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Friday, January 30, 2009

Manipulating Luck

Being superstitious often comes naturally to most of us.
Arbitmind hazards a guess -
most of us have a lucky shirt, a lucky pair of shoes or something to that effect tucked away somewhere.

Back in school Arbitmind had this concept of  a lucky shirt.
Nobody drilled that concept was one of 'those' brainwaves - the kind which
seemed to strike Arbitmind every once in a while .
Every half-a year during the examinations,the first paper would invariably be English. 
It was one of those subjects where Arbitmind would do well.
Now who or what should get the credit for this?
Using his 'profound' logic & insight Arbitmind would conclude that the white shirt which he wore
to the exam hall was behind his success.
Washing the shirt would wash off the good luck charm too. A stern warning to a disgusted mother would  follow..."the shirt was not to be touched"...There was a series of question papers to be negotiated and the shirt was his magic wand.
Things would go up to the extent that by the time the Chemistry exam ended Arbitmind would come back home & hide his shirt because his mother had made up her mind that the goodluck charm needs to be washed off for a greater good of the society in general & the surroundings in particular. 
By the time the Statistics paper ended(which was the last exam), Arbitmind(with the goodluck shirt on) would have had transformed himself into a public health hazard. 
Tathagata(the guy who sat behind Arbitmind during the examinations) had plainly voiced his disapproval once.
The poor guy could not take the olfactory torture anymore.
Even then things did not change. Arbitmind risked the ire of friends, parents & teachers for the sake of the white shirt...the good luck charm.
(Remember : behind every excellent marksheet there is a soiled shirt)

The question is does it really help ? The obvious answer would be a 'NO', the most plausible explanation for Arbitmind's above mentioned folly would be 'teenage naivety'. 

So why are such superstitions such a widespread phenomenon then ? 
What makes even mature, level headed people succumb to such superstitions ?
..& for that matter superstitions are not restricted to teenagers or the proclaimed naive.

Arbitmind believes attributing such behaviour to simple naivety would be an over-simplification.
A stronger reason can be that all of us, in our own little ways try to manipulate our luck.
We tend to explain events as 'cause & effect phenomenon' & believe that outcomes can be manipulated by extrapolation. 

Someone wears a certain tie before every important client meet. Someone uses a certain
bat every time he goes out for an important cricket match. 

Sometimes things go beyond the individual.There are mass superstitions as well. 
Cricket teams believe that if the first wicket to fall is a run out it spells doom for the team.
Ask a BITSian. While going for a test, very few dare to look up
towards the famed clock tower of BITS,Pilani. Legend has it that anyone who does so has a disastrous test.
(It is altogether a different matter that Arbitmind has had numerous disastrous tests even when he did not
look at the clock tower.)Both are examples of collective attempts at manipulating luck.

Luck, though, has its own ways of smiling upon people...thoroughly unconcerned with individual or collective efforts at manipulation. 
That's experience.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Supernatural Conversation :-)

Apologise for this post to people who do not understand Bengali. 
However, this news item just could not be ignored.

Summary :

The police were informed of a suicide in the night. 
The 'body' was hanging from a tree. Apparently the lady in question had
hung herself b'coz of some domestic issues.
Her husband & villagers had gathered below the tree & are lamenting.
As per the law, a policeman climbs up the tree to retrieve the body.
As he gets near the body, the 'dead woman' declares .."I am alive".
The poor cop gets the shock of his life & was about to fall down afer having been scared out of his wits,
the woman(who was presumed dead till then) prevents the cop from falling down after the shock.
Investigation has revealed that the woman simply acted out the entire episode to
teach her husband a lesson. All the time, she was actually standing on a branch with a rope
around her neck.
The police has warned the woman not to repeat such a thing. 

Priceless !!!  'Raaz 3' anyone ?

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Ant & the Dentist

One of the biggest mortal fears of Arbitmind - The Dentist.

They all seem so very alike.
White coat, amiable & forever re-assuring. They all have this pet dialogue
"It is going to be just like an ant bite."

Trust Arbitmind, he has had to encounter this dialogue in three distant corners of  India,
the dialogue coming from three different dentists . 
"Peepre -r kamorer moton lagbe shudhu,bass" [circa 1999, Agartala] (in Bengali)

"Bas chinti ke kaantne jaisa lagega, bass"  [circa 2001, Med-C, BITS Pilani]

"Its just like an ant biting you. Nothing more"  [circa 2006, Pune]

Makes Arbitmind wonder whether this dialogue is actually a part of the standard Dentistry 
curriculum. Something that needs to be dished out to reluctant young patients before they
would actually lie on 'that couch', stare at the light & open his mouth. 

