Barely A Fresher Anymore

It’s been almost a year since I joined CET and it’s depressing knowing that one-fourth of my college life is already over. It seems like it was only yesterday that I joined CET. I can still remember the feeling of anticipation on my first day on campus. It was a completely new, yet strangely familiar feeling. It was like my first day at school all over again: wondering what my classroom would look like, whether my classmates would be fun, whether the professors would be nice. Over the past year, I’ve managed to figure out the answers to all those questions and many more.

The first few weeks were spent exploring the campus and finding my way around the college. It’s funny to think how scared I used to feel when I encountered seniors in the college bus or in the canteen. But thankfully, all that has changed. The senior-junior divide has been completely erased and it’s sickening to know that the present fourth years won’t be around next year.

The start of the year also saw special meetings and orientation programs for freshers organized by the Innovation Center, ISTE, IEEE, NSS, Debate Society, RoboCET, and so on. More than the time spent in actual classes, it is the time that I spent in these clubs that I cherish the most. The past few months have been a flurry of activity: with Disha (fresher’s inter-department fest), Sargam (inter-year fest), and department nights all providing hours of fun and joy.

Somehow in the midst of all this, we had to find time to do some actual studying. After two years of entrance preparation and cramming, the last thing you want to do in college is studying. But as engineering students, study we must, and we valiantly battled our way through assignment submissions, hours of workshops and engineering graphics, and series exams.

It’s funny to think that in a few months, I’ll be in my sophomore year and will be called ‘chettan’ by the next batch of freshers. And that I will be able to give them a few nuggets of wisdom: that it’s okay to just bunk class and chat with friends in Pancharakaad.  And that the joy of finally getting your workshop records certified is quite unlike any other. And that nothing is as satisfying as saying that you study at CET, when someone asks, ‘Mone, ethu engineering collegilaa padikunne?‘, on seeing the mini-drafter sticking out of your college bag.

As they say on campus, ‘CET verre levelaanu‘. And I’m proud to be a CETian.

This article was originally written for the college alumni newsletter.

Campus Politics

When I joined this college (College of Engineering, Trivandrum) last year, my parents had one word of advice for me: ‘Don’t get involved in college politics.‘ I had every intention of obeying them. But when I was a child, they’d also taught me to speak out when I saw anything that went against my sense of truth. And it is because of this, that I am forced to speak out now. Initially I had no inclination to either party, except a slight soft corner for the ‘A’ because my dad had been a sympathizer during his college days. But after seeing all that has happened over the past month or so, I am no longer politically neutral.  The ‘A’ here has lost my trust.

At the start of this month, ‘A’ went on a strike demanding an election. Maybe they had their point (I disagree though) but their means were totally wrong. They barged into to our class and asked us to leave if we were in solidarity with their cause. But I left only because I was intimidated by them. I am sure there are plenty of others like me in that regard. But as the strikes and demonstrations went on (by both the ‘A’ & ‘B’), I decided that I wouldn’t leave class unless I truly felt like supporting their cause. The next time they came, most of my classmates and I refused to leave. It was something that we should have done a long time ago.

Once ‘A’ saw that elections were out of the question, their talk switched to some sort of ‘truth bomb’. But somehow that fizzled out without a trace. I have also been reading about some physical fights between both parties. I don’t think violence has any place on campus and both parties should refrain from the same, atleast from now on.

After Monday’s incident and now that Disha is in jeopardy, how is it that the ‘A’ have positioned themselves as the guardians of Disha and all first years? Aren’t they the ones who were hell-bent on conducting elections at the cost of Disha? Now stop and think for yourselves. Don’t read the posts and propaganda being spread. Who benefits the most if Disha is canceled? Once you have the answer to that question, you’ll know who is at fault here.

Which sane fresher would say that the majority of our seniors especially the college union members haven’t helped us? Would anyone with a heart say that the union is shedding crocodile tears at Disha being disrupted? Aren’t you alienating the very seniors who have showered so much love and affection on us? I won’t let the hard work and sincerity of my seniors be put to question. Not when I know better.

‘X’ was mistreated. I can say that much from what I have read from his post on Facebook and the accounts of the incident given by ‘Y’ & ‘Z’. But when the very people whom he lists as his alibis come out with a contradicting story of what happened, it goes to show that he has twisted the truth. And I have no sympathy for those who do so for political gain. Why twist the truth? Have the courage and conviction to stand up for it.

I am siding with the college union here. For me to stay neutral and unbiased in the light of recent events would be a sin. It would be a blot on my conscience. And I won’t have that. I know which side is engaging in political optimism and do downright hypocrisy and I will speak against it.

Being neutral is not saintly. Especially when you know better. To quote Dante, ‘The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.

A and B are the CET campus-based units of political parties. X, Y & Z are students at CET. Names are irrelevant now.

This article was originally posted in my college’s Facebook group on January 30, 2014, after Disha (the freshers’ inter-department cultural fest) was postponed indefinitely due to numerous incidents of violence on campus. In the end, Disha was rescheduled to February 21, 2014, and was a huge success. All credit goes to our seniors, especially to the college union.

