Sunday, May 8, 2011

Grad day Speech

A junior of mine asked me the other day, “What would take away from your stay in this college?” 

That set me thinking. It took me back to the nervous days of 1st year. We were stepping into an institution which had just been deemed Autonomous under VTU. There were new rules and a new structure of grading in place. Out went the advice of my brother, who had ordered me never to maintain an average below FCD, the concept of which held no relevance now. But then the situation did not turn out to be that bad. The subjects were an extension of 2nd PU, with a few additional concepts, nothing that one couldn’t master given some time. This comfort lasted until the actual meaning of Relative grading sunk in. Oh how silly that made us, measuring the performances of others and requesting teachers to set tough papers, so that everyone could equally suffer. Although FPS was the in thing in 2007, we were not ready to C2D.

Apart from academics, there were the fanciful clubs which we were coaxed to register for at the canteen and we did, fearing a friendly introduction session with the seniors if we didn’t. How naïve and innocent we were…

Second year was welcomed with a measured reaction. The joy of absolute grading on one side and the daunting task of facing the real subjects of your core engineering at the other. We understood the system, we played by the rules and we stood at canteens coaxing our juniors to join the clubs. We matured ever so slightly through the PDP courses and we learnt fanciful words in our subjects to impress others.

Third year brought with it the anxiety of planning for the future and the severity of the core subjects. Words from senior gave us no hope. “This year is the toughest” they said, “Expect no mercy from God or your evaluators”, they added. With much fear and sleepless nights, we sailed through, if not in flying colors, then in cantering grayscale. But did it end there?

The holidays following it were not holidays at all, for the preparation had to begin. To face the biggest challenge for which we had all chosen this college. For your parents to hold their heads high, while brimming with self esteem, you had to land in a good company. This would not only ensure owners’ pride but also neighbors envy. So out came the RS Agarwals and the QA books, with furious practice sessions and discussion of puzzles with different problem approaches. The pursuers of a Masters degree had a different set of challenges to overcome. For they had to learn to refer to dictionaries to know word meanings, a practice long forgotten after school. That they took to mugging the ready-to-mug-word-lists was a different issue.

The final year brought with it lessons of grooming and etiquette. How not to forget to knock the door while entering and to remember to say the right greeting at the right time. Ties were exchanged and so were the questions asked. Sheer disbelief from those who made it to some companies and from those who didn’t. Tears were shed; lessons were learnt, but our college being what it is ensured that nobody was left behind. And were the pursuers of MS far behind in the placement drama? Absolutely not and when asked why, some were brutally frank saying that needed a backup, while others threw the remark, “We want to prove it to ourselves that we are worth it”. 

In the midst of this frenzy, we made sure we had fun and how. We attended fests in the city and outside the city, we volunteered for activities, we organized events, we shared experiences, we made new friends, we fooled others and were made fools of, we loved, we lost and yet strangely we won. For subconsciously, these new activities had changed us, they had made us look at ourselves and others in a different light. It made us to learn how to accept others for who they are and enjoy each other’s differences. We forged bonds which are unlikely to be broken by time and distance. And we created Facebook albums as a digital reminder of the good times and more often than not the crazy times.

My FCD Brother said that friends and connections made in college can never be replicated anywhere and that I shouldn’t expect it in the corporate environment. So true isn’t it? From here on we are stepping out of our comfort zone which we created in college. It was a world within the real one, a familiar environment where we set the rules and we called the shots. Try that in the corporate world and before you do you have been warned.

So today in our dazzling suits and sparkling sarees we do realize that we come a long way from where we started. And as an answer to that impatient junior I said, “The College has given me lots of memories and experiences to recollect for a lifetime” She wasn’t impressed for she expected something along the lines of the placement offer that I had landed. But I guess she will agree with me when she is about to leave college.

Thank you.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Inaugural Address to the Freshers of 2010

My speech was labeled as 'Reflections of a Student'- by Nakul.P.S, 7th sem Telecom

Greetings to the dignitaries on stage and to the excited students and their parents gathered here. I welcome you all once again and I speak on behalf of the student fraternity of RV College.

