Monday, March 24, 2008


Hee hee..

These guys will do anything to remain in the cozy shell. Reminds me of the matrix.

Mental note: Post on cozy shell and matrix.

P.S: I hope that this doesn't, in any way, hurt the sentiments of the creationalists(right!). It's just that as a scientist, i find it slightly on the amusing side..

Gimme red!

Ask any girl - any Indian girl, I mean.. She'll tell you about the magic that is mehendi (a.k.a maridani).

You usually get it done before a big event - a wedding, birthday, diwali, maybe.. even a cousin's engagement is excuse enough. Or during the holidays when you're jobless and have nothing better to do..

If you are lucky, you get to watch as the leaves are grounded and made into a nice paste (don't add too much water - it'll run; not too less, either - it won't flow; add a little lemon - it'll make your hand redder) and made into cute cones with the bottoms cut.

You watch as your mom/sister/neighbour/friend races patterns on your palm. The paste feels cool against your skin. You tell then to change the pattern here(you don't like mangoes), you ask them to draw some leaves just here.. But in the end it doesn't matter, because the design is so intricate that you find it hard to make out the original pattern..

You strech your hand out for an hour - two hours. You can't hold anything - can't read a book - can't use the mouse - cant study(!!!!:-)) - can't eat.. So you sit and watch tv. Or sleep - unless of course, your mom is very particular about mehendi stains on the covers.

Once every half an hour, you squeeze lemon over your palm to stop it from drying too fast, but it dries anyway and little pieces of the mehendi fall off and you try to peek at it from the sides to see how red it has become. You imagine it becoming really red and you picture you showing it off to all your friends who will "ooh" and "aah" over it. You wonder if it'll go with the dress you're gonna wear the next day (No jeans and tee for a week! Stick to the indian wear!)

Finally, it's time to take it off. You, of course, aren't supposed to use water. You scrub it off, dirtying the floor, but who cares! Your hand now has pretty red patterns on it!

Of course, you find it hard to eat for the rest of the week considering the smell takes off the flavour of anything your bring near the nose, but that's a small price to pay!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lost in translation

I was really looking forward to watching this movie. Epecially since about 10 people kept urging me to. Which is why I reserved it for a thursday before a 3 day weekend. But at the end of the movie, my only reaction was "huh?"!

The movie didn't (and continues not to) make any sense. I didn't get the point the director was trying to make. If he was trying to make a point, that is.. I don't think it was "another episode in so and so's life" kind of a movie, either. It wasn't a depiction of life in Tokyo, either. Nor was it about forbidden love affair. It wasn't even a honest combination of the above!

The story's about a famous american actor, Bob Marley who goes to Tokyo to advertise a drink. He's also facing mid-life crises and part of the reason he comes here is because he wants to get away from home. He finds himself utterly bored in this new city where noone speaks his language. He shoots for the commercial in the mornings and hangs out in a bar all evening. That's where he meets Charlotte, a young american girl who's married (for 2 years) and is in Tokyo with her husband who is here on some project. She is really depressed. I never did understand the reason. Her husband leaves to another town for a few days and she gets friendly with Bob. The rest of the story is about how they manage to enjoy themselves in a city they both have come to hate.

But it didn't make any sense. Everyone hates a new city when they go there for the first time. Then you make friends and start loving it. Was this the point? Well, then it wasn't potrayed well. Especially since towards the end he doesn't love the city, but her. Yet he leaves the place and goes away. Not in a heroic way, either..

Another thing which sruck me about the movie was the way Charlotte's husband loves her. He's all over her and is stuck on her completely even though they've been married two years. Whcih guy does that, tell me?

Why am i obsessing over this movie? Because, i was told, by many, that it's a really great movie.. Yet, I can't see where the greatness lies.

Maybe I just don't understand movies.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On Spica the star

I did a wiki on Spica.. and this is what they had to say:

Spica (pronounced /ˈspaɪkə/) (also known as α Vir / α Virginis / Alpha Virginis) is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, and the 15th brightest star in the nighttime sky. It is 260 light years distant from Earth. A blue giant, it is a variable of the Beta Cephei type.

