A villain remembered

The year was 1996. It had been around 2 months since I had entered high school, when I received a letter from my 'alma mater' asking me to attend that year's Independence Day celebrations in our locality as I would be receiving an award for being the school topper in the Class VII examinations. I knew there would be some big names at the event as it had been the practice of the organisers to invite prominent personalities from various fields to the function. Naturally I was excited at the prospect of being 'feted' by some big shot :-). However I was a tad disappointed to learn that the award would be given by Vajramuni, one of the most popular villains in the Kannada film industry. The appropriateness of inviting a 'bad guy' to give away an award for 'academic excellence' to impressionable youngsters was lost on me at that time. August 15th arrived and I went to the venue along with my parents & my kid brother. Now, Vajramuni had a characteristic style of demonstrating villainy - while plotting the downfall of the hero (usually Rajkumar) his eyes would narrow down to slits, his anger would be theatrical to the core, the typical sneer would be present most of the times. It was rather strange to see the same man looking serious in a dignified way and actually smiling kindly. In the end, he presented me with a cup & also garlanded my dad. I still have two photographs of the award ceremony.

This man who had been jailed, beaten & killed innumerable times on the silver screen, expired for the last time on January 5, 2006. I learnt about this the next day when I glanced at the front page of the newspaper before leaving for office. All through my journey to the office, a sense of sadness prevailed. Though I had met the man for a few fleeting moments, his presence that day had impressed upon me the distinction between reel & real life.

May his soul rest in peace.

Tags : Bangalore, Blogger Days, Life, Movies

Posted by Rajat @ 10:58 PM   |  Comments

Epiphany in an omnibus

I am sitting in the bus on my way back home. Radio City 91 FM is belting out Hindi & Kannada numbers at full blast. This cacophony coupled with the rhythmic jolting of the bus (courtesy the numerous crests & troughs which punctuate the arterial roads in Bangalore) leaves me in a hypnagogic state. That's when an ad break comes up on the radio. An announcement is made as part of the What's up Bangalore? section - "Rotary Club of Bangalore Indiranagar is conducting a general quiz on September 19. This quiz is open only to college students. Blah blah...". I am suddenly wide awake. I remember being placed third in this quiz 5 years ago (Mithun, Hemant and Chinmay would probably remember this). Arun Hiregange & Ochintya Sharma had been the quizmasters then. This time it would be Arul Mani.

"Ah! Excellent! Another college quiz. Must inform the gang soon." My hand goes automatically to my pocket to retrieve my mobile. That is when reality plays spoilsport. In one epiphanous moment, reality hammers in its blunt point into my psyche. For the first time, I truly understand that the stamp of finality has been indelibly embossed on those golden pages of my life. But more than that, I accept, albeit resignedly, the fact that those pages have been actually turned over irrevocably. An ineffable sense of loss pervades my soul as I meander through the remainder of the day.

Tags : Blogger Days, Life, Quizzing

Posted by Rajat @ 7:48 PM   |  Comments

Sartorial Musings

After much coaxing & cajoling by my mother, I finally decided to clean up my wardrobe. During the process, I unearthed several woven treasures (more or less forgotten) collected during my stay at NITK. Quiz Club members of NITK will remember the club gown which we obtained last year. Well, this is not actually a gown (for me, it is one, definitely) - this is a T-shirt with a collar. Now, that seems to remind me of something. Hmmmm. Ah! Got it. Statements adhering to the format - "This is not [something]...this is [qualified 'something', which is actually 'something' itself but described more accurately!]" - are actually idiomatic expressions popular among the members of this clique called EBGF, short for Eighth Block Ground Floor. Membership is strictly on the basis of the location of one's room - the lucky ones being obviously the residents of the ground floor of the 8th hostel block. It all started with their T-shirt whose front read "This is not a shirt...", with the back saying "...this is a T-shirt" along with a Microsoft Word Clip Art cartoon of some character getting a brainwave - the one with the bulb lighting up. I suppose the originator chanced upon the idea in a moment of epiphany - "Omigod! This is not a shirt - this, this, this is a T-shirt!!! Of course, why didn't I think of this before? Eureka! Eureka!". One Lifetime Achievement Award here, please. Now where was I? Yeah, the Quiz Club T-shirt - too big, way too big (must be something like XXXXXXL).

