Anatomy of a Review

Some events get me angry. Some get me frustrated. There are rarely ones that get me both and more. At that point, I put my emotions down in writing and slander one and all concerned with nary a fuck given to such things as “consequences” and related stuff.

Today was our final internal review. My love for writing a lot would now make you realise that I am going to give a background, a prologue and may be an index page before I start off. Don’t ask me why I do that. To give a good analogy, it is akin to revving up a modern superbike so that you have a flying start when you release the brake.

When I say review, I implicitly refer to a review of my project work. Since more than half the Indian population is studying engineering, there is never any need to be explicit about exactly what kind of a review I am attending. Every review is *meant* to measure how much you have progressed in your project. What it becomes is a playground for the review panel to simply fuck around with you, laugh it off with each other and then say in that oh-so-silent-whisper-that-can-clearly-be-heard-across-the-whole-fucking-classroom that the group presenting their project has not done anything novel and that we’re somehow trying to “cheat” them. But more details on that later. Also, here is a meme I created for the occasion of us getting screwed:

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No review goes as planned. You create a powerpoint file and instruct your project mates on what to do and who should read from which slide. Once you go inside the review hall, however, the panel is standing there just waiting to tear you up. There are many pictures online that illustrate my point but IMO, these are the best.

images                    firing-squad-picture

Obviously, the crocodiles and the shooting squad are compared to the panel.

Contrary to how generic the title of the post is, I am just going to discuss the reviews I have been a participant in victim of.

In any internal review, judging the panel is easy. You know most of the faculty and have a fair idea of who wants to screw you, who wants to screw with you, who is bored sitting there and can’t wait to get out and who is genuinely interested in what you have done. The problem is, none of this matters one whit in the greater picture.

I shall now broadly outline each generic member of the review panel. Or at least the types I have come across.

The One who is Bored:

He has no idea why he is in the panel. He is hardly interested in judging you and would just as soon get out of the place but has no choice. The best way to deal with this member is to concentrate on him only if you don’t know the subject at all. Best comparison? This guy:

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If you genuinely know much about your project, there is no use concentrating on him since he will neither understand what you’re saying nor support you when the other jurors panel members pick on you.

The One who wants to screw with you:

This guy is the easiest to find out. He will ask you irrelevant questions in an accusing manner and more often than not, he is going to mark you well even though you answer like an idiot. He enjoys what he is doing and will sometimes give you nuggets of wisdom on how you can make improvements. Obviously, you must keep him on your side, listen to what he says and nod like he has a point (which he mostly does). An analogous meme would be this one:

good-guy-greg-quits-smoking

The One who Nitpicks:

This is the most useless member of the panel. He has no significant contribution to make to your review so, to save face, he will nitpick on the most inconsequential stuff. For instance, spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, not wearing the ID card, alignment problems in your report … and so on and so forth. I couldn’t find the perfect nitpicking meme but my friend suggested this and I guess it works.

asiandad

The best strategy to take with this guy is to let him say what he wants and agree with it. There is no use trying to tell him that such inconsequential things do not matter outside of his own frame of reference since he has no other frame of reference. Although, analogously,  if you can convince a hungry monkey that trying to solve math is more important than going for that delicious banana, you can take a shot with this guy. It will be worth it since you will take up the entire review session simply convincing him that your ID card photo faded because the intensity of the RFID tag reader in your library is always set too high.

The Clueless Interested Guy:

This is the best of all the members of the panel. He knows nothing but he will nod at whatever you say and give you the feeling that Confucius had never said something more wise. If you have some sort of fear in facing a panel or are intimidated by most people on the panel, this is the guy you must turn to. Say whatever you want to him, make it sound complicated, make sure he keeps nodding and appears interested and you’re golden. The others may ask you questions on what you say but for the time and effort you give him, this guy will mark you just because you kept eye contact with him when you spoke rather than with the more experienced panel members.

