Aapko Hindi aati hai?

There is this group of scamsters in Chennai that try to trick North Indians and Central Indians. These conmen, conwomen and con-children roam the streets of Chennai looking for Hindi speaking people. If they spot you talking in hindi, they’ll stop you and tell you that they are a family from Maharashtra and were traveling to Tirupati when their luggage was stolen and now they don’t have any money to return to their hometown. These guys, they hunt in packs of three – Man, woman and child. They’ll then do some major emotional blackmail on how ‘ek hindi bolne wala hi hindi bolne wale ki madad kar sakta hai’. They’ll tell you how people here don’t understand hindi and are not helping.

I ran into this group on two occasions.

I was walking to work one afternoon when one such group caught me off-guard on the way to Tidel Park(their usual route I think).  I was talking to mom on the phone when this guy stopped me and narrated his story. Being #foreverpoor that I am, I didn’t have any cash with me. Not even a coin. All I had were some Sodexo coupons. I offered this guy the coupons and told him that I can take him to a police station if he wants. The family wanted money and I had neither money nor the time so I dismissed the negotiations and walked away. After barely two minutes, another such group stopped me. I asked them if they were related and as usual(since I had no money and another person started abusing them in tamil) I fled the scene.

All the way back to office, I kept thinking whether these guys were genuine and whether I should have gone the distance and helped them. Later that day I got to know that this group and this exercise is very common and thanks to my credit card bills, I didn’t lose any money to these scamsters(because I am busy losing money to this bloody bank and its evil credit card).

Today, as I was walking to work, a man from another such group stopped me. He asked me the same question, with the same tinge of desperation in his voice.

‘Bhaiya, aapko hindi aati hai?’


‘Nahi, bhaiya. Bilkul nahi aati’, I replied.

And I walked away.


Ab Billi Duur Nahi

*drum roll*

In a second-of-its-kind event, I’ve decided to appear for CAT this year.

Three years ago, I undertook a similar adventure. Here is how it ended:



But 2008 was a long time ago. Things were different. I was jobless. CAT was pen and paper. I had to punch the guy next to me because he wanted to discuss the paper while all I wanted to do was to return to my bike and grab a plate of decent poha. This is 2011. A few things have changed. I have a job. CAT is all pro-metric and IITs are pro-CAT. My ilk has lost its credibility somewhat. But like in 2008, even this year I’m as prepared for this examination as the Indian Cricket team was for the England tour. All in all, this is going to be fun. I’ve even prepared a lolcat to mark the event:




Also, I googled for ‘Beginner’s guide to MBA’ but didn’t find any definitive guide. I’ll try to fill that void and write a series of posts under the banner ‘Beginner’s guide to MBA’. You can judge how useful those guides will be by the scorecard attached above.

Eet iz tyme.


Badhai ho, Engineer hua hai.

There is a scene in 3 Idiots where newly born R.Madhavan is in his crib and his dad proudly proclaims ‘Mera beta engineer banega’. Though I am not sure about the rest of the movie,I think this particular part is pretty close to reality. If you were born in one of the IIT-bearing cities of India or cities like Kota, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I was  born in one such city and was a part of the majority that, accidently or by divine intervention of Lord Vishwakarma, lands in an engineering college.

Not that I wanted to be an engineer. In fact I tried really hard not to become one – which shouldn’t have been too difficult considering my hatred for mathematics. You see, me and mathematics share a yin/yang, team anna/non-team anna  or Sunny Deol/Balwant Rai kind of a relationship. Still we managed to stay together till class 10th like an unhappily married couple considering divorce. When I moved to Class 11th, I had the option to say ‘Talaq x 3’ and choose between Commerce stream and Science stream. The choice was easily made – Commerce had Maths plus Accounts(another subject that involves numbers) – opting for it would been like playing a villain in a Bobby Deol movie where Bobby Deol has a double role. So I decided to go for Science. To counter the side-effects of Mathematics, I chose Biology as my fifth subject(thus getting access to a wonderful lab that had a reverse-Haryana-sex-ratio and photosynthesis lamps that would keep you warm in freezing Kanpur winters).

