Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh just call it what you want.

I've never kept any resolution, be it the popular 'exercise often' types or the less known 'pray endlessly till you grow taller' types. But this year, I managed to cheat my way through one. Write at least one post every month, I told myself in January. I figured this way my blog would stay alive. One would think, having scammed my way through the resolution, I might have the decency to close with a good post. But yet again I only have a set of completely unrelated things to say. Not that you should have a problem with it though, dear reader, because the last time I checked, you didn't exist. (always wanted to crack this one, heh!)

I hate to admit that as I typed the word 'set' above, all I could think was 'bags and sequences'. Yeah, that's the affect of having a gazillion exams breathing down your neck. Like most normal people, I have issues with exams. And like most normal lazy students, I tend to check the syllabus and find out if I have the right textbooks when the exams are two days away. Now this would be ok if I didn't suffer from recurring episodes of OCD. Have I got an entire syllabus to study in under 48 hours? Yes. Are there a lot of chapters to cover? Yes. Do I start from the preface and the author's notes to his loved ones? A painful, freaking YES. I simply can not go about exam preparation without cleaning my room, cleaning my table, laying down my pens and pencils in order, setting my playlist, sitting down in a corner of the house that my mind's vastu declares fit..and then finally I start from the first bunch of words that are printed in the textbook. Let me not go into details any further or I might start listing the rituals that take place when I finish reading each page. 

The bottom-line is that I obsess over highly insignificant things. And people. And sports. Which, of course, reminds me to mention Formula 1. So I love that sport and would do quite a few unimaginable things to meet some of those racers, but the interest surely has waned over the years. This year, I slept through 2 races and missed all but one qualifying session. *GASP!* The thrill did come back later in the season, but sometimes I think its my need to obsess over something that keeps me hooked to Formula1. That being said, I'd rather obsess over Formula1 than anything or anyone else in the world. Like Justin Bieber. Or trolling about the poor lad on youtube.

Now I can't remember what godforsaken things I've said or done over the year(and I'm glad I don't) but that must mean this year's been ok. The only memory of a facepalm that's fresh in my mind is that one dreadful moment when I accidentally flung my ID card(which was wrapped around my hand) at someone while trying to wave out to someone else. And I remember this because the guy I threw it at is a junior who travels in the same bus as me and he seems to grin mockingly every time he sees me. And that's nearly everyday. groan. 

Like every year in recent times, once again I hope the New Year will be better. But then, this is that year where one has to decide if one wants to work or study further, if one is willing to disagree with family on decisions for the future, if one should cut her hair short or simply leave that messy stack of hay alone.. So I foresee the usual dose of mayhem and conflict making itself at home in my life next year as well. But that's cool because we all know life wouldn't be fun without healthy amounts of crazy in it.

Damn, typing 'stack' up there set off the alarm clock in my head which asks me to study for the exam that's coming up. And to think I thought I would never be one with Information Science and Engineering. Well, If you've managed to get to this point, thanks for all the effort, I appreciate it. I know it hasn't been an easy journey on this page, but your company has been fun and encouraging. So long, have a good New Year!

Monday, November 15, 2010

F1 Season 2010 = Awesomeness.

Part of speech : noun
Definition : satisfaction
Synonyms : delight, enjoyment, fruition, fulfillment, glee, joy, kicks, pleasure, recompense.

Yup, that pretty much is the emotion being felt right now. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel has become the youngest World Champion, after winning the Abu Dhabi GP, his fifth win of the season. 
Why am I gratified? Two reasons : I love Vettel. And I've noticed, for fans of Raikkonen and Schumacher(me me me!), he seems to be the next best driver to support. I digress, the second reason - Alonso didn't win! Haha suck it, you bank-robbing, Kimi-ousting, team-order-imposing , whining piece of eyebrow!

But moving on quickly, lets get to the what was and what should be. A brief account of this season(whatever I remember of it, at least) and what I wish for next year. 

No.1, indeed. Click
to see a bigger image
Sebastian Vettel. He's young, talented and comes with a sense of humor that keeps those interview halls filled with giggles. Whether he's winning races with Kate's Dirty Sister or pulling Mark Webber's fractured leg, he simply is fun to watch. This season, he lost over 66 points due to mechanical or technical faultsbut never gave up. He never led the championship this entire season, but he never gave up! I admit he's not particularly good at overtaking without crashing. He's temperamental too, who doesn't remember him showcasing his rage after his crash with Webber in Turkey? But he's just 23, I think that's pardonable. I'm counting on him getting better. Winning the championship the way he did - with a win, was a big moment for us, fans him and one can tell there's more to come his way.

The Webber jump
Webber is fun! He talks crazy, he advertises for milk and he also set off the most fun meme in F1 history. Oh of course, he also drives well and wins races, provided he has a good car. He came close to winning the championship this year, good luck to him for the next!

