Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Andre Nel's attempt at sledging

In cricket, all fast bowlers try to intimidate the batsmen in some way or the other. They may do it the McGrath style (use a lot of f-words) or the Walsh style(just stare hard & remind the batsman that he's lucky to still be in the middle). Personally I prefer the 2nd type marginally more than the first. And the latest addition to the 2nd type has to be Andre Nel. Though unfortunately it didn't work out against Gilchrist, as pointed out by Alec Stewart :

"Andre Nel ... idiot. Actions speak louder than words. He's chirped him [Gilchrist] and then gone for 22 in an over. If I was Nel I'd be embarrassed ... look in the mirror and ask yourself a few questions. Have I made an idiot of myself. Have I let down my country? Yes."
Alec Stewart after Nel's histrionics when he attempted to maintain his hard-man image with Adam Gilchrist at Durban

The event was really hilarious & Nel actually was made to look like an idiot. But he still managed to smile despite all this. The game really needs such characters.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Sinhagad Trip - II

This is no sequel to the previous one - the cast this time around is totally different except for 3 guys. And also I'd say, it was much more fun.
The Sinhagad trip undertaken by us, the FY students of E&TC has a long history. It was originally planned for the 2nd sunday of January and since then has benn though of & scrapped many a times. The latest occasion was when we were sitting in CCD on Friday the 24th, the last day of T2. But this time, things worked out & the trip became a reality.
Well I may not be the E & TC class topper & nor am I the CR, but I do hold a place of importance in the class. I'm in charge of organising any trip/event/party/any fun thing that our class guys plan to do. In fact if we had an entertainment committee, I'd surely be it's head. Hey that's an interesting idea. Hmmmmmm...........
Anyways, back to the trip. So on Friday we decided to go for the trip on Sunday and almost everybody agreed which is a huge achievement in itself. The next day was sort of a rest day but Saturday night was extremely hectic. Throughout the night me, Amit & Baviskar were sending invitations, reminders & requests to all E & TC students to come for the trip. So what was initially supposed to be a small trip, soon turned into a class picnic with no less than 20 students coming.
We decided to assemble near the boy's hostel at 6:30 AM on sunday morning. And with almost everybody coming on time, we were on our way to Sinhagad by 7:10. By Indian standards, that's very early. We reached there safely enough, despite the extremely bumpy road & with only a small hitch. That was when a few of us (not me) took the wrong route & ended up climbing Sinhagad by road. But they soon realised their folly & joined us at the foothill of the fort.
We started ascending at about 8:10 & kept a good speed in the beginning. But soon the harsh sun took it's toll & one of us (name not given to protect privacy............... okay fine it was Prajakta) started running into all sorts of problems including headaches & dizziness. But we all rallied around her and literally dragged her to the top thus ensuring that she at least completed her first & almost surely last Sinhagad trip.
We reached the top at about 10:10 AM, two hours after we had left. Then began the spree of photo-clicking which ensued for the rest of the day. All of us climbed the arched door that marks the entrance to the fort. That was the easy part, but the most hilarious part was when Shraddha & Sneha struggled & at times almost gave up while climbing down the arch. Boy, did I have a great laugh. The sight of Shraddha, just 2 metres above the ground & yet totally scared while trying to come down was one to remember.
I had already been to Sinhagad once earlier & hence wasn't much interested in sight-seeing. Hence I decided to take a short detour & climbed up to one of the points where cannons were placed & which was totally isolated from the rest of the fort. There I had an awesome time, enjoying nature & feeling it's power to give us peace & tranquility. We sat there for quite a while, chatting & just looking out into the various hills that encompassed the horizon. It was a beautiful place & I really enjoyed every minute I spent there.
But then we had to leave as we had been away from the main group for too long. We joined them soon enough & after spending some more quieter moments at the other end of the fort, we left for lunch. Lunch was pretty good, the 'taak' was awesome & we all had a heavy meal, as a consequence of which none of us was in any mood to roam around & all of usa wanted to return. In fact, most of us (not me yet again) were so tired that they decided to go down by Taxi while six of us - Me, Rohit, Chaitanya, Sneha , Apoorv & Prutha descended down the hill by the same way we came. That took us about 50 minutes, all of which were enjoyable as the sun was hidden by the clouds for most of the time.
After coming back to base, we all left for our next destination - Khadakwasla. This was totally unplanned & as it often happens, it's these unplanned things that give us most of the fun. There we had a total blast in the clear-blue water of the dam, splashing around in the water, trying to hold one's breath & giving bumps to a certain few (unfortunately, that included me) . We spent about an hour and a half there which was for me, the most enjoyable part of the trip.
We then left for home, soaking wet, but happy nevertheless. We reached home safely too, except for the occasional hiccup when 2 of us were fined by the Traffic policemen. But that notwithstanding, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day & one which I would remember for the rest of my life.

