Life Of Navin

Random Musings, Random Bullshit.


You Know Who You Are....

Dedicated to all the crazy, stupid, goofy, mental,and downright awkward memories that we're shared...Someone asked me what my "unfair advantage" in life is. And you girls were the first thing that came to mind. 
I honestly don't know what I'd do without you, Chica.
You are special to me. Don't forget that. EVER. 


Things I Learnt Travelling Solo Across India

Over the last month, I travelled across the length on India... Two-thirds of the trip I travelled solo. The plan was rough, literally deciding where to go next, along the way. The setup was nomadic. Just the essentials... No extra baggage (physical or otherwise), No camera, No fancy gadgets, No friends, No worries, No inhibitions... Just me and the path ahead! The reasons behind the journey, and the decision behind going on it alone, are very personal to me, so I won't really go into explaining those. 'Wanderlust' was my excuse whenever anyone asked!

"To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world."  -Freya Stark 
I learnt a whole lot of things along the way, met many amazing people, experienced things I had never experienced before (some of which I don't even intend on experiencing ever again) and had a complete blast! Here's some things I learnt along the way...

  1. Indian Railways FTW : During the course of my trip, I travelled by train, bus, rickshaws, taxis, the metro, a ferry and at times even hitchhiked. I must say though, of all the modes of transport, the railways are what charmed me the most. Cheap, efficient, and traveller-friendly is how I would define the Indian Railways. Especially for someone travelling like me (i.e a cash-strapped no-fixed-plans traveller), the Indian Railways proves to be extremely useful. Plus I met some of the most interesting people of the whole trip on the long train rides.
    Special mention of the Indian Railways site. I know it's a favorite site for people to bash, but I found it an amazing resource. Planning out trips between places was very simple thanks to this site and it's probably the single most visited site in the run up to the trip. Yes, the UI is shitty, but the information you can access through the site is nearly boundless.
  2. Faith In Humanity = Restored : 'India mein insaniyat ke liye koi jagah nahi hai' is a quote that you hear often in India, especially in these times where everything seems to be a major mess, but I was happy to see that at the ground level, humanity is not only alive, but kicking as well. Through many examples throughout the trip, I witnessed people putting others before themselves, in ways big and small!
  3. Mobility and Stuff : Everyone knows that mobile connectivity is growing by leaps and bounds, but you only get the proper picture when you travel to remote places. I was amazed to see that during the entire course of the trip, I barely had a few hours of "No Range". From the most urban cities to the most rural villages, there is mobile connectivity everywhere... even in places where mobile phones are virtually non-existant! This is one of those things where the network exists before the need... kind of like a parallel universe where the internet exists before the computer! Now I'm not yet sure if this is good or bad, but the day people in remote villages start using cellphones, the game changes in a big way!
    On a random note, my trusty Micromax Q5 proved it's worth once again! Having a phone which easily lasts for 3 days on a full charge and moderate usage is nothing short of godly on trips like this! :)
  4. Travelling Alone Is Tough : I won't lie about this one. Travelling alone can be taxing... physically, mentally, as well as emotionally. You get sick, you have noone to help... You get lonely, you don't really have anyone to talk to... You get tired, well, you don't have anyone to complain to! There are days when you just want to take the next train or plane back home, and return to the safety of the known. But as they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! Looking back at some of the tough times on the trip, I can proudly say the most trying times are the ones I'll cherish the most :)
  5. India is Huuuuuge! : Sure you've heard your geography teacher say that repeatedly through your school years, but trust me, India is way bigger than you imagine. "India is the seventh largest country in the world" is so much more than a piece of trivia used in kids' general knowledge competitions! The vastness of the country becomes evident the moment you leave your comfort zone, be it your home, your district or your state. So many different cultures, so many different traditions, so many beautiful places, and a billion+ faces! I know this sounds like an advert for India Tourism, but it is what it is!
  6. Gaana-Waana : Any journey feels incomplete unless there's some good music playing while experiences are being, well, experienced. And this trip was no different! The most played songs on this trip, in no particular order were:
  7. The worst music on my trip? Skrillex-style Dubstep... more so when you're on a train! Heck, there's dubstep all around you, and the last thing you want is more screeching and scratching! 
  8. I Need To Learn a New Language : A year and a half ago, I decided to "learn" latin (another one of those random decisions, yes). Used this book and this one and kind of, sort of, picked up words and phrases in latin. A year down the line, I realise how useless it all was! Travelling through South India, I realise how badly I need to learn a proper South Indian language (Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam?)! Communication was an issue (at times) in these places, and I couldn't help but think that if I had learnt a South Indian language instead, I'd have been much better off!
  9. Travelling Alone is Considered Weird : The most common reply I got when I mentioned to people that I'm travelling alone (either before or during the trip), was the 'What is wrong with you?' look. Followed by the 'Seriously? What is wrong with you?' look! But a few minutes into the conversation, I was glad that quite a few people changed their initial opinions and said things like 'Dude, that's awesome' or ' Man, I seriously want to do something like this some day'! Everyone has inhibtions, some more than others, but in the end, isn't life all about getting rid of all your inhibitions and living to the fullest? 
On the whole, this trip was easily one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I wanted to start off life (well, post-college life) with a bang, and this was the best beginning I could have expected! :) Over the course of 28 days, I travelled ~12,000 kilometers, met loads of amazing people, rekindled friendships that I truly cherish, visited some amazing places, ate a load of yummy food, couchsurfed my way across states, stayed disconnected from the net for a large amount of time (yet didn't really miss it as much as I thought I would), interacted with different cultures and played around with the sights, sounds and colours of this country we call our home! And the only piece of advice I have for anyone thinking of doing a trip like this: "What are you waiting for? Choose a direction and move!"

