Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Soon enough

Soon enough, you’ll realize that the next stage is not far
And it becomes tough, compared to the present where you are.
Soon enough, the things you stand for may make you grieve
And leave you stranded, not knowing what to believe.
Soon enough, the love you see
Will be something you consider mockery.
And soon enough, things will change
And solutions may seem beyond your range.

Soon enough, you will see
That life, though a gift, can be tragedy.
Soon enough, what used to make sense
Will now make you ever so tense.
Soon enough, life’s greatest gifts
Can be forgotten when your brain drifts
Toward worry, enslavement and bondage
And that does nothing for you, but discourage.

Soon enough, the weather will be different
And you’ll notice it changed due to the emotion imminent.
It’s all in the mind, you’ll realize
And problems can and must be solved, no matter the size.
When you’re on solid rock, a firm foundation,
Soon enough, the solution will never be out-of-station.
So, let Jesus take your life, keep it for his use
Take this offer and his saving grace, don’t refuse.
Then soon enough you’ll know that everything had a purpose,
That despite the harshness, it’s only good that God does.
He gives the situation, lets you lean on him and believe
And makes you someone worthy to receive
In his kingdom, that’s heaven, as the common folk say
And till you die, he’ll protect you, from you he’ll never stray.
Sure, this life tends to overwhelm and turn out rough,
But Jesus is in control, realize that soon enough!

Wrote this a while back, and did not feel like posting it at all. However, now seemed perfect. Kinda like, saved up for a rainy day, to brighten up your rainy day. 

Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Dirty Deed #2

Read the first dirty deed HERE!

"But dude, a senior lied for you! He wanted you so bad!" - Aaquib Jaleel
Yeah, right. But the senior didn't exactly want me. He wanted a tape recorder that would play music with him and his band whenever he wanted, wherever he wanted, not caring about my consent or schedule.
It all started 4 weeks ago, and this was one of my first few experiences with college seniors. I was asked by one of the seniors (let's call him "Mophead") to play guitar for a christian retreat at college that happens every year or so, and I agreed. I met the other bandmates, discussed songs for the event and continued on with my normal life.
Cut to the Tuesday before Saturday, when the retreat was to be held. I had already been promised two days of OD (on duty) leave, and the stars were in my eyes (the joy of cutting class WITHOUT being marked absent and having to meet the HOD for a stern lecture!). I was busy derpin' around the internet, minding my own business, when another senior called. Let's call him "Dinosaur".
Now, Dinosaur wanted me to play with his band for a cultural competition in another college. Only this time, I think he said it was a show (as in, we're the "special act"), and we might get called to another college as well to do another show, and get paid 60 grand. Yeah, 60 grand for doing crappy covers of film music at a college competition. That's exactly what he said.
Now let me fill you in: Dinosaur is a drummer. And he's terrible. As in, beginner stage. Now, it's okay to be a beginner at playing music, that's how we start out, and when we remind ourselves that we were beginners, we will truly be humbled, and for the way the world treats rockstars, guess who needs a good old fashioned kick in the ego nuts?
However, the only reason why music isn't that rewarding a career option, is because, you actually have to be decent enough to play well with other bands. You don't have to be him:

But you at least have to know enough to relate with other musicians. And he was super basic, didn't know enough to collaborate, didn't know to play enough beats/rolls and what not. And I don't know how to speak Drummer either. It's a wholly different language. My communication skills with drummers are terrible. A likely convo with a drummer would go like this.
*Jam session. Drummer plays wrong*
Me: Hey, that's not how it goes!
Drummer: Sorry man. Didn't have time to listen to the song. How does it go?
Me: Er...what are you playing now?
Drummer: Ah, that's a four four with bass on the three, closed hats. What do you want me to play for the pre-chorus?
Me: *pretending to understand* Oh! Er..ah...now you were playing that "thum thum TSK thum thum thum TSK thum"...so at the pre-chorus, you play "boom da boom boom ba boom da boom boom ba boom" *flays arms around to better convey the meaning*
Drummer: Um...okay...is it this? *plays an African tribe's summoning call*
Me: No! Not a jungle beat! Something...er...somewhere in between the thum thum tsk and the boom da boom boom?
And that was their reaction. Every time.
As I said, I wouldn't stand a chance. Point is, even if I did speak drummer, I wouldn't have gotten through to him. So one time he called me for another cultural competition, and I realized he wasn't good as he put himself out to be. So, I had to withstand the practice session with his off tempo beats, wrongly timed rolls, him wrongly starting/ending the song and did I mention the beats were over simplistic? If he did overplay though, it would be easy to tone him down. However, he underplayed, and so the other instruments had to compensate to make the music heavier, which is technically the drummer's job. In other words, if I entered to win, he'd be the last person I'd want to play with.
However, he was the senior, and his ego was definitely larger (Lord, don't let me have that ego when I become a senior!), meaning, he was Mike Portnoy in his own eyes while we saw him like this.