The Cast:
Aniket Khasgiwale : (organizer-cum-main target of all the teasing)
Rishikesh Baviskar (the constantly side-schanging sidekick)
Apoorv Vaidya (the financial manager - trust a Kokanastha Brahmin to do this)
Amit Jawade (yeah, he got up early, what a miracle)
Neelesh Balani (dancemaster)
Aditya Patil (the guy who scouted the horizon for a glimpse of SIT)
Kartikeya Lande (the one who managed to fool a traffic policeman once, but was unlucky the next time)
Sagar Gawli (the one who never took his cap off)
Pradeep Patil (photographer-cum-lord of the ring)
Chinmay Kulkarni (we managed to get him into the water finally)
Rohit Pandharkar (the fast guy - fast rider, fast climber & really fast descender. Also the one who was constantly worried about his elevation above sea level as he was trying to calculate the change in potential energy that he would undergo during the trip. The formula he is trying to use is:
delta E = ( (h2-h1) x g x m) - energy spent in neck vibrations )
Expect an answer anytime now.
Chaitanya Salunkhe (the one who started climbing down with Rohit but soon gave up seeing Rohit's speed)
Akshay Khole ( The guy who ate up all the 'dahi'. A very silent guy who managed to evade detection while on his eating spree)
Mayur Sadavarte (The guy who managed to come in time, despite having to pedal all the way from Bibwewadi. Watch out Lance Armstrong, you've got competition )
Milind Deulkar (the one who went up on his bike & came down the same way. Dude I agree it's an awesome bike but can't you leave it alone at least on a trek)
Vaddi Vishwa Shanti (no comments)
Sneha Das (the first girl to climb up & the last one to come down. Hey Rohit, I think she might have the highest value of instantaneous change in potential energy as she spent maximum time on the hill. If I write anything more, I'm dead, so that's it)
Prajakta Pardeshi (the girl who had all sorts of problems but actually had 2 sinhagad trips - her first & her last)
Prutha Shende ( the one who helped Prajakta on her way up & ensured that she never came down the same way)
Shraddha Pandhe ( the one who was really frightened while climbing down just 2 metres. Thank God she didn't attempt descending on foot)

Post-Script : Even though the day was thoroughly enjoyable, in writing it doesn't seem so interesting. I've still got a long way to go in improving my writing skills & I'll try to add more colour to my descriptions in the near future. Hence this post isn't for an outsider who wants to know what we did, but just for the 20 of us who went for the trip & for whom it'll be a refreshing memory.

P.P.S : I request everybody who went for the trip to PLEASE post their comments on the blog. It gives me an idea of how many people actually read whatever I write, as I've taken a lot of effort & time in putting up this post. And this is applicable to everything I write on my blog. So make sure you comment on everything you read. I promise to respond to the comments as well as I can.

P.P.P.S : The quote of the day: "If we had so much fun after a mid-sem exam, imagine what we'd do after the end-semester exam"
- Chinmay Kulkarni

The party after

By now, everybody knows about the disaster called T2 (refer previous post) which struck me recently. Lesser mortals would have yielded to it & would have sulked & pondered over it for a long time. But me, I'm different. I decided to get over it by having one big blast. Read on...
24th March 2006, Friday:
The Graphics paper in T2 was by far the worst paper of my life. The same was true for many others too but for guys like me whose linework is as dirty as a PMC dustbin, it was totally woeful. In fact I'm running out of bad words to describe my latest (non)performance & since I don't have a Thesaurus with me right now, I'm forced to switch the topic.
As I was saying, I had a blast after the T2. After the exam was over, I returned to the Hostel with my friends. All of them were pretty glum & in order to get over this sad mood, we played some music. And then my friend Raghav just started dancing. That immediately changed everything & soon four of us joined him and converted the room into a dance floor & danced to music played at full volume, paying no heed to the Mech. students studying next door. We danced for quite a while before finally running out of songs. But after the dance came the movie. We all left for E-Square to watch 'Being Cyrus'. This was the only the 2nd time I was watching a movie on the day of it's release. That it was also the day of the worst exam in my life didn't bother me much & I thoroughly enjoyed the movie which I would thoroughly recommend to all those who like dark, witty & distorted movies.
After the movie, it was destination CCD. There everybody drowned their sorrow in mugs of ice-cold coffee & had quite a good time. It was also the venue for an impromptu mobile phone vibration mode competition, which after a closely fought tussle was won by Chinmay Kulkarni. I, due to my awesome cell, was unable to participate. But that was the highlight of the day.
But it had to end sometime. And it ended soon after that with all of us going home late in the evening. But before we left we made or rather re-made a plan which was long overdue - the trip to Sinhagad. More details in the next post.