Alonso. ha! Ferrari paid Raikkonen a hefty amount of cash, so he would leave behind a warm seat for Alonso to place his tushy in. But instead of winning a championship for the Italian team , Alonso blackmailed whined his way to becoming their driver no.1. He not only asked his engineer across the radio to shut up , because he was too upset to listen, he also provided us that priceless piece of theatrics in Germany, when he declared it 'ridiculous' that Massa was ahead of him and wasn't giving way. The Ferrari chaps promptly delivered those classic lines to Felipe baby : Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message? So, Felipe gave way. Of course, that wasn't a team order. Despite the fact that they immediately apologized to him - on air. 
Here's the entire drama put together in one video:   And here I thought Shakespeare was an ace in the Tragedy category. 
But then, I guess its ok. Alonso won a few races, he brought the team an entire bank as a sponsor! He's got to be a worthy champi...*cough* *choke!*.. heck, I can't even kid about it.

Mr.Whine reminds me of Petrov. Vitali Petrov drove a fault-less race, keeping Alonso behind him for about 30 laps, contributing to Vettel's championship win. Alonso sure wasn't a happy man at the end of it and he made it pretty clear to poor Petrov:
Who knew it was illegal to race for points? Alright, lets leave Alonso alone for now. 
Petrov has made scores of fans across the world happy with his drive in Abu Dhabi. He has also been performing decently well throughout the season. Him, Nico Hulkenberg - who grabbed that lucky(yet awesome) pole in Brazil - are two rookies who are likely to lose their seats now. I sincerely hope they manage to get themselves back into F1, they definitely are good racers. There's also Kubica and Kobayashi - both who drove superbly well this season, that I'd like to see in good cars, next season. Maybe Heidfeld could get lucky too. 

Naturally blonde, he is.
Hamilton, Button, Massa, Rubens, they've all had a pretty good year. (Rubens was nearly driven into a wall, you say? hmmm ) Lewis and Button, in particular, have been fair racers all through and gave Mclaren a respectable second in the Constructor's title. But my driver of the year is probably Goldilocks. Nico Rosberg, as you know him. He didn't flinch when Schumacher was made his team-mate and has driven very consistently race after race, bar an accident or two. He surely has helped Mercedes in jumping Renault for fourth in the Constructor's standings more than Michael has. So, cheers to him!

Talking about the Constructor's title, well done Red Bull! They were hell-bent on not using team orders and now they've got both titles in their bag. Something Ferrari could learn. Not to forget, they had a brilliant car. I'm one step away from starting to worship their engineer Adrian Newey. Also, Force India missed 6th to Williams by a single point. That hurts. About time they became regular faces in the top 5. C'mon Team Mallya! 

Oh, also, I'm praying the team principal of Lotus (or whatever that team is called) , Mr.Tony Fernandes, is as pumped about winning his bet with the boss of Virgin Racing, 'Sir' Richard Branson, as I am. The bet went something like this: The losing owner must turn stewardess and serve drinks in the winner's Airline company, for a day. Now since Tony's team has done better than Branson's, we're going to get to see Branson play dress-up. Hopefully.

Air Asia will most certainly have all tickets sold out on that will-be-eventful day. 
Michael Schumacher. What can I say? To say it was a disappointing year would be an understatement. Nothing can take away all those brilliant drives over 15 years of racing, before his first retirement. He'll always be the hero that made me love Formula1. 
The gap of 3 years, the transformation the sport has undergone while he wasn't here, his age..whatever be the reason he didn't step onto the podium this season, I'm glad he's coming back next year. After his accident at Abu Dhabi though, I doubt his wife would allow for it.

I suppose I've covered most things that have been hovering in my head. Hat tip to that genius Bernie - thanks to the new points system, the Driver's title had four contenders to the very end. Also, Bernie, continue to bring in ex-drivers as special-race stewards, please. Damon Hill in particular.*drool* 

The 2010 season has been fantastic. I know I miss F1 already, but I'll keep myself busy with dreams of going to a race next season. Kimi's 10th in WRC standings sure are good for a debut, but I'd rather have him back in F1. Along with wishing for his return, Schumi's return to his winning ways and Vettel keeping his momentum, I have one other wish for next season. There was one fantastic fellow who made me enjoy F1 mid-season, when I thought the circus was getting too bland. He's amazingly crazy and can overtake a driver faster than I can type this sentence. If there's anyone out there who deserves a winning car, it's the guy who made the Japanese GP the best race of this year. Kamui Kobayashi, stay awesome, you mad fellow.
Next seazon, all your meme are belong to me!
 Bring on the 2011 season, I can't hardly wait!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In my life, I love you more.

Of course, there's plenty of them fantastic artists out there. But this band is somehow more special to me. And I'm just about to grant myself the permission to talk about them.

I can't pick a favorite Beatle. That, in a way, translates to - I can't tell whose voice I like most. But honestly, I can't rank the four of them for nuts. There would be no legacy of this magnitude, if any one of them wasn't a part of the band. Each one was/is so supremely talented and brought in unique elements to the band. Of course, people's perceptions vary, but I'd say Paul had an edge over the others, when it came to creating the nicest rhythms. Lennon introduced that zing, while forming my favorite song-writing duo with Paul.  George, that sitar-using charm aside, most satisfies my need for a good looking, long-haired member in a band. And Ringo, mighty Ringo, kept this crazy bundle of creative energy packed together. And together, anything they created was magic.

I'm partly happy this band existed, partly regret that they split up too early. I love them by a good measure, but most of all, I feel gratitude. For all those songs, words and tunes, and for all the times I've found peace in their music.

