November 30, 2010

And he laughed back….

   (The first in the series of my thought provoking writings, stuff that is inevitable for one and all!)
WARNING : a little PHILOSOPHICAL and ABSTRACT CONTENT.
     It has been long since I sat down with a calm mind to muse over something that strikes or interests me. The growing agony within and the strong urge to vomit out my thoughts was uncontrollable, today being a very grumpy day! It is not very often that I start thinking whether despite having all the luxuries in life, I fall behind in life. When I do, I reach to the brink of tearing myself apart mentally, a self destruction drive via the process of obsessive thinking with the only cure being a good night’s sleep or a readymade ‘drive the sadness away’ Beatles playlist!
“ They're gonna put me in the movies
They're gonna make a big star out of me
We'll make a film about a man that's sad and lonely
And all I gotta do is act naturally”

I will write some sense I say to myself. I got lost in my memories pertaining to the time when I used to prepare intensely for my 10th standard examinations. This time around, I had taken a much needed break at Poinguinim which is my mother’s native place and also my summer hideout. Being here was a natural choice, as I definitely needed a break for the mind churning sessions which I was reluctant to undergo. And there I was, along with my elder cousin who was in the middle of answering her 12th examinations. And as for you, you must have also gone through this ritual of squeezing in hours for the preparations for exams, haven’t you? So, you will know how volatile studies turn when two talkative people preparing for one of the most important exams of their lives decide to visit the terrace of their house which overlooks a calm and peaceful evening road (Yes, we did carry texts just for the sake of it). Unexpectedly, we decided to settle down on the steps and study till it darkened up. What happened next, made me loose my sleep that day, I guess you will see no such potential in such stuff to give you sleepless nights, but here here it goes. *Sigh*
“Well, I'll bet you I'm gonna be a big star
Might win an Oscar you can never tell
The movies gonna make me a big star
'Cause I can play the part so well ”

Being a place where traditional agriculture is still practised and at a comfortable distance of about 80 kilometres from Panaji, expecting an odd vehicle to pass down the road once in a while keeps you on a hunt. But, this time around while in the midst of a geography chapter, I sighted something unusual. There was a man, an old man who was walking at his own pace down the road. Unusual to me because he the only piece of clothing he had on his body, was a loin cloth covering his parts. Quite natural in such parts considering that the vast majority living there had their roots in farming. And definitely a thing to be laughed upon. But, this was one of those few moments that I will both regret and not regret laughing (more of a ‘says it aloud’ smile) at. Regret it because I know one should never make fun of others for absolutely no reason. But I do not regret it because of what happened next. As the blog-post title reads, he did laugh back at me.  Laughed louder then I did. He shook his head and laughed. And went down the road, his reaction completely knocking the senses out of me for quite a while.
“We'll make the scene about a man that's sad and lonely
And beggin down upon his bended knee
I'll play the part but I won't need rehearsin’
All I have to do is act naturally”

   Why was his reaction so? What compelled him to smirk back at me at that very instant? I have a habit of trying to reason out things that do not matter, so I would have never lost out on such an opportunity. I suppose I came close to the answer. Simple! Yes, the answer was simplicity. How simple are we when it comes to our living? Does our style of living or those glittering saris and ironed suits have any advantage over a simple loin cloth?  He laugh was his answer to my shameful instance of laughing at me. He mocked my complicated city life in his laugh, he told me that he, being less hipper was as good as a person as me. He had peace his side, I had ‘technology’…. but how does that matter?

What do you feel, what was the reason for his laugh? I'd be happy to know! And no, he wasn't drunk, as someone suggested!

Yours always,
RRSK
(P.S. – The Beatles song cited above is titled ‘Act Naturally’)

November 2, 2010

Trek Ahoy !

 

My musing on the Biodiversity trek to Keri, Sattari on the 31/10/2010  as published on the AFA blog

 

  The exams ended without much ado, the lazy mood was waiting to set in this vacations when, the sudden call of adventure struck me. Thus when Videsh called me up, and the dialog that ensued convinced me that this would be the the perfect way to start off my vacations, and have a much awaited and deserved ‘break-free’ trip.

