Year: 2013

How Not To Say ‘NO?’

If, until the time of reading this, you have not said NO to anyone about any hell of a thing, then I will consider you are either an android or a teenager. I am sure a time will come when you WILL have to utter the two letter obnoxious word. However you say it, make you sure you don’t say it this way:

Last day, one of my jolly classmates approached me to be her partner in an inter-collegiate technical paper presentation. Her spirits were too high for the local competition. She was being redirected from a dear friend who had already said NO to her on grounds that he was not available during the day of presentation. Clever! Not thinking about the status quo, I texted her of my approval. After having presented tens of presentations, with failures in the last few, I had decided not to participate in those stereotypical competitions. But, I still haven’t figured out why I said YES in the first place. I believe it had to do with – 1. my inability to say NO 2. Her undaunted attitude & dependency.

So, here we go about the topic selection. My brain finally realized the state of affairs & began to instruct me about how careless I should behave in the next fifteen minutes. And I did. She sent an abstract downloaded from the internet to the organizers of the competition for analysis & pre-selection. The topic was too boring for me, against the fact that I did not have any other in my mind. A copy was received into my mail, too. Had I been the organizer, I would have never selected it. Next day, her text message read, “Hey, we got selected. ūüôā :)”

It was the unluckiest hour of my day and I chose not to reply. Next day, after our first session of examination, she came to me and asked what I was gonna do. Her believing eyes and sentimental approach again forced me to say the three-letter obnoxious word. I bought myself few more hours before I called her up in the evening about how my answer was always a NO. No, I didn’t say that, else there’s no point of this post.

I told her how presenting without preparation would be of no use and it was obvious that we’d not win. Based on pure lies, I pacified her before tears started dripping out of my phone’s speaker. Next day, the girl I knew as a lovely & always-smiling girl was different. Not to the world, but to me.

So, the lesson learnt here is that if the answer is NO, say it right. If there’s even an iota of doubt in your YES, it is time to rethink before you start selling free hopes.

Don’t You Get It? I Know Why They Don’t Want A Girl Child

The title & the period I am posting this article makes its message obvious. Last week, I was brainstorming with some colleagues about why the girl child is not allowed to be born. We hadn’t reached a conclusion as we all tch-tched for few minutes before the waiter brought our food. Well, now the reason is very clear, at least rhetorically. Without beaming the self-created irony here, I temporarily believe that it has to do with the ever-growing attacks on women. Giving birth to a girl child, with a prudent lifestyle & mindset, is like registering one more contender into a world filled with¬†cannibals¬†whose favorite hobby is ‘raping women’.

Now, that is a tad pessimistic approach as far as the parents are concerned. But the recent news of how ¬†22 year-old photojournalist was gang-raped at an old, rickety workshop in the Maximum City, Mumbai puts some light into a discussion my orthodox neighbors had last day. They didn’t want a girl child to unbless their home so that the father would not have any obstructions & hence easily slide into the next level of corporate hierarchy. Well, that’s what my housemaid had managed to eavesdrop. But I find it hard to believe, against the fact that they might not want their still unborn baby girl, who would probably live to be an engineer or a doctor, become a victim of sexual predatoriness in future. No, they don’t want a boy child either, as they easily enjoy the creamier side of the cake. They fear their still unborn baby boy, who would probably live to be an engineer or a doctor, may become a sex offender in future. Or even worse, become a sexual predator & the gang leader of the incident I tried to believe during their dilemma over the need to give birth to a baby girl. You see the gravity? The grave reality we are treading to? A bit too confusing, paradoxical & complicated? Yes?

I just wanted to mirror the current plight of Mumbai. And as the Times of India says, it is still a safer place for women, than Delhi. Or as Shobhaa De says, Mumbai is corrupted in every possible way and we will have to deal with it.

PS: I wanted to say something true about the neighbors so as to induce humor, but you should understand this is a serious topic. May the victims have courage to fight for life! My prayers are with them.

Independence Day Is A Day Off!

Today I bid goodbye to my friends and joked about how I was gonna change my Facebook profile picture on account of India’s 66th Independence Day. I would Google the tricolor and upload it.

(Photo credit: Akshay Shah)

It’s a shame, and even I am totally into it, that we consider completing our pending jobs on this day or that day in January. Most people my age either don’t know or have forgotten about why we celebrate the Republic Day. Can you write 500 words about Indian Republic Day or the Indian Independence Day? The excuses are numerous and I cannot even list one because of the humiliation. Out of humiliation, I had to write this post as is what I feel.