There is a Beatles song for every mood. And almost always, I'm a better person at the end of each song I listen to. And well, just some times, there's that overwhelming feeling of joy and thankfulness that compels you to write a post about them.

I'm hardly qualified to say anything that does justice to The Beatles or their music, so I'll borrow a line from ABBA and simply say, 
Thank you for the music.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Philosophical indulgence

I have a strong urge to post another 'arbit rants' labeled post, considering the number of  unimportant and unrelated statements I want to make.  But I'll skip them all for this. 

It's insulting to the author that I don't remember where I read this or when I read this, so I apologize.  But this simple poem has come to mean a lot to me.  I find much depth in it and can't help but share it.  Hope you connect with it as much as I did.

Let alone this desire
And see a new world rise
Let alone this time
Forsaken in your mind

Let alone this pride
And see the faces that smile
Let alone this hatred
Filled up in your heart

Let alone this remorse
And look straight in the eye
Listen to the sound of a new life
And we shall rise. 

Whoever you are, Mr.Author, thank you for these lines.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The kind of post that gets deleted - 4

Welcome once again, non-existent reader, to the world of arbitness. This is going to be one of those spontaneous posts,  with no proof-reading or editing, where I simply wish to check if my keyboard is functioning.

2 fractures , one on each arm , while I was just being myself.
1 hairline fracture - and I still can't bend that toe.
1 cycle - truck accident , after I forgot I was coyote and not road runner.
1 muscle-ripping moped - rickshaw accident, because the rickshaw driver was just being your average rickshaw driver.
And of course, not to disregard the common fall - that usual trip and fall and slide. And many an embarrassed smile.

Ask me to list the times I've hurt myself and these incidents immediately come to mind. So yes, I've had my fair share of accidents, falls and injuries. But I've never had that crowning moment. You know, when you get a bump on your head? Never, until last week.
After all these miraculous feats, one would expect that I land the crown in a glorious manner, yeah? But no, I simply had to walk into that wall and then flail my arms like an awkward flamingo. It's disappointing. You know why? I thought this was one field where I exercised expertise. It's very disappointing.

So is the buildup to our CWG. Like I wish the F1 season and Schumi's career would take off again, I hope, like every Indian, that the CWG happen smoothly and successfully. Also, the  Indian Olympic Association, who took charge of CWG, signed a deal with the FIA for the Indian GP. Their involvement in this might just bring in a déjà vu moment come October 2011, when Bernie stomps his way around a deserted Gurgaon. But, we may not be the only country to pull a stunt like this. One of them Korean countries plans to hold a race too and their track looks like this :
F1 race track? You bet.

Oh, did I mention? The Korean GP is set to happen this October.

The track at Spa

The next race though, is at Spa Francorchamps, Belgium. A beautiful track, universally loved, what with its uphill sections and the works. One of my favorite tracks of all time, it's also been a great place for Schumacher and Raikkonen. The latter of course,  won't even race here this time. And to think it was him and the Belgium GP 2008, that made me want to create this blog. *nostalgia* 

Love this track, yes I do.

And I won't get to watch this race this weekend. No, don't ask.

I have been overdosing on nostalgia of late, with many good friends passing out of college or moving out of the city.  And as always, music comes to aid. While I have discovered/been gifted links to many wonderful bands/artists/songs over the last few months, I've got to make a special mention of In Extremo. They're German and they play medieval Irish, Swedish and Finnish instruments. My thoughts initially - are you kidding me?! If you dig this kind of music, you should probably give this song a try : Vollmond.

Ok, then, my testing's through. I'll leave you with this video of Formula 1 drivers doing their..err.. thing. They were to make sounds, imitating an F1 car, but Petrov and Massa were into something else altogether.

After laughing my heart out, it occurred to me that what happened in Hockenheim wasn't Ferrari's fault. No team orders, no growling Alonso. Massa has just always been the tame kitty.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Black,red,gold and a chequered flag.

Just like it is with the chicken and the egg, I'm not sure what came first - my obsession for Formula1 or for Germany. Either way,  they have both given me something to look forward to every alternate weekend, for a decade now. Over the last two months though, Formula 1 barely managed to excite me, thanks to Klose and co. draining me off adrenalin as and when my body produced it. Loew and his men(boys?) gave me more than one reason to smile, so here's me saying 'Vielen Dank, die Mannschaft'

Stepping into familiar territory, I've got to say I'm not enjoying this season very much. Lets just say its harder than I'd imagined, to see Schumacher being a regular mid-fielder (all non-Schumis , this is your cue to point and laugh). And that's not all. This season's throwing up a few too many unpleasant surprises.  If my opinions mattered - and I really wish they did - I'd have this to say to the F1 kingdom :

@Vettel, Webber and Team Red Bull - STOP stealing Mclaren thunder! All those actions on and off track , garnished with your war of words are so ridiculously dramatic, it must be giving Lewis/Alonso an inferiority complex. You were liked for your fun-quotient and diplomacy - save whatever of it is left.

@Bernie- You sly, 5ft tall bugger, you! Are you behind the scene at Red Bull? Wouldn't be too surprised, considering we have no scandalous 'gate's this season. Just..pick another team?

