We need good teachers.

It is no secret that the standards of teachers nowadays in colleges and schools are pretty low. Since most of them consider teaching as just a process to earn money, the ethics and true meaning of being a teacher has been ignored and cast away by them. That being the case, numerous people are out there to take up teaching as a profession.

These days, whenever I talk to someone about teaching, they tell me that it is one of the most easiest jobs in the world. Do you know their reasoning for that remark? They say that you’ll have to work only 2 to 3 hours per day, you will have lots of vacations and if you get a Government teaching job, then swell, you can slack off as much as you like.

Slack off? You have to be kidding me. This is the common man’s view regarding teaching and unfortunately, the views of most of the teachers nowadays too. Since both the teachers and common ma agree with the same idea, there are more and more people trying to get into the teaching profession so that they can ‘slack off’.

However, the funny thing is that there are good teachers among us. But they neither make it to school nor to colleges. I talk from the perspective of a fresh Computer Science graduate here and hence, my views maybe restricted to this field only.

These ‘good teachers’ among us are those who are passionate about what they do and have got an extremely good talent in teaching others what they know. Unfortunately, none of these people have their profession as teachers. from what I have seen, most of these people are in the IT industry, working for a software firm or something of the sort.

What I’m saying here is that the society, and more importantly the students, need people like these. People who have passion and people who actually know what they are talking about. People who can guide the young ones on the right path. People who can be followed.

Alas, these people are unavailable. They work in the industry on technologies they are passionate about and earn a lot more than a teaching job. So what need do they have to teach a few? I think there is a need because otherwise, the coming generation is going to have a hard time thinking straight.

I think it takes an enormous amount of will to dedicate one’s self to teach the new generation just by understanding the situation the young generation is in. I don’t know if it is a responsibility as such, but I definitely know that it is a service only those people can give. I guess no one can blame them for not doing it, but I believe that they can make the world a much better place to live, they can make a change and bring forth a ray of hope.

However, assuming that these people do come to teach, they are not going to do much of a good job if they have egoistic superiors breathing down their neck. The institutional politics is something that they don’t need to put up with because they are there to offer a service. Not to “show” that they are offering a service. Hence, there should be other outlets for these kind of people to come forward once in a while and to be able to share what they know with the young ones.

Pramode sir is one person I have seen as such. He realized he had something to give to the society. He teaches, and the beauty is that he teaches on his own, without any “department politics” or “bossing around”. He took a risk upon himself by doing what he did. To stabilize one’s self in such a way by establishing his own institution. I wish the society or the Government supported such initiatives so that we would have more people like him.

My aim is to become a teacher. I want to learn well and then teach about what I know. I have seen many knowledgeable people in the IT industry who say that they will teach/train if they get paid a huge amount of money. It might be true that what they teach is worth that much, but I believe they are forgetting the deserving ones out these, who cannot afford it.

I agree money is important, but money simply is not everything. I wish, hope and pray that those people who have the skill and knowledge to make the difference in the society, to set aside at least a little of their time to teach those young ones, who deserve to be guided.

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I’m not a FOSS fan boy.

“FOSS fan boy”. That term is really scary. It says in a single breath that the person described by that term is nothing but attitude.

“FOSS fanboys will never understand that, because they need to believe that they’re freedom fighters in a revolutionary war, like characters in their favourite animes”

This is what provoked me to write this post. Trying to draw an analogy, during my college life, I have seen a lot of students getting involved in politics. I have always wondered what got them so interested and dedicated to the cause. I used to find it absurd that they spend time on useless discussions, strikes and fights. I even have discouraged many of them from going after politics and “ruining” the time they had at college. As far as my analogy goes, the belief that something great or superior is there to be achieved by our little actions, is what drives the people, and I believe that there is something free software is destined to achieve.

I’m not sure so as to how this belief is instilled in the young minds. I don’t exactly know how even I got into that mindset. But somewhere along the way,  I did.

People always like to make themselves believe that they are important. They do that by mingling with the ones  who make them feel that they are important. Once they realize which group of people makes them feel important, they will start actively working for it.

I believe that is the truth to getting followers. In some aspects it is easy to provide the motivation because the actions of the group are easy to be imitated. That is the case with political parties as it is easy to be one in a crowd and shout. You can always get attention and feel important without doing much. You just have to make some noise and be somewhere by the side of the mob.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in no way implying that politics is bad. On the other hand, what I’m talking about is the “Fan” attitude. A more meaningful (and unparliamentary) way of putting it would be “All fart and no shit”.

