Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Causal Fallacy

Another great story from Department of Logic.

In today's class we were asked to do derivations using First Order Predicate Logic. One of the problems was very tough and the proof went over a dozen steps. I was one of the first person in class to crack it, and Prof. C. Chakraborti came over to see my proof. After going through, she pointed out that I have made a mistake while applying the exportation rule, and hence would require modifications. After that, she went through the proof by Khushboo (who sat in a seat alternate to mine). When she finished reading it, she told "I was expecting this" and pointed her some error in her proof. When she left, I asked Khushboo what the error was and why was she "expecting it". She told that she had made a mistake while applying the exportation rule just like me, though her error originated from her class notes as against the memory failure in my case. Then, the whole incident dawned on me. The professor is used to seeing one person in a row doing the question, and all others copying it. She attributed the mistake made by Khushboo to this phenomenon and went ahead. Truly speaking, she committed a Causal Fallacy by wrongly attributing Khushboo's mistake to mine. Howsoever improbable this event may sound, it did happen, and thus exposed the fallacy committed by a professor teaching logic!

Moral of the story: Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Not Work and Not Let Work

Today I happened to go to State Bank of India's Kharagpur branch to take out some money from my account. It has been a long while since I used the traditional withdrawal procedure, and ever since I got my ATM card, I hardly ever went to the bank. On nearing the branch, I saw the gate closed with a large red banner across the gate. Oh....so we hit a roadblock named nationwide strike.

The ATM inside the branch was as usual closed and inaccessible. I thought that only if they placed the banner a little inside and let the ATM be accessible and not the branch's door, it would have been better for us commoners. Anyway, since thinking doesn't solve the problem, I decided to work out alternative ways to get the money. The first alternative was very simple. SBI also has an ATM in Technology market. Since there was no adjoining branch, the gate of the ATM should be open and the ATM accessible. As I was going to the ATM, I happened to chance by another UTI Bank's ATM by the side of TSG. This too, like the Tech Market ATM of SBI, did not have any adjoining branch. But to the horror of my horrors, I found its shutters closed as well. It meant two things. First that it was an all-bank strike, so if I failed to get anything out of SBI, same would be the case with any other bank. Also, it meant that I should expect to find the shutters of my destination ATM closed.

This was very confusing to me. I didn't knew what the demands of the bank employees was. But, I never thought that while they are free to exercise their right to not work, they would even stop others from working (in this case the ATMs); clearly indicating that in order to make their strike successful, they want to maximize the impact on the common-man. If they had decided to not touch the ATMs, I am sure that life wouldn't have changed for most of the people. Just like the mobile phone now, ATM cards are well within the reach (and in possession) of common man. Money depositions can wait, even cheques can sometimes wait (they take some time to get encashed anyway), but money withdrawals are something that usually doesn't allow waiting time. I was also surprised to see that while they exercised their right of not working, they took the pains to go to distant ATMs, and close the shutters there so that most people get affected. So instead of a simple no-work day call, it became a power struggle for the bank employees, trying to show the government that they can bring the business to a standstill. By not allowing others to work, I am sad to speak that the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has stooped to the level of CPI(M) and CITU in West Bengal. Is what I see just here, or has this phenomenon been reported elsewhere in the country too.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nerves of Steel

This true story may sound like one we keep hearing in forwarded mails, but don't have any way to verify whether it actually happened.

Last year, during the Training and Placement season of IIT Kharagpur, one of my wingmates appeared for the interview of a major steel company. The interviewer asked the candidates to tell the factors influencing establishment of an iron and steel plant at a location.

This guy thought for a while and told "लोहा बनाने के लिए लोहे का कलेजा होना चाहिए ।"
("To make iron/steel, one should have nerves of steel.")

Needless to say, the interviewer was impressed and he was selected.

There's something about Pope

I had always wondered what was so special about the religious heads that distinguishes them from we commoners. I came to know this sometime back courtesy Pope Benedict.

The aftermath of pope saying that Islam is not a peaceful religion eventually proved what he said; a power we people don't have.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Positive Vibes

Something has changed.

When I came to IIT Kharagpur four years back, the system was rotten like hell. It took nearly one and half hour to withdraw money from my bank account or post office, and three hours to get the semester registration done. Letters to professors/deans never got replied, and I got the scholarship money nearly two months after it arrived in the institute. No wonder, I wasn't happy about it.