The One who is Genuinely Interested:

You have to tread careful with this guy. He knows everything about the subject and will more likely screw you than not if you’ve done something stupid. It is better to simply acquiesce to all the problems in your project when he points them out. He is sometimes the benchmark for all the other clueless members of the project panel. If he believes a project is good, you will score good marks with every person in the panel. If he thinks, it’s shit, accept it and try telling him why you *thought* it was good and how you were obviously wrong. If he has a heart, you’ll still make it through.

The One who wants to Screw You:

He is the worst of them all. The most dangerous of the panel members. He knows what you’re talking about and is looking for a fault. He acts as an amplifier and brings your faults to the fore for all the members to see. He starts seeing faults the minute you open your presentation. Rather than limiting them to the essentials in your project, he will influence the nitpicking guy by finding grammatical and spelling mistakes as well. If you’ve done something novel and done it perfectly, he will let it slide as though it is inconsequential. He is also the most dangerous to play with. Of course, the best meme is Scumbag Steve.

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You have to consider the whole panel and see how much they will be swayed by his opinions.

a) They are highly influenced by his opinions. You are officially screwed. TRY not to mention anything you have only a passing idea about. This guys knows all and sundry and he will try to screw you at a moment’s notice. So if whatever you are explaining is not your strong point, simply don’t bother. He will screw you in every which way and all you can hope is there isn’t much you’ll lose. If you are sure about what you’re saying, fight with all your might. Shout, rage, talk to him like he is a kid. Any strategy will work as long as you can convince him that he shouldn’t mess around with you in this subject. The other panel members will also be impressed if you’re able to keep your own against him. It all counts in your favour.

b) They are not all that influenced by his opinions. This is helpful. Simply listen to his question and maintain contact with each panel member when you answer. If he interferes, tell him you want to complete what you’re saying. Don’t be a complete idiot and say something so out of context that all the panel members get irritated and give you low marks. Maintain your cool and focus on impressing the others rather than this fellow.

Anatomy of my review

A little personal experience shall now follow.

It was a hot, sweltering day. They were waiting outside, preparing themselves for the inevitable doom. Today was D-day. The final review. The last night had been spent in perfecting the report and creating compellingly authentic fake codes whose sheer complexity, they hoped, would stun the panel into silence. There was little else to do but prepare themselves as well as they could. Reading and re-reading the report with an eye on the door of the conference room, they waited to see who’d be called next. One group had already gone in. The time allotted had been 30 minutes but it was well beyond that and they hadn’t come out.

Finally, they came out and told them they were the next group in. They all fist punched. It was time to rock the stage. They trooped inside and opened up the slide show. None of them was really sure *when* exactly the world came crashing down but at some point, it just did.

They had taken a good measure of every member of the panel. They knew most of them in person and all of them by face. There were 7 of them:

1) The useless fool. He never knew much about the subject but acted the true savant. A complete idiot, if there ever was one. He was notoriously infamous for how he could make you soporific and start doubting your existence with his sheer stupidity when taking classes. He’d want you to have an ID card with a tag. He would ask the most nutty questions but giving a calm answer would usually soothe him enough to mark you well.

2) The nut case. You could never impress him, try as you might. Unless his pre-conceived notion of you – based on warped real life standards like GPA and other such nonsense – was good, you might as well win the Nobel but you’ll never get good remarks from him.

3) The egg head. He was the real danger. He knew everything about your subject and was waiting to screw you. He also influenced the head of the panel and was going to pose the greatest problem since the panel head himself was quite clueless.

4) The panel head. Absolute sadistic moron. All he could do was laugh in your face while giving you the lowest marks. He was notorious for failing entire classes just because it pleased him. Sauron would have found an ally in this one. Unfortunately, he was heavily influenced by (3)’s opinions and (3) was all set upon impressing him in order to make his own agenda move forward. This was gonna be a tough one.

5) Unknown dude. They’d only heard of him once. Some genius in an unrelated field. Hopefully shouldn’t cause much problems for the other groups.

6) Another useless fool. Why was this guy even on the panel? Oh well. At least he will just stop with the laughing and not actually screw them. Besides, he hardly knew anything. What will he even screw them with?