Another observable example are the “fans” of celebrities. It is one thing liking a certain superstar and it is completely another treating them as God, spending time on putting banners and posters of them everywhere and picking fights with anyone who says he sucks. Most of the youth these days, sadly, involuntarily falls into this trap. The seriousness with which they “fight” to support the celebrity is rather… admirable?

There are still many examples like football fans and cricket fans where all they do is talk without ever having kicked a ball or having held a bat.

Now coming to FOSS. I entirely agree that the ‘fan’ culture is there for that too. Basically, it means that you keep on talking about philosophy without an ounce of technical knowledge. The “keeping on talking” would be fine if you would only spend a little time on it. However, with fan boys that is not the case. They keep at it day and night.

You see certain ‘free software enthusiasts’ commenting about Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman saying that they are not right. These ‘fans’ would not have even cloned the kernel source code yet and they say “Torvalds was wrong to do that, he was wrong to say this” and stuff. I mean, the Linux kernel is such a huge project being maintained by one guy collaborating thousand of developers from across the whole world! You have no clue what that management is like nor any idea regarding its implementation. All you have done is to sit comfortably at your home, open your laptop, read some stuff from here and there and there you go! Somehow you are man enough to advice others. XKCD depicts this wonderfully. Take a look below.

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong

As far as I can see, that attitude is not something to feel proud about regarding FOSS. Let me mention a few people who love FOSS and have done much for it and yet are humble.

The first one would be my brother, Noufal Ibrahim K V. He neither talks philosophy nor tries to correct the “wrong person” on the internet. He lived his college life by tinkering with the internals of the Linux OS and thus learning much about how a computer works. He says that it was the Free Software Movement that brought about the freedom for this kind a thing to happen and thus he respects its existence. He works for the internet archive which is a non-profit NGO dedicated to archiving the whole of internet (as crazy as that sounds!) and yet he does not simply criticize others.

The next would be Ershad. He is just so enthusiastic about computers that he would give his life in exchange for it (Just kidding!). He gets to voice his opinion because he has done much for the society due to his love for FOSS. Not only has he a really good technical knowledge but he has contributed much with it. Both through programming as well as teaching. Personally speaking, he was the main reason for the small light of hope that was lit at our college,

Then comes Praveen ettan whom I have gotten to know over the past few months. Nothing more need be said about him other than that he is a Debian developer! Which means that he spends his time and effort, without any return whatsoever, for maintaining packages for the Debian Operating System. That, my friends, is how you contribute to society. He has strong philosophical beliefs which he puts forward and there is nothing wrong with that because he is one person who tries heart and soul to keep the spirit of Free Software alive not only through words but also through actions.

Now coming to the essence of the post. Am I a fan boy? To an extent I am for my contributions are questionable. Also, since I have been a great ‘fan’ of comic book superheroes like Batman and Wolverine, I’m pretty easy to get excited about “fighting for the goodness of the world”. So the comment at the the beginning of this post applies in my case.

Thanks Sharat for opening my eye. I am not going to be simply “one among the crowd” and shout. Till now all that I have done is to make chances for a few people to come together and learn a little but I see that is not enough. I will try to better myself and one day, I shall speak.

In love with my Lenovo S10-2, ideapad.

Ah, where would I be without it? More importantly, it was more than enough. I’m talking about my netbook, my cute little laptop. I got it while doing my S3. In 2009 middle roughly. That makes it almost three years now.

I must say that this is one heck of a piece of hardware. It comes with the configuration of 1GB RAM, Intel Atom dual core CPU @ 1.66GHz plus a 160GB HDD. It came with a pre-installed version of Windows XP which is still there only to have been disturbed for about 15 times all through the entire three years. The other sockets being three USB ports, a serial port, microphone and audio jacks, LAN port, an SD Card slot plus a pseudo SIM card slot.

I call that pseudo because one fine day I had inserted my mother’s SIM card into the provided slot. It kept on going and finally decided to stay within. I had to give it for servicing which cost me 300 bucks and the guy told me that this version had just the slot. Only the next version shipped with the hardware inside that slot. That taught me not to get too excited about stuff I guess.

The keys are a bit close. People having used normal sized keyboards have always found it hard to type on mine. Besides, me swapping my ‘ctrl’ and ‘Caps Lock’ did not help this cause at all. However, since I started typing on this, I haven’t had much trouble typing on other keyboards. One of the most irritable things that happen to me at times are the small dust specks that go underneath the keys. These things make it almost impossible to press the keys. Sometime I get angry and crush them with hard strokes and at other times I strategically tilt my netbook to get them out.

