Saturday, December 13, 2008

Method in Madness

I have always maintained that the mess on my desk has a perfect logic to it and in no way impairs my ability to locate what I need amidst the pile, though I do have to riffle-raffle a bit in the process. But my obdurate mother, who is obsessive about maintaining order, is always at me to have a defined place for each item and strictly adhere to this location protocol. Once, she cleaned up my desk while I was away celebrating with my friends after being liberated from the shackles of the half yearly exams; when I came back, it took me a day to locate the library book which I had been struggling to finish for months (yes, ‘months’ – considering how generous our librarians are!). I had stowed it away somewhere, and I knew that I would instinctively locate it when I got another bout of inspiration. “For Heaven’s sake!” my mother had remonstrated, “Why didn’t you look in the pile of novels which I had neatly stacked on the right hand corner of the desk?” How would she know that I always stow away unfinished novels behind the pencil jar next to the pile of toffee wrappers behind the previous year’s calendar on the left-hand far corner of the desk?


But I have been vindicated at last. Recently, I came across this article on the internet – which also prompted me to write this essay as now I knew that I was not alone – titled, “A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder”. Its authors, Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman (who is no way related to either Thomas or Milton Friedman – notice the ‘ee’ instead of the ‘ie’) argue that neatness is overrated, costs money, wastes time and quashes creativity. Freedman says, “Most of us are messy, and most of us are messy at a level that works very, very well for us. In most cases, if we get a lot neater and more organized, we would be less effective.” They continue to add that many man-hours are lost when people obsess over organizing things, when the same time can be put to productive use. When I triumphantly showed this article to my mother and told her that it had prompted me to write a post on my blog on this topic, she retorted, “Hmph! I am sure the authors’ mothers feel otherwise. And mark my words, your post is not going to work. No use wasting your time. You would rather start early and study for your next semester.”


Effectiveness apart, the joys of mess are manifold. The wonderful thing about having a disordered pile on your desk is coming across a long-lost or forgotten thing when you are rummaging for something else. The other day I was delving into my pile for my favorite pen, when I encountered a half eaten bar of chocolate. It was the remnant of a packet that I had bought a week ago. Believe me, consuming that remaining bit was more delightful than crunching a new bar.

Till then...

Smart Alec said: "So Mr. Pietersen, would you like to play a match in Madras? Chen-nahhhiii!"

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Look over the hill... its a NEW POST !!!

Oh the humanity! Its been more than four months since I last posted on this web page. And this is the worst possible time to make amends really...considering its 5.45 in the morning here, i haven't slept all night and have a Math exam to deal with tomorrow. But I guess this is how life is... Unexpected, highly liberally put...haha, oh man, ask me how. But I'll save that for later probably.

Last time you read about me was when I was about to start wit
h university and its only fitting i think that my next post comes 35 hours before the start of my first semester examinations. A wise man hath truly said - "Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." Think it was Groucho Marx probably. But anyways, it was just yesterday when I landed in Singapore and one semester is over already. In hindsight, though a jiffy it may be, but my first four months here in National University of Singapore have arguably been one of the best in my life. 


Varied experiences, agonies, ecstacies, fights, totally random trips at random times, celebrating birthdays, organizing events... it has been a roller coaster ride... but I enjoyed every bit of it. I am highly tempted to go into the details here but then again, it will be eons before I stop... so short it will be.
One of my seniors rightly said (during ragging of all the times) that NUS is a place where you learn the true value of independence... and that too both sides of it. Independence gives you the freedom to make choices - its upto you to choose between the 
right path and the more convenient path. Its so true and valid for a place like NUS where freedom abounds and you really have to be careful of each step you take. The last four months have taught me stuff man... talk about it... things that I never dreamt I'd do are now orders of the day. Sometimes its hard and I start getting irritated at random things, but then as one of my Professor so aptly says, "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." So true!

Getting down to more concrete things, I have been enjoying my course here. Computer Science at NUS is one of the tougher things you can choose to study but I have no regrets. Lol, maybe I am saying that because my exams are yet to start... but I hope it stays that way. Interesting it may be, it is damn tough and exacting though. Project submissions, essays, weekly assignments, problem sets yada yada yada do make life miserable at times... a lot of times rather. But then, NUS is hard... its rigorous...almost torturous at times... but then again, what doesnt kill you only makes you stronger. Oh man, this phrase is totally meant for NUS. By the time I graduate I'll probably be the strongest person around. But we do have lots of fun along the way as well. Random trips to East Coast Park, random movie outings, playing Age of Empires throughout the night, sitting at Techno Edge and motivating depressed people, sleeping in the library, crashing random lectures which have nothing to do with your course, et al... are just some of the peculiar things we do when we are not doing anything else... which, er... is most of the time. 
Another integral part of life in NUS are the co-curricular activities that you have to totally immerse yourselves into if you want to stay on campus. Take up a sport, sing, dance, act or just plain be some director of something in some organization and organize stuff every now and then. Sometimes these CCAs do piss you off and you feel that there's no point of it at all, but then at the end of the day you realise that they are just as important as your modules, if not even more vital. 

