Saturday, February 28, 2009

The day I chased my idea....

Pink Floyd rocks! seriously. Its 2.13 am in the morning and I am listening to 'shine on you crazy diamond', and I don't know why, but suddenly I've got this urge to write. But the funny thing is I can't figure out what to write about. Well, actually its kinda sensible, you know. Its like being hungry and not knowing what to eat. You see, sometimes you get this idea and you start writing and writing and writing till you are completely satisfied. Its like eating something just for the taste of it. I don't know if you have experienced this, but sometimes, you are just walking on the road when suddenly you have this chicken cheese roll taste in your mouth. Whats more, it lingers until you start paying attention to it, but when you do, it threatens to melt away. It feels like if you don't have a roll as soon as possible, you will completely forget what it tastes like. Now you don't want that to happen, do you? So you run off to have some chicken cheese roll. Its the same with ideas. They peep into your head at the most unexpected moments. And as you slowly begin to recognise the uniqueness, or shall we say, beauty of a certain idea, it starts seeping away(Well, that is what usually happens ot me in the exams. Ideas seep away. And slip away!). I had this great idea of a sketch today. I was sitting in a math lecture trying as hard as possible to feint attention at the prof as he rambled of in his heavily accented english about linear transformations of matrices and stuff. And like a flash, I get this idea- you see, a hand holding a bloody knife, and its shadow on the wall looks like a dove. It was so oxymoronish, and if the idea would actually materialise on paper, I knew it would look awesome. The complete picture with charcoal, black and white, except the red blood with which the knife is spattered and the green clover leaf in the beak of the shadow- dove. I could actually see it in front of my eyes! And then, ofcourse, the picture turned hazy and started dissolving into thin air. I knew what was going on- my idea was slipping away! And I couldn't let that happen! I checked the watch- 20 more minutes. This was going to be excruciating. I opened my notebook and started to sketch the picture....until, as they say, if you want something real bad, the whole universe conspires against you or something like that....(It actually is the opposite, I guess, but surely not in my world!)So this Prof makes the guy sitting beside me(the one who is drooling. Not the one who looks like he is dead and his corpse is about to snore. I think even the Prof admits that he is completely out.) and asks him a question. Now the only thing that can be as bad as a Prof asking you a question is you asking him one and expecting a straight answer( trust me, that is true.). Also, a Prof never aims a question at one guy as such. Nor does he expect the guy to answer it. The question is for the whole group around the guy to whom it is asked. It is a sort of wake up call, more of a death knell. It is a signal to the students that they have been caught not paying attention( or not feinting it) and they better do so if they don't want to face a full fledge public embarrassment. The guy next to me fumbles( as expected. Afterall, he has spent the lecture making his saliva bungee jump across his chin!). The prof shuts him up quite well, and after a sharp sweep of an eye at the other two of us musketeers, continues. The bungee jumper takes a notebook and starts scribbling down everything the Prof has ever written on the blackboard. The corpse man has come to life. He now adopts an open mouthed,disoriented posture which makes him look like one of the 'use me' dustbins with a really bright flowery shirt. And he has got a physique for it too! I straighten up, then lay low again, trying to look concentrated on the notebook I have which carries the notes of the previous class I attended about two weeks ago. Now what was I thinking? I try to remember. Some idea. What idea? this time I really concentrate, though not on the lecture( still a little bit of credit must be given to me for concentrating in the lecture theatre.). But I can't remember a thing. Nothing at all. I try to pull at the dying strands of memory I have of the idea. something about a knife. A knife? Wow! I am thinking about knives in my math lecture. And I remeber blood. Its coming back! Its coming back! The lecture gets over. And the grumpy Prof sets across the classroom towards the door where he is met by a speeding streak of light. It zooms out of the room, leaving the door to flap on the Prof's now red face. But the streak doesn't care. It glides out; swishes out of the lecture theatre, flies up the staircase, sprints through the B dome, scampers on the road, and never slows down until it reaches its destination. Its destination is my room, and as the bright folk out of the readers might have correctly inferred, 'it' is me( if you haven't inferred that, then take it from me- I'm sorry, but you are not one of the bright folk!).While my feet are running at full speed, my mind is running at fuller( wrong expression, right effect!). I skid to a stop near my table, grab a sheet of paper and some charcoal and don't look up until I've finished what I had in mind( the math prof would be in tears to watch me so focussed) And you know what, It felt just like it feels when you have a chicken cheese roll when you really want it. The same anticipation waiting with bated breath to explode! It feels great. Wait one second- this is what I was talking about! See, this is one kind of a streak- you know what you want to eat. You have an idea to work with. But, as I was saying, what if you are really just hungry. Anything will do. What do you do then? What if you have a real urge to write, but don't know what to write about. What do you do? Well, you eat anything that comes in front of you first, right. So I do the same thing here. I write the first thing that pops in my mind! And see, this works! I'm done with the post!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