This might seem controversial, but I do believe that this is more than what an average college student needs. Let me list what all I have used my laptop for and see if it comes in the scope of a college students.

  • Watching movies.
  • Listening to music.
  • Accessing the Internet.
  • Photo editing.
  • Sound processing.
  • File conversions.
  • Viewing photos.
  • Storing data.
  • Skype.
  • Chatting.
  • Playing video games.
  • Compiling Linux Kernels.
  • Creating web applications.
  • Writing and learning Programming languages as well as other tools. C, Java, Python, etc. So compilers for the same. Latex, git, make, etc.
  • Watching youtube videos.
  • Installing Operating Systems. I have had 6 of them in one shot. Ubuntu 10.04, 11.04, Fedora, Arch Linux, Debian squeeze 2.6 and 3.0 kernels and finally Windows XP.
  • Connecting USB devices. Thumb drives, Mobile phones, card readers, External HDDs, BeagleBoard – XM, Internet Dongles, etc.
  • Connecting phones via bluetooth.
  • Leaving the system on for almost a week downloading and seeding torrents.
  • Traveling. This babe has been in my bag under the seats on a KSRTC transport bus almost every week for the past three years. You can hold it just like a college notebook and take it anywhere anytime.
  • 4 to 5 hours battery life on an average.
  • Wireless connectivity as well as Broadcasting.
  • Networking.
  • Slide shows, presentations, etc.
  • Most importantly, it has lasted.

That’s about it I guess. One major drawback that you could point out is that it won’t run Crisis 2! Then again, it takes a manly system to run Crisis.

Jokes apart, it has no CD drive. But that has seldom been a drag for almost everyone uses a thumb drive these days. Plus, my system gets heated up. It does not turn off due to over heating or anything but you could try and make a bulls-eye on it.

The paint has come off from certain parts. I guess it is because of the heat. Apart from that it makes a ‘throat-squeezing’ sound while powering up and I have had to replace my battery once. That’s all the problem that it has had.

I think it is a bit sad that almost all the students who have a laptop with them (and most of them really powerful with multiple cores, 4GB+ RAM and Terra Bytes of storage) use them only for watching movies, listening to music and browsing the net. I’m not saying that I do a lot more than that but what I am saying is that you don’t need that much powerful systems to do these.

When you look at the laptops of many students these days, you can see 2 to 4 drives all completely filled and the guys hunting for more space. But poke into it and what do you see? Movies, movies and movies. Plus the other term that people use these days. “Softwares”. Another craze is pdfs. Truck loads of them and the funny thing being that not a single one of them would have been read. With all these stuff in their drives, they are walking around trying to “back up” their systems.

You must be thinking why I did not mention games. Frankly, very few do play games compared to how much they use their systems for movies, videos and music. But the ones who do play games, they are like glued to it.

I think there are things that are taken for granted when a computer science student comes to college. Self-learning is fine but it almost always screws up many basic ideas that are important. I guess a student should be taught how to use a laptop. It simply is absurd taking it for granted that he will learn to use it on his own. This is obvious from the people around us. The use that they find are the above mentioned “Watching movies” and stuff. I guess at least Computer Science students should be taught how to use it.

I guess I deviated a bit there. I should save it for another post. Right now I’ve brushed up my hard drive. I’m using Ubuntu 12.04 and that old XP is still there. An awesome piece of hardware that played one of the most important role in making me what I am today. Thanks to my brother for buying it for me.

The farewell speech.

I thought I would not get a farewell to give my “all-too-prepared” farewell speech. But I did get a farewell. As for my farewell speech, I guess everyone was in a merry mood and did not hear anything that I said which all ended up in me performing my awesome moonwalk in front of my class as well as my juniors!

So I’m writing this post in the hope that some of my juniors will read it and take it to heart. The following is the speech that I wished to give.

——————————-

I remember the time when ICC (Islamic Cultural Center) was in existence in our college. I was doing my second year back then and we were giving the final years a farewell party. There was a person named Niyaska in that batch from mechanical. He was one person that I respected and loved in college. A person with a soothing personality, one who had above 70% aggregate for his B. Tech, Kung-fu black belt, college football team player, a person who was there for almost everything good around us.

The words that he said that day comes to mind. He said, “Motivation is an important factor that can change your life and can help you discover skills within yourself that you would never have dreamed that you had. But you won’t find that factor in this college. Therefore, in order to understand and realize yourself, you have to be self-motivated.”