Now in Kanpur, you don’t take the science stream unless you want to be an Engineer or a Doctor. In my case, I could have been either. So to narrow my career choices, my neighbors and our numerous family friends decided that I join something known as IIT-JEE classes. I, being the clueless teenager(something I still am), fell prey to the cruel will of society and enrolled in one such class. It was and is, one of the worst decisions I ever took.

IIT-JEE classes are a one-of-a-kind experience. Imagine a marriage hall filled with benches. A central surveillance system to monitor students during classes and tests. A line of Four hundred(plus) students. Four hundred(plus) students, ready to trample each other to get a bench in the front row(I wasn’t a part of this race). Classes that started at 2 in the afternoon and went up to 11 in the night. Classes on weekends, weekdays and National Holidays. Tests, assignments, more tests, more assignments. It was a crazy time. Of course, all this wasn’t meant for me.

The only thing that I learnt from these classes was that I sucked at more things than Mathematics.

I gave up on these classes soon. It is easier to quit when you are not getting paid for doing something. I gave my class 12th examination and scored more marks in Biology than Mathematics. The next logical thing was to drop an year.

Don’t be surprised. That was a time when dropping an year to prepare for IIT-JEE was in fashion. So much so that I knew a few people who had been dropping an year, every year, trying to get into IIT-JEE. Most never reached beyond the ‘Pre-qualified’ tag. I didn’t even make it to that.

You see, I hadn’t learned my lesson. I still kept fighting a losing battle with mathematics.After that year, I appeared for all possible examinations – Engineering, Architecture, Medical entrance. I even went to the Delhi University, seeking admission in an English Literature course(I missed the first list at Hindu by 1%). I wasn’t cool enough for Delhi anyway. By the time the second list arrived, I was in Nagpur trying to wriggle into an engineering college. I eventually got into one and after a few more battles with Mathematics, I graduated as an Industrial Engineer.

The point is that in India, an Engineer is one of the coveted species. They(we) keep the marriage market active(you see, Doctors usually marry doctors, Engineers will mostly marry anything). They keep Manmohan Singh happy. Give them a few malls and pubs and Engineers will settle in any city you want. They’ll also leave the country for a few years and then come back and buy a nice house and a car with their ‘on-site’ savings. It is a nice scheme of things with an ‘Engineer’ at its center.

But all that is a thing of the past.

Earlier this month, some of the IIMs announced that they’ll be awarding ‘grace’ marks to girls and non-engineering students. Their argument, if you believe Times of India, is:

‘For years, every class at the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) was boringly uniform. Students were mostly boys, with only a sprinkling of the other sex. In class, these young men thought similarly, used identical logic and took decisions that were alike, for they were all hardwired to behave in a certain fashion at the engineering campuses they came from.’

Now while I support IIMs on the ‘MOAR GIRLS’ part, I am a bit skeptical about the ‘Non-engineer’ bit. Now I understand how America felt when they downgraded her to AA+. I hope the IIMs don’t start hanging placards saying ‘Boys and Engineers not allowed’ on their gates. In fact, I am not even sure what they mean by ‘Non-engineers’. Most engineers produced in India are Non-engineers anyway.  The argument that they are hard-wired to behave in a certain fashion is mildly confusing. Confusing because most people who clear the CAT are hard-wired to clear the CAT. They are hard-wired to clear to the GDs, hard-wired to behave themselves in personal interviews. We are a hard-wired generation. What to do?

Thanks to this move, the IIMs have successfully quashed the dowry-benchmarking-abilities of the engineering degree. Not only that, they’ve labeled engineers as this mob that thinks similarly and behaves similarly. They have also, I feel, shifted the onus of encouraging creative thinking from themselves to under-graduate institutions(a fancier term for college). They have somehow indicated that they’ll not bother to re-wire a hard-wired brain and instead prefer pre-non-hard-wired cerebrums.

