Friday, February 27, 2009

Love it or hate it?

There's something about Kozhikode, the city. Something which us big city folks will never understand. Something which we won't really try to understand. There's something quite incredible at being able to keep your helmet pegged on the rear view mirror and saunter off without any worries that somebody will try to make a quick buck from it. Or your wet rain jacket draped over the seat, rather than lugging it around and making everything else soggy. And rest assured nobody will touch it. I've got so used to this that I've started forgetting my bike keys on the bike, something which although hasn't caused me any loss yet, is not a good habit to pick up when you occasionally go back to the big bad world.

Or the traffic for that matter. This is one of the most disciplined cities I've seen yet when it comes to traffic, if you exclude the schumi-driven local buses of course. People stop before the stop line, not over it, not 2 feet ahead and just before the zebra crossing or as Puneites proudly do, halfway over the zebra-crossing. If the right lane is for turning right and the left for going straight ahead, not a soul will be on the wrong side, and the straight moving traffic will continue smoothly without the usual snarling and swearing which is an omnipresent feature of Indian roads.

It's so brilliant to stay in a city where the land isn't under severe pressure. Take the beach road, for instance. In any town, this would be prime property, and every inch would be occupied. Not so in Kozhikode. The street is wide enough for an occasional car to pass, and the footpath on the beach side is one majestic tiled-up walkway with fountains (although I've never seen them working) and benches and grass carpets and quaint supposed-to-look antique lamps.

Take the people too. I've never seen a more contented looking bunch. There is this serenity and peace about them which is completely absent in any typical big city.

Yet, most people on campus aren't too thrilled with the place. They want nightlife, pubs and bars and fancy restaurants and a bit of vigour and vibrancy. Nothing wrong in that of course. There's no doubt that this place is slow. Even for me, a big-towner with the attitude of a small-towner. I loved this place initially. Then, slowly, it started getting to me a wee bit. Now, I am a bit confused. The lazy, easy-going side of me loves it. There's nothing quite like a quiet evening on the beach by myself, or a leisurely drive down the empty streets at midnight without running the risk of being driven over by a drunk idiot. But then, you also want a wee bit of fancy spots and some good fooding joints. Which Kozhikode sorely lacks. Which does make me feel like getting out of here as soon as possible. But then, there's this other side which will miss the good bits, which good ol' Pune reminds me within a few hours of landing up there! As usual, I am confused!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Some decent South Indian fare please...

You go into a new land with some expectations, and a bit of trepidation. I came here with quite a bit of the former, and not much of the latter. I don't mean that about life, though you can easily apply that there too. I talk about experiences culinary. South Indian food has always been an attraction, and I prefer it over anything else given half a chance. And so I came in here expecting the next 2 years to be an absolute delight, in food terms. Unfortunately, I did not quite know that Kerala is a wee bit different from the rest of South India when it comes to food. I came here expecting crisp, steaming dosas and piping hot and spicy sambar, which would be washed down with some superb filter coffee. Unfortunately, what I did end up with were the limpest, whitest dosas, which've just about been half a metre away from a pan I've ever come across. And sambar which was well.... I don't quite know how to put it. And the coffee.... somebody remind them that it's south India for heaven's sake. I guess making filter coffee is too much work, doing all that boiling and filtering. So they all just make instant coffee. Which, if I wanted, I could very well make myself. So here I am, in the heart of South India, eating and drinking stuff which would make the worst of Pune's south Indian eateries cringe. Baah.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tidying up sucks!

It's funny how silly things can make you nostalgic. There I was, 'untidying' my room, trying to turn it from something which resembled a typical hostel room into something which resembled a slightly atypical hostel room. That mostly comprised of folding clothes and keeping things in places where they ought to be in in the first place. As usual, I stumbled across (relatively) long-forgotten scraps of paper, a bill here and a derivation there, a few hurriedly solved sums on the night before a paper. And suddenly this wave of depression struck me.. all of this felt so far away. And a year later, I'd be doing exactly the same thing, except that I'd be packing it for good. Heck, I wasn't even packing for leaving the place for summers, and I was getting nostalgic. Boy, there's going to be a problem next year!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bliss!

