The Pre-Degree

Once decided on Engineering I opted for Math with Computer Science in 11th grade. My parents asked me to take Math with Biology. Just because they said so I thought I should not go by them. I was stubborn and took Computers.

This decision leaked out and all the babes in my school conspired against me. They all ended taking up Math with Biology. Well the Computer class had 7 girls and 29 Boys. It all started on that day – Dearth of women in my life. It is still present in all the ways it can manifest.

Lesson you can learn from my life: Your parents always give you the right advice (mostly it is indirect).

Then I thought of writing a letter to the principal of the school asking if I can move over to the Biology class! My friends were totally against me doing it. They advised me,” dey Kozhi, don’t do something stupid, Computers is the in thing, you are the ultimate programmer who is going to change the way the world is going to code.”

Friends are ultimate people, when they say something they mean it.

I tried putting forward another proposal. Why not, all three of us jump to the Bio class. This proposal was more welcome. But later I understood it is something which is not feasible. The Bio class already had more people than the Comp class and princi is not very happy in admitting more people. Moreover all 3 of us had opted for Engineering Entrance Coaching at P C Thomas Classes.

P C Thomas Classes is The place in Thrissur where everyone gets educated and illuminated. Let me explain.

Kerala is a place where no industry can survive. I don’t know how V-Guard and Milka Wonder Cake managed it. But there is one industry which can survive in Kerala – Education.

It is basically that Demand-Supply funda of economics. Demand - Everyone is educated and everyone wants to get a degree. Supply-Number of colleges and the seats they can offer is few. The tunnel connecting this demand and supply is obviously the KMEEE (Kerala Medical Engineering Entrance Examination)

Dr P C Thomas was a smart dude. I was told he is a doctor, “the kind that helps people”. (Hope you have watched this and if you haven’t, I would recommend it.) He (henceforth referred as PC) lit the demand-supply gap tunnel with his Entrance Coaching Classes – The P C Thomas Classes.

I don’t know the authenticity of this, but I have heard rumors that he is the person in Kerala paying the biggest amount as Income Tax. And one more rumor. Because of his strict rules, many students cursed him. This is believed by many to have resulted in his daughter being mentally retarded.

For me, the Sunday classes were a kind of picnic and pilgrimage. For I am very positive-minded. R and I had to catch the first bus to Cochin North railway station. We used to be at the Chittoor Kshetram (Temple) bus stop at 4:45 am.

Imagine 4:45 am on a Sunday!

And every Sunday!

It used to be a KRSTC bus packed to its limits. We used to squeeze in with our bags filled with lunch and the PC books. The PC books were all very thin, long and made out of recycled paper. The businessman he is.

We used to get down at the North bus stop and walk the 5 minutes to the Railway station. Most of the times, this walk was a run. The KSRTC bus used to be late. Somehow we used to reach the railway station and man, how can I forget those long queues for getting that Rs18 ticket to Thrissur. Often, we used to help each other by getting tickets for other PC-classes-going-groups.

We get onto Platform 1 and study the crowd waiting for the legendry train – “Push-Pull”. The Push-Pull is the morning train (with just 6 coaches, in which 1 is ladies) from Cochin to Guruvayur. Thus the Push Pull is crowded mainly with two kinds of people –

  • Teenagers on weekly pilgrimage to Thrissur.
  • Elderly on monthly pilgrimage to Guruvayur.

The first few weeks we were not successful in securing seats. We stood throughout the journey pushing and pulling. But by the third week we were professionals. Our plan was just amazing. Two guys on one side of the rail and two on the other. The two people on the same side are a strategic distance apart. Thus we used to attack one particular coach (the one next the ladies coach, this is exclusively for identification purposes) from all the four entrances. From then on we never had to stand on Push-Pull.

We knew pretty well that passing the entrances of Push-Pull coaches doesn’t mean we will get a pass in the Kerala Entrance Exams. We were supposed to do some homework every week. As we were a very diligent group, we never used to do it. So in the train, it was kozhi-kirukal (translates to Hen-Scribbling) in the PC workbook (another thin long recycled crap, you have to buy giving Rs10).

The Push-Pull was a very fast train. It used to cover the 76 kms in like 2 hours. The Japanese and the French will be ashamed of this fact. We used to utilize these 2 hours for completing our homework in 3 subjects.

The train gets half empty at Thrissur. Then there is another mission- the autos. There will be limited autos parked at the railway station. The demand for these autos is great. It was a run from the train to the station entrance. You have to say “PC” to the auto-drivers and sometimes you don’t have to do that either. They know where to take you. While getting down pay him 15 if you are 3, 20 if you traveled with 3 other guys\girls. (Ya, ya, I know probability of traveling with 3 girls in an auto is a limit tending to 0).

The PC buildings are I suppose designed by Howard Roark. They are optimized for space, money, light and all the other resources involved. The stairs are made of aluminum. The generators of these buildings are custom made for him. They are painted green, huge and bulky but surprising make no noise.