Lets 'face' this - Arbitmind hasn't been blessed with the most resolute dental health.
[Now Let Arbitmind assure the reader that he regularly brushes his teeth, twice a day. 
Come on now, you cannot castigate a man worth his salt for loving his 5star chocolate or
Butterscotch Ice-Cream. ]

From his early days , the poor guy has been a regular at the Dentist's place & had been
through two extractions & three 'fillings' even before he had completed high school. 
( One hell of a young achiever he has been )

Those traumatic experiences made sure that he never had a very favourable view of 
dentists. It seemed that they were this smooth talking types who would simply convince you 
to undergo barbaric 'treatments' by bringing a harmless ant into the picture.

In his school days, he had found out that the ant had almost never kept its promise.

However, the tragedy was that dental problems kept recurring. 

So , two extractions & three 'fillings' later, one fine morning , in 2001, Arbitmind was walking 
towards the Medical Centre(MedC to BITSians) within the BITS, Pilani campus. 
The facial topography 
was highly distorted - thanks to a nice little pre-molar which had decided to revolt.

Now, almost all of Arbitmind's trips to the MedC were for the primary purpose of getting a prescription
which would have the golden words "two days rest advised" written on it, ostensibly because he seemed to be stricken with
a mysterious ailment  (which included 'loose motion'+'headache'+'weakness')  before tests of certain courses  like 
'Mech Sol(mechanics of solids)', 'DMV(Dynamics of Machines & Vibrations)', NumAl(Numerical Analysis), OR(Operations Research), etc, etc. Those golden words increase your chances of getting a 'make-up' for the test. The guy who has been granted a make-up can write the test when he has recovered from the 'sickness'. 

However, that trip was different. It was a genuine case. The pain had become unbearable.
Pain relieving gels had failed to do the trick. 'The trip' had to be made.

A little enquiry suggested that there was a dentist available.
Got into his cabin.

The same look.. deja vu?
Very amiable.
Had a long look at the pre-molar tooth & then broke the news,

"I will have to do a root canal treatment". 
It sounded much like "Ab inhe dawa ki nahi, duwa ki zaroorat hain" to Arbitmind's ears.

Arbitmind(throat parched) : "When do you want to do it ?"

Dentist : "3 sittings, I will start right now. The infection has not spread much.
          1 sitting now. Then you will be on antibiotics & we can have the 2 sittings next week."

Arbitmind(that sinking feeling in the stomach) : What is the procedure ?

Dentist : "Ahh !! Nothing much. You see these pins?" (pointing to a few sinister looking needles)
          "I will just cut out the nerve of the root of your tooth using these. It becomes a dead tooth.
           Won't cause you any trouble then. We can then put a cap covering the tooth. Simple"

Arbitmind(aghast & sweating, barely managing to conceal the stammer) : Pain ?

Dentist : "Bas chinti ke kaantne jaisa lagega, bass"

There you go !!! The damned ant.... again. !!!

Arbitmind : "OK. Aap prepare karo. Main aapni cycle thik jagah park karke aata hoon. Main socha tha ki jaldi ho jayega isliye, gate ke samne laga ke aya hoon. 5 minute me wapas aata hoon"

["you make the preparations. I shall be back after parking my cycle in the right place. Thought it would be a short trip, 
so I have parked it in front of the gate. Shall be back in 5 minutes"]

Dentist (gleefully) : "OK. Be back soon."

Arbitmind came out of the MedC. The pain had mysteriously subsided.
Time for the great escape. There was no way Arbitmind was going back to that cabin.
Those sinister needles !!! There must be some way out. Anyway he had trusted this ant story so many times before.  
He hurriedly walked towards Nutan market, looking out for a medicine shop.
(God Almighty knows how long did the dentist wait for Arbitmind.)

The affable Chemist listened to his problem, suggested a painkiller & an antibiotic. So kind of him.

It took three days but the painkiller & the antibiotic worked & the pre-molar was beaten back into submission. Dentists were not in vogue any more. The chemist was such a nice guy.

Victory !!! 
Arbitmind was so proud of himself. A flash of quick thinking had saved the day for him. 