Since then, four years have passed. The banks and post offices had been computerised at least one year back, but it only worsened the situation as everything was now duplicated. The academic departments were re-furnished, but that can hardly be linked to change in mentality of the workers. Till the end of fourth semester, everything was same.

I saw the first difference during registration for fifth year. We were required to pay the fees at the undergraduate section. I knew that this process would take at least two hours, as the work involves copying of all the fees receipt, verifying, signing, and what not. On reaching there, I found that there was only one counter, and that too did not have any queue. The person simply took the fee receipt, tore off a part and returned me my half. (Time taken: one minute)

Thinking it as a one off case, and considering there aren't enough student registering for the fifth year, I went ahead with my life. The second incident that shook my faith in the incompetency of the system was with regards to payment of stipend to fifth year students. Last year, the fifth year students got their first installment of the stipend in October/November, while the stipend is given from the month of May. I was expecting a repeat this time also. But I was shocked to learn that the first installment is being disbursed as early as August itself. I and Suman decided that we will collect the scholarship later, avoiding the first day rush. Aditya decided to brave the odds and collect it on the opening day itself. In the afternoon, he came back to tell us that the transactoin didn't even lasted two minutes, and again, there was no queue. I went to collect the money the next day, and had a similar experience.

The next incident was my visit to the dean's office to get the address of an alumnus. I was expecting a lot of bureaucracy, form-filling, detailed explainations, repeated questioning, etc. But when I went to the office, the same lady that earlier took half an hour to compose herself before starting any (half-hearted) work, simply asked what I was looking for. I told her that I wanted the address of an alumnus, and gave her the name. She immediately recognised the name (the person was from 1955 batch), and took out a register. She also told me that his mobile phone number is wrongly stated. Meanwhile, it took her only 10 seconds for her to get to the address from the register. She told me that I can try getting the updated mobile number/e-mail address from the Alumni Office, though she doesn't think he uses an e-mail. Her in-depth knowledge about an alumnus puzzled me. Anyway, I went to the Alumni Office, and told the lady sitting there that I am looking for the contact detail of an alumnus, and told her his name. She too recognised the alumni and told her apprehensions about his mobile number being outdated. She opened a database, quickly located the alumnus concerned, and gave me his contact details. These incidents were marked different from my understanding of the bureaucracy in the IIT system. I also had to e-mail the duputy director of the institute twice for helping with the IIT article on Wikipedia, and on both cases, I received the reply within hours. Compare that to my letter to the dean (academic affairs) in my second year of study, where my genuine complaints about the course curriculum were un-answered.

No wonder, my experience with the IIT system this year has been pleasant; and I hope it remains that way. The only major problem remaining is with the mess food, and it appears that this too is on the track of getting fixed. Azad Hall's mess has been privatized, and others too are now in the line. Probably the change would come after I pass out of the institute, but I am really looking forward to it.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Missed the Blog Day

Yesterday, on 31st August, the blogosphere celebrated Blog Day. I was too busy yesterday to make a blog post on this....so here is it.

BTW, did anyone guess why that day was specifically chosen as the blog day? It wasn't because of any anniversary or historic event. The answer is 1337.

In leet-speak, "Blog"may be written as "3108", which is 31st August.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


...Intelligent, Simple and Intuitive.

One of the biggest problems with the generation today is that it considers classroom and the real world as two distinct places, that have no correlation with each other. Specifically, the people today don't think about applying what we learn in classrooms to the situations we find in real life. It can be argued that student life doesn't provide us with opportunites to unleash our creative self. But when it does, aren't the students expected to use the knowledge. One such oppotunity to explore how much theory people put into practice came during a class of "Symbolic Logic".

The evidence I have is quite unrelated to what we were taught, lest incriminating as the lead makes it sound. The beauty of the incident is that it captured failure to use logic in a non-academic problem during the lecture class of Symbolic Logic held on 22 August, 2006. To give a background, the course concerned is conducted as an HSS Elective, with students from virtually all departments, in different years of study taking part. The course is conducted by a faculty by the name of Chhanda Chakraborti, who has very recently written a book titled "Logic: Informal, Symbolic and Inductive". She strongly recommends (buying and) using the book for the course. On the first lecture class of the subject, when a student asked her the author of the book she is prescribing, she politely replied: "...certain C. Chakraborti".

