Tuesday, December 11, 2007

For old times' sake

This is something that Munchkin came up with nearly 2 years ago, when we got elected into the Union. She'd come up with this to add a humourous touch to all the rules that formed part of Stella's famous dress code, which we were supposed to re-relate (yes, that's not really a word but what do you call the action of relating rules that are restated at every year's GBM by every Union, so much so, that by the end of 3 years, the average Stella Marian would have heard it at least- and NOT on an average- 10 times over!) to the student body at our first GBM. When I first received this limerick-of-sorts as a message, I thought it was absolutely brilliant and another indication of Manisha's literary genius (the genius lies in the very simplicity and obviousness of it all!). Since, then the message has been permanently saved up on my cell phone, but lately I've been going on a cleaning spree to clear up memory space and since I was reluctant to delete this particular message, I figured I could save it up on the blog instead.

Mancha's Dress Code for Stella Marians

Tight is not right
Sleeveless is needless
Short is not hot
Lingerie are not for display

Don't know how many people in that batch would remember this, but this is one of my many remembrances of the times we had dealing with strict, set in stone rules and trying to justify them in the face of arguments that we, (the 6 of us in the Union) ourselves, would have put forth had we been on the other side.

Munchkin, if you ever read this... You were the best!!! Of all of us! And now I hope I don't get pulled up for such proclamations from the other 4! *cheeky grin*

And if any of you who ever read this, happen to have passed through "the hallowed portals of our alma mater", I'm sure this should bring back lots of memories of it's rules and our ways of skirting them! For those who haven't, but are from Chennai colleges, you'd still know the feeling! *beatific smile*

Monday, December 10, 2007

Parallel Realities

Have been meaning to write a post on my first impressions of Ahmedabad and whether it fit this whole image of a communally riddled Gujarat that we're made to believe. However as usual, I’ve been procrastinating. Now that the introduction is done, I might as well get down to jotting down some of my first impressions of this place…

The very first time I went around the city, I found myself thinking that maybe it was true that this place/state was a very Hindutva led state. After all, what else can one infer when one sees little temples sprouting up all over (they’ve even built a replica of Vaishno Devi’s Mandir, complete with a little- or rather, a miniature- hillock) and mammoth idols representing Shiva and other members of the Hindu pantheon as road decoration or at street intersections? In fact, one of my lasting impressions of this place would probably be seeing an armed man standing on the middle of a street, in broad daylight (12 p.m. to be more precise) , while VHP party workers put up party flags at a traffic crossing in the midst of a street market. Seeing armed men and undercurrents of violence is not new to me (thanks to my stay at Bihar), but in an ‘urban’, ‘cosmopolitan’ context, I must admit that it did get my attention.

Other things that I noticed about the place are how the Muslim areas and Hindu areas are so starkingly separated. The city consists of two parts- the old city and the new city. The old city is primarily occupied by Muslims while the new one sees a primarily Hindu population. The difference in the lay and feel of the two parts is quite striking. The new part is full of glitzy malls and broad roads, modern architecture and high rises. On the other hand, the old city consists of older architecture; broken down, ramshackled houses; small shops; narrow roads and a general feeling of neglect and a dull pallor. It’s almost like two parallel cities growing together but at a different pace. In that sense, a parallel may be drawn to Hyderabad.

To end this, the point here is the dynamics and the way a specific portion of the city is chosen to grow at a faster rate to promote the image of a progressing state while another seems to be shelved for the moment, to be pulled out later. But the question is when does this later become a now? Maybe I just wanted to notice signs to show that one section of the society was marginalized or maybe my inferences were a reality, but I’m not about to sit judgement on that.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A comeback attempt gone awry (sheepish look)

Writing a post after a really long time and I guess the credit for that would go to Divs & T for subconsciously making me want to write when I saw how regularly they updated their blogs. If either of you read this, let it be known that you guys are awesome! And I shall continue to dearly love your blogs- T for the way I can relate to what you write and Divs for always coming up with a topic or a perspective or a way of writing that's uncommon!

And now that the little Oscar-worthy gratitude speech ( T & Divs, I STILL meant what I said) is out of the way, I might as well get down to writing a post. For all those people I kept promising to write mails to, but which I'm yet to get down to doing [either because of lack of time or just plain old Ananya-ness (i.e., being lazy & procrastinating)], this is the first step in that direction. The actual mail with all the little ramblings and 'juicy' bits will hopefully follow soon! (hopeful smile)

For a while, I kept wondering what to write and then it was time for Diwali so figured I might as well write about my first Diwali away from home. Spent the last diwali on campus and while I was in the midst of the celebrations, a number of thoughts hit me at different points of time, so have decided to put some of them down. Not sure how much of an interesting read this would make later, but I guess it's a good way to break the non-writing hex.