The ant had been vanquished.(Even the wingies were spellbound by this tale)

Cut To 2006 AD.  Place : Pune 

Dentist :"Its been like this for quite sometime, this pre-molar of yours"

Arbitmind(in extreme pain) : "Been there since college "

Dentist :"Root Canal is the only way out. Now even antibiotics won't be effective & pain killers won't kill the pain. You should 
have done the RCT long ago. No one told you to do the RCT?"

Arbitmind(almost howling in pain) : "Forget it. Now what ?"

Dentist :"RCT. no other way out. Take these tablets. The inflammation will come down a bit & come tomorrow evening. 
We need to start right away. If you don't do the RCT now , it will have to be extracted. Got it ?"

Arbitmind (unbearable pain) : "RCT, RCT, I agree. No problems"

Dentist :"OK. Then. we shall start tomorrow."

Arbitmind(fighting back the pain) : "Will it be painful ?"

Dentist :"Its just like an ant biting you. Nothing more" 


"& anyway its going to be less painful than what you are going through right now"


The damned ant.

FYI: The RCT was done. The experience was too traumatic to even write about.
     Bloody Ant.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Take your Pick

Why do things slip out of our minds ?

One of my teachers Prof . Swapan Kumar Das(Someone who has been more of a guide rather than being a mere teacher of the English language )
attributes any such incidences to a characteristic "lack of reflex".

One of Arbitmind's wingies once quipped "Tu bhoolta isiliye hain kyunke tu bhoolna chahta hain"[u forget because u want to].

Arbitmind's wife is of the opinion "Tum bhoolte nahi ho.. sirf bhoolne ki acting karte ho"[u just pretend to forget]
( Arbitmind was 'assigned' the task of making a (social)phone call to his in-laws & after a couple of days when he was asked about the status of the phone call he had come up with this apparently outrageous "I forgot to..." sort of an explanation  )

Three very diverging opinions. 

However what takes the cake is one reaction - where the victim of Arbitmind's 'folly' had simply kept on staring at him.
Arbitmind's vocabulary would fall utterly short in describing the myriad of emotions which was conveyed through that look.  

Arbitmind was working with Infosys at that time. The project group had decided to go on an impromtu movie party.
The group was heading to E-Square(a multiplex near the University circle in Pune). The only problem was that the movie was supposed to end late in the night & getting an auto from E-Square to Aundh at that unearthly hour could be a problem.

Those were early days into the job & Arbitmind didn't have a vehicle to rely upon. 
So what ? What are friends there for ? Of course, to lend their bikes.
Mr.Friend(lets call him by that name), stayed in the same society as Arbitmind was staying & was working for a different project group on the same floor in Infosys. A couple of warnings later about not scratching the brand new bike & driving safe Mr.Friend decided to part with the keys of his bike. He would take the company bus today for returning to Aundh(place where we stayed).
Deal sealed !!!

Arbitmind duly followed the rules or safe urban driving & reached E-Square. 

The movie on Offer was "Mangal Pandey:The Rising". One movie where Aamir Khan did not really meet Arbitmind's expectations.
Now once the movie was over, Arbitmind was involved in a heated debate over the actual causes of the Sepoy Mutiny with a colleague. 
The debate ended rather inconclusively at around 1 in the morning & it was time to go home. Arbitmind negotiated hard with an auto & finally reached Aundh at around 1:30 AM-- looking forward to an enjoyable weekend.

The next morning at around 9 AM(way too early for a Saturday morning) Mr. Friend barged in.
"Oye, keys de, FC Road jana hain. Kahan park kiya tune? Neeche dikhi hi nahi"

Keys, park!!..!!!..err..OMIGOSH !!!! 

That instant Arbitmind realised what must have gone through Archimedes mind when he had stumbled upon the laws of buyonacy in a bathtub. However, unlike Archimedes, Arbitmind couldnot shout "Eureka" as it would not have gone down very well with Mr. Friend whose bike which Arbitmind presumed (& prayed) was still in E-Square's parking lot.

Arbitmind{sheepishly} - "Bike Bhoolgaya"

Mr. Friend: - "Ehh !!"

Arbitmind - "came back by an auto. Forgot that I had taken the bike. It must be in parking till now. lets rush to E-square"

....What followed as the look which was being referred to , early in the post. (Eyes wide open in amazement or in plain disgust)

Epilogue: The bike was found intact in the E-Square parking lot.