The gameplan!

 PS An insane amount of gratitude to everyone who I met on the trip, irrespective of whether we were meeting for the first time or the millionth. In your own way, you'll have made this crazy trip a reality, and I take back a billion memories of all the stuff  (good.bad and *ahem*) that we did! :)

PPS AbstruseGoose gets the spirit of adventure bang on with this comic! :)


    Happiness is a journey, not a destination!People who know me know why this is here! :D 

    Stereotypes are like rules....

    Stereotypes exist. There's no point in denying their existence. Yes, people do stereotype those around them based on appearances. In many ways, we're pretty shallow creatures. We teach our kids things like "Looks don't matter, it's what's underneath that does", and then we go out in public and stereotype to our heart's content. What do you think the kids are going to do when they start seeing new people then?

    Most stereotypes exists for a reason though. I've had the pleasure of knowing people in the field of anthropology, who have shed light on the origin of everyday stereotypes. And I must admit, some of them are extremely fascinating. The most common reasons for stereotypes is either a lack of understanding of another culture's traditions (or sometimes Ethnocentrism) or a fear/distrust of people who are perceived to be "different" from oneself. As Russell Peters says "I don't make the stereotypes, I just see them". The media (knowingly or unknowingly) does its bit to ensure that stereotypes are known to a wider audience. Propaganda spread by the government and media during WWII has led to Germans being stereotyped as Nazis to this day. Whatever may be the reason, at the end of the day, we have innumerable sterotypes floating all around.

    So everytime you see a Saudi sheikh, you wonder which terrorist organisation he's part of, everytime you see an Italian, you stereotype him as a Pizza lover (or worse, a Pizza maker! :P), everytime you see a Chinese guy, you wonder how many research papers he's authored, and everytime you see a black guy, well, you feel a bit of a complex. :P

    Personally, I'm a fan of stereotypes, just because I love breaking them. Yes, I'm from Goa, but I don't drink (seriously!). I look like I'm a full-on doper (especially in my current state of uncut hair + shabby beard + lack of sleep et al), but needless to say, I don't do drugs (Except caffeine!). I'm from South India, but leave aside the filter kaapi addiction, and you'd be hard pressed to find anything South Indian about me! I may wear more geeky tees than you can count, but I don't remember the last time I spent a day JUST coding.

    I also respect people more when they break the stereotypes that form around them on first impressions. Some of my best friends started off as weird stereotypes (kanjoos gujju bhai, flirt delhi gal, 'muh-tod' haryanvi, booksmart nerd girl, maniac biker etc.), and only when I got to know them better did I realise they're the exact opposite of the stereotype everyone sees them as (except flirt delhi gal... you know who you are! :P).

    Stereotypes are pretty neat as long as they don't degenerate into racism. When that happens, then we have start having problems, and stereotypes begin to generate divides between groups of people. So it's important to know where to draw the line. But as long as you stay within limits, and are open to having your initial stereotype shattered, I don't really mind stereotyping (or being stereotyped)!

    So yes, stereotypes are like rules.... everyone implicitly follows them, but people who break them are always more fun! ;)

    PS. Have big plans for the next 20 odd days. Going to be meeting lots of amazing people in the process of doing something I've looked forward to for a long time. This post dedicated to their awesomeness! :)

    Why This Mediocrity Di?

    *Rant Mode: Activated *

    Abey kya yaar? What's up with everyone being mediocre, all day, every day? It's like the word achievement is suffering a degeneration of definition the same way the word photographer is. (If you own a camera, you own a camera. No, you are NOT a  photographer). I've been thinking a lot about this since reading this article.

