Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Week That Was.............

That was one heck of a week ! " Kya load tha yaar "....When we hear such statements, its usually in the negative connotation. But for me, it was the opposite...

I had one of a week, a week which gave me moments to feel proud that I am part of this institution. Hearing the Director and the distinguished alumni speak, gave me goosebumps. It made me realize the value of my education. The distinguished alumni awards was one program I liked the most. They were winners from different walks of life; each of them having won numerous awards. But all of them said the same

" There is nothing like coming home and being recognized".

That moment was awsome......and will standout.

I strongly believe that our batch has a few people who are capable and if I may stick my tounge out, will win this award in a few years time.

(It would take anywhere between 15 to 20 years, but it would happen, You can call this as my Intution and like many of my other ones, this will come true !!! )

This was a week where I ate a lot of PBMs (Paneer Butter Masalas). Invariably ate out everyday and PBM was always on the menu. A week where I went to SAC for one last time to attend a formal function. It was so fitting that this was the best ever I have seen @SAC. The Pampa night had us all in splits!! The Mujra dance!!!

This was a week where I sat down at the beach staring at the moon while the waves were roaring (dono of a much more brilliant sight), where I went on a long walk in the beach. The informal farewell gave me a chance to do so. A week where we rocked the dance floor, again for one last time.

This was a week where I heard my HOD and profs speak in a public forum, for one last time and invariably my eyes got wet. All of them stressed on the importance of ethics in life. When our HOD referred to 'coming back to your home', I immediately connected it with what the distinguished alumni award winners said !.......A week where Mystik Musings gave their last public performance and a week where we sang 'On a Cool Summer Morning...' for one last time !!

A week where
I laughed................,
I joked..................,
I took a lot of pics.....,
I "chulled" (yes, this word is the latest addition to the Oxford dictionnary),
and when no one was watching, Silently shed a few tears..................

A Week that I'l remember for a lifetime....

Friday, April 18, 2008


Just a week to go before my 'Final Exams'. I was sitting back this afternoon and thinking about it. Yes, these are indeed my FINAL exams. I would never enter an exam hall again in my life ! Would never have to go to the shop, the night before my exams to buy a reynolds ball pen!(Unless I plan to pursue a doctorate, at a much later stage, which looks highly unlikely). I just couldnt believe it.

Exams ! This word has stayed on with me for such a long time. In the very early stages of school, I used to go and write down what I had learnt at home. Never understood the significance of exams. I distinctly remember two things. Mom said, don't show your answers to others and also don't ask others if you don't know. And I used to carry a lot of pencils and erasers in my double decker pencil box !

Exams were always an enjoyable process. School had plenty of them. Unit test 1, mid semester, unit test 2, final exam......Who can forget the anticipation and the countdown for the exams to end, both before Diwali and more so before the summer vaccations ! How do I spend my vaccations? The plannning would start a couple of weeks before the exams started. The day the last exams got over, rush home; and go to play without even removing our school uniforms.

Then the phase where exams started taking on a new meaning. Enter the era of competitive exams. We no longer competed within us, but on a pan India level. I would definitely say that the enjoyment levels went down drastically. It became too mechanistic ! I never enjoyed my engineering papers; somehow felt that they were an extension of rote learningl with no emphasis on fundamentals.

That is where I liked some of the exams at IIT. If not all, some of the papers were extremely sastisfying. Prof CRs OR and TQM papers which made me think...Prof Thillai who made sure we used our brains evertime ! It got back the enjoyment process in exams. And that is something I really liked.

Exams ! This five letter word has now lived with me for 27 years. I am going to cut myself off from something so close to me ! Does it hurt ? Yes it does. As I close my eyes, I feel I have done reasonably well, but this is something I would miss forever. Workplace might have appraisals and say that it is the equivalent of exams. Your performace rating is like the grades ! But I think it is not. We cant even compare. They are miles apart. For me an 'S' grade in a course or a 19.5/20 in an 8th standard Geography paper is something that I would still value most !

I have a collection of all my report cards, right from the nursery I went to. Would add my IIT grade sheet to it. There is an emptiness in the heart, but the files containing them would certainly look complete...................

Monday, April 14, 2008


“Can you please wait for 5 minutes Sir; your dosa would be ready”……
“Excuse me Sir, here is your chilli parotha, you may collect your spoons from the table”.

