Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On Being A Mechanical Engineer

If you did Engineering, you have to admit that the most awesome people in your college were from the Mechanical Engineering department. They would have been the main coordinators of most colleges fests and events. They would have scored with the girls in your department. They would have also been the only group of guys who went around telling people how awesome they and mechanical engineers are in general. One such mechanical engineer went on to be a movie director and he went on to talk about the greatness of being a mechanical engineer in his movies. In most of his movies, the lead character would have studied mechanical engineering (if he had any form of education that is). There is this dialog by Madhavan in one of his movies, which translates as, "A Mechancial Engineer should have a fire inside him". Lame as it may sound, some people had it as their phone's message tone in college. It was intended to remind them and everybody around them about the fire, mechanical engineers carry inside. A Mechanical Engineering degree is more like a degree in Narcissism than a degree in Engineering. So it might not come as a shock when I tell you that I did Mechanical Engineering myself. 

However, I was the least narcissistic of the bunch. In fact I don't have that many qualities that you might usually attribute to a mechanical engineer. There are many misconceptions people have about mechanical engineers, one of which being that all mechanical engineers are car crazy. When guys talk about cars, I understand what they are talking about, (I got an A grade in automobile engineering), but what I don't get, is why they are talking about it with such great passion. I never found cars fascinating. As a matter of fact even today I am car blind. I look at a car and I see its color. But I won't know its make or brand, till I look at the logo. When I was learning how to drive, the driving school had two cars - a Santro and an Indica. They had different instructors and I was assigned to the one who taught people how to drive in the Indica. Both cars were red which was very confusing to me. My instructor thought I was mentally disabled because I went and sat in the Santro for the entire first week. He was always worried that I would crash the car. When I got my license in my first attempt, he used me to inspire and boast to his students, "I taught a mentally challenged kid, how to drive." Just before I left India, he called me and asked me to speak to one of his weaker students, so that he can get some inspiration from me. Some day I might own a car, and if I ever get arrested for trying to get into the wrong car, I can at least turn to my driving instructor to produce a convincing plea for my innocence.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Three Things That Suck About England

Diary Entry - 55

The best thing about living in England is the internet connection which lets you download gigabytes in less than half an hour. This would have taken a few months in India but even this is slow for the Dutch guy who lives in my flat. He is used to speeds faster than the time it takes to start his computers. Anyway this post was meant to be a post on what I liked about England and the internet speed sort of concluded everything I liked about this country. That’s quite a lot I know, so I thought I should write a short post on what I do not like about this country.

Size of The Burgers

When I went to McDonalds India with my dad he found the price (90Rs), outrageous for a single burger. Turns out that you can have a full course meal in a place like Saravana Bhavan for the same amount of money. But none the less a burger along with a coke and french fries was enough to leave me burping. Having a burger in McDonalds here in England is guaranteed to leave you more hungry. When I placed an order for a regular McChicken Burger meal they gave me a burger which was the size of a large Vada. I stared at the burger for quite sometime because I thought they were playing a april fools prank on me in March. They sadly weren’t and the £4.99 Pounds I paid for the meal give me a vague feeling that I was being ripped off. These kinds of things make me love India a lot more because that day I went home and liked McDonald India’s facebook page.

The Bathrooms
In most cold countries, you will find a cold valve and hot valve in your tap and you can turn it and set it to the right amounts to get the water at the right temperature. In the UK the two valves are on separate taps. One tap gives you boiling hot steaming water which will burn your fingers. The other tap is so cold, it freezes your hand. So if you want to wash your hands in England you have to burn and freeze your hands alternatively. The English have had this plumbing system for so long that it makes me think my history teacher was a cold liar for telling me that these smart people were once the most powerful nation in the world.  

The Weather
The weather is the other thing in the UK. You never see the sun. If you were a vampire you could walk in the day light without any fear of evaporating or glittering or whatever happens to vampires these days. It is always raining and trust me you will not be writing poems about how beautiful it is. Life becomes so painful when it drizzles. Breathing and walking becomes excruciating. I am not complaining though. The weather in Chennai is just the polar opposite. The sun is so hot there that I think god is trying to make us all into Sheesh Kebabs for his party. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fist Fights With The Sleep Demons

Diary Entry – 54

Every morning I fight a battle which I often tend to lose. Failing to win this battle will mean a lack of attendance. The victors of this battle however will see no glory. They will only find themselves slain in class by the boring lecturer. Coffee doesn’t give you invincibility against these villains. Expecting such powers will only make you want to file a lawsuit against Nescafe for misleading you.  