I also found the Incident 2002 T-shirt - this one has become unwearable after just 2 to 3 washes - it looks as if it has been used in a 4-way tug of war between unequally matched parties. Now don't take that as a testimony of my washing skills which I have honed to a nicety over the years. The front is pretty decent with a nice photo of the college. But the fundae at the back reduce its wearability drastically. I wonder why they put the 'KRECian philosophy' & the rest of the stuff on a T-shirt which was also supposed to be sold to people from other colleges. The 2003 & 2005 Incident T-shirts are pretty decent, except for their black colour which makes them quite unfit for the hot-n-humid Mangalore weather. I think the Incident 2004 shirt was the worst of the lot. I am grateful to the erstwhile comps CR (Swaroop Joshi) who managed to get refunds of the T-shirt money for the whole class.

Thankfully, I never bought any of the Crrescendo(sic) T-shirts whose designs have been nothing short of atrocious - glaring yellow on dark blue (or was it black?), this year's comical one with the PG biker almost racing the Final Year one and the other years' bikers lagging behind the PG fellow (who are they kidding?) - all this in various gross shades of colours available in the visible spectrum.

The ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) T-shirt I got in the International Collegiate Programming Contest at Kanpur was supposed to be of size XL. On wearing it, I found out that it accentuates my biceps very well - need I say more?

For some time, I did toy with the idea of getting rid of some of these garments. But I have this marked disinclination towards disposal of objects having some sentimental value. So, in spite of my carping, they get to stay, as memorabilia, in a corner of my wardrobe at the very bottom of the pile - my emotional baggage in a state of perpetual desuetude.

Tags : Blogger Days, Humour, Life

Posted by Rajat @ 10:17 PM   |  Comments

Moments of repulsion

I came back yesterday morning. I suppose I was the last Bangalorean to leave NITK. I had a tough time getting a seat on a Bangalore bound bus. Out of the 150 odd buses run by private operators & another 50 or so buses run by KSRTC, not a single one seemed to have seats for Saturday night. Even the Sunday afternoon & night buses had been booked to capacity. The reason for this was supposed to be the summer vacations coming to an end. Wonderful! This was all I needed! Thankfully, some extra buses were added and so, here I am.

I felt pretty bad leaving the place which had been my "home away from home" (Mr.Hosadurga's quote, for which I have this to say - yeah, right) the past 4 years. I could almost hear strains of the song Pal by KK playing inside my head.

Hum rahe ya na rahe kal
Kal yaad aayenge yeh pal
Pal yeh hain pyar ke pal
Chal aa mere sang chal
Chal soche kya, choti si
Hain zindagi
Kal mil jaye, toh hogi
Khush naseebi

How can I forget those high-fives & hugs with which we used to greet each other! What about playing blindman's buff in the lawns, preparing at least a week in advance for the sessionals, strumming guitars, singing in the classrooms (sniff)... Excuse me, while I wipe away these tears (sniff) - my keyboard (sniff) is getting wet (sniff)...



Before you begin to think that I have slipped into nostalgia-induced hysteria or something similar, let me assure you, apart from a sore throat, I am feeling quite good & would have felt better if there had not been this 'professionally managed' monumental disaster called "Pal - The Last of the KRECians" or whatever it is called (A rafflesia by any other name would smell as bad). This 407 MB, 40 minute video is supposed to be a reminder of our golden days at NITK. This abomination was directed by some local 'professional photographers' whose claim to fame(?) is some Kannada serial. Having watched quite a few of these serials, I can tell you that the hallmarks of an average Kannada serial are these:- no trace of a plot, overacting, facial contortions intended to induce laughter (You end up suspecting that the actors are suffering from constipation & about the 'inducing laughter' part - well, you can't laugh when you are retching, can you?) and a host of other aspects about which the less said the better.

Coming to the plot of the video... Wait! What plot?

Other deplorable elements of the video include glaring spelling mistakes ('thankfull', 'remmber'(?)), the "Mangalyam" track from "Saathiya" being played in the background while a student is praying in the temple (kuchch bhi, haan?)... I can't even recollect all of them & viewing the video once again just for completing this post isn't exactly a prospect I relish - so judge for yourself the obnoxiousness of the said production while I sign off, fuming.

Tags : Blogger Days, Humour, Life

Posted by Rajat @ 3:07 PM   |  Comments

My last lab ( hopefully :-)

I just finished the last lab of my undergraduate engineering education (I am an optimist ;-)). Well, there is no feeling of exhilaration here, just relief, plain relief. There is also a hint of tired resignation considering that I got partial output yesterday. Moreover I seem to encounter a strict enforcement of Murphy's Law during lab exams - any topic which I neglect to check out is bound to come in the exams :-(. Not that it matters much. In 4 years, I seem to have become desensitized to all such setbacks. I accept everything with a smile, self-deprecating humour & lots of rants.

Tags : Blogger Days, Life

Posted by Rajat @ 3:49 PM   |  Comments