VSD sketch

This is the sketch I made for Virtual Sketch Date. Its done with a black pilot pen on paper, with a bit of charcoal as a highlight in the end. Most of the sketch( except the parts with trees and bushes) has been done with straight lines. Had a lot of fun while making it. I'm sketching a lot these days, not just because I love to, but also because the cultural festival of my college-BITS Pilani Goa Campus, called WAVES Summer '09 is round the corner. The fine arts club of the campus, Kala is getting ready to give a beautiful performance. And we all are working really hard for it. So, nowadays, a typical day( and night) for me consists of nothing but sketching, painting and guitaring. And you know what, I love this life! Check out the other paintings, which, by the way, are awesome, and the original photograph by Debbie Later at

Friday, February 20, 2009

This is the photograph of the legendary guitar recital I described in the last blog. Posted by Picasa

This old guitar

Finally.... Test 1 is over and after staying up for five nights straight, trying to figure out how to find whether a vector space is homogenous or not and mugging up theorems whose names I can barely pronounce and don't know how to spell,(you can imagine how I did in my exams with that!) I finally am sitting in front of my laptop with a plan to stay up for the sixth night in a row and watch a couple of animation movies. I don't know if you have the capacity to imagine the happiness and relief that spread inside me as I submitted my answer paper today morning. I ran up to my room after that and opened my guitar case as soon as I reached there. Not that Iwas'nt playing while the exams were going on, but you know, there's this feeling, which swells up inside you, when you know that there is nothing, absolutely nothing which is going to come in between you and your guitar now. And this feeling is precious. I always play my guitar whenever I come back from some exam. I don't know how, but it makes me feel better. I play it whenever I am depressed or tired, and it heals me. Chinmay knows this, so whenever I am in a bad mood or something, he's like "Go play some guitar dude!" and I do that. And I feel okay! Its been about a year since I started learning the guitar. And I got my own after I came to campus. I still remember how much I roamed about in Goa to get my guitar. Now the closest town from campus is Vasco. It takes about 45 mins to reach Vasco via the local buses. Now this is not as easy as it sounds. The buses here are a sight. I never have had to wait for more than....let me see...about seven seconds on the bus stop before a bus came up the road. You see them, rumbling on the road swirling dust as if it were mist about the roads which just about wide enough for the bus to move. With its murky brown body which you strongly suspect was actually green, once upon a time, and patches of paan stains and indecipherable graffiti(sometimes graphical), both which are byproducts of the passtime of generations of Goans, you start having thoughts about reconsidering your descision to board this thing. This feeling doubles when the bus comes close enough so that you can actually hear the quality and quantity of sound this machine can produce. Every movable part vibrates. every immovable part is engaged in a fierce srtuggle for freedom from its binds. And so, somehow, all the parts of the bus reach some sort of a resonance so that the whole bus vibrates with the same frequency. Its weird, more so if you are sitting inside it. Now, you can seldom sit inside the bus. You never get a seat. And let me tell you, its a relief, because the seat is not at all compatible for a 6 foot 1 inch guy like me. Its total space management. Find out the maximum number of seats you can fit in a given space. Find a way to add in a couple more, and you make an interior of the bus. That is not all, because the top is so low that you have buckle your knees all the time and every bump on the road gives a bump on your head. people are filled in like grains in a sack, and are made to stand in the aisle, each facing the opposite side, holding the bars of the overhead(?) luggage compartment somewhat like the way convicts are made to, in America. The conductor glides through the mess of people, handbags, wicker baskets, infants and an occasional rucksack of some bemused tourist like a seasoned swimmer in the rough sea. And you look at the sign on the saying '11 standing' and wonder why its there. I personally had stopped counting after 21. The point is, its a rough ride. Somehow, I reached