I sincerely wish the IIMs achieve what they are trying to achieve with this. I hope diverse non-male non-engineer people from diverse backgrounds appear for CAT and qualify for IIMs. I hope they bring non-hard-wired ideas to the table, behave in unique ways and achieve true Brownian properties in thoughts, behavior and ideas.

If you are a male, engineering student contemplating a sex-change/fake B.A degree, I suggest you try for some other management college which is more MNS-like in its approach and still has some affection left for engineers. And if you are a ‘female’ engineering student rooting for the IIMs, well, something is better than nothing. All the best for CAT 2011. May the grace be with you!

(Psst. Here is Pagal Patrakar’s take on the issue)


That awkward moment

- when you can’t choose between Rafi and Kishore

- when all  you want to do is to close the door and wish it never opens again

- when a random song reminds you of Bhishma Pitamah

- when you stop laughing and realize it’s too early to do that

- when that last shred of food stuck in your teeth is successfully dislodged and suddenly, you have nothing to do for the rest of the night

- when you lose the count of how many times you have erased this blog post and written it again.

That awkward moment.


Notes – 11th August

- I’ve been as busy as a divorced bee – forwarding emails and cc’ing the wrong people. So much so that I’ve had ‘no time to stand and stare’. And since there hasn’t been any staring, there hasn’t been much blogging too. My to-do list is now officially longer than all the drafts of the JLB* put together.

– I had a brief encounter with IRCTC recently which will be discussed in greater detail later.

– In related news, I have successfully acquired tickets for Nagpur. I’ll be in the orange city for the Independence Day Long Weekend(IDLW). If you are around, give me a shoutout and come and meet me. I don’t have transport in Nagpur.

– Twitter relocated me to New Twitter. I am protesting by using DestroyTwitter. I tried TweetDeck for a while and was almost killed in the process. It is the most usable software in the world after iTunes. Thanks to it, my Firefox windows went ‘Not responding’ more frequently than Airtel Customer Service executives. After much experimentation(and harassment), I’ve finally settled with DestroyTwitter. It is beautiful, minimal and mostly efficient. It also has a real sluggish refresh rate, the minimum being 30 seconds. This forces you to reset your response time on Twitter and if you use Twitter web and DestroyTwitter side-by-side, it gives you a wonderful deja-thoo feeling. Still, I am sticking with DestroyTwitter for some time now.

– I have 850+ unread items on Google Reader. I am going to make it zero someday. Manually. *flexes carpel tunnels*

– I wanted to write a lot of stuff in this post, but can’t think of anything now.

(P.S: Sincere apologies to visitors who came here looking for ‘chennaites first sex’, ‘shweta bhabhi wid her neighbour’ and ‘boobs popping out in t nagar rush road’)

*Jan Lokpal Bill


Notes–11th July

These days, me and this blog are suffering from the same disease. A feeling of purposelessness(in case that is a word). In the last few days, I’ve felt like deleting this blog, my Facebook profile, all the porn from my computer, my Google Plus profile and a few more things. Facebook profile and this blog have survived.

Not that I have nothing to write about. I have a long list of half-baked ideas scribbled in Evernote, a dozen more jumping from neuron to neuron as I write this. I haven’t written about any of the movies I’ve watched this year. So there is a lot of bloggable stuff in my life. Just that I don’t feel up to it. Thanks to the previous blog post(Ranked 4th on Google Search for the ‘Google Plus sucks’ keyword, as pointed out by @fakingnews, also successfully labeled as the ‘Most Chutiya Article Ever’), the blog’s stat counter has been ticking. Thus writing a post to salvage some traffic isn’t necessary at the moment. So instead of posts which usually have a point(or a purpose), this blog will see some journal-ish posts for a while. I’ve created a category called ‘Notes’ for them. This is one of them.

Twitter withdrawal symptoms have begun. I am constantly fighting the urge to change my GTalk status almost every hour with song lyrics, links and food updates. I have lost some of those battles.

I finally scored a Gold Medal in Stop the Bus. If you want to repeat the feat, try the Regular mode and select the third Guy from the end as your avatar. He always gets amazing cards. At least for me.

