Saare Jahan se aacha

From rediff diary:

My first day as an engineering student in a respected Pune college was a memorable one.

As can be expected of mischievous teenagers, we were up to no good. Chalks were being hurled across the classroom, conversations were continuing loudly in plain disregard of the presence of our Applied Sciences professor. There were probably just a few students paying rapt attention to the lecture on Polymers. Our professor was becoming increasingly irritated with every passing minute.

Suddenly, the students began to stand to attention one by one. This spontaneous act surprised the professor. As pin-drop silence descended on the class, he realised the reason — a nearby college was playing the national anthem!

Santosh Dawara, Rochester, USA


Thanks to the good people of editing, polishing and publishing my submission 🙂

The Rediff Diary!

The Rediff Diary!

An excerpt:
Chugging home

Taking a local train in Mumbai means an inevitable battle with those who prefer to travel standing on the footboard. This penchant of theirs has nothing to do with how crowded or empty the compartment is.

In their bid to climb in, some people can be very persuasive. Like this man who said: “Andar jao bhai, aage bado. Aage badoge to hi ladkiyan tumhare peeche aayengi [Go on, get inside. It is only if you go ahead (in life) that women will pursue you].

Take this scene from another jam-packed local train. A passenger got a call on his cell phone. Miraculously, he even managed to take the call. From the conversation, it was clear he was talking to his wife. And sounding progressively irritated by the minute.

No one really paid attention until, at one point, he yelled into the phone. “Nahi, pura khali hai [No, it’s totally empty].” He was obviously referring to the overcrowded train.

“Kal hi mere baap ne kharida tha naa [My father bought it just yesterday],” he continued.

Wifey got the point. End of conversation.

– Dhiraj Shetty, Mumbai

Indian Food

My sincere advise to those who find themselves handicapped in the Kitchen 🙂 stay away from communities like “Indian Food” and “Pakistani Food”. If you do disregard my advice, you will suffer the ignominy of hundreds of people dropping names of delicous indian dishes 🙂 and causing your tastebuds to overload :).

Nothing like desi food :), moghlai, southie, sindhi, punjabi, love it all.

Myths, India

1. India is a dirty, filthy place!
Guilty? No, not all of India is dirty, most areas yes 🙂 but no, not all of it.

2. All Indians are trained to hate Pakistan!
Guilty? No, surely not true. I heard this one on a India-Pakistan newsgroup. There is a general feeling of mistrust due to earlier wars and tensions. However, I think mostly everyone wants to just be friends, get on with their lives and solve important, real problems like poverty

3. India is a 3rd world country!
Guilty? Perhaps. The last time I checked, we were classified as developing. I am not sure how different they are, but yes we are third world in most parts due to lack of basic infrastructure. Yet, things change drastically when you talk about the various metros!

4. We all ride elephants to work! (interchangeable with Camels and other stories about everyone being a snake charmer)
Guilty? I wish :). However, there might be something about saving the ecology and environment that could support that idea. There is of course a widespread use of bio-gas and cow-dung for various roles.

5. Indian men don’t see our brides until after marriage and vice versa!
Thank god no, although I don’t deny that it does happen now and then. Thats the great thing about educated, middle-class Indian society, you get to make your own choices. However, many communities do have social pressures that disallow many of those choices.

6. Indians have a caste system!
Guilty? Yes, however that doesn’t mean all Indians want it. Many benefit from it, and so it won’t go away as easily.

7. Indian politics and politicians are rotten!
Guilty? As charged! We have a few good ones, many bad ones.

8. Minorities are not respected in India!
Guilty? When things can go wrong, they will. Our past is dotted with events that embarass and shame our heritage. Overall, I think minorities have made a considerable amount of progress, there is still a long way to go.

9. Indians are very intelligent!
Guilty? No! Hard-working? Yes!

10. Indian women are very beautiful!
Guilty? ermm… going by the last couple of years, I don’t think I am in a position to judge. Sweet memories of undergraduate studies on the Bharati Vidyapeeth campus still linger :).

Blackberries may boost your social life?