7) Random lady. She’ll probably check the grammar and all that. It’s fine. Appease her with a few yes and no’s and you should be fine.

It all started with (3). That much they could remember. They had prepared an order for the slide presentation and all that. It was thrown out the window and things went haywire.

(3) and (4) were bent on screwing them. There was neither logic nor reason in what they argued.

You’ve used a high end tool .. Why didn’t you start from the scratch? You started from the scratch .. Why didn’t you use an already existing high end tool? This project is rubbish. You are cheating us. This is a term assignment, not a FYP. You took 6 months to do THIS?!? There should be a mathematical basis for your model .. How did you progress without one? nntool must NOT be used in projects!

Accusations flew left, right and center.

They were mind-numbed. They knew there would be opposition but this was an all out predator drone attack. Oh well. Nothing to do. Stand there and wait till they finish firing. Once they did, the panel head told them he was marking them for zero. Goddamn it. They should’ve argued. They shouldn’t have given in that easily. But what’s done was done.

They came out looking bedraggled. They were screwed and they knew it.

“Let’s go to canteen macha!”, said one of them and they pushed their ragging session into the darker recesses of their mind and moved on. As they always had.

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How to go unprepared for a Trekking trip 101

So, I thought I’d officially start the year with a bang and went for a trip to Ooty with friends from college. There were 16 of us and to keep it short – it was fun. But this isn’t about the trip as a whole.

This is about one particular aspect of the trip – trekking up a hill in almost completely uncharted territory. To be more precise, this is about how to go unprepared for said trip.

How to go unprepared for a Trekking trip

Aim: To make an itinerary of all the items that would be detrimental to a trekking trip and procedures to follow that would effectively endanger your life and those of others with you.

Apparatus Required:

1) Sandals with no traction – 1
2) Sprain in leg – 1 (Maximum of 2)
3) Cotton clothing for effectively letting the chill get to you
4) Foolhardiness – As much as possible

Procedure:

1) Start with letting your friends plan a trip. Initially, refuse to go along so that you’re absent from the planning sessions. When you agree to go along, make sure you forget the fact that a trekking trip has been planned.

2) Do not forget to act tough and not take any type of protective clothing even though you are going to a hill station and you know about it.

3) Make sure you don’t have enough sleep because you know sleeping on a bus with 15 friends (who talk themselves to high glory) is quite easy.

4) Start the trekking trip with minimal energy. This is essential to gathering the grit to go till the very top.

5) Remember to sprain your ankle a little on each leg so that it gets worse by the time you’re done.

6) Start the trek

7) Remember to keep your foolhardiness at max throttle and agree to move forward on unused slippery muddy pathways.

8) Take support from people on both sides of you. This way, you’ll feel safe that when you fall, you won’t be the only one going down.

9) Do not think about the way back and how much more difficult it is to stop yourself while slipping down the muddy pathways.

10) Reach the top. Stop for photos on the way when there is enough foliage to literally hide an elephant.

11) Start the trek downhill. This is the part where the fun starts.

12) Hold on to maximum number of people so that you can take everyone down when you go. For best effects, make sure the people on both your sides are light ones. This will help in bringing down the whole group a lot faster (Satti’s Weight Disproportionality Theorem).

13) Break a few toe nails so that you can feel the pain when you are trying not to slip.

14) A few thorns all over your body will also help. For good measure, make sure they’re poisonous.

15) Hope that the sprain in your ankle acts up to make your job all the tougher.

16) Get down and look at your feet. Mud should have crusted all over your nails (the ones that aren’t missing), mud over your pants and T Shirt(which should have been black for maximum effect).

17) Make sure you come back into your room with said filthy sandals and then realise the fact. Reminisce about the trip and write a blog post on the one part you think would not be all that boring to read.

Conclusion: To decrease your chances of coming back alive, do not go for a trekking trip with your head in the right place or traction in your footwear.