Fast-forwarding to the lecture class held last Tuesday, I was sitting on the first bench with my brother Ankur, sharing the book with him. The row behind us had two girls, both without a book. Since the class strength for the course is about 140, Prof. Chakraborti prefers to circulate the attendance sheet, rather than taking a roll call. On the D-Day however, she had more issues to tackle. The lecture being a double-lecture (with two back to back lectures separated by a short break), the problem of students signing for both the lectures and heading back home during the break was not a possibility she had discounted. So while handing over the attendance sheet to the class, she made it a point to mention that students were to sign only for the first lecture class, and wait for the next lecture where the process will be repeated for the second signature. However, the students had become seasoned TM enough to ignore such advices, and most of them ended up signing for both the classes. Since the attendance sheet was passed on from the other side of the class, the attendance sheet reached me by the end of the lecture. Just before it reached me, it logically went to the row behind me. A girl named Lalita, who took the sheet, was aghast to see signatures on both the columns. She told (to us neighbours), that madame had specifically asked to sign on only column. Based on my past experience and reasoning that if all students signed on both columns, she wouldn't have any option but to accept the page; I noted that she shouldn't care about that warning and for the greater good of humanity (that included her), and sign on both the columns. She, being a very idealist girl, refused to partner us in the crime. Needless to say, almost all except her had signed twice. The sheet was returned to the professor and a good number of students left during the break.

When the next lecture began, and the professor lifted the sheet from the table, she noticed the trick that the students played. In an instant, her jaw dropped and she moved her lips in futility, unable to speak anything. Then, composing herself, she gave a beaming smile to the class, and lifting the mike to her mouth, spoke: "When I gave you this sheet, I asked to sign only once. Now, I am re-circulating the sheet again, and all of you should sign in the second column again. To see if things go differently, I am passing the sheet from other side of the class", giving the sheet to Ankur. Here, Lalita raised her voice and informed the professor that she hadn't done it, donning a proud look (quite unsurprising act to me, and easily foreseen). She couldn't get any appreciation out of the professor, though it was certain that everything said was clearly heard. Anyway, Ankur signed the sheet again, and I followed suit, finally giving the sheet to her. She had signed the sheet only once till now and so, this time she signed on the empty column. She was about to pass the sheet to her neighbour, when I intervened. I asked her to sign thrice as everyone is now supposed to do. She told that she did the right thing the first time, and now again she is doing what was expected of her. Then, I told her to contemplate what she is doing, and specifically think how would the professor distinguish her from those who signed twice in the first lecture and have now left. They would be having two signatures, and so would she; earning her an absent in the second lecture class. She tried to reason, but understood the chain of thought, and (hopefully, I feel) thanking me for saving her from a cardinal sin of not attending a lecture.

And yes, before I forget, the professor became the first instructor to teach me who had the guts of admitting that she "wasn't paying attention in class", asking me to repeat a question I asked in the second lecture that she missed hearing.

End-note: The story goes like this. During the previous double lecture, when she tried passing attendance sheets for the first time, my friend Suman was the first person to sign it (only once). He passed it onto me, and I signed twice. Seeing me take the short-cut, he signed the sheet again, and passed on to the next person. The herd mentality of the class snowballed into everyone signed the sheet twice, and when it reached the professor in the end, she was speechless. Probably she thought it was her fault that she didn't clearly specify to sign only once, and would do it from the next class onwards. Who knew what future holds for us.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Mission Hyderabad

I never thought I would be doing this so early. Even before passing out of IIT Kharagpur, I am already half way through an industrial consultancy project. This was something I have been trying to blog about for quite some time, though couldn't do for various reasons.

The story began when a friend of mine (Vivek) returned from his summer internship. He brought a very interesting proposal. Through another friend, he was contacted by a certain entrepreneur who wanted to redesign the machines of his plant. Vivek toured the plant and was positive about our ability to handle the project. So here was Vivek telling us about the plan. The idea was to conduct this event under the aegis of Mekanika, the Mechanical Engineering Department's Society. I was chosen to lead the team of juniors to complete the project. We thought it would be quite easy to do as it will be universally regarded as a positive step. We got our first jolt when a professor we told this to informed us that it is not as easy as it sounds. He told us that since it requires monetary exchange, doing it through the department's society would require taking permission from SRIC. This would involve a lot of paperwork, bureaucratic hurdles, and most importantly, time. This was something we didn't had. The owner of the company told us to visit the plant as soon as possible so that he is ready when the demand surges. After a lot of thoughtful discussion, it was decided that we have to do it personally. This meant both risk (as we won't have any official support), as well as gains (we get to keep all the money with ourselves as the SRIC won't be taking away the monster's chunk (30% of all remunerations).

