Thursday, October 27, 2005

We didn't start it

Apparently, the AC unit did - no human intervention required

{You know you are a blogger when after power has been restored and you've checked your email, your secondary instinct is to blog about the day's little big event}

We'll be having a "fire drill" on Thursday at 3 pm, went the email. Please don't panic, just stay in your seats.

It's 11:00 a.m. and I'm just returning from a quick trip to the hostel (these days, I'm here from 8:00 a.m.). Having met Prajakta on the way, we're in the elevator when the fire alarm goes off.

"Is that the fire drill? Could be. But wasn't that in the afternoon? Can't remember. It could even be the real thing, you never know :-)". Usually it never is the real thing.

As you have probably guessed, this time it was.

An A/C unit burnt down in the lab adjacent to mine and apparently had flames doing a jing-bang scaring the hell out of the occupants. They rushed about getting the nearest fire extinguishers but the hitch was: none of us knew how to use them.

Soon help arrived - the fire remained localised and spraying began. It wasn't very organised, but it was fairly effective. The news, which till now was a 2nd floor thing, had now spread to the other areas of the large KReSIT building, on the wings of the dense black smoke that had begun to billow.

It was then that we thought about the sleepers.

There are a few people who sleep in the labs after a nocturnal work effort. I knew there was no one sleeping in my lab and cast my mind to the only other lab which would still have the dozers. Consequently, we wondered where Tejaswi and Jatin were. No responses to calling them on their cell phones pretty much meant they were still blissfully in the Land of Nod. and perhaps the smoke had transmogrified into a theatrical special effect in their panavision dreams. Ashish and others rushed in to wake them. By now, the smoke was thick and visibility was in the nether regions of the measure. They emerged half-sleep, with the T-man under the impression that this was a rather enthusiastic and realistic dress rehearsal of sorts. It could have been worse than all that :-) It was a feeling most KReSITians had shared - the irony of the fire breaking out the same day as the planned & sanitised drill was not missed.

The smoke had now enveloped the atrium, so we unhurriedly left the building and milled around waiting to see what would happen next. The tales of "where were you when" had already begun to hit the radiowaves - like how some weren't ready to cut short their meeting for some lowly event like this and a prof.'s priceless "it hasn't reached the door (to his office) yet, has it?" and got on with work. Very Brit-like :-)

The security guys and the firefighters got things under control - fortunately, the fire had not spread to other parts and was soon brought under control, so a lot of appreciation for those guys. The damage was not very much - the AC unit had melted like some hot fondue, and there was a thick layer of soot & dust all over, including adjacent labs like that of mine. More importantly, no one seemed to be hurt so that was a blessing. It took a couple of hours for some quick cleaning and reorg, and things were back to normal (or close to it) after that. It could have been worse, but we were in good cheers that it hadn't been.

{Minor personal damage: the diyaa i had bought from charity on Monday lay broken on the floor - someone in their legitimate haste to open windows in the lab must have inadvertently knocked it down.}

And later
This is the part you want to fix, right? After one horse has bolted, you do want to put the additional padlock on the stable doors. In a lot of places, including here, fire alarms go off so frequently as part of testing that our ears just don't accord it any respect any more. The next steps are obvious: we need to learn how to use firefighting equipment around the place, learn how to evacuate, how to administer basic first aid and perhaps take a closer look at all the AC circuits again, for apparently this isn't the first time this has happened with those units.

And no more mails asking us not to do anything when the alarm goes off, even and especially if it's only a drill.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Core Dump - 3

* Finally all those quiz preps done (As noted here, the word "quiz" is used in its nicer sense) and delivered over the weekend. Interesting trip - now I know something about the innards of a B-school. There is a difference between B-schoolers and tech types that I see (atleast w.r.t Pune & Bombay). I don't know if they have been filtered in so, or if they become that way (former, I think), but they're definitely more outgoing, outspoken and perhaps even confident - whether justifiably or not, is different. Another obsvn: most people there were very "metro-urban". Unless all these differences are based on some unnecessary parameters of what constitutes "sophistication" and upper-class behaviour.

* I liked the MICA newsletter etc - wonder if I'd have the time to set something up here online - a weekly & unofficial rag. I remember the days of the "Sleepy Support" blog 2 years ago. 'twas fun.

* (I'm procrastinating here in the course of my blogging: can't make head or tails of an assignment that I should be reading about. Weep, weep.)

* Was pleased to finish 2nd in the Lone Wolf at MICA - had thought my faculties had gone blunt over the last year and didn't if I'd measure upto some of the more regular leading lights of the Bangalore-Madras quizzing corridor. Sneaked into the last 8 (had done badly at the elims - missed sitters - what is wrong with me?) as a lucky loser after Anand was forced to leave to catch his train. Got a couple of good ones via the euphoric "worked-out" route which explains the injection of happiness. Tied with Samanth for 2nd place, so not a bad result at all.