A similar incident had taken place when Arbitmind was in sixth standard. After months of haggling with dad Arbitmind had managed to get a a Blue Hero Ranger Cycle. One fine evening at around 8:00 PM, Arbitmind started looking desperately for the cycle.
It was nowhere to be found. Of course, it had been stolen!!! Tears swelled up in Arbitmind's eyes. How mean of those thieves to steal a kid's prozed possession.
A few rounds of consolations later Arbitmind suddenly remembered -- he had gone to school riding that cycle & had come back with friends - walking all the way.
A 9pm sojourn to the school & the cycle was recovered-- it was safely locked in the parking.

Which makes him wonder....

 "lack of reflex", 
 "Tu bhoolta isiliye hain kyunke tu bhoolna chahta hain"[u forget because u want to] 
 "Tum bhoolte nahi ho.. sirf bhoolne ki acting karte ho"[u just pretend to forget]

Which one to pick . ???


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A clean slate

The simplest of incidents spreads the greatest of joys.

Arbitmind was driving towards the Office on Sunday morning, to pick up the cricket kit. The match against Redknee in the offing. As he took a turn right from Baner Phata, a bus stopped right in front of him(arrghh !!).
An irritated Arbitmind had no option but to wait till that machine would move. 
As he was muttering a curse softly below his breath, there was a knock on the window pane near the passenger seat.

A street kid, no more than 10 years old(they all look so very alike).

Ohh No!! He she will ask for money & encouraging the 'Child Begging Industry' is one thing Arbitmind abhors.
Arbitmind tried to ignore. The knocks grew louder. 
Rolled down the window panes partially so that Arbitmind could scare her off.

This little girl  starts shouting ..pointing frantically towards the bonnet, "light...light.." 

Ohho !!! The lights were turned on (it was 11 in the morning).

Arbitmind Smiled. Turned the lights off...& smiled back at the girl. There was a Mentos in his pocket(most smokers do !!)
Gave it to the kid , smiled again & rolled up the glasses.

She gave a smile, ran towards the footpath. There was another kid there...much younger (4-5 years or so).
This girl opened the Mentos & put the Mint her companions mouth, turned around & waved to Arbitmind.
Both the kids were was Arbitmind. The irritation of having to stop behind the bus had vanished. 

In the hindsight, it was a pure, unadulterated exchange of smiles. Everybody was feeling happy. to how the little joys of life prop you up.

Just before that, Arbitmind was not really in the best of spirits.

 His team had lost the match on Saturday & he himself had been a dismal failure in the match. 
 Fuel was running low in the car & the PSU strike made sure that he was not able to get a re-fill.. fact he was running on the reserve- another cause for worry. 
The left leg was hurting badly(remnants of the Saturday match)

...& that one instant cleaned the slate. 
As if it was a fresh beginning.

PS: Arbitmind's team won the match against Redknee.(& Arbitmind played well)
    The PSU Strike was over by the afternoon & Arbitmind was able to get the fuel for his car.

The aggravated. 

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Art of Conning & Wisening up

Off late the Arbitmind has developed a grudging respect for the consters in Pune. 
Some of them are so perfect that it inspires awe & some..well.. not so good at their jobs.
Like any sector the con industry too has its share of great & not so great performers.

A couple of personal experiences would elucidate this.
Let Arbitmind start off with the most recent one. This happened a week back.

7:30 pm. Aundh. Near Ozone.(a week back)

Arbitmind was walking toward the 'Burger Hut' to catch a bite of his favourite Fish Fillet Burger. 
Someone calls out to him in chaste English.

"Excuse me beta" !!!
(Ahha!! I recognised him)(A middle aged Uncle)

Arbitmind: "Yes"

Uncle: "Someone has broken the lock of the petrol tank of my bike & taken out all the petrol" , pointing to the broken lock on the tank of a maroon Hero Honda CD100SS.

Arbitmind:  "Ohh ! I am so sorry !!"

Uncle:  "Can you please help me ? I don't have the money to fill the petrol"(Uncle almost moved to tears)

Arbitmind:  "Err...Uncle, you asked me the same question, with the same bike a couple weeks ago in front of Monginis. You Still didn't get the petrol?"
  (Arbitmind had refused help then on the pretext of not carrying enough money on him)

Uncle: "{Befuddled Expression}"

Arbitmind's opportunity to do a chance pe dance.

Arbitmind: "Ek kaam karte hain Uncle. Saamne chowk me Policewallah hain. Usse baat karte hain. Woh  zaroor madad karega"

Uncle: "{Incomprehensible mumble coupled with the same befuddled expression}"

Arbitmind: "Kya Uncle. Shakal to yaad rakha karo. Aise to aapka dhanda paani bhandh ho jayega. He He"

Uncle walks off without casting a second glance. The bike in tow. :-) leaving a grinning Arbitmind under the street light.

