Thursday, December 29, 2005

IISC Terror Attack

Link thanks to Tejaswi

Was shocked to hear about the terrorist attack at IISc. We have had checks and rumours at IIT-B for a long while, and personally, I was a little blasé about whether our top institutions would really be the target. But now it's happened and as Tejaswi says on our internal newsgroup, it's closer than we think. I hope the people injured get better - this is just too bad.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Mood Indigo 2005

An attempt at running an almost-live update of happenings here at Mood Indigo 2005.

Day 4 - 29 Dec - Wed

* 7:00 pm:
- Kunal and I won the General & World quizzes. The quality of questions was quite good, but the "jeopardy" rounds got more and more complex as the day wore on :-) Their "powerplay" round was interesting. Manic buzzing in the World Quiz (mainly a movies - including Hindi! - plus general stuff), so still fail to understand the USP of the World Quiz.
- I had to put in (Kunal, hope you read this) more effort to collect the prizes than taking part, I think. 1.5 hours in a small but immobile queue brought back COEPian memories.
- Missing Livewire and the rock shows beyond because I'm totally knackered with all the walking over the last 3.5 days. The hacking through red tape was the last straw. I wouldn't have been able to take in 3 hours of all sorts of rock, I'm afraid.
- Other events seen: Last moments of Hindi JAM. The biggest surprises were at the a capella competition. Among the many participants was a team from COEP, much to our amazement. #2 was that they chose to sing the Tamil song Please Sir from the film Boys, which was a capella even in the film, so a good choice. Then the 3 non-Tamilians in that team didn't goof up the pronounciation, which was terrific. They didn't win, but did give us something to cheer about momentarily.

Update (Had meant to add their names): Karthik Sridhar, Ajil, Nishant and Sanchali.

It's back home tomorrow and the last 3 days of the semester break. If there are no further updates, think of this as the end of the series.

* 9:00 am: World & General quiz finals today. Mood I wraps up as well.

Day 3 - 28 Dec - Wed

* Curtains:
- saw a couple of One Act Plays. Hardcore Hindi in them. The one we didn't like (too abstruse, overdone IMHO etc) won!
- Went to Creative Writing. Couldn't make much of the theme, so made some "creative" leaps. No hopes in this one.
- Caught the final moments of English JAM (the others saw all of it). Participants were getting "stoned" by paper missiles from the audience (with the blessing of the JAM master). Manic jamming as usual.
- Gen Quiz elims were not too bad; We're in the finals for this as well making it three in a row. Hopefully the results will change for the better.
- Was taken to the "Shaan" show despite inner rumblings (of the soulful kind) to the contrary. Some female was belting out recent pop numbers (none of them of my liking :-) ) - some kind of precursor to the main show. Had an invite by some of the BC gang for dinner at Hiranandani, so went there eventually. That, the post-prandial stroll and Mocha wrote (expectedly) another chapter in the BCQC Excellent Bogus Anecdotes collection. Quite a late night (for me).

* 10:00 am : Not much to do in the morning. General Quiz elims in the evening. Classical dance and music finals plus a Canadian Jazz Band also on radar. In all likelihood, skipping the splendour of Shantanu "Shaan" Mukherjee in the evening. Sarika, Gaurav and Satyen to be expected on premises.

Day 2 - 27 Dec - Tue

* Half-time whistle :
- Caught a glimpse of the classical instrumental competition - some very talented people around. IMHO, this section has always been consistent in its quality.
- Took part in the English Wordgames with Arnab. Good fun with words after such a long time. Sadly, we didn't make it (were rushed for the evening's pronite too, but perhaps wouldn't have made it - still got some good ones). Again makes me wish there was some place I could get more of these.
- Evening's proshow started with Pt. Shivkumar Sharma (santoor), Pt. Bhavani Shankar (pakhaawaj) and Pt. Vijay Ghate. He played Raags Yaman and Kedar and they pulled out their bag of tricks for the crowd. The second part was more of a fusion ensemble with Pt. Vishwamohan Bhatt (Mohan Veena), Pt. Ronu Majumdar (flutes), Atul Raninga (keyboard) and Mukul Dongre (drums). I've always wanted to see the mohan veena live in action and as expected, came away spellbound. They played some nice pieces, mostly of the energetic variety and ended with Vaishnava Janato and Jana Gana Mana. Expectedly, crowd was far lesser than the earlier day and annoyingly restive. Sparked the usual discussions about classical forms of music, what people think is Cool" et al. The good thing was that most of us sitting there, irrespective of our levels of prior knowledge and inclinations, were keen on broadening our sound-horizons via these maestros.
- Some interesting "comments" were heard esp. when Bhatt liked Mood I to Woodstock :-) . Also heard (a new BC nugget): Malvino (thanks Siddharth :-) ), Ben Franklin and positivity.

* 3:00 pm :
Ent quiz results: Symbiosis Law won 1st spot, Dani & Kunal T won 2nd spot. We came fourth.

Someday, there has to be a showdown between the D&P guys and IR guys - a fight to the finish. Why would you use a 18th century system in the 21st century? Why would you have arbit connects? Why would you have such skewed specialities? Call me old-fashioned, but my sense of culture was offended (call this fox and sour grapes too :-), but then I did say I wasn't an English Entertainment sort of person). There were some good questions, but I was all too bugged by hyena-ical giggles punctuating the proceedings and stupid scoring systems to appreciate them to the extent they should. This was very much like the intra-entertainment quiz I had the fortune to participate. What I'm mainly irritated by was that such quizzes hardly give the non-specialists a fair chance. Will terminate this thread before it descends into all those things that we hold dear and which have already found fair mention on the quiz blog. BTW, any elims that let us top was not fairly reflective of the finals ;-)

We're in the World Quiz finals, but let's see how that pans out - more indigestion pills may be called for.

