Thursday, May 26, 2005

Delhi Metro - An example..

I have had quite a convenient time traveling from the hostel to home by Delhi Metro on weekends. Delhi Metro has been running on this certain stretch (which incidentally suits me very much) for more than a year now. A couple of things are worth noting. The metro uses quite an advanced ticketing system for the people who use it. You need to flash your ticket coin in front of a screen and the machine reads it and a gate opens to allow you through if everything is in order. There is someone posted at the gate to help people who are traveling for the first time.. but more often than not, people are able to slide through without any help. Secondly, the environment is unimaginably tidy. When the metro project was inaugurated and opened to public, it came as a sparklingly clean train with sophisticated stations, automatic doors. It was an air-conditioned public transport system for the general public at pretty reasonable rates.. The most striking thing about the Metro that I have observed is that it has managed to maintain its cleanliness along the way. I attribute this to two things – The average Indian becomes a much better person when he is at a place which reflects cleanliness (seldom found anywhere else). People don’t spit, throw trash or spoil the place in any way. I think it’s the aura of the place which keeps the people from making a mess. Once off the metro, the same psychology returns and you can find the same people who were very suave in the metro suddenly spitting around or throwing away wrappers.

People have a perception that anything that comes up in India and is opened for general public use ultimately becomes a trash can. The above clearly sets a different example. There were some announcements (in clear English and Hindi) regularly when the train was launched. The announcement was something like this – “Smoking, drinking or eating is not permitted on the Delhi Metro. Please help us keep your environment neat and tidy. Please use the trash bins kept on the stations to throw trash.” Now this announcement has been called off.. (I don’t know if its this reason for calling it off or not, but its been called off). And when the train was flagged off, I remember there was Metro staff on the train to check on traveler behavior. And once or twice people were rebuked for throwing trash or something.. Over time, people have become “educated” and the train runs with minimum supervision and remains the cleanest public transport system in Delhi.

Our “unaware” society needs to be trained properly. People don’t litter around intentionally but it’s a habit with them. Its something which most people don’t care about and is unimportant to them. A different psychology plays in the mind of the same people when they are in the metro. They don’t want to spoil something which looks good. There is no trash around and they don’t want to be the first ones to make a mess. Metro sets a fine example..

Another incident which comes to my mind now is about an NRI aunt who was visiting us from the US. Their family shifted to US about four years back.. She was all praises for USA.. good schooling (her son is doing well there), supermarkets, convenience of life. She was most impressed by the cleanliness and “well-behaved” people around. She kept on talking about the messy roads and unclean environment in India. I was just about to get curious but when all my curiosity was thrown out of the window. She was feeding her small boy a banana.. and I was driving. While bickering about India, she folded the banana peel, opened the window and threw it on the road!! Whats wrong with people? No one can help such people.. It’s a hand-and-mind coordination problem I guess..!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Times of Engineering - August 2001 to May 2005

Late City

Bawana.. place where DCE is. Traffic is wild.. during any time. Buffalos and cows are more in number than cars and buses. The air is always carrying a smell, though you become used to it (if you are a hosteller) and it stops bugging you. There are times when the air is different.. when its 3 a.m. and it has just rained.

My first day at college was a hit.. I boarded 165 (the only direct bus from a bus stop near by to the college.. I had not been assigned a hostel by then). There were 3 or 4 guys sitting in the bus who looked like freshers. I asked one of them.. DCE? He nodded in a strange sort of way - but so far so good. I said "me too" and sat next to him. He looked at me at scared the hell outta me when he said "First year"? Damn it.. I realised I was sitting beside a senior (Those days stories of engineering ragging was doing the rounds). He turned out to be 4th year guy.. didn’t really rag me.. infact narrated a lot of his experiences..

Bawana is just like a place which has suddenly become the centre of attraction for the city developers and from an industrial place, it is developing hugely into a residential cum commercial hub.