@Lewis, Button - So, you've been christened Lewson/Jenis by the media. Jenis, seriously? All the in-team-love is slightly over done, fellas. The patience is running out, just call each other a wanker and collide already!

@Ferrari - Dudes, I'm Tifosi and everything, but hello! You're supposed to be a Prancing Horse , not a braying child of a donkey. Let me put it across very simply :
Ferrari + Raikkonen + whining = monotone-d fun.
Ferrari + Schumacher + whining = bearable.
Ferrari + Alonso + whining = pain in everyone's rear.
You're not winning because you're not improving! It has nothing to do with one of the stewards not having a pleasant family life. No one's plotting against you!
"Its all a conspiracy =( "
So stop wailing and pointing fingers, before your logo goes from the classic horse to this --->

Oh Nando, you can continue. It's always fun when your frustration makes its way to the team radio , for all of us to hear. Also, (dyamn) I don't really have any other reason to pick on you.
(For your benefit kind reader, Alonso doing his thing : 1. A funny one  2.A sulky one )

@ Schumi - Don't quit. Not yet.

When the "Schumacher is a back-marker" claims drop into my chat window, I have nothing to say. I can only hope for better, I can only look back at The Race of Champions and feel a sense of relief. No matter what though, my opinion of the maestro will never change. 

Formula1 is set to redeem itself this weekend, with rain hinting it might pay us a visit. I, for one, have been looking forward to this race for a very long time. After Schumacher, Germany and Formula 1 combine most beautifully in the location for this weekend's race - Hockenheim. The German GP is here, bringing back every emotion the German football team did. I'm excitedly hoping to witness an entertaining race and I can tell I won't be disappointed.
To all fans, happy (pre-poned and extended) Oktoberfest!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

21 years of facepalm

It's that time of the year when it's all about me. Don't run away though, I'll keep this rant short.

When I was 14, I was crazy about Formula 1 and I loved Schumacher. Today, I'm fond of Formula 1, I like Schumacher and I'm trying to hunt his son down. Back then, I loved watching Cardcaptors. Now, I watch Cardcaptors only when I find its Japanese version. I used to believe Richie Sambora was the best guitarist in the world. Now I don't think twice before saying Petrucci can kick Sambora arse. My behaviour, once termed hyper, is now high. As a teen, I'd regret a lot of things I'd say, often said without internal processing. Now I don't care enough to regret. Then, I was always full of energy and made good of it in athletics. I cared about education. I actually had ambition. And now, I'm ..well, I have energy and make good of it by looking for more food. I drag myself through the process of education. I can't find my ambitions.

Many changes, o'er these years, some trivial, others not so much. Only a few things have stayed constant. My height for instance, but lets not go there.

None of those changes, I had a conscious control over. When I turned 20, I decided to bring about changes that I wanted to see. It's only providing you with redundant information, when I tell you that none of it came through. But I did have exciting plans! I wanted to experiment and go trippin'.Instead, I had paan for the first time and went tripping over electric cables. Did I hear you say facepalm? Well, you're absolutely right.

In fact, I'm pretty sure the doctor who yanked me out into this world 21 years back had a hard time getting my feet out of my mouth, while I hid my face in my hands. Ever since, its been facepalm after facepalm. My parents have even considered using surgical measures to keep my feet out my mouth. 21 years of it all, its been fun. For those who stood at a distance and watched, of course. I'm not too upset myself, I'm sure a lot of things could've been worse. Tough, crazy or blissful-it's at least been interesting all this while.

The legal age for everything is here and I've waited for long. But harder times are to come, people say. I find myself wondering if I'm all set to 'battle the world'. I wonder if I'll ever make a positive difference to my environment, or if I'll fall asleep in a bathtub at 27, without having achieved anything worth talking about. I..

I wonder how much I'm going to cringe when I read this a year from now.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

There's a geezer in F1 (and its NOT Schumacher).

"The five red lights eliminate and the *insert name* GP iis GO!"

Quite literally, ring a bell?

For religious followers of Formula1 who watch the telecast on Espnstar, every race begins with those words being spat out in mighty excitement by Steve Slater. And boy, is he one special character!

Before I stick to boring tradition and list out points as to why the man ought to be out looking for his screws, let me state that I like him. He's a fine chap, a typical middle-aged British man, I suppose, hyper and overly joyous all the time. Irrespective of everything I say, Formula1 RaceDay needs him. But considering all that bumbling, messing up and guffawing, I decided there had to be a post on the bugger. So, quickly getting down to business, here's what I find annoying/amusing about the man :

* The tone of his voice + accent.

Maaybe I shouldn't comment in this category because of my bias toward the baritone. But hey, its only fair that a sport have a commentator with a charming voice. I mean, the sport is a two hour show with cars going about one track, a shrieking voice can get to you, y'know? Alright, maybe not his voice per se , its pitch perhaps. Well, you get the drift.
And I won't trash the accent - I don't hate it. Especially since it can get amusing at times.

