Friday, May 23, 2008

10 commandments thou shall not fear

The famous VIT Hostel [Where we all made our bones!!!]

You ask any VITian "What is the best part of your VIT life". 9 out of 10 blokes would tell you "Hostel". Lets discount the remaining 1 guy who probably had a pestering gf to cater to, in the library or canteen 24X7.

VIT Vellore boasts of having some of Asia's biggest hostels. And boy dont they have rules!!! One year after passing out of college, Im now reading the hostel rules for the first time. I must admit they scare the shit out of people.
(You may find the complete set of 22 rules here. I like only 10 of those). These rules take me back to my hostel life. Time of my life, undoubtedly.

1) Strict silence should be observed between 9:30 pm & 6:00 am.

The exact timeframe where Vellore generates more decibels than ever. Whenever the power goes off, you'd find the entire hostel(around 6000 people?!) screaming like terrorists.

Hostel wardens and supervisors get verbally mothered during this time. Whats worse? dust bins, tube lights and empty perfume bottles are thrown out from the corridor hoping to be landed on one of the security person's head.

Exactly after a hostel-second(Well I think its one of the smallest measurement of time known to man: defined as the time difference between when the power is restored and when the hostel shuts up-completely) you'd find a few culprits tip-toeing into their rooms and declaring with an element of pride what damage they did to the hostel.

Perfect silence is to be maintained in the hostel premises including rooms, bathrooms, dining halls, corridors, common areas etc., Every student of the hostel should have the civic responsibility that he or she should not be a cause of nuisance, annoyance or disturbance to others.

LOL I dont get it. Whats the difference between rule 1 and 2? Having said enough about rule 1, let me just add something that came to my mind. Hostel bathrooms had the top open and cigarettes would get transferred from one bathroom to another with the last person in line always wailing that he got only the butt.

All hostellers have to be present in their respective rooms and keep open the rooms between 9:30 pm &10:30 pm every day (except Saturday for Men's Hostel) to enable the Wardens / Block Supervisors to take the attendance.

The Wardens/Supervisors were always from the army and apparently smelt a rat from any distance. I still remember a few people sniffing empty glasses from our rooms hoping to find dope and brand us a "TIGER"(dont know the lingo but when we got caught for playing cards(ya man just cards), they called us all tigers)

The hostellers are not to enter into any unnecessary conversation, discussions, quarrel or altercation with the hostel staff. If anyone has any complaint against any employee of the hostel, a written complaint against the person is to be lodged with the Warden. Use of abusive, vulgar and unparliamentarily language against the hostel/mess staff is strictly forbidden.

Bottomline:Do not mess with VIT security. Some of them are from the army too. Imagine messing with an Indian ex jawaan man. If they ask you for the id card show it, else your a NON VITian and they ll probably shoot you.

Shooting. The word reminds me of an incident. Some people were ordered to shoot street dogs in VIT hostel because they were multiplying in numbers.(They call it the green campus and thats how red it gets at times)

The hostellers are not to waste food, electricity & water. Wastage of food is a national loss. If anyone is found indulging in such wastage, he/she will be asked to vacate the hostel, since wastage causes unnecessary and unavoidable expenditure to others.

Forget wasting, I dint know many who ate the mess food.

5)a) Parottas were thick enough to derail a train if kept on the track
5)b) Idlis would mysteriously seem to be created a month ago
5)c) Dosas would however, qualify as idlis so there goes a consolation
5)d) Custard! They used to give a delicious custard(not sarcastic). But they gave 1 (yeah just 1) small cup.

The custard deficiency would bring the Oliver Twists in all of us and I still recollect blokes fighting for more. Other calm and composed people, however managed to get more than one by signing in the register(where you'd be charged extra) with names like Shah Rukh Khan or with a name of a guy they hated.(the latter would be charged end of the year!)

Hey but if you wanted good food there is always this International Mess(costly) where they have great food.

And of course the Dhabha, outside campus which serves 90% of VIT population kneads and mints "dough" like crazy.