So we decided to set sail alone. I made a team of five people, (of course including myself), and chose three from them (Noopi, Rudra and Kothari) to go with me to the plant for a detailed visit. We decided to go on weekend, though there were still problems as it took a whole day to reach Hyderabad. Naturally we chose the fastest of all trains on the route (Falaknuma Superfast Express) for our journey. As we couldn't get reservation in AC 3-Tier, we had to do with Sleeper Class travel. It rained almost throughout the journey and hence the weather was exceedingly pleasant. During the journey, Noopi gave sermons on purity of life and soul, while Kothari and Rudra tried to debunk his philosophy and prove him fraud (of course jokingly). It got cold during the night, but I had no problems as I brought along my bed-sheets. But situation was quite different for the others. In addition to myself, only one other had brought bed-sheets to use during the chilling night-time. The other two were quite clueless how to spend the night. One of them had a towel, and he decided to use it to protect himself. With this backdrop, I went to sleep. I had a lazy break from sleep around 7 am. When I turned, I saw something that made me forget the sleep. I saw the guy who hadn't brought any bedsheet lying over the guy who did, with the bedsheet over them. Apparently during the late hours at night, the poor chap realized that he cannot sleep in this state and asked for help from his friend. His friend accomodated him with pleasure (I am not telling their names for privacy issues). When I saw this, I couldn't help but capture the shot in my mobile phone. Fortunately, I now find that the picture came out pretty bad and incomprehensible (!) so that I am able to post them online without getting into privacy related issues. Here' the pic:

When everybody woke up, we spent quite some time joking on their public display of homosexual behaviour. The journey ended without any other significant event.

The train arrived full two hours late in the Secundrabad Station. A person was waiting for us at the railway station. He took us to a nearby hotel for lodging. We had lunch together, after which we were joined by the owner of the company. He took us to the plant where we were to study the machines and suggest improvements. The plant was smaller with respect to the number of machines I had expected, and larger in terms of the area. He first gave us a tour of the whole plant, with detailed working of every machine. Some of the machines he had were very crude and self-made, but were in working condition. As expected, he was having troubles with the low output and frequent failure. He also showed us a newly bought machine that was working fine. This made our work easy as we could lift design details from the new machine and customize it for the old one. It would still require some engineering calculation, but not much. He also asked us for complete know-how on how to make replicas of the new machine. He even wanted us complete Engineering Drawings, with bill of materials as well as the supplier details. The last part, we promptly refused to take up because of lacking experience and other obvious reasons. For dinner, he took us to club-like place. On entering the place, he started filling a guest book. I was surprised to see that, and thought that he was probably booking us a room or a suite to relax and eat. I was more surprised when we proceeded to the dinner tables, to join one of his friends. On reaching there, we took our seats in cozy sofas, when menu came. The menu surprised me most. The menu card was hand-written, and there wasn't any price listed for the items. I later learned that this was only the snack lounge and the place to dine was separate. But there again, there was no custom of paying the bills. During the dinner, he asked us in detail about our future plans, and specifically if we were interested in joining him. He gave very attractive offers, but we avoided answering the question directly.

The next day, we were to go to the plant again for taking measurements. Although it looks quite simple, it was a herculean task. We could only complete taking the critical dimensions in the time we had before lunch. We were hurried to a Chinese Restaurant, where we again joined the owner and another of his friends. When the orders came, I promptly asked for Chop-sticks; something I have been practicing eating with for quite some time at home (for Maggi Noodles). As expected, the noodles were easy to eat, but rice gave good resistance to my eating. Eventually I won, and finished with a clean plate (bones remaining). Then, the owner asked us about our expenses. I told him that our expenses were Rs. 4,900. He gave us Rs. 5,000 without even asking for bills. I was expecting this, but only half-heartedly. Our return trip was quite uneventful.

Since then, we decided to confirm taking this consultancy project, and started working on it. The need for another trip was felt, and as I write, two of us are packing for Hyderabad. I hope that we are able to complete this successfully, which would be a dream-come-true for me, as well as an experience to cherish thoughout my life. One hurdle remains....We have no clue how to ask for money, or for that matter, how much to ask.