 

Sunday morning blues couldn’t pose a hurdle when it came to the lucrative prospect of snapping photos and having a good time with my second family. And so, I landed down on the steps of Junta House fully loaded with the 500D. From almost falling asleep on the stairs to checking to Suyash’s new camera, i had an indication of what kind of day it would turn out to be! We got onto our usual trip bus, Glaksha (wish it was promptly named as ‘Galaxy’) and the 25-odd people fit in snuggly. Govind Potekar, the Editor of Via Lactea, our magazine was more than willing to share historical insight on the various structures that we saw on the way. The trip was steadily gaining tempo like an A.R. Rahman song….

 

  After usual discussions on Indian politics, discipline in our society and the new organisational structure of AFA, I was truly amazed by a monocular that Atharv had got from his visit to S. Korea. And funnily, I when I was starting to find the locality we were traveling through to be pretty striking and familiar (not a deja-vu), I realised that this was the same route that we used to take on our star parties to the Sakhli Surla Plateau… We were already in Keri before we knew it!! As people got down and stretched their arms, I could smell the air, the cool climate was sinking in. And as our tradition goes, we had a truly lip smacking breakfast at a local adda. Sniffing the aroma of the tea and the bhaaji aroused all our senses! After that, we were welcomed by our dedicated nature guides who were to lead us into the trek.

  After getting a heady dose of what to expect that day, and the regulations to be followed i was floored by the fact that here, people still bothered to keep aside land spaces as self-declared sanctuaries (God’s cove). This was followed by a ear pooping journey up a

mountain pass to an altitude of about 600m above mean sea level. At the sight of a distant waterfall, we stopped to have a glance. The sight of the distant mountains made us feel that we had done the right thing by coming here. Oh boy! This was gonna be exiting! And thus an unexpected surprise followed. And that got all of us hooked. The various stones and minerals that we saw around us suddenly started to speak out to us, in the sense that we being Geology students, could understand the language of the rocks! And yeah. After taking the guide’s consent, we bagged whatever we could for our studies. Later on, we were told that the locality that we were present in was unique in an ecological sense. The Western ghats being a Biological hotspot, promised us a lot of glimpses today.

  Finally,  we reached our final destination and were raring to go and explore the vast wilderness around us. Partly promised the sights of a few (dangerous) snakes, we were in high spirits!! making our way on the trail proved to be a constant hurdle as we, the photographers (who tend to get attracted to anything and everything) were

moving ahead at a snail’s pace. That is a good thing, isn’t it?  Well the brisk climb up to the plateau was physically and mentally demanding too, as I had to keep a watch-out for interesting things (and snakes, perhaps) on the path! On the way, thanks to my trained eye after all hours of ‘flat-on-the-ground’ style photography, I managed to sight a caterpillar who had fallen down from its resting place. Promptly, with the satisfaction of saving it, we all placed it back on a tree.

  Finally, we reached the plateau, and it was a sight to behold!! Lush green meadows, water pools at every footstep, grasshoppers jumping in delight and of-course, we the exited people who treaded all the way from the city to see this spectacle…Standing

tall amongst the tallest peaks of Goa was a good feeling, and having the guide explain to us about the flora & fauna of this region was an enthralling experience. On the way, we together collected about a kilogram or two of various curious looking rocks for identification… A challenge of sighting tree-frogs was put forth to us by the guide, but we were unsuccessful. But, that lead us to the sight of buffaloes who had come to a water-hole to drink to their heart’s delight.

After going snapping pictures all over the place, we went to the e

dge of the cliff and sighted the tallest peak in Goa, Sonsogad. We were in a state of awe comprehending the fact that we were standing so tall. The best part was that the weather that day was just the way we all prefer it. While the sun was playing hide and seek behind the clouds, my friends were busy racing down the flat lands! Never the less, we decided to leave all the grasshoppers and minerals in peace and walk down. The walk down was as a bit confusing as I was held behind because of the never-ending discussion on Quantum Mechanics that a few of us had indulged into!