So what was it like to celebrate Diwali away from home? A lot of people keep asking me if I was homesick or whether I've finally gotten used to the place and all that. This is something I'm yet to come to terms with. When I got here, I did fee the initial twinge of homesickness when my parents left, but since then have been quite happy here. I've never had this sudden longing to go home (except when I fell sick and missed my Mom or when I think of my dogs). I guess the fact that we're kept busy most of the time helps keep us occupied. But anyway, that's besides the point at this moment so shall stick to talking about Diwali.

For me Diwali started when I woke up that morning and went on a huge cleaning spree. For heaven's sake, I not only swept, mopped and dusted my room, I also washed the mats! And yes, I generally keep things neat and clean (much to poor Arati's- my roomie- relief), but this time I did go one step extra. And this is when the first thoughts of home hit me. At home, these things are just taken for granted. Now, I've never been much of a festival person. Every time I've just woken up and done what I'd been asked to. But, here for the first time I was responsible to myself for celebrating the festival and Diwali & Holi are usually big festivals at home. This would probably be one of those moments when I feel the independence. Usually, at home all I need to do is get ready in time in appropriate clothing, but here I actually found myself trying to remember what all my Mom does at home and trying to replicate it as best as I could. I went ahead and cleaned and made all those family calls (and anyone would vouch for the fact that I'm not too good at the keeping in touch bit and am not much of a phone person at all). But, for the first time I had to try and remember who all had to be called up and what to say to each of them without having to be reminded by my parents. And it felt good. This is when it struck me that (for me, at least) independence was not about learning how to spend money wisely or keeping accounts or making decisions. For me, I've felt more independent when I had to learn how to celebrate festivals even when I wasn't being monitored or supervised by anyone. It is about learning to deal with being sick with no one around. It is about getting over my fear of eating alone or travelling alone or shopping alone. It is about being as self sufficient as I could be. And trust me, for someone as undomesticated as me, it's been quite a learning experience. Right from figuring out which goes into the bucket first- detergent powder or water, to learning how to make transactions at the bank, to learning of what use is a paracetamol or when to take a Dependal-M, to learning to force myself to make the extra effort to keep in touch, to learning how to occupy myself in my free time, to learning how to fend for myself when I'm lost in an unknown city, to learning how to deal with people without losing my mercurial temper... it has all been one long pursuit of independence and growing up and well, it feels nice in many ways and not so nice in some others.

Coming back to the not-so-long-past Diwali day, a pooja was organised on campus in the evening. And that's when I found myself remembering the pooja at home, that would invariably start late (thanks to my Mom's penchant for always getting dressed late) only to be followed by a few sounds of protest from my Dad. And then a little heated argument between my Mom and me and/or my sister about how unfair and "inhuman" it was on my Mom's part to keep the dogs away from the pooja area and how antiquated and baseless we found the belief. Needless to say, my Mom would prevail and order would soon be restored and the pooja started. This would then be followed by a hurried lighting of all the diyas (and trust me, that usually takes a while given how we light the entire house and the outside facade) with diyas. And then of course would be the photo-shoot of sorts to admire our handiwork and then it would be time to receive guests. Now, a lot of this did not happen here. It was just a pooja followed by the bursting of crackers and then lighting diyas in my room and on the hostel's parapet. Still, it didn't feel so bad, perhaps because 20 years of celebrating Diwali had made me able to 'mentally' celebrate Diwali at home. The good thing about being orphaned and home-less was that I was more involved in the process of celebrating Diwali. The bad thing, however, was that I'd probably never get to see how our new house was decorated with diyas. I also missed seeing how the two additions to our households (the two little 'friendly' canines) reacted to the noise of the crackers and I missed being there to pacify a very petrified Scamper. I missed the food and the bonhomie and the spirit that would have prevailed at the dining table back at home. More than a thousand miles away, there are a lot of things that I've learnt, but also there are quite a few memories that I missed being a part of. And this is the point when I start feeling homesick. Having my neighbour play Parikrama's Open Skies doesn't do much to reduce the bitter sweet feeling.

And this is when it starts dawning, that I'd probably start getting weaned away from future memories. I'd no longer be part of pictures taken during Diwali or Holi or Durga Pooja. I'd no longer know of all the special meals they'd have had at home. And now, while writing this post (I know I've digressed from what I initially set out to write) I realize that more than anything I miss knowing what new thing my Mom bought. I miss knowing what my sister wore to her farewell. I miss knowing that I could vent my irritation or annoyance at home as opposed to having to act reasonably and trying not to lose my temper. I miss arguing with my Mom about her lack of punctuality. I miss not being responsible for myself. I miss being allowed the liberty to kick up a fuss or pout and sulk. I miss the comfort of my dogs. I miss being able to look into their eyes and knowing that they know when I'm truly feeling blue! I miss being able to look at my collection of books and re read the "right" book, when I feel this sudden longing to read Pride & Prejudice or Shobhaa De or Enid Blyton or any of the others. I miss discovering interesting sounding books in my parents' burgeoning and varied collection. And most of all, I miss being a family of four as opposed to being an independent unit. But then again, I'm learning... learning to deal with it all and learning to help others do so too. And thus, I'm learning to discover and to deal with uncertainty.