Note: I have taken care to exclude details of the work in hand due to possible contractual issues.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

People I Want To Meet

Here's a list of interesting people I want to meet:
  1. Paridhi Vyas
  2. Akshay Patra
  3. Bharat Sarkar
  4. Bhavna Pradhan
The interesting people I have already met include:
  1. Maharshi Vyas (The guy was my school junior)
  2. Hariom Tatsat (The guy was in my hostel/hall in IIT)

If you know any more people I might be interested in meeting, do comment about them and I will add them to my list.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I Was Just Wondering

A group of owls is called parliament. So also is a group of our politicians. Owls are supposed to be very intelligent animals, and intelligence is the last thing I would associate with our politicians. So in order to avoid damaging our owl's reputation, we should consider changing the name of our parliament.

Friday, February 17, 2006

"Please Submit"

Today, some of my friends had FEM(Finite Element Method) mid-sem exam. The paper was very lengthy and Suman decided to skip one question completely to be able to complete the rest of the paper. At the end of the paper, after submitting, he saw Vikas frantically writing in his answerscript. As the invigillators were nowhere around, he went up to Vikas and pulling his paper started saying "Time is up. Please submit... Please submit." Vikas Chandan was so engrossed in writing the paper that he didn't realize it was Suman and without looking up started saying "Just one moment, Sir!...". It was a long time later did he realize that it was Suman and started smiling over what has happened.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New Found Love

I remember when I was in 8th standard, one day I was talking to my friend named Kabir who was very knowledgeable about the countries of the world. I wondered how he knew so much and I found out that he reads about them from some encyclopedia (it used to be spelt 'encyclopaedia' then, but I guess times change and so do spellings). I was also very excited about it and as a childhood wish declared: "When I grow up, I want to write an encyclopedia". He started laughing and told me that writing encyclopedia is not a piece of cake and one man can't do it alone (as if I didn't knew it then). I didn't say then, but decided that I will be a part of one someday. Two weeks back, I started my journey when I edited my first article on IIT Kharagpur on Wikipedia. I waited till now because I was not sure whether it would survive a few days. But now as it has, I am writing about it.

By the way, if you are interested, you can check my works at my homepage. I have even got an award of being an 'exceptional newcomer'.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Who is Romantically Challenged?

Below is a screenshot from an Orkut community titled: "The Romantically Challenged".

While I was about to navigate to other pages, I noticed something very strange. It was the related community links. Look at the one at the centre. Does Orkut mean to say that if you are romantically challenged you are most likely to be an Iyer, or are from Madras? No prizes for guessing that it made a great bhaat session for the day with Amogh Ra.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

First Row, Second Person

As soon as this incident happened on last wednesday, I thought "I gotta blog this." But it wasn't until today that I am able to do it. Blame it on my busy schedule or Blogger's Syndrome*.

Anyway, the incident I want to discuss happened in the Operations Research class of wednesday. For those not aware of it, its mostly Linear Programming and similar other optimiation technique. But I should add a disclaimer here that even I am not fully aware of it as I have just begun this course. Now I took this course because I had already taken a course names 'Design Optimization' in which we studied Linear Programming. I thought that I have a better chance at this subject as compared to others in whom I was told that there's won't be anything worthwhile to learn or the professor gave really bad grades.

Things seemed to work perfectly well till the wednesday's class where it was all a jolly ride for me and Suman while the others fretted out to understand the concepts. Thing were going on pretty well when the professor decided to start a new topic, on the principle of duality in LP. She told how every LP problem has a dual; how every maximization problem's dual is a minimization one. Then to elucidate her point, she told that a profit maximization problem is also modelled by a cost minimization problem. Then she told us to turn back the pages and open a problem that she had taught long ago. She revised the problem and asked us to reformulate the dual of the problem. The first part, that of redefining the objective function was easy as we just had to swap the variables from production rate of materials to unit cost of production. This she even did herself. No prize for guessing that she asked us to reformulate the constraints for the problem. Now as I had already done a course attributing to which I was able to identify all the constraints, I went ahead with dictating them while others stared with a halu look on their face. But things weren't as pretty as I thought. As soon as she was finished writing the equations, she turned back and said, "Now will the person who said all these please stand up and explain how he got them from a physical significance point of view". To say the least, I was bowled out. In the whole course of DO, we were just given a problem which we transformed to the dual by taking transpose and changing the variables. Here was a new problem and I was short of time. I thought that I should say something vague to keep myself off the controversy and for that I had to find something to say by the time the professor identified who was the person. I thought this would be easy as I had to just re-engineer the question as I already knew the answer. All I had to do was to say whatever was written in the equation in plain english and the truth shall set me free. But unfortunately, luck wasn't on my side. I couldn't understand what vague statement the equation meant as I tried to ignore the classroom making some unfriendly noise.