Once you are inside the class you start sweating as you are involved in the thermodynamic process of increasing the temperature of the class along with 99 other students and 1 prof.

Some teachers at PC classes are dumb while others are unimaginably brilliant. Until I joined college I strongly believed that no man can be more brilliant than Sunny sir. My world was small then.

Four hours of technical torture used to render us terrifically hungry, we used to eat the recycled paper from our notebooks by the end of the 4th class.

After lunch it was time for IIT special classes. By the time these classes are over (5pm) everyone used to get totally exhausted. We can either take an auto to the railway station or walk. I preferred walking – saves money for that extra Paruppu vada and can explore Thrissur as well.

Right in the middle of platform 1 on Thrissur railway station is a tea vendor. This guy is particularly popular among us PC guys as he sells tea to students at a concession (It was Rs3.50 for students and Rs4 for the rest of the world). We were all fans of his Paruppu vada. We used to hog as if we went without food for 3 days.

Then, its time for you to show your seat snatching skills in the legendry Passenger. Getting a seat becomes inevitable as we are already tired for the day. We do our Mission Impossible thing again.

The Passenger is supposed to come at 5:30 pm, but you can congratulate yourself on being lucky if it shows up in Thrissur by 6:50 pm. This train too has about 6-7 coaches and is terrifically fast. Faster than Push-Pull.

This return journey used to be our jolly time. Gossiping, joking, discussing “stuff”, academic of course.

We normally reach Cochin North by around 9:00-9:30 pm. Then

The walk.
The bus.
The bath.
The food.
The bed.

This was our Sunday.
Every Sunday.
For 2 years.

Sure it was worth it. We learned a lot of things. The MI thing for example.
We are all Engineers now. Two are doing their MBA. Rest are working.

Karadhi-The man

video
I have always wondered how people like Karadhi and his son become superstars in the Tamil film industry. Maybe both because of their great looks and great acting skills. The tamilian viewers are great as far as appreciating actors and their skills.
Here you can see people wasting their time comparing Chandramukhi, Bhool Bhuliya and other remakes with Manichithra Thazhu. They are comparing two times national award winner Padmashree Shobana with Jyothika, Vidya Balan and Soundarya.

Give me a break.

Shobana, I believe is an artist, unlike Jyothika, Vidya Balan who are actresses.
The malayalees fighting there, I believe, are degrading Shobana by comparing her with such actresses. (And wasting their time, mind you, that video has 200 comments!)
I have no problem with Tamil film industry and I love Kamal Haasan's performances (in Moondram Pirai, Nayagan, Mahanadi and innumerable others); the great movies made by Mani Ratnam; Illayaraja's and ARR's Music. I am addicted to ARR's music. I fall from my seat clutching my stomach, laughing, seeing Vivek's and Vadivelu's performances.
But when somebody says Rajinikant's performance in Chandramukhi is better than Mohanlal's in Manichithra Thazhu what do you expect me to do, but laugh.
I think it is stupid to compare actors like this. While Rajinikant and Mohanlal are both legendry actors, the Tamil movie's director must have thought what will be the best to entertain the Tamil viewers. When a malayalee sees this he might feel it is stupid and illogical. No, I am not claiming that malayalees are very intellectual and brilliant, most of the times I feel the other way. But, I and three of my malayalee friends felt the climax of Chandramukhi laughable.
Likewise when a Tamilian watches the malayalee version he would feel that the malayalee version is too boring and emotionless (as he is not seeing the subtle emotions that the actors' are trying to portray as he is only used to emotions which are very explicit).
When I watched Kannathil Muthamital the scene which I liked the most was the reaction on the girl's face when she learns she is an orphan. Many Tamilians I know, don't even remember this scene. Well I feel this is the difference between the way I appreciated the movie and my Tamilian friends did.
Posting this with due respects to the taste of Tamizh makal.