* Mr.Excessivley Hyper

Yeah, I'm no one to rant about somebody else being annoyingly hyper, but this man simply ought to calm down! What is he now, 50? All that excitement could rub his BP the wrong way. Earlier, there was the ever-calm Chris Goodwin, who kept things going steady, without giving any one's pulse a sudden jolt.
Agreed, there are two sides to the coin. Without Slater's constant cackle, non-crazy F1 fans might catch a snooze before lap 20. But just sometimes, his excitement can get to one's nerves.

* Blunders galore

In the name of Ayrton Senna, someone please help him get all those names right. Slater almost always remembers to drop in a blooper during a telecast. In all his excitement, it seems like he often loses his train of thought. For instance (and this is just one of hundreds), at this weekend's Spanish GP, he went,
"Whatever Sebastian Vettel can do, Vettel can do it 300th of a second better."
Replace the second Vettel with Webber, please.
Yes, I know, to commentate in real-time is very tough, I would've made a bigger fool out of myself.. yada yada yada. But one ought to know the basics like team and driver names, yes?
"Kobayashi there, driving for the BMW Sauber.....Sauber...whatever it is they call it now! hehe!"
BMW Sauber Ferrari, thank you very much.

* Talking over a driver's radio conversation.

Here's something that actually makes me want to send out a flying punch. When a driver's radio goes on for the viewers to listen to, you quit rambling and let people listen to the driver-engineer conversation! Slater always has a fellow commentator remind him to shush. When the man finally completes his rant and goes quiet, the radio conversation would be three fourths done with.

* Well, strictly speaking, this is not a valid point. His bro-crush on Lewis Hamilton has nothing to do with this post. Yeah, he was a true Schumacher fan but jumped wagon. So? He never makes any biased remarks in Hamilton's favour now, does he? Does he?
Well, at least its better this year. Its just him going ga-ga over the Ham-boy. There is no bright orange-clad-pussycat's-annoying-doll going fruity in the pit lane. Phew!

Anyway, not digressing further ; the listed issues aside, there's Slater's constant comparison between F1 and chess ( "they're playing chess at 250kph!") and his never ending stuttering, among many such idiosyncrasies.

But like I said before, he's one endearing old bloke. He adds his Brit jazz to Formula 1 every Sunday and my race wouldn't be complete without him or his flubs. Of course, other sports have funnier people to celebrate, but here's my toast to that yeasty geezer from Formula 1 - Cheers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A day well spent.

Parikrma is an NGO that provides education to underprivileged children. For more information, visit Parkirmafoundationdotorg

A fine Wednesday morning two weeks past the commencement of my summer holidays , I found myself running through my to-do lists, trying to find something to do. The mundaneness of everyday routines having numbed my nerves, I refused to recognize tasks that seemed uninteresting. Quickly looking past the ones labeled 'important' , I decided to step up to the internet, the sphere where time isn't respected enough. But before I could lose my way amongst the many webpages, I remembered Parikrma. My friend and I had been putting off a visit for a long while due to work at college and were eager to visit. I thought, why not meet those kids today and bring a smile on their faces?

After a few calls to my friend and the Nandini Layout branch of the NGO, I left home. A short drive later, I found myself looking up at the bright and colourful school. I soon met my friend and together, we met the principal. We just wanted to volunteer, we told him. Very quickly, he had our work cut out for us. We were to assist teachers in minding 2 sections of tots.
Enthusiastically, we followed him into the nearest classroom. With just one look into 'Sun', the class for the youngest group of children, I realised I wasn't particularly qualified to handle the kids. Upon my request, we moved into 'Mercury', the standard 1 of Parikrma. Once inside the class, I saw everything that I had pictured an NGO school to be - except for one detail. I saw more smiles than I had expected to see. But that was the last mental note I was allowed to make. Five seconds into entering the class, we were surrounded by kids who only came up to our waists. Twenty five to thirty of them, all very excited and full of energy. They wanted to know our names, they wanted us to know theirs, they wanted us to take photographs with them, they wanted us to have a look at their coloured works of art and they wanted us to do it all immediately! I flashed my friend a part-exhausted, part-terrified look but she assured me we'd get by, unscathed. I tried to cross my fingers in prayer, only to realise my fingers were all clutched by different kids. I took a deep breath to calm myself, while my friend took charge. As worried as I was after the ambush, things only got better from then on.

Through the morning, we recited rhymes and math exercises, played games and laughed with the children. Every time a camera came out of our bags, they'd swarm around us and fight each other to ensure they made it into the frame. Of course, they wouldn't let us go until they had a look at the photo and felt content with their appearance in it. Evidently, we weren't the first visitors they had. But the love they seemed to shower on us so effortlessly made us feel very special. When it was time for lunch, we were invited to eat along with them. We were only glad to oblige.
The afternoon was consumed by art class. I had fallen in love with the kids, yes, but the talent-mine in that classroom drew a small measure of harmless envy. As we sat expressing our approval of all the masterpieces, the school bell rang. There was a loud chatter of bye-byes, lots of flying kisses and in less than a minute, the kids vanished. My friend and I turned to head home.

The children on
Independence Day.