    Take a simple example: College placements. A majority of college graduates would be more-than-happy getting "placed" at an MNC like Infy/Cogni/TCS, and being part of the herd (or in worse cases, the bench). Barely any think about joining any other company/industry.... or even starting something on their own. Even the startups I see around seem to be either
    • Developing websites (yes, your graduate degree comes in handy there! :| ) or
    • Desi implementations of applications that have done well in the West. 
    Boss, what happened to innovation? What happened to dreaming big? What happened to all that buzz that everyone had just 3 months ago when we were in college? Noone even aspires to work at (say) a Microsoft, or a Google. And please don't even get me started on the "engineers" who're now pursuing an MBA and are going to end up with a "stable" job in a bank in another 2 years time. If you're one of those MBA people reading this, I know you're shaking your head right now, and I hope you prove me wrong, but let's just wait for another 2 years, shall we? Arey, as engineers, it is OUR responsibility to help mould the world, make the world a better place. Don't be sellouts, and even if you are 'temporarily selling your soul' (an actual phrase used by a close friend which may be instrumental in a decision I have to make soon), atleast ensure that you won't lose sight of the goal in the process!

     People have really begun to think that the smallest of occurrences, things that most people wouldn't even have noticed if you hadn't told them about it, count as achievements! Sorry bro, but learning to make Maggi doesn't count as an achievement, neither does buying a computer/phone. And neither does watching the latest Chris Nolan movie, nor that attempt at pseudo-philosophy you just made. Arey, these are not even minutely achievements. When did achievement become equivalent to spending Rs. 200 or using your brain (which, BTW, has undergone a billion years of evolution before it landed in your head... well, kinda) to come up with a one-liner?

    In some ways, I blame social media for this. Facebook has made it way too easy to share every single detail of your life as an "achievement" to add on your "timeline". I actually know people who have 5+ post on Facebook made in the last < 5 hours! Wow, you must be having the time of your life! Consider this: Zuckerberg himself has just 4 public updates in the last 3 months, and that includes getting married AND taking a company public. Why on earth do you want to share every single link you find (and perhaps relate to). Like-whoring (if you'll excuse the term) it seems like. And the saddest bit is that the rest of us seem to appreciate this. The same people I spoke of before have achieved the status of micro-celebrities, just for sharing stuff over a social networking site. Damn, tussi great ho!

    I have a friend who has achieved the nickname "blogger" because he has 6 blogs. Pretty cool, eh? Well, but 2 of those blogs have no posts, one of them is just a pageful of links and the other 2 have 1 article each! And all 6 are lying dormant since 2010. And no, I'm not making any of this up.

    On Twitter, people are celebrities just because they're on the friggin' site. And no, I'm not talking about the actual actors/sportsmen who're atleast the leaders in their field. I'm talking about people like you (and me) here. Fanclubs have started emerging and flooding timelines. Damn, when will people understand that Twitter is NOT a chat application! It's sad that Twitter, which is one of the most innovative technologies available to us is being trivialized to such extent. :|

    We are on the same planet where people like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Elon Musk, Ratan Tata, RMS, Jimmy Wales and Linus Torvalds are doing amazing things on a daily basis. Instead of being inspired by these living legends, why is everyone hellbent on joining the herd and applauding mediocrity?

    I absolutely hate being called a role model, especially since my achievements (if they may be considered) are barely above mediocre. And I'm sure my role models will say the same about themselves too. I do not want people to make the same choices that I have made (mainly because luck has played an important role in ensuring that I'm still here), or make choices as I have. I do not believe that I have done anything worth having people look up to me..... Yet. Yes, there have been a few awards, and a few memorable events, but honestly, it's only as big a deal as you want to make it. 

    I'm all for using praise as a motivator, but what everyone needs to recognize is the necessity of constructive criticism. I dream of a society where mediocrity is shunned and people make an effort to avoid mediocrity. Where people who dare to think outside the box are allowed to do so, or better yet, encouraged. Where people are building awesome things, meeting awesome people, travelling to awesome places and yes, making the world a better place in the process. I dream of a place where genius is rare, and achievement is even rarer. And I hope some years down the line, people will say "Boss, this guy has achieved something in life". (and that'll make a truly kickass Facebook status update! :P). Here's to the crazy ones...

    Say no to mediocrity, and encourage actual achievement. Dream big, because as Walt Disney said:
     "If you can dream it, you can do it"

    Happenings 2012 : The Failure We Needed!

    I've felt the need to write on this topic for a long time, especially since this topic, like many other things related to college, plays close to my heart. And finally since I have the time (and a clear mind) to write, I'll go ahead and spill out my thoughts. This post, in case you missed the title, is about Happenings 2012.

