Saturday, July 22, 2006

PDP resumes...

Blocking Blogspot was one of the worst decisions taken by the Government in recent times. It has hit the millions of Indian Bloggers (Me being one of them). The simple thing that the Indian Governments do not understand is that those bloggers who want to access Blogspot, need not always access the site directly. There is always hook or crook method, that can counter these measures by the government. I don’t know why these foolish government decision makers don’t know that!! And, Why should the Dot start instructing the ISPs to block a whole domain?? Should they not identify the suspicious blogs and block those ones?? It was very rightly specified somewhere… It is like stopping the water-supply in town, simply because there are terrorists who drink water in town!! Now even I have been facing a lot of inconvenience because of this sudden illogical decision by those moronic office bearers. I was in the middle of changing the template of my blog. So after having a small chat with Karan I was given the options of pkblogs.com or Tor. pkblogs.com is a slightly slow. Tor is better and is really a good option to fool the servers. NovaPortal was another option. Although Karan likes its speed, I did not find it to be good. It does not display my blog correctly. Thankfully now Blogspot is unblocked.

Ok, now, coming back to my life. I returned Chandigarh on the 19th. Obviously I am now in second year, it is about time to be at the other side of ‘The Phantom Returns’. Yes, ragging is on. But at this point of time the ragging has not reached its peak. The problem is that only the first counseling has taken place till now. And only the first week of college has passed. So the number of fucche are too few. On 19th after taking the possession of my newly allotted room, and after setting it up I went to Hostel No 7, with a few of my friends at about quarter past ten.. Hostel 7 till last year was the most feared hostel as all the second year guys were living there. But now a new block has been constructed in Hostel 7 and all the freshers have been allotted rooms in that hostel. The first thing I noticed when I reached that hostel were a few groups of students standing randomly in hostel parking enjoying their interaction with fellow juniors. We all walked into the hostel and went upstairs to the first floor. Second year students were buzzing all along the corridors trying to catch hold of the limited number of first year students. I wished my mates over there; obviously we were meeting after a long summer break. The first room I entered I found a guy sitting on top of the loft. I was told that he is visiting ‘Shimla’. Well and good, what else can you expect when there is only one fresher trying to meet the entertainment-requirements of about a dozen seniors?? I just walked out of the room as I found the situation real dull over there. I was informed that there are four juniors in one of the rooms. I went in there and joined the other second year students (There were about 10 of them there already!! But only four 1st year guys.). Some of my friends followed. The problem was that in that room ragging was being conducted in Punjabi. Although I have picked up quite a few usual Punjabi terms, some of it was difficult to understand. I just sat back and watched the juniors act according to the given situation. I must say, whatever little I understood, it was really hilarious. I was simply a spectator with no inputs simply because it was almost entirely a Punjabi based ragging. At about midnight I returned back to room. Hopefully next time more freshers would be available. They are expected from the next week onwards.

Meanwhile classes have restarted and the Information Technology branch is really enjoying the course. Semiconductors, Peripheral Devices, Data Structures, Programming Methodology, Fundamentals Of IT and lastly Human Computer Interface are the only subjects. So everything is IT specific. And when college restarts, movies have to restart. Yesterday night I went to watch Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. First Day last show. This movie unlike the last one was really complicated. Real complicated logic and really open ended. None of us were satisfied as we really felt ‘incomplete’ at the end of the movie. But I must say that the movie was really funny at times. Johnny Depp played an excellent role, but Keira Knightley’s role was not impressive….im sure u know why!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The 'excess-time' Problem

My holidays began just a few days after my birthday. And surprisingly these holidays have been the best I have had so far. Never before have I had the opportunity, to enjoy my holidays according to my will. Partly because the school used to bundle you up with a lot of homework and partly because according to my mom, when you are in school… you are a student. Furthermore when you are a student, you have to lead a disciplined life. And when it comes to discipline of a student, he has to study a few hours everyday. So everyday you have to spend some time sitting around with a course book and pretend to read it (with the iPod plugged in your years – obviously), or else you have to face a verbal thrashing (on an unlucky day, it could be physical as well). But unlike the holidays of the past 12-13 years, this one was definitely different. Firstly, no college homework. In fact I even don’t know what all I will be studying next semester, and therefore no point in studying. So unless I have to help out my mom with some household work, I am totally vela. As a matter of fact this is the case with every other college guy/gal. Now when you have such a time, it is often difficult to decide what to do and what not to… esp. if you are not having a girlfriend. I know a few of my schoolmates who have girlfriends, they spend quite a lot of time with each other (basically just strolling or chatting), but the rest of the time they are also vela. So I can easily conclude that if you have a girlfriend, you can be assured that at least some part of the excess-time problem is solved (although it might also backfire with some other troubles, which I shall not go into).