Friends are one thing you truly start to treasure here. There seriously are some awesome people around whom I can blindly trust even though I have only known them for four months, or even lesser. There should totally be a separate post for this as well, considering how much i can write about them if I start to. But yeah, NUS is like home now just because of all my friends. Lol, mom or dad, if you are reading this, just to clarify here that I do miss home as well :P

Well anyways, I dont see the point of ranting on any further considering I have exams to study for. Oh Christ! The Sun is up already and I still have to sleep. See this is what NUS does to you! But I love it nevertheless ;)

Till then...

Smart Alec said: "What did Arsene Wenger say in the press conference recently? William is such a Gall-ASS!"

Sunday, July 13, 2008

National University of Singapore

Life has come full circle for me. School's out and I'm back to square one again. But it doesn't feel bad. Life's starting afresh and I'm excited rather than nervous and scared as was the case fourteen years ago. Gosh, I still remember how I used to cry for eons in Kindergarten demanding for mum to come and take me away. Dang... I think I'm being too vivid in my nostalgic narrations so I should probably move on.
You see, the primary reason I'm really excited for the next four years is because of the fact that I managed to make it to the tenth best technological university in the world - NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE !

Yeah! I know most would not believe the fact that NUS is actually ranked tenth in the world, but believe you me, I (with a totally objective frame of mind) have researched extensively (as even I didn't believe THES at first) and came to the conclusion that what is published is true to the core. And since I myself have been offered a technological course - Computer Science, i.e. - I just can't wait to get started.
Term starts on the 4th of August but I'll have to be there by the 25th for the registration, paperwork, etcetera. So i'll be leaving on the 24th. So only 240 hours remain. Whoa... sounds great from the numerology point of view as well! :)

I also have so many friends there already, including Singaporeans (thanks to GYLC) and Indians (school alumni friends in particular). I believe half the Indian population in Singapore is from RKP itself (er... pardon the exaggeration) In fact, there's this saying going around in our school that you are bound to meet an RKP alumni whenever you board the metro in Singapore! That is if you actually take the pain of asking each person whether he is from RKP or not!

And Singapore's like half the size of Delhi, so going around wouldn't be much of a problem I suppose. What with the super efficient public transport system and F1 circuit like roads there and after experiencing the lamentable state of the same back here, I think it'll be a breeze. Don't know about the college studies though! But even Rocket Science seems easy after completing 11th and 12th from India. So, I presume that also won't be a big hassle.

That takes me to the next vital vital point.... FOOD. Well, this is the only and most serious concern that I have as far as my next four years are concerned. You see, the on-campus hostel that I have been alloted doesn't have a meal plan. I mean, they have everything right from a gym to a jogging track, prayer rooms and what not! But couldn't they have had a small kitchen, some cooks and a dining area instead of any of those fancy facilities? Though they do have basic cooking appliances on each floor, but hey, most males, like me, would not possess the required culinary skills to make use of any of those! Though we could probably use the microwave as a small cupboard or something you know.
So i'll probably be seen hanging around the canteen or in the food court all day long. Hope my room is near either one of the two. :)

So I have been on this official 'gorge-on-as-much-indian-food-as-you-can' mission ever since i received news about my hostel allotment..... and hope to satisfy all my culinary cravings before it's time to say goodbye.

But all the above reasons which prompted me to decide on NUS over UPenn seem horse manure in front of 'THE ONE' cardinal factor which TOTALLY overrides everything else - A CHANCE TO BEAR WITNESS TO THE FIRST F1 NIGHT STREET GRAND PRIX IN HISTORY !!!

Go Räikkönen!

Till then...

Smart Alec said: "Sir, can I have a quick word please? Velocity."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Global Young Leaders Conference - The Trip That Was

So, i just returned from the Global Young Leaders Conference (GYLC) held in Washington D.C. and New York City a couple of days back and if I had to summarize my experience at GYLC in one word, it would be 'DIVERSE'.
I mean, you just name the country and you could find a student from there at the conference. It was Global in the absolute true sense of the word. You won't believe it but now I have friends from practically every sphere of the world (not counting the inhabitable south and north poles, i.e.... though I came close with friends from Russia, Canada and New Zealand). It was such an amazing amazing experience meeting students from across the world and participating as one group in such a fantastic setting and discussing global issues which concern each and every one of us.

