Friday, September 29, 2006

Touch me, I'm sick !

A couple of cones more than what my system can handle, a couple of more than necessary treats for me, a couple of more than than the usual night outs, a couple of more than necessary assignments for my sparrow brain and a couple of days of getting wet in the usual Mumbaiyya weather.This deadly combination of factors, all going against me at the same time, is what lands me at the unwelcoming IIT Hospital (btw, which hospital is welcoming?) for possibly the gazzilionth instant. My love and hate relationship with the IIT hospi has been going on for what now seems ages and the saga simply refuses to die down. So there i was ! Perched on the typically-hospital-white-bench patiently waiting for my turn outside the doc's chamber. Not every soul looked ill. Most were like me - invisibly ill. Didn't shave for quite some days which actually made me look forlorn and not quite fit. My chance came after around 20 minutes of peaceful wait. I entered and sat facing the doctor. I always manage to find the same doctor whenever i land up at the IIT hospital despite there being around six doctors there. So even before she could shoot her first question; boom! there goes my answer
Me - 55 Kgs (Had checked my wait at the delhi railway station before embarking on my journey from Delhi to Mumbai. It showed 54 Kgs. So i calculated that the mess food must have done wonders and i must have gained a kg - nothing more and nothing less)
Doc - And thats your weight?
Me- Smilingly nod my head ( what else on this earth could that be ?)
Doc - Have you been smoking excessively over the last few days ?
Me - No! Infact , i just forgot, i don't smoke at all!
Doc - Is this the result of an affair gone all wrong ?
Me - No doc! Not at all.
Doc - Then give me an acceptable reason for your almost underweight status.( A cunning questioning smile lightening up her visage)
Me(mumbling under my breath) - Is it not something that you should figure out?
Doc - What?
Me - Nothing (followed by a wry smile that came with the involuntary twitching of my facial muscles)
She then gives up the pretence of being genuinely interested in her patient's health and gets on with her usual business. Gets me to open my mouth as big as it gets, then doesn't even bother looking inside. Uses the stetho as any other doctor does. Checks my pulse. Advices against eating too much oily food.
Doc- Then i guess this is just the common cold + fever that afflicts people with the changes in weather. Mumbai's not been treating you well then.
Doc- You want to go for a blood test.
Me - No! Thank you!
Me - Another wry smile managed albeit with lesser difficulty.
Doc - I have prescribed you a few medicines. Take them as per the routine. Come back in two days . Should be hale and hearty by then. "But then something must be ".... just trails off leaving me imagining the worst.
Me - Thanks a lot mam!
Prescription in hand,I drag myself to the dispensary. The service here is quick. I get a few tablets of Uni Cold tablets, scary yellow amoxycillin capsules and the most stinking and nauseating cough syrup that comes without a name - in a not properly disposed off chhota bisleri bottle. And then, there is my mom's never-worked-recipe of B Complex capsules which are supposedly energising and invigorating. The same combination of medicines that have been prescribed to me with clockwork regularity during my "now what has become ritualistic" visits to the IIT hospi ( how much we love that term!!). The same combination (with possibly an altered permutation) is omnipotent or apparently is. Be it body ache, toothache, tummy tantrums, cough, cold, malaria or anything - the IIT hospi has the proven and tested one single formula. And for some extraterrestrial reasons - it has always worked ! And i wager a bet that it will work again. For those more curious about my mecca .. have look!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

we BANK upon YOU !

I am very sure a lot of you , infact all of you, must have undergone the kind of trauma and torture which i am about to narrate right now. The kind of story that you must have heard one too many so that it sounds obsolete and all. Yet all this simply cannot dissuade me from pouring out my feelings on my blog. Afterall, its my blog :p