Of course, the trip on the whole was awesome. My sarcasm is directed wholly on myself and my stupidity for not being prepared for a trekking trip.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

So, there I was, sitting around, not knowing what to do after a recent bout of mugging up and vomiting (read – exams) when I thought I’d get back to my usual stuff and game a little. Although I have enough games in my hard disk to last a whole year in college and enough processor power to run most of them simultaneously, I have never been into gaming much.

Yes, my laptop is very powerful and I will boast as much as I want until some acquaintance of mine buys one to trounce it 😛

So, anyway, I looked through the selection and thought I’d divert a little from the FPS craze I was feeling and go for a very very very highly acclaimed and highly recommended game.

Yes, my first action adventure game in sometime. Batman: Arkham Asylum is a VERY good game. It may sound a little prejudiced on my part considering I’m a big fan of the Batman franchise as such (particularly after seeing the recent efforts by Christopher Nolan to bring it to the silver screen) but trust me, the game is actually pretty brilliant.

Au contraire to what I do with most FPS games, I have not the patience to either fight every mini boss battle a million times in order to win them nor sate my curiosity until I play hard enough to clear levels to let the story progress, that I play the game in the highest difficulty (Not a very concise sentence I know, but it should make perfect sense).

So what did I do? I played it in the easiest difficulty. That’s not to say I didn’t attempt the highest difficulty but since my mouse maneuverability is still in its infancy, I thought the better of it.

The game was, as I keep repeating, bahut awesome. As with all games, it had flaws. But that makes it a fun package (as most people keep saying for some reason).

Gameplay: Epic. No other word. Proper slightly super-human skills in the martial arts, use of batarangs, bat claws and all other apparel the batman usually takes with him on his nightly charades were an integral part of the game. The protagonist sprite felt, moved, looked and spoke like the Batman that I have come to associate with from comics and movies hereunto. I found the unlimited batarangs a little ridiculous but then, it makes the game a little more fun. The soft landing from any height thanks to his piezo electric cape makes the game a little more easy leading to lesser deaths.

What I did NOT like about the gameplay was the utter lack of perception of edges by the AI. What do I mean by that? In most games of this genre, when you reach the edge of say, a platform you’re standing on, the character does not walk into the void beyond if you keep pressing forward. He’d rather do nothing (most games), hang on a ledge (pop) or look down and show the player what’s below (assassin’s creed). In Batman: AA, the character just walks off a ledge. Of course, considering you have the bat claw and the cape to stop you from dying through such unfortunate mishaps and later feel stupid about it, its not that big a deal but I hated it.

The nice touches like the detective mode – in which he can follow trails using DNA data, chemical composition of the atmosphere (to its finest detail, down to the molecular orbital diagram of ethanol, which is admittedly not very tough to find online), fingerprint analysis and other things make the gameplay an awesome experience.

What I missed though was seeing bones broken when you hit the villains in the detective mode but I guess the new Mortal Kombat trailers have made me a spoilt kid 😀

Graphics: I’ve taken a healthy interest in graphics considering I’ve been studying video compression and OpenGL for some time now. The game uses the Unreal engine from what the credits show. The graphics are not extra ordinary. Some cases, they are downright cartoonish. The characters themselves seem well made but the environment, although rich in detail and very interactive in certain cases, does not have the feel of the other recent games I’ve played. As in, I can’t say its bad .. But I feel its definitely lacking in some way.

What really hit me about the graphics was the lighting. It was absolutely like nothing I’ve ever seen. It was, to be quite honest, very surreal but also looked very good..

See what I mean? I can assure you the light falling on these guys has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the lighting in the room. But, grant me this … It looks terrific.

I’m guessing though that the graphics requirements are quite minimal. I was able to run this and AC: Brotherhood simultaneously without loading the processor too much. I’m not able to express how stunned I was when I noticed that it hardly took any power from my CPU – which is important considering some games take a lot of my CPU power (at ~14 GHz, that’s a LOT of clock cycles).

Story: The highlight of ANY media in the batman franchise – movies, cartoons, comics etc is the story. For people like me, its the cinching factor. I mean .. You can have a lot of villains and a fair amount of fighting but when it comes to story, whether it be in movie or comic, I like to see something good.