Once home, I had a lot to think about. Parikrma mainly schools orphaned children or children whose parents are serving prison time. A majority of the children live in a hostel close to school, with just about the basic needs being fulfilled. For most of them, it had been years since they had seen a member of the family. For some, such a meet had never happened. But not once ; not once during the entire day, did they lose the smile from their faces. These children attend school everyday with unfathomable enthusiasm, study intently, greet visitors with tight hugs and rush out of school in the evening - only to come back in the next day, with the same energy.
Almost immediately, there was the inevitable introspection. I recalled my first year of engineering, when I'd get depressed over not liking what I was being made to study. I recalled the times when I refused food at home, wanting to go to a restaurant. The many times when I would fight with my family over a multitude of trivial issues. There was a lot to learn from these children.
Happiness seems to be the destination we all seek. But to a majority of us, happiness remains an elusive emotion. And then there are these children, who have nothing to lose but themselves. The energy around them is ever-so-positive and there is absolutely no room for hate. Sure, they have their mighty differences now and then, generally over an eraser or a crayon. But fifteen minutes later, you might find them posing for a photograph with their arms around each other. There isn't much that this world can do to take away their smiles. There hardly exists anything that can attack the bounty of happiness that lies within them. And there is absolutely no stimulus required, for them to share this bounty with you.

We went back to Parikrma again. For three months, we made charts , bound text books , sang songs and taught Math and English. Three months of bliss. While the children took lessons according to the designed syllabus, we had our fair share of life-lessons. The little ones showed us how the world is too small and life, too long, to feel hate. How there is never a need to seek happiness from around you ; you only have to look within yourself.

Even today, we go back for short visits when time permits. But unlike the first time I visited Parikrma, I don't visit the kids intending to bring a smile on their faces. I just know I'll return home with a broad one on mine.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Its raining Buttons.

I have a problem with this Formula 1 season and Espnstar is to blame. Why, I want to know, just why have they changed their excellent opening track for Raceday and Chequered flag? It might seem trivial to you, but I have prepared myself for every race, over all these years, by bobbing my head to that racy track. The new track may not be bad but it isn't a speck on the old one. I wouldn't complain if I could get it off the internet, but I simply couldn't find it. Can anyone please help me find it?

Moving on, it appears like Alonso is the only teenage girl in this world who can drive the wheels off that Ferrari. Good for the team, bad for people like me. He praises the team, he praises the car, he praises the strategies, he drools over the team boss..just how hormonal can girls get?! Even I haven't, ever, gushed over Gary Oldman or Tesla like Alonso does while talking about Montezemolo. Really.

After Bahrain, I assumed Ferrari would run away with the championship this year. Vettel, I hoped, would take the driver's title. Then Australia happened. For me, the onset of the Australian GP induced a mix of joy, grief and fear. Joy, to see Vettel and Ferrari doing great. Grief, because I can't forget Kimi's first win with Ferrari, same place, three years back. And fear, because I don't like the condition of the Merc that Schumacher is driving. The buildup to the race was entertaining though, with the Hamilton man trying to impress women on the streets of Melbourne - and getting fined!

Getting down to the race itself, there was a world of change from Bahrain. Excellent maneuvers by Webber, Kubica , Roseberg, Hamilton(yech!) and a couple others, great battles between teammates, slight drizzle, a few wrong tyre-decisions and a small spray of accidents ; this race didn't let the fans down. The start was great for Vettel, Massa and Kubica, who wasted no time in darting to the first corner. The start wasn't good for me. Things were fine until Button decided to give Nando a li'l kiss on track. Their cars touched and Nando spun with joy : now only if he wouldn't knock down Michael's front wing and send him sliding off the track. While I tried to recover from this, two of my favorite rookies, Hulkenberg and Kobayashi, decided to park their cars in a spectacular fashion. Apart from a string of overtaking maneuvers and wild grass-rides, the race saw nothing significant happen until reliability issues struck the Red Bull again. This time, Vettel stopped a few meters shy of the barriers, after a brake failure. From there on, most cars played cat and mouse till the penultimate lap when things lit up for a moment. Webber touched Hamilton, ruining his race and Hamilton's chance for a podium. The final bit of action came from Schumi, as he overtook two cars, to land himself the final championship point. Button crossed the finish line with a rather butterball-ish John Travolta waving the chequered flag. Kubica took home a well deserved second. The Ferraris led by Massa, Rosberg and Hamilton came in 3-6.

In spite of things not going well for Vettel or Schumacher, I could appreciate this race. It was a fine trailer that demonstrated how exciting this season can be. I have my own concerns about the scoring system, but predictions and comments can be pushed for after two or three more races.

Looking forward to a better Merc and a reliable Red Bull in the next race, I'm also excited-giddy about the scene at Mclaren. While Whitmarsh praises Button's strategy, Hamilton blames the team for bad strategy. I'm glad there is enough action and drama to sustain Formula 1 this year. Despite what happens this season, I know I'll enjoy the races. I know I'll walk away from Steve Slater's jabber saying "I'm lovin' it!".

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Its on!

What is?
Firstly, UTPT. Quizzing doesn't get better than this. March 19-21st, 2010. Be there!

Now with that out of the way, the 2010 season is ON!
Nerves have started to twitch, fingernails have been digested , friends have been fought with - all this, with a month to go for the inaugural race!