    The Phoenix rises... Just like the Dark Knight, or maybe not!
    Quick facts, incase you aren't an Engico (what GEC-ites call ourselves):
    • Happenings was the oldest college festival in Goa. It's history spans over decades.
    • Until 4 years back, it was THE biggest college festival in Goa
    • The event has been a launch pad for some of the big names in Indian music. Parikrama, Pentagram, Indus Creed, Bhayanak Maut, Reverse Polarity are all names that performed at Happenings at a nascent stage, and are today big names in Indian rock. Jal is another notable band that performed at Happenings.
    •  Needless to say, Happenings is an event every Engico held close to heart. Infact, the very first day I visited college, a just-out-of-college senior told me that Happenings was the crowning glory of his college life.
    Due to a multitude of reasons, ranging from internal politics to faculty misguidance to lack of student coordination to the rapid degeneration of what was once our greatest strength, the 'Engico Spirit', Happenings went from it's peak to ashes overnight, with Happenings 2009 being pretty much a disaster, and Happenings 2010 and 2011 not given permission by college administration. Being part of the CURSOR council, and having many of my friends in the main College Council, I was privy to many details of how much politics went behind getting permission for Happenings, literally to the stage where people put their college degrees on the line to get permission, so I give full credit to the 2 councils (2010 and 2011) for trying. Both councils got ostracized for not having Happenings, but I know for a fact, that (atleast the 2011 council) they tried their level best. And as I've said before (incase you're one of 2 people who actually follow my ramblings :P), being part of a council always means that your victories are forgotten, but failures are carved in stone.

    This year's story was something completely different. The 2012 council pulled a miracle, and got permission for Happenings, but with conditions, most importantly that Happenings would not be held on campus (it was held in Panaji, a full 30 Kms away from college). Instantly, college was split into 2 factions:
    1. Those who insisted Happenings was bound to fail because of mismanagement/haphazard organization by the council. This included many seniors, who, whether they admit it or not, were kind of pissed that the juniors had secured permission for Happenings, a birthright (in way of saying) that we had been denied.
    2. Those who went on a rampage of Engico-ness and shouted from the top of the roof saying Happenings had returned, bigger and better than before! This mainly included juniors, and for most of them, was their first taste of Happenings. 
    Now, my viewpoints on Happenings 2012 were mixed. I expected Happenings 2012 to flop, but did everything I could (in my limited capability as a senior) to help out the council. Many juniors from the council were friends, and helping them out was only natural. Yes, on a level, it was painful that we hadn't had a chance to organize Happenings, but our juniors were, but what everyone needed to understand was that Happenings was about more than just a single batch. It was the college's pride at stake. Plus, every single college festival this year was meh., be it the behemoth Waves (organised by BITS-Goa) or the popular Vistara (Goa College of Architecture) or Genesis (Goa Medical College. I'm not even sure this event was held this year!). So really, what damage could happen?

    But on the other hand, the pros were enormous. As I mentioned before, this would be the first Happenings for most of my juniors (since the last Happenings was held in MY first year of college). Happenings is an essential component of Engicos and in my opinion, the only way one can truly experience it, is by being a part of it, and not through hearsay from seniors. Trust me, the Happenings of 09 might've been bad, but it forged bonds of friendship and brotherhood that last strong till date. And I wanted my juniors to feel the same. The theme of Happenings 2012, "Rise from the ashes", was a perfect statement for what GEC needs to do. For far too long have people spoken about past glory, it is time to create new legends, and that is something that every single Engico needed to understand, especially in this stage where administrative reforms are crushing the ambitions of the finest minds in the state, and in many ways going against common sense. Tandav had already shown us that many were tired of the branchism and council-faculty politics in college, and we needed another catalyst to bring people together. And Happenings was our best shot! It was not about us seniors, it was about the juniors, the people who had to stay in the system for much longer, and who needed to be united to survive in the system, or just give in and become drones commanded by administration who put Orwellian regimes to shame.

    In the run up to the day, it was pretty cool to see people with absolutely no idea of even using MS Paint, used Photoshop to create posters for Happenings (most of them puke-inducing, but it's the sentiment that counts). The Facebookiyas were on overdrive sharing statuses about the event, and offline too, the topic of dicsussion was the same.  There was a very noticeable rise in the mood of many juniors. While some were super excited, others were super tense, and still others were super emotional.

    One of the aforementioned "fan-made" posters

    When the day, 24th of March, dawned upon us, I was not completely surprised to see an almost complete boycott by the seniors. Of course, the reasons varied. My own class decided that it was the best time for a  beach picnic, and most people chose to join in. But it was nice to see so many juniors together, running around in 'Happenings' tees, talking about Happenings, talking about regaining lost glory, talking about GEC as only a true Engico can.