Batman: AA does not disappoint. Although, I’d read the whole Knightfall series a mere five days before I started the game, I found the story as good as any comic. Though not as epic in scale as most comics are wont to do, it was still very good. The whole story is, as happens often, based on Jokers masterminded scheme to take over the Arkham Asylum. I will tell you no more.

The story was lacking at certain points though. But then, my expectations are high … I mean, it’s BATMAN!! 😀

Consensus: MUST PLAY!

PS: PLAY THE GAME AS SOON AS YOU FRICKIN CAN!

PPS: Batman Arkham City is due to be out soon. Trailer? Check this out.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

So, I finally convinced myself that FPS games aren’t all that bad after watching the whole frickin hostel going at it in multiplayer on Call of Duty 6.

To be honest, I’ve never been good with games that require the mouse. On a joystick, after a point of playing, it becomes flesh memory to press the right buttons. My mind says things like “kill that guy” and my hand will press the appropriate buttons. On a mouse, it’s a right pain trying desperately to keep the sensitivity at just the right level, A bigger pain is finding the right surface (book, piece of wooden plank, mouse pad, whatever) to keep the mouse on so that it doesn’t act weirdly.

But I can manage playing with a mouse specifically because using a mouse is something we all do day in and day out through our lives (right?). So, there I was, one hostel hunt for games later, sitting in my room with COD 4, 5, 6 and 7 all loaded and ready to install. I thought I’d start with 4 cos it was the game that started the epic-ness in the whole series.

I started the game in Veteran mode which the game very clearly told me I “will not survive”. How true it was. But first the game:

The game is addictive … And I mean addictive as bloody hell. In veteran mode, after Act 1, every checkpoint took me a minimum of 5 tries to cross. Around the end of Act 2, I was stuck in a VERY tight spot. As in, my tries had exceeded 20 or so and I still was nowhere close to having a clue as to how to cross that stage. So I thought I’d see how the people with COD clans fare in that level and gave it to a pro. He tried the first 2 times and couldn’t get through after which he pressed “Restart Level”. It reset the game back by some 18 checkpoints 😐 and frustrated me as hell when I tried to cross the first 4 of those.

So I took the cowardly path out and restarted the game in “Recruit” mode (read: supremely easy). Then, I got bored running through the same levels (albeit as considerably faster pace) and resorted to cheats *hangs head in shame*

I finished the game today evening. I can honestly tell you I LOVED the game.

I’m not a big fan of FPS .. I mean beyond CS, this is the first game that has captured my attention (No, I’ve never played Half Life 2). But I will tell you this – the game is bloody BRILLIANT. I hated Crysis 1 because there was too much story. I have a love/hate relationship with games like CS and Rainbow 6 because they have too less (Rainbow 6 is actually a Tom Clancy game but I still found it lacking back when it released). COD 4 gave me a perfect blend. The story was simple but provided solid gameplay hours (multiplied many folds considering I was playing in Veteran).

Halfway through the game, you keep switching between playing as Sargent Paul Jackson of the US Marine Corps and ‘Soap’ Mactavish of SAS \m/ . Then you switch to Captain Price of the SAS for a brief period of time. The story follows the accession to power of Khaled Al-Asad who kills some random president and takes power and then detonates a nuke (sadly killing Paul Jackson). The rest of the team trace him, his partners and Imran Zakhaev and kill/execute all of them.

What truly blew me away was this one particular mission when you don the role of Captain Price and move through tall grass in camouflage suits. It was TERRIFIC to say the least. I could not, at times, figure out where the other guy was before I spotted something that looked like a slightly taller strand of grass holding a camouflaged sniper rifle.

Consensus: MUST-PLAY. Epic Game. So awesome I read up on the history of CoD games here

PS: Started playing CoD 5 now – seems kinda drab after CoD4 but you’ll never know until you finish it 😉

Forgotten Sands: Must Forget!