 

Back in the bus, we were driven toward the Anjunem dam that provides water to some parts of Goa. But, it wasn’t much of a spectacle as we had already experienced the mammoth Selaulim Dam this year! We let go off the clamour and seated ourselves besides the dam for a few moments of piece. As the guide explained to us that a nearby tree was said to possess a ghost or a spirit, I pitied the scientific temper of the villager folk. But, I guess they turn out to know more than us in the field of conservation of nature!! When we went down for a ‘ghar-guti’ lunch to a village, besides the food being worth the journey itself, we felicitated our guides who were the lads from a local conservational group. Aaah! This reminds me of the food, pickle and the papads once again!

 

This was not it. The journey back was as eventful as the whole trip had been! The moment we stepped in, our scientific instincts were not left far behind… And thus, ensued a debate on ‘How would people’s belief in God change is science cracks the mystery of the universe’ . A lot of views followed and before drawing a conclusion, we dropped by the Harvalem waterfalls… This was a refresher for a tired party who needed sleep! The vapours of the waterfalls refreshed us all and most of us got wonderful photographs. On the way back, after the derivational mysteries of ‘De Broglie mass wavelength’ formula we settled down for ice-creams at Marcel and this soothed our spirits. As our final destination drew near, a lull was present throughout the bus, but the excitement of the Science picinic to ‘undisclosed – secret locations’ on the 3rd left us wondering… Thus ended our journey when we returned back to our second home, the observatory.

The trip left me wanting more of mother nature and such treks. hop our wishes are fulfilled soon!

October 22, 2010

Rocking on the WAVES….


ViVa La ViDa ?


Oh yeah! Live the life, isn't that the Coldplay song/album ? No, it no longer reminds me of that album. It reminds me of those precious hours that i spent at the BITS-Pilani Goa Campus (i find 'BPGC' as chic!) for their annual college fiesta, WAVES. For me, it was more of a TSUNAMI (as the chief guest rightly puts it!) if not for the fun, then surely for the 'exposure and experience' that the two days knocked into meSarcastic smile!
Firstly for all those who have landed to read this, I am 16, studying in the XIth and also an aspiring physicist (i barely get that spelling right). And I just found my heaven (or maybe wherever it's library is situated). Well, take this from me, bunking college and school simultaneously isn't a great idea, not even if you belong to the bloodline of the Einsteins and the NewtonsAlien! But, life is all about experiences, unearthing the razzmatazz and oh boy, I leave behind no nook or cranny! So what follows is a brief sketch of my voyage on the WAVES.
  I have heard about it, thought and dreamt about it, occasionally gazed listlessly at the sexy website and perhaps even drooled over the prospect of being at BITS and lo, there was the opportunityIn love! I was hooked on to the idea of  giving it a go right from the big bang itself!So when I heard about the quizzes to be held from my fellow SEQCians, my brain was already put to work ascertaining my schedule for those days, with the fear of the terminals, a hair breath close, I wouldn’t care lessPunch! And so I did land up, at BITS after lotsa convincing to get some mateys along.
Map picture
   The moment I walked in on the 1st day, I realised that the fear of terrorists in this area is not a worry as even dogs are not allowed the campus without proper ‘identification’.  This was after-all, India’s top most ranked private engineering institute. Although all that I got to feel for the 4 hours I was there on the 1st day was the ear-numbing roar of the giant birds (read aeroplanes) and the SpEnt Quiz, a collage of wisdom on the most anticipated flavour of quizzingHot smile.
  The feeling that one gets when he walks onto the laws of such an institute of international repute cannot be typed downBe right back! If nothing else, it did give me a fair sense of the intellectual level of the students who are pursuing their studies over there. And yes, it also told me what I have to be, what level I should rest my bottom comfortably upon so as to get into such a rocking placeThumbs up!! Motivation, yes that was one of the main reason I had decided to walk through the gates, after-all, there is no better way of getting my lazy cerebrum to work then to provide, or tempt it I should say turn into a geekaholicSurprised smile!
  Enough of the dose, lets move onto the event itself! Well getting to the campus itself was an adventure in itself. Having no visual clue or assistance by Google made getting there in time even more challengingGreen with envy! Yeah, as usual we got lost but made it in time! The campus as I found out, was no less of a Bhool-Bhulayya! Getting there was one thing, searching for a lecture theatre inside it was another daunting task! Fortunately, I met one of my old friends Mihir Umarye who was kind enough to point the way. Unfortunately, the event was muc
h more than the quiz I had come to witness. Unfortunately because the clock was ticking, We had only 4 hours to decayWilted rose. All that we could see, except the quiz by Shridhar was the Animusic show. And at the site of the IITians playing an awesome rock piece, realisation drew upon me fast, well all those who got in there were no the uber-geek-bookies as I had assumed that they would beSmile with tongue out! Prejudice sucks, I know.