P.S. This has turned out to be a rather reminiscing, nostalgic post and not really what I intended it to be, but what the heck, it still reflects some of my thoughts that I might have come to terms with and realised only while writing this shockingly long post.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Getting oriented

Trriing! Thus…the sound of an alarm clock (that’s nearly fallen off the bed into the crevice between the bed and the wall) heralds the arrival of a new, disoriented-to-begin-with-day of orientation. The day then progresses with people peeping out, bleary eyed, dragging their way across corridors in order to get ready on time and make it to the mess in order to be able to “attempt” to wolf down something that could pass off as breakfast albeit, on some hitherto unknown planet. The presence of some astonishingly awake, fully dressed and cheery people who you bump into while sleep-walking the corridors does little to soothe those tense moments when you wonder if you'd ever make it to class before the 9 o'clock gong.

The rest of the day passes off in a blur (Literally! I have actually sat through classes with my eyes open and seen everything in multiples... 2 professors, 2 boards etc.) of classes. A typical day begins with finding the “right” place in class and by “right”; it has to fulfill all the criteria of being at the right distance from the air-conditioning and under the right tube-light (one that’s most likely to be switched off during PowerPoint presentations) and one that’s most likely to be excluded from the facilitator’s field of vision. And then… once the seat’s been conquered, comes the time to conquer other battles in the form of trying really hard to keep one’s eyes open and wondering which of the multiple images in one’s blurred, double vision is the actual image of the facilitator!

And once classes are done, begins the hunt for “novel” ways to beat the heat. This usually involves a round of Dumb Charades or card games or movies being screened (on laptops) on the lawns, while some rather pesky, curious frogs hop around and perform the ballet around the said laptop! These nocturnal rendezvous are usually followed by (post) midnight trips to Chhota or MICAfe(or Tongue Ticklers, as we're wont to calling it) that remind one of those midnight feasts described by Enid Blyton in her “Malory Towers” or “St. Clare’s” series. *reminisces the heavenly spreads described by Ms. Blyton... spreads that should only be read about. Once you actually sample them, the charm is completely lost!*

And then of course, no account of the orientation programme is complete without a mention of the hostel! In this regard, the policy to be followed is- The less said the better. Though, I can’t resist from mentioning how the flaking and falling roof that sends me little parcels every morning to remind me of it’s valuable contribution towards making my stay here ‘comfortable’ reminds me of how Chicken Little must have felt when he said “The sky is falling!” *come on, I'm sure everyone'll remember that*
Ooh and there are those famous French classes. All I have to say about them is that my Dumb C skills have vastly improved post those classes, even if my French hasn't! *impish grin*

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I want to...

(Well, I've been jobless and been doing a lot of thinking lately (especially after a conversation with Nidhi, on the lack of imagination...BTW, Nidhi...I'm STILL yet to get that mail!), so I've kind of reached the brink of all rational thought! Lol. So this was my attempt at putting down some of my ACTUAL fantasies and not give some jazz of the boring, mundane stuff that I use in response to standard questions... And when you're done reading...please don't tell me I've lost it...I already know that. *cheeky grin*)

I want to...be one of those characters in Enid Blyton's "Faraway tree" series. I want to be able to slide down Moonface's tree and climb up the faraway tree and see all those lands that sit atop! *dreamy sigh*

I want to...write a book one day! Full of blasphemy & an imagination run wild. ( And no, not like Harry Potter!!!)

I want to...dance in the rain on a starry, moonlit night with no one watching [Hehe...I do have a thing for starry nights (no, not the Shobhaa De book, you dufus!)]

I want to...walk barefoot across the waterfront of (a clean) beach, feel the water lapping at my feet and the sand crumbling under and not bother about the ickiness later (And this is where the cleanliness freak in me kicks in!)

I want to...have a strawberry field (Yum!!!)

I want to...live in a world that's fully telepathic... one where people needn't bother getting down to using the verbal/written word (now, that probably would not be best for everyone, but still it would make things less complicated.)

I want to be...magical! (Lol...now I'm going back to talking in a cryptic tongue!)

I want to...fly in space and marvel at the speckled darkness (without all the odious trappings of a spacesuit and an oxygen cylinder etc.)

