It’s Regular

Well there You have it. This is it. This is the end of the road with them. My final Theory paper with my College is finished and with just the practicals left to complete, there isn’t much to go back to. Unfortunately, this is the end of the road for my Bachelor Engineering Days. But without a tear in my eye, I want to point out to one last incident which happened today and which, no matter what memories I may forget about my life in college, I shall never forget (partly coz I am blogging about it 😀 ).

When we give our Semester papers, the pages are provided by Panjab University (PU) and it has their seal and a long set of information which we have to fill up in order that they can attach a ghost roll number instead of the original one(mine) so that the person marking the sheets has no bias against any student. This system is long extinct now, with PU now expecting colleges to check the papers internally so as to save them paperwork. However, the sheets are still used like in the old days.

Now here are the details which one has to fill up on these sheets:

Name – Name of Student
Roll Number – Roll Number of Student
Subject – Subject whose paper is to be written
Paper – The Subject Code
Language – The Language in which the paper is written
Date – Date of appearance
Option

As you have noticed, I have not given the use of the Option Field. That is because I never knew it. Even today I did the same thing I have been doing since the past four years, I crossed out the field to denote that it is not applicable.

But today, TODAY of all the days in the last 1461 days of my life in college, the Invigilator, while signing the paper, said to me – “It’s Regular.”

I enquired, “What’s Regular Ma’am?” and she replied, with nothing more than a simple glance as though it were a fairly common thing, “It’s regular, the Option Field has to be marked Regular. See you’re not giving the paper as a re-appear are you? So it’s a regular paper. That’s what you have to write there.” With this, she moved on to the next student, leaving me in utter astonishment. Today, on the last day that I would EVER be giving a theory paper under PU, am I being told that the Option field actually had a MEANING all these years? Does this tiny little thing mean something after all? Before the absurdity of the question paper hit me, I was being flummoxed by the profundity of the invigilator’s statement. The Option Field, then, DID have a meaning all these years, I just was not informed about it.

I remember that when I first sat down to give the first Semester paper of my Life back in the First Semester, I apprehensively asked the invigilator at that time about what I was to fill up in the option field. I wonder if it was her ignorance then which led her to tell me to cross it out. Since then, diligently, like a good student and as though my marks depended on it, I have crossed out the Option field in every semester paper that I have given, all, except the one today. For today, I marked the option field as “Regular”, for the First as well as the Last time of my Life.

I wonder what surprise my life will throw at me next. Till then, I wait patiently.

Welcome to Shillong

The time is 3:30 pm. As I get down from the SpiceJet flight, the cool wind hits me square in the face. It’s a beautiful calm and clear day in the interesting city of Guwahati. The sky is clear with just a few clouds lazing around above me and telling me a tale of a good evening ahead. Only, my destination is still far off, about four hours from here via taxi, in the beautiful hill station of Shillong. My father is expecting us (me and my mother) by at most 8 pm, considering the traffic and other modalities of disruption. One of the first things I notice is that my Vodafone network is not giving me a smiling welcome to national roaming rates in a state far off from my own. However, I am assured by one of my fellow passengers that this is just a passing phase and soon I will be receiving a modest amount of network. As I exit from the airport, the taxi arranged meets us. The driver is a young fellow, obviously elder to me but not approaching his thirties for few more years. Since my phone is still not responding, I try a few tried and tested methods to make it work, but they all fail. This time there is no co-passenger to assure me else I would have loved to beat him up. My Mother’s phone is low on balance and will not receive any calls, so obviously I am worried that my Dad will be worried. We head to the nearest market to get a recharge for Mom’s cell phone but on the way her signal gives up and we’re stuck with a recharge voucher and nothing to recharge it with. No worries, we’ve got to keep going, I say to myself and to my mother. So we head on, the taxi driver swishing through the traffic smoothly, enjoying his experience to the most. The time is now 4:30 pm and for some reason, its darker here that it would be at seven o’clock in Chandigarh. I don’t really know why this is so, but I ignore it. We continue smoothly until stopped by a few cops on the road and are asked to park to the side. The driver is not worried, but curious. So he steps out to ask what the fuss is about. I pray to God this guy has a license else we’ll be stuck like crazy. But that seems not to be the problem, he comes back and tells us that the Chief Minister will be passing from this road soon and so we’ll have to wait along with many other vehicles parked there. I groan; considering the way Chief Ministers and zealous about their security, it’ll be another half an hour before we even hear a mosquito from the cavalcade passes us. I am wronged when within ten minutes, a fourteen car cavalcade shoots past us. Then as soon as it moves, we are let go. Ok, interesting state!

