Category Archives: Ideas

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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The 22-year old kid…

Adolescence is a funny time in anyone’s life. It’s the metaphorical bridge between childhood and adulthood. Unfortunately, it’s a rickety old bridge above a deep gorge with a lot of missing bits of wood in between and a strong wind shaking it quite fiercely. Negotiating this bridge is not an easy task. If you’re wondering why I’m talking about puberty (usually experienced between the ages of 12-18) at the age of 22, you probably haven’t heard another one of my pseudo-psychological theories yet. (Actually, can you call something pseudo-psychological? Isn’t most of psychology a pseudoscience anyhow?)

Listen:

Most people start puberty at the ages of 11-14. In guys; their balls drop, their Adam’s apple starts to stick out, their voice becomes deeper, and they are kicked in their newly dropped balls by an unrelenting, all-consuming and frankly, maddening, sexual appetite. Porn replaces cartoons and girls take the place of sports heroes. Physically, it’s a tumultuous time. I was fortunate enough to suffer through this unpleasant process early and quickly. By the time I was 15; I was 6 feet tall and had a voice that boomed over the squeaks of my peers.

Unfortunately, this phase in human development has another, far more diabolical purpose. It is during this time that most people are expected to acquaint themselves with the intricacies of that most inexplicable phenomenon: Social Interaction. The rules of the game are never told to us. We are left fumbling about in the dark trying to figure them out ourselves and most people succeed – though success in this matter depends on your immediate social group, where you are, who you are and the culture you’re living in. People either become followers of mainstream culture or counter-culture or counter-mainstream counter-culture and so on. Some people became leaders in their peer group, while others became followers. But by the time you entered college; you knew the rules quite well.

By the time you were 18, you had made and lost friends many times over. You had made BFFs and Frenemies. You had “a gang,” so to speak. That gang is simply your social circle. The people you hung out with during recess and lunch and after school. Whom you met up with on Saturday mornings to indulge in whatever group activities you indulged in. On whose birthdays you bought gifts and went for parties. You had your first experiences with romantic infatuations. You had crushes. Asked girls/guys out or were asked out. Had fledgling school romances or, if you were in Bethany High, full-fledged sexual relationships with little emotional contact. (This was brought to my attention by people who would go, “You’re from Bethany? Awesome! I’ve heard the girls there are complete sluts!” and I would go, “Really? Wish I knew them!”). Basically, by 18, and definitely by 22; the rules of social interaction are known to you.

Well…

I was never a friendly kid. I was shy. Very shy. If it wasn’t for my height or unusual build or propensity to pick fights with teachers, I would’ve easily passed under most radars. Instead, I was treated with a mixture of infamy and indifference. People knew me. But no-one befriended me. And this isn’t a sad story of the lonely duckling and studly swan. This was my world and I liked it. I didn’t have a social group, but I had a few seniors from school who were my quizzing teammates with whom I’d play football in the evening and discuss politics and music and sport. But I was sort of a guest member. I never went to their homes or their birthday parties. And I didn’t feel bad about it. “You guys aren’t playing football today?” “Nah, we’re going to XYZ’s birthday party” “Right, tomorrow then.” They wouldn’t call me their friend, but they were probably the closest I ever had to friends.

Delhi was no different. 2 years in KV. Heckled, hazed and ridiculed; I didn’t make any friends in school here. I didn’t care. There were things happening at home that occupied most of my mind.

Then I came to college. I was surrounded by people whose emotional quotient far outstripped mine. And here, I finally made a friend or two. It took me time. People started calling me at home when they were bored and would talk to me for an hour or so! I ended up with my own personal team of clowns to entertain and annoy me at home (my roommates). I started talking to girls. Yes, before I was 18, I never spoke to girls. I thought it was evident.

This. These few years here, have been my puberty. I’m a child living in a world of adults. And I’m lost. I need a crash course. I need to learn the rules. Apparently I can’t go with the trial and error method you guys had the luxury of experimenting with when you were 13, because it doesn’t work with 22 year-olds. I don’t know who my friends are and who merely count as acquaintances. I don’t know anything about dealing with people. Or dealing with groups of people. I feel intimidated by them and so I plug in an mp3 player.

In conclusion, I would appreciate someone tutoring me to get my emotional age up to speed with my physical age. I’m told I’m a quick learner.

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Prufung

(No reference to the DCE Quiz. And I’m sorry I missed Panache, had far more urgent appointments that day. Sounds like ’twas this major quizzing party replete with all the geekery one would expect at these events.)

Yeah, it’s those things again! Don’t… bother… asking…

Thought quite a bit yesterday. About having opinions. About being a “fundamentalist intellectual” or “an asshole with half a brian cell”. I said a lot. Remember it, but won’t repeat it here. Let’s just put it this way:

There is truth. By its very definition, it is absolute. But the “right” thing or the “cool” thing to do is acknowledge that there can be various truths for various people. This funda can only be applied in certain areas. (I may say that the statement: “Pete Sampras is a better Tennis player than Roger Federer” is true. Some might disagree and say it is false.) These are areas where there is no actual truth. There’s a word for such areas, but as it’s quite late and Ich Haben Einen Deutsch Prufung tomorrow; I guess my mind is being vague rather than precise. So it goes. But for someone to tell me that, “So? He believes 2+2=5! What’s the big deal! Who are you to say that 2+2=4?” is… so fucked up that I can’t say it any other way except that is UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY FUCKED!

And yet, this exactly what is happening everywhere. 

It doesn’t matter. Nothing does. 

I may be paranoid, but not an android. 

