An apology to my Blog

I badmouthed Tirupati, and you see my post coming in after 3 long years! Is that what called as Power? Anyway, now that I have done ablution of my sins, by finally visiting that place again, I guess (hopefully) the jinx is over now!

Lots to share, lots have changed and guess, a new saga begins now!
An appointment with God!

From the day I landed in south, I have been hearing about Tirupati God and its power from every second mouth. We have a small pooja place in my room and Dil has placed Tirupati photo there, so I have been virtually worshiping lord Tirupati everyday. So I finally decided to quench my excitement by giving the place - a visit.

I went to Prabeen Travels located at Besant Nagar - Adyar Junction and booked two seats for me and Dil, promising us travel, food, darshana and ladoo. The package looked attractive and we grabbed it with both the hands (four indeed). On the day of travel, we both woke up with excitement and left home on our beloved scooter at 4 a.m. I wore the brand new T shirt that J gifted me recently. All in pious mood, the couple (yes, me and Dil form a wonderful couple) parked the scooter at the travel agent shop in Egmore, enjoyed Kapi at Sangeetha and boarded the AC bus (which was 2 hour late). As usual, we both got engrossed in what we call "meaningful conversations" and right from analysis of girls’ attitude in general to money matters to songs to religion and to life, we discussed each single topic available on earth! Midway breakfast, as a part of the tour, consisting of one vada, some two idlies and a plain dosa added to our felicity.

We climbed up the Tirupati hill in the bus, and Dil enlightened me with all the place history and different rituals followed and his personal experiences for believing Tirupati as highest consecrated place. I got all the more excited to experience it in real, let me also get my share of blessings.

We reached a market kinda place in Tirupati, where the guide took us to a small phone booth and asked us to keep all our foot wears, electronic gadgets (cell phones, cameras, walk man etc) in a jute sack. I felt kinda odd, walking bare feet around the town and the guide took us to a heavily crowded restaurant where we had good south Indian Sapad. Some of the people who bifurcated to some other road mid way, now reappeared with their heads completely shaven. Two women sitting in a row before us in the bus had fairly long hair tail and seeing them completely bald now, took me some time to digest the site.

After everyone was done with lunch, the guide adumbrated that all special darshana (one that of 200 Rs) slots are over and free darshana are the only people who would be allowed. I was taken aback, more coz of the lifetime contradictory fact that something for free is getting preference over paid ones. I got filled with enormous appreciation for the place and I felt all the more devout. The guide proclaimed confidently that he has over a decade of experience and just trust his words that cell no 12 (where we were supposed to go) would get their chance of darshan around 9-10 p.m. He asked us not to listen to thousands of talks around, the darshan would be definitely there at 10 and he is waiting outside the place we left our belongings.

Did he say 10 p.m.? Man, it was 1 p.m. now and wait is the only thing I could never do in my life. 9 hours - that’s crazy and insensible. People around told that this would be probably the shortest time as per the normal standards, as people have even taken a week sitting in queue for the precious darshana. Anyway, did I have any choice? I entered the waiting castle cum premises with an eerie feeling.

High security and check up made me feel I have an appointment with Prime Minister of the nation, ah .. The God is much above, I consoled myself. Walking upstairs, we went to the waiting cell (which I later called - concentration camp). There were huge rooms, made up of no floor, just stairs. And thousands of people were sitting in each cell on those stairs. We entered cell 12 and found it dead full. We tried to squeeze inside but found it impossible and finally walked to cell 13 which was relatively empty (as empty as Mumbai locals). Me and Dil somehow managed to find a place to stand and suddenly saw a flood of people (60% of them completely bald) foraying a corner. Its only when I witnessed the same episode several times in the day, I realized that the temple volunteers were distributing some grub for free. It was only by the end of the day I realized that almost half of the people there were there, just for that free grub. I even heard that people do darshan and then immediately again get into the queue. They are least bothered about how fast of slow the queue is moving, they get a shelter and free food.

Whatever, the episode gave us opportunity to put our bums down and we peacefully place ourselves in a corner of a row. There was on TV in the room/hall and they started playing Ramayana. Some 45 mins easily passed watching that ramayana and the pain started then. Meantime some watchman came and locked all the doors from outside - I wondered if the case would be any different here than Kumbakonam school case, in case someone sparks a fire here.

2 p.m - Me and Dil were discussing about Tirupati.