Also, many of us might have forgotten our national anthem, had we not gone for the movies. And above that, we still complain about the versions that play before a cinema at different theaters. Shame! I am not complaining because I was one of them. My alma mater’s MD always used to force us to go watch a flag hoisting, if not in college, elsewhere. I did not know or realize the patriotism related to the sight. But now all seems clear. What showed the way? Nothing in specific. I just discovered the importance of being present while our tiranga is hoisted. That feeling when that tricoloured cloth sways in the breeze is a moment to capture.

So I suggest, instead of watching Border movie on TV (mostly SAB TV or SONY MAX), shun your useless ignorance & go attend a flag hoisting session, spend few minutes with people who care. They distribute sweets at the end. Happy Independence Day!

PS: If you are a person who took offence when I dubbed our tiranga a mere cloth, then I salute you! Jai Hind!

The Curious Case Of A Misnomer

My last post¬†created quite a furore over the use of the¬†“word”¬†KT as in ATKT. It is wrong to term “KT” as a word, although in shorthand, people prefer KT, than ATKT, or failure or the full form for the matter.

So, ATKT which we all know what stands for, is a tag provided free of cost to students doing professional courses, by the University they are affiliated to, on failing to score the minimum marks (usually 40) in a subject. Further talking about the minimum score, if you have 5 subjects to clear and fail only in one with around 32 (31, in some cases) marks or more, then you are eligible for the alms (read grace marks) and you will eventually pass and can post a Facebook story on how you kissed the ATKT factory.


Apostrophe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Straining on the misnomer “KT,” first of all, and if at all you still want to use it for convenience, you gotta stop adding apostrophe to it. Like “KT’s” is such bad punctuation, it makes me believe you sucked at 4th grade English basics. “KT’s” (with an apostrophe) technically means you are tagging something which belongs to¬†KT. And to pluralize it, you add the letter “s” without an apostrophe. This will give you ¬†“KTs” which is grammatically & sensibly wrong. But, students & professors alike use “KTs” in their daily conversations & it has become a memory. [Please read The Oatmeal’s guide on using apostrophes! It is as funny as it can be.]

Deep down, KTs will mean “Keep Terms.” So when you say “I have 2 KTs,” you are actually making a fool of yourself, saying “I have 2 Keep Terms.” Tell me, does this make any sense? This is worse than Borat! And if you say “I have 2 KT’s,” it will mean that you are dumb as a pigeon and have not completed your sentence. The listener will unfriend you from his mind and you will never know that you are in their Restricted list on Facebook.

To make things clear, the best & right way to state your result is: “I am allowed to keep term in 2 subjects.” Or simply: “I failed in two subjects.” The coward’s way of stating is: “Don’t ask! Seems the college wants to burn a hole in my wallet.

So, to sound grammatically correct, you gotta stop using the misnomer. Surely it won’t affect you till your funeral, but if you wanna stand out, embrace this post.

PS: Failures depends on lots of factors and the college’s internal money-making strategy is a stronghold.



Ignorance & Reference Books Will Get You KTs

Before I start, I want to make one annoying thing clear that “KT” is not a noun and you cannot pluralize it as “KTs.” Doing it will make you look dim-witted and I may even restrict you from my Facebook updates. To be clear, KT as in ATKT is an acronym for Allowed To Keep Terms.¬†I empathize for the person who first cut it short to KT. In engineering, as some of you may know, ATKT means you can proceed to next semester even if you have failed in not more than 5 subjects in that academic year. There are some terms related to it like nKT, Golden KT, etc. which are beyond the scope of this post. (And of course, the use of word “KT” in the title is to make people understand what this post is about against the fact that I know how you people must have experienced irony.)

Coming into Engineering, 50% of professors will imply, yes mark my word,¬†imply¬†to use Technical or Techmax Publications which contains food extremely palpable & upright. It is not their fault that they suggest reference books of some great authors so that you can understand the basic concepts. If you don’t know the concepts, you will die crushed between the imaginative metal frills of two bullet trains of different lengths and speeds, they have in Algebra problems. Yes you can study from these spoon-feeding books and score nice to impress the interviewers later in life, but when it comes to technicality, things won’t be easy. On the other hand, if you solely depend upon the reference books (say Electronic Devices & Circuits by Boylestad for instance), you will die crushed under the pile of watermelons, they also have in Algebra problems.