    A junior's status update, on the eve of Happenings

    Happenings 2012, as an event, was a major disaster. Barely any colleges showed up for the events, and the crowd, if I may call it that, consisted mainly of Engicos themselves. The reasons for failure were, depending on who you ask, the wrong choice of date for the event (too late in the semester), the lack of coordination among the main council (barely 3-4 people in the council actually worked towards organising the event. The remaining 10-12 members just showed up on event day to share the credit of success (Thankfully, they got none!)), the wrong choice of location (but I don't know what the alternative was) or the invited colleges conspiring against us (afterall, the rise of Happenings automatically increases competition in the College festival arena). But whatever remains the reason, fact is fact. Happenings 2012 was a DISASTER. Now there are 2 possible alternatives to what happens next:
    • The juniors remember the feeling they felt in the run up to Happenings 2012, they curse the council that organised the event, they decide to correct their errors that were made this year, and work towards ensuring Happenings 2013 is a success. Most importantly, they have experienced their first Happenings, and now they realise what is at stake, not time, or money, but pride.
    • The juniors feel disheartened by the failure that Happenings was, and how it wasn't all that it promised to be. Happenings gets shelved again, and the status of Happenings on the official GEC site goes back to "Under revamp" aka "This event is dead". Happenings dies, "Engico spirit" becomes just another phrase, and everyone goes back to their "normal" college lives.
    I sincerely hope that the former scenario happens. Yes, mistakes have been made by the current council , and they definitely need to be corrected, but the "Engico spirit" deserves to burn bright. Having Happenings this year despite all the problems the administration placed, was not an option, it was a necessity. If it hadn't happened, we, the batch of 2012, would be the last batch that has witnessed what Happenings is, and with us passing out, there would be noone left in college who knows what it stands for. It would be reduced to just a college event, while in reality, and I'm sure quite a few juniors have realised it now, it stands for so much more! Happenings was like the Schrodinger's cat. Noone knew if the cat, or in this case, the phoenix, is alive or dead unless the box was opened. And I'm happy the box was opened because another year down the line, the phoenix would definitely be dead, if nothing else, then out of lack of oxygen! The box was opened, and I'm happy to say that the phoenix has indeed risen from the ashes, and with the push of another year or two, it will soar.... Atleast that's what the hope is.

    Celestial Portal.... Concussion inducing headbanging! \m/

    • The only part of Happenings that was truly rocking was the rockshow. It featured 3 rock bands. Started off with Vesuvius (a college band that I personally found pretty meh.), followed by Embers of a Perfect World (which was really good, except for their obnoxiously long sound check), and finally Celestial Portal (who made it worth the wait. A brilliant band, with extremely different music. Check out Satyameva Jayate. NOW).
    • As it turned out, in the end, the only 2 people from my class who showed up for Happenings 2012 were me and Subodh Barve. As Subodh wasn't part of college during the 1st year, technically speaking, I'm the only person from my class who has witnessed 2 Happenings! :P

      I'm Really Gonna Miss This Place ....

      College has been everything it promised to be, and more! It's been a brilliant experience, and it would be an understatement to say that I've grown, practically, professionally and spiritually in college, and will be taking home a tonne of awesome memories. One of the most interesting things about college was the sheer variety if people there. People from all different walks of life, from different backgrounds, with different dreams and ambitions, who've had an amazing amount of influence on the stuff I've done over the last few years. These are some of those people! :)

      Damodar Dukle - The Godfather

      *insert background track*
      Classmate, Friend, Lab partner, Project Mate (multiple times infact) , Anime monkey, Water demon, 'Baka' of the nth order... These are just some of the avatars of Damodar "Damu" Dukle that I've had the pleasure of seeing over the past few years. He, alongside my Godmother (read on!), has been responsible for ensuring that I do the stuff that's expected to be done in order to survive this journey called 'Engineering'. He's one of the few people in class who gets as excited seeing code as I do! It's been awesome to go and be my crazy, brash, unedited self, knowing that at the end of the day, Damu has my back.

      Random Fact: The water demon part is completely true. Damu drinks a gallon of water (atleast according to my rough estimates) on a daily basis. His hostel room has over 30 water bottles!

      Prachi Naik Kurade - The Godmother

      You get the idea...
      Another person without whom college would have been way tougher to get through is also my candidate for Best Senior ever: Prachi! Since the 4th iteration of our college techfest, Technix, 2 years ago, it's been an honour to have her as a friend. Our college stories are as different as can be: She's a straight-A student, I'm not even close. She's super-fashion conscious, my dressing sense is 'alternative' (at best!). She's every teacher's pet, while I've rubbed quite a few the wrong way. But what can I say, opposites attract.. and thank god for that! She's made it her life's aim to ensure that I get through college. From lending textbooks and question papers, to her 'Idiot, study for your exams' phonecalls/messages that start 1-1.5 week before any exams, I'm glad to say, it's worked! I haven't really had any problems with understanding how an ideal college student should be thanks to her!

