Monday, May 28, 2007

The trek that was never to be

Some people are blessed with enviable mesmerising and convincing skills. Try as much as you can, you are forced to toe their lines. And it doesn' t require a formal education or a degree from a business school. I would like to label my driver as one such crafty and scheming person.
For the uninitiated, i have been living in nainital for more than a year now i.e ofcourse when i get a break from iit. Fot the even more uninitiated, in other words dimwits, Nainital is a hill station in the state of Uttaranchal..err..Uttarakhand. For the lesser dimwits, there are places in and around Nainital which are even better than Nainital.
So getting back to my driver- he is bitten by the sometimes very irritating 'travel bug'. People who are itching for an opportunity to travel. The kind who will even jump at the chance to buy a toothpaste. But the catch would be that he should be allowed to travel to the most uninhabited corner of Nainital and locate a shop there. The typical sturdy villager of Kumaon who has spent most of his life 'upping and downing' the majestic hills of Nainital. And God knows how, but he was living under this false illusion that i am the typical hectic jumping jack types- his perfect companion for the roads less travelled. Getting back to his skills, he firstly hypnotised my mother into sending me out with him to a trip of Bhawali ( i am not sure if thats the way its spelled in english) and Mukteshwar. These are places around Nainital which are at much higher altitudes than Nainital. We set out inside our car without any eating hamper to go with. This is going to turn out to be very important later on. He has a very simple straighforward driving principle. 'Drive as fast as you can. The serpentine roads of Nainital are so treacherous that any driver worth his salt is extremely careful. So why should he bother ?' So normally when it takes others 1 hour to reach Bhawali, we were there in 45 minutes sharp. Then came the shocker. We were going to trek. Me and trekking ? I tried reasoning out with him but in vain. He was already there with the necessary paraphernalia and claimed that he was related in blood to Tenzing Norkay. I knew he was lying and yet i was convinced. The mountain in front of me resembled a gargantuan orang utan ready to feast on my meat. It was densely covered with pine trees. Strange thoughts started cropping up. What if i get lost ? I will have to survive eating the yucky tasteless looking pine cones when i am a die hard non veggie. The fact that i had recently watched 'The Hills Have Eyes' didn't help my cause. Then came the gut wrenching shocker. He started drawing out ropes. My eyes popped out of my sockets. He was going to indulge in rock climbing. That sounded the death knell for my trekking bravado. I had had enough. I left him to God's mercy and told him that i would meet him at the top of the hill. Very slowly i steered the car up the slopes and reached the top via road. He was already there flashing the happy dent smile. The sight from there was awe inspiring. I know this is getting tad too longish. But i cannot stop before i have talked about this tree. We were blessed by the sight of the tree right at the top of the mountain.This tree, as the natives claim, has ridiculously incredible medicinal properties. But the best part was they said it was the baap of viagra. My driver couldn't agree more. And there was no immediate way to verify the claim.The scenery around was breathtaking. Only Kashmir might be better. I drank in all that like a heady wine. And then i drank a cup of tea in the kind of tea stall that every bollywood movie associates with a hill station. Something was written on one of the walls of the tea stall. Closer inspection revealed 'Bhoot ka hai apna ghar. Mujhko toh lagta hai darr'. Why the hell did i have to read this? I got goosebumps. Not because of the cold. We left the place in a hurry. Hot steamed food and worried parents waited me. The smart driver again managed to convince them that i had the best travel experience of my life. More action to follow but in later posts.
For records' sake here goes my driver

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tempus Fugit

Tempus Fugit or Time flies ! It sure does. And nowhere does time fly faster than inside a college.May be in a school. There will be enough people who will readily take up this debate but i am in no mood to spark off a debate on my blog. May be later. But not now.
Four years of stay at IIT are now officially over. Unofficially i already hold the BTech degree. One more year and i would be a postgrad-the so called advantage of being a dual degree student. Another debatable issue which should be mentally filed for future reference. Four years down the line and some things have changed drastically and irreverisbly. A lots of familiar faces are gone for ever. Not that i miss them much- those left behind more than compensate. What awaits is one year of a princely existence. No classes. Absolutely nothing. A dual degree project carrying abnormally high credits to keep you occupied. What this ends up doing is it affords you infinite time to retrospect, introspect and circumspect- not necessarily the last one and not necessarily in that order. But like every other civilised beast i must retrospect and more importantly blog about it. What went wrong during my 4 years stay at IIT ? Academically ? Everything. Almost that is. I screwed up my acads badly- its very voguish these days to make such a statement. You are considered a cool-dude-who-doesn't-give-this-world-a-damn. So much so that even 8 point someones love to make such grand statements. Before you start growling,barking and woofing, i must point out that there are also many honourable exceptions to this phenomenon where people are actually proud of their academic assets. To get back to the point, i have 'screwed' up my acads in the truest sense of the word. And I DO feel bad about it specially as the job season inches closer.
I didn't do a zilch on the sports scene. And I DO NOT feel bad about it. Simply put, i am not cut out for any sporting activity. I did play quite a lot. But that was the kind which does not lead to your CV enhancement. Cricket in the wing- i prided myself as a bowler. People called me Nainital Express because they got great kicks out of it. Bowling was the preferred option- not because i can do magic with the red cherry- the dirty yellow tennis wala in my case. But because it ensured you were not hit below the belt in that ungentlemanly format of the gentleman's game where the motto simply is 'Aim for the crotch. Everything else is an illusion'. Anything that was played in the wing had me involved as an active player-sometimes even as the sutradhar. The moment the scene shifted to anywhere but the wing, i was reduced to being a mute spectator. I did grumble and made few noises but then who gives a damn.
Dramatics was something that i always wanted to do. Did a few typical dram roles while in school. The kind where you walk all dressed up as a sainik (Not the Balasaheb version) - just one component of a large entourage that moved with the Rajah on the stage. Just to earn my one minute of fame. The blink-and-you-miss appearance where the only people interested in you are your doting parents. In IIT, i stayed away from dramatics considering it to be a sacred bastion-the one reserved for the real talents.I envy those who are good at dramatics. So i hardly envy a few in the institute. That sums it up all.
Did a lil bit of debating and a lil bit of creative writing here and there just for the heck of it-also cos it leads to resume enhancement.
I must have done lots of other things. Ok atleast, a few other things. But age is fast catching up. My memory is failing me. Another fashionable statement. To be honest, its late into the night or very early in the morning depending on which side of the divide your sleeping habit falls. Its 4:30 am.More updates of a demented mind will follow.But for now, its bon nuit. So long and thanks for all the fishes !!