Ignoring the travelled path will help you fail because the syllabus has no edits since the twentieth century and the administrators believe in marks on paper. Practical sessions are the most over-rated sessions because all they do is copy & write & complete manuals using the previous batch’s materials and that CRO over there is the most mysterious object. Wanting to know how it works will help you. Going home & surfing/reading about it will carve you to be an engineer. Going to college on Sundays & operating on it will make you a credible engineer.

my technical books

my technical books (Photo credit: nickobec)

To balance, the suggestion is grab them spoon-feeding books (second-hand, of course) before they get sold out in local bookstores and hoard them. Also, try to get the reference books (through libraries, stores) and consult them while you take your mid-term & preliminaries. During the preparation leave for the finals, you can approach your hoarded books and crack the exams.

The blame for all this parade can be righteously put on Mumbai University. You have to follow the rules & Adolf Hitler’s quotes in helvetica on Facebook won’t help you either. If you keep studying from the spoon-feeding books, which have numerous masked errors, then I’m afraid to tell you, your job experience will suck. Because, in industries, concepts matter and you people know that.

Moreover, talking about the spoon-feeding ones, I have observed a single author writes as many as twelve books on different topics. Now, you can only imagine the credibility. But, since questions come from these books, you ought to read it. Even a stupid can read these books and score nice. I am not deriding anyone, although I hate the practice. Been using reference books since my Diploma times and I have had my share of failures. And this time, I am gonna eat without strain. Can I have a golden spoon, please?

The Way They Stare

The following sub-post is from the perspective of a NMMT (Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport) bus driver.

Bus route no. 20 is one of the most crowded buses on weekday mornings that runs from Ghansoli to Nerul. Students of D Y Patil Group of Institutions & SIES‘s establishments sum up to around 60% of this crowd. Half of this 60% are women.

I drive quite recklessly and the roads during monsoon talk to me pretty much in the same language. Well, that’s what NMMT is famous for. But, so sad, KDMT outranks us. Damn! So, when I stop at some of the bus stops that I think should collect some passengers, people barge in. ‘Ladies first‘ isn’t followed anymore. And I usually don’t stop in the middle of a road, let alone an oldie gesture. I even, sometimes, try to run them over. But if a lady gestures, I might rethink with respect to their bust sizes which further depends on how many men are ogling at her at the moment.

The gentleman is dead. No one cares to give someone else their seat. Now there is a hidden factor that drives this ignorance. A friend of mine, who is a usual traveller and boards from Ghansoli, told me the other day that the prime reason he occupies the seat just behind the ones reserved for women is because he can ogle at women (mostly teens) who come and stand near by. I don’t need to mention what he so salaciously stares at because that is why I bought a pair of branded push-up bras for my wife-to-be. She’s a sweetheart. But, to be frank, that is not the best position for a leerer to be. That friend of mine is married, with two daughters.

In my 7 years of life as a driver, I learned how and in what ways men can quench their never-ending visual, sexual thirst. The best stops are LP (London Pilsner) and Vashi Bus Depot. To alight without much hassle, women usually get up from their seats and stand in queue at the exit, one or two stops before theirs. Men try hard to stand behind them. Two reasons I am not interested in that style – one, the view is anti and two, the aforementioned stops require extreme finesse and I am a reputed employee of my regime. I jump on the brake pedal and then look at what pleases me. And I don’t ogle at teens. I love my fiance & hope to stop this ugly sexual escapade of mine, which of course is & I quote myself “NEVER-ENDING.”

The following sub-post is from the perspective of a nineteen year-old miss studying somewhere in Nerul and she gets down at LP.

It is ridiculous how some boys think that the way women carry themselves inside clothes has something to do with all these attacks against women. And it is even more ridiculous that this “some boys” actually¬†amounts to¬†all of them. Not that I am suggesting that I have dated all of them, but you know what I mean, right? Whatever happened to that Delhi Besharmi Morcha √†¬†la Toronto SlutWalk?

I have a NMMT bus pass, but I usually travel in BEST (which charges astronomical, by the way) because of the poor frequency of the former. I really have no idea how it feels to spot a vacant seat during that time of the day. In an attempt to reach college before 9, I don’t care if I get one. So, the bus, whichever it be, is ever-crowded. After I push & pull my way to the safe zone, among other women, I heave a sigh of relief. I abhor those men who occupy the seats just behind the ones reserved for us, women. The way they stare is daunting. Without showing any guilt or remorse, they continue to stare breaking my dirty looks into tiny pieces. It doesn’t matter though because my travel period is short & moreover, I am used to it. And if I was to write a book on where & what they stare, I might, in point of fact need to learn from these shameless men about something called boldness.