The weekend that wasn’t

I had a great weekend.
The folks in my office had planned a cricket match to be held on Saturday morning. It was supposed to be Sales vs. R&D.
Right from childhood I have learnt that cricket is not my cup of tea (I don't drink coffee). Thus in Madras I used to play kings (and a king I was, many a times) and volleyball (not very good at that, but I was OK). At Cochin, we used to play football. I know I am not good at that as well. But the advantage with playing football is that you can hide your ignorance. But if you don’t know cricket, it shows out pretty well. Thus I made it pretty well known to the people here that if you would ask me to pose like a pig faced porcupine with a camera in your hand, I shall do it, but never ask me to play cricket. But my admin and Tech-lead wanted me to come to the ground for just the fun of it. I promised them I would, knowing pretty well that this promise is to broken.
Friday night I slept quite early, around 10. Thus Saturday 7 am I am awake in my bed. I lay lazily there for half an hour and feeling bored got up. I dint have anything to do. Well the cricket match was supposed to start at 7 am. So I thought why not go and check out how badly R&D is losing to Sales. So I plugged in my iPod and started walking to the NGV ground.
I reached in time to watch the last over of the sales innings. And to my surprise R&D won the match. The R&D guys spotted me watching the game. And as I have often feared, the manger asked me to join. I tried my level best to make it clear that I don't want to play. And they put me in the Sales team, telling that their team has only 10 players while R&D already has 11 players.
Thus I turned out to be the only R&D guy in the sales team. I made it clear to the sales guys that I am good for nothing. They understood what I meant. They are application engineers, they understand people.
Anyway cricket is a bland game. I remember giving an extempore speech while I was in school. The topic was “My favorite game”. It was a very easy topic. I have done better in political topics though I consider myself to be bad at that. I chose cricket for popularity sake. My speech was pathetically bad, as the words were not from my heart.
Let’s come back to the playground. My team (Sales) lost the first game. In the second game we were to bat first. I dint have to fight for the last batsman position, all the guys were very eager to bat. They managed to get a respectable score without bringing in the last batsman to field. Now it’s going to be difficult. I have to field!
I tried sitting back in the “Pavilion” but my captain told me to take the slip position. Then it was a series of catch drops. They tried posting me in each and every position in the field, but the ball obediently came in my direction, and when it is supposed to come to my hands, it would get deflected by the wind, by a small stone, or by the sheer will power of the batsman. I felt really bored. But somehow we won the match. I felt proud for my team. With my presence if they could win the match, they were really a damn good team.
They wanted to play one more match. I suggested football. But who is interested in football? We decided its going to be a cricket match to decide the winner of the series. Now that the score is 1-1, this match became indispensable for both the teams. Again I would like to say Cricket is a bland game. Half the time you sit in the pavilion (atleast I do so), the other half you just stand under the sun trying to concentrate where the ball will be the next moment. You don’t have to run much or do anything sportive (atleast I dint do anything).
I felt sad.
Another match?
I could have lied that I am busy and could have walked back home. But I wanted to show that I am no coward. I stayed.
Sales was to bat first. The sales captain (who is taking the role of the umpire now) asked me to keep track of the score. I nodded yes happily. I thought- OK , I should atleast show my talent in arithmetics here.
After a while someone asked me the score. I said 13. The batsman told its 17.
A few balls later another guy asked me for the score. I said 27. He asked if it isn’t 25. If he knows it is 25 why the hell is he asking me?
Then later the captain again asked. I said 45. Others corrected it to 47. I learnt that not only I am cricket ignorant. I am not even capable of keeping the score count!
Anyways cricket is a bland game. So I don’t mind not being good at that.
Then we were to bat. The captain asked me, if I would like to bowl. I said, “No, seriously no.” He understood.
We, I mean, the sales team won the second match also. Thus my team won all the matches that I “played”. R congratulated me on that.
We then went to Juice Junction. I had Orange Juice and Sapota Milk shake. I felt the juice and shake to be bland. Then we walked to the office. I watched Friends season one. I felt it to be bland.
Then R and I went to Desi Khana to have a good lunch. I asked for Non-Veg Thali. I got one. I felt the food to be bland.
Since the whole day was kinda bland I thought I will go and have a nice sleep. When I got out of my office I remembered that I forgot my keys in the playground. I came back to office asking people if they have seen any key chain in the playground while returning. They din’t. So I thought I should go to the playground and look for it.
But my colleagues said that somebody might make a duplicate of the key and keep the key back where it was found. And later when I come to take it, they will follow me and find out the lock that this key opens. Thereby this stranger can come and rob my home when I go out. I assured them that there is nothing precious at my home other than some old underwear. But they asked me to be cautious.
I was very lazy to walk. It was a hot afternoon. I hate hiring auto rickshaw. Hiring an auto never strikes my mind when I have to go somewhere. I think an auto rickshaw is a too much of a girl thing. I look down at people who take auto to travel a walk able distance. I have my own reasons for not having a vehicle (no no no, not having a two-wheeler license is not the only reason). Thus the BMTC has been a great friend of mine in Bangalore. I caught a 171 to get down at Koramangala Police Station, the stop near the ground.