Do these statements ring a bell? For someone like me who had made Tiffanys their second home, the answer is, a definite YES. He was always there; he made it a point to provide excellent service to all his customers at any point during the day. Be it early in the morning around 7 am when Tiffanys has just opened shop or late into the night. You would find the same level of enthusiasm in him. I can recall so many instances where after ordering a dish, I would be yapping away with junta and then he would personally come over to the table and say ‘ Sir; please collect your paneer dosa, its ready!’ I never asked him what his name was; but I always observed him; and his enthusiasm.

Cut to my daily mode of transportation: My cycle. It has been one of my greatest lifelines during my stint here. . This brings me to the second person whom I would like to talk about. En-route to the Taramani gate is a small shop (I should say tiny) where you find a person repairing numerous cycles throughout the day. So what? Isn’t that his job? He is not an ordinary person. He is differently-abled. Here is a person who cannot speak, still managed to find a way to work around it, and in fact excel in it. There were several occasions where I would get a whole lot of work done on my cycle and would think ‘I would pay him Rs 10 for that’. And then he would signal with his hand ‘3’. Talk about consumer surplus!

When I’m not at Tiffany’s or at hostel, I could be spotted at our very own DoMS Lab. Assignments, group work, browsing, chatting…you name it, we have done everything here. In this very lab, I noticed a research scholar pursuing his Ph.D. What is so special about him? Again, he is differently abled. Almost everyday I used to watch him come to the department and work in the lab. I always used to wonder if I should lend a helping hand (showing the way etc). But something inside me said ‘No’. It is about his independence. I used to watch him, working away on his personalized computer; the level of dedication was awesome.

Watching all three of them in close quarters made me wonder, what keeps them ticking? What motivates them? How are they able to maintain the same level of enthusiasm and commitment? Contrast it with our lives. So many assignments, so much work, this doesn’t happen, that doesn’t work…So much to crib! Don’t they get frustrated as we do? We find that in our case small issues put us off. We need higher pay, we need recognition, we need awards and so on. That’s what drives us. What about them? How do they manage? How does it feel to get up next morning knowing that you have to do pretty much the same thing you did last night; but still try and do it better and with a smile on your face? I guess it’s the perspectives that they have towards life.

In these three people I found something unique; a common thread: An attitude towards life that shames the highest possible ambitions with its innate simplicity. These are people who have taught me a lot about life. They have taught me that it’s not the nature of the work that matters; it’s the way you do it that does. They have taught me to give my 100% to whatever work I have been assigned. They have taught me that limitations can be overcome; that I need to keep the same level of motivation always and that I need to have the right ATTITUDE towards life.

There were occasions when I felt that I was not getting where I should have. At these times I drew inspiration from these people. This wonderful institution has helped me redefine my perspectives. It is not only about achievements and awards; it is people with the right attitude. ……The rest would follow.

Life Post December
Life always seems to work in extremes. At one end you have work load, too much work, work pressure, all assignments to be done, several reports to be written, deadlines to be met...GOD ! Why is it so hectic? Why should I do all the work? "I need a break" !

This thought has crossed my mind several times, during the last two years. (Pre - December). My last year at TCS and my first year at IIT, were probably the most hectic phase I can think off. I don't think the concept of weekend existed (in practice). Sundays were spent either in office (It didnt help that I lived 10 min from my workplace or working on some assignment/ preparing for some quiz / reading some business magazine @IIT). At IIT, I used to take the Sat evenings off, a walk in Besant Nagar beach to unwind....

Cut to my life post December and more importantly post Feb. Absolutely nothing to do! Yes, I wanted to enjoy my last few days here, have fun... But then I have never felt so "jobless" ever. There are times when I dread to go back to my room, thinking " What will I do there" ?

I happened to discuss about this topic during my regular "chai-trips" ( I say, chalo chai peete hain, but end up having coffee ! ) with my friend. What came out was that we have become rusted ! Pre December the mind was sharp and we could think on our feet. But now, we hardly think. Yes we have had our share of fun, but then the level of "intellectual stimulation" has gone down to zero. We no longer read the paper, business magazines seem like greek and latin, forget about books !

We just hope that the this period is just an abberation and we get back to the good habits cultivated during the first 18 months of our stay here ! It is vital and essential....
For the ones who are contantly thinking and reading are the ones who are happy !