And the last thing I can think of...I want to...sit on a cliff facing a sea on a moonlit, starry night (yes, here we go again) and be lulled by the sound of the waves crashing and be made to feel humble by the sheer inconsequential-ism(okay, that's probably not a word, but still...) of myself.

The Journey

Times are changing
Dust storms are swirling by
The grains of sand
Covering our footprints left behind,
The impressions of our time spent together
Etched on the sands of time

But the memories of the journey remain-
The trials and tribulations
The quadrupled joy and the halved sorrow
Through the ups and downs of this roller coaster ride-
Watching life pass by
Like a shooting star...ephemeral yet, bright

The footprints are fading
They're getting covered with others
But the impression of the journey lives on
Life is change, but change is constant
And hence, the journey continues

Note: This was what I wrote on the album we made for Nitya as a going-away present. It has been tweaked a little and I got myself to put it up for all those people I knew (no, I still KNOW you all) here at home... I'm hoping this fulfils my senti quota :P... If you're expecting more tear laden melodrama, sorry, not happening! Took a herculean effort on my part to put this itself up in the first place!

The Lost Voice

Lost behind walls of sound
And raised objections
Belittled by reality's norms
And hidden behind social conformations
Another voice bites the dust...

Buried under the shrouds
Of expectation and unfulfilled dreams
The voice that once was...
...Now lay still...

But...feeble as it was
The voice persisted
It had a story to tell
A myth to fell
It had to rise from beneath the shrouds
And reach the pinnacle of success
It had to be...heard!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Some sensible rambling...

Okay, this one's based on a report I presented on 'Patriarchy' for a class on Eco-feminism. This one will probably stick out like a sore thumb in the midst of all the other inane rambling, but this is one project for which I did do a considerable deal of research. Moreover, while working on it, I remember getting very frustrated at some of the things I observed/found out about. Hence, I decided to write about it now (a year after working on it)...hope the prolonged gap would have added weight to my perspective. On a lighter note, for all my friends who felt at sea when they read my more economic-oriented ramblings, hope this is right up your alley and suits your intellectual sensibilities better (Divs, Mittu are you listening?).

Now the original report I presented covered a more broad based theme of what is patriarchy, it's types, origins etc., but here, I'm going to be including only those parts of it that dealt with the actual, visible (yet, many a time unnoticed) manifestations of patriarchy in society today.

Before I begin, a note of introduction is to be expected. So will fulfil that obligation by a brief mention of what exactly patriarchy means. Now, the stereotypical view is that patriarchy refers to the male domination over women, but in a more realistic sense, the word has come to refer to domination of ANY manner or kind (hence, the gender issue doesn't play so much of a role here). And now, I'm guessing it's time to begin, which I shall do. A note to whoever attempts to read thus far, since these are excerpts, I'm giving up on trying to link the paras and maintain continuum.


Religious institutions significantly contribute towards promoting the notion that patriarchy is God ordained. To illustrate this, I'm quoting examples (disclaimer: this is not intended to be sacrilegious or affront any particular religion...what applies to one religion can easily be traced in ALL others WITHOUT exception, albeit in slightly modified forms)

Take for example this quote from the Koran:

"Men stand superior to women in that God hath preferred the one over the other...those whose perverseness ye fear, admonish them and remove them into bed-chambers and beat them; but if they submit to you then do not seek a way against them."

So, the point I'm trying to make here is that religious institutions promote the idea of God-ordained differences between the sexes and the superiority of the masculine species. And this isn't restricted only to Islam. The Bible has something to the same effect where it talks about division of roles between men and women. The same holds true for Hinduism as well...ever noticed how all the three important deities who create, maintain and destroy the universe (Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva respectively) are all male. Or how Hindu mythology typifies the so-called negative qualities of temptation etc., as being feminine (Maya). Also, many a time female deities are left to playing the role of consorts and are worshipped only in their capacity as a consort! My take is that this duality mainly stems from the fact that religion is interpreted by men for men!


Ever noticed the bias towards the male members in cases falling under the purview of Family Law, Marital law & Inheritance Law. BUT in cases pertaining to allotment of Child rights, it's the mother who usually gets the rights. Now, there's nothing wrong with that per se, my only grouse is that there seems to be this stereotypical image of women being nurturers but cannot be trusted enough to represent themselves in property disputes. Basically, what I'm trying to ham on is the whole issue of stereotypes.


Heard of the concept of invisible labour? Basically, what it refers to is the non-inclusion of work like that of a house-wife into the calculation of economic indicators like national income. Why? Simply because they don't earn anything out of it. This is preposterous! In fact there have been attempts to include this 'shadow work' either by calculating the increase to the national product, if these people were allowed to work OR by calculating the amount that would have to be paid if someone were to be hired to do the same work (as opposed to getting it done, free of cost, by the woman), and these reports have shown that the increase (or decrease in the 2nd method) in national income is quite sizable! And given how in most cases, financial power translates into decision making ability, this problem gets further accentuated.