Now we’re moving along at a good speed, overtaking traffic and pacing along the winding roads which will lead us to our destination. There are large hoardings of at least five different mobile companies all around us and yet no network in both our cell phones. The sky is now pitch-black and an increasing cold is steadily creeping into the taxi. Suddenly, our driver gets the inspiration to stop by the road side. It seems that one of the tires has gotten itself punctured. Seems like it’s going to be a long drive! I help him change the tire by flashing the LED light from my cell and he gets the work done in a score of minutes. Mom asks for a bottle of water but the shops I can se around are selling everything from CDs to timber, but no water. We’ll just have to wait I tell Mom. I see the fleeting views of village life in the East of our beloved India as we zoom past it all. Amazingly, nearly every house in the region has a shining star or a decorated tree in its compound. I am informed that the majority of the population here is Christian, by history. Interesting, I can only utter. Not soon enough, we are at a well furnished ‘dhaba’, stopping to have tea and to get the faltering tire repaired. What is a ‘dhaba’ doing in this part of the country??? I am told that Punjabis are a biggie here and the restaurant culture is too. Wow.

The tea (coffee in my case) consumed, we make a few fruit purchases in the shops which thrive in the aegis of the ‘dhaba’. It makes Mom happy to see that oranges are being sold at the same rate as we bought in Chandigarh. Next on the items list is a couple of Pineapples. Now the pineapple is an extremely funny fruit. It’s not really related to the apple and bears no resemblance whatsoever in taste and it’s not even a pine because, well, pine cones aren’t exactly consumable. But it’s named the pineapple and is found in abundance in this region. The local tribes have taken up the task to grow these fruits and to sell them far and wide. I take the opportunity to call up Dad to tell of our (mis)adventures and that we are safe and will be home, not soon. The shopkeeper talks to me in Hindi to hand me over the phone to make the call. When a localite comes to buy something from him, he talks to the customer in a local dialect and when a young boy comes to him to ask to make an STD phone call, the shopkeeper amazes me by talking to the English medium educated child in English. I decide that this man is probably very knowledgeable and I ask him about my current predicament regarding my cellphone. He asks me in crisp English as to which connection do I have and from where. I reply that I have a prepaid connection from Punjab. He disappoints by informing me that Vodafone prepaid doesn’t work in this part of the country, never has and probably never will. The only option I had was to convert to postpaid before I came here. With an innocent smiling, he is telling me- Welcome to the SSS, the Seven Sister States on the eastern-most part of India where, at 7:30 in the morning, the sun is nearly overhead and night falls at 4:30 during the winters and my mobile company doesn’t provide network to prepaid users. Amazing.

Our trip continues and after a long back-breaking drive, we reach Shillong. But our destiny wants to lead us about ten kilometers further, across the Army cantonment area and onwards to an IAF base. Now in his element (the cold, the wind, the speed of the car and of course,) at his native place Shillong, our driver becomes talkative. He appalls me by telling me that he is a Graduate in English Literature from the local University. I wonder out loud as to why he doesn’t yet have a job and he replies that there no value of a degree anywhere in India now and it’s not easy to find a good job in these parts of the country. His words cause a pang in my heart, I am aware that after college, I too will be stuck in a dead-end job where unless given high performance in a very boring job, I will be shunted out sooner that one can say the words “spoon-feeding”. He further informs me that his Mother has lived all her life here and does not want to move out for the sake of the future job of her only son. Mom tells me an interesting fact that according to tradition, the property owned by a father in a family goes on to his daughter and not the son as is custom in the rest of the World. What??? Why??? There is, of course, only as much answer for traditions as there is for why the sun is bright. It is so just because it is so. I shrug and move on to the next topic of discussion.