One more time: what's with the laughter?

* 8:00 am : I met Arnold and Salil outside my hostel wing at 7 am. Which means that the poor guys have been travelling early morning and look like it. Got a short synopsis of their unhappy travel tale, the longer version awaits. But they are finally here now.

Main h/l for the day: World quiz elims, Ent quiz finals, Classical fusion at the pronites.

Day 1 - 26 Dec - Mon

* End of day's play :

- Kunal T + Dani, Kunal S + me made it to the Ent Finals (later on Tues). Symbi Law are the 3rd Pune team.
- Dani scored points (actual points) in the English JAM. Could see why Kunal T finds JAM so irritating - perfect example of participants unnecessarily jamming yesterday. Waste of energy. I have seen some better ones before (the MICA one was good).
- Kunal FC was in Eng Debate's Written Elims. Wanted to record the "written"-ness of it all.
- An excellent performance by a fusion group called Simha consisting of Harold Fernandes (guitars), Prasad Ruparel (guitars + ghaTam) and Shyamala Sajnani (not sure of name, don't have their publicity material with me) (she was on the veeNaa). They played a range of Western and Indian classical, blues, rock and finally a good melange (they had support on the pakhaawaj and bass guitar) to finish things. Highlight for me was the blues on the veeNaa - wow!
- I stumbled upon COEP's Street Play effort - pretty decent (saw some of the nascent practice on Saturday - wasn't that good then). Alumni will be pleased to know that the content seems to have changed finally :-), but the structure is pretty much the same. They need to work on their voices though, IMHO,
- Abhishek and co saw some of the short films screened though the rest of us missed most of the ones shown yesterday. Apparently, they were not too bad.
- Indian Ocean were mindblowing. Thanks to some idiotic PAF performance preceding them (completely pointless show - Firodiya style mix of artistic threads - hopeless in their dialogue delivery, story was meandering, the props were expensively wasteful etc. etc. making me wish I had a mix to choose from the arsenal and provide a much required massacre Why this painful digression? Because they finished 30 mins late and due to the 10 pm deadline...) Indian Ocean had only 1h 15 mins to play.

For the record, they played: Ba.nde, Kya Maloom, Leaving Home, Jhini, Hille Le, Ma Rewa, Kandisa and Ba.nde (again).

What amazes me was how much music they got out of their guitars (electric mainly), tabla set with interesting percussions and drumkit. Good sound mixing and production. A couple of offbeat instruments too. Fab.

* 2:00 pm : Liked the Ent Quiz elims - some workable ones (of which we got some good ones), missed a couple of easy ones - in short, a good experience. A more telling testimonial was from the BC gang who came here last time: they said it was much better this year. Hopefully, they're not saving up the stinkers for the finals.

Our team name for this quiz: "Moo Die!" - Deadly Bovine Assassination Squad

Note for the absent BC junta: Dani was found getting distracted (by you know what) too often for Kunal T's liking :-)

* 10:00 am : After much dilly-dallying, I decided to forego the "Pot Pourri" elims (as the name suggests, event has a set of mixed items) this time. The last time we were here, Hirak, Sujay and I made it to the final on the back of a smashing performance in the quizzing-style heavy elims only to trip over what is informally known as the "Mouthing" incident (sorry, cannot make public here - meet in person). Harish would fondly remember the audience view :-). Suffice to say that we weren't that hot at Dumb^2 C, Pictionary et al, and the charge died away.

So the morning for me will kick off with the Ent Elims for which I hope to ride on the shoulders of that great, young, french-bearded Libertarian hope, Kunal S (hopefully not too much like Sindbad and the Old Man of the Sea)

* 8:30 am : So it's MI time. Main highlights for the day personally will be the Indian Ocean performance and the elims to the Entertainment Quiz (at which I will be as good as at doing a triple somersault). Some minor items of interest dot the schedule as well, more on them if I happen to drop by.

Friday, December 09, 2005

This time it's personal

I'm breaking a long held convention of not talking about my birthday on my blogs, but this blog was meant to take the weight of such vachan-cessations. So here goes.

This time's birthday was obviously different as it was the first (that I can remember)to be spent outside home. Which leads us to the obvious inference of the traditional ife-on-campus thrills being applied. The mob gathered 5 mins before the a.m. bell strikes and proceeded to politely exercise their feet. I got a free facial soon after (not before managing to eat my part of the bakery produce). And 15 mins later since some of those who had been keen to put foot to gluteus m had missed out, an encore was sought and obtained. It's been a long while since I've been "bumped", so I actually enjoyed it all.

Coming to the more existential thoughts that a birthday is supposed to trigger (as opposed to blowing it up with TNT), the last few years, I've preferred to look upon it as a personal new year at best. Quiet contemplation perhaps is in order and my wish is for it to pass off peacefully (as if it was an anniversary of the worst kind, we have many of them - I wish if anyone thinks of it that way). I try and not make any concessions for the day if I can help it. This time it gave me a reasonable excuse whenever I was slacking for the exam on the day after - it's a very useful weapon for structured procrastination. More opportunities for not looking at the books was provided by my habit of replying to all greetings if I can help it. Strangely enough, the hostel mess even had "paayasam" that day.