Look, I really don't want to bash anyone like that, and I'm okay with playing with someone who hasn't even seen the drums in his/her life before. However, in a band situation, as a leader, you need to be someone who cooperates with everyone and adds to the music. People should hear music, not someone awkwardly banging the drums with reckless abandon for tempos, or strumming the guitar unevenly. And he was here, thinking that all people needed  was to see him behind a kit, and we'd get paid for it. Well, we didn't go for the competition, after half a day of practicing just two songs. And besides, I was already booked, so I counted that as a blessing.
And so, I told him I wasn't coming. He kept forcing me to come, saying "We're depending on you only for this", and what not. Heck, I wouldn't depend on myself even to wake up in the morning. I kept denying, he kept asking. In then end, I told him "We'll see, but mostly no." He said "Oh, okay. Bring your instrument tomorrow."
Well, needless to say, I didn't bring it. He was disappointed. I (thankfully) didn't meet him in college, so that evening, he called again to tell me to come. Then sent me a text message. Then sent four more the next morning. Then called. I told my mom to tell him I had left for college already without my guitar. Yeah, I love mom.
This is actually EXTREMELY relevant to the post.
Then, that Thursday, I was minding my own business, pretending to be deeply engrossed in the EDC class, when Dinosaur walks in and says the HOD (Head of the department, for those who don't have such a person in college) wants me.

Then, me, him and two other friends of mine went to the HOD's office to show our faces, and get permission to bunk the class for his practice. The HOD granted us the entire afternoon off. And then, as soon as we're out of his office, I freak out. He gets all defensive and says things like "This is our first show", "We'll get paid for sure", "it's a professional event", "I got the OD, now you HAVE to come", and what not. I told him "We'll see." I think that phrase is my official "buy-some-time-till-you-find-a-way-to-escape" route.
My friends were thinking of agreeing with him and getting out at the last minute, him being senior and all. I felt that wasn't right. You know, at least tell him you can't come. He seriously can't argue with that, right? Well, no. You see, after a terrible jam session, he thinks he has a "solid band" now, and his band will even accompany him to the moon if he's booked there. In short, I'm his guitar playing monkey. When he wants the guitarist, I have to do it, irrespective of what my schedule or consent at the time he wants me.
*Insert guitar monkey outrage picture here.*
I told him to ask Mophead's friend (Let's call him Parle G) to let me go for his practice, knowing G would surely refuse him. During the lunch break, Dinosaur meets me and says we have practice in the last two periods. I asked him whether Parle G was okay with it. He said G agreed to letting me practice (even though I had to be at G's practice)!
Just in case you didn't know...
Things were looking real shabby for me: this crazy fellow wants me in his band, while the band that wanted me a month ago was now okay with me going with him even though I had to practice with them. Things seemed very fishy now. Then, around the end of the lunch break, Mophead's friend (let's call him: Shortstop!) was waiting outside my class.
Me: Hey! What exactly is happening!
Shortstop: Yeah, that's exactly what I wanted to ask you, what is happening!?
Me: Er, what?
Shortstop: Yeah, that senior, Dinosaur (He said Dino's real name, just in case you were wondering). He said you agreed to coming for his practice session!
Another guitar monkey outrage!
Me: Wait, what?!
Shortstop: He told Parle G you were okay with not attending our practice session and attending his instead!
Me: No way! I never agreed to him! I mean, look, I brought chord sheets and the songs we had to practice on my phone! And I normally never bring my phone to college!
Shortstop: Hmm...something's not right.
*That's when it hit me*
Me: Dude! He's two-timing us! He's lying to both of us so that we agree to his plan!
Shortstop: Oh man. Now what do we do? I mean, he's my senior also.
Me: Relax, I'll take care of this.
*That's when images of him calling me in the next period, and me refusing him right in front of everyone, and also adding a joke about him to send him off came to mind. But being the good christian I was, I (sadly) had to forego that plan*
I seethed with anger. How could anyone do this? Was he that cheap? That apathetic for whether I was available? I just decided to wait till he came.
Then, at the 6th period, he came.
"Hello, ma'am, this boy is going to play at one culturals tomorrow ma'am, so the HOD gave OD, ma'am, full day, ma'am! Today and tomorrow ma'am."
And so I went. I followed him until we were out of sight of my class, and then I stopped.
"I'm not coming. Shortstop told me everything."
"I'm not coming. Shortstop told me everything!"
"Oh, okay. Practice is in the auditorium."
*Yeah, he's terrible at English, too.*
"Hey! How could you lie to them! No one agreed to me coming! I can't come for your practice and all!"
And that's when Barney the friendly dinosaur became Godzilla.
He got really angry and said he didn't want to see me again, and ordered me to go back to my class, and never come back. I happily agreed.
After that period, Shortstop came to call me for practice. Just before that, it seems Dinosaur invaded their practice session and railed at them for taking away his guitarist. Er...I don't know what to say to that. I mean, it wasn't like, "Come on, let's form a band, Dinosaur!" I mean, we only had one session of playing together, and it was terrible. And he, oblivious to the fact that he needs more practice to be a good drummer, is now a band leader for some reason, and has the power to call his juniors to play music for him.
Well, a few things I'd like to point out here:
1. I said no!
 And I said no again!