The only nice thing that happened that day was the key being untouched at the place where I left it. I took it and came back to the bus stop. Nair called me to tell that they have bought a new TV. So how does it affect me ? I don’t give a damn. Bland and bald Nair. Not happy about, me not having a TV I took a 171 to Audugodi circle and took another bus to my office. Now, I did this to confuse the thief who might be following me to my home. I watched 3 more episodes of Friends season 1. Bored to my nerves, I walked back home. I left my iPod’s ear plug in the office intentionally. I felt I was getting too much addicted to my iPod. Eastern spiritual philosophy says that we should never have attachment with anything or anybody. Thus I promised myself that I won’t use my iPod for the next 1 week.
Being alone at home is really a bland situation. I took bath. The maid came and started doing her work. She started making bland conversations. I gave bland replies.
Once she left I left to the TIME coaching classes. There the teacher started discussing bland problems. These bland students with their bland doubts were stretching the class to 2 full hours. Nair and I then went to Kairali to have dinner. We ordered CB (Chicken Biriyani for the beginners). I felt the Biriyani to be bland even though Biriyani is supposed to be spicy. They also gave us a bland beetroot pickle! Nair had suggested me spending the night at his place. As both of us were alone and there was TV at his place. So went to Koramangala 1st block. I had left my iPod at home.
The TV was a 21 inch Philips. I like Philips stuff. I like Samsung more though (they are known to hire really bright guys). I tried surfing the channels. I din’t find anything interesting. I started watching Jurassic Park 3. It was a bland movie. After that I again started surfing.
I saw this Virgin Mobile ad in four languages (Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil and English). I like the ad. I like her emotion when her dad says she has to go for the trip. Her eyes are depicting anger and haste, while her lips are in the beginning of a smile. She has done her homework well.
It was 11 and I wanted to sleep as all the programmes in the TV seemed bland. That bland bald guy Nair was watching some football match between some infamous clubs. The next day he was happy that one particular club lost, he hates that club it seems. As if he had done his schooling with the scholarship which was the donation of the other club. What attachment do these guys have with Bhelsea, Marcelona, Banchester and Udrid Mutated?
Next day I got up at around 7 am. I felt bored as its going to be another bland day. I had to open bland bald Nair’s cupboard for using his paste. I saw he has bought quite a few books after I left them. I took up the thinnest book.
It was Identity by Milan Kundera. Well if you don’t know who he is, let me illuminate. He wrote some really bland books and was thrown out of Chezh republic for the same. But Milan was smart. He understood that the French are genetically bland. So he lived in exile in France. And wrote more bland books. The blandest of which was Identity.
I congratulated myself for taking up the blandest books from bland bald Nair’s collection later that day. We watched The week that wasn’t in CNN. Bland bald Nair was laughing. I felt it to be bland comedy. At 11 we have the TIME class on the bland topic – Indices and surds. Bland bald Nair offered me to take the book with myself to complete it. We had a bland masala dosa at some arbit bland hotel in 1st block. We entered that bland building where our classes are held. The beauties of the class dint turn up for the class. Thus the class was even more boring. I managed shouting out some wrong answers.
We planned having our lunch at Maharaja. I dint know, rather forgot, that it has an Andhra style cuisine. Andhra food is totally bland except for their pickles. We had meals and Lime Soda. Rs225 for that bland meals and Lime Soda? I felt cheated eventhough the ambiance was good.
I came back home. I was totally bored as I was not even using my iPod. My iPod has been my closest companion since the day I bought it. It’s plugged in when I walk, when I eat, when I try to sleep, when I work- for the last 3 months.
I slept. I read Identity. At 7:40 I felt hungry. The other day I had spotted an Andhra mess nearby. I thought I will try it tonight. So I went to that mess. There were chinki guys (either from the North-East part of India or from some South-east Asian country) seated there. The other day I strolled to Audugodi Circle by taking the Audugodi-Koramangala main road. And then from this road I explored a way to the Inner Ring road through the Shiva theatre road. During this exploration I found that there were a lot of poor chinki guys and gurls in this area. Thus I was not surprised. The mess was dirty. The food was bland and pathetic. The mess guy asked me to tell the chinki guys that the food will be little late as the autowalla who normally brings stuff for the mess has fallen ill. I helped him, totally disinterested. The food was usual Andhra stuff. The papu, which has everything in the world other than dal. The rice that was not cooked properly. The Telugu-Tamil speaking mess guy was disturbed as I ate very little. I had told him that this was my first time here. By now he was sure that this was my last time as well. I pressed Rs22 into his hands and smiled. While walking back home I lost my way. Then I had to walk back to the mess and take the road by which I had come there. I saw a bland drunkard relaxing on the road after gulping down some bland liquor.
I resumed reading the book. The bland book has just 2 characters. And these characters are dreaming throughout the book. The characters in the end wonder what part of the events that happened are real and what was part of the dream. The female character dreams of attending an orgy and sitting naked on a chair! I went nuts. Next morning when I got up, I realized, I had weird dreams. That bland book leaves a hangover too!