So first of all, let me start off by apologising to those to whom i had given the wrong pronunciation, though if you ask me, I liked the old pronunciation much better.

Secondly, for the sake of those who still do not know, what I'm talking about, let me take you through the usual routine.

See, my name is Chitra. It means "picture" in Sanskrit. It is also a name of a star which is usually seen during April. The rest of the world calls the star "Spica". Hence, the title of the blog.

But there is more to it, as i recently discovered. Spica, wiki tells me, is a binary star. Which means, what we perceive as one star is in fact two stars.

Hmmm.. I wonder if my parents were psychic when they christened me!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ouch.. that hurts!

You know when you lose a friend?

It is not when they move to another country.. It is not when they die.. It is not when you've lost their number.. It is not when you haven't spoken to them in many years.. It is not when parents or circumstances forbid you from speaking to them.. It is not even when you betray them or they betray you!

It is when you call them up and talk to them for a while and into your head pops a host of things which you would've confided in them in the ages past, but you dismiss them now with a wave of hand as unsuitable conversation and talk about the weather instead!


You replace live journal with blogspot and you get what I mean..

Friday, March 14, 2008

The ultimate plunge!

Last night we had a panel discussion on the increasing number of suicides in IIT. Frankly, i am not so suprised that there are so many. Not to soun cruel, but what is suprising is that there are not many more!

Consider a typical IIT student. All his/her life, (s)he has been at the top of the class. Probably first in school, with a NCERT schol. and an olympiad medal thrown in for good measure. Then the kid manages to crack the JEE/JAM/GATE. (S)he becomes an instant celebrity. They're paraded around town by their parents who are feeling indulgent and would sanction any wish (s)he has. (S)he is utterly pamered until it's time for him or her to leave for the insti.

Once here, the ragging - although mild now - starts. They find that all of a sudden, they aren't top of the class anymore and they are (horror of horrors) an average student!!They're still considered the best by their parents who believe they're doing great, but only they know the real truth. A feeling of guilt sweeps in. Not being at home anymore, they have no one to talk to.. Most of their friends are locked up in their own room watch pirated movies downloaded from the LAN. Of course, there's the Guidance and Counselling Unit (pop. known as GCU), but that's not a big help. How many people are willing to go talk to an utter stranger? Thus they becomes more and more depressed, friendless. Meanwhile, their parents and others at home continue to think that they're the best. They know better than that. Rather, they think they know better than that. The guilt intensifies and finally.. well, they decide to "end it all"!

The professors aren't much help, honestly. Some are brilliant and approachable but you also have a few who'll call a spade a spade, and don't mind telling you to your face that they think you're useless! Obviously you're not, but acc. to them, not being able to solve a gamma function is useless!

And the whole concept of relative grading does nothing to aleviate the situation!! But more on that later..

Last night during the panel discussion a person in the audiance asked the guy from suicide prevention society, a question on inferiority complex. That guy replyed saying "it's strange to hear the words 'inferiority complex' inside IIT, but we're all human beings, aren't we?". But if you ask me, there's more IC floating around in this 420 acres than anywhere else in the city.. Oh, don't get me wrong. All IITians think they're the best, la creme de la creme and all that jazz.. But only in comparision with the rest of the world. Inside IIT, there's always someone better than you at something. Most of the time, most people are better than you at most things. And since you think you're better than the rest of the world, you care more than the rest of the world does. The rest of the world don't have any false notions about their ability. They are honest to themselves about how good/bad they are. They don't have any false pride. But since the IITian does, (s)he cares much more about the fact that (s)he's not good at something. And as one can't be good at everything, everyone here has an inferiority complex w.r.t something and a very intense one at that!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Closure is a strong word, but I suspected that that's what I needed.. I had hoped that my convocation will give me that, and I guess in a way it did.

For many months now - since July, 2007, to be precise - I have been looking back on my life in MCC with a sigh. Nostalgically.. Wishing with all my heart that I was back there. Everytime, I go there, I'll make a note and start counting down to the day when I'll go there again. This time, though, I left not knowing when I'll go back again, and guess what? I'm perfectly fine with that thought.