When I read about the colleges being made autonomous in 2007, the year of my admission, which although gave them leeway to introduce changes in the existing system, it induced apprehensions in me. What would the changes be? Will the syllabus be tougher? Will my journey in RVCE be more arduous than I had imagined? And believe me, these were some of the many questions…

But these questions and more were answered within a few days of my being in college. The teaching staff and the administration made me feel at home, with interactive sessions about the road ahead, as to how the teaching staff now had more freedom in setting about the path and how the students should go about it. 

The orientation process allowed me to know the various facets of the college more intimately. Be it Sports, Cultural Activities Team, Social Services among others. What made the process more exciting was the legacy that the previous batches had left behind in their respective fields. Our victories at the University/ National level in many sports like Cricket, Tennis, Basketball etc. And then our achievements in Debating, Quizzing, Theatre, Engineering at so many levels, inspired me to make a mark and be associated with the greats that this institution has nurtured.

With the gradual and smooth adjustment to college life came in the wonderful interactions with the seniors, some of which contained advice for the right textbook for the subjects but most of which were intended in making us as a part of the RV culture. And in these interactions there never arose the question of Ragging, because the relationship was based on that of mutual respect. I shall cherish the moments that I got to spend with my likeminded and the most unlikely seniors, for a very long time to come.

The one aspect that I absolutely adore in the RV culture is the support and the opportunities that one gets to explore one’s the hidden talents and be the best at it. As an avid quizzer and a theatre artist I have made most of the QuizCorp and the CARV clubs in college, which have allowed me to avidly pursue my passions while striking a balance with Academics. Worry not, you shall have a detailed orientation process which will enlighten you to know more about the various clubs in RV and learn to be a part of it.

So apart from this, what makes RVCE, one among the leading institutes that impart technical knowledge? It is the distinguished teaching staff and the forays that we have made with cutting edge technology, which has made RVCE stand head and shoulders above other institutions of the kind. For the auto enthusiasts there are clubs like Ashwa, Garuda etc. and Frequency Club for the electronics enthusiasts, among others. These clubs have made a mark in national and international competitions, like the launch of STUDSAT, thus carving a niche for themselves. 

The Industry-Institute interaction which exists in the institution helps us immensely. Although one evaluates an institution by the number of companies which arrive for the placement process, its not the complete picture. The modern labs which have been instituted with their collaboration, of which the Wipro India Innovation Lab, Freescale Microprocessor Lab, Pace Lab for Video Engineering come to my mind display their belief, in the potential that we as students of RV College possess and thus have provided us with state-of-the-art facilities to bring us in tune with the current trends in the industry.     
So as you all stand at the threshold of 4 exciting years of college (5 in case of Architecture),  I would ask of you to make the most of your college life, with the support and the facilities that it offers and become well rounded personalities, entrepreneurs even, willing to give back to the society which nurtured them. 

I look back at the three years, which have passed as a student of Telecommunication, with great joy and a sense of satisfaction that I made the right choice on that fateful day in CET counseling, in choosing this college. So have you and I welcome you all aboard.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mythology, Demystified…

Abhimanyu, with the partial knowledge of the Chakravyuha formation, bravely breaks into one formed by the Kauravas on the 13th day of the battle. With Krishna and Arjuna being forced to fight the Samsaptakas, none of the Pandavas have the knowledge to defeat the deadly formation. But they promise themselves to break-in with him and assist his safe exit…

And what follows, is a heart rending tale of Abhimanyu’s valour and his untimely death. We have all come to know of such stories and more; from different texts and different sources, but they never fail to capture our imagination.   

Myths, the study of which is Mythology, are stories handed down to us from generations past and have gods or supernatural heroes as the protagonists. The timeline of these stories is usually before the world, as we know it, existed.

There isn’t a definite origin to a myth and nor does it retain its original structure over a period of time. Myths, according to some, occur from distortion of historical events or in some cases personification of objects or occurring in nature. Rituals and beliefs of our forefathers make their way into our lives in the form of myths. For example, the belief that Thunder is the expression of anger from God or the practice of washing one’s feet outside the house on certain occasions.