So, absolute boredom and quite a bit of joblessness made me resolve to get back into gaming. This is the epic journey of a geek who went through possibly the worst game Ubisoft EVER made.

College is a wonderful place for people who love to game .. Unless MMOs are your forte. Games are in everyone’s hard disk. Just moving around 4 rooms in the hostel can net you at least 20 different games, each being a combination of different genres except for the FPS’ – which are mostly very alike but fun nonetheless.

So, I started moving around the hostel and after going to one room, I got Metro 2033, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Just Cause 2, Modern Warfare 1 and 2 and finally, the GOTY – Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands.

Ubisoft has been one of the best game making companies in my experience – probably after Rockstar Games and CodeMasters. I’ve played at least 5 of their games and they were mostly the same type – guy jumping around evading traps or whatever. However redundant it gets, it is still awesome.

Forgotten Sands, in my experience, was the WORST game I’ve ever played. Filled with glitches, bugs, stupid graphics problems and other nonsense which I can’t even start on, the game was hell to finish through. It took me 6 hours to finish a game that I could probably get through in less than 4 hours – sans the cutscenes maybe.

The game was FILLED with glitches. I thought this was because I had a cracked version from SKIDROW (NOT the band, no). Turns out the game is actually quite buggy .. the PC version of it at least.

From having doors that didn’t open to keys that didn’t work to graphics that kept getting messed up or downright missing from the place, it was a terrific experience and not something I’ll forget soon. My roommate had a good time laughing his head off each time I met up with one of these glitches and started trying to circumvent it by hook or crook. Finally, I resorted to downloading a bunch of saved games online and crossing levels which just could NOT be crossed.

Apart from that, the game itself had some levels which required a kind of mixed focus and for a guy more accustomed to a joystick, moving your hands around on the keys didn’t feel all that good 😐 .. but fact remains that they ARE quite challenging and I crossed all of them when I reduced my concentration level to zip and let my fingers do what they wanted. Yep, instinct actually helps.

Anyway, PLEASE give this game a miss. I cannot emphasise on how bad an experience it was. I got through it today and am sitting here talking to you. You may not be so lucky (I sound all dark and mysterious, I know). Also, tell anyone you know to give this game a miss or probably get the PS3 version which has fewer bugs reportedly.

Anyway,

The fun-nest days ever!

I’ve been meaning to write this for quite a while but a series of activities involving my full concentration (reading cracked, playing games etc) have deterred this task till today. But it gave me the opportunity to put up “J entry” as a task in the Astrid app in god-frickin-awesome phone (which I try to mention in every entry J )

Anyway, this week was one of the best ever. College life seems a lot more fun now. Unlike last semester, I’m a bit more active these days and move around with the “gang” a lot more than I used to. Anyway, all this started on this Sunday.

11/01/2010:

I woke up pretty late but found out that the guys were going out to eat. I presumed it was the Dhaba and followed considering that I really needed an outing and that they would not buy me any food if I asked for it. But surprise, surprise, they were planning on a trip to “That’s Y Food”! If I haven’t mentioned it till now, that is THE most awesome restaurant in all of Coimbatore and bookings are almost always full. But pre-booking for a set of 10 people is not something they can ignore and we were there at about 13:40 hours … A train ride and an auto ride later.

We ordered amazing food and had an even more amazing time. There were 10 of us exactly from what I remember – Shiva, Ajay, SM, Saksham, Sid, Amith, Sarath, Gautham, Yadhu and me. There was the fun we made of each other and going to that small bathroom in huge groups just to show the EEE gang (who were new to the place) the “10 Commandments” poster, meeting KG and some of the EIE and also the other buggers from CSE and EEE.

The Ten Commandments of using a toilet

I also had my first taste of chicken there. I know … It’s a HUGE deal, isn’t it? But then, I think Amith’s philosophy is the best – Try everything once … Experiences will take you a long way in life. We left after our meal – which came to about 200 bucks a head for filling us to the gills with food (I know … Plain awesome!) –, we went in different directions. That is to say, ECE went one way while EEE went the other. We had nothing to do so we went to Bonbon and ate some ice cream (instead of that melt-in-the-mouth mud soufflé or the newly discovered Ferrero Rocher Smoothie in That’s Y … I should try the latter the next time I go there).