And he pretended I said yes.
2. He clearly was using me.
Basically, musicians were created as people, not tape recorders. I get more than slightly offed by the "rockstar" comments I get from friends because it's like they expect me to have the big hair, leather pants, shirtless, glam metal 80's rocker look or something.
Rock in its purest form.
And it's also because, we are people at heart. If you read the tabloid sleaze columns and what not, you notice that rockstars, music icons and popular musicians are the worst people you see. I realize I was made to be a person, not a guitarist. Meaning, I play guitar, yes, but I'm a person. Which means I have a personality I must develop, and I can't expect people to just like me just because I know how to hold an E major 7 suspended 2 on a guitar. And I also have choices. As in, I choose not to play when I don't really think it's right for me to get in a band where I don't want to play, like a regular person who thinks sushi is not to his taste and decides to fry his fish instead. Dino however wanted a guitarist, and actually expected that I'd readily give it all up for playing crappy covers of film music with him. So yeah, remember kids, don't expect people to just do whatever you want them to do whenever you want it. That's narcissism, objectification, and plain douchebaggery all rolled up in one Dinosaur-shaped package.
3. Bands aren't as easy as you think they are.
You're playing with OTHER PEOPLE. They are narcissistic, intolerant, and judgmental. They will NOT spare you if you don't play right. At least in a normal scenario.
 4. Be tolerant of lack of talent.
But do not spare narcissism. I know some awesome musicians, and some terrible ones. The thing that separates the men from the boys, apart from talent, is in most cases, the more talented ones are more humble than those who are just starting out. And if they were proud at the beginning, they realized their fault and became humble at some point in time. Same case with me. I started out terrible and was proud of it. Now, I'm better than I was 2 years ago, and feel my playing is crap.
5. Seniors.
I just don't understand them. The "sense of entitlement" they have towards juniors. Maybe someday when I'm a senior I might figure this out.
Anyway, my sob story ends here. Video time!
#1 Keba Jeremiah again! This time a cover of "Age" by Lianne La Havas, sung by Harshitha Krishnan.
#2 Ryan Higa (a.k.a. Nigahiga) and his epic ninja parody!
#3 John Mayer, unbelievably underrated. And might save us all from going in One Direction.

Anyway, I've finally wanted to do this (especially the terrible nicknames part), and now, it seems Dinosaur is troubling my friends these days to make a band. He hasn't even approached me.
Okay then, see you soon. I just experimented on the effects of Facebook deprivation and it's been brilliant! Will post my "findings" next. See y'all when I see y'all! *banjo riff*

Monday, 25 February 2013

Search Engine Optimization (how not to do it)

I remember that time, when I was young and foolish, and I thought to myself, "Hey, why don't I start a blog?"
A few days later, I was chatting it up with my pro blogger friend Sujay Sam, and he gave me a wealth of information related to writing, posting, and the works. And then we hit upon the subject of names...
Sujay: So, what are you going to name your blog?
Me: Er...I was thinking "psychotic ranter" or something along those lines...*sheepish grin*

Sujay: What? No!
Me: Why not? It'll be really unique!
Sujay: Er, you're forgetting about a little something called search engine optimization.
*I have a knack for taking these big terms, splitting them into separate words, figuring out the meaning of those words, conjoin those meanings to form a cohesive meaning, and then blurt out the meaning like a complete retard*
Me: Oh! You mean, like er...optimizing the blog for search engines?
Sujay: Yeah, so you need to have a good name so that people who are looking up blogs can find your blog easily.
Me: Oh, I get it. Thanks, I'll think up another name!
Cut to the day I finally sat in that internet center, and was typing out a blog url for my beloved blabberings that would be on the internet for all to see.
My first impulse was to type "psychoticranter", and a bit of me hoped that it would be taken so that I would not be disappointed at passing it up. The name was available, however, and I was discouraged that I had to pass it up now to a less deserving, not so psychotic ranter, all in the name of search engine optimization. Now, the net center I was at had a timer, and I didn't have enough cash to stay some more time and stare in front of the screen just to think up a blog name. With all my experience in alliterations, metaphors, ambigious statements and witty wordplay (all in my English exam papers of course, I don't think the teachers read them anyway), I chose...
A Posted Note.
This is the most blah name I could ever think of. Sure, for the five seconds after I typed it, the name exhibited flair, sophistication, elan, and class. After the blog came into existence, it hit me. How could I put up such an uninspired name?
Well, I decided, "Let's see how SEO-worthy it is!" And I got links, pictures and what not related to these.
Close enough.
So yeah, next time someone wants sticky yellow notes for their fridge and decide to order it off the internet instead of sanely going down to the store, my blog will be a place they see. Oh wait, they'll realize it's just a jobless (psychotic) ranter and carry on with their Windows shopping (See what I did there? Er...better you didn't).

The SEO Mindset:

1. Is always on top of current events
Basically, you'd want to post something informative, new, trendy, witty and deep all at the same time. And then, you actually type it out, and realize you can't do it all at the same time. However, for the sake of search engine optimization, you'd be best off being informative, new and trendy. Why not deep and witty? Because you're more geared at being right on top of the more popular searches performed on Google, not a boring "Dear Diary" person. It's simple, people click on the first link always, at most, the second. Beyond that, they'd just say that they couldn't find it. So yeah, you really need to gear your post/website/link/video/picture/sound in such a way that it appears right on top of every popular search on Google. So it's simple! Hope you like maintaining and regularly updating a Justin Bieber fansite!

2. Has a know-how of Google's inner workings
Now, don't get daunted by what I just said. You don't need to be a computer genius (or worse, a computer engineer). Google is actually like 90% of college lecturers correcting your answer papers. They look for keywords, and don't really care about the logic between them. Same with Google. Use this to your advantage! As long as you are updated with the latest hot search terms, all you need to do is tag your posts with these keywords for guaranteed views on your site. There will be ways you can make it easier on Google to find your posts (for example, "tags" on Blogger) and so, read those boring help tip pop-ups and make your piece of art much easier to find. So yeah, all you have to do is put your latest stock exchange numbers on your site, and tag Lady Gaga. Trust me on this! Oh yeah, tag Justin Bieber also. That way, you can even get comments (though I won't say WHAT comments)!
Yes! I can literally see the page view count racking up!

