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The dreaded Board Exams loom ahead.

The CBSE site says:

CBSE 10th and 12th Examination will start from 2nd March 2009. The detailed datesheet will be published in the last week of December 2008

As it happens, we’re still waiting for this datasheet.

Meanwhile, the second terminal exams are going on these days. I had CS Practicals today, and Physics day after tomorrow, while Math and Chemistry got over earlier this week (and last week).

Since G.P. has been stubborn as usual and adhered to the [allmighty and wonderful] syllabus that The Board has set, refusing to answer questions that are “out of the syllabus, ma!”,  I have not understood anything. (NOTE: this is probably not the only reason for my amusing lack of knowledge :P)

Hence I got myself a copy of “Halliday, Resnick and Walker – Fundamentals of Physics” and started reading it.  For the first time in two years, I started understanding something!
G.P. has time to crack all kinds of stupid “mokkais”, but he won’t anwer “extra doubts” :P Here’s one of his famous ones:

One day, a man went to one shop and bought one KG of thakkali [tomatoes]. The next day, another man went to the same shop and bought two KG of thakkali. A week later, ANOTHER man went to ANOTHER shop and bought FIVE KG of thakkali. What is common between these events?

Thakkali!!

Also it is interesting to note that I have spent a large number of physics classes sitting OUTSIDE the classroom. If you come a little late he doesn’t like letting you in. If you come late from the CS lab, he gets very annoyed.

One day, Arvind and myself were working in the lab, and realised we were late for his class. So we ran to the class, and stood at the door. “Come in, come in…” he says absently.  After we’re halfway to our benches, “Wait! Where were you all this while??”  “In the CS lab, sir…” “Then get out.”

So today’s CS pracs was most annoying. Only 12 marks for writing the program! FIVE marks for SQL (I’ll get zero) and some marks (I don’t remember how many) for the project.  For those unfamiliar with the process, you’re supposed to pull a chit of paper from a notebook, and write a program to do whatever is directed by the chit of paper (on the computer). I got an extremely simple ( and boring) program, which involved writing records to a binary file, deleting them from the file, and inserting new records into the file. For three hours I sat and whiled away time, writing rubbish code. Finally ND (NirmalaDevi) walks up to me to find out what the hell I’m doing for so long. After criticising my program and telling me it’s worth only three marks, she walks off. So I sit around for 5 minutes, after which I proceed to re-write the whole thing (took 15 minutes) and got full marks for it. 12/12 :P

Incidentally, my cell phone balance is now MINUS 0.52 INR, and my outgoing communications (including messages) have been blocked. I am, therefore, using http://wwwc.way2sms.com/ as a means of communicating with people. Kindly bear with me.

Magic exists only if we can’t understand it.
The more we know, the less amazed we are.
The more we understand, the more logical we become…

Robots that cannot fully comprehend their own workings will think of each other as human.

Well, school’s out, holidays now.

That should be cause for celebration, right?? Yes, till you hear of our special-class timetable:

8:00 to 9:00 – Chemistry (Shoba Raman)

9:00 to 10:00 – Physics (G.P.)

10:15 to 11:15 – Computer Science (Harifa the great!)

11:15 to 12:15 – Maths (B. Chitra)

And this is every single day of the holidays except Sundays.

Cool, right?

So today is the second of October, Gandhiji’s birthday. A national holiday. So we should have no classes today, right? Hah. Fat lot.

G.P was kind enough not to take class today, and unsuprisingly, Harifa took it.

So I’d have to attend TWO HOURS of CS. Oh no.

So Prateek walks up to me and gives me an all-too-familiar look that says “Rishabh, I DON’T want to attend class.”

MRTS, here we come.

So we attended chemistry, after which we made a great escape to Mailai railway station, bought tickets to Velachery. After an eventful journey during which a number of interesting photos and videos were taken, we faced this small problem:

Once in Velachery, what do we do?

After a bit of snooping and debating, we decided to visit the Loco-repair shed nearby. Fortunately, there didn’t seem to be anyone about.

After observing the area for a minute we walked in, and saw this LONG BIG hall, with two parallel elevated rails, for repairing locos, and snapped some photos and stuff. We walked the length of the shed, and saw all kinds of EMU AC cirtcuit diagrams on the walls. A tramp was hovering around the other end, collecting bits and pieces in a sack. We took some more photos, and wandered round the shed.

Now, this building consists of TWO parts. One was what we just saw, and the other was full of all kinds of cool machinery; generators, overhead rail-cranes, and some stuff we couldn’t recognise.

Unfortunately, only HALF the shed was open. The other half, with the cool machinery, was closed. With a huge shutter which was not locked, but which was ten times our height.

After wandering about a bit, we went outside to the other half of the shed, and tried (in vain) to pull up the shutter (which was some 10 times our height, remember).

