Archive for March, 2010

bhOndOO talks to his daadi.

Mar 30, 2010

First, we moved past one lakh twenty five thousand tics.

Second, I tried hard, but could not do justice to this story in English. Hence I have kept the Hindi lingo and provided the English translations.

bhOndOO feels terrified to see a missed call from Daadi. She is his grand father’s sister and the eldest member in the family. She stays in a village and has some goats to look after. bhOndOO has bought her a mobile and taught her how to use it — by asking someone to dial the number. She is the terror in bhOndOO’s family since she scolds anybody and everybody, that too on anything. She loves bhOndOO a lot and vice versa, although she doesn’t spare even bhOndOO of the scolding. Looking at the missed call, bhOndOO knows that he has committed a crime by not picking up the call and is bound to get the scolding. He calls back.

“Kaun hai?” Who is it?

Daadi, this is bhOndOO.”.

“Kahan mar gaya tha?” Why didn’t you pick up my call?

“I… I… was just…”.

“Thik se bol.” Talk clearly.

“The mobile was on silent mode, Daadi.”.

“Silent mode maane?”.

Maane, I could not hear the voice of the mobile ringing.”.

“Kyun! Kaan mein tel daala raha kya!”. Have you poured oil in your ears?

“No Daadi. Sorry Daadi.”

“Sorry Daadi! Sorry ke alava kuch aaye hai tum logonko!” Do you know anything other than saying sorry!

bhOndOO kept quiet.

“Angrez chale gaye aur ye sorry chhod gaye!” The British rulers left the notion of Sorry in India.

bhOndOO continued to keep quiet.

“Ab kuch bolega bhi! Phone baat karne ke liye kharida raha ya chup rahne ke liye!” Now speak up. Phone is for talking.

“Haan Daadi.”.

“Achchaa, chal bata kahan hai?”. Where are you?

“I am at my workplace, Daadi.”

“Tu kaam pe lag gaya? Tere baap ne to kuch bataya nahi!”. You joined a job? Your father didn’t tell me!

“No Daadi. I am in the institute, working.”.

“Haan to aisa bol na! Khwam khwah tere baap ko meri baatein sunani padati.”. I see. Otherwise, your father would have had to listen to my scolding.

bhOndOO smiles, but the smile lasts only for a few moments.

“Tabhi main sochu, tujhme itni akal kahan se aa gayi ki tu job karega. Pachchees saal ka ghoda ho gaya hai aur abhi bhi padhai poori nahi kar paya! Kamayega kab? Daant toont jayenge tab!”. When will you start working?

“No Daadi. I have completed three years, I will finish PhD in next two years.”, bhOndOO said proudly.

“PhD maane?”.

“Maane, currently I am in twenty first standard. As soon as I finish twenty third, I will start earning.”.

“Tab tak kya baap pe bojh bana rahega!”. You will be dependent on your father until then!

bhOndOO didn’t dare talk about his scholarship, least he would receive further scolding.

“Aur wo chori pass hoye rahi kya? Kya naam hai uska?”. Did she pass? What is her name?

“Shami… Which chori Daadi?”.

“Wohi jo mere pair chuye rahi pichle saal jab main aaye rahi tere college ma.”. The same girl who touched my feet last year when I came to your college.

“Not yet Daadi. She will pass this year.”, a shy smile appeared on bhOndOO’s face when he continued, “Her name is Shami.”.

“Hmmm… Waise tu kar kya raha tha?” By the way, what were you busy with?

“I was simply surfing the net…”.

“Surfing maane?”.

“Maane, I was reading.”.

“Kya padhe hai tu?” What were you reading?

“I was reading friends’ diaries.”.

“Kya? Tu dostonki diariya padhe hai! Sharam nahi aaye hai towe!” You were reading friends’ diaries! How could you do that!

“No Daadi. These diaries are on the internet. These are meant to be read by friends.”.

“Menu samjhi nahi.”. I didn’t understand.

“See Daadi.”, and bhOndOO got into the teaching mode, “If we are in trouble or want to discuss something, we talk to friends, right?”.

“To phir?”. Daadi never responds with “Right.”.