I know, I know, this post has become too much bland.

The True Romeos


Disclaimer 1:
All characters in this post are fictitious and any similarity to persons dead or living is purely coincidental. This post is also fictitious and is not a true story.

The author moved over to Bangalore in July along with 3 of his close college friends.
Thus we rented a 2-BHK in BTM.
All three of them have girlfriends, chey, one girlfriend each.
And from the very fact that this article is written you must have guessed that . . . .

About a few months ago, we were all in NITK, a place where you will easily find peacocks and peahens but would have to strain hard to spot a girl.

So all of us were really lucky and single.

Then everything came down like a twin tower. Mr A went ahead and invited a sub-sub-sub-junior Mrs A for a dinner. A great accomplishment in those days of desperation and frustration.

Mr A came back to hostel very sad after the dinner. I asked him
"What are you sad about ?"
"I spent 150 rupees and dint open my heart"
"So what is there in your heart to open up ?"
"I should have said I loved her. I should have proposed."
"So do you love her ?"
"Yes I do."
This "I Love Her" came out of Mr A after two meetings with Mrs A.
The first meeting was short and sweet. It was as follows
Mr A said "Hi"
Mrs A said "Bhai"
The author argued, she meant "Brother". But Mr A claims Mrs A is not "Hindi literate".
The second meeting was the above mentioned dinner.
The author went back to his room and thought over it.
"These days youngsters are very fast in everything", the author remembered his grandmother say.
How can someone judge a person in one and half meetings?
The author surely can't.
The author had personally not seen Mrs A then.
One day Mr A took pics of Mrs A and brought them back to his computer.
He showed Mr B the pics. Mr B told Mr A that she doesn't look good.
I dint know this then. Mr A called me. I went in and saw the Pics.
"How does she look ?"
"Ya, she looks goo..."
"haa, she looks good rt, Mr B told me she doesn't look good"
I smiled and left.
Then when I was in Mr B's room Mr B asked -
"Did u see her pic ?"
"Ya"
"She is not beautiful as he claimed rt ?"
"Ya, but I told him she is", I grinned.
_________________________________________

Now a days Mr A goes on a pilgrimage to NITK once every month to meet Mrs A who is still in college. For this pilgrimage Mr A saves money throughout the month eating from cheaper restaurants and stuff like that.
_X_____________________________________X_

Mr A meanwhile after third year had been to his school reunion. He met a lot of old friends and took photographs and all and came back cheerfully. He opened Orkut and added all his school mates as "friends" in Orkut.
Mr B was jobless. He had no school reunions to attend. He had no friends to add in Orkut. So he strayed into Mr A's friend-list or probably Mr A invited Mr B to check out his friend-list. There Mr B saw that Mr A knew quite a few vernacular speaking women. Mr B did a procedure called the HaiingArbitChicks.
This was a particularly popular process in NITK.

Disclaimer 2: The author writing about HaiingArbitChicks doesn't in any way mean that the author is not involved in the process. The author's masterpieces are as follows
"I think you look cute"
A Brazilian girl replied, "Thanks, have a nice week."
The author has heard people say, "Have a nice day". But probably thats what is common in Brazil.
"You look gracious"
A Pakistani girl replied, "Mind your own business."
What did she think
the author is doing ?
Another great Orkut adventure
the author had was with an Iranian woman. She had uploaded her pic in Orkut with her purdah and all. But this was nothing related to flirting. The author searched for psychology in Orkut and the results gave him a profile of a Iranian Begum who is interested in Psychology, he straightaway scrapped her. If she could help him, by suggesting names of books that he could read to get the basics of psychology. (The author was interested in this powerful science right from school days, but this interest has remained a interest all these years.) By the time she replied the author had lost his so called interest!

Now coming back to Mr and Mrs B. Mrs B happened to be that pure, God-fearing, innocent Kerala's own girl. Or atleast she was successful in making us believe so. No, no she cant deceive us, after all she was Mr A's old classmate right. I thus conclude, she is so.

Thus Mr and Mrs B came closer and closer day by day. How ?
Scrap in - Scrap out
Chat in - Chat out
SMS in - SMS out
Call in - Call out
Mr B's room was our common room. In the terminology of a residential college hostel, a common room is the room of a person, who is so jobless that, anyone can go to this room anytime and spend time doing one of the many things like - gossiping, playing cards or caroms, clicking photographs of our leg with his digi-cam, reading arbit non-academic books, calling girls (you have never met) and talking to them as if you have been with them throughout your life and any other such important assignments you have. Thus we all use to be at Mr B's room, the common room.
But wait. Something happened.
Mr B told us strictly that he wants to chat with Mrs B in private everyday from 6 pm to 8 pm. And thus he started throwing us out of his room everyday at 6 pm. They supposedly talked about everything they could think of. Yes, everything, from Bombay Jayashree's voice to pornography.
One fine day he admitted that he is in love with her. They haven't
met ever. They messaged each other and called each other and they are in love.
Yes, I am more convinced with this love story than Mr A's. But isn't this more of mutual trust over chat and sms. He was in 95% love before he made his first phone call.
For example, on phone, the author has introspected that, he can be very nice to people and deceive people easily that he is not short-tempered. On the contrary he is. "Deceive" is not the right word. But it is very easy to put up a mask when you chat or talk on phone. The author knows he is successful in that and firmly believe that most people will be.
Anyways after he fell in love, he made more phone calls and spend most of his final year project time chatting with her, thereby successfully graduating as a "Engineer". She is a "Engineer" too. No, no the author is not claiming that they "Engineered" their relationship.
No, never.
_________________________________________