Damn the T2

Q: What is the main similarity between me & Sachin Tendulkar?
A: Both are woefully out of form.
When I joined COEP & came to know about the T1, T2 & end-semester system, I was pretty pleased. That's because while joining an Engg. college, in the beginning all you hope for is to get an 'all-clear' tag from the first year itself. But further events showed that I was way, way off target.
The T1, T2 system totally sucks. In the first semester we had a combined test in mid-semester which was pretty good as we all did well in it. So this semester was my first experience of T1 & T2 as two separate exams and mind you, it was horrible.
Initially I felt that my T1 went badly, but now after my T2 I know that T1 was much better than the disaster called T2. Much, much better. I didn't feel too bad after the T1 as I was lucky enough to score well in a few subjects. But T2 really knocked me out flat. And the worst part is that I had studied a lot for this test & hence my dismal performance is inexcusable. The only plausible reason I can give for my bad performance is that I had a 'mental block' during the paper, which is totally 'mental'. Hence the search for a better excuse & some better marks still continues. I hope it ends soon.
At least before Sachin's slump.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The greatest one-day match ever

Much has already been said & enough written about Sunday's cricket match between Australia & South Africa. It's still not enough. I've seen many matches, especially one-dayers, but this one was something unbelievable. For a team to score 434 runs in just 300 balls is remarkable in itself, & that too against a strong bowling attack like the South African. So for the other team to successfully chase it is something out of this world.
Till now my favourite one-day match was the 1999 World Cup semi-final between the same two teams. It was a similar thriller, though a much low-scoring one. But now it has to be this match, even though I'm an Australian supporter. So much entertainment in one single match - truly unbelievable.
For two days my biggest regret was my having missed the match. I only got a chance to see the post match celebrations & that made it even worse. But today by sheer luck I walked into the mess to see the TV on & everybody tuned in to the replay of the match. Nothing, not even the T2 around the corner could have prevented me from watching it then. After all, we have exams every other month but such matches are truly rare. To sum it up in one sentence, stated by Tony Greig, it was 'The best one-day match ever'.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Guess who's back? .........Back again?

Sorry for the insane delay in updating my blog, but I can say that I have been pretty busy of late. The reason is the college gathering which was held in the first week of this month. Needless to say, I had a complete blast. Here are the daily posts which I should have made then:

March 6 : The skipping party

Yes, the partying isn't done yet. Today evening was the skipping party, to commemorate our great World Record breaking feat. The party was at hotel Sanskruti on the Solapur highway. The hotel provided us with unlimited snacks & soft drinks. No wonder I had fun. I also got a chance to play Kabaddi on the green lawns of the hotel. That I escaped unhurt & unscathed from the game is a great achievement.
After all the playing came the dancing. However, today I was content with watching others dance. I'd had enough of it already. Then there was the felicitation function followed by dinner which was really good. After dinner, all of us had a get-together which we really enjoyed. That lasted till 11:30 PM afetr which we had to leave. But the fun wasn't over yet. We had a great time on the return journey on the bus, singing & shouting all the way back. A great day.

