Monday, 25 October 2010

AUTOmatic….for the people

Now it takes all sorts of auto wallahs to make a world. From the James bond ishtiyle auto driver, to the venerably mustachioed auto uncle, who dropped you home from school in the evenings, and secretly smuggled weed to the senior students. However, the auto drivers in this city, are, to put it mildly, a class apart. No, maybe that was too mild. The auto drivers in this city are freaking weird. Well, what else would you be if you chew through twenty packets of gutkha a day?

But the auto drivers here, at least they’re smart(er). I have been a victim to their smartness. And while I have publicized the rather salacious tale of the one auto driver who was so pleased at giving a pretty girl a ride, he couldn’t stop talking about it…this tale is slightly different. And it does not feature a girl. I know, I know…but it is interesting.

So, it all happened the day before yesterday when I got off at the unholiest of stations in the country, Varanasi Cantt. Me, and three of my friends got off the train, and did what you would instinctively do after getting off the train. We shriveled our noses in disgust. And, following that, we looked for an auto driver. Strangely though, the plethora of options that are normally available were, in this case, reduce to absolutely none. And as a matter of fact, this, rather coincidentally, was equivalent to the amount of luck that we were having…absolutely none.

So, after a night of facing an irritated Bihari uncle, defending a young girl and her mother, and watching a fat guy almost get punched in the face(yes, my train journeys are ALWAYS eventful) I had to contend with some fruitless hunting for an auto.

And just like in National Geographic, I hadn’t gone far when the solution confronted me. Now, the solution was in the form of a scrubby, rather bedraggled looking fellow. What in Charles Dickens novels would be called a ragamuffin, and in Arundhati Roy novels a tatterdemalion. Thankfully, as I am not a big fan of either, and find both somewhat pretentious and overbearing, I will directly get to the point. The point being this idiot had the audacity to demand 120 rupees for the ride from the station to our respective hostels.
When we asked him if we had stupid written all over our faces, he just gave an indifferent shrug, and spat into a corner. And bargaining was to no avail either. The guy said the rates were decided and more importantly “sarkari”. After the CWG disaster of 2010, this term has come to signify activities that are disdainful and pathetic, and I asked him angrily if that meant that Mayavati herself decided the rates.
So, we decided to find another, and while his price of Rs 100 was not exorbitant, it wasn’t exactly bargain basement either. But the auto ride was smooth and uneventful. And so secure were we in our little cocoons of self absorbance, we failed to realize just when the driver stopped, and rather rudely, asked us to get out. At the gate. At LANKA.
After it had sunk in(took around 15 seconds for me), we were flabbergasted. And words could not explain our dumbfoundedness. We aksed him what the hell this was? What sort of game did he think he was playing? Above all, if this was BHU, wtf was Lanka? And, hypothetically, if anyone says BHU, I mean anyone…does he wish to be dropped off at Lanka? Wouldn’t he have said Lanka then?

But our driver was cool as the proverbial cucumber, and told us, in a tone that implied f off, more than anything, that BHU means the BHU gate, and if we wanted to go inside, we should have specified INSIDE BHU, nothing more nothing less.

And as we gritted our teeth, and paid him his 100 bucks, I realized we had learned an important life lesson today. BE SPECIFIC. Or carry a gun. Whichever suits you best.

Ubiquitous Couples, and Ludicrous Aphorisms that you couldn’t do without

They’re EVERYWHERE!! You really can’t set foot outside your hostel without running into one of these. And, very soon, they’re going to take over the world. Yes…I’m talking about stray dogs. The scary ones, with big teeth , no Little Red Riding Hood reference here, that would rather rip into your throat than wag their tails at you. Also, the stupid ones that find it really convenient to leave their mark uncomfortably close to your room. And their mark inevitably consists of a giant, smelly piece of…you get the picture.

But, another species, in our college at least, is fast approaching the terrifying numbers of the strays. That would be what the title is all about. And, yes, if your tubelight needs a new capacitor(engineering jokes are soo lame), I am, in fact talking about couples.
See, a couple, in our college at least, has an intelligence quotient where the whole, is much less than the sum of its parts. What happens is that you take a really smart guy(NOT the smarty waala smart, no, I mean intelligent),and a really smart girl, and voila, you have a really dumb couple.

The bounds of their stupidity would really astound you, if you were at all interested in it. And most of the time, you are. Its human nature. Girls love it, because it gives them new fodder for gossip, and a generally warm feeling about their own intelligence vis a vis the poor girl half of the couple. They think..Ha Ha..there’s no way I could be thaaat stupid… And that’s right before..they’re all over youtube belly dancing to some awful song called didi..

And, just yesterday, I found this really nice couple, whispering sweet nothings to each other, and generally indulging in what the MNS/RSS would call bloody indecent behaviour, under a tree, by the side of a busy road, in front of a professor’s house. Presumably they wanted privacy. So they stayed that way for a half hour, before zipping off. Presumably, to find another busy road or professor’s house, or something.

But really, most couples are ostentatiously garrulous, and rather obscene, and this, in a not so subtle way, is just to make you feel bad about yourself. And, well, why not. They are, so obviously, better than you. And have every right to enjoy it, while it lasts.
And well, just like the guy who married a Chinese girl, and when she died within a year, shrugged his shoulders and said…well, she was Chinese…how long did you expect her to last? Couples, in our college at least, have an alarming tendency to be rather.. ephemeral. They would be like the faint jet engine white trail that we used to stare at when we were kids (admit it..you still do..). They’re pretty while they last, and then just fade out. And , of course, in the Great Indian tradition, don’t ever speak to each other, ever again.