Finally, after a grueling four and a half hours, I arrive at the place I will be calling for some days from henceforth as Home. There is a fire burning steadily in the fireplace and a welcome dinner is the order of the hour. I am told that there is a hidden man-made lake nearby whose beauty is absolutely unsurpassable and the hilly terrain around me also holds a beautiful golf course. My interest in all of this dwindling with the dying fire, all I need is a bed and a duvet to keep the cold out of reach. I tuck in and roll over to my side. My eyes are shut by my brain which is going into hibernation, it’s going to be a long cold night, but I don’t care, all I am aware of is that someone is saying to me- Welcome to Shillong.

Another Entry, just an Update on Me

WoW!

I don’t really know why I’m blogging right now… Rather, why today??

Today is the night of the 19th, actually, a few hours ago it was the night of the 18th, but its well past the midnight now. I’m actually burning midnight oil right now, I have a paper on the 20th I’m ill-prepared for. Yet, out of the Brilliant Blue, I am Blogging.

Note– It’s my Mom’s birthday today… So gotta remember to get a Cake. Don’t worry, I wished her. 

Met my old friend Anurag online today. We keep meeting off and on (online that is, its been years since I met him direct).

He likes to Blog and encourages those who do. I’m probably burning my keyboard right now because he urges me to. Hope he likes it that I do.

I am in Support of the Men and Women who lost their Lives in the Mumbai Terror Attacks. These Attacks are a Question for us– Can We EVER stand up to this menace and tighten our belts??

I also want to note that a lot of people have taken up blogging since a long time as a good idea to give creative writing a new lease of life. I am presenting to you two amazing blogs which I absolutely love reading whenever I get the chance and really appreciate for the crisp, cackling view of Life which they present- one set in the hustle-bustle of Delhi and the other in the foothills of our leg of the Himalayas (pardon me if my geography is wrong, MVS wasn’t Always kind to me, although She now is)

These blogs are–

http://www.engineeranurag.blogspot.com/

Presented from the Maharishi Markandeshwar Engineering College (MMEC), Mullana, this Blog is full of beautiful insights into the life of the Average Engineering Student (Anurag Saxena) trying and vying to make a mark on this world. Alas, not everything red is a rose and you’ll know this when to hit the link above. (Spoiler Warning- This Blog actually Has my name mentioned in one of the posts somewhere, try looking for it!!!)

And number two–

http://dk01.wordpress.com/

Delhi! Ah Delhi!!! The place itself has a million stories to tell, so handpicking a few of them for your perusal is a tough task seemingly made easy by my dear friend Dinesh Kapur. He has a knack for telling things the “different” way and trust me, you’ll enjoy his way a lot!!!

This is Nitin Khanna logging out! Hope you keep Blogging and Be Happy!!

Kung Fu Panda and some real MetaPhysics

 

Yes!!! I recently saw Kung Fu Panda… And It was good!

And then I saw it again and again… And it was good!!!

hehe… ok ok leave apart from the Bible preachings… The movie is great, its a must watch for all genres of people, from children to adults and from Kung Fu lovers to sad, bored-from-life ppl and although the action was a little steep (jumping from nearly the highest mountain in China and landing safely), thats what I expect from a Cartoon Movie because these things can’t happen in real movies (Oh, except in The Matrix).

What I did not expect was the deep Philosophical meaning underlying the whole movie. The whole concept of each action and event in a person’s life having a deep impact on the future and deeply being influenced by the past is a basic tenet of all Martial Arts and most Religions, so the movie left me slightly amused about its real meaning.

Let me put down some examples before coming to the real point I wish to discuss-

  1. The Father of Po (Our dear, Lovable Kung Fu Panda) has the same dream of running away to learn Kung Fu but chooses to ignore it to follow his father’s dreams. Had Po also ignored His dream, he would be the same as his father, choosing his destiny to be a cook selling soups instead if being famous and a great Master.
  2. Tells You What? Follow Your dreams and Aspirations, for if you work hard enough on them you will have them and since you have been dreaming about them, You are already Ready to achieve them, just take the steps, the doors Will open.