3 p.m. - We exhausted everything that we could talk and tried sleeping on stairs sitting, but in vain.

4 p.m. - We both got absolutely bugged up and Dil swore some furious words on the Prabeen Travels.

5 p.m. - My whole body was paining and I was tired of watching people doing all sort of crazy stuff. Reverence was the last thing spotted. Even traces of it were missing.

6 p.m. - We both were quite hungry and I decided to walk down to toilets. I went down, struggling to make my way thru the ocean of people. There was a gully in between two chambers, containing toilets - common to both chambers - 12 and 13. I entered toilet and puked. Strong piss and human dung odour made me dizzy. I refused to enter the site and ran back feet away. My bare feet were completely wet due to liquid spread all over the floor - piss, sewage water - god knows!!!

7 p.m. - Dilip could not resist the piddle pressure and history repeated itself. He went inside and puked.

8 p.m. - We both were damn hungry and looting the free food distributed, by fighting with the mob appeared to be the next viable situation. I discovered that somewhere near the toilet someone was selling idlies and vadas. I rushed down and saw people willing to kill for the idlies. I became the part in the stampede and earned myself two idlies and two vadas. Since Dil refused to eat them, I had all for myself - never knew two idlies can give such a satiating feeling.

9 p.m. - Finally I also gave up and wondered what the hell was happening. People around were all cool and calm and well prepared. Our throats started paining of the talk we were doing - the same we had already done several times in the day.

10 p.m. - This was the time we were supposed to get darshana. I was surprised by myself because I still had hopes that we would get the darshana. I am neither that religious and nor was that eager for darshana, but after the longest wait of my life, I wanted at least the final fruit.

10:30 p.m. - What the hell, in last one hour, only half an hour is passed.

11:00 p.m. - All patience broke up of us and people who came with us and we started taking opinions to go back. Most of the people were equally frustrated than us but still people just nodded.

11:30 - I discovered that there are 1.8 lakh people before me in the queue and that is the free darshan category. In between, paid darshana would eat up most of the time as they are always preferred. Ah, I doubted the human potential in vain. Here they go.

By Schedule, It was supposed to take three days before they would open the concentration camp gates and I did not think that this kind of darshana made any sense. By 12 a.m. we shouted for the guard and came out of the whole complex. While returning I saw several thousands of people who were behind me in the queue.
Life Never Stops - It just goes on and on !

When I left home for graduation, I thought all my good old days are over. I wondered how I gona live away from home. I was convinced that I gona have tough time in IIT. New City, new schedule, new people ... I sank sad.

But, I had the best time of life in IIT and When I was leaving IIT, I thought the life has come to an end and now only churning is left. I was dead sure that I can never make better friends again. New city, new people, new job.....I sank sad.

But, life in Trivandrum was fun and I made good friends there. Then when all of us got dispersed at different cities, I thought the tough time starts now. New City, new office, new people .... I sank Sad.

But then I had tremendous time at Chennai and made a close circle, yet again. And now as all of my gang is moving out for betterment, I am left alone. Same City, same office, same schedule ......but I am sinking sad.
Food Festival

"Leave no stone unturned", that's a famous quote but ever heard "Leave no place unattended"? Seems that's the motto, our group (read, gang) is following these days where unturned stones are being turned by cracking the jobs/apps/profiles/trips and by zeroing in the definition of 'place' to eating joints.

Be it Pinnacle, Heaven and Earth, Tandoor, Zara Tapas, Main Street, Mainland China, Little Italy or Minar - the gang can be spotted anywhere & everywhere and the list goes on and on. Amidst the several liter of booze we gulped down our throats, several Kilograms of yummy food and several thousands of moolah spent, the most noticeable factor is - Its happening! Things are on move and I strongly believe - Every Success should be welcomed arms-wide-open by celebrations!

The fun of these days makes me nostalgic. The enthu and the chemistry of the gang is the closest approximation possible to the good old bunch of friends of college (read, insti). Those were the days; and I never thought I could live them up again.
While science is universal, the scientist is not!!!

Prof. Narendran agrees that scientific research has to be pursued at the best place, no matter where. But as Dr. Ananth points out, "While science is universal, the scientist is not................. He has a nationality."

These lines appear in Metro Plus this week and forced me to ponder. The article basically addresses the issue of IITians choosing jobs over research, that too only abroad. It honestly accepts that we have poor research facilities in India but since the trend is shifting towards jobs, does that really matters?