Stories of 58-A
The first year hostels were flats, not the traditional dormitories. There are buildings with 4 floors; on the ground floor and first floor a faculty member used to stay with his family and the two floors above were given to students. Each flat had 3 rooms, one large lobby, two bathrooms and a kitchen. The kitchen was mostly used for an emergency bath or a shampoo.. The lobby was multi purpose. It could be used for cricket or during exams we would install a cooler in the lobby and get our beds there and study together. Lots of night outs in the first semester – hitch hiking on petrol tankers, trucks filled with potatoes.. movies at Priya.. I think I had the most night outs in the first semester. Other flaties were Miraz Alum, Aditya, Prasanna, Avinav and Nilesh. Miraz Alum used to talk in hindi mixed with Urdu.. I learned how to write my name in Urdu.. Jaspreet and I used to play practical jokes at night. Once we switched off all lights, focused a torch at Jaspreet’s beard and knocked at Miraz’s door. Was he scared!!! We used to just sit in the space between the hostels and chat away.. till mornings sometimes.

Those days anti-ragging squad was quite active because of the Supreme Court order and some nasty ragging stories. We had a pretty strict Proctor those days and 3 – 4 seniors were suspended for a semester. The dayschi’s (day scholars) roamed scot-free but hostellers were still targeted for ragging (mostly harmless) in the evening or nights. There were two kinds of seniors who were absolutely dreaded during that time. One was the desperate variety who were really filthy. And the others were ultra cool people – who really knew how to have fun (but all the fun was theirs). We used to switch off all lights and sit in darkness if a “dreaded” senior was spotted. We devised our own ways to save ourselves.. Locking the door from outside while staying inside etc. Except these 2 kinds of people, no one really ragged. We were happy because the fresher’s party was fast approaching and we were told that ragging is stopped once the fresher’s party is over. Well, we had a good time at the party.. some skits etc.. and a jam session at the end. It was 2 A.M when we returned to our room. There were some 9-10 people in our room and I was half asleep but still talking. Someone came up and shouted “HIDE”.. seniors are coming up for ragging!. We told him to shut up ‘cos there is no ragging after the fresher’s party. Well, seniors came up and said – “Screw rules”.. Its ragging time.. ! They were frustrated ‘cos they couldn’t rag us well during the first 3 months due to the anti-ragging squad etc. The lined us up on the road; 20 in each line and made us walk to the senior hostels around 1.5 km away. They kept on doing the rounds on motorcycles to make sure no one escaped. We were made to stand on the road separating the two hostel complexes and it all began. Fortunately, a senior guy knew me and I was saved from the ordeal… Some people had really horrible experiences.. and for some really poor souls, it ended at 6:30 AM!

Time passed really fast and it was exam time.. we did little coordinated study and those exams paved the way for our devised concept of “Group Study” which remained with us for the rest of the four years…

During the second semester, some reshuffling was done.. lotsa people left for NSIT and some upgradations etc. took place. This even semester we realized the importance of group study and used the lobby properly! We shifted our beds in the lobby, installed a cooler (took turns filling it with water) and studied together.. was it a success! We continued to do this till the last semester.. Each person would study a topic and explain it to others or if it was a difficult subject, we would study together and come out all wise!

One year was gone.. 58A was the first hostel I stayed in.. and I had an awesome time!

Monday, April 18, 2005


There are search engine companies, there are some more search engine companies and then there is GOOGLE! I am impressed by the way this company is growing. Google Search, News, Groups, Blogspace, Scholar, Maps, toolbar, Watch, directory, Picasa, Keyhole.. and ofcourse GMAIL!! They are hiring like anything.. their advertising strategies are too good. The phrase "I am going to Google" or "Have you googled for this?" is quite common these days. They are beating every other company in the field..
Read this -,15114,1050065,00.html

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Delhi XLer meet that was..