Smoking is prohibited in the hostel buildings. Gambling in any form such as playing cards (even without money at stake), consumption of alcohol, use of drugs and narcotics and even., possession of such things are prohibited. Anyone found indulging in the use of such things will not only be asked to vacate the hostel but also be rusticated from the University.

The number of ciggy packets an average servant swept in VIT would be a staggering number. There are 8 shops encircling our college. I aint exaggerating but Shankar shop is the most addictive hang-out place. I still have his mobile number with me. He used to call us all if his income dropped for a day.

Alcohol bottles can be smuggled inside the hostel rooms if you have huge pockets. The security guard always wondered why we took only the chips and pepsi botlles in hand. Hidden beneath were litres of ecstacy.

7)Celebrating birthday parties inside the hostel is strictly prohibited.
(Its colored because in our college website, it was made bold.Wonder why...)

We all had the best birthdays in college whether it was ours or some guy's who you dint even know but ended up kicking him because the ritual took place on your hostel floor.

Jacob, a friend who was completely discolored on his birthday with a lot of ingredients (you dont wanna know) was taking a strenuous bath trying to get rid of the shit and 4 of us were simultaneously pouring SURF on his head from the open top.

"MK" the warden then, was patiently watching us from behind(first look and he must've thought we were all gay).

Such incidents made the Principal stress his point across. He went about saying "heyyyyyy no birththu day bummm allowed inside the hostel". The same guy got belted with firecrackers on Diwali when he dared to enter the hostel premises(ask me for the youtube link, I will authenticate your identity and then give it!)

Ragging in any form is strictly prohibited

Yeah they do take ragging seriously. But no campus life is complete without ragging and it takes place at an acceptable level at VIT.In fact if a senior asks for a juniors name and a sick prof gets to see it, he might probably escalate the issue. The usual college rags like the senior salute, dance, assignment writing are common.

But whats unique to VIT is that some of the seniors send the juniors as brand ambassadors to hunt down chicks in their batch and campaign for them. The juniors promptly leak out phone numbers and other value added services to the seniors.

Absentees / Latecomers (without prior permission from the Warden) will be suitably fined.

I dont know how a fine would be suitable. Anyways, the library was very useful for this reason. The in-time for hostel is 9pm. Our intelligent men used to enter the library at 8 55 get a slip and sneak out for a movie or for a drink. They sneak in to the library again at 11 30 or so and get the slip signed. Armed with the slip in hand, they entered safely into the hostel with some books in hand which would get returned the immediate next day as its purpose was already served.

Violation of any of these rules would result in punitive action and serious violations would be referred to the "Students Disciplinary Committee". The decision of the Dean would however be final.

I dint know there was ever a committee like that. But I did get a decision which went against me. Dont ask me how many points (mentioned above) I violated but one fine day in campus, when I was looking at the notice board (where a whole bunch of students flocked), I took a peep inside. It read:

The following students have been expelled , with immediate effect, from the hostel for serious violations.

4)Vignesh (yours truly)

(All blokes mentioned above are my chuddy buddies. Sad they dont've blogs...yet)

The incident has been updated here

The best part is that this notice gets spammed across all possible locations: the guys hostel, gals hostel and all department boards. Like we murdered someone and are absconding.

Whatever it is, we got instant recognition and joined the club with many others who violated different terms and served different sentences. Ours though, was only for 3 months and we were proved innocent(hehehehe).

We got back to the the hostel and were assigned the most blessed and wonderful "B block"(apparently they put a lot of like minded criminals in the same block so you can imagine). It also had a warden who'd sit beside us for drinking and smoking. He was an ex VITian and he was working there as a prof!

If I forgot to mention anything(Im sure there are loads), please comment and let me know.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

4 gears 3 wheels 2 people 1 God 0 compromise

Right now I live in Hyderabad and once when I travelled by bus back home, I woke up, thanks to the bus driver who was honking like crazy.I was wondering where the bus was then.