Too sad, I cannot do anything other than trying to limit my fashion adventures and to console my inconsolable penfriend who got ironically, verbally insulted last month. By the way, my boyfriend gifted me a fishnet-skimmed red and black top for my birthday & I have plans to wear it tomorrow to college. It’ll be fun!

The following sub-post is from the perspective of the person who masqueraded as the bus driver & the innocent girl in the above sub-posts.

My memory reminds me I have seen that driver before, smirking at me showing his yellowish teeth with dark gums, once when I tried to enter through the front door of his bus. Although, that smirk was meant for a hot lady behind me. It was route no. 20 and I occupied one of the seats to the right by the entry door. I have numerous bus-buddies who prefer sitting or standing anywhere in this area because that is from where they can have a nice, long look at the people entering. I turned right that day, because there was no space on the left (trust me!). And by people, you know what I mean. Especially the two-seater just beside the ingress, because one can gawk at two places at the same time. If there is nothing interesting about the people entering, then he can turn his head and have a broader approach on women who are waiting at the bus stops.

I once had a chance to sit on that seat and I was terrified by the way they stare. Their eyes roll so rapidly around to inspect each and every women out there, that it could be considered a routine exercise. Detecting such men is easy: they have loud, currently-trending music playing on their Chinese phones, their shirts cover their knees, their bag has something like FOSTRACK, POMA, PETROL, etc. or they just have this tag saying “I have satyriasis!” Or he could be one of those 40-something men wearing on off-white shirt not tucked inside his pants, carrying a large shoulder-bag. Now, these hints are for men, if at all they are concerned. For women… they can detect it in a fraction of second by a few-second glance at the man in question.¬†It would be dishonest of me to not say that I give some girls the glad eye. But, I am sure these looks aren’t as lecherous as my partner’s. I have an imaginary girlfriend and I am happy with her, for the time being. It is natural for men to have a look at a lady when she passes by. That is the first category of men. And then we have cannibals, the second category.

It’s very hard for me to comment on this sensitive topic, but as far as I am concerned, not all men are cannibals, yet they have the tendency, I assure.

The Dark Of Authority

Young people have no respect for authority now...

Young people have no respect for authority nowadays (Photo credit: Alexandre Dulaunoy)

Every institution is administered by authority & that is more of a necessity as we all know. But what happens when you can’t change the Date & Time settings in a PC in a Signals & Systems laboratory? What happens when the dialog says “You don’t have proper privilege to access the settings?” What happens when you realize that a lab assistant needs “extra” authority to change a cable of an inkjet printer from one PC to another in an educational institution? What happens when you learn that the Server administrator is a lazy dork?

No, apocalypse is still elusive, you see. What happens is that the institution degrades. From all aspects.

Last day I logged into my account in the aforementioned lab. It is the type of account every other student has, except for some of the Students’ Council members who try to start a newspaper which is totally unbiased, yet the articles being shortlisted fall in parallel to what we find in TOI. I found the time set in the desktop to be shamelessly incorrect and tried to change it when that dialog appeared. MS Paint, thankfully wasn’t disabled.

So when the PC connected to the printer didn’t have MATLAB software in it, our professor asked us to summon the powerless lab assistant. His use of words empathized us (two of my batch-mates joined me to pause their frustration over the account limitations). “Kya Sir! Sirf do wire hi toh nikalke lagana hai!” to which he replied, “Mere paas authority nahi hai. Wo (server admin) daatega baadme…(sic).” Now what is the difference between us the hapless students of modern educational institutions and the wiser lab assistant who fetches CRO probes for our sake, as he tries to make ends meet?

The server admin turned out to be a contemptible person because he was seated in an air-conditioned room full of gizmos and piles of unwritten application forms that had the power to buy every goddamn electronic thing related to computers & servers. I guessed he suffered from hypertension when he started finding ways out of the problem instead of solving it. He asked us to –

  1. Print the experiment program from another lab.
  2. Fix it ourselves (for which we didn’t have the authority, of course)
  3. Do it next week!
  4. Use another software!
  5. Use a flash drive, perhaps?
  6. Swap the CPUs.
  7. Date his hideous daughter, instead! (I almost agreed when he said he would pay up)
  8. Convince our professor.
  9. Roam around
  10. Skedaddle!

Although some of the above were real, one of us wanted his job. This is authority. People who have it, abuse it and people who don’t, are busy with CRO probes. Damn!

Maybe it has something do with corruption, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

What I conclude from this anecdote is that people with power can do wonders. But they are busy warming swivel chair seats & brainstorming about how Sundays should also be working.

PS: No prize for guessing who wanted that Server Administrator job!