Myths are subject to variations. Over a period of time, they get modified and are subject to different interpretations in different societies. Ramayana for instance, is known as Ramakien in Thailand. Ramakien heavily draws on the story of Ramayana, although there are changes with respect to clothing, weapons, topography which synonymous with Thai culture.

It is not uncommon to find common themes in mythological tales of different lands. Achilles (seventh son of Peleus and Thetis) in Greek mythology is known for his heel’s vulnerability, which ultimately cost’s him his life. Krishna(eighth son of Vasudeva and Devaki) in Indian mythology elected to die by allowing a hunter to wound him in the heel. Striking isn’t it?

The practices and beliefs of the superheroes are often considered righteous and worthy of adopting in our daily lives. We see Krishna take on the mantle of role-model and a counselor to Arjuna during the war, enlightening him on the complex aspects of Dharma. Most importantly they have and continue to serve as a tool, to effectively convey ideas to others.

The spreading of the myth occurs in many ways and is a great means for infotainment. Be it story-telling, novels, dramas or films, the modes of narrating it are numerous. The influence that mythology bears on literature and art cannot be discounted. From numerous TV Serials on Ramayana to the sci-fi series written by Ashok Banker on the same, the influence is enormous. Allusions of current scenarios to similar situations in mythological stories, are commonplace.

Myths offer us an outlet to imagine and enjoy a fantastical world, where everything is possible. Where Good triumphs over Evil and more often than not there is always a happy ending.  

PS: This article is a part of the 8th Mile Souvenir Magazine- associated with 8th Mile, the college fest of RVCE. The theme is mythology.  

Friday, April 9, 2010

GOD- The Review

It’s but natural for an audience to expect a play to have a beginning, middle and an end. But in case of GOD, a play by Woody Allen they would be glad to make an exception.

GOD was staged by Cult Entertainment on the 6th  of March at the Alliance Francaise. The director Avinash Daniel’s desire of successfully adapting a Woody Allen play with all its complexities, to a Bangalore audience was realized and how. By introducing sly local references and modifying situations which would appeal to the Bangalore audience, he truly made justice to the script.

The play starts off with an actor a director on stage discussing about an ending for their play, which is about to be staged for the Athenian Drama Festival. But it isn’t only about the ending. Through different characters in the play, important questions, some even philosophical in nature, are raised, thus keeping the audience guessing.

And just when you thought that the ticket money was spent on something serious, out come the slapstick situations and the well delivered laugh lines to lighten the mood. At some point in the play, i (and i believe others too) gave up on trying the fix the pieces and make sense of what was happening to stage and that’s when we all started to enjoy it better. There is the danger that a play might not be able to hold on to the audience, when it stops being coherent. So kudos to the script and the director for ensuring that didn’t happen, in this case.

Coming to the performances the multi-faceted actor Anirudh who played many roles, the prominent one being Bob Fate deserves a special mention. The comic timing and the body language was perfect from his end and the audience response justified it. The Gay King and Doris Levine gave out notable performances and their confidence on stage was evident of the practice that has gone behind it.

There were some minor slip-ups in the acting and the production departments but it was mostly forgotten the patrons who lapped up the humor served to them. One particularly entertaining situation is the use of light and sound for the arrival of GOD and the speech that follows. Brings a smile to me even as write this down; a month later.

There are inherent difficulties in enacting a Woody Allen play on stage. Firstly, there are the hidden meanings behind certain situations and lines, which if not executed well enough, might lose its purpose and fail to get it across to the audience. Then there are the local references, which a New Yorker or an American in general would appreciate better, than an international audience. Cult Entertainment handled theses difficulties with élan with suitable changes and thus ensuring that the audience was kept in the loop during the entire duration of an 'abstract' play like this. Substitution of Broadway with IPL is one such example. Well, you would appreciate it better if you heard it from them.

All in all it was time and money well spent on a pleasant Saturday evening. Or to use the cliche ' It was Paisa Vasool! '

Feeling sore that you missed it the first time around? Well GOD will grace us all again on the 21st of April at the Ranga Shankara. For more details head to

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Short or Medium??