March 5 : The 78th annual Regatta

Today is the day most of the college has been waiting for. The Regatta is one of the most popular college events & notwithstanding last year's tragedy, many turned up for the show. I had to go really early to catch a seat in a good position. The show was awesome. The Kayak Ballet was awesome & so were the Telematches which consisted of a huge fireworks show. However, being a staunch 'Say no to fireworks' activist, I felt bad on seeing the number of fireworks they were cracking & even worse when I realised that they must've been doing this everyday in practice. I can still feel the polluted air in my lungs.
After the Telematches came the Mashal Dance. And even though I had seen the guys in practice, I was thrilled by the actual performance. Everything was almost perfect, not a single error. Hats off to you guys. Somehow the Mashal Dance guys are always under-rated, don't know why. Maybe because every FE ite wants to be a part of the Punt Formation. But after today's show even I felt like participating in the Mashal Dance. But that feeling soon ended when I came to know that they had practised for as much as 18 hours daily during the last week. NO WAY am I doing that.
And then finally we come to the PF. As I'd said earlier, these guys were great in practice. So the finale came as a bit of an anti-climax to me. I had seen these guys perform much better in practice & felt let-down by the actual show. However the show they put on was still a great one & everybody who was watching it for the first time love it. The PF brought an end to the Reagatta & in fact the whole Gathering.
All in all, the gathering was a great experience, a once-in-a-lifetime (actually 4 times in a lifetime) event. I had a lot of fun. I just can't wait for next year's gathering.

March 4 : Gymkhana day

The day began with 'COEP Shree' - a bodybuilding competition. Needless to say, I won hands down. All those who actually thought the previous sentence was true need to consult their nearest psychiatrist.
After that there was the 'Mr & Miss COEP' contest. Also in today's itinerary was the Awards distribution function & the play 'Conditions Apply'. As I was absent for all this, let's move on to tomorrow.

March 3 : Variety Entertainment II

The day began yet again with cricket. However I couldn't do much batting today & had to be content with fielding practice. But still, a good start to the day.
After that I went to the college to see the variety entertainment programme. It was the same programme as yesterday, but today the audience consisted of SE & BE ites. They were literally swinging with the songs & dancing with the dances. This inspired the performers to put up an even better show. I really enjoyed it once again, despite the repetition. Of course I wasn't meant to be there, being an FE ite, but I've never paid much attention to rules & the fact that even the college doesn't helps.
Then came a 3-act play performed by the college students. The play was 'Moruchi Mavshi' & the title role was brilliantly enacted. The play was very good, totally hilarious & never boring. It was a totally enjoyable experience. I was all the more pleased for one of my friends, Raghav, played a major role & he pulled it off pretty well. Great job dude!
After that it was supposed to be Karaoke night. I was somehow convinced by my friends to sing & I duly enrolled to sing 'In the End' by Linkin Park. I know this comes as a shock to all those who have endured or rather suffered my singing. How I managed to be convinced is still a mystery. However, I must clarify that, contrary to popular belief, no terrorist group had asked me to sing in public. No terrorist group would attempt such a devastating
feat. However the public got bored of the Karaoke night & brought it to an end before my turn came, thus averting a disaster. Instead of Karaoke, we now had the public dancing once again to popular dance tracks. Which obviously means that I was dancing too. However it soon came to an end, so I got to dance for only 2 hours.
This was once again followed by dinner. Of course I wasn't supposed to have dinner tonight as it was the turn of the SE & BE students, but I slipped in nonetheless. Tonight's dinner was made a bit more interesting by the Rabri drinking competition we had. I performed miserably, drinking only 5 cups of Rabri while the winner drank 13. I'd never been so thoroughly beaten in any eating or drinking competition & I promise to put up a better fight next time.
Yet again I was in no mood to go to the hostel & found myself at the BC again. The PF guys were still practising & I stayed on to watch them. I had a great time, gazing into the night sky, looking at the stars, the planes & also the PF practice. The PF guys put on a really good show tonight. And so did the Mashal Dance guys. All this meant that I was at the BC till about three AM. After this, the PF practice ended & I returned to the hostel.