There is so much to like about this season. New teams, new points system, NO Mosley, a good selection of drivers and the return of a winning combination. Needless to say, I'm thrilled(beyond acceptable limits) to see Schumacher and Brawn back together. But before I continue with my joyous rant, I'm going to say one thing to those of you who believe Schumacher is back for the money, fan count(?!) yada yada yada : Foutre vous.

Getting down to business, the new teams are US F1, Virgin, Lotus and Campos. The newbies started to interest me after I read about Branson's deal with Tony Fernandes, the owner of Lotus. If that deal is followed through, the team that ranks lower in the championship at the end of the season will have its owner serving wine in the other team owner's airline, for a day. Stewardess attire in place. How rad is that!

Their spirit is commendable. It has been and will continue to be an uphill task for the new teams to provide good/any competition to the established teams. Branson's glamour quotient aside, Virgin - the car, isn't really happening. If you look up an F1 thesaurus, you'll find 'US F1' to be synonymous with 'joke'. My genuine sympathies are with the team, but, that F1 is an expensive sport is no hidden secret. Lotus has launched a good-looking car, but is said to have downforce issues. And the last team, Campos, has been battling for survival. I have come across more rumors about Campos and Stefan GP than those about the foster parents of the world, Brangelina. It finally appears like Campos is being taken over by (some)Jose Ramon Carabante , in which case the team might be renamed. News about a certain Stefan GP continue to float around. Stefan GP is linked to Villeneuve, Ralf Schumacher and India's Karun Chandok. I wouldn't mind having them enter the sport, if it means giving Karun an opportunity to do the same.
Frankly, I can not do justice to this situation with my post. At least, not like Ferrari seem to have done with their statement. (Its a must-read

Plenty new drivers coming in, but I'm excited crazy about The Hulk-enberg. I've been tracking this young German from his A1 and GP2 days and I expect him to perform well, given a reliable car. And perhaps, he could bag a better drive next season. Bruno Senna brings with him a legacy and the hopes of many fans around the world. US F1 brings with it some drivers whose names I haven't tried keeping in memory, not yet. Renault, for one, isn't paying a driver - the team is being paid by Petrov. Russian Petrov, his politically connected father and their tryst with F1 and money - this circus is far too controversial even by Formula 1 standards. Here's a good read on this.

Of course, we still have charming Vettel around. He is my candidate for the driver's title, after Michael. And I'm praying, with as many fingers crossed as possible, that we'll have an ego-driven battle in the all Brit team of Mclaren. Unlikely as this scenario is, I'd simply love to hear Button refer to Hamilton's arse on the team radio. All wishful thinking aside, I'm not ruling out Mclaren as a top contender. Mclaren, along with Ferrari and Red Bull seem to be the top 3 teams this season.

The new rules include a new points system, re-fueling ban et all. Interesting. But just having the old tyrant out feels good. My official congratulations to Jean Todt for becoming the new chief of the FIA. It is said, Todt wanted to appoint his son, Schumacher, as his special officer. But fortunately for me and numerous other Schumacher fans, Brawn made Schumacher an offer he couldn't refuse!
Ferrari tried hard to bring in a 3 car per team system, desperate to provide Schumacher a car. They couldn't manage that but had already booked themselves a whiny, brassy Spaniard. And before we knew it, Schumacher was set to join Brawn in his mission.

Ferrari have moved on, embraced their new line-up and can't stop singing wussy praises. They're sure of seeing their drivers better Schumi. Stefano said at an interview recently, "Alonso is the only one to have beaten Michael by a huge margin - in 2005." Stefano worked for Ferrari in 2005, surely he remembers how pitiful that car was?
Its rather painful to see Schumi separate from the family he held together for so long. Yes, I'm still miffed with Ferrari for ousting Kimi but once you wear Ferrari red, you don't trade the colour. I can't wait for Brawn to draw stunning strategies, watch Schumi execute them to perfection. I can't wait to upload photos of Schumi-Ross on the podium and tag them brawn and brain, respectively. I can't wait to feel the thrill and joy that I felt many years back! But it still is hard to accept that he isn't driving for the Tifosi. Whats harder, is watching Alonso drool over Ferrari like an annoying girl in her early teens. He is doing a great job behind the wheel though. The new car seems to be in great shape and I have little doubt that Alonso will make the best of it. Seeing Alonso top a Test session recently, with Michael coming in 5th(that Mercedes has me very worried) left me ripped. At this rate, cheering on Ferrari for Constructor's and Schumacher for Driver's isn't going to be easy.

Well, since I've got an entire season of racing, controversies and political drama to worry, lose hair and voice over, I'll end the post. I'll end it with a wish, an optimistic note that has been running through my mind for two months :

Schumi, kick Nando's ass for 2006!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Can Chuck Norris kick?

Its not safe to let people know your weaknesses. I mean, pjux tagged me with two days left for my exams to begin. Clever tactic, wouldn't you say? Its exam time! How can anyone refuse a blog post?! Dang!

So anyway, here I am, making a public diary out of my blog. The year '09. The year that wasn't.

January - The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning.
The wonderful Quiz Corp trip to Saarang happened and I missed it. Yes, I'm still sore. Will always be. If you didn't go, you should be sore too.
This month, born with a bang, brought with it some cheer, a few tears, tough choices and general confusion. And all along I pondered about the truth in that thing they say, "What goes around comes around".