Nowadays Mr B spends 15% of his salary on Mrs B every month. Not by buying her gifts, but by calling her everyday. Sure Mrs B is also doing this stupidity, sorry, duty of a lover. In the evenings he spends his time talking with her. He plugs the Motorola's earplugs into his hear. You can also talk to him when he is on call. He will answer back to you as if he is not on phone. She understands. The phone line is open for 4-6 hrs every evening.
Now I know how Hutch could afford giving me 7777 free sms, for one year, when I was at college.
By the by, Mr B's father-in-law (who is a criminal lawyer) has given Mr B 6 months time to get permission from his parents to marry Mrs B.
Mr B's request at home was welcomed with anger and later tears.
Mr B now goes to Kochi once in a quarter to meet Mrs B (where she is working).
Mr B once took Mrs B to his relative's house in the outskirts of Kochi. Mr B's amaama pleaded him not to do such things anymore.
_X_____________________________________X_

This third and final love story is the most amazing and for us the most entertaining. Mr C always wanted to have a girlfriend. Mr C is damn hardworking. But Mr C has a slight problem with communicating with women in English. This apparent problem is only with women though. The author has seen him communicate pretty well with guys.
In college the Malayalees have something called "Onam Celebration". Here Mr C met a Ms C. (no I am not talking about Mrs C, that character has a late entry.) Ms C is very cute, not at heart though. Mr C managed to take a photograph with Ms C. Well, as far Ms C is, she is one of the happening girls in the college, wearing the best outfits and sticking to the most muscular looking guys on their trendy looking bikes. This Malayalee grew up in Delhi and she has imbibed the "urbane" culture.
He dint fall in love. He wanted to fall in love and make her fall too. He somehow got her number, I don't remember how.
Mr C started sending smses asking what she is doing and other stupid questions. She did give reluctant replies.
Mr C is a highly research oriented guy. He does a sound analysis of each SMS that he sends across. Reads the replies a 100 times to find put what was really meant by the sender, what her mind was thinking when she had sent the SMS and a lot of other useless stuff. Ms C leads a hifi life. She wears "modern" clothes, hangs out with muscular, yo-looking guys. Most of the time you can spot her sitting on some guy's bike or in Mangalore with some guy at a restaurant. She is enjoying her time.
And her life.
On the contrary, Mr C hardly speaks to a girl in his class.
After a few days, there was a program in SJA (Silver Jubilee Auditorium) of our college. Mr C asked Ms C, of course in a SMS.
"r u cumin to SJA for the program ?"
"ya", came the reply, after 13 looong minutes.
"we will meet there"
Mr C groomed well, completely tensed, asking us
What should I tell her if she asks this ?
What should I do if she asks that ?
He put on the best perfume that Mr A had, and set forth.
The poor chap came back after an hour or so, fully sorry as to why he went.
Yes, he did meet her.
He could only somehow get of a seat behind hers. While she was as usual enjoying her life, sitting between two "happening" guys. He told me sadly that she was having a nice time enjoying the physical-contact-antics of those "happening guys".
I din't feel sorry for him. For he is learning his lessons.
Then again he tried getting to her, but in vain.

Then again our hero comes into picture -- Mr Orkut.
Mrs C, Mr C's tuition class chick, if you would like to call the so called chicks, chicks.
Yes, Mrs C scrapped him one day.
That was the first female scrap in Mr C's account.
Man .... Mr C was in cloud nine.
Mr C crafted his scrap replies with utmost care. They were reviewed 8 times by 10 different people before being posted. Poor Mrs C, what does she know about the great amount of effort going into the filling of her scrap book.
Later they moved to Gtalk. For Mr C the chat history with Mrs C was research material. He made detailed study of these highly confidential documents in private. The author was often thrown out of his room for intriguing his study.
Mrs C often used to get frustrated while chatting with Mr C as she had to wait for 5-7 minutes for a chat reply. These 5-7 minutes are being highly utilized here in room number 96, V block, NITK Hostels for literary analysis, conversation flow, possibleNextTopics() and in trying to keep the (Attribute_Conversation_Interest == FLOAT_MAX) = true.
Later he moved over to sending SMSes. Three messages send will fetch him a reply after 17.5 minutes after the last message was reported as delivered. On the other end, it is not research going on, it is called she is showing delibrate-chick-avoidance towards him.
They were still not in the so-called love. Mr C was still researching how to put it across appropriately.
It was time for us to leave NITK for good. Mr C wrote a dozen DVDs of movies from the college LAN (He also made a list of movies that he burned so that there are no duplicate copies of movies written). He claimed he will watch them all in the vacations as he has nothing else to do in the vacations.
Later we had a small trip organized by Mr A to Vazhachaal and Athirapalli waterfalls during our final vacation. Here Mr C told us that he has not watched a single movie from the DVDs he had burned at college. As he spent all his time chatting with Mrs C.
Long ago in college, Mr C wanted to buy a cell. The author suggested a one with GPRS facility. He went by the suggestion as he considers the author to be very high on practical brilliance. But as Mr C started using his cell, Mr C understood that this facility is of no use to him. Thus he cursed the author often for making him spend Rs3500 on his cell.
But during the Vazhachaal trip Mr C was showering all kind of praises on the author. If not for the GPRS facility in his mobile, he wouldn't have Internet in his home (which is apparently in a highly developed part of Kerala where you have to give Rs 10/month as Gym fee). Thus during the vacation Mr and Mrs C had a nice time chatting day in and day out. And Mr C was successful in making Mrs C his "girlfriend". Thus the author played a very important role in their romance.
Mr A advised Mr C that the love will not be strong until Mr and Mrs C meet often. Mr C is very eager to meet Mrs C. But he doesn't have the guts. Mrs C always tells Mr C that her dad is a heart patient and that their affair should be kept away from him.
_________________________________________

