June the 1st:
Underwent an operation, bought many books, started attending the office once again, had a long walk in days… Did so many things during the last two days when I was finally allowed by my doctors to behave in a perfectly normal way.
Strange, even a minor operation like Appendicitis can curtail your freedom like never witnessed, no spicy food, no heavy lifts, no running, yada yada… for days and let me tell you, these days were the ones when I found the beauty in sitting idle and doing nothing but ponder (not that I otherwise don’t), ponder over the events of the past (I so love this activity, but it was sweeter this time around), times bygone and people forgotten.
During one of these in-numerous lazy moments it dawned upon me that I’ve not paid a visit to Pune for the last 4 years, a shame… And that’s the reason why I didn’t bat an eyelid before accepting the 10th anniversary celebration of the day when our entire batch of circa 2000 stepped into the Department of Computer Science, University of Pune.
That was the day when the students from almost all the states converged into the first-year lecture hall that resembled a school classroom more with those miniature benches and wooden platform (for the professors) to encounter the lecture by Rustom Mody reminding us “Don’t you think that you’re the sharpest of the 16000 that wrote this exam to make the cut among 60, you’re merely the luckiest few”, I’d say he echoed my thoughts exactly, in the year 1999, I wrote the same entrance and wrote it way better than I did in 2000, but couldn’t make it; 2000 was a different story though. I almost took him for a research scholar (he didn’t look like a 40+ guy at all) when I first saw him in the admission office 🙂
The quintessential Bengali, Achyut Roy was also there to support the seniors in their mischievous acts to unfold in the coming days. Some of the unanimously chosen seniors donned the hat of professors for the first couple of days (with tacit support of professors) and taught real courses and took real ‘mock’ tests just to bring diverse classroom up to the mark. This exercise also did another job, it used to bring crashing down a lot of misgivings about oneself a student could have… I’ve heard many classmates mutter in secret about their being toppers in their respective schools… ‘but here it’s like hell’ (sic) and stuff. I had the benefit of coming from another institute which had even sterner grading system and hence was not perturbed by the happenstances like a very good marking in a test or a poor one in another. But many a folk did break down due to their own expectations or lack thereof.
I can also never forget the mock-test (a tradition unique to the CSD-Pune), although I had some idea about what’s going to hit us courtesy some of the contacts amongst the seniors, it still bit all of us. I think Asit or Tushar topped the charts, I stood somewhere in the middle of the table (more of less an indication of things to follow during the academic years 🙂 ) thanking my stars after seeing the ‘bump’ treatment of the chart-topper preceding the utter slaughter of his wallet by the seniors in the name of a ‘treat.’
I met some of the best friends there during our introduction session, Pareekshit by virtue of his flamboyant demeanour and carefree attitude about life in general and studies in particular; we struck a perfect chord after initial friction due to my being the small-towner who believed in all things Pink Floyd, Kafka and Tolstoy, and him being a typical Delhi dude with all the shades of the world and with an admiration for everything Bon Jovi. Our tribe grew to the max size of 4 with Achin and Priyesh filling the rest of the slots for the first two years. Some falling-off and misunderstandings later we were reduced to 3 and ultimately when we passed out of our course, it was back to Parry and me.
Batch of 2000 was undoubtedly (and by the admission of faculty too) one of ‘the’ most versatile batches ever. It was only fitting that ours was the last batch which was taught by the stalwarts who made the department what it was, they all moved on once our class passed out.
The department is only a shadow of its glorious past due to many factors which deserve another dedicated writeup.
We (Rahul, Priyesh, Pareekshit and I) also made a department movie spoof which ran repeat shows houseful and on popular demand, I was actively involved with theatre in Pune and in constant touch with the folks in the Centre for Performing Arts, University of Pune (Darshan Naik, if you’re reading this, PM me!)
Those days are still fresh in my memory, especially the time spent on things not related to studies (treks and other outings with friends, Guitar classes which never got completed, German language course for which I didn’t take the certification exam on principles). Sadly though, I also remember many fellow students from there who wanted to just get the hell out of the department never to look back, though I do not grudge that – to each his own – but I think sometime, whether this is the general feeling among majority of the alumni. I’d not be surprised if it is, going by the plight of the school these days.
July the 4th:
Watching a FIFA world cup was a revelation, in more ways than one 🙂
I got to know that there is a thing called Vuvuzella which can scare the guts out of players on the pitch, make the hearing so difficult that even a screaming locomotive would go past without raising an alarm.
I also got to know that Football and controversy can never be taken out of Maradona, the list is pretty long, hence I’d put bullet points…
- Maradona doesn’t like Pele one bit
- Pele reciprocates in kind
- Muller will no longer be known as the ‘ball-boy’ that Maradona addressed him with, he’d rather be known as the one who made Argentina kneel down and feel humiliated like never before
- Maradona will never learn the lessons in economy of spoken words
- Pele will keep going after Maradona even more now
- Brazil are knocked out of the world-cup courtesy an own goal and a red card that followed
- The Netherlands-Brazil duo at the world cup stands equal on all counts (wins, losses, GF, GA)
- Ghana didn’t go far, although they very well could have (hurts)
- The beautiful game took some beating and this should force FIFA to alter its stand on technology usage
- C. Rolnaldo, Messi, Rooney and all the over-hyped names didn’t live up to their billings
- Germany as a team impressed one and all, but Spain impresses more
- Lastly, India may not be able to send its team to the FIFA WC finals, ever, going by the standards of the other teams
- It was much better watching the FIFA WC and Wimbledon (though at times it became difficult to manage) than watching ICC WC (even here in India)
- I’ve decided to follow only Test match cricket from now on
Now I think… even if Paul the Octopus doesn’t predict a German WC win, I reckon they’re already on their course to this first FIFA trophy post unification of East and West Germanies lest Spain spoil their party.