* Goof up in OOT test today - as I said to Harish, since then I've been chasing myself around the room with a broom. Cancelled the correct answer :(. Why-Ow-Why?

* More reports of snakes on campus. Follows warnings of snakes in MICA. Perhaps it is all a warning that I must try and learn Python after promising I'd do that for 4 years. (Please let it not be a sign about ASP)

* Blogger should put in the "auto-save" feature of GMail into their "create posts" too.

* Songs playing: Roja, Thiruda Thiruda, Boys. Usual suspects pretty much. New addition: Morning Raga after I read Ravi (Quiz-Blogger who won my quiz). "Maathii malayadhwaja" by Sudha Raghunathan is outstanding, with very well done orchestration. As Nakul said, mixed bag of songs working as a "101 to Carnatic music", but will take such gems. Have stopped listening to "Water" until CD is available so that better quality sound can be heard.

* The refrain goes around bowlers in dressing rooms: he seems to be back. After a couple of false starts, finally the beginning of the Rahul Dravid era?

* There has been a little nip tending towards a bite in the air at nights and early morning. IITians - play "jaago mohan pyaare" as your alarm and breathe in the cool air, fellows.

Monday, October 17, 2005


The trouble with considering oneself as "Agnostic" is that it's hard to make a wholehearted prayer in situations when all you can do is close your eyes, swing the bat and hope to make contact - and hit it a long way. For the other side that isn't quite a believer will scathingly remind you of your preferred state of dilemma and dilute the appeal.

You hop around waiting for a bolt of luck to strike you, but you're in the queue, sir.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Disregard Please

The week is over and back to life nahi.n hai laDDuu!

Atleast Adam Gilchrist's back to form.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Times to ponder

Last couple of years, I spent a lot of time thinking. Just thinking. It got a little scary at times, sometimes in a "Zen and the art of MM" way (not in depth, but in terms of the extremes that Phadreus touches). An experiment I tried was to try and tire myself out with movies, books et al (work didn't make it) so as to prevent the overwhelming contemplative thrusts.

It didn't always work out that way. But here, they make us do so much work in the 1st sem, that it is sometimes a relief that I don't have the time to waste with an inward locus. This week has been different from the others, and the reflective ways have been reborn. But some of it has been positive stuff.

'Tis is the yearning we need to control. It's hard. We yearn for these crutches, these outward back-pats. The pain is mental so when it is supplanted by the pain of lack of sleep and associated physical complaints, it is pushed aside.

{note to self: where is this post going? :-)}


* I spent the morning of the holiday (Dassehra) making a small "Ravana" out of scrap paper. Need to get someone to click a snap of it before we dispose it (as we are apparently supposed to).

* Did some updating of the home page. Continues to have a in-progress look, but have put in some more stuff and have reused my other blog's template for the layout.

* This week's been light, so it could well be the eye of the cyclone. Does one enjoy while it lasts or does one work hard so that the future is more comfortable? The classic grasshopper-ant story.

* A bad cold. A very bad cold. Having had so much experience with the pests over the course of my life means that atleast I know how to take care of myself and dip into the experience store. Lots of warm water and tea/coffee when possible. Not in the mood for heavier food, but had some dosas at this place outside the campus guided by Naval, who is quite the dependable foodie.

* I feel like staying in the dept. a lot - find it very lonely back at the hostel. The hostel's become a bit of a bed-and-breakfast lodge.

* It is well-known that I'm an early-to-bed-and-rise type, but I pushed my IIT record to 3:00 am last night. I have done nighters before, and even 24-hours w/o sleep, but mornings are my thing. The problem is - lots of stuff happens at night when so many people are awake, and it miffs me that I end up missing them. Roshan says I am lucky to be able to stick to a decent sleep schedule and be up early. I agree, but sometimes the soul prefers more human contact too.

* Some of the IIT mornings have been spectacular - mist all around makes walking/cycling past the green fields quite pleasant. But all this is wasted on the IIT owls.

* No doubt: I have been overeating for about 2 years. I realised that last year, and have been experimenting with less and less with a view to finding an optimum. I found that out during the course of the last 8 months. Here, I'm beginning to under eat, but on most times, I have got away with it. How long will that last? More evidence that these things go about in cycles.

* I have been doing Post mortems on my sad performance in the mid-sems of 2 weeks ago. Goofed up even on the easier bits, which is infuriating. But then, personal history seems to indicate me being a rather slow starter in newer situations, so I'm hoping it'll get better as times go by.

* Lots of angst-in-pangst above, I know. But this blog was meant to take all this too.

* Thinking quite a bit about Gaurav and his predicaments and the larger lessons for bloggers like me. Right now, I just want to leave him alone to figure out all his future moves. I think he'd be cramped a bit now.