This battle is impossible to win, when there is a class at 9 Am. I find myself with the sleeper’s dilemma as I try to decide whether or not to go to class 10 minutes before the actual class.

“To go, or not to go? That is the question.”

I have tried various alarm tones to wake myself up from my slumber. I have used everything from barking dogs to Indian mantras. Nothing worked till one morning afternoon after missing a class, I did a Google Search, “I Can’t Wake Up.” When you have a problem, you should first tell it to Google. That is how I found this app for my phone called “I Cant Wake Up!” When your alarm goes off, the app asks you to perform a math test among other things before you can switch off your alarm or even press the snooze button. The math test requires you to multiply two pairs of two digit numbers together and add them up together. I can now perform speed mental math in my sleep. How I miss Chennai. The 8 Am power cut along with the scorching heat made sure that nobody over slept in the city. That is why you should vote for Jayalalitha.

Unlike India, you can’t get people to give you a proxy attendance in the UK. In the University I am in, there is a lady whose sole purpose in life is to stand in front of the class room, for the first 15 minutes, to get signatures from students for their attendance. If you miss your attendance, she just won’t mark you absent but will send you an email saying, “We don’t have your signature in the attendance sheet. What was the reason?”. Since I don’t like lying about being in class when I was not, I send her a neutral reply saying, “I failed to sign in the attendance because I woke up late.” She will reply saying, “Okay I will mark you as late but present. Please know that punctuality is as important as attendance.” My mother had it right when she said, I could never get into trouble if I am honest.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Feminist Irony

Diary Entry – 52

My friend, who was preparing for the GRE, once came and told me he was left aghast when he saw his sister’s face. She had come home from Bangalore and he intended to tell me that he was surprised to see her. But when he told me he was left aghast when he saw her face, I assumed she got a plastic surgery or met with some kind of major accident which left her face severely disfigured.

Misusing English words is not a problem common to only GRE aspirants. This world is full of people who use the word irony to appear intelligent. It is not really a bad thing, if they didn’t massacre it. I remember the time when this Chinese girl from my class happened to meet me three times in three different places on the same day. The third time she met me she said, “Isn’t this ironic. We are meeting for the third time on the same day.” It almost felt like she was accusing me of stalking her. Some of you reading this will have no clue why using the word “irony” is wrong in this context. Let me explain. Let’s say you had a sweet tasting vanilla ice cream which had a cherry and a few peanut flakes on top of it. You eat it with great joy until you start falling terribly sick, which is when you realize that you are allergic to peanuts. In order to get better, you go to get medicines for your allergy. But on the way you get hit by a giant truck and you die on the spot. This is not irony. Even if this truck was carrying peanuts (the thing that you are allergic to), it is not irony. It would just be a coincidence. If however the truck was carrying medicines for your peanut allergy, then that my friend is some bitter irony. Most people however would call it irony even if you got hit by a garbage truck. Now that you know how the word irony is used, you can haunt all those people who find your death ironic.

The other word which happens to be severely misused is the word “feminist”. A feminist is an activist who strives to establish equal opportunities for women socially. They usually strive for protecting women against discrimination in education and in employment. It still happens in our country and there are some women out there who think feminism is bad. If you are a woman who think feminism is bad, you might as well move to a country like Saudi Arabia right now. Most people just assume that a feminist is a lady who likes to dominate men and who think women should rule over the world. People who think that, often get confused when they see a male feminist. Women who enjoy dominating men are called Dominatrix and if I try to explain what a Dominatrix does, my blog will start getting kinky. The point I am trying to make is that don’t try to offend someone by calling them a feminist. Feminism is a good thing, unless you are threatened by woman empowerment. I know Mayawathi and Jayalalitha might concern a lot of men and women, but I assure you that feminism is not about empowering these kinds of women.