Ever wondered why Emraan Hashmi gets famous after certain scenes while his partner in crime, Mallika Sherawat gets branded a bimbette? Or why most movies portray the woman as the quintessential 'damsel in distress' or as the mother left to be defended by her sons? Or why Asha Bhonsle, despite being a singer in her own right, still is famous more as R D Burman's wife, and hence, covers of her albums have the latter's pics.

Phew! This getting TOO long winded... So I'll wind up with a couple of quotes that continue to infuriate me (Okay, don't kill me..Yet!)...

"Women have the right to work wherever they want, as long as they have the dinner ready when you get home."
- John Wayne, Actor

"Women make terrible leaders. They are better off as housewives."
-George Bush, (Does he really need an introduction???)

**** The End ***

Saturday, May 5, 2007

More of the same...

Quite frankly, I can't actually categorise my memories into a year- by-year account, so I'm going to just randomly put in stuff, in no chronological order.

The famous Lime Club! One of the biggest topics of speculation- Does it exist or not? Those in the know swear they've witnessed it's umm.... 'nefarious' (if I may use that term) activities and hence, stay away from the (in)famous infirmary unless, dying. Those who haven't been such lucky spectators listen engrossed and hang onto every word of those who have!

Members of the by-then (in)famous Eco batch of 2004 jumping the boundary walls in an ingenious attempt to escape the "tyranny and torture" of yet another OAT! It's a different story that these members didn't foresee the possibility that their descent might end up dumping them right in front of the cops and bodyguards of a certain ex-CM, who were standing on the other side of the wall...and who on witnessing such rare events, promptly held the lost kittens by the scruffs of their necks (I can be forgiven for my exaggerations here) and handed them back to the Princi's office!!! (So much for athletic spirit and freedom of choice!)

Our class being pulled up for breaking furniture, chairs to be more precise(who would've imagined that such a gentle, peace loving, rational, 'economic' class like ours would pull off such stunts?) even though the said chairs were ALREADY broken to begin with!

Sitting in Applied Stats/Econometrics/Computer Applications for Economics classes! (And now, I need not elaborate more on this!)

Battling the famous & eternal 'Dress Code' issue, Spending endless hours of futile debate in English classes on "Is a dress code necessary?", wondering if we were being initiated into a nunnery (!!!), getting sadistic kicks watching a uninformed 1st year kid (when we were 3rd years) being pulled up for wearing a SLEEVELESS (horror of horrors!) top to college, etc etc.!

Post Valedictory: Five people changing out of LONG saris into 'normal' clothes (in a single car) in a parking lot that was by no means vacant, or dimly lit! AND to top it off, it was bang opposite some very much occupied hostel rooms!!!

Long discussions in front of the canteen on the vagaries of life (read education, career, attendance, lectures, subjects, etc.)

Endless 'coffee' breaks in between classes. And of course, 'Melody'! The toffee with a cult following!

The 8ish story: Walking in late(anytime between 8.15-9.00 for a class that begins at 8.00 and ends at 9.00) to college, hanging around for a late slip and then sneaking our way up to the doors of our classroom to have 'secret consultations' with those inside to see which prof was currently in class and then decide whether that tiny bit of paper in our hands (aka THE 'late slip') would work it's way into the prof's good books and ensure that we get that 'Holy Grail' that we all seek...attendance!

Inventing all manners of short forms to keep up with the super fast lecture speeds and then TRYING to decode the said short forms while studying!

Jamming all mobile networks during CAs and End sems with the continuous exhange of panic calls, msgs, 3 a.m "How much done? I think I'm going to flunk tomorrow" msgs...

(Some people's) drunken antics and the ensuing videos that the owner (of the video) always threatened would land up on Orkut!

Back to back movie sessions at good ol' Satyam (after bunking classes of course), 10 buck tickets (& spending 10 times that amount on popcorn, food etc), chaats at Gangotree, Nibbles, being a loud and obnoxious group at Mocha, Ame, Woodlands, Ispahani, Barista.... pretty much everywhere!

And many more mad things...

Three years...And we survived!

First off, YES, this is another of those mundane 'My days in college' posts, so if you find yourself groaning already, you may leave! If you're an SMCian...well....then maybe, you might stay. And if you're one of those possessed characters, who's not SMCian (usually, due to being of the wrong gender and hence, not qualifying), but who craves to know all that happens inside those (literally) confines...well, you may just do whatever pleases you!

Now this ain't no compelling account of the buffoonery of the 3,300 odd people, it just is a "just for jolly" (Crritteecss, if you ever read this, let it be known that I let you keep the copyright to it!) account of the escapades of the 57 odd people who sat in room 2-1, then in 2-2 and FINALLY 1-8 (And maybe, a few extras from other parts of that 23 acre campus)!

