Sunday, September 2, 2007

Five Point Someone: What to do at IIT

Following video is re-enactment of a actual life incident, Might be shocking to those who believe all IITians to be extremely sincere creatures, viewers discretion is advised.

Well the video says it all, it's this hard(ly) work of mine which made these D..ecent Grades a reality and made me a distinguished member of this (in)famous clan of 5 point someone's...

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Experiments with Food

It all started four years ago with my selection in Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee. Till then were the days of a Abhinay completely choosy in food, who's mom had to check with the long long list of her son's dislikes before cooking anything. I wonder how my parents tolerated me, I bet if I was in their place my son would have got one tight slap before every meal. Anyways it all changed, in fact drastically, in last four years. Now the person who writes this is complete opposite of the Abhinay, whom I described above. Now I eat all that is edible and too with full enjoyment. Here I tell you the story of this transformation, a changeover which turned this finicky eater into a complete foodie.

This story has two interesting chapters. Chapter-1, where I encounter IIT mess system and Chapter-2, where I use skills developed in IIT mess to survive with European food.

Let's start with chapter-1, First week was the week of excitement, excitement of new place and excitement of reaching the ace institute which was a dream come true.... But.. as this fever diminished and I came face to face with the realities, or rather I should say tongue to food realities, fear filled my heart, fear that I will have to eat the crappy, tasteless food for next five years. So a time when so many professors are trying their best to suck all your blood out, your body doesn't get any food to make new blood.

On a typical day the menu at mess would be- 'kali dal', 'peeli dal', 'kali sabji', 'peeli sabji'; don't ask what is this 'kali' and 'peeli', even after 4yrs I don't know; all i know is that its a yellow mass which is completely tasteless and odourless. But chapattis have a flavour.... they taste like soil. Apart from this usual menu we get 'special' meals three days a week, Then we get rubber like 'nan' (we are trying to get them registered in Guinness book for most stretchable food stuff) or 'bhatures' which will give you a litre oil if you squeeze it. We get those with dust flavoured 'chhole' or 'paneer' which has only chili in the name of spices.

Then a ray of hope appeared in form of the section in the mess where you could get anything fried on request. And it was this Lab where some of the finest food products in IIT Roorkee were engineered. Some of the popular products include Rice fried with butter, Rice fried with eggs, dal fry and egg stuff like half/full fried eggs, french toast, omelet, scrambled egg etc which everybody knows what they are. But some products were really innovative so let me describe a few-

'Paratha Flavoured Roti' - you take a soil flavoured chapatti from mess and fry it in butter for a min or two and then there you are, you have a paratha flavoured roti!!.... Idea for this came up during one of highly productive time of wait in queue for getting the dal fried, when one of my friend suggested that we can try getting chapatti fried, we tried and the experiment was successful. This product is increasingly becoming popular in Govind Mess of IIT-R, which is where we did this experiment. I believe I should get a award for this one, something like 'Innovator of the year in Mess Techniques'.

Then two other products came from a different resource- Sick Diet- which is given to people who are sick and can't digest 'normal' food (who said mess food is normal). Well, usually one should have a prescription from IIT-R hospital that he is sick and should be given a sick diet... But here 'Jugad Technology' comes to the rescue (about that later). Anyways coming back to the food- here we have two options- get two glass of milk with bread or take 'khichdi'. We modified these stuff and came up with following-

'Biryani Flavoured Khichdi' - get the khichdi fried with onions in butter and mix some pickles in it.
'Coffee flavoured milk with fried bread'- get the bread slices fried and mix some coffee in hot milk.

Archaeological evidences suggest that these dishes have been in use for many years and have been modified with the course of time.

Second Chapter Started with my last year's summer project in Germany and continues with this year's summer in France. Usually Indians are use to spicy Indian food and so they find the European food too tasteless, But me no... I love all sort of food now... during last four years at IIT, I forgot what taste is. Either I have lost my taste buds after four years of hard work with my IIT's mess food or my taste buds have got modified such that what ever food they taste my brain will get the signal 'yummy'.

Its not only the taste bud thing, my experimental spirit developed in IIT mess also proved useful. I eat my lunch in 'restaurant universitaire' (fancy name for university mess) where my modified taste buds were working and for dinner I was on my own, which is where my experimental skills proved useful. Please note that I hate cooking mostly because it takes half an hour to prepare the food and then again half an hour to clean the cooking stuff, whereas it takes only 15 min to eat it. So keeping this constrain of less effort I came up with following solutions-

Egg stuff- omelet, fried eggs etc which, 'normal' humans would say, often had a burnt taste but I like to call it burnt flavour eggs, its a unique taste. But unfortunately I had to scrap the idea as it was still taking some effort to clean the frying pan.

my latest invention- 'Hybrid' Sandwich-I don't know exactly what to call them, I put a cheese slice, a meat slice and a layer of hot tomato chicken sauce in between bread slices. eat this with some Indian 'namkeen', tomato ketchup and chilled beer. Its not only tasty but nutritious too and also no effort in making and cleaning. An excellent example of engineering- production with least effort using available resources. (my professors would be so happy)

So those were my experiences with food. Sometimes good, sometimes bad or ugly at others but I enjoyed them.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What's in a name?