Many of my friends have realized that the best way to spend your holidays is by learning something. So people have joined in C/C++/Java classes (those who are fanatic about programming, may please replace the word ‘classes’ with ‘lectures’, to avoid any confusion), some are doing VB etc. Most of them are doing a computer programming course except Prateek Chadha who for some reason decided to learn golf (of course you can’t expect PC to do a computer course). In the beginning of the holidays I had decided to learn PHP. But typically an Exun guy does not believing spending money to learn programming. Neither do I. So I talked to Rungta, and arranged all the required softwares, servers, databases, manuals etc. required to master PHP. But eventually till today I could not start with it, simply because these holidays have turned me LAZY. I got a little pump from Rishabh Dara and Karan Misra to start with it… but god knows when I will start with it. I have never been unenthusiastic to learn a new programming language, but maybe this time I feel that it is too simple as it is very similar to C++. And even now, like ever other day, I am hoping to start today. So basically much of my time is being spent on the Internet, sometimes chatting or Orkutting (a very popular verb this one is, although I see that it is not defined in the MS Word dictionary). But mostly I am visiting the Panjab University forum called stu-c.com. These forum guys have started a new contest that the top two persons who participate most in the forum, shall get an all expense paid Taj Chandigarh buffet. Now that is motivating!! Apart from the Internet I am playing games. Eventually Nisheeth has given me this game Rome –Total War. Very time consuming, and a perfect game to kill time (at the end of the day that is all that counts). It is a very nice game in which you are taken back into some 300 odd BC and you are responsible to conquer the Roman empire and take control of it. Graphics are also decent, and unlike the likes of AOE and Warcraft, this strategy game has two different maps – Campaign Map and Battle Map. And the battle map fight is real cool!! The world cup was another time pass. Although I was supporting Brazil (it is in the blood of Bengalis, you may say that) But they were never really playing well. My second choice was Portugal. Although they were playing good, they got eliminated in the semis, France just hanging on to that single goal. But the final was brilliant!! Just about everything that can happen in a football match, happened in that match. A wonderful draw, and finally I think the right team is victorious.

You must have realized till now that I am hardly into any kind of physical exercise. As a result I have really bloated. My girth has been increasing ever since, even while I was at hostel. So now I have realized that this tond of mine is actually my property (as in a distinctive quality/characteristic) that can never be lost. Nope, not in this life!!

Another wonderful fact about these holidays are that you want to meet old friends and associates. And when you finally meet up with them, you realize a slight degree of pleasure and satisfaction. I understand that it is bound to happen if you are living in a hostel away from your friends and relatives, but yeah it’s really good to see old mates. This time I have met up with guys like Nisheeth, Prateek, Nishank, Rohit, Maanick, Rathin, Siddharth and maybe others (in case I am forgetting a few name). Had lunch together and a game or two of Counter Strike in the popular South Ex WebWorld. I also met up with some of my school teachers. Eventually this time I was able to meet Ms Raghavan, who seemed really pleased to meet me and she surprised me by not asking anything about Exun. She was the only teacher who used to be really pissed off with me due to my involvent with Exun. I still remember that line of hers, “Souvik!! YOU and your EXUN!!” Our school has also undergone a lot of structural changes, things are turning pink and that really goes against my taste. The staff rooms have also expanded, I guess they are employing more teachers which means that the no of students might also be increasing. Uniforms have also changed from shirt to T-Shirt. Things are really getting complicated and confusing. As Dhruv explained to me, he had to buy a shirt for the Investiture Ceremony. He has to wear a white T-shirt on normal days and a Green T-shirt on PE days. Thank God I am out of school before such uniform was implemented.

Now for some news from Panjab University!! As you all know things are quite different here. I have finally realized the power of politics. On 4th July I went to get my hostel allocated to me. I had originally planned to go to Chandigarh in the morning and return back in the evening (It is just a 5 ½ hour journey). But the system in our university really spoilt my plans. Last year I was a junior and I had no option but to accept whichever room has been allocated to me. But I hoped that this year I would easily get the hostel room of my choice, simply because now I am a senior!! But nope, things are not that simple. I really did not want to stay in Hostel 6 because of the monkey problems and the water woes in Block 2 of Hostel 6. But when I went there I realized that the same hostel has been allocated to me. So I requested to get my hostel changed or the block changed so that at least this year I can be free from those problems. But a flat ‘No’ was their reply. I talked to the office bearers in my hostel and requested for Block 3, but they simply refused by saying that there are no empty rooms in this hostel. So here is where the politics comes in. To get a hostel of your choice, you need to be in touch with an active politician. So in the evening we told Abhishek Puri about our problem and he said that he’ll help us with it. We spent that night there, and the next morning walked up to the warden with him. And swwwwwishhhh!!! The job was done. All of my friends got a room in Block 3 and all of us were satisfied. Now here is the difference between the 1st year students and the seniors. The seniors have political contacts!! I don’t know if this thing will change in our University, but kuchh bhi ho, mera kaam to ho gaya.

And now signing off, and waiting for the juniors to get admitted!!!