Category Archives: Clarifications

Older and, hopefully, wiser

I’m not going to use any gimmicks in this post. No protracted sentences. No loquaciousness. No references only understandable to certain people. It will just be my attempt at simple, straight, hard facts.

I have often complained of how life throws shit in my face. Whined in wangst at fate and the tortures it puts me through. And I did nothing about it.

A mining analogy:

We are all digging for gold, diamonds and other gems (ideological and literal) to enrich our lives. And some of us happen to hit a drainage pipe and end up with a pile of shit in our beloved gold mines. I am one of these people. People try to assist you out of this (in this analogy, literal, but otherwise metaphorical) shithole. And I was no different. Except that I didn’t use them to get out. Rather, I almost pulled them in.

Now, I’m through.

If I whine again, shoot me.

It is time for action.

But first… A few words which I have to make known public.

The people I knew while I wrote this blog over the past 4 years have defined this era of my life. An era that is reaching its end. And they deserve my thanks. I will not hide any details, by the way. If anyone here would like me to; say so and I will give you my id and password for WordPress. Knock yourselves out.

First, and most important:

Monisha Vemavarapu: Venom, SuperMon and a million sobriquets. No one has influenced me as much as she. Currently in London on an exchange program, she is dating a large, oafish, somewhat paranoid, whiny, self-obsessed and neurotic nutbag. I feel that she perhaps deserves better; but she’s a wiser judge of such things than I am. No one I have ever known has ever evolved so much so quickly. When I first was re-acquainted with her, she was a wild, kranti-kari, ultra-modernist pseudo-hippie. She is now one of the most level-headed determined and pragmatically intelligent people I know. I will be frank: When I first met her, both online and in person, I felt I was the superior individual. But I must now concede this title to her. She has proven herself to be a most fascinating person and one who accepts a random destiny with an élan that I wish I possessed. Monisha is one of those people who you just know will not fade quietly into the night, and will leave a mark on the world. I find my vocabulary failing me in my attempts to describe how happy I am to have known, and know, this singularly unique individual. I sincerely hope that we will never become strangers through providence or (more likely) some ridiculous action of mine.

Nimish Batra: After working at Infosys Technologies in Bangalore, Nimish is now pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Florida. Nimish’s jesting misanthropy was what really resulted in our ever becoming friends. We shared in our fandom for Douglas Adams, I introduced him to Radiohead, and he introduced me to Monty Python. But in our protracted one-downmanship contests, (held periodically over the internet, the telephone and in person) I believe I learnt a lot. And perhaps too much. I appreciate and respect him for a lot of things, but I must say that what applies to me in a large measure applies to you too… Stop whining. Shut up and live. The thing about Nimish that few people get is that he is a genuinely warm-hearted person. Try visiting his home in South Ex, and be amazed at the hospitality shown by him and his family. One part of his brain has the capacity to make him do what’s necessary and drag him across the finish line while the other part is kicking and screaming. As long as that former part dominates the latter, he has nothing to worry about. Genuinely.

Dinesh Kapur: Decay is currently working in Gurgaon for a sustainable ventures firm whose name I can never remember, but it starts with a W. (edit: WinRock! It’s WinRock!) His George Best old-school footballing skills are no longer useful to him in the modern game much like my Karl Marx old-school thinking skills are of no use to me in the modern world. As I’ve often said; this man is a kindred spirit. We’re almost alter-egos of each other. Decay is someone who I can trust to understand my point of view on a matter, usually because he’s been there before. Like Monisha, Dinesh is someone who I feel is destined for far bigger things in life than he can possibly see now. And like Monisha, is an individual in possession of far too many talents, such that it looks unfair to the rest of us.