3. Knows what people want
We all had those dreams. "Mummy, I wanna become an astronaut!" "Dad, I wanna be a rockstar!" "You know, when I grow up, I want to be an engineer. Not those sad obese people in those air-conditioned offices. The train driver!" Yeah, we've all had these dreams, maybe until we were cheated into thinking we aren't cut out for the job and our desire isn't enough (more on that in another post probably). Maybe now you're stumbling through life wondering what exactly you want, what those around you want, and what the world in general wants. Well, not the SEO mindset! It knows exactly what people are earnestly seeking, and seeks to do just that. So yeah, you need to post on relevant issues, but make sure the content isn't relevant at all, so that you will be blasted at in the comments, and this will lead to "high internet traffic and activity" that will only boost up your position in Google searches around the world. Always wanted to post on the wonders of quantum physics but found that only Sheldon Cooper, Ph.D., would read it (and say that you calculated the position of that positron wrongly so that the energy levels become stable and hence, it is impossible to deduce whether a chicken sandwich contains chicken or crow meat)? You know how to make your blog more visible than a rainbow painted elephant, so yeah, just tag Lady Gaga again on your Theories of Neutron Quantization and Manipulation.

4. Believes in the power of repetition
Yeah, Google's algorithms. They think like your college lecturer again. They repeat a certain concept 4-10 times more, and it's probably important.
However, it resorts to checking how often a word gets repeated in a page, and once it does that, it considers it knows EVERYTHING about that page. That's the power of repetition. Say it again, say it again, say it again! Did I tell you to say it again? Okay, I said it again. "Say it again?" Oh sure, I'll say it again. Fine, I'll shut up.
But seriously, the eagle called Google does swoop down upon those who have the prudence to repeat themselves, and not the creative ones who use different words and when they don't appear in search pages, they get irritated, vexed, angered, flustered, bothered, unhappy, exasperated, frustrated, maddened, disgusted and what not. Yeah, I'll never make it to the Digg front page even if Kevin Rose recommends me.
"And when I find this guy who wanted his blog on my front page, I will squeeze his head like this."

5. Does not have a life
Yeah, there's a cost. It's the same problem with anything on the computer, be it Facebook or YouTube or any site which lets people interact with other people for that matter. Most n00bs in real life find that netizens don't really care about the pimples on your face or that you spit when you talk. And so, all "physical blemishes" aside, they get a little bit popular and then decide they want more. And then Search Engine Optimization falls on their ears, and they decide to use it to the fullest. Now, you know those OCD affected people who HAVE to have the latest Apple iPhone, the cleanest room, the plate which doesn't have the potato touching the rice (or the ketchup touching the fries, if you fancy). Yeah, these n00bs get SEO OCD and actually make their content unreadable by having keyword after keyword after keyword. And no one likes these spammers who abuse the internet's inability to detect terribly written posts. But no! The site counters show a million hits a day! They just HAVE to be popular! And yeah, while the rest of the world breathes clean air, goes out to eat, hangs around at malls and have no loss of sanity, these dregs of the internet teacup just look for more and more ways to "reach out to others", or in layman terms, they SPAM. And you only resort to spam when you are having a little vicious fun, or when you've lost it, and now think you're a Nigerian prince or something.
Man, I can't believe you'd fall for that scam!

Granny?! Not you too!

Recently, a friend of mine posted a video on YouTube, and I asked him how do I find it. He said I wouldn't. Why? Because, when YouTube asked him for the tags he wanted to put, he tagged his video with completely unrelated terms (tagging Chuck Norris and Charlie the Unicorn in the same video?!).
Yeah, now I understand why he did that. Bask in the awesomeness!
Long story short, I searched for it and didn't find it. Had to type his name out and then found his YouTube channel where the video was. Search Engine Optimization plays a big role these days in the world wide web, even though it's nothing but a popularity contest. And, not everything I post is something popular or "trending" at all (look, I bashed Valentine's Day, praised the benefits of video games, did the same for laziness and what not. I'm so happening, aren't I?). But it's okay. I post because it's fun. And so that I get new followers also (haha, just kidding. But still, it was nice to see I have a new follower, The Purple Assassin!).
Though THIS is what I think when I read "Purple Assassin"...

So anyways, hope this post was informative and pointless at the same time, and that you become more tech-savvy with my help. Hope you mention me when you become famous, so that I too may become a trending topic someday (even if you only see my blog for the pictures).
Anyway, video playlist!
#1 This totally cracks me up! Not mocking christian music, but just saying, nothing wrong in being a little more creative!

#2 RHCP! Best Music Video Ever!

And anyway, SPOILER ALERT: My next post has to do with a dinosaur as well. See ya, peeps!

Friday, 15 February 2013


I'm just going to get straight into the topic, no blah intro or anything: What is your opinion on love?
Now, I know what you must be thinking: He's a day late.
And yes, it's because of my anti-valentine's day stand. I even wore a black shirt to college on that horrendous day. Anyways, my point here is, love isn't always what you think it is. We get a waaay too rosy picture of what "lurve" is, and here in Chennai, India, it's "louv-u" that makes the worldu go roundu. And yeah, for some reason, couples are oblivious to the people gawking wide-eyed and disgustedly at them, while the streets seem to overflow with roses that spring up to cover their feet as they look into each other's eyes, a pool of love and passion as bright pink as the fancy skies that envelope them...