Post-exam weeks are brilliant. I might have said this before, but I'll reiterate it. They are simply brilliant. The mere thought of having absolutely nothing to do after polishing off lunch induces a state of bliss which is unparalleled. Maybe I'd watch a movie or two. Or have a long nap to make up for the hopeless waste of time the previous night. Or read the book which I borrowed from god knows whom god knows when. Or add a step to the pick-up-the-newspaper-every-morning-and-put-it-on-the-old-newspaper-pile routine by actually reading it. The possibilities are endless, and the mere thought of it, so relaxing!

That was how the week after the mid-sems went.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Yet again, exam week :|

Exam week. Not a great way to start with it, with a Financial Management quiz on monday. And a couple of lectures. The next 4 days would be intense, with hundreds and hundreds of pages of reading material to make my way through, stay up all night and then stab at the answer sheet in my severely sleep-deprived, groggy state. That's the way it was. It started with the FM paper, another finance paper which left a major chunk of the junta scratching their heads. The remaining 6 papers were mostly un-analytical, which was good in a way because it made things less black or white in terms of scoring in them, but which meant that you had to read tonnes of material. Operations Management was an exception, with an out and out analytical paper.

As usual, I had to make things dramatic atleast once, with my usual exam paranoia. This is something which hits me during exams, for no fathomable reason. It starts with me thinking of doomsday scenarios, of me not being able to solve anything in the paper and flunking. This quickly develops into outright paranoia, and leaves me in a hapless state, at my wits end. However, I somehow manage to make use of whatever time is there, and go through the stuff properly. The end result, as always, is ironic... I end up doing the best in the particular subject. It happened in the first sem in accounting, and I ended up creaming the paper. It happened this time in Operations Management, when I drove myself crazy wondering what all stuff he'd taught in class. It took a rather annoyed and at-the-end-of-her-tether Namrata to point out that I'd been reading notes which had been made well over 2 years ago, and which were not at all relevant to our batch. So finally, after a dramatic night, I closed my laptop shut at 6 in the morning, and went out and solved everything.

Friday evening, and finally, we were done. This would be the last really stressful exam, atleast physically, for the end-sems were scheduled across a weekend again. Next year, thankfully, we'd be having much fewer subjects, so we'd be spared the agony of going sleepless for almost a week.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chill? Huh?

Third sem was supposed to be nice and chill. It's turning out to be anything but that. After 2 weeks of fairly low academic pressure, suddenly the knobs were turned t maximum. So we had one marathon week of 6-7 hours of lectures per day, followed by 2 in which we had a quiz almost every day. I know that the intention behind having regular quizzes is to make us lazy folks atleast glance through the books once before the exams, but having one every day for a fortnight kind of defeated the purpose. For after the first few, everybody became incredibly bored and tired of the whole thing, and stopped studying, except for the last 30-45 minutes they got after lunch and before the quiz.

But you can't have a quiz and not relax the day before, even if you dont study. Atleast I cant. It stays at the back of my head and keeps poking me when I am doing something which does not fall under studying. Which means almost everything, and which makes things mighty irritating. So, effectively, you dont study, you drive yourself up the wall and you turn up for the quiz every afternoon when you'd rather having a nice nap, cursing and swearing at the powers to be. I doubt that's what they had in mind. But then a 'meeting of minds' between the admin and students is rare in our academic system. Knowing how incredibly enthusiastic people are in general, I have a feeling it's a good idea though, the way things are!

So there ended week 5 of the third sem, which left us with another one to tackle in this half of the sem. As always, time has flown by. Why wouldn't it, of course, when you rot around and have a whale of a time when the going's good, and then watch the days fly by when you are ear deep in work..