No, but really, what would the world be like without couples? We wouldn’t have the highly armed and extremely volatile, and very effective division of the police..called the moral police. We wouldn’t have any torque. And we wouldn’t have anything to make us hang our heads in shame and wonder, What in hell is wrong with me…oh, yeah,err.. right. But, above all, we wouldn’t have any juicy gossip and rather apocryphal news. Not to mention verbose articles extolling their virtues.

Monday, 18 October 2010

CATegorised in InIMitabIlITy

"The problem with this world is that the stupid are cocksure...and the intelligent full of doubt"

--Bertrand Russell

You know when a post starts off with a two line quote, it sure as hell won't be about the weather, or a five item list in futility. And while these chunky keys on the keyboard of my home desktop(god, its like a derogatory term these days)aren't really suited to typing, this post isn't about that shit either. So, patient reader, you might be tempted to ask, what shit is it about then? And for the smartasses among you who can actually read capitals, you might be wondering, is this another stupid IIT post again?

You would most certainly not be wrong.

Why do people spend most of the formative years pf their lives studying for the JEE and the CAT? Is it because of the bragging rights, the fame, the glory, the cahnce to quantitatively measure the heights of their own intelligence(and ego). I don't know for sure. However, if I may be so insouciant, I DO know one thing for sure... its because of the money. Almost all human actions, save for a few basic ones, are a direct outcome of money.

Hell, if people were paid 10 lacs p.a. to sweep streets they'd have a fucking JEE for that too. Now we all know the education system in our country is vapid waste. What we also know, (in no small part due to my earlier posts) is that it WORKS. Like hell. Its the only thing Indians are world class at. Mindless imitation. And while there is a reverse stigma associated with being an IIT or IIM graduate, it is most definitely, because of the money, and not in spite of it.

We are the people who INVENTED class divisions. We still have slave labour. We are still the only country with a GDP of more than a trillion US dollars...and a per capita income of less than a 1000 USD. or if you fancy the rather meaningless rupee sign(its just an R in Devnagiri..not like the dollar..which is a whole different concept), it means that most people in India suvive below Rs. 20 a day. Which, by the time most people reach the IIT/M that they've been daydreaming about, wouldn't even offend their sensibilities.

However, what they should be doing, is running the country. Education gives you power. And, it should give you courage, and conviction. That's what education used to be, before it was mindlessly perverted by the policy making bureaucrats who run it. Now, its just about pay packages, and cost to company, and enterpreneurship. So, you see, empathy is not rewarded, neither is innovation,neither is conscience. What is advisable, is to make money, save money, and get out..while you have your health intact.

The world rewards selfishness, not to mention corruption, the Commonwealth games are a sad reminder. And you would be moronic to think that there would be any change to that, anytime soon. But, what's really respectable, is someone, who, would be able to look beyond an IIT/M education. And focus on the real issues, and try and create that change. And to remember, the epitome of change is conscience, not a CAT score.

True leadership is not an euphimism for an IIM alumni. Its the ability to create change. No one should be defined by the numbers they generate. Only by the people they influence.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Herd Mentality...and raucous tatterdemalions


Okay...so I'm really sorry to be away for so long. I mean really. But writing a blog is like giving birth to a baby...videotaping it, and putting it on youtube. What happens is, when you get a good idea, there are all sorts of problems that come up. Like, an anvil drops on your head.. Or Bugs Bunny decides to take that left turn at Alberquerque, thus disrupting the space time continuum.. or you have a proxy server capable of tunneling HTTP and not HTTPS, in order to prevent you from using any site that needs secure login verification, like blogger, for example, but we wont go into specifics.

But none of that matters right now. I'm back. And what triggered this, rather delayed call to action, was the behaviour, in loco, of a rather obfuscate, en masse. Which kindof means I saw loads of people get up to some really stupid shit. And, yes, I will elaborate, and yes it will be a list of 5 things that you may or may not be interested in. Why am i soo predictable? You try writing a 100 blogs...in the same tedious style, and you would be too.. :P (Shouts out to Devil...and thanks for giving me a really entertaining..and very clueless night). But the reason, why human beings, in general, have surpassed every other living species, despite being considerably stupider than at least 3 of them, is the same reason why you stand in line at the ATM, or watch the India-Australia cricket match...yes, its simply because everyone else is doing it.

Here are some examples of crowd behaviour gone horribly wrong:

1.People panicking because there's waay too many people getting off the train(Indian Railways mahaan) for people to get in...and willing to jump on top of people's heads just to get in. Getting to Danapur is appropriate justification to risk your life, for some people

2.The Kumbh Mela. That's it. Enough Said.

3.Pandal hoppers caught in a fire in the middle of Ashtami. They're so thankful for the distraction, they wouldn't mind the searing flames.

4.Going to class on a holiday. It only happens because you see other people going. And yet others would only go, if they see you going...and the chain goes on. Doesn't matter if its a national holiday..or even below freezing point, or an earthquake in progress.

5.Watching Cricket. You only do it so that others don't think you're a complete dweeb at the water cooler the next day.

No, but really, its difficult to come up with a rational excuse for doing the things that we do, because of the herd mentality. And while there are many names for it..peer pressure, imitation, queen bee, OCD, Tourette's Syndrome...what remains fact is what we do. Is just to make sure we're like everyone else..