Getting my hair cut, is usually a self decision. Although it starts off with Amma very subtly pointing out my not-so-subtle mane growth, it is a self decision.

Some days of resistance and convincing, of the need to be different, or the attempt at a new style, follow, but a look in the mirror convinces me that its time.

After the undertaking, comes the actual visit to the Salon. The Salon, mind you, not any other salon. The search for the Salon is a long, enduring and a challenging journey guaranteed to make you hair stand on end, with its endless traps and trickery. Loud mouthed barbers and unchanged blades are the prime villains among others. This is certainly not for the bald pated.

Now to those who naively question the search for the Salon, like" Pah what’s the big deal in choosing barber and all? It’s the same scissor and same half broken talcum powder box, no?” I curse them to visit Unisex salons and pay exorbitant prices for hair-styling+marriage-fairness-face-pack+ear-cleaning packages for the rest of their condemned lives.

"Kanna, My hair growth is self-regulated and changes with the different characters, i portray. Hope Balakrishnan doesn't mind..."

Its a different mane game altogether. Its needs patience, diligence and a keen eye. From my experience of having it done at 4 different places before settling down to the current one, the following factors should be looked out for:

1) Ambience: Plush interiors with Gillette shaving cream cans on the shelf, translates to one thing alone. The hair dresser is unskilled, so he is banking on the brands to lure you. Beware of such fellows, for you will be charged Rs.20 more than area average to refill the Gillette can, and end up with a bad hair style for your friends to laugh at. This doesn't mean that you visit shady ones with misspelt boards, but try to find a compromise. For example, the place which has a good balance of imitation and genuine products must seal the deal.

2) Magazines/ Newspapers: Although this might sound trivial, it really hits you when you have a dog eared copy of Star Dust of February 1993 with a Ravenous Raveena Tandon on the cover for company, while you wait your turn. A recent edition of the same or a respected newspaper at the very least, (if not The Hindu) should be present.

3) Television: Everybody wants to know how Claudia is faring in Bigg Boss or the formation of Telengana from the idiot box, barbers included. Even though you might enjoy the occasional Dr.Raj songs while getting your hair cut, the attention of the barber is not on you. With small cuts behind the ear and the nape, i stand as testimony against these fellows. Therefore radio is the only contraption of entertainment that he can possess. With Docomo ads being aired every other minute, he will be fully involved in giving you the best hair cut.

4)The after hair-cut "plz-sir-it-will-relax-you" head massage: The snip snap is done. You feel light in the head and the barber starts right away with the massage, without registering your protest. The karate chops land on your scalp with increasing rapidity and angle variation, leaving you to regret the oncoming headache. Its like paying to watch 2012. A sorry state of affairs.... So find the one, who understands your predicament or the one who massages in the true sense of the word.

After these important factors are taken care off and the list of potential hairstylists have come down to a handful, only then can you start insisting upon hygiene, voluntary change of blade for the straight razor etcetera.

 "No Hair Cut, No Cry..."

The salon that I visit, is one of those not-so-flashy ones and yet well-to-do. It’s minimal, with the right balance of products as mentioned before. The owner of the shop is unobtrusive and a gentleman. We exchange pleasantries and local gossip, while he tries hard to come up with a decent hairstyle that suits my odd shaped head. That I chose to go on Tuesday helps, because the superstitious types don't believe in letting their hair down on this inauspicious day. This saves the effort of having to read through his reasonable magazine collection, as I am served straightaway.
I mention "Medium", to the query, “Medium or Short?” and settle down, for him take over. The blade for the straight razor is voluntarily changed, which makes me feel content, on having made the right choice. The haircut is done, so is the customary massage, the sprinkling of powder (whose logo-design seems familiar but not the brand), the brushing of the residual hair and the admiration of the new style at different angles in front of the mirror.

The Salon is an important place in a man’s life. When the mundane things in life like shaving and dyeing one's hair, is being performed by an expert on you, who wouldn't feel pampered? And besides, which other place offers you the thrill of playing around with the elders back home, by threatening to touch something before the bath…??