In a desperate attempt to kill boredom, I have decided to prepare for a popular feline MBA entrance examination. More on that later.

Also, this is the funniest thing I read in the last few days:

Che Guevara: Practical Application

According to a recent report in “The PseudoEngineer”, Bolivian scientists have wrapped copper wire around Guevara’s body and surrounded him with magnets. This is because he is turning over in his grave so rapidly due to the commercialization of his image that he now powers most of South and Central America by himself. He is thus the most prolific revolutionary in the history of the world, making over 200 revolutions per second

From Che Guevara’s Uncyclopedia Entry(via. @angad singh’s Facebook profile)


Notes – 1st July

This blogpost doesn’t have a purpose. It is just a random assortment of facts and announcements. Here it goes:

– Half of 2011 is gone. If you are a Mayan, you have only six months to live. Wrap things the bollywood way: Find a non-mayan husband for your wife/girlfriend, organize their wedding, sing and dance and then die right before their honeymoon.

– I am on a break from Twitter. This is similar to Uday Chopra’s retirement announcement(As in no one gives a fuck and he may be back before you know it). Every once in a while I suffer from Twitter disillusionment. After all we are just a bunch of chattering idiots. Imagine you walk into a bar and all of a sudden everyone starts talking to you. Sometimes Twitter gives me THAT feeling. And sometimes I feel like I’ve walked into a bar and started screaming to get attention. I’ve been battling Twitter for a long long time and I am hoping that I’ll develop a plug-unplug method wherein I’ll be able to give up on social networking whenever I want to. Without feeling awkward or left out. Of course it is simpler than it sounds. But for the moment, no more maggi or omelette making tweets on your timeline.

– Google Plus has been launched. And I’ve been graced with a trial. I am neither excited about this nor depressed. I am just running around in circles.

– What I am excited about is the fact that I am going to spend the next two months experimenting. And shooting. Yessir. I am going to trace all my footprints on the internet and I am going to purge the stuff that I don’t want. I’ve already deleted my Linkedin profile. I don’t want a job that way, nor a recommendation. I don’t think I need LinkedIn. But I need to make this more clear to LinkedIn just to stop them from sending me invites. Reporting them as spam on Gmail isn’t working. Also deleted my BlogAdda profile(for which you have to mail the BlogAdda team because they don’t have a delete button). I am going to do this to a lot of other profiles/blogs/stuff on the internet. Frankly I am more excited about using Google Dashboard to find out how many Google services I use and eliminate most of them.

– I am so bored at work that I finished reading a 1000+ pages PDF(LOTR+The Hobbits) entirely in June. If July turns out to be anything like June, I need to come up with really good ways to pass my time at work and do something productive. And no, Marking off Google Reader Unread items doesn’t count.

– Which brings me to the point that I am in love with Google Reader. I am going to follow a lot more blogs and unfollow a few. I am also considering my favorite twitter wallahs on Google Reader(Just added @surekhapillai there).

– Tantanoo.com is also slated for some changes. Planning to make a blog roll(finally). A few tweaks here and there too. I may be building a page to record mundane stuff like books read/movies watched/fuck given etc.

– Of late, Tantanoo.com has suffered from a lot of sautela vyavahar because of a sudden Faking News surge in my neurons. Every now and then a headline would pop up and I’d add a few hundred boring words to expand that. The folks at Faking News are considerate people and keep publishing whatever shit I send them(mostly). They also offered me a page of my own. Now people can sue me directly instead of suing me via Faking News. I am also considering getting a Journalist/Reporter Id card for Faking News and adding ‘PRESS’ to my briefcase. In bold, red letters.

– Slideshare finally sent the prize for the Presentation Horror Story Contest. I now have a 3M Portable Projector(MP180) that I have absolutely no use for. I am planning to sell it for 350$(or 15000 bucks, whichever is higher). If you know someone who’d be interested in buying, let me know. I’ll throw in a poster of Lara Dutta for free.

– I am going to write some ‘Tantanoo goes to’ posts now.

– I am planning to *wanders off to read a few blogs*


*clicks on the publish button*