"Who was it?", the professor demanded. Many people (must have been over 40) replied in a loud voice "Ma'am..first row, second person." Obviously it was be.

"Yes", she said talking to me, "please explain how you got this result". I was still turning pages trying to understand what the statement meant. At the same time, I told my neighbours (Vikas and Suman) in a hushed tone that they should help me if they got it figured out. Sadly noone did. The seconds passed like ages and the silence grew very uncomfortable. Then she started herself "See, the person who got this was able to say as he had already done a course in Linear Programming. I just wanted to know if he knew how to arrive at the solution". The truth was out and I was feeling a bit relieved. She then went on to explain what the constraints meant in real life. What I was expecting to be an insight soon turned like a joke. By reverse engineering the equation, she came up with the 'statement' that said "Cost of production >= Profit". I couldn't understand the meaning. Even I was able to get that statement in those precious minutes, but had to discard this as a rubbish theory. I pressed to find out how and was eventually told by her that had the problem been one in which we were to reformulate the dual, something would have been given to arrive at this conclusion. I was still not convinced. I tried to find out if the problem was indeed a dual, there should have been data in it already. What seemed like an anti-climax, she told that even she didn't knew how this came!

Neat, huh.

*Blogger's Syndrome - A condition in which a blogger who has been active for a while suddenly stops posting, eventhough most of the times he checks others' blogs and also has something to say. Surprisingly, everyone suffering from it accepts it but defends it in various fashion. Although its largely attributed to busy work schedule, recent researches have shown that there might be more to it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Bhatta At His Best

The picture below is of Hrishikesh's door. As expected, he jhaanpofied an unused label from the Sugar & Spice Shop.
I feel that I have posted one too many nameplate photograph. But what can I do if such things keep happening.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Amogh Ra Got A Job

...in Danieli. And he would be getting quite a handsome money for it.

But this is not the reason why this post is written, as there are many more in our wing who got even better paying job.

The story is that Amogh went to Sonar Bangla in Kolkata for the interview. While he was still there, the news of his selection reached us and we were delighted. Amiruddin was also overwhelmed by Amogh's selection that he replaced Amogh's Nameplate with this one.

When Amogh came back, he immediately concluded that this was done by Amiru. Not only because he recognized his handwriting, but also because Amiru wrote his own room number 'B-214' on it. Amogh lives in B-213. It was also apparent as he misspelt 'Danieli'.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

This Isn't Fair

Carlos has competition....a very serious one.

For those who don't know Carlos, he is R.P. Hall's Canteenwalla. He is very famous throughout Kharagpur for serving good quality food at reasonable prices.

Till a few days back, he almost had a monopoly in R.P. Hall. Not just because there can't be two canteens in one Hall, but also strategically. First we have the primary source of fodder for RPians, our Mess. This in fact is the primary source of income for Carlos. All of us visit Carlos mainly because we are 'fed up' with the fodder served to us in the mess and want to eat food. As most of us are dissatisfied with our mess food, its raining money for Carlos.

Then we had a supposed competition to Carlos, the Fruit-Stall ownner Monkai da (the undisputed king of a socialist capitalist). One who refuses to bring more/better food items because we eat and finish whatever he brings. This wasn't usually difficult as he rarely brought anything to his stall. All these conditions made Carlos a hot favourite for foodies. Not to mention that he opens even till past midnight and keeps the shop open till even three during exams.

Then the turning point came. The students of R.P. Hall decided that we have had enough of Monkai da. We don't care if he has Socialist or Communist (or whatever that CPI stands for) connection, and thus decided to kick him off. But he wasn't a cool customer. He was a shrewd businessman. He warned of police report and court case against his dismissal as he 'felt' that he did everything right and we don't have any proof of his wrongdoings. This was a serious problem, but had an ingenious answer. The next day, we RPians found a complaint book kept inside the mess and a notice saying that if we have any complaints against Monkai, we have to write them there. The complaint book was filled in record time. Even in the very first day, there were over 100 entries against him. This must have really pissed him off and while he was deciding on the future course of action, the winter break came and most of us rushed home.

