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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Am Dead

It’s high time I stopped blogging for a while to get back to studies. Prelim timetable is out and I have less than two weeks to go. Quite rightly, there will be no posts till at least the 18th of September, the last day of my exam. I guess that should be okay; meanwhile, life goes on.

The ‘statement of the week’ may not be updated; I may not be there to read any feedback/comments. Sorry Entrecard, I will not visit your website. Those of you who have repeatedly asked me about the comic, it’s impossible for me to put them up before December.

There would be something to read in the third week of September though, here’s what’s there in my brain waiting to be typed:

A Trip to Jaisalmer

An Emotional Story

Ideal Teacher

India and Kashmir

Theory of Life – II

The Babe, Behenji, Bhaisahab and the Hunk

Unfortunately, a day has only 24 hours. Meanwhile, happy Ganesh Chathurthi; I wont reply to any text messages wishing me the same. And don’t wish me good luck.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Real Treasure

In school, we tend to take friends for granted. We never realise how difficult it is to make friends with complete strangers – after all, we end up spending so much time with each other. It was for the first time in Ruparel (my junior college) that I suddenly felt how difficult it is to interact with people I don’t recognise.

I was the only one from my school to join Ruparel. This made me a bit apprehensive, but I didn’t pay much attention. Really speaking, I was bored of school life and looking forward to college. Soon, it was time for the first lecture and orientation by the principal. I remember this as if it were yesterday.

I was seated on the second bench on the left side. Harsh gave me company from Andheri station; I had met him in Ruparel earlier that month, at the time of admissions. He promptly sat next to me. We talked little, but didn’t bore each other. I thought he would know more people than I do and so, wouldn’t need my company. Of course, his ‘choke slam’ and ‘aye Haaaarsh, ye building chche, thaaro playground nathi!’ keeps us entertained.

Kunal and Sohail knew each other. They were in the same school. Kunal entered the class before Sohail and asked us if anyone else was occupying the seats beside us. On an average, each bench of Ruparel accommodates around 6-7 average healthy Indians. We had no problems with Kunal sitting next to us. Sohail sat elsewhere, on the right side, third bench I think (you can’t miss out his aristocracy, can you?). He had come later. They exchanged a ‘hello’; this sort of depressed me – am I the only loner out here?

Kunal seemed very talkative and came up with a new topic of discussion every now and then. In fact, he kept Harsh and me very busy with his controversial topics such as ‘ICSE is better than SSC’, ‘Biology sucks’, etc. Discussions turned into heated arguments. We screamed at the top of our voices to get our point across when all of a sudden a smart aleck excused himself.

“Hi, I’m Mohit!”

We didn’t ask him his name. We did not even reply to his gesture. His thick black jacket, gold necklace (!), broad wrist band and a French beard was rather scary (they called him Bappi Lahiri in school, I’m told).

“Can I sit here?”

Most welcome, there was enough place for three more. He was a part of the discussion too, but soon it was time to disperse.

Next day, Kunal, Harsh, Mohit and me, we were on the same bench. Sohail was feeling left out, he joined in. Chetan dropped in too, there was lot of place and a thin guy like him could easily fit. We had more discussions, more random talk. Chetan contributed his viewpoints rather calmly. His biking adventures and two-wheeled knowledge was a good topic of contention.

Gaurav was a rather late entry. Poplai, as we call him, was introduced to us by Chetan. He seemed a very happy-go-lucky guy and has a smile as broad as his stomach (sorry Popu, I gotta admit). It didn’t take long before we officially inducted him in our ‘second bench committee’. We loved his jolly nature and his narration of Bacardi/Kingfisher adventures.

Amit was always a last bencher and it was not before 12th that we inducted him too. He’s always been a latecomer. Can you beat this, he has just joined Orkut! Soon we were eight of us –
Harsh, Kunal, Chetan, Mohit, Gaurav, Amit, Sohail and me. I don’t know why, but Mohit prefers to call us ‘Shooting Stars’.