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Moods: My Man

To people who aren’t from this Athe-forsaken land full of elephants, snakes, snake-charmers, call centers and cheap bombs; or people who’re just too prudish to watch certain ads on TV… the title is a reference to this.

The actual post has nothing to do with sex, safe sex, contraceptives and the usage of contraceptives while having sex. Nope. It’s just that I’m feeling unusual.

Life isn’t supposed to resemble humanity’s views on the cosmos. But mine does.

In ancient times, I believed I was the center of the universe. My life was centered on ME and everything else revolved around it. I wasn’t exactly your manipulative, self-centered and obsessed “BUT WHAT ABOUT ME?” male version of the bitches from VH1’s ‘My Super Sweet Sixteen’. I was more of the apathetic, self-centered and obsessed “You do what you want and leave me alone” proto-Goth kid. And I believed that my personality had edges. Go too far and I’ll fall into an infinite void of… something. I never knew what. I still don’t know what.

Now, however, I’ve realized that though I’m finite as a person (DAMN!), I have no boundaries. Which is cool. But… I’ve also moved from the center of the universe. A new occupant has arrived there and I’m merely revolving around the new object at the center. And this… I do not like.

It looks like the last week or so was more of a binary star scenario. Maybe. Maybe not.

And that leads me to Alan Guth’s Inflationary Model of the Universe. Perhaps all of our lives work in that way. A Big Bang, a period of large-scale inflation which results in the formation of a more or less static looking universe. You only realize that the universe is expanding from careful observation and the only consequence of this expansion is that things that were close to each other within the universe early on move farther and farther away and the farther they are, the faster the move away.

I would fit Stephen Hawking’s No Boundary Proposal into this collection of meaningless rambling trash, but I don’t want to scare my loyal readership with the prospect of imaginary time is what is, in actuality, real and what we call real time is a figment of our collective subconscious imagination and a life whose only boundary condition is that it has no boundary. Instead…

When John Archibald Wheeler (who was, apart from one of the best physicists of the 20th century, also RPF’s doctoral thesis adviser) named stars which have collapsed such that not even electromagnetic radiation can escape their gravitational pull as “Black Holes” (another suggested name was “Dark Stars”), the French were repulsed as they believed this title held quite a few sexual connotations. When he further showed how all solutions of the Einstein-Maxwell Equations of General Relativity that result in a black hole are completely characterized by three parameters: mass, electric charge and angular momentum and described this theorem as “Black Holes Have No Hair”… them Frenchies were vindicated. Like anyone else gave a fuck.

Hmmm… I guess I’ll just do an MBA.

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Silence! I Want To Hear Silence!

The title is a quote from one of my middle-school teachers. Ah! What noble and gifted souls are those who have been allocated the responsibility of enlightening the young ones of our nation. And the consequences of such an “education” is what this post is about. I’m not going to say a lot because my mind has not been working very well of late. Just view the photographs, and if you cannot read Hindi… I guess you’re kind of lucky.

In other news… Ram Guha’s ‘The Last Liberal’ was freaking amazing. This man is now officially one of my favorite authors and is still the reigning ‘Best Indian Author in English’. Will probably buy ‘India After Gandhi’ after all, regardless of how expensive it is.

And J.M.Roberts’ ‘History of the World’ is… well… it’s well-researched, sort of well-written, concise and academically quite good. But I feel, and this is a personal opinion, that the book is full of negative undertones. There’s white supremacy: his exhortations as to how the first major civilisation in the world, The Sumerians, were Caucasians and how it reached it’s zenith under Caucasians is kind of, excessive. Even if the Sumerians were Caucasian, it really doesn’t deserve the amount of attention he gives it. There are also quite a few sexist undertones along with a lot of pro-Europe bias. But, I might be wrong. This isn’t my area, I don’t know anything about history to actually form any opinion to counter Roberts and so there is a very high possibility that what all these negative undercurrents are just me interpreting his book in ways I shouldn’t.

Anyway, I’m with the folks again. Can’t wait to get back to Delhi. And if this post has invalidated DK’s last comment, it’s because while typing this… I can hear Butters singing What What (In The Butt) . Trey Parker. Matt Stone. Thank You!

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Engineers? Who? Where?

My summer training has supposedly been in progress for the last month. In this time, we have had to go to college 18 times. And today, we had our first lecture. Did someone say farce?

The people who gave these lectures noted the utter and complete lack of interest, dedication, motivation and attention amongst the students present, so they droned on for barely more than an hour each. The weird bit was… these were perhaps the first lectures in my two years at this here “college” where I actually felt we were learning something close to what an engineer ought to know. Did someone say charade?

The 40-minute FEM lecture was conducted by a man who claimed to have a Master’s degree from IIT-Roorkee and Fellowships from Universities in Italy and Greece. I guess he did, because his accent had equal traces of all these three places. Did someone say mockery?

Semi-knowledgeable though they were, all our guest lecturers were united in their commitment to making one, grotesque mistake. They kept referring to us as ‘Engineers’. Whathafuck? ME? An Engineer? HAH! Did someone say satire?

In a series of events that is probably related to the gist of the above-mentioned (which has been written in a manner that clearly shows my bloc hasn’t gone anywhere and now I’m wondering if I ought to write at ALL…), I’m now rekindling my interest in subjects I had speculatively wanted to make a career in of when I was young. Stuff like Anthropology, Paleontology, Ancient History, Philosophy etc. Did someone say burlesque?

Did someone say absolutely anything at all?

 

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Do Looks Matter?

This time it’s Redoable Lite.

Awaiting further reactions.

And as for ME:

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