Now we wanted to get in there. So we went to the other side, and found that all the windows were open!! We also noticed, unfortunately, that there was some uniformed guy standing at a distance, ticking off the tramp. What if he had seen us? So we decided to go and innocently ask him if we could look around.

We walked up to him and very politely said “Excuse me.” He barked at the tramp to wait for a moment, and asked us what we wanted. In very good, fluent and erudite-sounding english, we told him “See, sir. We’re from Vidya Mandir school, and we’re attending a conference in Atlanta next month. We have to make a presentation, and we chose to make one on the Indian Railways.” (at this point, I showed him my school ID card) “we were, therefore wondering if we could take a look at the shed.” In very broken english, he told us that railway property was out of bounds, and that we needed the permission of the Station Master to be there, and that we shouldn’t have been snooping around there. At this point, the tramp, who didn’t want to get into more trouble with the cop later, scampered off. I mean, he just FLEW. He ran like I’ve never seen anyone run before. The cop shouted after him in Tamil “At least take your sack and go!!”. So he grumbled to us about how we made him lose the tramp, and “what am I going to do with this sack now??”. Suddenly, he said “You’re not allowed to take pictures, either. Do you have a camera with you?”. I was about to say ‘no’, when Prateek proudly said “Yes, we do”. So the guy demanded to see it. I pulled it out of my pocket, and swiftly removed the card and pocketed it.

He saw me do that.

“What’s that?” he asked, frowning. “Mobile phone SIM card!” said Prateek, to which the cop responded “Oh, card, card. yes. of course…”. I switched on the camera and it proudly said “No picture”. Very happy that we hadn’t violated any rules by taking photos, he showed us the way out.

We, of course asked the SM, who looked at us funnily and told us that we needed permission from the offices near Central Station. Very bugged, we decided to visit Velachery’s dirty lake.

So we walked along the tracks to the lake, watched a train being shunted, hung around awhile, and got back to the station.

While we were waiting for the train to start, we struck up a conversation with the engineer, and asked him if we could get into the engine with him, stating that we had a project to submit in Thailand. He said he was very happy with us for choosing this as a project, but that he would get caught for allowing us into the loco.

So we left him alone, and got into the train, where we met a really cool photographer called Akbar, from Kerala. He showed us all his (really amazing) photos, and chatted in Hindi with Prateek. Apparently he’s given his daughter a Hindu name because he believes in the unity of religions, and says “what does it matter what religion someone is?”. He was offered a job in Chennai, but gave it up after a while because he loves his homeland and can pursue his hobby better there. He’s also saving up to buy a new camera (which he really deserves).

After an uneventful train journey home, we sneak into school at the back, since maths class is nearly over. We then take our cycles and go to P. Saami’s for a juice, and then head home.

Quite an interesting time we had.

Oh, and Harifa found out that we bunked her class :D

UPDATE: Photos on facebook:  http://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=58508&l=cfb70&id=787299408

Last evening, my uncle held a reunion for his batch of IITans at the Taj Coromandel.

There were only three really good things there:

1. Aloo tikki

2. Marshmellow in liquid chocolate

3. YAMAHA grand piano

I thought the food was quite bad, but that could be because they didn’t serve continental, my favourite :P

A night at that place costs about 8000INR. Ridiculous. The food that I ate would normally have cost roughly 600INR (but I got it free :P). Outside, the whole car park was filled with Mercs and a BMW. I mean, really… bloody extravagant place.
You can look at the all the photos here. (Only 7 photos, that too terrible quality – cellphone camera)

Today, I arrived at 8:10 in school, expecting to be late for Shoba’s class (for the third time in a row), but who do I see instead? Penguin! Apparently, she’s swapped classes with Shoba. Heaving a sigh of relief, I walk into the class and pick a fight with the guy who sits behind me about opening the window. People shouldn’t conduct special classes in this weather. Cursing, I pull out my notebook, grit my teeth and listen to her telling us about the inverses of matrices. Cute little critters, they are. She then says, “I will now explain you.” and proceeds to give us an explanation, which, surprisingly, I understand. After an hour, we go to G.P.’s class in the Sripad Hall, endure and hour of Electrostatics, and then get back to the classroom for Shoba’s class (on Metallurgy). The day starts getting hotter and hotter.

After she lets us go, I walk up to the bus stop with Hari, where I meet Anjan, who spoils my Parker ballpoint pen. Now profusely sweating, I hang around for a while in the shade and take a 12G back home.

Glenn Herbert Gould (September 25, 1932 – October 4, 1982) was a Canadian pianist, noted especially for his recordings of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, his remarkable technical proficiency, and his eccentric piano technique and personality. He was one of the most well-known and most celebrated pianists of the twentieth century. He gave up concert performances in 1964, dedicating himself to the recording studio for the rest of his career, and performances for television and radio, as well as non-musical radio documentaries and other projects.
[G.G. plays bach.]

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