Anupam Guha: After a successful stint at the Georgia Institute of Technology (where he completed a 2-year Master’s course in a year with a perfect 4.0 CGPA), Guha is currently in Ahmadabad, working for a company that pays him to essentially be their poster-boy. His relationship with Anupama (who I’ve never met properly) was much joked about (my contribution was the idea for “Anupam (1+a)” wedding cards) in college. Oddly enough, it appears to be highly likely that theirs’ will be the first marriage of a friend that I will be a guest of. The conversations on every topic under and beyond the sun were, and still remain, much appreciated. Even the ones where we vehemently disagree. And his conviction to “save” me and show me that humanity is worth saving might just pay off. The path of the wannabe Bushido-ist is fraught with many perils, I joked of him. Well it appears that he intends on making these words an eerie prophecy. Much like a Katana, he has forged his tamahagane worldviews by repeatedly putting it through fire, folding it and beating the shit of it. And that’s why Guha will probably end up as that rarest species of all: A happy, intelligent man who is satisfied with his life and the world he is living in. Or we’ll embark on our plan for revolution. He’ll be Trotsky, I’ll be Stalin… Minus the backstabbing, of course.

Ashwin Murali: After half a year of working 80-90 hour weeks at Citibank, he’s now at his palatial penthouse in Nasik preparing for a second MBA. Ashwin’s greatest trait as a friend has been his ability to listen to me constantly abuse, demote, shout at, vilify and generally insult him for over 3 years with a patient nod and that irritatingly reassuring stupid smile. He set me off on a tangential path in my worldview, for which I still hate him by the way, but it might perhaps lead to a better future. You better hope it does bro.

Akhil Garg: Working at Accenture in Hyderabad, his tryst with the Alagappa family continues as my sister was his HR rep as a trainee. We have both learnt, very late, that we weren’t as bad roommates to have as we thought. Perhaps immaturity came between what could’ve been a far more rewarding friendship for us.

Swati, Priya and Ankur: Swati is working with Wipro in Bangalore while Priya is doing her Master’s at the University of Sussex, I believe. Ankur is doing his Master’s at IIT Kharagpur. I drove you guys away from me in a fit of madness and have regretted that decision since. My yet unfinished college life would have been far better if I had not done that.

Nitesh Bhasin: The entrepreneur and fellow backlogger. We really dump on you more than you deserve. The fact remains that if you hadn’t taken the effort of befriending me in IP University that day, I wouldn’t have gotten to know a lot of the people mentioned here. You’ll either end up in jail or in Forbes. Have fun in Vegas.

M.V. Harish: Another man at Georgia Tech, here’s to perpetuating the “crazy Telugu mofo” image with me. Keep it real with the brothas in the hood in Atlanta. We’ll meet up in a gun shop or seedy beer bar someday.

Many others ought to feature in this list, but I feel it has become so sappy, your monitors might have started leaking already; so wait for another epiphany and moment of emo-ness.

Seriously, I have so many epiphanies; it’s hard to tell which ones are genuine.

Oh, and I almost to mention… This post formally ends this blog. There will be no more posting on Chaosverse any longer. Frankly, I would like some order. Unpredictability and randomness are, as always, welcome; but I’ve had it with the chaos.

I would like to delete this blog, but perhaps will save it. Someday, the people mentioned in this post will look back and this and other posts and laugh at the naivety, stupidity, folly, and immaturity on display.

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New Decade. Old Problems.

I guess it’s fascinating, looking at this blog. Apart from the obvious exercise in narcissism, it provides a unique insight into how much things have changed or have remained static over a considerable period of time. I started this blog in August 2005. It’s almost been 5 years now. I have gone from being a guy stuck in a KV, both fearful of his future and yet wildly optimistic at the same time to someone in a college he morbidly despises who seems to have ruined almost any chance he had of making a name for himself.

I cleared the written exam for the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (hereafter referred to as TIFR). I shall abandon humility and say that I feel it’s a bloody noteworthy achievement. A guy who’s had as horrid a B.Tech experience as me isn’t expected to be the in 1 in 500 to clear a grueling entrance exam for India’s premier graduate school for Physics. TIFR offers the best Ph.D faculty, research options, library and stipend in India. That’s right, Ph.D. I beat people with Master’s degrees from the various IITs to get in here. Natansh might wonder why I’m blowing my own horn so much, but he’s already cleared a way more difficult national-level entrance exam. But it’ll probably amount to nothing. No way I can clear the interview. Not with all my baggage.

