Year: 2014

Your Local Raddiwala Is Fooling You!

That day the whole family looks happy. The day you sell off your scrap & old newspapers for an average 10 rupees a kilogram. The amount probably ends up in the family piggy bank, the only day when it is used. But, every time you give away your old, read newspapers to any raddiwala in Mumbai, have you noticed the consistent value in the weight of the pile? It revolves around 8-10 kgs for smaller heaps and 17-20 kgs for bigger ones. If so, then, my friend, you are being fooled.

Few months back, The Times of India carried a reader’s article of an incident where a household got hold of an iron rod scale of the same type these raddiwalas (or scrap dealers) use. They had already weighed their pile to 26 kilograms and when the dealer weighed it in parts, the meter ticked at 8 kgs each; 16 kilograms in total. Immediately, the housewife came out with her scale & provided proof to their claim. The raddiwala, eventually, shelled out 250 rupees, a rounded off amount & left with a gloom on his face. After two months, when the same household happened to call him, the call was disconnected to never have connected again. The whole colony followed suit & now not a single scrap dealer in the locale agrees to come over.

Apparently, the weighing scales used by these raddivalas are tampered with to a considerable extent so as to reduce the total weight by around 30%. And, have you also noticed that every single one of them have the same type of scale? Probably the easiest one to rig. And all these years I was getting paid in 2 digits for my precious bundle of paper. But this morning, the table turned and I bought myself a weighing machine. The initially jovial dealer coughed up 300 rupees for my pile of 30 kilograms of old newspaper and old magazines and left with dejection. Ah, that pleasure! But, later I felt bad for the guy. I am sitting here blogging on my notebook in a seemingly lavish apartment and there he is dealing in scraps to make ends meet. He may not come back, but I do know a dozen raddiwalas in my locale. Enough for a year or two till few new dealers open shop; they always show up, don’t they? Near that grocery store or that fast food eatery.

So next time you call a raddivala home, be prepared with a scale of any make. At least, you will get a satisfied deal and won’t have to absorb a loss. There is a chance that the guy may not accept your claim, so it is better to have contacts of different scrap dealers in your neighbourhood. Technically speaking, a 2 feet pile will weigh around 20 kilograms, enough to buy those two sticks of Kwality Wall’s latest attempt at daylight robbery which also pretends to be a symbol of exaggerated luxury – the Magnum ice-cream priced at a whopping Rs. 85 per stick.

What’s The Fuss About SIES Graduate School of Technology?

This morning I received a message on a WhatsApp group chat. It was a screenshot of the front page of April 19, 2014 issue of the Mid-Day newspaper. It read Navi Mumbai college fines students Rs 5,000 for using cell phones!” By the time I bought the newspaper to read the whole story, the particular message had probably been forwarded more than a thousand times. Along with a smiley. By the students who are currently studying in the same college.

Later in the evening, another message popped up, which was a link to the Indian Consumer Complaints Forum. The complaint is about the arrogant attitude of the staff and draconian rules that govern the system inside the college. It can be read here! And do not forget to read the comments.

So, I, as myself a student of SIES GST, Nerul grew curious as to what is all the fuss about that everybody seems to be talking these past 24 hours. Actually, there is no fuss at all. But I will break down this story into small parts so that you can at least deduce some meaning out of this brouhaha. You should note that the SIES complex in Nerul harbours many organizations of which the Graduate School of Technology aka GST is the Engineering section.

Story 1:
Some over-smart kid, who has got to definitely be from the final year (graduation in 3 months) and has got some connections with the newspaper and so, spilled the beans about his/her own college focusing on one single attribute: the hefty fine levied by the authorities for mobile phone usage! This can be taken back to January 2014 when the third year students of all branches went for an Industrial Visit to Bangalore. This topic had cropped up when a theatre group called “Yours Truly”set out on a questioning spree to enact their spontaneously impromptu repertoires. So much that even a tiny tiff occurred between the Students’ Council representatives and haughty renegades where the former fought for the college and latter against. So the correspondent guy/gal in the question could be from this group. Phew!

Story 2:
The above complaint, on the other hand, was registered in the ICC forum sometime in October 2013. The rule came out in early 2013. Hundreds of students, including me were furious at first. With the rule actually taken seriously, many kids even got the opportunity to reduce their wallet’s weight. Further, the rule grew into us and mobile phone was looked at as a taboo and whenever a smartphone came into sight, the 4 digits 5-0-0-0 appeared everywhere in the air in bold typeface. Some influential students bothered to complain to the higher authorities but in vain. Now the campus had partially become mobile-phone free but it did more damage than what would have had the phones been not banned. Now here, the comments of this particular complaint comes into picture.