Clearly, Uncle is not as good at his job as he would like himself to be.

The same cannot be said of an Auntie whom I met in early 2005(My initial days in Pune)

Don't remember the exact time or the exact conversation as it happened a good 4 years back. Trying to reconstruct it from memory.

Sometime in the late evening. After 10 pm. Arbitmind coming back after having dinner at 'Radhika', enjoying the last puff of the day. Place : Aundh.  Early 2005

"Beta, ek minute sunoge?" A visibly shaken Auntie with an infant on the lap.

"Kya hua ?" 
Auntie : ""-> 

Summary :
 The lady's husband is a labourer in Pune. He came from a village. For the last 3 months there had been no news of the guy. Worried, the lady, along with the child,lands up in Pune at the contractor's place to find out about her husband. The contractor said that her husband quit the  job a couple of months back. So no one knows where he is at this   moment & the lady knows no one in Pune. In addition, she came to  Pune with very little money which she has used up in feeding the child  throughout the day & now she wants to return to her village. Since she  has no money to buy the train ticket, it would be great if Arbitmind could help her out. She insisted on Arbitmind's address as she would  positively send the money back to his address by a Money Order &  400 Rupees would just do fine. She was a woman in distress & was  asking help from her Bhaiyya.

Arbitmind felt a lump near his throat. Wasn't this he had read about in so many newspapers & novels ? You never know what
harm would befall this innocent lady from a village. The cities are full of sharks..& what is a man's worth if he cannot
help out an young mother in distress? It was Arbitmind's humane duty..if not anything else.

Arbitmind asks the lady to wait right there. Gets into the IDBI ATM nearby & comes out with 800 Rupees. 

Arbitmind: "Please take an auto to the Station. You won't get Buses at this time & the extra money is for food. No need for returning the money. Take it as a help from one of your brothers" 

The lady thanks Arbitmind profusely & reiterates that all that is good is not over in this world. People like Arbitmind are God's Gift to mankind.
Arbitmind comes back feeling extremely good about himself. As if a little part of the guilt for being on the side of the 'Haves' in a world divided into "Haves & the Have nots" has been washed away...praying that the lady reaches her village safe & sound.

Sometime later: (around 3-4 months roughly)

Arbitmind is standing near Westend Mall, Opposite to Dorabjee's in MG Road, waiting for a friend to turn up.

Just by his side a lady with a kid on her lap is talking to an elderly couple. From whatever he could overhear, Arbitmind guessed that the poor lady is in distress & is asking for some sort of help from the elderly couple. The couple walks off,
shaking their heads & the lady starts walking towards Arbitmind. 
She stutters...stops...a moment's pause...turns around One hundred & eighty degrees & hurriedly walks off.
Very Odd !! Arbitmind thinks....add to it that the lady looked somewhat familiar.

Hello !!! The one who came form the village....800 rupees. Goodness Me !!!!

Arbitmind is aghast. Still he couldnot but admire the lady's memory. She recognised Arbitmind in an instant & fled the scene.

She is good at her job.

PS: The later incident wisened up Arbitmind considerably & that was the reason why he had refused to help out the Uncle in
front of Monginis sometime back...when he had first met the guy with the bike. 

Arbitmind wonders whether he would someday turn his back on a person who is in genuine need of help just because he has had a few bad experiences. Belief in fellow human beings ...once hard to retrieve. 

Arbitmind wishes he had not wisened up. The loss of innocence is painful. 

Arbitmind still wishes that somewhere,someday a lady doesnot land up in bigger trouble as someone in a position to  help doesnot help her out of a fear of being conned. 

Nor should an elderly Uncle have to walk home because a young man refuses to help.

Amen !!  

Friday, January 9, 2009

The January Flavour

January always occupies a special place in Arbitmind's life.

The magic won't be recreated ever but what would linger on forever 
are the memories.

The first few Januaries of the 21st century would follow a predictable yet enchanting pattern.

Between the 4th & the 8th of every January a busload of people(& ten pointers) 
would hop onto an already overcrowded,rickety bus from The ISBT in 
Delhi (Maharana Pratap Bus Terminal to some).  Almost all of them would have had 
landed up at Nizamuddin 12-18 hours later than scheduled, fog in North India playing
the spoilsport. You could spot them in ISBT with ease.Lounging around the counter 27, 
in freezing cold,with a sweat shirt or a cap having 'BITS,Pilani' printed on it.  
A 75 rupees ticket 
& anything between six to eight hours later they would land up in a  sleepy Nutan market. 
In between they would have thanked their stars numerous times as the driver(!!!) of the bus,
ostensibly in high 'spirits', would try to break the sound barrier consistently.