But as much as the conference was fun, it was equally challenging as well. The day started at six in the morning and ended only at ten thirty in the night. Add to it the burden of being dressed in those uncomfortable hardcore professional suits and formal shoes and the highly packed schedule that we had to follow, it was demanding, modestly put. But just the thrill of representing your country in global summits, peace and security simulations and negotiating with other countries like a real diplomat proved to be an awesome experience.

Apart from taking part in all these events, we were also taken to some important VIP places like the Department of State where we got to meet the chief of staff of Condoleezza Rice herself... and the United Nations headquarters where i also got to see Ban Ki Moon face to face. :)

Apart from these, there were a host of other reasons as well which made me want to stay there forever and not think about home for fifteen days (much to my parents' displeasure)

1. We were staying in the Sheraton Hotel in Washington D.C. which was fantastic!
2. Sharing rooms with people from 2 different countries and telling them all about India, including some beautiful hindi words ;)
3. Being dressed as and being treated with the dignity of thorough professionals.
4. Visiting all sorts of museums and memorials in DC.
5. Seeing in person the big white residential facility in the capital which houses the most hated person in the world and spitting on its gates.

6. Getting a hawk eye's perspective of the Big Apple from the top of the Empire State Building.



The musical that we saw... it was hilarious! The best comedy that I have ever seen till date.

9. Getting to meet distinguished personalities like the Secretary of the IMF, chief of staff to the Secretary of State, Human Rights people from the UN, Ban Ki Moon himself, etc.
10. Last but not the least, the farewell dinner dance cruise on the Hudson river and the amazing view of manhattan at night from the deck!!!

I actually could have added much more to that list, but i think this pretty much gives the gist. Oh yeah, and also seeing the disgust on the faces of the Dutch after they lost to Russia in the quarters of the Euro 2008 and the absolute delight of the Germans after making it to the final... they do take their soccer rather seriously. Its a pity that the conference ended before the final. I would have loved to see their disappointed faces after getting their asses kicked by Spain. Viva la Espana !!!!
Naah... i love them anyways.

Till then...

Smart Alec said: "What did Joachim Loew say in the press conference after being denied the Euro 2008 cup by the Spanish? Fernando Torres is such a S-pain in the ass!"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

So much for Outsourcing !

This is hilarious. You just have to see this. Believe me, it will not be a waste of time.

Till then...

Smart Alec said: "LOL !!!"

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Now that i have got my visa, i think it is time enough to announce my participation in the 'GLOBAL YOUNG LEADERS CONFERENCE 2008' to you all.

To start off, I got this invitation letter one day in my mail stating, rather grandly, that, "Abhinay, due to your outstanding academic and extra curricular credentials, you have been nominated to represent your country in the 2008 Global Young Leaders Conference."

... ahem.... Yeah, i know it sounds pretty grandiose. The conference commences in Washington D.C. on 15th June and ends in New York City on the 26th. The trip will include everything from a visit to the UN headquarters, to even a farewell dance on the last day. It is somewhat like the MUN. The participants represent a country and take part in activities like a global summit, crisis simulation, etcetera. One also gets to meet distinguished politicians, lobbyists, leaders and entrepreneurs. For instance, Kofi Annan, Ted Turner, the CEO of Starbucks, the chairman of World Bank and others. I am really excited about this whole experience as I'll be meeting students from over sixty other countries during the course of this conference. Also, due to the fact that I had managed to pull off a sponsorship of rupees one lakh from the 'Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL)' for this trip, it is easy on the pocket too. All in all, I think it will be one hell of a experience playing 'country leader-country leader' with students from all around the world.

PS: Cherry on the cake - as a part of the cultural tour, we will be attending a Broadway show too!

Till then...

Smart Alec said: "Who are the finalists for this year's UEFA Champions League? Crapchester Urinated and Chelshit."

Sunday, April 27, 2008


So six lakh souls appeared for the AIEEE today. I was just one of them. Sitting in an inconsequential corner in a room filled with students who had come all the way from Bihar, Orissa and places that I never knew existed, I wondered at first whether I was at the right place. The venue of the examination center didn't make matters any better either. I mean, fine that it was Ryan International School - a decent enough and rather well known institution in Delhi.... but whoever told them to open a branch right in the middle of a village! Opening a school of Ryan's repute in the village of KONDLI defies logic... at least mine. Agreed that it is a part of Mayur Vihar (Phase III, to be precise), but it still is a village after all.