I had listened to that and forgotten it. Now it comes back to me. So what I have to tell you guys is to realize the importance of giving motivation as well as being motivated. As once I had written in my blog, if you are a human, you have the power to give motivation. So help your friends and do them a favor. If they are trying out something, motivate them and help them to realize the skills that they have. That’s what friends are for.

Now that was just the icing of the cake. Let me get to what I’ve been preparing for the last six months.

What all kinds of advice can a person give? I’d say three. One, to preach about something that he practices. Two, to advice others on the mistakes that one had made so that the people hearing won’t make them. Three, the advice that all of us are familiar with. Free advice, which basically means to blabber on about something that guys has no clue about.

Of the above three, which would you say was the most effective one? In my opinion, I would say it was the first one. I say so because the person giving that advice had undergone the hardships and the tests in order to do what he was talking about. He could be a guide to what he was advising others to do. Most important of all, he would have felt what it was like to do that.

As for the second one, it would be effective but much lesser than the first one. That is because the people who are hearing the advice can ask us, “You had all the fun, so why can’t we?”. You cannot tell them how it is possible to not make that mistake.

The third one, well, need I say more about the third one? Anyone, anywhere and at anytime can give it. I don’t know if it will have any effect at all.

Now since we have, more or less, agreed to the fact that the first kind of advice would be having the best effect, that wold be the one I’m giving. Neither the second nor the third.

I have three advice to give you.

One, find something that you are passionate about and follow it. Most of the people nowadays have no passion. They do not have something that they do just for the sake of doing it. You can ask yourself the question whether you have something that you are doing no matter what others say. Something creative.

The reason why most people don’t have a passion is because they do not give their minds the time to find it. You know why? Because you want to be entertained all the time. It is either music, or movies, or gossips, or chit chat or mobile phones. You do not give your mind the time to find something. So “sit bored”. Boredom is one of the ways to let your mind show you what creativeness you have within you.

Of course, boredom is not guaranteed to bring out the creativeness in you, but it helps. It will definitely make you try out something you have never tried in your life and that just might be the thing you are good at. That being said, most of the times, it happens at a certain blessed moment. This is my first advice.

Now, as for my second advice, I won’t say it. If you really really want to know it, you can come and ask me personally. Isn’t that right Manu?

Now the third one. Help and support your friends. This point stems from the fact that not all of you will be interested in the technical aspects of Computer Science. Most of you would just want academics to go by while you are interested in sports, politics or whatever you are interested in. I do not blame you for that is your choice.

But there will be your friends who are, at least a little, interested in learning new technologies as well as programming. Just make sure that you do not discourage them. Do not make fun of them. Instead, support them. So even if you are not interested, do not be a hindrance to others. That applies to Abacus as well. Even if you are not interested in its activities, do not discourage your friends who spend time to keep it alive. Support them.

If you remember a year earlier, you’ll know that most of us made fun of Shalin Jain saying that he was boasting. But now I realize he was giving us the best advice that he could, telling us about something that he did and was doing. He was a role model and he was definitely the person who made a major milestone in my life.

This is what I wanted to tell you. I hope you’ve been able to grasp it. If not, this is not the end, feel free to mail or call me if ever you find that you’ve stumbled upon your passion. I’ll help you work it out.

So enjoy your college life. I sincerely say that no one could have asked for a better bunch of juniors. All of you have given me the strength and courage to face life’s challenges. Many of you, I know personally. Anand, Ashiq, Aravind, Vasudev, Nithin, Ranjith, Ajay, Manosh, Harikrishnan, Jijo, Jibin, Sruthi, Aparna, Aaliya, Sreelekshmi, Hari, Sree Hari, Anjana, Suhaira, Ajumal, Charu, Aksin, Arun, Shyam, Divya… I’m not going to forget any of these guys in a hurry. So keep rocking and all the best!

—————————–

I guess that sums up my farewell speech. I had timed it for ten minutes. However I’ve made it a bit elaborate in my writing. As always, take what you feel is good. But don’t dump the rest. If you think some of what I said was not right, then try to understand why I said it and try to see it from that perspective.

Cheers guys!

Farewell.

The juniors did it. In spite of the pessimistic HOD as well as the ever in-favorable circumstances of our department, our juniors managed to give us a farewell. I’m not going to make this post long by going into all the tiny weeny details, but I’m just going to say that one couldn’t ask for a more wonderful bunch of juniors.

People coming together is always nice and I hope this goes on.  Anand, Vasudev, Jijo, Ashik, Ranjith, Nithin, to mention few of the names. Many more are there who have given me the strength and support to enjoy as well as learn a lot during my last year at college.