By the time we came back, we came to know that we have a good news and a bad news. The good news was that Monkai's shop has been closed permanently; and the bad news that he himself did it. What his masterplan was that since he has not removed his belongings yet, and has put his own lock, the Hall can't break it open as this will give him an excuse to appeal in the court. So while the Hall authorities await clearance from Police and the Registrar, the new person being allotted the job, namely Rocky, brought his own infrastructure to be set up. Till the time this post was written, status quo remains.

But then, another development happened. The Hall gave clearance for a fast-food joint 'Sugar & Spice' to open inside the Hall's premises.

What was more exciting was the fact that he sold a lot of stuff...from Burgers to Pizzas and from Chana Masala to Tandoori Chicken. Don't go by the picture above. It was taken in late afternoon when half of his stock had been sold out.

Anyway, what I want to ask is that is it fare for him to open such a shop inside our hand's reach? I mean, as soon as you walk out of the mess after having eaten disgusting food, our eyes meet the delicious pizzas and buns and pastries. I foresee that a lot of our pocket money will get wasted on it before we are able to stop ourselves. Also think about Carlos. He will have to work a more to get back his lost ground as the fast food joint plans to stay open till past 10 pm. What more, with the new Fruit-Stall opening in a week or so, we RPians will have a lot more options to look into while deciding what to eat.

I ask: Is this fair? And will this smile last?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Time To Format The System

I have been very busy for the last few days. Mostly I have been occupied with my department's society's work, which I will document in the days to come.
What had been keeping me busy for the rest of the time is my room. For the last 3 days, I have turned by room inside out, rearraning or trashing almost everything. Starting with the books (see the image) to even my coins(below)! I found out that I had more coins than ever expected. But I am in no mood to share my spoils with others. I know from experience that soon they will become objects of rarity. Anyway, I have already traded many of them with my Numimatist uncle.
While I was rearranging my room, I decided that I should also fix my Name Plate that had been placed since the beginning of this semester. I already had one but they removed it so that it looked uniformly dirty throughout the hall. Apparently, they just alloted the work to be done by a staff without consulting the size of the slots. Almost all the slots I saw were misfits. I had to struggle hard to fix mine. I also decided that it was time to paste my 'happening' name plate; the one I got from GE. Unfortunately the glue-stick disappointed me as it was unable to hold the plastic to the wooden door.

Now I have decided to do what I have done with my room to my computer. Norton Antivirus 2005 sucks. I had made my system so slow that my mind often went back to the times I ran a 75 MHz processor. Adding to my worries is my Windows XP OS, which has this peculiar habit of bloating itself some 1 GB every year even though I don't install any new softwares in my Windows drive. Will be doing a lot of work in the next few days, so postings will be infrequent (as though they were frequent now).

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Alumni!! Alumni!! Come Again

Yesterday we had the Alumni Meet in our Hall. What interested most of us was not the opportunity to meet the alumni who had come, but to hog on to some food; something we rarely get to eat in our Halls. They used to serve something under that name in the mess, but it is yet to be proven food.

Anyway, alumni came and alumni went, but left behind some pleasant memories for us to cherish. Be it their stories on how the campus used to be in the sixties or the songs of their times. For some it meant greasing the hall's palm, as after all, our hall badly needs renovation.

But what caught my attention most is that the messand common room were cleaned thoroughly for the occasion. For the first time in my stay in R.P. hall did I see the mess chairs getting cleaned up without any emergency (such as a major spill). Mostly, either the chairs were not cleaned at all, or if done, only their base. On seeing this, one of my friends quipped: "If this is the effect of Alumni Meet, then we should hold more of these". Anyway, the food that was served in the football field was good, and even better were the snaps of Hrishikesh Bhattacharyya. Unfortunately, they didn't come very well due to poor light and shaking Hrishikesh.

We started with a normal Hrishikesh.....

Then we tickled him....

Then we tickled him even more...

Then it got nasty....

(NB:Published with permission.)

The moon also looked good with the clouds in front making it have a halo surrounding it. So took that pic also. No prize for guessing that this one also came poor due to bad light! Anyway, its not easy to photograph the moon with conventional cameras.