Speaking of the quiz itself, it turned out out to be a
good one, good enough for a college event like this! And yes, there was the usual SEQC bal-sena, who proved that age is just another number, at-least when it comes to the passed on audience questionsRolling on the floor laughing!  Right form the James Bond-wala theme to the CWG venues, we had it all! And yes, all this at the price of a few older college going jaws that dropped down… With Ajachi and his mates bagging the quiz, that was the end of the day one for us.
  Another day passed by and I made a few people who didn’t come pretty much jealousAngry smile, so much so that a few of them promised to come the next day!
 
Ahem. Day 3! Me, and a new gang of people. And these contained a few specimens from Aryaans, the I-don’t-go-there IIT coaching institute, who once reluctant to bunk hammered their foreheads for even thinking of going back early! They stayed on, and yeah we rocked! We dropped the idea of a ‘hot-chick’ count as we would very soon loose track of the numberWinking smile.
The main dome, which was no less then a hotel lobby from the inside saw a cry of collective amusement and a few people vowed to drop their dreams of becoming doctors and settling down for biological sciences just for the sake of this view every day after the next few yearsSurprised smile.
  What started out as a walk on the lawn, turned out to be an amazing cum crazy experience. Amazing for the fact that this campus has a fully stocked monginis of their own, and for the MOST AMAZING LIBRARY I’ve ever seen till dateSurprised smile!! With over 28,000 books, Wi-Fi connectivity, videshi journals and with a floor area of more than 50,000 sq. ft. this place charmed all of us. A chapter in our books translated into shelves of books in here! Out of the world, atleast for a Goan like me!! I say, put me in here for a fortnight and I will crack the JEE with the fundas! (BTW, I’m planning an aerial heist on  double floored  building  one day, any volunteers?Ninja)
  From collecting a bunch of rupee coins to throwing darts, we did it all.
But the funniest part was at the ‘Funspeak’ event. Its better not mention the ‘funnier’ things that were said there for the benefit of your jealousy! Salaam for the creative-smartass attitude that these people have acquiredOpen-mouthed smile! From there, we did a tour covering many events; the Nukkad-nataks and the Step-Up finals. Due to my hazy memory or b‘coz of the fact that I’m answering my French terminals tomorrow, I can’t remember the details. But in what is tauted to be the largest college auditorium in India, I got a little groovy with a heady dose of Indian RockPunk.
  Then, to top it all off, there was Rajiv’s Open Quiz. Well, there is no need to write anything down regarding this, because it is an axiom that his quizzes are not to be missed at any cost. Well this one got a bit bouncer-ish, but was well countered by a team comprising of India’s Top 10 quizzers who had flown in specially for this eventPointing up. And that was the end (apart from the snickers that we managed to squeeze out from the organisers). Apart from the rain that chased us out, we went home with a smile on our usually dull faces (we also got the satisfaction of perfect accounting of costs for the trip)!
WAVES, you left quite an impression on me! They say to get something, To be somewhere, one has to forget it for a while…Thus to be with you for a part of my future, I might give you a miss the next yearBroken heart!

