Art of Bullshittin': Part Two

There's this really fascinating phrase in the field of Computer Science worded 'Garbage In Garbage Out' (abbreviated to GIGO). It calls to attention the fact that computers unquestioningly process nonsensical data inputs and produce nonsensical data outputs as a result.

Now, even though I am no computer, this is precisely what my processing units go through most of the time. Garbage In and Garbage Out. I am talking, ofcourse, of examination time. Seriously, with all the bullshitting we've been subjected to, how can one expect it to not hurtle out when it most matters? I spent the last week taking practical examinations which, for all engineering students atleast, means that I spent a considerable amount of time chit-chatting with my favorite teachers on *their* favorite topics. I can safely conclude that there is nothing like a successful viva anymore. Even if you somehow give the right answers, the examiner gives you such a look of disdain, you end up wondering why you opened your mouth in the first place. The rest of the time, you're just speaking crap and the examiner knows it and everybody's having a good time.
Based on observations, I can divide the examiners into these categories:

1. Those who really want to test your knowledge: This happens probably once in eight semesters. There comes along a teacher who politely inquires about what you've studied and asks you related questions.
A word of caution though : This may seem like the case with every examiner. Be careful, look beyond the innocent face to find that vestige of mockery residing in the eyes.

2. Those who want to go home early:
These are the best! Whenever I encounter one of these, I thank my parents would naming me with a letter from the lower side of the alphabet. They'd ask you one question, nod at you without even listening to the answer and off you go!

3. Those who know nothing: This is a testy lot. They'd know nothing about the subject or about your experiment, but would still insist on taking the examination! And the questions they ask! Everything ranging from your place of birth to the recipe for cooking rice becomes somehow related to the subject at hand.

4. Those who, to put it simply, want to screw you: The worst! There's absolutely nothing you can say to pacify them! They'd ask the worst of questions and would raise the bar the moment you show any inkling of having studied. Then they'd confuse you with 'what if' scenarios and 'to be or not to be's.  If you answer them, they'd look like someone's told them Diwali's been called off. In situations like these, it's best to just sit back, relaxe and wear a dejected expression on your face. Be like a lamb at the butcher's.

5. Those who want to show off their knowledge: These call for really easy examinations. There would be a discussion on some high-level topic the examiner suggested. You'd, at max, have to speak one sentence related/not even remotely connected to the topic and then just nod your head in agreement with the examiner. Practise this in front of the mirror for better results! You have to make sure that the examiner thinks he's made the best impression on you and that you're ready to build him an idol and place it in the temple.
Not really difficult, is it?

6. The moral lecturer: Yes, we admit we didn't study, we never do, never listen to the lectures, never truly conduct the experiments, cheat on every examination, do not possess any kind of seriousness and yes, we are a threat and menace to the society. Now give us a break, would you?


Student 1- I conducted the experiment, had near perfect readings, answered all the questions in the viva and even corrected Sir when he was wrong, how the heck did I land up with a 50?

Student 2- Dude, are you crazy?

Mother's Day

It's the eighth of May and popular culture tells me to celebrate it as Mother's Day. But as luck would have it, I've not been able to be with my mother to celebrate this day for quite some years now! Nevertheless, I've sent her cards and stuff, but this time round, I want to do something more special. I want to really, really tell her how much she means to me. So, I'm gonna write.

My mother is, undoubtedly, the most beautiful woman I've ever known. I do not say this in attempts of flattery, I have, truthfully admired her straight features, light brown eyes and the near-perfect smile. She is right there as a benchmark of beauty for me.

I may never have realized it, but she set the foundation for the values I have today. She has been responsible for my social and emotional growth. I have always been a quiet kid, never opening up and being too much involved in my own thoughts. My mother has always been understanding of this behavior and accepted it, given me space to foster and grow at my own pace.

One important piece of advice she's given me is to be an independent woman, emotionally as well as financially. And then, she has stood up right there as an inspiration. Working round the clock, attending to her patients in the middle of the night and still not missing any household duty. How she manages it all, I have no idea, but I'm more than willing to imbibe and learn. She's my superwoman. Even now whenever I go home, she's always on her toes trying to help me out with all my chores and I try to stop her from doing that, citing the fact that I'm all grown up now, but she never listens. I guess this hopeless doting is a part and parcel of motherhood. Can't complain :)

It's difficult staying away from home, especially when you live in a family as tight and small as mine. I know it would be harder upon her, spending time in the house by herself, but she is strong, which helps me stay strong and survive out here.

The other thing I totally admire about mother is her wisdom and intelligence. Never one to participate in idle gossip, she listens me out and then passes her verdict, her very accurate analysis on what to focus on and what to just forget about and let be. But it's not as if she thinks me less of an adult. No decision is taken in the house without my parents consulting me and asking for my honest opinions. Talk about cultivating confidence :)

Being the talented doctor that she is, she's always lecturing me on the pros and cons of my food/sleep/study/activity habits. Now, I may get irritated at first with the sermons but at the end of the day, I know I have learned something that would make my life better. And it does. She's revolutionized the food habits of the family so much so that we're pseudo-health freaks now :)

That was all about mother. But no mention of Mother's Day shall be complete without three other wonderful ladies in my life- my Taijis and Bua. Growing up in a joint family, I'd always felt the love and attention of not one, but three others. My Taijis were always there, appreciating me for my achievements and offering solid pieces of advice otherwise. Oh, and not to mention the yummy food they've always doled out from their kitchens, filling me and my cousins to the hilt. I salute the two ladies, I really do, for their courage and strength.