By the way, today I got my first ever trophy in my entire life and it was written on it, “Haris Ibrahim K. V. – A constant support and a helpful guide”.

All is well that ends well. 🙂

I guess the best was for the last… College final tour!

Finally, the college tour that I never thought was going to happen, happened and boy am I freaking glad that I did not miss it! At last, we truly really felt we were friends and we felt from our hearts that there were moments in life that could be made memorable only by all of us being together and sharing all the joy and happiness that each and everyone of us had!

It is true. Not only is 1 + 1 = 2 in maths but when everyone comes together with all the little happiness and joy that they have, everything bundles up into one huge unforgettable joyous occasion that is worth living through and that is exactly what happened with us being together. We shared, we laughed, we suffered, we talked, we cracked jokes, together we pulled through and here we are with a bucket load of memories… It was worth it.

I could say that our journey was not only through Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram, Chennai, Hyderabad and Hogenakkal, but also through many of our friends’ hearts.

Writing about the trip won’t do justice to it because I’m sure each and every one of us have our own reasons of finding joy and remembering the tour. So this is just what comes from me. And mind you, visiting the places or being at the places accounted for only 20% of the enjoyment. The rest was being with friends and sharing the moments with them. However, those moments are in our hearts and as such, this post will just be an outline to remember the glory days by.

First of all, I have to mention Ambika ma’am. It is no joke that all of us were really worried what was going to happen if she came along. As in we won’t be able to enjoy the tour and stuff like that. But to all of our surprise, she was extremely co-operative and did not cause any sort of trouble. At her age, with her illness, she adjusting with us and our stupidity the way she did has increased our respect for her ten fold! I believe I have done a great mistake in talking to her angrily and even though I have apologised to her personally, here I do it once again for being a part of making our dream of a final tour come true!

Before starting the travelogue, I have to say that I was desperately missing Jinu. I was almost at the verge of giving up on the tour when it dawned upon me that it was now or never… This was the last time that all of us were going to be together and if I chose to back down from it, that would only simply result in me getting depressed just like our last tour. So happen what may, I decided to go along with the tour.

16th April 2012, Monday, 8:00pm

The bus had arrived and almost all of us were there. While all of us had our own plans to have a good time at the tour, the tour-guy, Rajesh had his own too. Instead of bringing the 49 seater bus that he had promised us, he brought a 39 seater. Blood boiled in many of our veins and it would have been only moments before the entire seen got ugly with us and Rajesh if not Gouthaman and Rahul held us back saying that we were trapped and we had no choice but to get in.

The travel bags were  packed in at the back of the bus and we held on to our smaller bags with the critical stuffs in them. Rahul (or ‘Thadiyan’ as we call him) was the key player here. He took upon the responsibility of packing things up on himself and I seriously doubt whether anyone else would have done a better job than him at it.

After a little bit of griping and cursing, we did get in and our journey began! You could say this was the taste of things to come.

Music, laser lights, young hearts, the dancing began and we had a jolly good time. At last it was time to sleep. The movie “Venicile vyapaari” was playing and oh my God was it atrocious! Anyway, me, Chellan and Ponnan were together. I had this small disturbing pain on my left foot’s thumb. However I ignored it and got to sleep. However, all of us had underestimated the power of centralized A/C of the bus and by midnight, most of us were freezing and shivering of cold. While the three of us managed to cuddle under Ponnan’s blanket, many of us had trouble finding warmth that night. But as I said at the beginning, we suffered and pulled through.

17th April 2012, Tuesday, 6:30am (Pondicherry)

The bus coming to a halt made our minds happy with thoughts of a freshening bath and tasty food. We were shown to our rooms and were told to get ready by 8:00am. It was in the midst of freshening ourselves that the terrifying news reached us! The restaurants were on strike that day! Which meant we were ‘foodless’.

However, Rajesh ettan somehow managed to arrange a hospital Canteen for us and all of us had a pretty decent meal. Even though they couldn’t provide me with my order for my second Masala Dosa, I contended myself with a Plain Dosa and the tea there was simply awesome.

We got out and by this time my left foot had swollen a bit and the pain was noticeable. We walked over and visited the Aravindha Ashramam (Forgive me my spellings), and from there on went to the beach. I don’t know how to put this, but it was rocky and not the kind of beach where the sand blended into the blue ocean. We spent a while there, clicked a few pics, had a few ice creams and went over to Gandhi park. We rested a while there and then got in the bus again.

