Thursday, January 28, 2010

(American) English is such a Funny Language

Genre: Life

When you come from India to USA, you have to learn a lot of new things.

Like, when you are in USA, you don’t walk on footpaths. You walk on Sidewalks.

You don’t cross the roads at Zebra Crossings. You do it at Crosswalks.

You don’t drive on National Highways. You take the Interstates.

When you run out of fuel, you do not stop at a Petrol Pump. You stop at a Gas Station.

And, you don’t pay with notes. You pay with Bills.

You don’t stop at Red Signals. You stop at Traffic Lights.

You will not see any Railways. You see Railroads.

The trains that run on these tracks do not have coaches. They have Cars.

Also, they are not driven by Loco Pilots. They are driven by Engineers.

Trains have Conductors, but buses don’t!

On the roads, there are no Dust Bins. There are only Trash Cans.

Also, on the roads, there are no Taxis. There are only cabs.

There are no Police Jeep either. Only Cop Cars everywhere.

Even if you are a graduate student, you don’t go to college. You go to School.

And, at school, you never submit any of your homework. You turn it in.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kahani Desi Student Ki

Genre: College Life

Ever wondered what do the 100,000-odd Indian students who go to USA every year to pursue graduate studies actually do in those two years? The story of everyone of them is the more or less identical and like a true engineering student, I present a Flowchart explaining the same-

(Click on the image for larger size)

Glossary: GRA = Graduate Research Assistantship

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Tale of Two Cities

Genre: Travel

Christmas holidays took me to the destination I was dying to visit – New York City and having lived for 22 years in Mumbai, the first thing that came to my mind on seeing New York was - “Wow! This city is so much like Mumbai!”. Apart from the geographical similarity of both megacities being on long narrow islands and having huge natural harbors, New York and Mumbai are like identical twin cities in many aspects.

As any Mumbaikar would testify, the best and the fastest way to travel across Mumbai is by the local trains, similarly the most convenient way to traverse across New York is the Subway. The gigantic network lets you travel virtually anywhere taking the ‘A’ train, ‘B’ train, ‘C’ train…all the way upto ‘W’ train and ‘1’ train, ‘2’ train right upto ‘7’ train. This can baffle first-timers, but not a Mumbaikar who has spent years deciphering A, B, Ba, Bo, Bl, Bs, By, C, D, G, etc on Mumbai’s suburban train network. Like Mumbai’s suburban stations, New York’s Subway stations are old, dirty, littered with trash; trains are crowded, hardly state-of-the-art but very frequent, dependable and run throughout the day, much like the Mumbai locals. Not just this, below Broadway in Manhattan run four tracks of Subway – two for Local services and two for Express, like Mumbai’s Slow and Fast lines.

Out of the Subway, the city of New York resembles Mumbai in many more ways. A drive on Broadway between Midtown Manhattan and Downtown Manhattan gives a feel of driving on Colaba Causeway with scores of shops selling everything from clothes to jewelry and the sidewalks filled with tourists exploring the area on foot. Enter Grand Central Terminal and it feels like Mumbai's equally grand VT station. Midtown Manhattan is even more Mumbai-like with street food sellers at every corner selling hot dogs to Falafels (a New York specialty) to Chicken Rice at (relatively) affordable rates and hawkers occupying walking space on footpaths selling ladies purses, tshirts, junk jewelry and accessories at throwaway prices. Reminds of Linking Road, ain’t it?

Just like how the townships of Mira Road, Thane or Navi Mumbai developed beyond the boundaries of Mumbai’s island city providing affordable housing to working classes, New York city extends far beyond the well-known island of Manhattan into the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn and one look at the area reveals the similarity with Mumbai’s extended suburbs. Taking a ferry from the southern tip of Manhattan to Staten Island across the New York harbor offers spectacular view of Downtown Manhattan and I couldn’t help but relate it to similar experience back in Mumbai when one takes the ferry from Gateway of India to Elephanta Island.

Extending far beyond these physical similarities, is the similarity in the way of life in the two megecities – hectic, fast-paced, where everyone is always on the run and there is never a dull moment. Truly, these are the Cities That Never Sleep!

mum ny

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Idiot Talk

Genre: Entertainment

Yes, I know a thousand people have already written and spoken about 3 Idiots and its similarity (or lack thereof) with Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller Five Point Someone. But being a hardcore FPS fan, I can’t help but add my two cents to the issue.

First things first – Mr VVC deserves a kick on his posterior for claiming that the movie is “original work”. How can he even think of saying this? From the first day ragging session where Ryan kicks the butt of seniors, the first lecture with the professor asking for definition of Machine, Alok shifting to live with Venkat after first results, sneaking into Neha’s house at midnight, Operation Pendulum (stealing question paper from Cherian’s office), drinking on the insti terrace, Neha’s revelation of her brother’s suicide, Alok attempting suicide…it’s scene by scene FPS! Not just this, what about Alok’s complaint about “Bhindi Rs 12/kg ho gayi hai” to him crying about “maa ne 5 saal me nayi saree nahi kharidi”, lines taken verbatim from FPS? Is this “original work”? Forget this, even the jokes are not original! From Rancho mixing the answer papers to confuse the professor to Raju’s response to “How does an induction motor start?”, all these jokes are straightaway lifted from internet joke sites. Talk of originality!

The movie would have been awesome had they stuck to the FPS story completely (anyways I only liked the parts which had FPS resemblance). I was disappointed to find no reference to Operation C2D (which has “inspired” scores of engineering students in real life, myself included!) and the love story with Neha which ran parallel to the main plot throughout in FPS wasn’t developed enough in the film(I know all FPS fans, especially guys, will be disappointed to find the final encounter between Hari and Neha in her bedroom missing in the film!). And ofcourse, I am surprised nobody has talked about one major change in storyline – the love story is supposed to be between HARI and Neha, not RYAN and Neha!!!

All said and done, VVC’s insistence on “original work” has ended up 3 Idiots in a “dhobi ka kutta, na ghar ka, na ghat ka” kind of situation. The only thing I really loved about it are the two superb songs – All Izz Well and Give Me Some Sunshine, and of course, the BEST part being now-so-famous Chatur’s speech! HILARIOUS!!!


For those who have not read the book and/or not seen the movie:

Hari in FPS = Farhan in 3I = Madhavan

Alok in FPS = Raju in 3I = Sharman Joshi

Ryan in FPS = Rancho in 3I = Aamir Khan

Neha in FPS = Piya in 3I = Kareena Kapoor

Cherian in FPS = Virus in 3I = Boman Irani

Venkat in FPS = Chatur in 3I = Whoever he is, he is BRILLIANT! :D


Disclaimer: I am NOT paid by Chetan Bhagat for writing this. If VVC reads this, he’ll probably tell me “Shut Up!”

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