The answer came in the form of an auto driver. He was the reason my bus was honking and he swerved the auto to his right, stopped the huge volvo bus and screamed "aiiiiiiiiiiii otha ootaande sollnu vantyaaa?" (Tamil Slang/Swear but it exactly translates to : !@#$$%, have you told home your going out?). My driver mumbled something in telugu and "requested" him to move his small auto out of the way.

The holy sweet words of the auto driver early in the morning joshed me up. Why? Cuz I knew I had reached Chennai!!!

Its unfair to blog about Chennai autokaarans(auto drivers) when the guru krishashok has done it himself. But having lived in Chennai for 22 years, Im passionate about Chennai and and its a sin to ignore the Gods on 3 wheels

Try as you might, you wouldnt find a good auto driver(oxymoron) ever, in Chennai. If you want to take an auto, be prepared to make an ass out of yourself. Dont try to act smart and remember, they are the Gods.

My futile attempt at bargaining with an auto guy:

Me: Bosssu moggappair polama (conciously tryin 2 sound way too local so he doesnt charge me 1/25th of my salary)
: Could we go to moggappair?

God: Moggappair aa?...Romba dhooram aache (Ok this is how it all starts. he tries to give me geography gyan here)
Translation: Thats too far right?

Me: (ahem) seri evlo sollunge ? meter oadumaa?
Translation: Alright how much? Is your auto-meter working?

God: Meter laam velaikkaagadhu pa...onnyum ille oru 200 rupees kuduppa straightaa ootukku poidlaam (There it is, God sez he requires 200 bucks to take me home)

Me:Poitttu varathukku ille naa verum one way dhaan
Translation: Im asking for one way only and not for return too!
(This is my usual dialogue. I know it sucks but then some Gods may entertain a good joke thats why I keep trying :( )

(The God gets a little offended now)

God: enna nakkala? porathukku mattum dhaan. seri seri 190 kudu polaam.
Tanslation: Kidding me? alright gimme 190

Me: Lastaa solraen 130 varennge naa vaange illena venaam.

(On hearing 130 bucks, the God laughs now.And he gives you that look which makes you feel your begging for alms)

God: aen yaa distance ennannu theryaadhaa unakku? (mumbles a swear word but saves it for future use)petrol enna velai le pogudhu theryuma?(from geography to economy) evlo litre aagum theryumaaa?(general knowledge now) vandhuttaan . 170 lastttu varenna vaa.

(Translation here doesnt matter.Bottomline:God has given his verdict-170 ! take it or leave it. And he is ready with his hands on the starting rod-A signal that says this is your last chance)

Me:anna ungulku venaam enakku venaam 140 na correct rateuuu
(Yeah what to do? I cannot stomach giving him 170. I dont even spend that much for my two wheeler fuel for a week or so)

(By now God has decided he has to show me who He is)

God: U#$$#%le(censorship required here) 170 kudukka vakku ille nee ellam edhukku da auto le vare? Bus le po daa.
Translation: He declares that Im only worthy of travelling by bus and asks me to basically fuck off.

And me , I exchanged similar pleasantries with him for a while but since I know they have this whole union thingy and I could get bashed up I spoke no more!

The only time in my life where I think I won the bargain was when I went home recently.
An auto guy asked me for 80 bucks, I boarded and then he asked me for 100 after i reached home. I obviously refused.We argued for sometime and this God gets pissed off earlier than I expected. Guess what this God did? He said I can keep it and went off. (yeah yeah he gave me all the swear words, some gyaan and cursed my generations-to-come before leaving)

22 years man, 22 years! Even after living here for this long I can never ever get the better out of an autokaaran deal.