Ahhh...the luuurrrrrvvvve...

Okay, you get it. Lovers are blind, the people seeing them have auto-focus lenses hidden in their retinas, and they flinch even more every time they lip read them say "cutie pie", "honey bunny", "my louv-u", and other cringe-worthy molly-coddling words.
Well, what is love then? Is it this?

Wine, woman and what not.

Well, I think love is actually this:

Nothing says love like...sleep deprivation?!

Remember that time when you were way too little to even walk? When you couldn't even call your mom, and you had to completely rely on her? Yeah, this was probably the face your mom always had in those first years of your life, perpetually. Now, what made her stay up late at night, wake up at unearthly hours, feed you nutritious stuff that you promptly threw up and cry with your loudest and shrillest voice even when she's holding you?
A simple "No, I'm not hungry" would suffice, kid!

Well, it's the same "lurve" that male pop vocalists would be crooning about (or female vocalists would be belting out for 30 seconds at a stretch with a million 'aahs' and 'oohs' in between. By the way, if you mix the 'aahs' and 'oohs' together, you get something like a wolf's cry). And sorry for being harsh, but these were the very same parents you hated, considered awkward, didn't care a damn for, did not want to be associated with, and are now ignoring by reading some useless guy's blog online. If you're a parent and reading this however, hello uncle and aunty! Please leave a comment!
We look around a lot for love, but fail to realize it lives so very close to us, and clamors for our attention so very much, whereas we ignore it all in the name of "playing it cool", "living independently", "self-sufficiency" and what not, hiding the fact that we are exhibiting pure apathy for those who are ready to pretend the spoon was an airplane, just to get you to open your mouth and eat.
And we are only shown in an even poorer light when we are faced with the love we have all received, which was not pretty pink roses, but scarlet drops of blood.

That love could come only from Jesus from above. He lived a righteous life, not to prove himself greater, not for the fame, or for respect or any other reasons for which we would want to show ourselves as righteous. But he was perfect, just to be the pure and holy sacrifice for our wrongdoings. When we were offensive in God's sight, Jesus came, not to condemn us, not to say God is done or fed up with us, but to say, "I still want to love you." And love he did.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. - Jesus

He said that, and meant every word of it. He died for us, the ones who spat on his face by our lying, cheating, stealing, duplicity - you name it, we've done it, and we don't deserve anything at all, the way we deny him. Yet, with every drop of blood, dying like a common criminal, in their place, he willfully did such a thing, just to say HE LOVES US. He called us friends, even in the midst of our sinfulness.
All said and done, "lurve" doesn't come from a rosy illusion painted by delusion, but a conviction by his affliction. He rose again, so that we may have hope in him, believe that he loved us enough to die for us so that we will appear righteous in God's eyes, not by our actions, but by his death. He was love on display, in its purest form.
I can't explain why, but just remembering that he died such a painful death just for me to have a clear conscience in God's sight, sends shivers down my spine. If I can stand and praise God, it is because he has found favor in me, because Jesus has ransomed something so precious for me: his own life. All you need to do is believe that he saved you by dying in your place, and confess that you too have spat in his face, and his only reply will be that you are forgiven, and you too can live with a clear conscience.

With a love like this, I have no other need for love, because I'm loved to bits. Speaking of love, I love my (3 months new) guitar to bits too. Give it a few more months, and it may actually be in bits for my level of expert maintenance.
But hopefully, I don't ruin such a fine, fine thing of joy...

I believe that we have way too many misconceptions of love, and we are literally confused. If you want to understand what God's opinion is, the apostle Paul nails the definition of love.
Okay peoples, my YouTube finds of the week (click on what interests you):
#1 Michael Jackson getting angry at Slash!
#2 Guthrie Govan and Christophe Godin: Jamming!
#3 "Everlasting God", covered by Keba Jeremiah, Divyan Ahimaz and David Joseph, some of the best musicians in town!
#4 "Me, You, Future", an up-and-coming episodic film by my college mate Aaquib Jaleel! Will share when the episodes start rolling. Sneak peak for now!

Okay then, going to share some YouTube vids from now on as a part of every post, so that you come at least for the videos. I know most people would. So anyway, till next time!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Where one semester ends, a blog post begins

First of all, inevident as it may be, I still cared about my blog. Second of all, Spell Check is highlighting “inevident” and suggesting “in evident” instead. Suggesting that I have lost touch with spelling in general. Sad, ain’t it?
And though I very badly want to change “ain’t it” to “is it not”, I won’t do it, mainly because, the blog has kick-started back again, and I am mighty pleased by it, even with my spelling. Just went through one semester of college by the way, and only now do I feel that…
1. College isn’t what most people think it is:
Oh yes. For those who visualised lack of dress codes, bunking classes, teachers who’d give attendance despite you bunking class, awesome cafeterias and amazing and awesome teachers who would kindle the fire of learning and intuition, I apologise (except for maybe the Jeppiaar colleges, the canteens are to die for, it seems). And if you actually have a college that does all this, then thank God and move on. It won’t always cater to your interests, but to its own, which are securing a great name by students passing the exams with top marks. Which doesn’t always mean that people are taking an actual interest in the subject. So be wary, and if you are interested in your field, be careful not to get disillusioned by the homework, assignments, projects, records, exams and all, so that you still want to learn everything you can about what you love. After all, college is what YOU make it to be.
2. College isn’t what most people think it is:
The mind numbing, brain crunching, difficult and unexplainable portions, deadline after deadline of assignments, teachers who hate your guts, semester exams with papers meant to fail college students and what not. Guess what? It isn’t that big a deal. Yes, you have to submit your stuff, study and work, but yeah, you technically paid to undergo this, didn’t you? And once you do what is required, it is so much less straining on you. Studying for the semesters wasn’t so much the horrifying deal that the boards required. Just remember, God is with you and he got you in this, so he can get you through this. And yeah, the education system isn’t great, but then again, it all depends on how you can make the most of it. Figure it out, and you won’t carry self-inflicted burdens such as “What am I doing by studying here”, “Where am I going with this”, “What’s the use of writing this record”, “How can that teacher fail me” and what not.
Could it be so bad?!

