myself” my earthquake friend cried as he was trying to be in touch with his M.S course material. It was 2000, and I was working!

“Dr. I guess I can say that I just finished my final exam of my final course in life!” which means I did not have anything to talk for that meeting that day.

“Never say that Barath! You will never know how much you would have to learn later in life! May be you have a PhD in the making!” said my advisor! It was 2002, and I was en route to add a couple of letters more to my educational adventures!

“Dei Chinni! How are you?” my friend usually calls me with all new made up names, especially in the excited state!

“Who the f*&^ is that? Chinni?” I had no clue what he was talking about!

“Machi that’s you da…you are the only one in our gang who is still a student…25 and studying!! You are our Chinni Jayanth da” I was rolling on the floor for this! (for non-tamil folks, Chinni Jayanth is a film artist who is known for acting as a college student even at his late 30s)

Did I just finish my last course work, my candidacy et al and finally have just my research left?Its year 2005, I am still a student and loving it. I am listening. I am changing. I am working. I am learning and with all this I am living! Living in a dream of reality. A technocrat in the making, killing an almost eternal student!? May be in days to come! Right now I have nothing but “I am still an academic student” to proclaim! And sure I am in love with these last few months!


Monday, September 05, 2005

50 and HOT, and Tag

50 and HOT

I wish it was my age and the statement is true, apparently its not and I don’t know if it will be true when am!

How do I begin? I am not good in thanking people, especially the ones who are close to me. So here I go folks, as I realize that this is 50th post since I started, I thought I should appreciate your regular/occasional glance at my blog without which there is no motivation for new ideas. So keep visiting and don’t dare to stop motivate me with your comments.

If you are used to my posts, am sure you will approve the fact that I give a lot of details, necessary sometimes and trivial most of the times. Ofcourse, there are a gazillion more imperfections that people tend to enjoy as well as criticize! May be I will change in days to come, so if you guys have any suggestions on any of the aspects with respect to the posts, comment and let me know and lets hope that the dude inside me listens to it.

Now let’s get back to the blogosphere.
Tag!! - Could'nt say No to this
I generally don’t prefer Tags…but Iam not a great “No” person too! So here we go Ghost this one is for you. Can’t say a “No” to you!

Seven things you plan to do before you die!!

Travel around the world
Understand Love
Make more friends
Write a book
Try to be a professional athlete for 1 day
Stop Tags

Seven things you can do!!

Stop writing this Tag
Be a little less straight forward
Stop analyzing trivial things
Be a better phone person
Fight the fights that can be won, before reasoning it!
Read more
Write more

Seven things you can't do.

Shut up
Beat up
Increase my tolerance limit
Stop helping
Be someone else

Seven things that attract you to the opposite sex!!

Eyes, hair and the simple dress sense
Knowledge and attitude
Sense of humor
Affection and organization
The way some of them confuse their maturity to men’s immaturity
Being a female itself

Seven things you say most!!!


Seven celebrity crushes (People I want to be like (Iwtbl) or be with (bw))!!!

Michael Jordan (Iwtbl)
Sachin Tendulkar (Iwtbl)
A.R.Rehman (Iwtbl)
Rajinikanth (Iwtbl)
The Basic Instinct Sharon Stone (bw)
Minsaara Kanavu Kajol (bw)
My girl friend (bw) - After finding one!

I am not a great Tag person…But still I will tag a few just to annoy them!!!