Now to Bua, the eldest of the family but sadly, living very far away from us. Nevertheless, she always makes her presence felt as the eldest and it's always a delight talking to her online or on the phone. She is one of those people who can just make you feel how much they love you with just a single 'hi'.

To all of these lovely ladies, all I have to say is that I love you and keep shining as beacons of light in my life.

Happy Mother's Day.

The Art of Bullshittin'

Disclaimer: The following piece is purely a work of fiction. All the characters and gods mentioned are purely imaginary.
This piece is dedicated to the stalwarts of the faculty at our very own dattu.

For years we toiled, sweat and blood and grime, over our textbooks and vmc-packages, with single-minded devotion. We had a dream, a dream to walk through the golden gates of an IIT with our heads held high and full of **. But, oddly enough, the same dream was shared by around 5 lakh other students and the gods played dice, defying Einstein and our dreams met the same fate as SRK's Ra.One. It crashed and boomed.

Ah, nevermind, said my parents, while you're still in delhi, dattu is the best option! Some say it is even better than IIT. So, as all the aunties and uncles 'oooohed' and 'aaaahed', I packed my bags and landed in Bawanaland.

I'm not trying to brag here, but the campus is *boom* beautiful! My parents were ecstatic!

But, but, but- college ain't done strolling in the greens. It's the *education*. So, I walked in the classroom wanting to be thrilled by Dattu and all its hullabaloo.

Scene 1:

In walks a teacher, all suited-and-booted, looking all business.
(But did he mean business?)

He sweeps the room with a well-practiced eye and asks, with a well-practiced air,' what subject am I supposed to teach?'
'eh,sir,engineering blabla...'

'oh, and what's that about?'

Okay, so, we're screwed.

If nobody knows anything about the subject and what it entails, how're we supposed to take the exam?
No problem, sermoned the seniors, write any bull-crap, hell, write a song or the day's news, and he'll mark you well.

So we did that. And passed.

Scene 2:

' you see nobody is perfect, nobody has perfect knowledge of any subject. It might be that you know better than me..'

On and on rambled the teacher.
Clueless about the subject, shamelessly admitting it and still expecting us to listen to him.

' the problem with iron is that it rusts, but gold does not rust. So, would you make your shit-pots with gold? You, there, would you?'

'Eh, no, sir..'

'Uhhmm, because it costs a fortune, sir..'

'Excellent! See this is the spirit I want! This spirit of inquisitiveness is.... blablablablabla zzzzzzzzzzz...'

Scene 3:

I'm hiding behind a pillar. The teacher spotted me! But thank god for the pillar. *whew*

He is walking towards the class! Now I can safely go and sit at Nescafe. I gingerly give up my hiding place and walk out. But just as I step out, he turns around, right outside the classroom door and stares squarely at me. Scuttle back to the pillar, peek at him from the other side and lo, he's peeking back at me! After two minutes of hide and seek, he's still standing there, looking out for me. I slump resignedly and walk to class.

Now don't judge me here!I am a *sincere* student but the teacher in question was unsufferable!He had gift, a gift of speech, of meticulously choosing the most serious sounding words, churning them around in his high pitched voice and converting them into complete garbage. Also, he could bore you to death after having inflicted upon you the seriousness if all the moral sins you had committed by not appearing within the first ten minutes of his all-important lecture.

I learnt the existence of a frictionless passage for sound waves between my ears through him.

Scene 4:
The class is filled to the hilt (not a problem, considering the number of benches and the actual strength). A small-ish old-ish man is jumping excitedly in the front, performing a kind of break dance with his limbs. I cannot comprehend the point he is trying to make, so I look around to see what my fellow classmates are up to. The first bencher has his head between his hands and is...sleeping! Right under the teacher's nose! The ones behind him are completing their files. I scan the whole room and find that not even a single ear is taking in a word of what the little man is saying. What's more, the little man isn't even bothered about it! It wouldn't have made a difference if the class was empty! I strain my ears to get what exactly he's saying. He's briefing about the topics in the book. Oh he's skipping the numericals and the derivations. Those mustn't be imporant.

Hmph. What a sorry looking poor creature this teacher is, I say to myself.

A month later, after the end semester exams, I'm ready to cut his head off ( Game of Thrones style). The sly devil, our very own sadistic Bob Biswas.
I could go on and on about the atrocities committed by our wonderful 'all-knowing' professors, but I have to save some of the bullshitting from the upcoming exams. It might have become blatantly obvious fot my readers that I'm suffering from the trauma of disillusionment caused by the bursting of the bubble titled 'Engineering Studies'.

Ah, but I guess we'll be encountering such responsibility-shirkers in all realms of life. So, thank you, Dattu for helping me prepare for the rest of the muck out there.