Okay, ramble over. I promised what not, and I failed miserably. I even wrote some posts of my “second coming”, and guess what? They’re now in a little folder called “Mint Condition Junk”, so if you want them, one article costs 100 bucks. With the friends and family discount, it’s 80…
I’ve lost touch, bear with me! I’ve decided to post seriously from now on, and at 2 posts a fortnight, maybe. But now, I definitely feel much more "equipped" to post. There's much we need to know, and we are mostly guilty of forgetting that what we need! But what if we had a reminder, something like a posted note to tell us "This is the way, walk in it"?
Time we all reminded ourselves. Of rights, and of responsibilities.
*Looks over at article and feels scandalised by the shortness*

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Counselling and Catastrophe

Yes, I’m now a certified college student. I’ve just been assigned to K.C.G. College of Technology as a student of Computer Science and Engineering, and I’m happy about it. I mean, it’s what I prayed and waited about 3 months for, so I have every reason to be happy about it. I joined this college using a certain state-wide program called the “Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions” or the TNEA (commonly called “counselling”), and in this program, students are assigned ranks based on their 12th grade public exam results and get to select colleges of their choice in the order of their ranks. The only constraint is that each college has a limited number of seats, and so, you can only get a seat in the college of your choice if those seats aren’t taken by people with higher ranks. Simple system, and yesterday  I figured out what it was like. And here’s what I saw from experiencing a counselling session in all its glory…
  • You are asked to report two hours before your session. They want you to pay up Rs. 5000 and receive a ticket which states your details and a “session rank” which determines who gets called first to select their colleges. The guy before me got “65” as his session rank. I silently mocked him only to get mine – 132.
  • My session was at 10:30 a.m., so I was to report at 8:30. My family knew that the policy of Indian “punctuality” does not apply to education alone. For example: The long queue of parents who wait from 5 in the morning outside reputed schools every year just for their toddlers to study there. Yes, my friend, education is serious business here. I reported at 7:45, got my ticket by 8, and was asked to wait in the queue.
  • It was then I learnt another Indian policy. Indians do not believe in queues.
  • There was this sidewalk, and for now, it functioned as the “queue”. As typical Indians, my parents cut the line and we sat on the pavement. To one side was a posse of burqa-clad Muslim women and the other side had this guy who decided to show everyone that he had a laptop, and that it was cool to sit on a sidewalk and flash your fancy laptop at everyone. It didn’t help that the guy’s dad was overtly impressed by his laptop-wielding lad, and so spewed out words like “3G”, “browser” and “connecting” to flaunt his knowledge of post-modern computerology. Oh, and did I mention how he kept on walking around him and techno-babble while his son booted the laptop?! Note that this happened on a sidewalk where everyone was sitting squashed between each other and scanning the horizons for would-be queue cutters…
  • Well, I was daunted. Then I took my Symbian smartphone (yeah, I just called a Nokia C5 a “Symbian smartphone”. What is wrong with me…) and opened the browser to check out college vacancies. I was speeding through webpages while Mr “I’m-cool-because-I-have-a-laptop” couldn’t connect. He detached and attached his Airtel 3G dongle a bazillion times to no effect. I smirked as I ploughed through page after page, hearing his dad say “Something is wrong with the ‘3G’ because The ‘BROWSER’ is not ‘CONNECTING’…” (and using all his post-modern computerology in one sentence). It was then I learnt an important lesson: Vodafone has great connectivity. Yeah, and maybe I also learnt not to flaunt…
  • Well, the queue was getting congested, and so my mom sent me on a mission to scout and beat the queue and enter the hall firstusing all the military tactics that Counter-Strike and Call of Duty taught me. I decided to stay out of sight of the security (who chased away everyone he saw not in the “queue”) and pull my mom as soon as the door opened. But as soon as I got up and started to execute my plan, some people who stood around us like vultures, swooped in like eagles to take my place. I shooed off the damn birds and plopped onto the sidewalk again.
