Saturday, 28 July 2007

The Ear

That's the Cochin Harbour (some part of it anyway...) from behind my athimbaer(paternal aunt's husband)'s right ear. It was during this particular boat trip that I realised that he's got one of the most photogenic faces in the family...Did some cropping, and applied some curves to this particular snap. This was shot at around 3 or 3.30 in the afternoon... Wonder why people say that colours look washed out in photos shot when the sun's high in the sky?

Friday, 20 July 2007

The Flying V

This photograph was shot in Kumarakoam (hope the spelling's right) on one of the 5 days i spent touring God's own country, Kerala. This place is basically a huge lake-like, backwatery, sort of place, with a lot of birds and most importantly, WATER. The chaps here use the waterways like roads. Just like how every household has a cycle or bike in landlocked places, here, every house has a boat. Our oarsman (although ours was a motorised boat, i really like that term) actually pointed to a signboard in water that read "COCHIN 48KM"!!

This was shot using my mama(mother's brother if you dont know)'s Pentax SLR. I was sitting on the prow of our boat, to the great consternation of my paatti (paternal grandmother), and looking into the water through the viewfinder wondering how the rippling water would look on film (not too good as it turned out) when my cousin (think its onnu-vitta-thambi in tamil...), Sriram, shouted at me to look up at the birds flying in formation. I did, focussed unto infinity, and released the shutter. This was the result.

The colour cast and artifacts, I think, are because the chaps at the studio screwed up while scanning the negatives. Any of you know a nice place where you can get your negatives scanned without major screwups, do let me know.

Monday, 16 July 2007


It was probably one of those idle Tuesday afternoons, when most troubles in life are bound to blindside you, that we came to know. As usual, we were sitting in class discussing various topics such as India’s permanent membership on the UNSC, the effect of outsourcing, open sourcing, supply chaining and off shoring on the Indian Economy, the Iraqi insurgency, Zimbabwe’s inflation rate (it would have been funny had it not been so scary) and of course WORLD PEACE among other things, when the omnipresent JI entered our class with another one of those announcements and handed the written copy to the staff. As usual, the staff began reading it out to the class without much preamble. As usual, no one except those unfortunate souls in the first bench bothered listening. Unusually, the expression developed on their faces was akin to the one developed by the last surviving member of a species of deer caught in the headlights of a turbocharged Hummer V8 driven by Salman Khan. That’s when we knew something was wrong. Seriously wrong.

In the deathly silence that ensued, an incredulous voice spoke out, barely loud enough to be heard by the professor, “Could you repeat that please?”. Now with all our eyes boring into the professor, he/she re-read the announcement. We heard it alright, but it took a couple of minutes to fully register its implications. Once it sunk in, all hell broke loose. The ensuing scene was probably a lot like what the construction site of the Tower of Babel looked, and sounded, like after God cursed a united Humanity. The announcement went something like this – “The Management, Staff, and Students of St.Joseph’s College of Engineering would like to congratulate our men’s basketball ……..” Hold on. This isn’t it. Although I don’t quite remember the exact words, it went something like this – All students with less than 2 arrears had to attend a compulsory residential Placement Orientation Program (P.O.P.) to be held from 6.6.2007 till 19.6.2007. Those fortunate enough to have 3 or more arrears could enjoy life on the outside for those 14 days.

This announcement had the same effect a sledgehammer to the solar plexus would have had on most people. To me, it felt like a lobotomy. Without anaesthesia. This meant that I would have all of 5 days to spend with my dad. Someone up there definitely has grudge against me….

Those of us eligible were given forms to be filled and signed by our parents. After seriously contemplating boycotting the whole exercise, curiosity (the same trait that got the poor kitty killed) about life in the hostel got the better of us and a few forged signatures later, we were all set to enter hostel. After completing our semester exams, of course.


Number of days = 14.

Hence, number of clothes required for a chap who has never washed clothes in his short life = 14 pairs of trousers, 14 shirts, 14 sets of underwear, 14 pairs of socks (or 7 for the olfactorily challenged), 3 to 5 sets of casual wear (read tees and shorts) and assorted items such as towels, hankies, cosmetic equipment etc.

The number of clothes I carried = 5 pairs of trousers (a pair for 4 days + 1 for emergency situations), 9 shirts (one for 2 days + 2), 7 sets of underwear (washing clothes can’t be all that difficult…), 2 sets of casual wear (washing clothes can’t be all that difficult…can it?), and the assorted items as required. The above items were strategically divided into 2 parts and placed in separate bags to aid in mobility. Thus fully equipped (different people equipped themselves differently depending upon various factors like bag size, ability to learn the art of washing clothes, olfactory insensitivity etc.), we set out to face just about everything P.O.P. could throw at us (maybe not the kitchen sinks…).