Now since I find myself so muddled, I shall just randomly type out things I remember...anyone with better memory, please do pitch in.

First day of college...
Now, this is something I distinctly remember. Walking into college at 8ish (this 8ish thing seemed to have persisted for the remaining three years, and will be explained later, if I don't forget about it before that), I see half a dozen familiar faces (from previous schools/interviews) and I think to myself, well...that's not such a bad start. And then.............I enter the NCC grounds & I'm shell shocked!!!! For someone who's been in a co-ed all her life (well, almost if you discount these 3 years that I'm rambling about), being surrounded by 3,300 people, ALL of whom are
women, can be QUITE an unnerving (to put it VERY mildly) experience!

This was soon to be followed by a somewhat 'inspirational' speech by Sr. P on our good fortune of being "one of the 4% in India who have access to higher education"...And, of course who can forget the famous "bouquets of flowers welcoming you" (In case, anyone did by some strange accident forget this, she was promptly reminded of it twice in the next two years, when the succeeding batches came in...and here we thought it was an original speech, ONLY for us, the batch of 2004-07!). For those who're still lost, the 'bouquets" referred to the 100 odd trees on campus that were in bloom (though, I do remember foolishly looking around for the cellophane wrapped variety when I heard of it... *sheepish grin*)
Fast forwarding... The rest of the day included following our 'friendly senior' around the campus (like the rats following Pied Piper) and trying real hard to hear what was being said and trying to remember the names of buildings and the room naming system [very important as some of us realised when we spent the next few weeks trying to make sense of our timetable: Eg: Monday (no, the day order system hadn't come in then) 4th hour MC (MC=Major Core...might have helped if they used things like Micro/Indian Eco./Stats instead of the MC/MO/AO/AC/GE...) room H-0-1]
To cut a long story short, we were kicked out of college by 11 (for once!) and the remainder of the week was spent sitting in class distractedly while waiting for the (ear-piercing) bell to ring thereby, allowing us to scoot for one of our numerous orientations (Lib, NCC, NSS... and of course, Student Union orientation! *cheeky grin*). And of course, the Welcome Social thrown by the dept.'s seniors (Theme: Beauty Queens...How apt!)
The rest of the first year may be surmised into an endless cycle of long mathematical calculations to figure out the EXACT number of hours that could be bunked without drastically falling short of that 75% mark that hung above our heads, endless conversations in the canteen, attendant jibes by the faculty (Most famous one being: "Girls! If you sit here so long, you'll have to pay a rent to the (canteen) trees!). A word here to those who've never been in a girls' college: No, these 'conversations' did not SOLELY revolve around things like make-up, trends in fashion, relationships, etc (hope that puts to rest some doubts, people I've spoken to, have on the subject)
(For the sake of avoiding long-winded posts, the 2nd year & 3rd year bit shall follow in another post.)

Saturday, March 31, 2007

A tale of a dog, another dog and...yet, another dog!

Ever wondered what it's like to be surrounded by pets (note the use of the word in the plural sense)?

Sure, pets (ok, dogs to be more precise) are a lot of fun and therapeutic and all that jazz but, ever wondered when it stops getting fun and moves onto a game of tact and diplomacy that would prove mind-boggling even for the most dog-loving of all dog-lovers.

Now, most people- when they are enlightened about the existence of not one, not two, but three dogs in my house- wonder what I was thinking about to get so many dogs?
So before I ramble on about the purpose of this post a little class in history won't hurt. Now the history of the dog-invasion into my house began with the first one...a pom-turned-spitz-turned pom (the metamorphosis being due to different attempts at identifying this dog's jaat by the vets and trainer in succession). Now this dog landed up on our doorstep primarily due to a childish whim by the cross-bred kids (read, my sis and I) who were still reeling under the influence of the now ancient movie, *&^$%#2@ (sorry, have forgotten the name of the movie, but it had that "didi tera dewar deewana" song). With the arrival of the dog began the reign of "Scamper-raj" for 9 long years. With this long reign came a complacency in the said dog's (namely, S Sr.) life. Then came fate with a diabolical twist in the form of my sister's friends, who decided to gift her a pup...and so began my sister's strange fixation for a lab and hence, we searched high and low (and rejected an adorable boxer pup), and finally found one. Alas, my mom having grown quite used to the reigning S Sr.'s quiet, accomodating ways sought to bring home the friskiest pup of the litter. Lo and Behold, our home is assaulted by a new pup in the form of S Jr.. Now, this latest addition does'nt go down too well with the reigning dog, who shows her displeasure by warding off all friendly advances made by the newbie. Hence, after a quick round of consultations, our home in a sudden flurry of activity sees a new pair (or should I say, 2 pairs) of paws...in the form of the previously rejected boxer (looks like the system of 1st lists and waiting lists for admission does also prevail in doggie land...what a pity! Is there no non-competitive place left?). And thus, began the maha saga of the three dogs...a saga that would give even Ekta Kapoor a run for her money.