March 2 : Variety entertainment

The day began with a different kind of entertainment. For a cricket buff, I play very little of the game. In fact I hadn't played cricket since the last summer vacations & that seems like an age ago. Hence I was more than thrilled when I got a chance to play cricket early in the morning. I got a chance once again to experience the thrill of batting. Batting gives me a pleasure unmatched by anything else. Once I pick up the bat, it's as if I'm isolated from the outer world. The only thing that matters is the ball that I'm facing. It gives me such satisfaction & peace that nothing else even comes close, not even listening to Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd. The joy of batting is second to none. And if you're batting well, well it's icing on the cake.
Yeah I know what you're feeling - 'Who the hell does he think he is, writing about batting as if he is a great player? Enough of this bullshit, get on with your day.' So in your interest, my dear reader, I move over to the next thing I did today.
As I've said earlier, today was the day of variety entertainment in the college. The show began at 1000 hrs, commendable considering that it was only half-an-hour late. It consisted of various songs & dances woven around a common theme - life in COEP. It was extremely hilarious & the dances were good. The only problem seemed to be the crowd which consisted of FE ites & TE ites & which seemed largely uninterested. Nevertheless it was a great show.
Then came the evening & possibly the best part of the day - the DJ nite. Once again we grooved to the beats of the latest numbers for almost three hours. And despite it being a cool night, I was yet again drenched with sweat. I had danced non-stop for the entire duration so this was expected. What was unexpected was the fact that towards the end I was dancing almost hysterically, like a man who's having a fit. I have since been asked many a times why I was dancing like a madman. I still haven't found an answer.
After the dance came dinner. No, not in another hotel but this time in the college itself. During the gathering, the college even serves dinner for a night. And the food was pretty good too. Hey, I eat in a hostel mess everyday, so such food is bound to taste good. After dinner, I was still in the party mood, so intead of returning to the hostel I went to the BC. There I saw the Punt Formation guys practising their show. Have to say, they did a good job. But after the day's exertions I was soon tired & returned to the hostel for a good night's sleep.

March 1 : Traditional Day

I had never ever worn a traditional outfit in my life. NEVER. Not even for family functions. And I never attended traditional days in junior college. Hence today, for the first time ever, I'm wearing a traditional outfit, thanks to Rohit, from whom I borrowed it. And I must confess, the only reason why I never wore traditional clothes - they are too uncomfortable- proved to be false.
I am one of the lucky guys at the hostel who managed to get hold of a traditional outfit. The others, notably my classmate Rishikesh Baviskar, had to stay back at the hostel wearing a disappointed look. Hence I was pretty happy when I slipped on my Kurta when I realised that it had no buttons. This led to panic - I was soon running all over the hostel searching for spare buttons, but they were nowhere to be found. Then I asked one of my friends whether he had a safety pin. The confused look on his face said it all - a safety pin???? How the hell would I have a safety pin? But I was determined to attend college and continued my search for the elusive pin or button or rather anything which would help me out. Then came divine intervention. Another one of my friends emptied his pockets and out popped a safety pin. Despite consequent investigation the origins of the pin are still obscure. But it WAS a pin & it was there for the taking & I grabbed it with both hands. Soon I was on my way to college.
The atmosphere at the Boat Club was amazing. I had never seen so many people there. Some students had taken the idea of traditional day a bit too seriously & hence there was a bullock cart outside the BC, loaded with students in traditional outfits playing Dholaks. And along with the traditional music there was also another kind of music - a DJ was playing at the BC. This was the first time I'd seen a DJ perform in any college, but then COEP is a great college after all so one should expect the unexpected. And the DJ gig soon became a regular feature - he surfaced at the the BC 4 times that week.
And now comes another first. I had never danced in public. NEVER. But the music was inviting & the fact that everybody else was dancing was even more so. Soon I joined the bandwagon & started swinging to the music. Hell it was fun. And the fun soon grew, when Rishikesh & other friends of mine came to the party. They had totally failed to obtain a traditional outfit - even the guy who rents sherwanis at the hostel(yes there is such a guy, great business sense I must say) had run out of them. But then somehow they got hold of the white caps worn by Muslims & came to the BC wearing those. The fact that they wore T-shirts & Jeans & also that none of them was Muslim was inconsequential. They joined me & we all had a blast, dancing like we'd never danced before.
Those who know me know that I never drink soft drinks, except on rare occasions. Well, today was one such occasion. After dancing for almost an hour and a half, I was drenched with sweat from top to bottom. In such a condition a soft drink is hard to resist & I gave in to the temptation.
Soon it all ended. The DJ packed up & left. I left too, & along with my E & TC classmates went out to eat after which I returned to the hostel. The eating out has to be a peculiarity of our group. If all of us happen to be free, we always end up going out to eat. This means that we have eaten at almost all the restaurants on JM & FC roads. This coupled with the fact that I'm a hostelite means that I have a lot of meals in hotels. If this continues, at the end of 4 years, you can expect a book from me titled 'Restaurants in Pune'. Till then, make do with this blog.