Krrish 3 Review

Yesterday, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched its Mars Orbiter Mission: ‘Mangalyaan’. According to reports, the Mangalyaan project cost Rs. 454 crore. Just to put that figure in perspective, Rakesh Roshan’s Krrish 3 was made on a budget of over Rs.  100 crore. What a colossal waste of money!! And why the fuck is the film called Krrish 3? Where did Krrish 2 disappear to?

The film is plagued by overacting, screwed up special effects and the most ridiculous script in the world. Krrish 3 is inspired by (read: ‘ripped off from’) pretty much every Hollywood superhero film that you can think of. The villain ‘Kaal’ (played by Vivek Oberoi) goes from Charles Xavier in a wheel chair to Magneto to Iron Man in a really screwed up suit through the course of the movie. When you spend  100 crore on a movie, the least you could do is give your menacing (*snort*) super-villain a decent costume. According to Vivek Oberoi, playing Kaal was the most difficult role of his career, which only goes to show how screwed up his career is. His last film in recent times was the cringe-worthy ‘Grand Masti’. Priyanka Chopra’s acting sucks as usual, so I’m not even going to get started on that. She should have stuck to modelling. If she had, we wouldn’t have had our ears damaged by her mildly auto-tuned voice. But no use crying over spilt milk, is there? Excuse me ma’am, one doubt. Is it even possible to feel ‘exotic’? Are you sure you didn’t mean ‘erotic’? Since when did exotic become a feeling? No wonder my friends say I don’t have any feelings… 

Another thing that I noticed was the shameless product placement in the movie. It feels like one endless advertisement. Rado, Bournvita and what not… The list just goes on and on. Have you no shame, Rakesh Roshan!?!

The songs are terrible. But in a film aimed at kids, I guess it’s okay to have a song that goes “God, Allah aur Bhagwan ne banaya ek insaan” with people dancing around a giant statue of Krrish, as if in some freaky pagan ritual. I honestly don’t know what kids these days like…. But shouldn’t it be a crime to convert a bhajan (Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram) into a seriously messed up dance track? How come no one has taken to the streets to protest about that yet? You’d think someone would have taken up the issue by now. After all, this is India. People take to the streets for the flimsiest reasons. Remember when MNS disrupted screenings of ‘Wake Up Sid!’ because they used ‘Bombay’ instead of ‘Mumbai’ in the film?

Go watch the film. See for yourselves how bad it is. Don’t take my word for it.

And to think that I pestered my mom into taking me to watch Krrish when I was eleven. And that I even dressed up as Krrish for fancy dress at school. DAMN.

EDIT: Just noticed. Krrish 3 has a rating of 7.1 on IMDb. How the fuck?!?

Show Cancelled: Ship of Theseus

Last week, trailers of the film, ‘Ship of Theseus‘ started popping up on TV. After seeing the trailer, I just had to see the film! (You can watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5xt0cKasDw)

So you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that the film was being released in Trivandrum at the Kairali theatre, through a post on the film’s official facebook page. (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=394260517366452)

I went to the theatre with three of my friends yesterday, only to find that the matinee show was cancelled due to ‘technical reasons’. Dejected, I went back home.

Show timings at Kairali theatre, Trivandrum

I decided to try my luck again today. On reaching the theatre, the cashier at the ticket counter told me that the show would be cancelled unless there were atleast twenty-five people for the morning show. Eventually, the show was cancelled much to the indignation of the people who had come to watch the movie. (Around fourteen people in all.) I had a half a mind to break a few glass panes before I left the theatre but unfortunately, better sense prevailed.

Here’s a video of what the cashier had to say… (PS: It’s in Malayalam, in case you’re not a Malayali…and you might have to turn up the volume a bit.)

Sorry, Mr. Anand Gandhi but I won’t be watching your film anytime soon. Two trips to the theatre only to find that the show was cancelled on both occasions has sapped all my enthusiasm and to some extent, my faith in humanity. And all this at a theatre run by the ‘Kerala State Film Development Corporation (KSFDC)’. Hats off to you, and all the films you’ll be ‘developing’ in the future. I won’t be watching any of them if I can help it.

And here are a few parting words, ‘Fork you, KSFDC!‘ & ‘Fork you, Kairali theatre!

My first day at CET

My first day at college was a huge letdown, to say the least. By the way, I study at the College of Engineering, Trivandrum (CET).

I was told that given my personality, I’d get ragged by pretty much everyone on campus. So I was prepared for the worst. I’d even taken a spare change of clothes, just in case I got beaten up really really badly. I wasn’t. But now I wish I was. It would have been way more entertaining to have been beaten up to a pulp than to have to spend three hours listening to the Principal and Dean (no offence to either of them) yapping on and on about how great the college  was and about how we were the ‘cream’ (Given a choice, I’d prefer to be referred to as the crème de la crème) of students in Kerala. I’m seriously confused now. What about the students who didn’t make it to CET? By the same analogy, what are they? They’re just milk? Or curd? Well, you get my drift… One of the professors even went on to claim (in a moment of truly outstanding dizziness) that CET was the best engineering college in the country! Seems like he hasn’t heard of the IITs, IIITs, NITs, BITS or pretty much any decent engineering college outside Kerala.

But then again, everyone was given FREE tea and biscuits at the end of the three hours so maybe it wasn’t that bad… I mean seriously, who doesn’t like free tea?