“Similarly, internet gives us the ability to express our opinion in public. We can write about anything, about our advisors, about stock market, about our goats, about our village, about our Daadi, anything. Not only that, even our friends can give us their opinions on our thoughts. Thus, if your goat is ill, they can mention the nearest doctor to go to. This not only allows us to bring out our thoughts, but also to analyze those in the eyes of others. It helps build our personality, Daadi. And it keeps us in touch with our friends — always — irrespective of which corner of the world we are in. Further, it helps you build new friends. Thus, if someone else writes a diary on the internet on an interesting topic, you can become his friend and start discussing with him — without ever meeting him. And after some days, you can go back and read your own diary to experience your own past.”.

bhOndOO took a breathe before deciding whether further explanation is required. Daadi’s statement clean bowled him.

“To itna ghuma phira ke kyun baat kar raha hai? Seedhe seedhe bol na ke blog padh raha tha.”. Then why are you talking about it in an indirect manner? Say directly that you were reading a blog.


science and technology run.

Mar 25, 2010

Run for science! Participate in SNTRUN 2010. It is open to outside IISc people also.

Deepak Malani (alumnus, CEDT) from Alumni Association, Bangalore Chapter is a key driver for the event. Like SNTRUN 2008, the nice poster for SNTRUN is designed by Anaska.

Update: Photos by Anaska, Urvesh Bharambe, Ashwin Maheshwari, Tojo Thomas; all CPDM students.

concentration improvement.

Mar 19, 2010

This post is for Arun who is currently in a lazy mood. Arun is a CSA/Voices alumnus. If you have his email id, please write to him some inspirational songs.

bhOndOO was seated in a corner. He along with the other lab mates was waiting for their advisor Prof. Krishnamurthy for the weekly lab meeting. Although otherwise the lab meetings were informal and did not have a structure, they had two essential aspects: one, the lab meeting must involve a paper discussion, and two, the lab meeting must not start within 30 minutes of the scheduled time.

bhOndOO was terribly bored. I read hardly any papers and understand almost nothing. Spending two hours here in discussing something alien is almost like attending a lecture in Maths department.

“Hi guys!”.

bhOndOO’s boredom was suddenly gone, his eyes sparkled and he returned to his senses. All this happened because Gullu greeted the labmates looking at bhOndOO. bhOndOO understood that something was coming his way.

Everyone in the lab except the one who was greeted greeted Gullu. The non-greeter was suspicious, cautious and something-else-cious.

“What happened bhOndOO? You look lost?”, Gullu asked.

Before bhOndOO could open his mouth, BenJi replied, “When does he not look lost!”.

bhOndOO did not react; by now he was too much accustomed to such leg-pulling. He allowed the mocking laughter to settle and calmly replied, “Just waiting for Sir.”.

“Shall we do something that would be fun and still rewarding until Sir arrives?”.


“A game — for concentration improvement.”.

While bhOndOO was thinking about his next response, Gullu looked at the other lab mates and winked. The other lab mates understood.

“No, no. bhOndOO will not benefit from the game. He already has a good concentration.”.

bhOndOO was stunned to know that the response came from BenJi, who, a minute ago, was calling bhOndOO “lost”.

Chunna jumped in, “Gullu, I bet; bhOndOO will beat you in any concentration game.”.

Munna continued bluffing, “bhOndOO has the best concentration skills in IISc.”.

bhOndOO was unable to believe his ears. I myself did not know my skill. But if all of them are saying it, it must be true.

“bhOndOO, are you ready for the challenge?”, Gullu asked holding bhOndOO’s gaze, with a fine smile on the face.

“Of course!”, bhOndOO replied enthusiastically, looking at his supporters. bhOndOO did not know whether he was agreeing to enter the concentration game or the concentration chamber.

“This is the game. One person holds his palms steady a few inches apart facing each other with thumbs up. The other person closes his eyes and moves his hands, thumbs up, vertically in opposite directions rapidly in the gap between the other person’s palms. The concentration point is that you should not touch the other person’s steady palms while moving your hands vertically. If you do, the roles reverse. The one who can keep his concentration with eyes closed and not touch the other person’s palms for a longer time wins.”.

“That’s pretty cool.”. “It also doesn’t require anything extra.”. “bhOndOO will win it straight.”.

“bhOn…dOO! bhOn…dOO! bhOn…dOO!”, came the cheers.

bhOndOO took a deep breathe to acknowledge his supporters. He was overjoyed at his winning prospects — that too over Gullu. But being a researcher, he was a bit pessimistic.