  3. Shifu had created a Fighting machine in the past (Tai Lung had been trained to be very talented but too challenging in Kung Fu, thus not able to achieve the level of understanding about Life that Oogway did). That war machine destroyed the only happiness that Shifu had, showing that You get what you make. Had Shifu trained tai Lung to be patient and understand that Kung Fu is not a way of fighting but a Martial Art then perhaps Tai Lung would be able to become the Dragon Warrior. The darkness Oogway saw in his heart was not Tai Lung’s but Shifu’s craving for more Pride. So he was responsible for it and had to train Po to become the Dragon Warrior. Shifu thought it was his Bad Luck that he got a Panda to train, but it was his Luck that he got Po who was already destined to be the Dragon Warrior and there was a way to train him (watch the movie, this part is really really funny!!!)
  4. The concept of the Dragon Scroll was really very very beautiful. Spoiler Alert. The truth is this- You ARE the best creation of God that there is, there is no one better than you. Remember that. Because what you see when you look in the Mirror is the greatest mind ever, Realize that and there is nothing in the World that can stop you. Just like Po, look at the world from your eyes, don’t TRY to look at it from someone else’s. See your goals and BELIEVE that they are Achievable. And why are they achievable? Because YOU are attempting to achieve them. The sky is not the limit. There is NO LIMIT TO YOUR POTENTIAL.

Now for the real thing I wanted to say about the Movie… Spoiler Alert

In the Movie, Oogway’s vision of Tai Lung returning to claim the Dragon Scroll is so terrifying to Shifu  that he sends one of his cronies (Zeng is his name and Oh he’s such a scaredy cat… uh… bird… ) to check on the Prison where Tai Lung is held. His presence there is not required as the prison has intense security and the Commander of the Prison (Commander Vachir) does not accept Shifu’s request to increase Prison Security due to Oogway’s Vision. But Zeng’s presence is very important. As Vachir shoves his as a joke, a single feather from the bird escapes to the place where Tai Lung is held and eventually helps him escape (again, watch the movie, you’ll get it).

What does This tell us???

What ever we do is Karma, even if we are trying to do good, thus it will have consequences in our life, and soon. Karma is a basic in all Oriental religions and Spiritual beliefs, because according to us, God is good at calculations (actually, ALL religions and spiritual beliefs say this, but in different ways, like Dooms Day or Armageddon or Karma or Yin and Yang, our beloved two opposites of Life). So We must remember that What We do, i.e. our Actions, whether out of fear or fun, affect us more deeply than imaginable. The best we can do is to do only the right things ( My belief in the adage “It takes less time to do the right thing than to explain why you did it wrong” is confirmed every time I do something wrong) and to think before we act.

In the end, some Italian will do…

La vita è grande, così essere felici
(Translation for those who won’t copy this and paste in Google Language tools to find out what it means out of sheer laziness— Life is Great, so be happy)
Yin and Yang, bhai bhai

Yin and Yang, bhai bhai

 
The Panda is here... Prepare for Awesomeness 

The Panda is here... Prepare for Awesomeness

Singh Is SuperMan

So I recently went to DT Cinemas to watch Singh Is Kinng

(God Bless Akshay Kumar for his versitality and DT and PVR for bringing the joys of Modern Theatre Experience to Chandigarh. FR; Sorry dude, you’re out…)

Most, well, all of my friends said it was a bogus Movie and it was, just that the amazing ability of Akshay Kumar of putting zeal into any character changed the whole scenario…

We all acknowledge that The Sikh community has gained cult status in Bollywood, starting from Daler Mehndi and moving to Sikh-centric movies and the presence of at least one Punjabi song per movie. But what Akshay did moves away from being just a fraction of the type of movies being made or a nominal presence in a movie. This movie can pave the way for a whole new Singh, for the following reasons :-

  1. The raising of the Fist and the chanting of “Singh is King” makes the average Sikh a SuperHero, who has a tailor-made Symbol and slogan to go…
  2. The introduction of the already well known concept that Sikhs are a large-hearted community and love to help people on main screeb cinema will have a long lasting effect on Bollywood story writers and will definitely help the Punjabis get to the ‘Spot’ in Cinema

Now all I’m waiting for is small mock ups of our dear Singh, just like the ones of Krish floating around…

And then was born a SuperHero for India!!!

Over And Out.