Well, Sayonara… I wrote this coz I felt like writing it, now gotta gobble up some Fran├žaise or else Meri nayya doob jayegiCrying face!! Hope you all liked it!
(P.S.- to all those who didn’t come, you may cry in hellVampire bat)

September 14, 2010

The Guns are Silenced (Freakonomics?)...

My recent observations during the Chaturthi Vacations-

The guns are silenced, So is my childhood...
The shor-sharaba is dead, So is my cousins childhood...
The firecrackers aren't getting any louder, So is that the end of the Indian 'child' ?

Or is it that we all have grown up, so have our baccha-party? Are the becoming more aware of nature's call for salvation (salvation mind you, not relief!) ? Or is it just that what I used to crave for in my bachpanna, no longer appeals to the kids of the today's world? Let me try to reason out why all of this might be happening...

I have just realised that the toy guns that used to go boom boom-tho tho in my
hands are no longer audible.This has lead me to ponder what lies at the root of this paradox, Arre bhai, India has a growing population, the number of childern on the street should be exponentially increasing, rightly so would be the number of guns! And perhaps, so would be the number of child labour involved in the fireworks factories!! But what the numbers show is not what the reality speaks to me....

When I was young, I would long for the Ganesh Vacations, just so that I could run wild on the road, with the roll caps, creating a racket all over (and take pleasure in scarring the hell out of my younger cousin)...Perhaps, the joy of triggering might have died down with the advent of the 'Faraday's Law' & the 'Sin-Cosine Rule' . Yes, the literally came in as 'Rulers' and the 'laws' that they establised benumed my mind, sucking out all of the drops of baccpana that were left within me!

Well, that is definately not the case with the younger generation...but can it be so that they are becoming more aware, aware about the ghastly effects that the fireworks have on our environment? All that I can say is that, there was absolutely no one who would tell me about these ill effects (all my people were ever-willing to stop me if i had got a petty common cold though!). So is it that the citizens of tomorrow want to show that they are ever willing to make sacrifices, so much so that they can give up their crackers and fountains for Mother Earth? Looks far-fetched, I agree!



Have a 'crack' at it!



Perhaps, the techno-age has taken a heavy toll on them. On the exteme end, perhaps because they are obese and can't see any way that they could escape from a ticking time bomb that they have just lit... With the advent of the internet and e-greetings, todays kids have the choice & comfort to burst crackers and light sparklers at the click of a button... perhaps putting mothers in a dilema, from wheighing the disadvantages of tech-addiction over those of the firecracker accidents! Or others might just be like 'Dude, been there, done more than that!', that too ofcourse, in the virtual gun-wielding world of CS and other games.

It is a fact that in todays world and the exposure that the kids get, gives rise to matuarity arising out of experiences at such a young age. Such type of kids (read 'I consider myself an adult') have a fixation towards literature, they ponder over things instead of suckling their thumbs crying over a stolen toffee.

And with the IIT-JEE craze driving the whole nation, yes there are a few exta zealous parents i presume, who would if given a chance, like to enroll their kids at coaching classes at a tender age of 10! And then comes the very rare species of rutters who are busy preparing in the midst of Chaturthi.

To conclude, I must say that what turned out to be a bakwass attempt to emulate the feat of freakonomics type solutions for problems has turned out to be good 'diversified thinking' session for me!

Ponder On, Waiting for your suggestions and solutions in the comments!!

And I wish tomorrow, on the 5th day I will see atlest a few bachhas crying for crackers, if not bursting them...(And they shouldn't be, SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT!!)

Eh..I am confused!!!
;-) :-P

August 23, 2010

KWIZ JINX


QUIZ -
[k-wiz] (noun), plural quiz·zes,
verb:- quizzed, quiz·zing
-1 Life, Birthright, Gyaan Ki Pyaas
-2 Go, Press the buzzer, tear apart, win & avoid the persistant demand for treats that follow.