I think this is a hilarious title, but it seems to be true, atleast in Washington (DC) according to this NY Times article, (Registration is required, and is free)

A YEAR ago, Tripp Donnelly saw his BlackBerry as a social liability � an accessory with all the sex appeal of a pocket protector. But now the gadget makes the rounds with Mr. Donnelly, 31, even when he sheds his jacket and tie for a night of barhopping or clubbing. He started keeping it with him when he realized he was missing social e-mail from the growing population of Washington women who were carrying BlackBerries themselves

What probably leaves a slight feeling of ambiguity is the following statement:

The BlackBerry gained a foothold in Washington two and a half years ago, after the Sept. 11 attacks left many in the city incommunicado when cellphone services were overwhelmed. BlackBerries worked fine that day (the proprietary network that carries their signals, for a monthly fee, has far less traffic than the networks used by cellphones), and shortly afterward the House allocated more than $500,000 to outfit its members with them.

The berry uses the ‘pager’ network (I am not sure about the newer berries, like the quark). It is conceivable that the pager network is more robust due to constrained capabilities.


I tried to post my comment about tech geeks having extended dry runs to your
website but it kept telling me I needed some sort of security clearance, which
I didn’t understand since I’ve posted in the past. Anyways, I just wanted to
let you know it’s not only techies who have this issue; anthropologists do as
well! And our problem is further complicated by the fact we reseearch people
while you deal with electronics; screwing around while doing field work is not
recommended but it’s often the only you-know-what we get! The rest of the
time we’re locked away in our library study carral. Ah, the things we must
sacrifice in the name of science! They need to make a reality show “Who wants
to marry a PhD candidate?”; it’s the only prayer I have of finding someone to
procreate with at this point! Feel free to post this on your website if I
haven’t depressed you too much by now.

>> Yes the comments don’t work on the site. 🙂 I need a particular perl
>> module which is missing on my host machine. Since the college owns and
>> administers the machine, I am waiting for them to drag their feet over
>> this matter… they have not begun dragging yet, which is mysterious.
>> Normally, they immediately get into dragging their feet and making
>> excuses on why it cannot be done, however, this time they have chosen
>> not to reply altogether. Mostly, that is a snub. However, graduate
>> studies has made me learn not to take snubs to personally.
>> Onto the point,
>> I am sorry to hear that Anthropologists also show a lack of skill in
>> procreation, which also means that they will be extinct very soon.
>> Therefore, no one will be left over to study the extinction (might I add
>> under similar circumstances) of the passive, technology-biased urban
>> male aka. the Geek. Some clever scientists, on examining this conundrum,
>> might suggest that cross-breeding between anthropologists and geeks
>> might be a solution to create a Symbiosis to extend survival. They may
>> further suggest that an added bonus is the possibility of greater
>> biodiversity, since geeks are then encouraged to stop spending so much
>> time with stupid little gadgets, thus the premise. However, on taking a
>> step back and on examination of the evidence, I fear such cross-breeding
>> may only lead to an acceleration of the demise of the entire species and
>> their replacement by cyborgs as was documented in the famous series
>> star-trek…
>> Now I hope your not depressed 😉 ! Oh well I should go now, no wonder I
>> don’t get enough time to write my thesis!

Indeed, nature favors diversity. But in the case of two people both gifted
intellectually in different respects mating, you may be putting the future
offspring at risk for hypercephaly (basically, a really big head). This would
then put such a person at a risk of recieving wedgies growing up & probably
will lessen his or her chances for breeding even more than the parents of said
While the computer geek spends all of his waking hours fiddling with various
electronic things, the anthropologist cannot enjoy a simple cup of coffee
without overanalyzing spacial structures and order patterning among certain
groups. If a computer geek were to get “hit on”, he would probably not notice
but rather think of how the pattern on the woman’s shirt reminds him of some
code he has to complete. Likewise, an anthropologist, when approached by a
member of the opposite (or same) sex, would probably think of how his brow
ridge is rather prominent, much like that of a Neanderthal.
In fact, as I sit here typing this e-mail to you I’m thinking about how it is
this conversation started: in a cyber community of the people who visit your
website. Your lines of code to me become a “village” to interact with. So
the geekiness continues!

Don’t Quote Me

On being asked how he will deal with Thesis students who are still attempting to graduate after the policies have changed, the official remarked “We will deal with them on a Base by Base Cases”

hee hee