“Okay, but you will first close your eyes.”, bhOndOO played safe.

“Okay, as you say.”, Gullu accepted, a bit too early, with a finer smile.

BenJi was to note the timings. bhOndOO held his palms a few inches apart. Gullu held his palms in the gap, took a guess and closed his eyes. When BenJi ordered, “Start!”, Gullu moved his right hand upwards and left hand downwards. Then right hand downwards towards the gap and left hand upwards towards the gap. He managed not to touch bhOndOO’s palms and the hands moved in opposite directions. He succeeded a few times, but soon, his left hand touched bhOndOO’s palm and bhOndOO shouted, “You are gone!”.

Gullu opened his eyes and showed his disappointment. “Ten seconds.”, announced BenJi.

I can sure do better.

It was bhOndOO’s turn to close the eyes now. “Start!” and bhOndOO moved his hands with complete concentration across the gap between Gullu’s palms. He could keep his concentration for some time, before he touched Gullu’s palms.

“Shit!”, bhOndOO reacted, opening his eyes.

“Eighteen seconds.”, BenJi declared.

Chunna, Munna clapped in bhOndOO’s support. bhOndOO felt overpowered. He looked at Gullu with a winning smile and Gullu showed his resentment.

“Okay, next round.”, BenJi.

bhOndOO held his hands a few inches apart. Gullu held his hands in the gap, closed his eyes, waited for BenJi’s “Start!” and started moving his hands with full concentration. bhOndOO was sure of Gullu committing a mistake, but Gullu was flawless for ten seconds.

He will not be able to cross eighteen seconds. bhOndOO told himself.

A scare crossed bhOndOO’s mind as Gullu crossed twenty. He can’t beat me. He can’t beat me yet again. I have to win. I must.

bhOndOO prayed hard that Gullu would touch his palm. But bhOndOO’s God was perhaps watching IPL. Gullu crossed thirty seconds.

With each second after that, bhOndOO’s pulse rate also incremented. He started looking for options, and remembered, God helps those who help themselves.

bhOndOO stole a glance at BenJi, Chunna, Munna. They were all in full concentration looking at Gullu’s hands. bhOndOO took the advantage and helped himself: he moved his own palms very slowly towards one another, reducing the gap. The moving hands touched the supposedly steady ones.

“You are gone!”, came bhOndOO’s self-helped winning comment.

Gullu opened his eyes and he looked at bhOndOO with an expression that involved more than a mere challenge.

“Thirty seven!”, BenJi announced.

“Amazing!”, exclaimed unna-combination.

Chunna-Munna’s exclamation made bhOndOO feel losing his support. I am going to cross sixty seconds, he announced to himself, I must.

He took a deep breathe, looked straight into Gullu’s eyes accepting the challenge. Gullu held his palms a few inches apart. bhOndOO held his hands in the gap, took a guess and closed his eyes. He prayed to Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh for their support, Om, he chanted in mind.

“Start!”, heard bhOndOO and he moved his hands initially slowly with full concentration in the opposite directions. He moved those back from within the gap backwards.

Ten seconds passed.

I must cross sixty, bhOndOO continued telling himself.

Twenty seconds passed.

bhOndOO continued concentrating.

Thirty seconds passed.

bhOndOO slowly increased his speed.

Fourty seconds passed.

bhOndOO slowly increased his confidence.

Fifty seconds passed.

bhOndOO’s concentration was at ultimatum.

Fifty five seconds passed.

I must cross sixty. I must win.

Sixty seconds passed. The pulse rate slowly reduced. Can I cross a hundred? Let’s try.

Seventy seconds passed.

bhOndOO did not hear the lab door opening.

Eightly seconds passed.

bhOndOO did not hear the suppressing laughter in another corner of the lab.

Ninety seconds passed.

bhOndOO continued moving his hands up and down “in the gap” with eyes closed. Prof. Krishnamurthy kept looking at the shabby structure sitting alone in a corner, eyes closed, moving his hands vertically in air. Three students were standing away in another corner of the lab supressing their laughters.

bhOndOO hit a century.

“What’s going on bhOndOO!”, Prof. Krishnamurthy’s non-question.