After coming to Bangalore Mr C and the rest of us started earning. So Mr C started making STD calls to Mrs C. When Mr A and Mr B moved to the other room in our 2BHK, I and Mr C shared a room. I once heard a phone conversation between Mr and Mrs C. The tone of the conversation can be best described to that between a son and a mother. The son telling things to his mother to which she is not willing to agree to the last word. The son complaining about a lot of work at his workplace. I observed that his tone with her is not his natural one but that of a pleading, winning boyfriend. Often Mr C goes out of topics for conversation. He asks the author, Mr A and Mr B for what to talk about with her. The author has often given him stupid suggestions and he has often talked on those topics with her.
Mrs C likes one topic - her friend G, whose father is no more and he has gone to Gulf to earn a living. Whereas Mr C hates this topic to the core as he has a suspicion that she will fall in love with G. Mrs C tries to keep Mr C's phone calls a secret from her dad, younger brother and the author doesn't know who. While on call she often asks if she can go now. To which he asks whats the hurry.

Another interesting fact that Mr C himself talks to us dejectedly is that she has never called him.
Its always Mr C making the calls,
Mr C sending the messages.
Mr C . . . always
Mind you Mrs C is working too, though her salary is a small fraction of Mr C's. But not even ONE phone call! When she feels like talking to him, she gives Mr C a missed call. Then Mr C calls back. If Mr C doesn't call back in 2 minutes after getting the missed call. Mrs C gets angry at him and leads to all other complications.
The other day I heard Mr C was shopping at Forum for some gift he is about to present Mrs C.
_X_____________________________________X_

The author no more stays with Mr A, Mr B and Mr C. Having understood the insanity involved in Love and mask in the popular girlfriend-boyfriend relationships he has now shifted to a small house near his office. And he does meet these 3 romeos during the weekends over dinner and some stupid movies like - Rock & Roll(M), Flash(M), Mithya(H) etc and some good ones like Calcutta NEWS(M). The author's friends often consider the author to be very successful with women (though the author knows the reality, and they have started understanding too). They often urge the author why don't you love Z, why don't you love Y......
The author wishes All The Best to his friends in their love life and knows what is best for him.

The Madras Mail

It’s not Chennai. It’s Madras. When I hear the word "Chennai" I am blank, there is nothing to relate to. But "Madras" is the name of

  • A city . . . the city I loved, and still love.
  • The city I love for its hot weather.
  • The city where Manju akka next door would feed me bread after peeling out the brown outer layer when I was 3.
  • The city where I would wait for Jithu in the evening with my three-wheeled cycle at the KK Nagar CPWD quarters ground, so that we can have a "cycle-race"(when I was 4).
  • The city where Murugan anna (autodriver) would allow us to dip our fingers in the funnel while he is filling his fuel tank so that we can feel the jill when the petrol evaporates.
  • The city where a long forgotten stranger took care of us when our school bus met with an accident.
  • The city where I took a bus from Chromepet to Sanitorium with one 50 paise coin and one 25 paise coin in my trouser pockets.
  • The city where she did not allow me to try out her automatic pencil box (which has buttons for opening, closing etc), telling me that already 10 people have pressed the button today and that overusage might destroy it.
  • The city I loved walking back home from school skipping the school bus as I was busy playing Volleyball or Chess. And later when my achchan found it, he wouldn't believe that this 13 year old would walk 5-6Kms chewing boomer and accused me of coming back home in N's cycle for some weird reason!
  • The city where the smell of perfume from some manufacturing unit in MEPZ (Madras Export Processing Zone) used to fill Durga Nagar and Kamakshi Nagar.
  • The city where I have friends who are in touch after I left it for the last 9 years!