Rickety chairs, creaky tables, fans from the neolithic era which circulated anything but air and an 'obnoxious weed' (Pardon me, Mr. Hayden) like invigilator made the examination an ordeal to remember... or rather, forget. On the contrary though, the paper itself was not too arduous. One hundred five questions in all, thirty five questions each for Physics, Chemistry and Math and a straight forward marking scheme - +3 for correct, -1 for incorrect and NPNL for answers left blank. Physics was by far the best of all the three. And as always, Chemistry was responsible for a few minor hiccups. I sincerely feel sorry for all those outstation candidates who came to Delhi all the way from..... I don't know, wherever they came from..... and were forced to face such pathetic examination conditions.
By the way, thanks to the pitiable traffic management arrangements put up by the school, it took me thirty minutes to exit the makeshift parking lot and get my car on to the main road.... a distance of merely twenty meters at the most.

Till then...

Smart Alec said: "Which of the two can be more easily roasted - Metal Sulphides or Butter Chicken?"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How much garbage does your house produce?

Going by the title, many would not have even cared to proceed and read this line. But this post is not about the cliched issues of 'how-your-trash-is-killing-the-world', 'warming-up-the-earth' or 'depleting-the-ozone-layer'. You see, this was just a question that Mr. Roberto S. Mariano asked me over the phone as a part of my interview for gaining admission into the Singapore Management University.

Yeah, I applied to one of these universities in Singapore called the Singapore Management University a.k.a SMU a.k.a. Simply Masti University (or so the Indians there refer to it as). As a part of their admission process, they called me up two days ago and scheduled a phone interview for me on the 24th of April, i.e. today at 7:45 in the morning. Goddamit! Couldn't ask for a worse day and a worse timing. I obviously could not afford to miss the Barca v/s ManU quarterfinal tie of the Champions League you know... especially when Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score from the spot.... aahh... that was divine.... that expression on his darned face.
So i was basically up till three in the morning watching the match and managed to doze off only by four. It felt that I had just managed to shut my eyes when it was time to wake up again. And guess whose voice did I hear first thing in the morning - Professor Roberto S. Mariano's of course! It took me a little while to get my wits about as I mumbled a Good Morning to him. His terrible Singaporean accent made matters even worse. He must have been absolutely mad at me after the thousands of time that I said a 'Sorry?' or a 'Pardon?' or a 'I couldn't get your question'. But anyways, I finally got used to it. Initially, he was kind and generous and asked general questions like - Why do you want to come to Singapore? and Why SMU? Jaded questions whose answers I had already prepared earlier. But then came the weird part. After asking a couple of questions about current affairs... he veered sharply off course and asked - "How many vehicles are there in your city?".... I was tempted to reply - "WTF" but resisted. Instead, I quickly did some math in my head and came up with a pretty confident and logical answer. Thinking that would be the end, I calmed down a bit... but then came another one - "How much garbage on an average does a house in Delhi produce everyday?" ... Candidly speaking, I had no clue what to reply. "I am no kachrawalla!" was one option that popped in my head... "I applied for an Economics course... not Waste Management," was another... but I managed to keep it safely in the confines of my head. After a couple more quirky questions, I realized that this guy was just playing with me. Asking all these outlandish questions, it was just a trick to measure my confidence and gauge whether I respond confidently and logically to a kooky question or not.... and indeed this was just the case.... or so he told me once the interview finished..... All in all, I think I did pretty well... results will be out in a week or two. Though this is just a backup so to say, but getting one more college in the bag is always useful and worth boasting around too.

In conclusion, if any other prospective SMU student is reading this right now, my suggestion to him/her will be ---- expect the worst --- or should I say --- expect the highly idiosyncratic.

Till then....

Smart Alec said: "China will adhere to human rights? Don't Ti -bet on it."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

a la Renaissance

After the two odd dormant years (a rather long hiatus i must admit), I hereby proclaim.... drum roll.... MY RETURN TO THE BLOGGING WORLD...
Yeah yeah, I know that you ladies missed me a lot, but eleventh and twelfth standards were just kicking the asses out of me. I hardly had time to sleep. But now that school's been done and dusted away with and the fact that I need something better to do than just roam the streets with my friends like a bum or watch silly old claptrap movies because my 'oh-I'll-watch-this-flick-after-the-exams' list is now exhausted, I thought I might as well go ahead and revive my blog. I agree that just as the name goes, the posts on this webspace will be as remote to sense as Adebayor is remote to a clean first touch... but hey, he does score the goals after all, so you also might as well drop in and take a read of all the drivel that i write... I need to extend my boredom to others in some way or the other you see.
Just as I am entering a new phase in my life, i thought it would be fitting that I abandon my previous blog and start afresh... and hence, to all my loyal supporters who kept visiting my earlier blog during the hiatus in hopes of some new posts, worry no further. All you need to do is just change the letters you type in your address bar and .... voila... you'd be refreshed with an all new and improved version of me and my webspace in cyberspace.

Till then...

Smart Alec said: "Do Indians break a coconut even before starting a new blog?"