I qualified for the final round of the Young Sociologist of the Year Competition in Bangalore. In fact, I got my TIFR result barely a week after returning from Bangalore where I presented a Sociology paper. Met many interesting people. Virgil, who eventually won. Michael, who’s quip about how even the worst neighborhoods of San Diego are nowhere nearly as filthy as Koramangala (one of Bangalore’s more posh areas) and even the girls from Miranda House and Ferguson College who kept throwing wary glances at me as if they expected my to pounce on them at any moment. (Seriously, do I look like a rapist?)

I didn’t attend college for nearly 3 semesters in a row and in my last 2 years have missed more exams than I have given. Hence TIFR remains a dream that will not be realized. Not this year, at least.

2010 promises to be a defining year. It will be unforgettable, I can guarantee that. Whether I will want to relive these memories or erase them forever, they will haunt me.

This blog has really been an integral part of my identity throughout college. Be it my hormonally challenged posts that were evidently about Monisha (there! I said it!) or attempts at pseudo-intellectual candor, I always picked the worst time to write them. Which, I guess has been the defining trait of my life c.2005-2010. It has been a period of terrible decisions and bad timing. Thoughts that struggle to find meaning and ideas that come and go quicker than I can say, “Get me a pen and some paper!” The humor, the edge is gone because the confidence that is so necessary to drive it is n ruins. The arrogance you see is over-compensation for a feeling of inadequacy and it’s a vicious cycle. Confidence shatters, arrogant shell built. Arrogance causes problems, causes greater loss of confidence that breeds more arrogance. You get the rest.

Well, the decisions are no longer mine to take, are they? Perhaps my life follows a Seldon Plan. Or it’s just seldom planned. I wait and do nothing until I reach a crisis that affects my very existence and there exists only one course of action to take. So if my childhood was the Encyclopedia stage, perhaps the Salvor Hardin within me will soon find his services necessary. (To those who don’t get what I’m talking about here, I’m heavily referencing Isaac Asimov’s classic ‘Foundation’ saga).

And always remember, Don’t Panic.

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Download Diary

I utterly despise the practice of alliterative phrases as titles. There is something fundamentally stupid about it. I mean, when I see an alliterative title I instantly assume that what layeth b’fore mine eyes is a chick-lit novel written by some NRI about the trials and tribulations of a teenage girl with orthodox Punjabi parents living in Brixton or Chelsea or Bedford or some such place. Apparently the only decently good novel in this genre is Meera Syal’s ‘Anita and Me’, whose title, please note, is not alliterative. So, eugh! Horrible title, but I can’t copy someone, who incidentally vouched for the decently good-like nature of ‘Anita and Me’, and title my post “Bah! I hate naming ‘me posts!” So, British Punjabi chick-lit title it is.

Anyhoo, this post is an appeal. In the words of David Gilmour and Roger Waters, “Hello… (Hello, hello)? Is there anybody in there?” Or rather, OUT there. I am sick of nobody reading my blog. I don’t write for myself. I write for recognition. For criticism and extravagant praise. For comparisons to Wodehouse and Shelley and Bacon and Shakespeare and Raymond Chandler and Sidney Sheldon. (Okay, maybe not him!) Or to have my writing blown to bits by comparing it to Chetan Bhagat and Jeffrey Archer and Sidney Sheldon (that’s his rightful place!) and John Grisham and Dan Brown (please! I’m not THAT bad, am I?). Well, I shall again quote another band I partially appreciate to explain the nature of my appeal.

Maybe it’s just something I can’t admit but lately,
I feel like I don’t give a shit.
Motivation such an aggravation,
Accusations don’t know how to take them.
Inspiration’s getting hard to fake it.
Concentration’s never hard to break it.

Basically, I don’t feel like writing stuff I’d normally write about. Even that paper I was planning to write is suffering from a massive problem which can be summarized quite succinctly as: where/how the fuck do I start?

So, to kick-start my writing habit, I ask you fair readers to comment more often. Even a “Lol!” will suffice… for the moment. And now to the tit…ular.