my destination. Now it was time to find a guitar shop. I walked and I walked; in two hours I covered nearly every road in Vasco; taking instructions from people just to end up right in front of them in five minutes until I found out that there was no guitar shop in Vasco. So I rode another bus to Margao, which is a much bigger city. this time I was sure there was guitar shop here. I even knew its name- 'Fertado's'. So I scoured the roads of Margao asking for Fertado's. Now this is quite a common surname in Goa. So, in an hour, I found myself in front of a Fertado's book store, a Fertado's gift shop, and somewhat awkardly, a Dr. Fertado's gynaecology clinic. Finally, I found the shop on the second floor of an ancient dingy building, and all the frustration I had evaporated. There's this thing about a guitar shop- the scent of the wood, maybe. But it feels great. The only other shop in which I have been equally fascinated is the Art Shoppee in Panjim, but more about that later. So, I got my Hobner spanish acoustic- the most beautiful thing I ever own. Its black, with a whitish green design on the soundbox. And I loved it on the first sight. It has been with me since then. I play it day and night. Sometimes Eagle's Hotel California or Clapton's Layla or Pink Floyd's Wish you were here, sometimes chord sequences or sometimes just musical gibberish.... I play for hours and hours, until the skin of my fingers tears out and they start bleeding, then I put on a bandaid and play on. Let me tell you the story of my first public guitar recital. There was some programme in college and I called to play there. I had learned this guitar instrumental called Slash by Acoustic Alchemy, and I planned to play it. So, the day arrives and I am called upon stage. I plug the pickup wire to the guitar port and strum some chords. No one hears a thing. I check the connection on the guitar port, the amp port. everything seems just fine. But its not at all being amplified. the crowd is getting impatient. I figure out that there must be some problem with the pickup wire itself. Great! My first solo recital and I can't play because of some silly wire. The guy onstage gives me a mic which I place on my lap near the soundbox. Its awkward, but its ok. so I say this is it, and I close my eyes, and I start the damn song. Slowly, I get into the rythm and I forget that I am in front of a crowd. I smile a silly smile with my eyes closed and let my fingers do the job. The exhilaration reaches the peak as I near the end of my performance. I end with a really fast riff and slowly open my eyes, ready for the applause. There is none. I look around, and people are talking, laughing, doing everything but looking at me. And I am like, what the hell, people? Then I do something really demeaning. I shout ' I'm done!' That catches some attention. People look around, as if they just remembered there was a stage in front of them. Some of them clap. Some of them are completely clueless about whats going on. Some don't even care. And I am sitting onstage with my guitar and the mic perched precariously on my lap trying to figure out what went wrong. And then, the guy onstage comes, picks up the mic, looks at me and says, " Its supposed to be turned on, you fool!" I don't remember anything after that. There's this one song by Neil Young which I really love. Its about a guitar. It goes something like this-
This old guitar ain't mine to keep, just taking care of it now Its been around for years and years, just waiting in its old case Its been up and down the country roads, its brought a tear and a smile Its seen its share of dreams and hopes, and never went out of style The more I play it, the better it sounds, It cries when I leave it alone Silently it waits for me, or someone else I suppose!
And this old guitar of mine has been with me in some of the most defining moments I've ever had in my life. It has laughed when I have laughed, and it has wept with me. It is fascinating that something inanimate can be such an important part of your life. Sometimes even more important than some people. And then one day I will get a new guitar, maybe because it will be better, or because this one will be too old to be played, when the strings and the knobs will start rusting and there will be dents on the soundbox and it will start taking ages to tune, and it will just be cast aside.... But it knows this, maybe all the guitars do. And it understands. It won't get too attached to me even though I may. You know why? Because- This old guitar ain't mine to keep, just taking care of it now........