  • Well, the gate opened, and thankfully we weren’t that far behind. So we swam through the crowd and finally got in. Then, we were ushered into this big hall, where this guy with the brazen head (you must have understood his scalp’s condition by now) barked at everyone to switch off their phones, and so I switched my “Symbian smartphone” off, and my only tactical edge to know the number of vacant seats was gone…gone…gone.
  • And now, we walked in, got our documents, mark sheets and all verified by some bulldog-like beings, and then waited for the moment that would decide our destiny *drum roll*.  But sincerely, there wasn’t much, the next twenty minutes were spent assembling in another hall, getting called, and selecting our college.
  • Well, it was cool. The lady operating the computer asked me for three choices, I gave her only one, and it was the one I wanted. Done, done, done! And I was whisked away to perform some other particulars and finally, I left the hall, victorious.
  • Thanking God in my head, I finally found my parents, and had to complete one final step: get a physical fitness certificate. What could go wrong?
  • I paid the cash, got the certificate, and then I asked one of the volunteers when it had to be filled in (it looked more like a form). The guy said “Now.” And he said, “Go straight till you reach the ground, and then turn right. You should submit it there, at the Health Centre.” Oh cool, I thought. Just this one last step, and then I can go home and enjoy the rest of my day.
  • When that guy gave me those directions, I expected to reach there in two minutes. It took twenty.
  • We walked, and we walked, and we walked. We saw the banners saying “Way to Health Centre” with a large arrow as we walked. It was our only driving motivation as we trekked the entire length of the campus where the TNEA was held. My mom felt that maybe she needed the health centre just in case she blacked out during our unexpected trek…
  • Well, the ‘physical fitness’ examination required a ‘physical fitness’ test. Only thing which bothered me: what does physical fitness have to do with a course which prepares you to sit in front of computers all day? The redeeming grace was that there was a canteen which had awesome vadas and samosas and tea and all. So my parents refreshed themselves, as I performed the final leg of this procedure.
  • It measured physical fitness, so you had the usuals: height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, blood type and heartbeat. A note here to fellow ‘budding engineers’: Don’t mention your blood type. Even if you mention, they will assume you’re lying, and still prick your finger and drain the blood from it. It still hurts when I type and play guitar.
  • And another thing: I went for the blood test and told the lady there my blood group; she gave me a sceptical look and continued with the blood test. She pricked the middle finger of my left hand. And nothing happened. The callouses which I got from playing guitar saved me from the unforgiving needle!
  • She was undaunted by it, and drove the needle with greater force, and broke through my rough fingertips, then squeezed the finger like as though she was extracting the juice from a lemon.
  • After this, I finally finished my arduous yet rewarding counselling session, rewarding myself with six or so vadas (now don’t look at me like that, it was around 12 noon and I still hadn’t eaten breakfast). And then, I actually got lost in the campus while trying to get the exit, and found it after ten minutes. Finally, I navigated my way out of the campus, ready to continue my life again, with one major decision out of the way. 
Posting was extremely tough, as I had been super busy these two weeks, but I decided to post about my counselling session while it was still ripe in my head. I’ve been busy with the BreakFree Tour, an initiative of LiveJam, an organisation which tells school students of freedom in and through Jesus to make the right choices. I really want to post about it now itself, but I have a better idea: Post everything that happened in one laaarge post! And it’s gonna have pictures and all, taken with my Symbian smartphone. ;)
So pray for me, new step in my life, and pray that this BreakFree Tour will impact the lives of children to live lives of freedom. And thank you readers for still checking my blog to see if something’s updated, I promise to stick to my intended target of a post a week
And another thing: CJ says that the Display Hall in the campus is of no use. There are 6 screens and all of them show the vacancies of different colleges at the same time. You’d be way better off using a Symbian smartphone or those unsophisticated Android or Apple "regular-phones" to figure out whether your required colleges have vacant seats, than run the length of the hall (around 200 metres) just to see if your desired college comes on any one of the six screens.