I am in the process of downloading the following movies:

  • Brazil. Directed by Monty Python’s very own Terry Gilliam, it apparently stars fellow Python Michael Palin. A supposed dystopian science-fiction parody, it is ‘1984’ made in 1984 by someone who didn’t read ‘1984’. Download time left: Will take a day, methinks.
  • Slumdog Millionaire. I usually hate movies about India made by the good folks of Hollywoodland. They stick to stereotypes and pass that off as a “gritty and realistic portrayal of India’s…<insert what the movie deals with here>”. Left to them, all of us can’t speak in English without our heads bobbing and always do so in high-pitched nasal tones, every guy is a rag-picker, every girl is a prostitute and we all live in Dharvi. But apparently this movie doesn’t stick to that line. It’s by Danny Boyle, who made ‘Trainspotting’ – a movie I liked. And AR’s winning quite a number of prestigious awards for his score. He picked up a Golden Globe nomination; last time I heard. Too bad no-one gives a flying fuck about those awards. Downloading… 3 hours left.
  • Frost/Nixon. Now, Ron Howard scares me. It’s not just that he actually knew The Fonz… he made A Beautiful Mind. Great flick and all, but realism was slaughtered for making it more cinematically appealing. I’ve always felt his movies’ primary objective is to win Oscars. Downloading… 23 hours.
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The quiz circuit is a good place to pick up cinema recommendations. Worst place for music recommendations, though. Anyway, there were questions about this Woody Allen movie at quizzes at IIT Delhi and Kanpur. Plus, it does have pretty nifty sounding title. Let’s hope it’s not a chick flick from a pederast. What’s a… pederast, Harish? Shut the fuck up, Donny. Downloading… 14 hours.
  • There’re also some “so-bad-they’re-good” flicks I’m planning to get. Showgirls, Freddy Got Fingered, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Gunda, Jaani Dushman.

I like posts which have very little to do with the title. The title is not completely irrelevant, just very irrelevant.

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Either I’m really stupid or…

Stupidity is the new “IN” thing. Apparently there’s a war against the very values that have made the world the wonderful place it can be. (Reason, Logic, Rational thinking, Scientific analysis). Spent some time going through wikipedia articles about various religions, cults, sects and things that claim to be none of the above but are absolutely indistinguishable.

Now, I can imagine the flak I would’ve recieved about this post if anyone actually read my goddam blog. Which is another thing that pisses me off. Why can’t I tell the Emperor that he’s naked? Look at him! He’s not wearing anything!

What pisses me off is how I am expected to treat ALL ideas at par. Which, of course, is utterly impossible. What I fear is a day when a school exam paper will be marked not on the basis of whether or not you are right (which is how it should be…) or whether or not you memeorized and repeated, without understanding, the requisite syllabus (which is how it is now…) but, and this is worse than the current state of affairs, they will marked equally. In a nutshell, you should not thrust your right answer on people as they have their right to be wrong, but should not discriminated against because they are wrong. To summarize the summary: All answers are correct, you intolerant arrogant prick!

We expected the internet and cell phones and the “communications revolution” of the past decade or so would make the world a better place. All that’s happened is we have more than a million (more like a billion) monkeys banging away at keyboards, PDAs, GPRS-enabled cellphones and screaming hysterically into webcams and yet I cannot see anything that resembles: 

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer/The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,/And by opposing end them? — To die, to sleep, —

What we do have are, people who say things like “There are 7 chakras in the soul which using the power of magnetism can be aligned to combine with the earth’s magnetic field and unleash hidden power in the soul of the individual”. Gee, wow! And we are to respect their views. Respect my authoritah to tell you this:

“We believe in equality for everybody and tolerance and all that gay stuff; but dude, fuck you” ~ Stan Marsh

The best bit is that the people I know who believe in this shit the most were guys who used scored above 90% in their 10th and 12th boards. It’s us late70s, early 80s (percentage marks, not the era) bastards who acknowledge that Science Works. Science is the answer.

There’s no point, really. Me expressing not a personal view, but something that has been verified either by the process of scientific testing or by the fact that it’s happened every pico-second (0.0000000000001 seconds) for the last 15 billion years (473040000000000000 seconds) is being on different degrees: intolerant, an asshole, a smartass, judgemental (…)

This rant will continue. Right now, I have the strange ineffable feeling that someone’s standing behind my right shoulder and that very bad things are going to happen to me.