Now, a lot of people ask me how it feels like to have so many dogs..."it must be exciting", they add. Well, sure it's exciting. The only problem is the continuous tightrope I walk...my feelings can only be compared to that of a much-married man with a mistress...such is the misery(read associated problems of inter-cannine jealousy). Play/pet one and the other jumps...I have to constantly juggle between the three, running outside to be pounced upon by the new entrants who in turn fight over the attention and then run back in before the older one brings down the roof with her barking (Do i hear you wonder abt the cause for baking? Well, it's just to reassert her presence. And as to why the older one and the yonger ones are kept separate...well, they've chosen to mark out specific territories for themselves).

But all said and done, having gone through the trouble of an endless cycle of cleaning up after them, feeding them in turn, reassuring them that the other isn't getting more/better food or attention, etc. etc., it is a LOT of fun! The very fact that they're all so different makes it better. S Sr, is the cultured, civilized one while S Jr. is the little tub of lard that will shower u with lots of attention, broken bones and a million slurpy doggie licks and finally, D's the rogue who never takes well to classes in manners but, still fascinates me with her brilliant intelligence (no, she's actually really smart and not just smart in comparison to Snoopy's goofiness...it's rather unfortunate that her name is such a misnomer!)

While it's true that my sis and I play the little "it's your dog" game when it comes to cleaning up or being held responsible for all their misdemeanours, we all know that life would never be the same for any of us now, without these dogs. Their antics are sheer entertainment...Sigh! they're the only things I'll miss the most when I finally leave this place...any chances of having a PIL to allow dogs as resident scholars in institutes of academic learning?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I can't think of an appropriate title for this one

A certain prof. in our dept. keeps yelling at us in between classes ('cos we're so distracted...read sleepy)...she tries to seem nonchalant about it and tries to pretend that she's treating us like "adults" (yeah, the eco slogan of protest) and tells us that we have a "choice" to make. According to her, the "market's extremely competitive" & if we don't buck up, "we'll be thrown out of the market". According to her, "thanks to globalization...we can no longer afford to be like our grandmother's generation...we can't hope to be content getting married and raising 2 kids...'cos even our future husbands will expect us to earn and pay the EMIs for the (to-be) apartment..."

Well, with all due respect, I'm sure she's absolutely right...but, if we're to assume "perfect competition" outside an educational institution, should'nt it exist inside it as well? Now, that set me off to thinking about it and here's what I've come to believe...

What are some of the salient features of perfect competition? Yes, we all know you know it...it's free entry and exit of consumers & producers, existance of multiple buyers & sellers, perfect information in the hands of the consumer (so that he can make an informed, rational decision), and all units of the goods sold are homogeneous ( if there's no difference, people can easily switch over to other products thus, aiding perfect cmpetition by forcing firms to be in pure, absolute competition and to be "price-takers" & not "pice-makers").

Now, for the purpose of simplicity, ceterius paribus (ok that term was not really reqd., but it's the only thing that'll continue to haunt me even after 3 years!)...let's take our beautiful dept. and test these conditions...

1. Existance of multiple buyers (students) & sellers(teachers)...True

2. Perfect information in the hands of the buyers...Umm, given the fact that they keep tricking us with the false lure of attendance on non-working days and make us come for tedious seminars (of course, there are some exceptions where the speaker does turn out to be good) and the like, I'd say the condition stands invalidated!

Note: A lecturer once asked us(in jest, of course) what the "opportunity cost" of attending these seminars were...well,Ma'am, the opportunity cost is great enough to warrant an entire study! Just think about it, it means a couple of hours of sleep lost in the morning, dis-utility in the form of apprehension and the cribbing(during the preceeding week) about the sleep to be lost and the boredom to ensue, and the dis-utility caused due to anxiety arising from the realization of the amount of piled up pending work, that couldn't have been completed on that half a day! Now, that's a thought for the welfare economists who say that welfare is reached by "maximum happiness for maximum numbers"...so, by that logic "maximum unhappiness for maximum nos" would cause a situation of what? I shall leave you to figure that out...for the time being I've digressed enough, time to return to my argument..

3. Completely homogeneous products- Ever compared a Fiscal lecture hour to say, an applied stats/monetary class? Thus, the null hypothesis (that there's no significant difference between the products) is false!!! (Ya Ya, I did actually learn at least 1 thing after 3 sems of App. Stats/Econometrics and Computer Applications in Eco.)