We took an auto to the station after that and left by the 16:40 train to college. When we landed in college, we found the caravan of Amma going past the gates to take the freeway gate that we are not allowed to use. To fudge with that … All SM and I noticed was the white Mercedes she was travelling in and the RV that followed. Ah me … If only I could learn to preach philosophy in a convincing manner, life would be all the better.

But then, this was NOT the best part … That was the next day.

12/01/2010:

Monday – I hate this day of the week the most like every other guy. It has all the essential things which are needed to spoil the start of a week – boring lectures, lab and all that crap. But this Monday, things were going to be different.

The first period was Fuel Cells. If I haven’t mentioned this anywhere before, it is one of the 2 electives that our class was offered and I, along with every other fun guy in class, took this one. Since we share both electives with EIE, we have to go to their class while guys from EIE who took Electrochemistry – the other elective – have to come to our class. Fortunately for us, EIE people – who are the coolest on most counts in our college – thought that a Monday like this should not be wasted and went off for the Amma Darshan which our college was sponsoring transport to. So we were left early since there was no one left to take class for.

While we were loitering around in the corridor with our free period in hand, we made a group and discussed things out. We came to the awesome conclusion that we should go for that Amma Darshan and then go to the city for some fun. We asked permission from Kirthika ma’am (who is our class counsellor or advisor, I dunno which), who in turn asked the HOD and we got our permission. Yeah, that’s right … The whole frickin class was allowed to go for the Amma Darshan. We left without delay – or as little delay as possible by a college bus.

The fun started on the bus itself. When people like the ones in my class are put in one place, things get really, really awesome and to be sure, it did. We literally rocked the bus with all our singing and dancing and “koothu adichufying”. We sang all the way till we reached the Amma Darshan place.

Catchword - "TERROR"!

We un-boarded and went off into that place and registered our names. Then, we got together and planned to get out of there. But this time, the fun was supposed to be more since we were taking the girls along with us. We left via a small village road all the while checking if Joshi was around and escaped as safely as possible under the circumstances. Once on the city roads, we were left looking for means of transport and came up with the best we could … We hired three taxis and paid 200 bucks to each to leave us at the theatre. We reached there and booked tickets for the “Pyaar Impossible” movie. Then, after some convincing and a stint at Annapoorna for the veggies, all of us reached the Sampoorna hotel. The food wasn’t spectacular but we had fun with the others jabbing at Maheshwari and the Badugas (her ”tribe”) in general – until she got pissed off and they all stopped (Notice how I say “they” and not “we” and to be honest, it was getting extremely lame with every testosterone charged homo sapien trying to fight the other for attention and humour).

Then we went for the movie (where Shiva cleverly engineered the seating arrangements to his own needs) and I swear on god as we all thought … It was an IMPOSSIBLE movie. Absolute bull shit and a waste of probably crores of rupees, which could have been used for the betterment of mankind in general. It was a fiasco … in every sense of the word.

After the movie, we were in a dilemma as to where to go and the group came together for a discussion again. The proper decision was obvious to Abhiram; me and Pradeep didn’t care too much. So, while these buggers were trying to act all corporate-decision-making-stereotyped-awesome-alpha-males, Pradeep and I did the wise thing and went off to have a Coke :D. The group of around 22 – Abhi, Amith, Aparna, Archana, Arun, Devika, Keerthika, Maheshwari, Neelima, Haareeth, Pradeep, Sharath, Sathyaraj, Shiva, Shruthi, Sukanya, Unnimaya, Abhinaya, Varsha, some woman whose name I never learnt, Archana C.K and myself – finally came to the decision that we should take a taxi back to that Nallampalayam place where the Darshan was going on and catch a late bus from there back to college so that we can skip the next day. We went walking till Baskin and Robbins where some of us bought some ice creams and took a group photo and we boarded the taxis back to Nallampalayam.

