Thursday, 30 August 2007

Of Hills and Peaks...

This picture was shot somewhere near Munnar. Don't quite remember the name of the place but it was a national park or forest or reserve or some such thing. Turns out the Kurinji flower blooms here once in 12 years. It is scheduled to bloom sometime around September 2008 I think. (Please do check up the information provided here. I'm not too sure if i remember the dates correctly and am too lazy to find out). Some of the pics they had on the buses showed the whole fooking mountain covered in purple!!! The whole fooking Mountain!!! And some Nilgiri Tahr loitering around. The only fauna we managed to see, apart from wheezing and obese homosapiens in garishly coloured dresses 2 sizes too small, was a kite (or a hawk) hovering over the valley in the wind. Pretty impressive sight, though capturing it clearly in the digicam was pretty difficult as the SLR didn't have enough zoom.

The above photograph was shot on a Pentax SLR, sometime in the evening in the panorama mode. Think the peak is Anamalai.... Anybody who actually knows, please confirm. Thought it would look nice in b & w and hence did just that in photoshop.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Day One (Part II)

We were allotted the air conditioned reference room over our central library. Some of you may say that an air conditioned room can’t be all that bad, but we on the inside know better. These are the characteristics of a typical ac classroom in our college – no fans, no windows to open, one side-wall is glass accentuating the greenhouse effect, and most importantly, NO AC. In those rare instances when the ac did work, the only noticeable effect was the sound coming from the vents. The drop in temperature was so minute as to be undetectable by all but the most sensitive thermocouple. In such a sweltering environment, our first class began. What happened in class is typical of all classes – each table had its own inaudible conversation up and running in a matter of minutes even though most were total strangers and the subject being taught nothing more than a vague background din. One announcement that really made us listen was that we would be served fruit juices and buttermilk in unlimited quantities along with snacks such as pakodas, biscuits, cakes etc. during the 10.30 am break instead of the coffee or tea (we are still not sure which one of those they serve as both taste and smell like each other) we are usually served.

After class got over at 5 pm, we picked up our luggage and went to the men’s hostel to pick our rooms. It turns out each room’s occupants had been predetermined, but since nobody even bothered to see that list and took any room they pleased, that hare brained scheme was done away with. We were under the impression that each room was to be shared by 4 people and hence were hoping to find 2 rooms side by side to accommodate 8 of us. Upon reaching the hostel, we discovered to our chagrin that each room had to accommodate 6 people and that every room allotted to our department was taken. Not quite every room. There was one room at the corner of two wings - Room Number 71 - which was used as a sort of dump yard for things such as broken beds, torn clothes, stolen sports equipment etc. Since that was the only room available, we took it and went about the tedious process of cleaning it. Cleaning took a lot of time, effort, and water. We decided to sleep on the floor as it would have been impossible to place 8 beds inside the room and have space to move around. We left the window open to aid in drying up of the floor. Little did we realise our folly then.

We then had to attend a programme designed to keep us entertained from 6.30 pm till around 9.30 pm when dinner would be officially served. The majority of the hostellers “chose” not to be entertained and stayed back in hostel. Out if curiosity and hoping to listen to some songs, I went for the programme. After a few cursory announcements, the programme began. It was an English movie - The Flight of The Phoenix. The moment I saw the title, I decided to head back to Room Number 71. I found my room mates heading for the mess hall to have dinner and I joined them. Dinner was almost identical to that day’s lunch. After dinner, we discussed the day’s happenings in various classes (we had 5 different companies training us in various aspects) in terms that one cannot use here without being flagged for inappropriate content. Sometime in the middle of that informative discussion, I fell asleep surrounded by hundreds of the second most feared creature on the planet...... the mosquito.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Barbed Wire

This is, as its name suggests, a barbed wire fence shot on the way back from Swamimalai, one of the tallest hills around Yelagiri. It was late evening by the time we got back to flat ground after going up the hill. KK and myself were walking a little behind the other chaps, taking in the sights and a few photographs using his eos500, when he noticed the fence and said it would make a pretty picture. I dont really know if its pretty or not, but this is one of my favourite pics.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Day One (Part I)

Due to various delays such as going out for dinner with the family, tiredness from the Kerala trip etc. packing of my bags wasn’t completed as per schedule on the previous night. Hence I had to get up about an hour earlier than usual (usual being 5.30 am) to supervise the packing, not because my parents weren’t competent enough to do it themselves, but because I wouldn’t have remembered what was where if I hadn’t seen it being packed. Once everything was safely tucked away inside the 2 bags, one bearing the logo MARS and another SNICKERS, and after getting bored of double and triple checking their contents, it was time to head for the bus stop.

This time, I was escorted to the bus stand by my parents. Not to ensure my safety against hyperactive pups and cud chewing, tail swishing bovines, but because they wanted to make sure I got onto the college bus and did not take the first auto to the CMBT. At the bus stand, I was pleasantly surprised to see a few chaps more than on an ordinary day, all of them accompanied by parents. Our stop being the first, students from the next few stops had turned up there hoping against hope that the whole farce had been called off. After introducing my unfortunate fellow inmates to my parents, and bidding them farewell, we waited for the bus. Usually, our bus turns up at around 6.30 am. Now the average time shown by all our watches was closer to 7 than to half past 6. Just as we began to believe that maybe the P.O.P. had been called off, we saw our bus rounding the corner at the end of the road and proceed at a stately pace towards our stop bringing back images of a horse drawn hearse with Chopin’s Funeral March playing in the background. Once the bus came to rest silently in front of us, we clambered aboard at a pace that a sloth would have considered slothful and placed our luggage in strategically vital spots to ensure that those daring to climb aboard at future halts would appear even more sluggish than we did. Thus, after securing our luggage, we chose our seats and did what we Josephites are renowned for, stare emptily at the road and slowly pass onto dreamland, the transition from one state to another being so smooth and slow as to be undetectable. After a dreamless 45 minutes, as we neared college, some part of our internal clock that got synchronised to this particular journey, woke us up on cue. As we passed the Sathyabama Gate, most of us were awake or in the process of waking up, we had our last look of the true masters of our potholed roads, the ubiquitous plastic-eating-cattle.

As we got down inside college, baggage and all, we felt a lot like what we did upon getting off that bus the first time a long three years back– clueless and doomed. For the first time, since my first week in college, I headed for one of the trolleys, around which my classmates usually congregate, which bring us our breakfast and got myself a plate and started eating breakfast. Although I don’t quite remember what was served that fateful day, I do remember that it still tasted as bad (objectively speaking, it was probably due to the fact that I am not used to eating that early) as the first time I ate it. With some help from friends who couldn’t find plates, I managed to finish breakfast. Then we just sat around and stared at each other, wondering what to do next. Then, in that wonderfully inaccurate way in which all vital information gets disseminated in college, word of mouth, we came to know that all “male” luggage had to be deposited in rooms 31 and 32 while the “female” luggage in room 34 and then head to our respective classrooms. This raised another question – what classrooms? Again, we learnt from the grapevine telegraph that each department had been divided into 14 batches and that each batch with the same number from all the departments would constitute one heterogeneous class. After marvelling for a while at the sheer joblessness of the person, who so dutifully split all the classes into 14 batches and the pointlessness of the whole exercise we decided to go to our allotted classrooms. I was in Batch 13 and for the first three days, we would be tutored by BKS Consultants (wonder why the plural? There was only one guy teaching….) along with batch 14, specialising in mathematics.