How I Saved A 100 Bucks

Here I am, driving out of Sector 17 this evening and I dare to take a wrong side which, naturally, everyone takes else having to face a long circuitous route to get to the main route. Unfortunately, I have the habit of getting caught by cops on those days about which I’m so extremely confident that they are passing well. Well, I nearly run down the cop who stops me mid-flight to tell me that I would be challan-ed. He asks for my documents. I quickly look into my wallet and ascertain that I don’t have a single 50 Rupee note on me with which I can bribe this Mama (Hindi Slang for Policeman, Just like Cop) and since I don’t wish to loose sight of my precious 100 Rupee notes, I must try to evade the ticket. I try to coax him with the usual talk- I’m a Student, won’t do it ever again, etc etc…

But since he sees a reluctance in me to get loose on the cash, he refers me to his boss who simply takes out his Challan Book and starts looking up the details of my Drivers License. This is it, its now or never. So I fall down on his knees and clutch them, leaving them not till he relents and pushing me off, hurls a few abuses at me and gives me back my DL and RC and tells me to get lost. Trust me, I did that more than happily, having pulled this gig for the first time.

Morals of the Story- Grab the legs, you won’t believe it although its been said to you many times, but it really works!!

— The old Indian tradition of touching the feet of your elder ones as an offering of respect surely has more using than as a good back exercise!!!

Until my next,

Cya,

N

15 Till I Die

So yesterday I went to the market to get some Ice… The markets in India, as we all know employ a large number of helpers, sometimes upto three in one shop only. The first thing which I saw when I got there was a little boy, probably twelve years of age (probably younger, I’m very bad with identifying age) standing near the counter lifting and arranging packets of chips. I have, as many have, heard about the new law  by the Indian goverment increasing the minimum age for a person to work to 15, below which it is considered as Child Labour. It was evident at first glance that this boy was much younger. So I asked him two questions–

  1. Do you have Ice Cubes?
  2. What is your age?

To the First question, I got a prompt affirmitive, but for the second one, the little one wavered and then said he was 15 years of age. Well Lied, I thought. Then I thought that I must do what I can about this situation. So i asked the price of the Ice Cubes and was redirected by the boy to the Shopkeeper who had just returned from inside the shop. I accosted the Shopkeeper and without looking even once in my eyes, he said that it was none of my business. He seemed right at that moment and I bought the ice and walked away.

But the thought that I did not do anything about the boy kept hurting me the whole day and I will probably be ashamed of myself everytime I will think about it.

So today, I sat down to think what I could possibly do about the Situation. I came up with very few answers as follows–

  1. Do Nothing, which, trust me, is as bad an idea as punching your father-in-law in the face.
  2. Punch the shopkeeper and then run for it, because if you stick around, the people of the market association will thrash you to glory.
  3. Call the Police and report to them, in which case either the shopkeeper will be fined and then he’ll again employ a young child or he won’t have to worry because the head of the market association has already bribed the police.
  4. This one seems to me the best solution to me and I will follow it every time i see Child Labour around me– Ask the price of a lot of goods, ask the shopkeeper to pack them and then walk off without buying them after commenting casually to the shopkeeper that you don’t support Child labour. This will frustrate him and even if two to three people do this to him, trust me, he get an above age helper.

I don’t suggest that you stick to my plan, although I’m sticking to it already, its your choice.

On the other hand, you could also think about what if that kid was the only one to support his family or that he was aiding his family in finance needed because of the large number of his siblings. If you wish to take this route and support Child Labour, just think about this for a minute– Don’t your Children go to School? So isn’t the right place for a Child a School?

THAT HURT!!!

Ok, so here I am, driving my new pulsar at a clean 70 kmph, just travelling from Mohali to Chandigarh and I’m inclined to take a curve which acts as the bridge between the two cities. Slowing down just a notch to ensure that I don’t get stuck in the flow of the traffic, I tried to pull off a simple overtake of which I was sure I’d make it despite of the Maruti 800 speeding this way. But just when I was curving in and was passing the 800 at the same time, a stone rolled out from under the tyres of the Maruti and hit my knee at about 140 kmph and let me tell you, THAT HURT!!! I may want to curse and blame the government for not building properly metalled roads and allowing for a large number of stray stones roll under our tyres, but that would do no good. What must be realised is that no matter what you say, THAT HURT!!! And it’s bad enough that it hit me to notice that it hit me at a speed additive of mine and the Maruti’s and that’s maybe even ok because it’s basic physics, what’s really upsetting is that this stone could easily have hit my bike at some critical point. And boy, THAT’D HURT!!!