Ya, I know Shakespeare gave that crap..... What's in a name, but let me tell you lot's in a name. Shakespeare only looked at a rose and said "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"..... yes rose does that but because it doesn't have any mouth and giving scent is all it does; just try calling a person 'piece of crap' and you'll know how sweet he smells (for better results pick a 6.5 feet, 300 pound person for the above experiment).

Are you wondering why i am trying to disturb Mr. Shakespeare resting peacefully in his grave?? I haven't got anything against this great poet but every time someone calls me abhinav...(God! what have Indians got against a 'Y')... I feel like shouting out at my full volume so that our respected poet can hear me in whichever world he is.

From days of my class 1, i have been correcting people after every introduction- sorry it's abhinay not abhinav.....nay not nav.....y not v...... But believe me this 'Abhinay-Abhinav' has been the smallest error that people made in dealing with my name. Let me tell you all funny incidences that happened with me, myself and Abhinay.

So the story starts with spelling of my name becoming ABHINAYA- the extra A was due to stupid English language adding one 'A' to all Indian names, Ram to Rama, Krishn to Krishna and Abhinay to Abhinaya.... believe me nothing annoyed me more than this distortion. This name followed me till Class5, till that I was so shy and quite boy (ya...I knw its difficult to imagine now- me n shy), that I didn't raise my voice against this inhuman torture to my name. But then one day, when I couldn't bear it any more, I shouted at (pls read requested) the teacher to correct the spelling. I forgot to tell you about my English teacher in class 3, she had a additional mistake in her students list and so she used to call me abhineya...O..MY..GOD....I really hated that. Anyways problems didn't end even after sorting out that additional 'A' thing, In class 5, my moral science teacher- Sr. Ansa jese (school buddies please chk the spelling) had a habit of forgetting my name, God only knows why only mine, and every class she would call me Abhimanyu (??? why??? God knows why only abhimanyu) and every time I'll remind her that it's Abhinay and she would say- 'Oh that's a tough name', yes every time... every class 3 days a week .

Apart from above there were some other small incidences also but not as disastrous as those. Please remember Abhinay-Abhinav thing continued during above period also. Now when I got use to correcting Indians, last year I encountered German attacks on my name, when I told my lab mates my name, next five minutes they struggled (silently) with the pronunciation and finally everyone of them came up with a different version of their own- results were varied- from ebinay, aabinay to abinaay. Also during their silent struggle with my name I could see the fear.... fear that they will have to call this tough name everyday. Most correct was my roommate, who probably practiced it a few hours, who called me abhinaay (only he and my project guide could pronounce 'h' in my name)

After my first experience with European pronunciation, This year I was prepared for French attacks......But..... here in lab I found that my lab mates are two Chinese students, one Jordanian and only one French student (ya only one!! even I was surprised, only one french student in a French lab), I mean apart from my guide who is a French Professor. There are a few PhD students also but there also we have a similar distribution. So let me tell you their approaches-
Chinese - aa.bhi.naa.y (for proper visualization think about kung-fu movies... aa... yaa... ha)
Arabs - abbiney (they say that its similar to abbi- arabic for father :-), ya so from now on call me Godfather)
French- aabhinaay or abhinaay or abinaay (my guide tries to be very careful while pronouncing it)

So this was one side of the name game, sometimes funny and annoying at others. Now let me tell you another side. During school days every year day one used to be introduction day, new teachers would ask every body's name. I am sure it's just for time pass because none of them remembered any body's name, well no ones except mine. It's easy to confuse between many Rahuls, Rohits and Saurabhs (sorry, Rahul, Rohit and Saurabh bhai logon, majak kar raha hoon- well 3 of my dearest friends have these names so no offenses meant) but with Abhinay, which is probably name of 100 out of 1 billion Indian population, isn't easy to confuse ( in fact I personally know only myself with this name). It gives me a feeling of uniqueness in a crowd, I feel like a white tiger in a ocean of yellow ones (, So the summary of this story (long story...i know) is that in spite of all problems I love it.

Advice:- handle names with care....I mean mine only ;-)