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Pwn maadi

i keep the wolf from the door
but he calls me up
calls me on the phone
tells me all the ways that he’s gonna mess me up
steal all my children
if i don’t pay the ransom
but i’ll never see him again
if i squeal to the cops

In my case, it’s a Punjabi Infosissy. But this bit of xenophobic (sarcastic, perhaps. but I really don’t care) stupidity shall not go undocumented!

Scene: A phone call. Delhi-ite in Bangalore to a Bangalorean/Hyderabadi in Delhi.

TBB: I’m addicted to ghee roasts! All I eat everyday are ghee roasts!

THF: YOU BASTARD! You complain about eating ghee roasts all the time when I have to survive on chole kulcha! I spit me ‘zem all, ‘zis North Indian cuisine of yours.

TBB: Chole Kulcha at that place in South-Ex is better than Ghee Roasts anyday!

THF: A likely answer! Try something different, then.

TBB: Like what?

THF: Try Bisi Bele Bath. It’s one of my favorites.

TBB: What?

THF: Bisi Bele Bath.

TBB: What the fuck is that?

THF: Bisi = hot. Bele = dal. Bath = rice. It’s really good, trust me.

*silence*

TBB: You’re trying to get me beaten up, aren’t you? You think by making me ask for something in Kannad (with punjabi accent) or Tamil whose meaning I don’t understand, you can get me beaten up or laughed at or both. Well, guess again! I’m sticking to my ghee roasts! If I wanted “hot dal rice”, I would fall sick. I only eat “hot dal rice” when I’m sick.

THF: Bravo. *clap… clap… clap*

By the way, since you put all your trust in human beings… here you go.

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THE BIG “G”.

Ladies and Gentlemen: This is an official announcement which I have tried my very best to avoid, but circumstances are such that I am left with no option but to speak out. There’s a big rumor doing the rounds and it’s about time I put an end to it. Not just because it isn’t true, but mostly because I get bugged by the looks of incredible surprise, shock, horror, awe and downright bewilderment I get from people who believe it. Mostly.

I am not really “committed”. I do not have “a girl” (or “a boy”, for that matter). I’m as single as they come, if not more. The committed status, along with the rest of my orkut profile, is a big old (except for the profile bit) joke. I will no longer entertain questions that go like, “Hey, how’s your girl?” et cetera.

For those not in the loop, the correct rumor is that there exists out there, a female homo sapiens sapiens who is romantically infatuated with me. Ha! Ha!! Ha!!!

Since we quantum-geeks work with probability, I better factor in for the one in a three hundred million chance that the rumor is true.

So, I give you a list that deserves its place amongst the hallowed pages of Cosmopolitan magazine! I present to you, ladies and ladies alone…

Statutory warnings to anyone who wants to be “my girl”:

Warning! Harish Alagappa is…

  • Prone to mood swings.
  • A disgusting sight to look at.
  • A bad singer
  • A bad poet (“if you think my poetry’s bad, my prose is verse”)
  • A bad dancer
  • A man who doesn’t like clubbing/disco-type parties, with the loud music and flashy lights and people crowding the dance floor swinging sweaty filled arms, stinking up the air and polluting the atmosphere which weakens the ozone layer, allowing a greater amount of harmful ultra-violet radiation to enter giving everybody skin cancer with the spores and the itching and burning and miserable pain!
  • Prone to droning on and on about matters that have no relevance to the topic at hand.
  • BOOOOORINGG!!!!
  • Atheist
  • Anarchist
  • Deficient on moral fiber
  • Poor (Middle-Class, actually)
  • Incapable of playing any musical instrument
  • A forgetter of birthdays, anniversaries, names, faces, clothes you wore, hairstyles and all that jazz
  • An anti-social, reclusive, introvert nutcase.
  • A bad judge of fashion
  • A man who despises shopping for anything except books.
  • A nobody. If fame is an aphrodisiac… I’m an impotency drug.
  • An uncivilized brute who lacks table and other manners.
  • As opposed to being a suave, sophisticated toast of society… (should I hyperlink you?) an unsophisticated, un-suave cold turkey of society.
  • A pedantic hyper-intellectual who simultaneously criticizes and arrogantly justifies his own nature.
  • Trying to be Zaphod Beeblebrox, but ending up like Marvin.

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