I guess what it really required was wrapping up the personal ties - realising a few truths, restarting some old friendships, rekindling the ones which are dying out, and letting a few die for the sake of friendship itself. What it took was a look at what is popularly known as the "big picture" and realising that fights, elections, tears, love and friendship was all just a part of college life. A three year drama - a masala movie with every spice in it - equally proportioned.

With that para, my post stopped making sense, so let me recap for the sake of those who are still reading and more than that for my own sake.. As i said, i need to press "publish post" before it ends.

June 16th, 2004(I do have an uncany memory for dates), I step in to the portals of MCC big eyed and full of wonder. There are all those people on stage who we're told are "gen. sec." and "chairman" and "convenors". Little do I know how I'll come to lose all respect for those post. The post, mind you, not the people. I still remember the first three days - the first day was the campus walk (I still can't, for the life of me, remember where they took us that day!). College ended at 12. The second day was dept orientation - college ended at 10.30. The third day was class orientation, college ended at 9.30. "This is too much", I remember complaining to Soumya.

The rest of the semester is just a haze.. I remember Nirupa, the triangle, Nirupa leaving, Subhashini's birthday party(the day she told us she was leaving), my first crushes in college, and my very first deep-dark-carry-to-the-grave secret(s). Oh yes, and of course the Goa trip.. But that's a post of it's own..

The second semester was even hazier.. Let me see.. The hall days (for some reason, I remember those!), Amandeep's arrival and all the guys going nuts, the girl gang, Yi and the drama club - which never really started, but yet led to other things which will not be mentioned in this post except to state that that is all I remember of the third and fourth semesters.. Well, almost all..

Third semester was also when the "cafe gang" was closest. Something happened in the 3rd sem which caused it to start breaking up.. I never figured what. I remember my and Sai's suprise parties, the trip to coorg and french classes.

Fourth semester: More hall days (wait, I think I went for only one that year).. Oh, yes and the elections. That is something I'll never forget - the year I came face up with hardcore politics and realised that there are things in this world I will never understand. The semester I lost all respect for the politician in a (wo)man - cause that's the worst in a person coming out - it's all about the self. The semester, when, suprisingly, my respect for Naren tripled - no, quadrupled and my respect for every other person involved fell into an abyss. The deeds were mended and made up for in other ways,but the respect never returned and I don't think it ever will.

Fifth semester: I was in depression. End of story. Oh, yes, depressed Nanital trip. And of course, Woodstock comes into existance (ta-da!).

Sixth semester: I stop hanging out with my batchmates because I had something to tell them which i didn't want to tell them and they kinda guessed it and i knew they had guessed it, so basically, It Was A Mess. Sixth semester was also Deepwoods 2006 third day and the week that followed. Sixth semester was also the time when life in MCC got really good. Almost as good as my first month there. Note how I said, almost. Not quite, 'cause I had JAM hanging over my head, but otherwise.. I made the kinda friends I had given up all hope of finding in MCC - I found people who I was proud to say I knew. For once, I didn't care about what the world thought and I became really close with my classmates. That was when I started loving my train rides. That was when I, for the first time in my life, did exactly what I wanted to. And realised, that that's all it took to be happy. Not happy happy. Just happy.

Yup, apart from the first one month, the sixth semester was the best of them all. Which is why, I found it so damn hard to get over the place. Which is why I needed a closure. I called up a few friends and cleared things out. I came to terms with the fact that some people just will not change. I accepted that a few of them make new "aquaitances" and I realise why they need to - silly, though the reason be. They're still my friends inspite of their silliness and that's what matters.

But most important of all, on my convocation day, I tried to reconnect with the whole lot of them and I realised that, save a hand picked few (the ones I can see have - and will continue to - survive the test of time) I couldn't relate to anyone else.

I had moved on.

I now know what I really got out of my 3 years - courage, freedom, a sense of independance, open-mindedness (I'll put important marks here, only my keyboard doesn't support it) and about 10 friends.

I need no more.

And so, as the title says "Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish!" :-)