Sometime back we had decided that XLers (Batch of 2007) would meet other fellow XLers in their city. I was looking forward to such a party. I took it as getting to know other XLers and just chilling over a cup of coffee or something. But we got a mail on the group asking everyone to come prepared with all the information about Trains, notebooks etc.. that kinda was something which made the whole thing look like a group discussion of sorts..

Well, as most good things start quite unexpectedly, so happened this..
Initially, Siddharth (he is an old friend of mine) and I had decided to go together. But in the afternoon he called up to say that he was out and would reach directly. I reached Cafe Coffee Day, CP at 4:35 and was wondering how would I recognize the people. Inside I went and saw some 10-11 guys standing and shaking hands.. I didn't have to think again. 2 familiar faces - one was Siddharth and one was Mohit (the guy who was interviewed before me and the guy whose father tried to calm me while I was waiting for my interview). I shook hands with everyone and with every introduction tried to place the name with the email id (that being the only source of interaction till then). I guess on my arrival we fell short of chairs and had to move to a place where more people could be seated. Some 11 guys started walking in the same direction and we reached the end of the floor where a sign was placed - "This section is closed". Normally, with such a sign there are visible indications of some kind of a work etc going on, but here everything seemed to be in order. So, we ignored the sign and started rearranging the tables to suit our convenience. We got together some 6 tables (tables at CCD are quite small.. just about enough for 3-4 cups of coffee) and arranged the chairs around them.
The waiter came.. he looked at us.. looked at the sign.. looked at us again and finally said "alright.. sit here but please let the sign remain here"! He had no clue as to where else to put us..
3-4 people came later than me.. Anshul (anshul_wow), Rishabh (Karan Johar look alike), one guy who teaches at PT and Time (I don't remember the name).. Every new entrant though started out by asking the same questions.. How many BMs? PMIRs? Experienced? Fresher? etc. etc.. For the record, there were 3 PMIRs and rest were BMs. But after we got through this, it was good fun. Between jokes and XLRI talk (hostels, culture etc..) and Jamshedpur (city, tourism, hotels etc), we talked about notebooks and train reservations.. Someone did mention loan but the topic got lost after some diffused talk (apparently, not many people are going in for the loan, atleast for the first installment).

We decided to place an order for coffee.. Divya (I guess) called for a vote - 14 for something cold, 1 (varun) for something hot. Thats it.. its settled then.. The waiter comes and Rishabh announces "1 Cappuccino and 14 Frappe's". That waiter looks at us.. starts laughing! I guess delivering 14 Frappe's to a table tickled his laughing bones. Later, people shared some of the experiences of seniors.. and after 2 hours, the CCD guys turned up the volume really high (the speakers were right by us). We assumed that this was done to remind us to leave or order something more.. On a request to the waiter to turn down the volume, exactly opposite happened. Only when Divya offered to consider buying the choclates on display, the volume was turned down to acceptable limits..

Then during the last few minutes it was plain chit chatting.. interview talks.. party talks etc.. Finally, we decided to leave and outside CCD we got a photograph clicked (actually 2 photos since the group was too big to fit in one frame!)

It was time to go.. I had a good time..

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Thats something!

Man.. people are really enthu. The day we got our result for XLRI, there were yahoo groups formed for online interaction and information sharing.. A database for information like educational backgrounds etc. People have started exchanging yahoo ids for chatting. The mails on the group are on a rise.. Some 15-20 mails a day! Information on trains.. weather.. laptops.. its like one information factory on XLRI! Local meets in cities like Delhi, Blore, bombay etc are being planned.. I am looking forward to it.. Its good to see the electrifying enthusiasm.. I am enjoying it..

Friday, April 01, 2005

Phew! I am in..

The last few days have been really exciting and exhausting.. I have made it to XLRI! I feel like I am suffering from insomnia.. Simply cant get myself to sleep. Its like a video tape playing in your head and it never seems to stop. The thoughts keep on coming in and going out without a break.. mental exhaustion in the disguise of excitement! Finally, its sinking in.. I am in.. And the enthusiasm is growing stronger!