I had been in Madras for 11 years. That’s half my life. I grew up in Madras, until middle school.
All these 11 years there, we used to have a sacred yearly ritual- going home, Kerala. Most of the years it used to happen just once, in April.
Achchan used to book the tickets a month earlier. That’s because April is holiday season and trains are normally packed and moreover my achchan belongs to the nationalized bank employee’s clan who normally have the habit of doing things with total perfection. Mostly it was the Mangalore Mail\Madras Mail.
I have a strong relationship with this train. Not only that we used to take this train from Madras to Pattambi (my native place); when I was in college I used to take this train from Mangalore to Pattambi. This train which goes from Madras to Mangalore and back, my father once told me was one of the first trains of Southern Railway. It was numbered 1 (Madras to Mangalore) and 2(Mangalore to Madras). Of course they are now numbered 2601 and 2602. This train was then very important for the people of Kerala for a number of reasons, some of them could be

  • The mail used to come in the parcel van of this train.
  • This was the train the unemployed youth of Kerala took to go to Madras, to hunt for a job.
  • There was no Konkan rail, so the unemployed youth of Kerala who wanted to go to Bombay, had to take this train first and then later take connection trains.
  • There were no airports for the unemployed youth of Kerala to go to gulf other than the nearest Madras!

Thus it was a dear train for Kerala. It is dearer to me, as it signified naati puva - GOING HOME.
I used to be very enthusiastic about going to our native. Ammu was not born until I was 9 and my only cousins were in Kochi. Also there were other important people in Kerala who I love and would love to meet - my achchamma (paternal grandmother, no more), my amma's achchamma (who is to hit century in a few years), my cousins, their parents, my amma's cousins, achchan's siblings, their families . . . the list is endless. Thus being very eager to be there, I used to push amma to start packing the suitcases 2 days earlier. I used to love these packing sessions. Once packed and ready on the D day amma will make dinner and achchan would pack it in banana leaves by evening. Achchan made it sure that we were at Madras Central atleast one hour earlier. We used to take an auto to the Tambaram-Sanitorium station. From there we would take the electric train to Central.
I love those electric trains. Their sound, their smell, the low floors, the dark yellow color, the crowd and the pull. But I used to get bored sitting in the train. I would ask "achcha, ini yethre stationa?" (How many more stations?). I used to be amazed, as he would tell me the stations in the correct order. He would have told me that order a 100 times, but I don't remember them. I don't want to remember them either, if I did, there is no element of surprise and I won’t be able to ask him that question again. Once we are there in the station where the Madras Central is nearby (I don’t remember the name now), we have to take a subway to central with hawkers all around. I think there is nothing you won’t get in these "shops". In 2003 when I went to Madras for 2 days, I saw a guy selling FM radios for Rs100 and another selling shorts for Rs20 (of course they come with their semme Quality sir).
This walk through the subway carrying the luggage is a truly perspiring one. Once we are out of the subway, we will be welcomed by another set of hawkers on the road side. I would see the majestic red building with arches wondering if British men could have taken this building as well in one of their ships.
Once I enter the huge entrance I will be busy checking out what people are doing. I have my own ecstasy in seeing people running around with their luggage, under the huge ceilings, as they are late for their trains. I am never late right, achchan.
Since the train starts from the Central, it’s never late. The trains take a reverse into the Central and gently hit a pair of stoppers. Then starts the galata. People running around with luggage, babies crying, hawkers shouting, porters pushing carts of luggage.
I was normally successful in getting the "window seat". But I am not supposed to touch the window grills as they are supposedly not clean. Amma is obsessed with cleanliness. Ammamma is even more obsessed. Ammamma cleans the kitchen floor with a wet cloth a hundred times a day. I am not exaggerating. She actually does it, even if she is not keeping good health. Thus this genetic element of insane urge for cleanliness has come down to me. I shed a significant part of this quality when I entered my college, gradually, the major chunk of this skin shedding happening in second year. Still about 10% of this quality is still in me.

Thus I used to look into the darkness outside, the stars, the moon, the lights from settlements along the rail. When it is time for lunch, I will go with achchan to wash hands and then its amma’s turn. I love the smell of papadam(Paapad or appalam in other languages) packed in banana leaves. Due to the perspiration of the other stuff in the food pack, the papadam would have gone wet, but the smell, there is nothing more delicious than that! After all taste is mostly dependent on smell.

We often have similar malayalee families with whom we share our cabin. I once remember getting very friendly with a family, exchanging sweets, playing games with their kid, etc.

Then its time to sleep, I liked sleeping in upper berths, but no more. And I used to sleep well. The only occasion when I din’t get a proper sleep in train before I joined college was when we travelled in AC. I was sleeping in the upper-berth. I felt terribly cold then. Usually the next morning will he the finest morning of the year for me. The lush green fields of Kerala, the sunrise, the ode clad houses along the rails, the coconut, the rubber, hygienic people, some least used roads along the rail in the Palakad district. I loved fixing my eye on the parallel tracks. This gives a illusion that the rail is moving with us. Once we reach Shornour Junction it is signal that Pattambi is 15 minutes away. We used to get ready to get down by taking our luggage to the door. This is not because to achchan’s urge to do things in the bank way, but because Pattambi is considered a insignificant station for the Madras Mail and the train stops here only for a fraction of a minute.

From the Pattambi railway station it is just a 5 minutes walk to Leela Nivas. Amma will start pestering achchan to take an auto home, although she knows very well that we will have to walk it.