      Random Fact: She gifted me Kane and Abel for my b'day last year. And till date it's been the finest book I've ever read! Do read it if you haven't! :)

      Pranali Naik and Rohan Hodarkar - The Team

      How I see the team! :)
      College has been all about trying my hand out at a million different, completely random things that I would've never thought of doing otherwise, and one of the most important things I took upon was the Computer Students' Organisation (CURSOR). As CURSOR, we were representatives of the Computer department (and the students therein) of college. And nothing, of the completely amazing year we had, would've been possible without the 2 awesome people by my side: Rohan Hodarkar as Treasurer and Pranali Naik as an Executive Member. The kind of stuff we had to do, the number of people we had to speak to, the amazing amount of 'Jugaad' we did, the hours of lectures from our faculty advisor that we endured, everything was done hand in hand. We were like the core team of CURSOR, and I'm glad to have created a billion cherished memories of CURSOR along with these two! :)

      Random Fact: Pranali told me and Rohan a 'deep dark secret' over a year ago, which till date neither of us has told anyone else! Also, Pranali has a 'fanpage' dedicated to her on Facebook, and Rohan is one of the admins. :P

      Saumitra Yadav - The Brother

      We're *slightly* older! :P
      They say that family always comes first, and Saumitra "Saumy" Yadav is nothing short of a brother to me. Infact, it's not odd for us to address each other as "bhrata". One of the people who's been by my side through thick and thin, and seen me at my best as well as my worst. Through the last 3 years, it's been nothing short of a wild ride with this guy! The weekends spent alone in the hostels, the frequent trips to 'Santosh' for him to 'tantoss-ify' in between classes ( Inside Joke :) ), and having someone to talk to about all the stuff that happens in your life, that you can't really tell anyone other than a brother, it's truly been a wonderful couple of years having a strong shoulder walk alongside me through most (if not all) of the ridiculous plans I've come up with (and vice versa)! :)

      Random Fact: Some of the best conversations I've had with Saumy are at the legendary 'Backzop'. So much so, that we actually have 'our table' there! :P

      Sonal Rivonkar - The Twin

      Every once in a while, you find a person who's humming the same song you've been thinking of all day, but how often do you find someone who shares your thoughts on a daily basis? Enter Sonal. How similar you ask? You name a field, and chances are we have similar tastes: Music? yes. Movies? yes. Philosophies? yes. How life has played out for us? Yeah, that too! Infact, even the things we dislike are more or less in sync! I really don't know how it started, but the phrase 'This same wavelength thing is freaky' has been used so many times (to describe the moment when we think/say the exact same thoughts), that it's a regular cliche now! One of the few minds as diabolical, demented and twisted as my own, Sonal has this amazing ability to make almost complete sense in situations where I'm in a complete fix. A companion for late night nonsensical conversations, One of the bakras who listens to my pathetically bad jokes, and a friend with whom I doubt I can ever get bored, Sonal's been all that and so much more! :)

      Random Fact: One of the things Sonal almost completely lacks is an immune system or any decent sense of Hand-Eye Coordination. She's capable of injuring herself by *colliding* with air.... literally!

      Nishkarsh Naik Khandekar - The 'Bhurgo'

      No, he's not as cute...
      College life started out pretty slow, but once the pace caught up, stuff got really serious, really soon. But there was one guy who was always there to keep me grounded, infact who took every opportunity to bring me back to reality (or simply swear at me) with his idiotic comments and that's Nishkarsh "Nikks" Khandekar. He lives a colorful life, and is one of the best graphic designers I personally know, designing many of the posters/banners/leaflets etc. for events I've organised, but also has a personal side- mission to 'marofy' me at every possible opportunity... and it's been my pleasure to return the favour! :P If Saumy is the Elder brother, then Nishkarsh is the younger idiot brother I've gotten to push around, and thankfully, neither of us has reached a point where we're going to admit that the other has had the last laugh! :)

      Random Fact: The first girl Nikks had a crush on in college was the recipient of a very loving nickname from yours truly (because he wouldn't tell me her real name): 'Sl**Bunny' ... and though that was a long time ago, the name has stuck :)

      The Gang

      Teacher's viewpoint
      PERIOD. I cannot really say anything about the gang and the stuff we did over the last 3 years (more so over the last  year and a half) because most of it is bound under codes of secrecy that'd put the Priory of Sion to shame! :P I do not think I can find words to express how awesome it's been to be part of the group who earned the nickname "The Gang" from our teachers in college. If it hadn't been for the gang, I doubt I'd have done half the things I've done in college. Pranali, Shilpa, Apurva, Sonal, Rohan, Saumy, Ankit, Bhagyesh and Anish.... and a special mention of 4909 (samajhne walon ke liye), it's been one helluva ride.... literally! :D

      Random Fact: The songs Zombie by the Cranberries, Stereo Love by Edward Maya, Bedrock by Young Money and Dutty Love by Sean Kingston are surefire ways of putting anyone who was part of "the gang" into nostalgia mode! :)

      College life is supposed to be the most interesting years of your life, and I'm proud to say that I've lived it to the fullest. As the curtains close, there's nothing else left to say but 'So long, and thanks for all the fish!' :)

      Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining..... NOT!

      Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus... Where are these goddamn clouds from?Next Venus Transit: 2117. Methuselah Foundation, I hope you're hard at work!

      My Cellphone Vibrates For You...

      God bless the person who came up with the idea of SMS Packs :)SMS may not be perfect, but in many ways, it just works!
      *This comic may or may not be based on a real life conversation I had a few days ago ;-)*

      Living Life, Bollywood Style! :)

      (If you read really slowly, then events happen in real time)

      It all started off with a simple plan. Here is how it was supposed to go down: 
      2:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Attend the PhotoFlare Buzz Workshop on The Art of Photography at Altinho, Panaji
      7:00 PM -8:15 PM: Get to Panaji Busstand... Take a Bus to Margao. Get to Margao Railway station.
      8:30 PM: Get on the train to Mumbai with Aaditya Jambhale and Vibhav Khedekar for the editing of our play Arey Manasa Manasa at Saam TV's studio
      8:40 PM: Train leaves, and a nice calm journey begins.

      What actually happened was slightly different:
      What Really Happened... Kinda
      2:00 PM: The Workshop begins at Altinho...
      6:45 PM: Workshop still going on... 
      7:00 PM: Workshop still going on...
      7:10 PM: Workshop still going on...
      7:20 PM: Workshop still going on... but finally reaching to the end.
      7:25 PM: Workshop ends. I tell Suyash baab to drop me to the busstand on his Dio. Then tell him that I have a train to catch in an hour. He screams "Che***cha, aata sangta?" (or something to that effect).
      The next 5 mins, Suyash rides like a maniac (to put it lightly)  and we zoom through the lanes of Panaji with my holding on to my dear life. Suyash screeches to a halt at the busstand.
      7:30 PM: The race begins....I (literally) run across the busstand from one side to the actual terminus towards the Margao Shuttle service. If I get this bus, all my troubles are solved.
      7:32 PM: I'm here! Just one Sikh uncle in front of me! He asks for 5 tickets. Conductor has only 4 for that bus left (When the bus fills up to capacity, it leaves... No standing passengers in shuttles). I breath a sigh of relief. But it's too premature. The uncle in front of me says he has a kid with him so he can get the kid to sit on someone's lap (Indians!)... Conductor asks him his kid's age. Uncle says "Saat saal ka hai (He's 7 years old)". Conductor gives him the 4 tickets. DAMN IT.
      What the family looked like to (Stock Photo: Sikh family)
      7:35 PM: Bus leaves with Uncle, 3 aunties and the 7 year old kid, but without me! :( A new bus comes up.. I buy a ticket and I'm the first person on the bus. Need around 25 more people to buy tickets and fill up the bus before it leaves.
      7:40 PM: I message Aaditya and tell him I'm still stuck in Panaji. Barely 3-4 people in the bus besides me
      7:42 PM: Aaditya calls and says it'd probably be better if I just came to Karmali (another railway station) and catch the train rather than make the run to Margao. I consider the idea and get off the bus and walk to the Karmali buses (which, as luck has it, are right next to the Shuttles). Just on a hunch I message Aaditya asking if he's sure that the train stops at Karmali or not.
      7:50 PM: Call from an unknown number... Turns out to be Vibhav, who basically screams out that the train doesn't stop at Karmali. Holy Crap! 
      7:52 PM: I get back into the shuttle... It's a little more full now, but still around 10-12 seats to fill.
      7:54 PM: I walk out to check if there are any more people in line... Turns out there are 2 guys waiting. First guy buys 4 tickets. 2nd guy buys 2 tickets. I ask the conductor how many more tickets left. He counts and says "Aani chaar urla (4 more to go)" ... I just can't take it anymore. I put my hands in my pockets take out  a hundred and twenty bucks and BUY THE REMAINING FOUR TICKETS. The conductor gives me a cheeky smile.
      7:58 PM: The bus finally leaves from Panaji. I have around 40 mins to go. And 40 mins to reach Margao (from where I have to take a bike to the railway station about 5 minutes away). Given that I have some free time I message a few people telling them of the madness that's going on. The first response I get is:
      Hahaha *falls down laughing* that's sooo Bollywood!
       What's my plan once I reach Margao she asks. My reply:

      Once I reach margao... m prolly gonna hold up a 100 buck note n scream 'Pilot who reaches me to station in 5 mins or less' gets 100 bucks... hopefully, i'll reach on time! Bus driver thankfully playing his part n driving like a Formula One driver!