At about noon we boarded a boat to an island about 3kms away from the main land. We were with life jackets and I looked fat! We had a pretty nice time at the beach there. Our lunch arrived on one of the boats and we had a small buffet. We spent a while there and at about 3:00pm we boarded a boat back to main land. Now, that was the second beach today and my leg was hurting pretty bad.

In the evening, the bus stopped and we were asked to get out. We got out and guess what?

Dhe pinnem oru beach!

It was the third beach and it was then that I found that it was almost impossible for me to walk due to the pain in my swollen foot. The beach was fun however with comparatively huge tides and I watched helplessly as my friends were having fun jumping and splashing in the tides. Ponnan had changed to his shorts and T-shirts and had come hurrying till the verge of the beach where when he reached he had a change of heart and decided not to get wet.

We reached back at our hotel at about 7:00pm and we were to spend the night there. My sis prescribed an ointment and few tablets for me which Thadiyan and MR went and bought (God bless them!) Sunil brought food for me to my room as I couldn’t walk and I spent the night watching Ghost Rider and Undisputed 3. Many engaged in their own good times and I engaged in mine, which was to sleep.

18th April 2012, Wednesday, 4:00am(Mahabalipuram, Chennai)

Well, 4am was the time at which we were told to get ready and that’s why we got ready at least by 5:30am. I’d like to mention specially about someone here and that is Sinto. When it was almost 5:15am and we were still not ready to leave, I decided to go and pray. After finishing praying when I got in the bus, all the seats were occupied and there I was standing with my swollen foot. My sis had told me to take rest that day and I could not afford to give any pressure for my left foot. But no one seemed to care and no one gave me a seat. It was then when Sinto stood up and let me sit. That touched my heart and I owe him much.

Well, we left and reached Mahabalipuram at about 7:30am where everyone went for sight seeing while I remained in the bus to rest my foot. So as for what happened there, someone will have to fill in. We had breakfast at a nearby hotel and the bus stopped a little further away. Someone asked what the place was about and guess what? It was the next beach! Augh! Everyone was like “Noooooooooooooooooo! Not again!”. The bus took off from there and much too obviously, we reached Merina beach at about 11.30am.

Now that was the 5th beach! Man, it was kind of getting weird with all the beaches. It was as if we were on some science expedition where we were testing the conditions of all the beaches or something. Suffice to say I did not get down there too. Everyone was back and we stopped for lunch at a hotel where the girls did not like the food much and most of the Biriyani that they ordered were wasted.

While everyone was getting ready to leave from there, me and Gori went in search of a mosque and to our surprise we found that the owners of that hotel were people from Malappuram and Mahe. When we told them that we were looking for a place to pray, they heartily opened one of their lodge rooms for us and we both finished our prayers from there. We left there unprepared for what was yet to come.

We visited some sort of a Shrine in the evening which was again denied of me due to my swollen feet. From there did I make the all-too-dangerous “41 idiots” remark! I hope nothing comes of it.

We started from there at about 4:00pm and saw “Ramjiraavu speaking” on the way. Man, I laughed my heart out! “Baalashnaa, moone baalashnaa!” Ha ha… Lol! At about 7:00pm, we reached a posh looking cafe where we stopped for tea. They had good toilet facilities and teas that cost about 25 bucks! I did not like the baji that they served at all and let ponnan eat all of it.

All of us were hungry and were looking forward to dinner. We started from there on our long journey to Hyderabad! Everyone got in the dance mood and I could only sit and look at them while all of them were on their feet. Even MR was there! Everyone was exhausted and lied down eagerly waiting for dinner. It was almost 9 and we were told that we would reach the “promised restaurant” in ten minutes or so. The bus kept on going while me, Ajith, Chellan and Don were having fun with Chalis as well as actual jokes (Yes, there is a difference between the two!)

The 10 minutes became 20, 30, 1 hour, 2 hours and the smiles on our faces slowly started to fade. At 11:45pm, I got a message from Rahul who was sitting at the front, “Eda, idhu pani kitti” (I still have it in my phone). When it was almost 12:20am (yes, midnight), we pulled up in front of a Punjabi Dhabha and had Roti and Tomato curry from there. Man, I devoured 5 of the Rotis!

As if all this was not enough, stopping the bus there, it wouldn’t start again! And many among us pushed the bus to get it started! Same was the case when just after we had left this spot and the bus stopped at a nearby petrol pump.

To Hyderabad!