This is my defination of school level quizzing.
Yes, last year was a rocking year for me in terms of quizzing (All thanks to the SEQC gang for the whole new level!). I was going all guns blazing for the bull run, until, I tasted dust, the kind of dust you get when fall flat on your face, not only once, but twice in a single week!! Comparing it to those days when I had notched two victories in week with my pals, I had come a full circle. Lessons were learnt. A few of them are to follow in this post.

For me, Quzzing is not only about winning, Its about reaping the efforts that I have put in since my childhood. And if it not so, It means I gotta pump in some for Oxygen and water into my life. Its all about experiences on the journey that I undertake. And the best lessons and experiences (The badder the better!) have been during the handfull of defeats. Read on!

I dunno where to start considering I have lots to tell. OK, let me take a stand, my luck sucks this year (may be this is what they call compensation!).

I started off by dethroned from the title of Limca Book of Records Quiz on the tiebreaker (a no-brainer edition this year,as others would agree). If that was not enough, the morning news read "Mushtifund High School comes 2nd". I was totally pissed of! I would take any insults at Mushti Higher Secondary, but no, not the ones at Mushtifund High School, because I had earned its reputation i n quizzing with my dedication, the others were really determined to raise the bar higher, I can face defeat with respect, but I wont let my school take it for any arbitrary reason!!

The time passed and the defeat eased off. The next competitive quiz came knocking on Independence Day, an SEQC treat! It was also the anniversary of the only defeat last year; A quiz which I & Suyash had to locate while walking on rail tracks and ended up getting kicked out as we made a spelling mistake (F-T-W.isn't it?). All that we ended up was a cartload of tiffins that were given out as audience prizes!
As all my usual QMs (i.e. QuizMates for me) were busy with their IIT-JEE classes, I had to team up with my self-proclaimed sis Anusha. We were quizzing for fun, we had ruled out ourselves from serious contention. Seeing JK & Ash(t)ray after months on the circuit felt heart-warming. Making up to the stage, we lost steam and messed up big time, its a thing I am not known for, but for everything there is a 1st stands valid! I really liked the way Shash & Rege carried forward the "Mushti-Tear Apart" policy that I am still fond of.Hats off to them for the show (takes a bow) and the teamwork shown! Watch out for them guys! Returning back, We ended up 5th with only 2 direct answers under our bag. Call it lack of Wilson's buzzers or Compensation of luck (i.e. receiving bad luck) we ended up knowing (almost) all that we didn't get a chance to answer. Annie's questions were brilliant as usual (take a bow again)!

Following some Medical-Superbug gyaan for Adish, I and Anu took to the Open preliminaries.
We managed to crack a few questions by our good luck this time, questions ranging from our 8th literature to the newspaper from the day before. The more you expect from Annie, the more better his quizzes keep on getting!! Cracking a few questions from the Open was a pleasure, and the joy of cracking one of the best connects I have seen was worth treasuring!! The IIQ, rightly titled the 'Incredible India Quiz' should have been AAQ instead. Can you guess what that expands to? Read on!!

(to be cont.....)

July 7, 2010

The Start of a new journey...

Hmmm... a month back i got unlimited internet access (broadband has become a fundamental right in Finland!)...but today, i have kind of grown tired of the same old FACEBOOK-WIKI-TWITTER-MAIL-YOUTUBE routine.. and as it is, i have not started any kind of serious studies but instead i have gone ahead in restarting an SMS quiz initiative of mine. I have got tired waiting for blogs to post new questions...(although I agree that i can't even get a light year near to cracking the tuffies!)..I have decided to start a blog quiz of my own. SO THIS IS INTENDED TO BE MY LIFE+QUIZ+GUITAR+REVIEW blog... So welcome and happy following!

Link with me on FB, mail and Twitter.

To start off with a question, here is one!



CONNECT
Answer- Mahesh Yogi, The Beatles ka Guru


Till then Aproveite a vida!
Creative Commons License
Me, Midas Touch by Raj Kunkolienkar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at imidastouch.blogspot.com
.