4. Free entry & exit- Do we get to stroll into class whenever we want...No, not as long as (like sane Stella Marians), we're pursuing that 'Holy Grail' in every Stella Marian's life- attendance! So, there's no free entry. Now, how many times do u remember wanting a gate pass desperately, only to be rejected one...so, surprise surprise, there's no free exit as well! (That ought to explain all the scaling over/jumping over boundary walls that we partake in)
So, that condition also, does not apply to our dept!

5. Perfect Competition among the buyers & sellers- College Day just got over---enough said!

So, now 4 conditions out of 5 don't apply, leading me to believe that if perfect competition and the free market mechanism actually prevailed in our college...our dept. should have been thrown out by the market mechanism...which, my past 5 sems' marksheets (glaringly) tell me hasn't happened...so, either the dept. of economics is not very economic or the market is not so cruel...if a non-perfectly competitive dept can survive in this so-called "perfectly competitive market environment", their uneducated, non-competitive & soon to be unemployed students, will also scrape through!

Note: For those friends of mine who're going through the early-life career/education crisis...don't worry, there's still hope(albeit, in the form of 'wedded bliss') ! *cheeky grin*

Monday, March 26, 2007

Why do all the fashionistas land up in the Dept. of Economics?

(OK, to begin with I'm not highly passionate about my chosen subject or anything, but this is what trying to study ET- Economic Thought, for the uninitiated- does to me. This post was inspired by a certain friend of mine who quakes with fear at the sight of some of my classmates!)

Many of the students in the various Sciences have often commented on how 'inappropriately' suited some of my classmates are to the pursuit of intellectual greatness. Often, I've overheard people secretly bitch about how, 'well-turned' out we are and how we consider our college a ramp...well, to those people, I have only one thing to say...you're absolutely right. It is true, we do sort of represent the stereotype of the quintessential Stella Marian that outsiders think of.
We are (or, at least the 'public faces' of our class are) fashionable and do appear to be greatly interested in well...the vagaries of life, if i might call it that.

But, in our defense, I'd have to point out that we're just fulfilling the exacting standards demanded by our chosen course of intellectual pursuit.

The great study of Economics can be said to begin with the Classical School and it's founding great-grandfather Adam Smith. Now, what does the Classical School state? If you've succesfully been bored by repetitive lectures on this, every sem, you'll know what it is...yes, it's supply side economics. Basically, this implies that whatever you produce will conveniently be demanded on account of it being produced. Hence new "wants"(no, not "needs", as any economist worth their salt will tell you, they ARE different!) are inspired, much like the demand for ipods (no one wrote to Apple & asked them to produce it). In economic terms, this boils down to "supply creates its own demand".

Then came the great disaster that led to economists, the world over clucking and greying and writing angry missives to each other, in an attempt to solve it (Oh! Did I mention that it also led rogue wannabe economists like me to the brink of bleary-ness, exasperation and tone-deafness...thanks, to the number of times people got yelled at for sleeping during these lectures!). This was the Great Depression of the 1930s. Here was born the great Keynes who was instrumental in solving, to an extent, the problem of business cycles. Mr. K (later, Lord K.) kicked classical economics on its backside and brought in demand side economics in through the back door. This school of thought basically says that producers should produce those commodities that consumers specifically hold a gun to their head and ask them for (ok, so maybe it wasn't so dramatic, but it would'nt hurt to imagine that it was!)...in other words, the consumer's the king.

Then came the Oil crisis of the 1950s (or was it the 1970s?), where there occured the problem of Stagflation (inflation + unemployment, FYI, this was a crisis 'cos theoretically, there's supposed to be a trade-off between inflation and unemployment i.e., if u reduce one the other will increase and vice-versa). To cut a long story short, this unfortunate state of affairs (though i must admit, this state is pretty commonplace now) led to the Classical school slaying the Keynesian school and the re-emergence of the Neo-Classicals (or, New Classicals) as the new emperors of Economicdom.

Then again another series of events took place, this time leading to the victory of the Keynesian School of thought in the form of the Neo-Keynesians.

Thus, this cat and mouse chase game continues till the present day, with no one quite sure anymore, of exactly which school they belong to. Anyway, the purpose for this whole spiel on economics was to bring out the cyclical nature of Economics (ya, okay so i also made a failed attempt to sound intellectual!). Trends(or should I say, schools of thought) keep returning!

Now, coming to Fashion...Do I see you wearing those polka dots, gypsy skirts, aviator glares, boot-cuts, etc. Well, guess what they were around even in the '70s!

So fashion is cyclical and surprise, so is Economics...get the drift? So my dear aforementioned friend from the Sciences, when you see my department going all bling and sporting the latest fashion accessories, remember, we're just being good economists!!!

Disclaimer: Please don't even think of quoting any of this in your end-sems...as the blog mentions, it's bogus crap after all!