February to May - Electric Feel.
A good semester. It was no match to the previous, but good nonetheless. One fantastic UTPT* and brilliant company all through : this semester had it all. Apart for a few misses, it was a fine period.

Almost all my lady friends had broken up with their men by now. Did I mention, it was a fine period?

*RV Quiz Corp conducts India's biggest Quiz Fest. You didn't know? Be ashamed. Be very ashamed.

June - White and Nerdy, still.
So I turned 20. In contrast to everyone else around me, I welcomed the 20. In contrast to how a 20 year old would be expected to behave, I ran around town, wholly excited, announcing that I'd turned 20. But it didn't really sink in then. It hit me a month later, when my brother got know I'd turned 20 and expressed shock. 'Why', I asked him, 'How young did you think I was?'. 'Not young, but dumb. You still have so much to learn...' and his voice trailed off. For this, he got a pillow shoved into his face but I can't quite shake those words off my head. There is indeed so much to learn!

July - Schism.
This period was all about Hugga Bubba Love. Many mistakes made but many more lessons learnt. What is Hugga Bubba Love, you ask?

"T-rex is the man!"
Go read that nutty web-comic. Go.

August - Get Innocuous.
On one side connections were lost ; on the other, devious connections with old mirror images were renewed.
And right in the middle, we set up the fence. Fence101 : lessons in diplomacy, courtesy okienowwhat. I can vouch for its benefits. But it is a very hard thing to implement, this diplomacy. Definitely hard for a female Gemini. And harder for a female Gemini who was born with her foot -wait,scratch that- feet
in her mouth.
But there has been some visible improvement. Like the other day, I totally didn't guffaw when my friend asked me how her outrageous outfit looked.

Honest! I only just chuckled! Jeez, give me a break already.

September - The F-word.
Hair trouble.
It is not done. It is just NOT fair that guys can have longer, nicer, healthier hair than us. Than me. Yes, I do believe that the sight of long maned males is delightful, but its not particularly exciting when you are bald in comparison. They don't care, they wouldn't notice if birds laid eggs on their heads but nature doesn't seem to understand where the demand lies!
It pays to be a male, it really does.

October - Take a bow.
The Nobel Quiz was set to happen. Quiz Corp worked hard for it. It wasn't quite the show we expected it to be though. Lessons learnt, yet again. For the event, I was asked to correspond with the media.
Wait, why am I not making this glamorous?
I was the Media Representative.
Heh. I have to admit, this PR job, however insignificant it might be in its overall effect, gave me the biggest thrills of the year. Heck, I'd never been this excited to make phone calls! Seeing mum's joy when she saw my name in the newspapers(in grand, 5-5cm sized articles) was full-filling, to say the least. Must thank pjux for opportunity - and for all those phone numbers!

November - Winds of change.
I , for the first time in the history of my being, have issues with Ferrari. Buying Kimi out of the sport itself? Sigh. Saying goodbye to Kimi and welcoming Schumi into another team has been tough. I still dance with all tribal joy when I listen to Ferrari Polka*. So it definitely stings, but now, it won't kill to see the Reinmeister in overalls that aren't red.

*Ferrari Polka by Cuki. Fun track,this.

December - Paint it black.
I'm writing this just before a final exam that I'm not prepared for, with a sore throat, heavy head and runny nose : can't paint with any other color.
I'm surprised none of us died of exam overdose this month. I had an exam outside of college too! The Deutsch exam. I got that German course certificate alright. After a year of working hard, coercing and waiting, the poor lady from the institution finally got me to write a small test and collect the certificate. I slacked off yet again, despite being so passionate about the language. One day though, I'll learn enough to post in German. Count on it.

And Books. Try not to judge me, but I have a serious problem with books. I like them. I want to read them. But I can-not read them. Suddenly though, there are books everywhere. Every conversation I have, I'm introduced to a bunch of book names. So I finally give in, with sincere hopes that I won't give up on the third line of the first book. Little women to The Great Gatsby, the list is ready. I'm hoping I am.
Err..Don't worry, no matter what, I'm not reading anything that might result in MLIT.

In conclusion, this year ends like it began. Some cheer, a few tears and a lot of that general confusion. In Talking Heads' style, when I compare the first month to the last, its the "Same as it ever was". No useful knowledge gained, no substantial achievements made. No milestones conquered.
No, crossing that mark by weight is not counted as a milestone.

I did, however, learn a few life-lessons. Like how to sit on the fence and not taste my feet repeatedly. If I sound cryptic in this post, then I've learnt how to not use the internet for dramatics. Also, that Karma goes by a pseudonym. Karma is Chuck Norris. What goes around not only comes back around, it also roundhouse kicks you in the face! And that brings me to the most important thing I learnt this year : Chuck Norris can kick very well and I'm most definitely not Bruce Lee.

Edit : All ranting and invisible/unsuccessful attempts at humor aside, I must add, this year did bring me many smiles and cherished friendships, from January right until December. And I can not, not be thankful. Taking into 2010 nothing but goodwill and the good times, here's my toast to a wonderful year ahead! Happy and Prosperous New Year, everyone. :)

I tag Mirror Image, Vinay, Swathi, Meghana and Idle-in-Thoughts.