Thursday, February 5, 2009

5 point SOMEone

Could I have had a better topic to start off my blogging or what?! Here I am, listening to 'Get over it' by the Eagles at two in the morning( couldn't have found a more fitting song) and writing the first blog I have ever written. And the only thing that is comes in my mind right now, is me being a five pointer! I study(or, do I?) in BITS Pilani Goa Campus, one of the most prestigious colleges in India. And from what the grading system says about me, I clearly suck! Its an echelon, you know, a system of levels. It is headed by people called ten pointers. So now that I don't have anything to do and I am remotely sleepy, let me explain to you how it goes-
So, as I said, the echelon is topped by a species called the ten pointers. The ten pointers are the A graders. The creme de la creme. The top guys. They are the reason why colleges are made. The whole idea is to make ranks and ranks of ten pointers and convocate them into the society, so that they work in IT companies from 7 am to 12 midnight and raise kids who become obsessive IIT aspirants. Guys like us don't usually hang out with ten pointers. And vice versa. Its difficult to decide which ones hate the other ones more. Nearly impossible. The tenps look down upon the fivers from their ivory towers and smile unpleasant smiles. And the five pointers look up and return them with equal loathing. But that is how the system works. Each of us are in their own places, happy to be hanging in there, the two extremes. The ten pointers happy that there is no upper limit than this, while the fivers thinking I can't possibly fall down below this! And life goes on. You can recognise ten pointers as easily as you can recognise five pointers. Short hair, coconut oiled(that is a must) obese, specs, and they go ambling around alone. You can guaruntee that all the places they know on the campus are the classrooms, library, their own rooms and hopefully, the mess atleast. My God these guys actually go to the professor's chambers and ask them doubts! But then, there is an unspoken mutual pact between the fivers and the tenners. We never come in each others ways, each thinking that is way below dignity. The real problem are the nine pointers.
Now these are the wannabe ten pointers. But they can never be tenners, cause you need to be perfect for that to happen, not a whisker away from it. But these guys never miss the opportunities to round off their CGPA's. Let me tell you how a nine pointer is- Take in all the qualities of a ten pointer, reduce the coconut oil a bit(maybe that is the secret ingredient of being the tenners)and give the guy a ultra proud look with an extra long nose. Viola! you have your very own nine pointer. Now the difference between a ten p and a nine p is of a guy who takes computer science because he actually loves it and a guy who takes up computer science after looking at the placements list. And what's bad is that they actually get in our way. They nose around, complain when we make noise while playing corridor football(what else is a guy supposed to do in a hostel?) whine if they don't get front seats in a lecture, ask questions, silly ones, just to impress the profs, hang out with ten pointers, borrow their notes and loose them, never lend anyone else their own ones, not even a day before the exam! Oh, I might finish this whole page writing this but I have to stop. Moral, nine ps are not very pleasant people to live with.
8 pointers are great. they have it all settled out, you know. How much time to work, how much time to play. If you ever want to be something in life but don't know what to be, get some advice from me- be 8 pointers. And you will lead a life worth living. These guys life is so balanced. They watch movies, fool around, hang out playing guitars and singing songs with us guys. They go to all the lectures. Take notes, but they don't mind if the guy next to them is playing snake 2 on his phone. A ten pointer would have freaked out and a nine pointer would have brought this thing to the professor's notice if they were in such a situation. Maybe thats why these guys never mix and mingle in classes. But the 8ps are so cool! And they let you photocopy their notes too!
The seven and the six pointers are just happy enough to be hanging around where they are. Yeah, they don't have to be in the league of those shameless 5ps with their guitars and long hair. But you know what, they envy us. Secretly. They envy us because of the fun we have. And they envy the 8, 9 and (ofcourse)the 10ps too. Because of their grades. These guys are totally clueless about what to do. Do they chuck their futures and enjoy as much as they ever can or do they grind their noses on Organic chemistry by Solomon and Fryhle until they are raw? They just don't know! And so they think about vector spaces when they are on the cricket pitch with us and play Sweet home Alabama in their heads in maths ll lectures. The difference between the 8 pointers and the 6-7 pointers is that, although each of them give the same time to work and play, the 8ps, work when they work and play when they play. These guys work when they play and play when they work. Told you, they are just so confused.
Now comes the part for which I had to write the whole crap above this- The five pointers. Now believe it or not, but we are the backbones of this system. We make ten pointers what they are. Because its all relative(I wish old Al was here to see this moment). We are the five pointers, and we are kicked around from classroom to classroom and our grades tumble down like a slinky on the stairs. But we are satisfied. We have faithful friends and we hang out with them. We learn so many new things. Like climbing up on the Roof of Students Activity Centre from the outside, guitaring for like five hours straight, sketching prof's portraits from the last bench. Now that requires skill. More stealth skill them art skill I must say. And in this world of grades and placements, we hold our heads high and stand tall and face trouble as it comes. we seize the day. We sieze the night! We are the wheels which run the system. We are the wheels which have to carry the load. We are the wheels who get smothered by the dirt.
But you know what, we don't complain. we have the time of our lives in the college. And we use our brains too! For good things, constructive things. But the only reason we are the way we are is that we do what our heart tells us to do. Now it may be wrong, it may be foolish and it may be taking us completely on the wrong track, but then, atleast we get to drive our own car!
Now for the important thing- and this is for all of us- the 10ps and the fivers- notice the capital SOME in the title. Now that is not a typo. Its probably the most important thing in this coffee fuelled maiden blog. Forget everything I said, no offence meant, about your CGPA's and listen to this carefully. Of all the things in the whole wide world, the one that is really important is that you have to be SOMEone. A five point someone or a ten point someone, it doesn't matter. But you have to be someone. You have to make your mark. There is a place for everyone in the college. The muggers, the wannabes, the cool guys, the slackers, the ten pointers, the five pointers. All you have to do is come forward and take your places. Not happy with the place you have now? No big deal. Strive hard to change it. But please, be somebody. Be someone. You gotta be someone. The college takes in everyone. Life takes in everyone. Its like one big college, isn't it? And then you are expelled from college if you mess things up big time, but this is no time for us to talk about that. Its time to stop writing and publish the first blog ever written by me!!!!!!!!!!!

Of guitars and paintbrushes....(and a few other things too) Headline Animator