"Symbian smartphone", it seems...

Monday, 9 July 2012

How Video Games can improve your life

Personally speaking, I’m not as highly motivated to write as before.  And not because there aren’t many readers to read my “chef d’oeuvre” (yeah, I’m just another person who betrayed his country by learning a foreign language in my 11th and 12th. And no, I don’t care if French is spoken in Pondicherry, it’s still a foreign language! (And by the way, “chef d’oeuvre” means “masterpiece” (I think it means so. Help me out here, Manish!))).
Maybe I overdid those brackets? But Spell Check asked no questions (thankfully)! Anyway, I love writing, but I’m “distracted” from blogging by computer games these days. They are very fun to play, and the quality of video games has noticeably gone up in the recent past. Big bucks are spent into making bigger video games which have eye-catching graphics, compelling storylines, and really unique and fun gameplay. And then I asked myself “Video games are still kinda pointless. How do I convince people that I’m actually gaining something good by playing computer games?” And these were the answers I got. Now some of them are very tongue in cheek, and so, I beg you, don’t take this seriously, get addicted to playing games, and then have your parents lash at me when you quote from my blog post about their usefulness (as if you’d actually quote it. I know my readers wouldn’t dare to quote me!).
  • Just before I started to type this, I was playing a game. I got stuck at a really tough part, and I managed to succeed only after failing 30 times! Now, is that a way to develop your determination, or not?!
  • Video games improve your focus. Focus on the head, kill the guy with a headshot, and save a lotta bullets, instead of pumping 30-60 bullets on his leg! And when a one-hit kill is the incentive, who wouldn’t try to improve their focus?
  • Real life incident here. Manish and I decided to play Counter-Strike 1.6 at an internet centre near his place, and there were some kids not older than 12 who were already playing. We decided to join them, assuming we would have some fun with these kids by dominating them. The kids however were so good that they ended up killing us even when we had a “tactical”edge (not to mention finishing us before we could even see them. It was then that I realised the term “child soldier”). Video games teach you to be humble, because one day, you could take down your elite friend, only to be pwned by your baby sister! (By the way, click the word “pwned” for its meaning. Then thank me later.)
  • And the other thing I learnt from this incident. A “tactical edge” is an advantage that sounds great on paper, but fails on you and becomes your demise (literally). For example, you decide to take out a person from far away with a powerful sniper rifle, but you’re so busy scanning the horizons for your target, you realise he’s right behind you only after he finishes you. So, don’t revel in “tactical edges” in life, but be prepared for everything.
  • Never give up. Even when ten enemies surround you in a room, there’s always a way out. Well, that’s what grenades are for. Though you might have to do a suicide bombing… (Fun Fact: In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, this is actually a perk in multiplayer mode! It’s the ability to automatically pull the pin on a grenade when you die and kill your killer. It’s called “Makoto”.)
  • Video games are the only artistic medium in which YOU (yeah, you!) are the hero who saves the world! No matter what you do (be it collecting coins, shooting baddies, putting magic spells on evil dragons etc.) you somehow end up saving the world (since that is the ultimate goal of every game)! And that’s a good thing, right? I mean, I want to do more than just reduce my carbon footprint to save the world, so video games shall I play!
  • Narcissism: Even when you are a nerdy, puny little rat of a man, if you can finish that extremely tough game at extreme difficulty (yeah, video games even let you decide whether saving the world should be an ‘easy’, ‘medium’, ‘hard’ or ‘hardcore’ task) in one night, you have more bragging rights than that muscular, hunky sportsman who just came back with three Olympic medals!
  • It’s extreme fun, and lets you hate your friends so bad, you love them so much after it’s over. Didn’t get me? Neither did I, but let’s keep this between you and me *gives a wink that looks like a log just hit his eye*. However, what I meant to say was that, when you play together with a good friend (and by good, I mean, he just introduced you to an awesome game), both of you are just trying to murder each other in-game; when he blocks that awesome attack you tried on him, you curse his grandfather…when he unleashes a powerful attack that drains half your health, you dissect his dead body in your mind’s eye…when you lose, you throw the controller at the TV but it lands a foot before it due to terrible aim (adding insult to injury, the TV was only two feet away from you!), and what not. In the end, you and him smile at each other and recount the happy experience of playing together with words like “epic”, “pwned”, “epic pwned”, “awesome” and somehow, the conversation always ends with “Duuude, let’s do it again!” Ah, good times, good times…
  • Living your life’s most unreal dreams aren’t just possible with video games, but in reality, they seem to exist for the sole purpose of letting you be larger than life lets you. For example, tell me something cool you want to be and I’ll tell you what game to play! A violent terrorist? Then play Grand Theft Auto. A street racer with some tricked out cars? Need For Speed for you! A trained killer in the 15th century? Assassin’s Creed! A war hero who undertakes thrilling missions? Call of Duty! It all goes to say that video games are food for that part of your soul which still holds that wish you once had to be someone a lot cooler than you really are.
  • Games like RollerCoaster Tycoon and Age of Empires can teach you: How to manage an amusement park financially, and how to develop a civilisation that will manage itself with the required resources for thousands of years and continue to progress in spite of wars, scarcity, economic depression and many other terms that you can find only in commerce textbooks.
  • Problem-Solving and Research: Let’s face it. Video games aren’t simplistic mindless killing of hordes of bad guys for experience points. Sometimes, they feature puzzle solving elements as well. Like, if there is a certain enemy you can’t destroy without losing all your bullets. You will “solve the problem” by “researching” a cheat code for more ammo. If the game you play does not work, you can easily “solve the problem” by cracking the application using techniques you have “researched”.
  • It teaches you very important aspects of biology and the human anatomy. Falling down from a great height: Removes 60 health. Taking a painkiller: Gives 90 health. Bullet to the head: Instant Death. When you are nearing death: The screen turns red. When a dragon breathes fire on you: 15 health gets drained every second. Even modern medicine hasn’t calculated that exact an amount…
  • The more civilians you run over on the street in your fancy car, the larger the number of policemen chasing you. Yeah, you really need to know that…
  • How do you check if your internet works? You type google.com in your browser and see if it loads. How do you check if your computer hardware is powerful enough to last you a few more years? You try the latest game on it and see if it runs at maximum graphics. From this, I learnt that I should change my graphics card, but only after three or so years, since it still has a lot of power.
  • Let’s face it. You’d rather play video games than study or work. And that’s all you need to know.

A lot of you may not be into video games (you poor sad people!) and so, you turn to “better” forms of entertainment like TV and movies. Well, I don’t mind that, and hope you don’t mind me blogging about this. If this inspires you to go get a Nintendo Wii©, I’d say “Cool! But get a Sony Playstation© or an Xbox 360© instead.” If this inspires you to brand me a “lazy freak without a social life who’d marry his computer”, I’d say “It’s a he! What made you think my computer was female?” *awkward pause*
Anyway, video games have turned from mindless entertainment into an art form, and maybe they won’t improve your life, but they sure do provide a lot of fun. And that’s that. (Hmm, that sentence sounds nice…maybe I should put it as a “sign off statement” from now on?)
And if you want to connect with me, or have your mother talk to me after she reads my blog, (yes, Booyaka 619! I’m looking at you!) I’d prefer you connect with me on Facebook because giving my contact details on a public space (be it a blog or a website or even your own Facebook profile) is a dumb idea, and renders the term “internet security” absolutely useless. And no, Booyaka 619, I’m not trying to “find your identity”, and spoil whatever secret mission you are on. I’m very concerned for the safety of my real identity, if you wish to know.