[Advisory: Please do not try to dissuade the driver from his job. 
Once,a senior of Arbitmind had the grit to yell out to the
driver, "Bhaisaab..Thoda dheere nahi chala sakte kya?". The response 
was all 'shock & awe' style. The well meaning & affable driver threw up his hands in 
the air(ignoring the steering wheel for that fleeting moment) & rendered an invitation ..
"Tu aake chala le B******". The story found its way on to the campus & since then the 
sacred tradition of not meddling in someone else's job came about. 
Remember the ad "Experts ka kaam experts pe chhod dena chahiye". QED

A couple of minutes of negotiations with a cycle rickshaw & people would vanish into 
their respective Bhawans & then subsequently into their wings. Sem II was on !!

A loud exchange of New Year greetings would follow,interspersed with resolutions 
like "iss Sem main 10 banane ka soch raha hoon" or "I Quit smoking in the new year" 
[An indicator of precisely what would be the things not to do in the new year]. 
Dinner in C'not(A place lined with the best restuarants Arbitmind has ever come across.
.Blue Moon, Sharma's, Volga, Kapoor's, Golden Dragon) or Kake da Dhaba would follow. 

This would be the first & the last day when the entire wing would go to sleep by 12 midnight 
-- the next day all of them had to register for their courses [the less lucky ones would have had
a PR(priority) number less than 200 & would have to get up at an unearthly 8 AM. 
The more fortunate ones could crash till 11 ].

The next day would be a mixed bag. 
People would enter the IPC praying that seats in courses 
like FMS(Flexible Manufacturing Systems), PPC(Production, planning & control) would be available. 

These courses assures you of at least a couple of A's in the bag for the ensuing semester. 
The lucky ones would lay their hands on it, the slimy ones would not- but would manage to land up some 
SOP(Study Oriented Project) under a very popular(for obvious reasons) Professor.
& the unluckiest of the lot would have to be content with 
LOPs(Lab Oriented Project-- where one had to actually work for a decent grade). 

These electives - kind of lessened the trauma inflicted by courses like OR(Operations Research) 
& NumAl(Numerical Analysis). Arbitmind sincerely believes that the OR & NumAl 
courses were the Almighty's way of making you pay for the sins in your last life.

Registration Day over.

The timetable would say that the first test series kicks off after the 26th of Jan.
Ulti Sac Out for 2 weeks!!! :-)[euphemism for doing nothing]

Time to celebrate --- 
Spirituality would flow in the wing via an Old Monk or a self-proclaimed number One.
Everybody loved an auspicious start.

January would also see the start of the inter-assoc cricket tournament,
"The Marudhara Cup"[Hallmarks of this tournament were dubious umpiring, unfathomable boundary lines
& both teams 'gherao'-ing the umpire after every contentious decision].

Arbitmind would be neck deep in preparations(read meetings in SKY) along with members
of "Morucchayya" to finalise details of the "Moru Grub"
(as it is known on campus- a dinner hosted by Morucchaya showcasing the might of the Bengali Cuisine). 

January would bring about a fog soaked campus, shivers to the tune of 1 degree Centigrade
 & loads of Fried maggie in ANC(All Night Canteen). 
'Nagar ji's chai' & 'Pappu's Hot Chocolate' see the most business during this month.

Somehow, January in the campus would make Arbitmind happy. 
As if there was something to look forward to every day.
Something to soak in every morning.

This was a month when wingies won't complain if you are without a bath for two weeks.
This was a month when the numerous campus chowkis(chowkidars) would light a bonfire 
& you could huddle around that warmth at 2 AM in the night...
just because you had nothing else to do.
Life has taken many a turn after the last January on campus.

Old Monk has given way to Smirn-Off.
The cycle borrowed from 'Bugs' has given way to a car.
The Moru Grub has given way to expensive Buffets.
The BITS,Pilani sweatshirt has given way to a Van Heusen one.

But, the 'magic' has not been recreated.
Arbitmind agrees with the MasterCard guys, 
"There are somethings money can't buy..for everything else....."

Which brings me to this couple of lines(part of a ghazal)

"haath chhute bhi to, rishtey nahi chhoda karte 
 waqt ki shaakh se, lamhe nahin toda karte "