      Yes indeed... the bus driver is driving like he's part of the stunt crew of The Fast and The Furious. With every growing second I become more and more confident that I'll make it on time. Until the bus reaches Verna that is.
      8:20 PM: Bus reaches Verna, literally drifting at some points, when out of the blue some idiot on a bike crosses it at an intersection. My driver brakes hard, thankfully just enough to avoid colliding with the bike. A barrage of Konkani swearing takes place. The Good: No accident, I'm still on course. The Bad: Driver is cautious now, so driving slower! :(
      Verna crossed. Fingers and toes also crossed.
      M praying the one time I need a train to be late doesn't end up as the time it's on time 
      8:25 PM: Vibhav and Aaditya reach the station. And message me that the train is (sadly) on time. DAMMIT. Indian Railways, Y U NO GET DELAYED WHEN I NEED YOU TO? The good news is that the train's gonna be on Platform 1... the platform closest to the entrance (duh!)
      8:30 PM: I finally reach Margao... By now, I've actually been standing for the last 2 minutes, just waiting for the moment when the bus door opens and I can run out. Aaditya messages that he's on platform, and train hasn't yet arrived. There may still be hope.
      Perhaps less tattoos, and greyer hair...
      8:31 PM: I run to the first Pilot bike I see... I scream out "Railway station". The guy looks at me and says "Bare, pun bhaylyan vharcho padtalo (I'll have to take you via a roundabout)". "WHY?""Aiz Shigmo re... mhanun sagle raste block zaalya (It's Shigmo today, so all roads are blocked)". GYAAH...WHY WHY WHY? Screw it I think and jump on the bike. "Zaay title petay pun zata title begin Railway stationar paav (Drive however you want, but reach the railway station as soon as possible)" is the only instruction I give him. And off we go. All this while I've been messaging Aaditya for updates, but he's apparently died or something.
      8:34 PM: Aaditya's message: "Train arrived on Platform No. 1". Shit. I'm still stuck in traffic, on the roundabout route. I ask my pilot how long it'll take for us to reach. 6-7 minutes he says. I beg him once more. NEED TO BE AT RAILWAY STATION NOW. Something clicks. Perhaps he sees his son in me or something. But he fires up and goes into overdrive. Shows a big middle finger to the road and pulls the bike onto the footpath. We actually ride for around a kilometer on the God-friggin' footpath! At one point we ride past a lady walking her dog and my leg actually grazes past it's body (and if I'm not mistaken, it licks me when we ride past it).
      8:40 PM: We're out of traffic, but still not at the railway station. But now my rider is in GOD MODE! He takes a couple of internal roads (if I can call em that... they were basically kaccha paths). And a minute or two later we cut into the road leading to the station. Yay, we're a minute away from the station. But then I realize: We're going to reach the back entrance of the railway station, at Platform 3. I'll have to make a run for it over the over-bridge (assuming the train is still there that is)
      8:41 PM: We're here... A Goods train blocks my view of platform 1. And my phone is in my jeans pocket. I have no idea if the train's left or not. But I feel the faint metallic taste of adrenaline in my mouth. I ask the pilot how much the fare is: He says 80 bucks. I'm probably getting overcharged, but I don't give a shit. I shove a hundred rupee note in his hands and run. No, I don't want any change!!
      8:42 PM: For the 2nd time in a night, I run like my life depends on it... From the top of the over-bridge, I see that the train's still there. S4 is our compartment. I make the final run for it, knowing I'm seconds away from glory... From out of the crowd, right outside my compartment, I spot Aaditya, with a gloomy look on his face... BAM! In a fraction of a second, he sees me, I see him, and a huge smile emerges on our faces... We run towards each other (well, rather walk through the crowd) and hug each other to the limits of platonicity. :P
      8:45 PM: Train leaves from Margao, with all 3 of us onboard! :D :D

      What followed the next day was 4 hours at the studio in Mumbai, editing our play, visiting to a few malls, tonnes of NSP, and an awesome journey overall. But the trip to the railway station remains the cherry on the cake! :)

      Yes, this is a 100% true story with no exaggeration whatsoever. Happened on 18th March 2012. The quotes are from SMSes that I either sent or received during that time period. This is honestly a story I want to tell my grandkids someday! :P


      Finally after all these years, here's to the beginning of what was there, what is there and hopefully what will remain!! So here are my thoughts & words -Online!!

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