19th April 2012, Thursday, 8:00am(Hyderabad 1)

Reached the promised Hotel at Hyderabad and we were allowed time till 9:30 for getting fresh. We had breakfast (again me being denied my Second Masala Dosa). We left and reached the Salar Jung museum first thing in the morning. Man, was the security strict there! The things I had to go through to take my bag inside it! Finally we did get inside and we saw the portraits of a few cool dudes and as you can well imagine, the whole visit was a series of jokes one after another. Seriously, Chellan has a way of making all the occasions memorable with his presence. All through the tour everyone had a nice time with him I guess.

We left there and reached some Mahal at 12.30 which I skipped for fear of my foot getting worse. But how long was I just going to sit there? I decided that’s it. No more sitting duck! After their Mahal visit when they were going to see Charminar and Mecca masjid, Chellan called me and I caught up with them. Charminar was a majestic view and it seemed that the girls had to cover up their heads if they were to enter Mecca Masjid. All of them decided to skip it. But then, there it was right in front of us and some of us couldn’t resist getting in. We did and enjoyed the spacious courtyards and the huge mosque for a little while.

It was almost lunch time and we were landed in a hotel where they served the all too famous Hyderabad Biriyani! I sat and devoured it and was licking my fingers clean while all the renowned eaters of MH as well as the girls were having a hard time finishing it. Triumphantly, I went back and got in the bus.

We left the place and on our way the guide was “To right is, to your left is…” ing us. We finally reached snow world and my foot was hurting. I simply ignored it and all of us got ready with our coats, gloves and boots, the shutters opened and we ran in screaming! From there within it was total havoc! We were throwing snow here and there, there and here and everywhere! It was freezing cold and smoke came out of our mouths while we exhaled. Man, it was really troubling when you got hit on your face with snow. You could hardly breathe. It was attack, revenge, vengeance, team spirit and what not! I’m not going to forget the moments inside that place! As I said, words don’t do justice to what we experienced inside it. It was fun. It was lovely.

We got out at about six and skipped the proposed boating at Hussain Sagar lake to shop for pearls instead. It was done and we reached back at our hotel at about 8:00pm and all went for casual shopping. I took rest for my foot and Rahul, Mr and Pretty together hunted for the medicine to be put on my foot and Pretty finally got it for me (oops! I still haven’t given her the money for it!). We had dinner which was Roti during which Chellan made a certain comment regarding Sariga. Ponnan exploited the situation and made him tell her his comment! He he…

Trying to get the bought medicines into a usable form, Chellan and me finally gave up trying to dissolve Magnesium Sulphate in Glycerine and settled for it simply being a vague mix of the two. He helped me soak cotton with it and tie it up on my swollen foot.

We had good night’s sleep that day.

20th April 2012, Friday, 8:00am

We were up and about at 6:00am and after having breakfast, set off for Ramoji which we reached around 10:00am. We were given the official Ramoji stickers as well as the tickets and were let inside. We boarded a bus wholly for us and went into the heart of Ramoji.

Reaching the destination, we first entered a Blue round-bulging-eyed Head’s mouth and found out that it was a sort of entertainment park for kids with Arcades, Scary house, skating and things like that. After that we boarded a bus that took us on a tour through London, Paris, Taj Mahal (Poor EC guys had to go all the way to Delhi!), Red Fort, Kolkata international airport, the Trichur and Hyderabad National Highways that were both on the same road, multi-branch banks and what not!

We got down at some place and visited a few gardens, the Hawa Mahal and a certain cave (where Afaf just couldn’t take the suspense!) after which we got back to the place where we started from. It was time for the Ramoji movie magic or something and we went on a small trip through a fairy tale land after which we were taken through a series of steps that they used to make Cinemas.

It was lunch time and we had a great buffet. Then we visited the Dynamic motion theatre that depicted bomb blasts and earthquakes at Ramoji with real effects. That was fun. After all of us were terrified of the shaking and the tubes that hissed gas at our feet, all of us went for seeing the spirit of Ramoji, a few dances and entertainment shows after which we were blessed by an awesome stunt sequence in the wild wild west.

The day was at an end and we left the place and stopped at a hotel for dinner. Man, everything being decided, I had to sit with a bunch of girls because I was eating vegetarian! And those other girls were none other than Amrutha, Namita and Aparna. While the first two went on a spree of making fun of me till the food came, Aparna silently supported them suffice to say my stomach was already half filled even before the food arrived!

GKV distributed ice creams to celebrate his birthday and we were on our way to Hogenakkal.