The user has complained about a lot of things, which somehow are related to this rule if we connect the dots.

  • He/She talks about partiality. Please tell me one organization, not necessarily an educational, where partiality (or nepotism) or discrimination doesn’t occur? Yes, tell me? No. So this point is invalid. If you are in the negative side of this partiality, you probably are the guy who comes up with “Teacher ka Pet” category in the farewell awards. For cryin’ out loud, stop!
  • Ragging by the principal. Now come on! A principal has got to be strict but that doesn’t mean you can misuse your vocabulary prowess and tag it ragging. Now can you? This accusation is ludicrous.
  • Faculty. I personally know the Electronics & Telecommunication staff and there’s nothing to complain about. And so much animosity? It is purely unnecessary. Low grades may have something to do with how you behave in the class, but as far as EXTC branch is concerned, all accusations are frail. I can’t comment about other branches’, though. You may want to read my articles on similar topics to get a brief idea: Article 1, Article 2, Article 3, Article 4, Article 5, Article 6, Article 7, Article 8.
  • Donations. Let us not talk about it as we all know what’s what when it comes to management quota seats.
  • Placements. The college has a wonderful TPO, on whom the actual burden of calling companies for placement falls. I personally don’t know why SIES doesn’t have good companies at its doorstep, but again, should the principal bear the brunt?
  • Attendance. Is 75% attendance asking for more? Think about it! Unless you are a football-pampering, skirt-chasing, careless nomad who’s come into Engineering by mistake.
  • Humiliation to parents. It is the worst-case scenario wherein the student is so mischievous & notorious, the faculty has to take a look at the gene line-up. A bad remark or two of their pupil is no humiliation. Go play Counter Strike & get knifed by that cheat flashbang-fragger: that is humiliation.
  • Lab equipments. I agree. Some of them are outdated and faulty, but when the curriculum is outdated, what more do you expect? I have successfully completed almost all the practicals in my sophomore and third year. And tell me, do you really pay attention in those 2-hour practical sessions? They say the syllabi still teaches us about CRT TV and not LCD/LED/Plasma TV. You nimrod, when you don’t know the basic operation, why do you want to focus on the displays, which is secondary?
  • Assignments & examinations. True. But give me an example of one institute which doesn’t burden its students? You, my friend, are watching too many Hollywood college/teen movies.
  • Grades & Certifications. Let us not talk about it, either.

So, there’s that. The exaggeration quotient of both the complain & the Mid-Day article is astronomical. First, media is not a a plaything where you can fret over small issues. Second, none of the points listed in the complain have credibility enough for an action to be written.

Now, there are some grave stories that have originated from hearsay about the college which aren’t quite believable. Maybe they are true, maybe not. But, I personally know that if a parent of a student comes over to the management of the college to get respite from the fine, it will be allowed. Maybe a warning or two & then the mobile phone is returned. Should we punish if he repeats the mistake?

So, that is what really occurred. But there is a conspiracy theory about all this fuss. That the whole charade is a subterfuge by the college authorities to up the reputation. Parents do want their kids to go to a regulated, restraint-oriented college and what is more disciplined than the one which fines for using silly items like mobile phones. The story gets interesting when you learn that there apparently is a statute passed by the country’s Education authority that mobile phones are, in fact, banned in educational institutions and its premises. Looks like only SIES GST follows it. But, then again, it is a mere canard.

And mind you, if someone comes to me and asks for a good Engineering college for their ward, I wouldn’t think twice before recommending SIES GST. Period.

The Policeman Thinks He Owns The City

The Bombay city.
Sitting on someone else’s motorbike by the Dadar Plaza market, holding a walkie-talkie, flashing the deadpan attitude like he has shagged his boss’ daughter, solely on the power of uniform he was wearing, he looked nothing like a sincere policeman but everything like the epitome of degeneration. We were dumb that day to approach him to ask for directions.

We had lost our way in the hustle-bustle of Dadar to the Siddhivinayak Temple. Everyone were suggestive but no one could help us, maybe because even they are confused. Then, one of us recommended we ask a policeman. And so, stopped by the bike.

I beckoned him sliding the window down, ’cause he’s a government servant, isn’t he? Or should I have got out of the car & asked? I don’t know but he seemed cooler as he walked to us. And without paying heed to what we were asking, he put his fingers on the window glass and studied its tint. We could all guess what the expression might have been of our friend who owned the car. The imbecile policeman then studied the back door’s window glass and smiled. FYI, it was tinted, but under the govt. approved norms. He gave us a direction, which eventually led us to the temple.