Sprite + Vanilla FTW

In Nallampalayam, after some roaming around, all of us got together and sat at a some kind of a congregation for almost an hour and enjoyed ourselves making fun of each other and trying to be awesome for the girls (yeah, me too! 😛 … Though I would say all I had was an epic phail). This sitting around was probably the most awesome thing we did all evening. It really was fun and we took loadsa photos.

Group Comedy

After some time sitting around lazily, we met EEE gang who had come along at about 20:30 or so. After that, we got back to sitting again when this idiotic nut of a teacher came and called the girls for some plate washing. Now, I did vehemently revolt against this because Mahi was looking for support but I tell you this – I did not like it. I mean … Forget the fact that they called only girls for it – Amrita is a gender biased institution for all it otherwise is but they made the students do it. I mean … There are some hundreds of devotees who eat there and if each could wash his own damn plate, there would be no need to call the university girls for such a demeaning job (fuck the proverb which says that no job is demeaning … washing plates without being paid for is very, very disgraceful). Unfortunately, while almost all the girls escaped, Devika and Aparna could not and had to wash some plates.

We, meanwhile, moved to safer places like the playground at the back. There, we had lots more fun climbing those tower like structures and taking photos of people on the top.

3 Idiots ... on a tree.

That, apart from having photos taken by the people at the top.

We were dispersed though, thanks to the appearance of the demonic nemesis of every student at Amrita and a direct, real-life counterpart of the Viru Sahasrabuddhe a.k.a Virus character in the 3 idiots movie – the one, the only, the asshole : Joshi! After that, the group somehow never got together again. We roamed all over the place and the girls decided to leave by the bus at 23:00 or so. After some thought, sathyaraj, arun and abhiram decided to go with them. This effectively meant Amith, Pradeep, Shiva, the EEE gang and myself were left over. We caught ourselves some empty seats at the extreme back end of the auditorium along with a small horde of mosquitoes and talked for a while and drank LMN.

13/01/2010:

At about midnight, we decided to have a walk. Some were willing and some were not so finally, Amith, pradeep, gautham, shiva and me went for the walk along the same village road we had used to leave the place with the girls earlier that day. We reached the main road and again, since we were jobless as usual, took a photo in front of a shutter-closed shop using ingenious techniques of combining flash lights from 2 separate cameras to get a photo in one of them.

Xtreme flashzzz yo!

We had Amrita buses coming and going that way and had lots of fun turning away from the head lights which were hitting us in the face to avoid any form of recognition. The funniest in this regard was Gautham who went “Hood” and put on his hood every time a bus came round the street corner.

After some time, we started the walk back to the darshan place when another wave of lunacy struck us and we put on the “kodana kodi” song and danced to the “oooooo ….” track in the middle of the frickin road under a bright street light. Yes, we are abso-effin-lutely crazy and we are proud of it for the same reason J. Oh btw, we did that twice. We walked back to the darshan place after that.

We were mainly waiting for a performance by Nitin and team. But that got delayed due to a dance by the Baduga people until it was 3 in the morning when they started. I tried taking videos of it as Nitin wanted me to but one fiasco after another, I had epic phail in doing it.

We caught a bus at around 4:30 in the morning and reached the hostel (after a troublesome head light popped off) at about 5:15. We had had more than enough fun where I was concerned. I was so tired that it took me 20 minutes in bed to get some sleep. Kiran tried talking to me but I really wasn’t up to it so I told him to shut up and sleep.

I fell unconscious, I guess. It seems the  3 of them tried waking me up but I just wouldn’t budge and woke up and told them to get lost in their face. Classes were cancelled anyway so it didn’t really matter. But the 6th and 7th hours were there and we attended them. After that was Varsha and Dhanyas treat in the canteen with some limited menu and another buncha photos.

It takes very little food to get everyone together

On the whole, it was an almost unforgettable 24+hours and I lived every moment of it.

At the moment, I’m back at home and have already watched Sherlock Holmes 😀 .. but that later!