21st April 2012, Saturday

You must have noticed that I did not write any time there because time simply stopped making sense to us. We were in the bus at about 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning when we pulled up at a petrol pump. Some of us got down to use the waterless toilets and stretch our legs and arms. We again were on our way all of us dreaming of breakfast. But by now we should have known nothing good comes of dreaming about food in that bus we were in. The cycle repeated and finally at 11:00am we stopped in front of some hotel (whose footsteps were decorated with shit) and here our dear Rajesh ettan told us to go and eat. We were like, “What!?”. We hadn’t brushed, bathed or anything and for that question his answer was it was to get fresh that we had stopped at the Petrol pump.

All of us lost it and Sinto lost it a bit more than the rest of us and charged at the guy raising his voice. It was a mess and we managed to get a room for our ma’am and her husband and the rest of us brushed our teeth outside the bus and some within the wash area of the hotel. We had our breakfast and were on our way to Hogenakkal on the way which the driver was executing the Dijikstra algorithm of finding the right way by eliminating the dead-end ones! he he…

We reached Hogenakkal at about 1.30pm and 10 of us were stuffed into a small room telling us to get ready by 2.30 for lunch. It was magical how everything gets sorted out with the ten of us somehow adjusting and pulling through and finishing our chores by 2.30pm. We had lunch and went for the renowned Hogenakkal boating.

Man, was it fun! All the round-boats consisted of six of us plus the boat-man and only one boat consisted four of us, the luxury team which was Ponnan, Chellan, Sriram and Rithwik. I was first in a boat with Ajith, Sumi, Bini, Sariga and one more whom I can’t suddenly remember. We went for a short distance, got down, walked a bit and again reached a point where we had to get in. Here a few shuffling happened and guess what? I got the boat with Amrutha, Namita, Anisha, Aparna and MR!

All of our boats were launched and all of us got in the mood. Splashing each other, attacking other boats, going under waterfalls, shouting, laughing, howling… We enjoyed the moments together… Probably the last moments to be together…

We reached a shore some distance away at the other end of which there were strong currents but the water was only waist deep! We could just float and the currents would take us to the other end! From there none of us knew what we were actually doing. We splashed each other a lot, threw stones, pushed others into the water, lost a few spectacles, took a dip, clicked pics and had the time of our lives.

After spending almost an hour there we were on our way back to the hotel to remove our drenched clothes. All of us were completely wet from bottom till top! We bathed, changed our clothes and at about 7:30pm, loaded our bags in the bus and went for the camp fire.

The flames caught on, music was put and we were in the dance mood! I danced my heart out along with everyone and I guess the girls too had a great time there. All of us were exhausted by the end and we slowly walked for the “last supper”. I did not think much of the noodles and rice that they served and ate very little.

We boarded the bus and many of us were asleep the moment we sat down. However, Rajesh ettan brought a mic into the middle of the bus and each one of us were asked to say something. GKV thanked ma’am and her husband and also did Arjun. Ma’am blessed all of us and her husband said we took him 20 years back in his life. Sariga sang a song and we pulled in Ponnan to sing his all too famous “Jo bhi mein”! Applause and laughter and then I came in and messed up saying something. Here I made one of greatest wish come true and that was to sing “We will rock you”. I sang it with the help of the beats from everyone and that was followed by Namita and Anisha singing their own pieces. GKV burst into his rapturous melodies and we had to plead to get the mic back from him! Lol. Chellan came forth with his breath-taking breathless and Rithwik sang a song too.

After all these precious moments were over, we put a few selected songs by Ponnan. While me, Chellan and Ponnan were sitting at the front, the girls came and requested us to go back so that they could dance. We obliged and went back. I was feeling dizzy and sat down. Chellan too sat down. After a while Ponnan came slowly dancing to the music. Then I don’t know what the heck happened because Chellan was suddenly in a superb dance mood! It was almost 11:00pm when this happened and everyone had gone to sleep except for me, Don, Sriram, Ponnan and Chellan.

The five of us were at the back and man, was Chellan an amazing dancer! All of were gaping at his steps and he had his eyes closed and was completely immersed in it! I was sitting and cheering these guys. But after a while I simply couldn’t sit and I too joined them for three songs. We called “JAI” for the five of us ourselves and had a blast till 12.30am in the night! Then we decided it was getting too late and went and turned off the music and laser lights. We talked for half an hour and finally, enjoying the last moments to the fullest, it was time to sleep.

22nd April 2012, Sunday, 3:15am

We reached back at our college and I went to Don’s hostel. The girls were taken to the Railway station and were accompanied by a few of the boys. The tour was at an end and I left Don’s hostel at about 9:30 in the morning.

Sitting in the bus from Olavokkode to Palakkad, while seeing the all too familiar junction where the SAI nursing home was located, a few tear drops watered my eyes. This was it. It was over.