This is the first of a series of posts relating to our 14 day stay in hostel. Hopefully, you'll find it to be at least half as much fun as we did.
There may be terms (like OD, JI, etc.) which a non-Josephite might find a little difficult to comprehend. For explanations, use the cbox or the comments.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

The Broken Bridge

The Broken Bridge (real name unknown, at least to me), is located about a klick north of Elliot's (Besant Nagar) Beach. Once upon a time, it would have been a robust bridge used to cross the piece of beach, where one of the many pristine waterways of Madras joins the sea, without getting your feet wet. But now, its exactly what its name says- a broken bridge over a glorified and open sewer.

To get here, head to the northern most piece of road adjoining the beach. Once there, you should see a sandy road (more of a lane actually...) with a sign post reading "UROOR OLCOTT KUPPAM" (wonder where they got hold of such an aesthetically pleasing name??) and pointing vaguely towards a bunch of thatched huts. Drive on past these huts and you should find yourself at The Bridge, even if you are one of those directionally challenged chaps.

The impetus to get up at 4.30 am and drive all the way to The Bridge to see the sun rise was provided by my cousin Sriram and for company, we had Rajesh 'The Elder' Madhini who had thoughtfully purloined his younger brother's W810i to have a photographic record of our visit.

The first hurdle we faced was of course getting up early enough to see the sun rise. Especially on a holiday. Once we managed to do it, the next problem was driving. Although I love driving, it can become quite a handful when you have shifting sand beneath your wheels and a not quite lissome pillion rider. After getting through that hurdle with nothing more than a few skipped heartbeats, we finally sighted The Bridge. That's when we faced our final and biggest hurdle. The full blooded assault on our olfactory senses. But having travelled over other Madrasi waterways and boarding trains at Central, we were well equipped to handle this situation. After a minute or so of discomfort, the receptors in our noses developed a sort of specific insensitivity and we smelt nothing for a while.

Then we saw it... The Sun rising out of the sea! Looked very surrealistic with a few scattered clouds and the orangish glow. I was pretty surprised that a mobile phone camera could produce pictures with this clarity and colour reproduction. And i still am.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Blog Number One

Good morning (or afternoon or evening) ladies and gentlemen. This is Srivatsan aka The Wats posting my first blog. One may wonder why I’m a little late in posting my first ever blog. There a good many reasons for that. Here are some of them….

Reason 1:

Microsoft Word 2003. It may sound strange but that particular piece of software is what really pushed me away from working on my first blog. Imagine waiting for approximately 10 minutes for the computer to install the software, only to get the message that a piece of something is missing from somewhere and that installation is not possible. EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU CLICK ON THE FOOKIN’ ICON!! Pretty demoralising I must say.

Reason 2:

Sometime later, I got to know the wonderful world of Torrents a little better. I had heard of it back in school, in hushed tones of course, from guys who had downloaded whole games for free. They tried explaining to me about how it worked. I didn’t understand it then and I still don’t. Using this little innovation, I proceeded to download Microsoft Enterprise 2007. After an uneventful download period, I began the tedious and time consuming process of installing it. As installation began, my insides began to churn. This was not the usual sinking feeling one experiences, the sort you get when you’ve flunked 5 out of your 6 internals and come home to see an open mark sheet from college and your mom watching professional wrestling. This was different, like you’ve just run over your girlfriend’s pet Chihuahua with your second hand Maruti 800... As installation began, I realised that I had spent over 800MB of my 1GB download limit and over 2 days sitting in front of the computer downloading the Polish version of Microsoft Enterprise 2007.Yes POLISH. Although it looked very humourous with its excessive use of Ws, Xs, Js, Cs and Zs, it wasn’t really funny once I realised that I actually had to use it. After seriously considering getting hold of an English-Polish dictionary, I decided to slug it out and proceeded to download the whole thing again (there goes my 1 GB limit...). This time making sure it was in English.

Reason 3:

After another uneventful installation, I was ready to start blogging. Unfortunately, a 14 day residential (compulsory) placement training program was held in college and I had to say goodbye to my computer for a while. After the completion of the program, placements began and we had to prepare our CVs. Word 2007 came to our aid, like the proverbial knight in shining armour, and we managed to finish our CVs in time and mail them for printing at a ‘remote’ location. (Basically, we had no idea who was going to print them, so we mailed it to everyone on our list, including ourselves, to print it in college if the need arose.) The second I began to type my first blog, the computer crashed. After crashing it a few more times I realised that our knight in shining armour was really a sort of dark knight (or black knight or some such thing). The computer crashed every time I struck a key on the keyboard while in Word 2007. Someone up there really has a sense of humour….

Reason 4:

By far the biggest and most significant of all the reasons I have given has to be my volatile memory and laziness. Most of the time, I just forgot that my computer wasn’t exactly fighting fit and in those rare instances when I actually remembered, I was just too lazy to do anything about it. Now that alls well with the computer, blogging can begin!! (Hopefully)