Then there were others too – Rohit, Sachi, Soumyadri, Neville, Vishaal, Nirali, Rahul, Rashmi, Vini, phew! The list is endless.

It’s been more than 5 years now; the eight of us have always been together (...ahem, without doubt, we’re all straight). We’ve shared each and every problem, crushes, journals, answer papers etc. We laughed on the same jokes, on the same people (low waist jeanswala, body builder), on the same teachers (remember Gawde? Shimpi?) and laughed aloud. We guided each other – in our careers, homework, love life (?), etc. We’ve had innumerable lunches together. None of us will ever forget – Canepy, Xeroxwala, ‘aye Gujarati!’, Toke Ma’am, Tapan and his ‘slapstick’ adventure, Mahajan’s lecture (aunty log, aunty log!), etc.

Today, as some of us are leaving this country for further studies, memories are refreshed. Over these years, Ruparel has given me the best of friends. The aim of this passage is simple – to relive those memories and remind its readers of similar experiences.

Surprising how life comes up with so many treats. Maybe some of you can dedicate a comment to such a similar friend(s). I’m sorry I’m late – Friendship day was nearly a week ago.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Quizzes and more…

I know quite a few people who have the knack of solving questions correctly in academic quizzes and competitions. Personally, I have never done too well in such quizzes at an individual level; probably because it requires much more than just academic knowledge.

Two weeks ago, our paediatrics department had organised elimination rounds for selecting a team that would represent our college at the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) Students’ Quiz. The team consists of two members and accordingly, the department wanted the best of the lot to go to the IAP. Elimination rounds were organised in such a way that they judged the students’ individual capability. As expected, I didn’t fair too well.

But this quiz was a learning lesson, thanks to Niranjan. Now, the format of this quiz included negative marking for wrong answers. There were 20 questions, 2 points for a correct answer and minus 1 for a wrong response. I answered very few, selected questions fearing that I’ll miss out on a good score because of the concept of negative marking. This strategy of mine was a failure; had I attempted a few more questions, I would have got a much better score. I was reasonably sure about their answers; I didn’t want to take any chances and therefore, ended up being overcautious.

A talk with Niranjan was very informative (he topped the quiz, by the way). According to him, unless you have no clue about the answer, you should try and solve the question. By not answering a question, you miss out on an opportunity to score. Risk versus benefit ratio here is definitely very low.

Last week, surgery department conducted a quiz, as an elimination before the State-level round. This State-level quiz requires a team of three students. The surgery department made a clever decision – they decided to test students as a team and gave us the choice to form our own team. This was a very good move because eventually, the students have to perform together as a unit. Students who excel as individuals may not necessarily excel as a team. Plus, they should be able to get well along with each other.

Teams were formed – one included Debanjan, Niranjan and me. We had participated together in the radiology quiz too, last year – but didn’t fare too well. It wasn’t a team event anyway. However, this year, surgery was much better. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the quiz. Both, Debanjan and Niranjan have a very unique way of answering questions – quite different from my conventional methodology. But the most important part was that we jelled together very well. We logically sought answers for each question and agreed to the fact that we would have made at least 2-3 avoidable mistakes had we solved the paper individually.

The results will be out soon and we hope that the department keeps up its promise of selecting a team rather than individuals. If it does the later, we have mutually decided to boycott the State-level round in case only one/two amongst the three of us gets selected. Selecting best individuals would again be self-defeating; it’s always the case with other events such as Bombay Medical Congress, etc. Obviously, we are looking forward to participating in the next round together.

Some people believe that working alone gives them a greater share of the booty, little realising that a team can reap tonnes of reward, wherever eligible/possible. In this place where I have spent 4 years of my life, I have observed that most ‘teams’ perform very inefficiently, be it Aavishkaar (annual college fest), Gymkhana, various Symposia, sports, et al.

Thankfully, I had a very good team as the Chief Editor of Gosumag 2007.