The Advent of an Attitude

Well, winter’s on and although it’s started to be the sunny golden days of youth in the beauty of Chandigarh, it’s still chilly because of the wind thanks to Global Warming taking a break and giving its shoes to Global cooling. Amidst all this drama of heavens, we’re plopping our pens on the Sessional sheets given to us by the college. Now, last year, remembering the same time, I can firmly recall the amazing speed with which the students exited college after their day’s test was over; some heading to popular eating joints or to the lake to hang out with friends and the zealous types heading home to study for the morrow’s fight. However, this year, this time, something vastly different is happening. Due to the new sessional policy of the college, two tests are being held in the same day. This caused a unique sight. Now the colliders of the college building, once flooded with only pure sun light is littered with students of all batches and braches, sitting it out in the sun and preparing for the next exam. Although an unfamiliar sight, it is absolutely astounding to see fellow engineers basking in the glory of the sun and studying their brains off. Its a lovely moment to see those heads bent down, sitting cross legged or stretching out on the floor and mesmerized by their subject books. It is not just satisfying to see your friends and colleagues like this, it makes you proud of the community in which you are growing as a person and makes you feel happy about your college. Of course, with this, we strictly disregard the concept that they’re probably cribbing that they don’t have the right books or that the syllabus is too vast. Makes you kind of think about Purani Jeans or Tanha Dil. But then there’s Dil Chahta Hai and Lakshya. It’s never about the future or the past. It’s about the present. And our present will determine our lives and our attitudes. Maybe all this cribbing and studying in the sun will help us later in our lives. Maybe this is what it’s all about. It’s never going to be one path or the other. It’s going to be about our attitudes to all paths. And maybe just maybe, these days in the sun are going to be all we’re going to need to learn some very important lessons in life.

Walking into an Oblivion

As I walked into the morning air, full of anticipation of the day ahead, the chill greeted me with full force. The wind was steadily sweeping on my face and I was no better with the new cardigan and muffler which I had bought with assumptions that they would stop the north Indian winds from charging against my weak bodily frame. Nevertheless, I stepped out into the cold, casually glancing at my watch and reminding myself that I was a good two hours ahead of schedule and would easily beat most of the people with whom I would otherwise have jostled to get a good look of the Living Master. I have many times after that reminded me that I was wrong in this assumption. As I walked along the road leaving the hostel, I saw sewadars standing every few feet, carefully guiding people about the correct path to the Satsang Ghar. I walked along the path they specified and soon reached a point where the road bent down into what was probably the river basin but had been transformed by hard work into a sprawling landscape of trees and grass, with a firm road leading down to my destination. As I stood on top of the road, I looked beyond and saw nothing more than a world of white mist. The landscape I knew had been transformed right in front of me into a white heaven and what was even more surprising to me than the beautiful sight which held me in its power was the overbearing fact that out there in the fog were huge patches of people, trudging along the path specified, leading the march to the Satsang Ghar and I was truly very late indeed. As I walked along the path, I could see the flowers sprouting in the plants very near to me, but I could feel the roar of a giant mass of humanity beyond the white veil, hidden from my eyes but not my thoughts. How many people were out there? Since when were they bearing the cold which I had felt the contempt of since the first moment I had gotten up this morning? What was this feeling which my heart felt when I saw this pristine beauty in front of me and heard the roars of countless people somewhere afar, who seemed to be at a place very distant from here and yet I felt connected to them as thought they were singing my hearts joy out. I was lost in my thoughts when a sewadar came by to ask me to move on. I did as was commanded, although that command came more like a request and was accepted more like a law. I moved on, slowly closing in on the ever evading white wall. As I moved on, I discovered more and more people and the more of them that I saw, the more assured I was that there were more somewhere ahead. At long last I reached the base of the road and although I could see just as far from myself here as I could from there, I felt deluged with humility and a calm which seemed to wash off of me, every small bit of bodily pain and doubt I had fielded ever. I felt like this place was there forever hidden inside me but only today, when I had risen and walked the path I had been told to did I discover it. I steadily walked again, for somehow, looking at the people around me and the mist around them, I knew that I was walking into an oblivion, aware of nothing less than supreme purity.