But wait! One thing I must mention about the Chennai autokaaran God is that the Lord will show mercy on you in 3 situations:

a)you are a lady AND you are pregnant(many a time, a free ride)

b)you met with some minor accident on road AND your bleeding(he definitely wont wait outside the hospital for the dough)

c)your bike stopped and you need it to be towed for cheap(Our Gods have a unique skill of pushing your bikes with their legs while riding their autos-this will of course cost you but they re considerate and wont charge you much)

Anyways like them or hate them, you can never ignore them. They are rude, abusive, haughty and most importantly indispensable. Thats why they are the Gods. Hail 'em :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Making 40 bucks profit with long hair(true incident)

Alright guys dont freak out. Im starting my story right away. During my days in VIT, I used to shuttle from Vellore to Chennai and back quite frequently. I bunked all fridays (for reasons that only my friends know) so I spent every friday saturday and sunday in Chennai and caught the monday morning trains(6 am) back to VIT.

On one such day in the railway station....(I had short hair and looked like a nerd then)
A fragile old man, dressed up like a gentleman came up to me and spoke in english, english that would remind you of someone who probably works in a voice-based BPO.

He said, "young man, I have a favour to ask"

Me:Yes Sir

Gentleman:Whats your name?


Gentleman:Wowwww what a co-incidence! My name is Vignesh too....Anyway Vignesh ...I know its shameful to ask anybody for this but I dont have a choice. Ticket cost to Vellore is 54 rupees and I have only 44 thanks to my wife who forgot to keep my wallet in my bag. I have relatives
in Vellore who'd come to the station and I will return it to you promptly. If you dont mind can you spare me 10 rupees?

Me:Sure. (I gave 10 bucks to him)

Gentleman:God bless you. What you studying?

Me:VIT computer science

Gentleman:Cool. What languages you working on? C++, Java?

(I felt proud having helped a man who knew way beyond what he should.Well my dad wouldnt even know what a programming language is ! {sorry dad I need to blog here thats why ;) }

We spoke for sometime and I boarded the train along with friends who took my case really bad saying I got fooled by some conman. I defended and told them "wait till you get down in VIT, I will introduce that man to you guys"

Well he never came and I got late for my classes, so I fled fighting with my friends saying he could not have spotted me in the crowd.

1 1/2 years later(when my hair hadnt met a pair of scissors for nearly a year)....

I was waiting in the railway station looking at the computer screens. One gentleman comes up to me and ....I was like whoaa this guy is here to say sorry and return my 10 rupees. Before I could smile at him he opened up ...

Gentleman: Where is the punjab national bank ATM?
Me: (wtf?!!!) Hmm Im not sure sir. (My smile vanished and I preferred to wait)

(May/May-not be a)Gentleman:Ok no problem.Whats your name?

Me:(the smart ass in me openin up) Shankar

The Asshole!!: wowww what a co-incidence! My name is shankar too(I was almost gonna beat the bastard up but I was like lets wait and see how it all goes)...I have a favor to ask. Punjab national bank ATM is not available here and I am a diabetes patient. I need to catch the Coimbatore train immediately. I fell a little short of cash. Can you spare me 50 rupees?(haaa! talk about price inflation!)

Me:(thought for quite a while and...) yes but how would I get back the money?

The Asshole:Please give me your house address I will send a money order for you.

Me:(anger burning inside but told myself "wait I need my money back") Oh sure but I have only a 100 rupee note so could you please give me 50 rupees because I would require atleast 50 to get to my hostel.

The Dumb Asshole took 50 bucks and promptly gave it to me. I started to walk. He followed me and asked "Excuse me you forgot to give me 50 rupees". I told him I knew him and he better make a move or I ll call the police(Okay guys I dint call the police cuz I had my dreaded data structures exam and I had 5 mins to catch the train).

The unpredictable Asshole then caught my collar and said"Im a decent man and dont fool an old man". I dont know what he read from my facial reaction...but he fled the scene immediately and disappeared in a jiffy.

Recollecting that incident today, Im wondering how such a smart conman would not keep track of the people he fools. Anyways too unlucky for him I had abnormally long hair that could ve fooled even my cousins.

Tomorrow if i get to meet him, he probably woulnt recognize me as I weigh twice as much as I did then!