So the scene is IIT Powai SBI branch. One of my lectures got over early and there were around 20 minutes to go before the next one started. With too many people bullying and coaxing me as a daily ritual to return the money i owed to them, i decided to pay a visit to the bank. "Just get over with this life of penury and insult" being the driving force behind my taking this arduous journey on my ageing, creaking and squeaking bike (synonym for a bicycle) now on the verge of calling it quits. The guard at the entrance didn't even bother giving me a sidelong glance as he was quite busy ogling at the others "more interesting". Saying what i saw inside was discouraging, would be a moderation. It seems this is one elusive Mumbai bank where half the populace banks. There was utter chaos with the sea of humanity inside really unnerving. Perfect scene of unity amidst diversity. People owing allegiance to all religions, dialects, shapes, sizes, geometries, generations, genders were there. Nobody seemed interested in anybody. There were mothers with children and children with mothers. I also joined one of the serpentine queues that was on the verge of spilling out of the entrance. The guy infront of me was making really amazing faces at God-knows-who. Work was going on at a tardy pace. In the defence of SBI, it should be mentioned that this branch is entirely (wo)manned by an all ladies brigade - almost that is ! So the slow(another moderation) banking is understandable with the argumentative indian woman at her best. So there were the prolonged tea breaks where the ladies, still at their counters, chatted about how their kids were faring/screwing up. Why were they planning a move to uptown Colaba and why the banks should try cutting down the number of working hours. Munnabhai, Bala Thackeray's disappearance from the news and believe it or not, Pope Benedict - they all formed part of the not-so-mundane conversations that kept hitting your ears hard - really HARD ! I swear i haven't made up any of these divine conversations. Ofcourse, in between there were some traces of ill humored banking as well. It was almost an hour before i finally managed to reach within a stone's throw of the lady at the counter. Alas ! i didn't have a stone. At this moment Lady Luck (or what i thought she was) smiled upon me. The entire queue in front of me, for reasons inexplicable, performed a vanishing act. I was going to experience the once in a lifetime moment of being-there-done-that. Rejuvenated and seeing all my dreams materialising, I galloped and reached for the counter. The lady was busy knitting a sweater - a sweater for Mumbai's sweaty weather. One look from her made me jittery and nervous. "God!! what have i done ??" I wasn't expecting a scorching or lascivious look from her. But then neither was i prepared for the disgustingly disdainful glance i got from her. Too embarrased, i ventured to ask the peon (of the male variety) and was rudley told " Connection failure! Bhagwaan jaane kab wapis ayega! Kal aao".
Been there and not done that. A class missed and an explanation that would not go down well with the money lenders. I am back to my room hoping against hope that tomorrow is better.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Post examination blues :(

What man proposes God disposes ! There is so much indigestible and stinking truth in this lets-call-it-hypothesis. And somehow HE has ensured that every man learns this lesson the hardest way possible. Murphy was in this sense a genius. He elevated himself to God's plane of thinking and came up with the now too much used/heard/written Murphy's Law. "If something has to go wrong it certainly will!". The sardonic law which choses the most unexpected moments to establish its identity. I guess the almost morose tone which this posting of mine has taken right from the beginning, must have provided you ample hints about the shape this post of mine is going to take. Another heart beating, gut wrenching, self pitying, full of shades of mediocrity posting in the offer? Unfortunately, you are bang on target.
But then its not my fault. Somehow things don't seem to be willing to go along as per my wish - not atleast this semester. How else can you explain the vicissitudes of Mumbai's weather? As long as the midsemester exams were on, the weather Gods were smiling on Mumbai showering all their love and affection in bountiful. Clear skies with the sun shining in all its possible pristine glory. Shining and yet not hot - just the optimal warmth a normal person desires and the kind of warmth that an examinee doesn't give a damn about. Do exams and weather have any correlation ? Its perfectly allright till about 4pm in the evening on Friday. Then clouds - dark and threatening, start looming over the horizon. By the time its 4:30 and midsems have somehow crawled away, it starts to drizzle. Wow !! we are all so delighted. The weather is going to be perfect for another post inconsequential-midsems outing. Ideas come thick and fast. Lets go trekking (am dead set against this and somehow manage to get it khatched). Munnabhai ?? This finds the maximum takers. Treat (the scary kinds where nobody treats anybody) at all the possible nooks and corners of Mumbai are discussed.I propose Juhu beach. The idea generates scorns and contorted faces. Enough hints to convey that nobody is really interested. Meanwhile it has already started raining cats and dogs. The dark clouds have become darker (for the want of a better word) and then the darkest one can imagine. All ideas get trashed. Now even getting back to the totally unwelcoming confines of our rooms becomes a tough ask. For me its going to be a Herculean task as my hostel is in the remotest corner of the institute ( No! hostels aren't allotted on the basis of merit and all. Pure luck or the lack of it dictates allottment). The others quickly slip away leaving me to fend for myself. I cycle as fast as a Lance Armstrong inspired amateur can. Rain Gods decide to have a laugh at my expense. Totally drenched, i am back to my room. Cribbing and complaining to almost anybody in sight. My comp meanwhile choses this as the opportune moment to play the truant. Even the last hope evaporates - i hit the bed all soaked and wet. It rains the whole night I wake up early to another wet saturday morning. The weather Gods do not relent the whole day. So even a saturday is washed off .. condemned to life inside the room with a devilish comp for company. And the omens are not really good. Guess i am in for another sunday, bloody sunday.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Examination blues