And as I should be thankful to him, his little show of power just nulls it all. His intention was solely to earn few hundreds before returning home and mind you, he was a senior officer. Why doesn’t he stop the ones who have actually tinted their window glasses black, red or yellow? We were just vulnerable and he tried to use it against us. We were lucky or maybe Lord Siddhivinayak’s eyes were upon us at the right time.

Just an incident which showcases that the Bombay vigilante still has some cleaning to do. Or at least some re-lessoning in their conduct.

PS: There’s this strange belief among Mumbaikars that if an unmarried couple visits Siddhivinayak Temple and if one party’s love to the other is not genuine, then they will be forever cursed resulting in a failed relationship. What nonsense! I have written a detailed hypothesis if you’re interested.

The Surrogate Story, Part 2 Of 2: A Woman Dies

The Surrogate Story is a short fiction consisting of two parts. The first part can be found here! You won’t understand a thing if you read this second part first. So, I insist you click that link above or leave this narrative altogether.

She was dreaming of a candle light dinner, followed by a magical episode of coital bliss. It was the same bed she was sleeping as she dreamed but she didn’t notice that; she was only interested in the organ stroking her out of her mind. She didn’t remember the face of the man she was riding because Dr. Hari’s looks was why she had agreed for the marriage.

Dr. Hari had fainted in his classroom two days ago and this morning he had left an envelope by their bed. Two or three words in the letter the envelope contained would wreck havoc in her life should she read. And he had no reason to think she wouldn’t. He loved her, but not more than himself.

The sex was fantastic and it was only half done. She was counting her second orgasm, against her usual dream of orgasmic meditation, the trendy fad among her socialite friends. The figure was wearing unbuttoned white crisp shirt and the shoes she had gifted her husband lay somewhere in the room. That’s all she could think of before looking in the mirror fit to the bed. The pace increased two or three notches as the figure had somehow found the G-spot and was about to ejaculate. Her third orgasm had made her stoop over the figure and engage in a violent French kiss. The figure did not hesitate a bit, given that she had performed fellatio seven minutes ago. The warmness had been deposited and she lazed abreast, still in a squatting position. The emotions were in contrast to the image in the mirror.

The face in the mirror was calm with closed eyes and blood oozing out of the mouth. Gasping for breath, she woke up more dead than she was in her dream. It didn’t take her much time to slit her wrist. Blood spewed from her left wrist and a plop managed to reach the envelope, for the pace she had cut was more than that of the stroke she was hallucinating. As Dr. Hari started a new topic for his class, his most important patient lay in their bedroom covered in scarlet.

The envelope enclosed the letter he had drafted after his assistants had reported the condition of one Mrs. Sunaina Hari. Last night, he had confirmed the report and replaced the original report in the envelope with words which would now never be read by the person who it was solely intended for. She was a case of initial-stage, paranoid-type Schizophrenia and the letter was the first element of persuasive treatment.

“I love you, my wife. And I would like to continue being your life partner for the rest of our lives. H.”

The Surrogate Story, Part 1 Of 2: Man Walks Into His Own Lecture

He was alone when he entered the drawing room. Then he left his apartment and was no longer lone. At least that’s what he thought that day when he had just experienced the luxury of not hearing his wife’s otherwise daily earbash. She was asleep in the bedroom dreaming of something with an eventual horrid climax. But neither did she or he know what it would be.

He was a mentor to all his 72 students, but he was just a feckless, good-for-nothing professor to his wife. “My students, my theses, my papers, my my my, everything my. MY MY MY; do you even know that you have a wife?” she would start everyday. “I blame my parents for this marriage; not good in social circles, not good in bed, such a boring person,” she would nag him day & night. He would listen silently, without uttering a single word.

Dr. Hari entered the university campus and took the stairs. Through the staff room he walked towards his assigned classroom. He could hear a husky voice coming through the only class in the long corridor. He puckered his brow and paced faster and finally reached a point from where he could glance through the transparent windows. His pace reduced to zero as the figure on the dais grinned at him from the classroom. The class was an example of pure attention.

He started walking, with growing dread. The figure continued his lecture. He didn’t know why but the scene reminded him of his wife’s nagging. Somewhere, he thought, something had to do with his wife’s wants. Because the style in which the figure was lecturing was totally opposite to what Dr. Hari employed. In his 17 years as a pedagogical maverick, he had never stepped on the dais. He would sit with the students, never using the writing board either. The problem was, the figure looked like him, portrayed in his wife’s words. Unable to fathom the scene, he turned left, to his students. What he saw would haunt him for the rest of his life.

Blood oozing out of their mouths, the students sat in impeccable reverence, dead.

Two hours later, he woke up inside his assigned classroom. He lay at the floor, his students and two assistants surrounding him. His second expression after waking up was a smile. He was the head professor of Psychology.

Part 2 can be found here!