I had decided against posting on my blog for this week atleast. With exams going on i didn't want to end up getting bugged by pangs of moral conscience. The kind that probes much deeper into a form of guilt that is much more difficult to understand- existential guilt. But even new habits don't die that easy. Unable to resist the creative juices that start flowing whenever i am in the midst of an examination season - i am back to blogging. Haven't given much thought to any corny topic over the weekend, so i am changing track and talking about exams - my tribute to the dreaded "muggai" period that last aeons in a student's life. Here are three real life believers on the ideology of we-mug-only during-exams. Result is that such people end up getting together and brainstorming over a cup of divinely tasteless and watery coffee. Putting up an unusual night out. A night out with a difference - they are delving into their courses. The pathetic state of "study room" and the more pathetic and disshevelled state of the room owners will give you enough indication of how much midnight oil has been burnt.
Why even half an hour, where yours truly is trying to work out a solution to overcome the ordeal of having to sit through the excruciating two hours period inside the examination hall, becomes so demanding. Ideas like bunking the exams and squeezing out a medical certi from the hospital gets summarily rejected. Fishing out previous years question papers is too taxing a job . Cheating doesn't get discussed because the biggest problem that would surface is "who helps who?".The other two disinterested fellas meanwhile look skywards/ceilingwards seeking the never materialising divine intervention. An hour or so is what it takes for the realisation to dawn upon the now enlightened men - the realisation that the course content is a goliath in front of the three davids. Now putting any semblance of an effort would be in vain. The three then sit together taking a solemn vow -"Enough of fooling around with acads and screwing up our lives. We shall get organised from the next time onwards". Feeling totally drained out, its time for canteen. The three make a royal exit from the temporarily created study room - We shall overcome, we shall overcome - some day! That someday .....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Those were the days ...

Continuing with my "deprivation series", here is another posting of mine that dwells upon deprivation. Again, its the kind of posting which will make sense only to those who have lived a similar "deprived" childhood. According to the official statistics, more than 85% of India's population has experienced such a childhood of "want and deprivation". Since i am too bugged myself ( examination blues making me all jittery and nervous) to play any guessing game over here, i kill the suspense. I am talking about the kind of childhood spent in homes where satellite television made a real late foray. By late i mean not until 2000 AD. So you can easily arrive at the number of years (approximate that is ) of my life which have been spent living in what can be well and truly called "television's stone age". This in turn means that i had my more than fair share of "Krishi Darshan" looking at the clock waiting for the next program in the pipeline - mostly it used to be the still-going-strong Chitrahaar. Doordarshan inculcates in you loads of patience. Krishi Darshan was only one of those several mediums used by Doordarshan to this end. The inevitable and excruciatingly agonising brakes in the form of compulsory transmission of proceedings of the parliaments that used to come in between the live telecast of cricket matches tested your patience to the limits. Almost everyone (just tell me one person who actually bothered watching these parliamentary proceedings in all its gory details ? ) prayed that somehow one of the parliamentarians would go crazy creating a ruckus leading to an early closure of parliament's session. Quite often, our prayers were answered. Then more often than not, Doordarshan ran short of soaps and ended up with a retelecast (or reretelcast or even rereretelecast) of the same soap ( deliberately keeping it short of "opera"). Then there was this higly irritable World Of Sports where all you ended up watching was a kabaddi/kho kho match between two unheard colleges of some unheard university based in some unheard corner of Haryana. When you really ran into luck, you would be treated to the live telecast of a durand cup match between Mohun Bagan andMohameddan Sporting Club.
After enough of venting out my spleen on Dordarshan, i must also heap deserving praises and shower accolades on DD for the unforgivables that it has delivered with not quite clockwork regularity. Who can forget Ramayana or Mahabharata when the roads became deserted - a performance that captivated the imaginations of old and young alike. "Byomkesh Bakshi" was no less than Sherlock Holmes and then there were those a-bit-corny-but-still-entertaining Tehkikaat and the still going strong Shaktimaan. Added to it were the absolutely amazing and awesome tele adaptations of the equally wonderful short stories written by the likes of Anton Chekhov ( how can one who has grown up on DD forget Chekhov ki Duniya ?? ) and O Henry. And DD deserves a big big thanks for never letting the K factor dictate terms in this world of crass commercialisation. All said and done, i must point out that i have moved away from those days of yore and now subsist on the dose of programs dished out by my new dish connection. But DD has its own place of pride in my schedule; that is when i get to switch on the idiot box.