Saturday, January 15, 2005

Pongalo pongal

A few days back, some Punjabi festival called Lohri was celebrated on the hill. People playing loud music, dancing around a bonfire, eating some sesame sweet, puffed rice (Pori), groundnuts and cashewnuts. Instead of putting pori inside their mouths, they were putting it inside the fire! A couple of days after was pongal, which was largely ignored. Never mind! The tam guys here went for a pongal feast (not me *sad face*). On account of pongal, a couple of us sat down to watch Padayappa, the ridiculous 'cult' movie. We was laughing ourselves off the chair athe dialogues, the logic (or the lack of it), the costumes of the 'Superstar', etc. One hindi guy seriously asked if this was a comedy movie! Atlast I found some people who were men enough to admit they found Rajnikanth ridiculous. There was this one little guy in school who punched, kicked, bit anyone who said anything remotely bad about his 'thalaivar' (leader).

This was cut off after dinner as we found one pig-headed guy sitting in the common room, alone, surfing idly through the channels and pausing occasionally to watch animals chasing each other passionately on Discovery channel. We were majorly pissed off.

There was also someone's birthday celebrated today. With many people not on the hill, his delicate hiney was saved (the crack of which he shows off quite often *aargh*). Not quite, there is this one guy who doesn't want to miss any birthday here. He is the first to kick someone or do something like that. You could see the fire in his eyes when he musters all his strength to rupture the birthday boy's back, nothing can stop him! He could kick a football to the moon with a kick like that. Birthdays are also celebrated by pouring water on the poor boy. They take care to pour only warm water. But not our guy here, he doesn't care if the temperature is freezing, he uses only ice cold water! Feel like calling him your boss?

With just over a month left here, the guys on the hill suddenly cut off our free access to the internet (free as in freedom), there is now a proxy server that filters all the information. So, no more movie/music downloads. The few guys who were downloading movies and porn 24x7 and slowing down the internet had spoiled it for everyone now.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Wages withheld if I don't sign?

This has been happening ever since I came to this place. There are these guys who are recruited by a maintenance contractor to clean our rooms, and most of the buildings here. New guys who come in work properly for about 4 weeks or so, and then try to evade work. First, they come knocking to your room, telling you that the room has to be cleaned. Next, they come knock the door, ask whether the room has to be cleaned. After some days, they come only when you call them, and finally, make themselves scarce. The cycle continues when new people are recruited.

This guy comes to my room this morning asking me to sign the 'room cleaned' register. Angry, these guys haven't come to my room in 2 weeks, and only a handful of days the month before. I had warned the guy about 2 weeks back for not coming regularly. This guy insists that I sign this register as they won't get their wages if it is not signed. I had dialogues like this about 6 or 7 times in the last 1.5 years, with a new set of guys each time.

I finally signed it feeling pity, but some others were not so lenient, they firmly told him off.

I have seen these guys sitting in the stairs chatting idly when one guy goes about cleaning the corridor. Sometimes they spend their times chasing each other around (!) but they find it difficult to clean your room which hardly takes 3 or 4 minutes. During festival times, they come around collecting money for 'celebrations'. Normally, I tell them to come back in 30 minutes to clean my room but they never turn up. They also say that their work timing is only upto 4 pm and if called even at 3.55 pm, they will just walk away telling their work is over for that day, which doesn't apply shen collecting this 'donation'. They come correctly at the time you told them, even if it is after 5 pm. Once this guy rejected my 'donation' of a Rs. 5 coin because it was too low, he just gave it back to me! He said he expected atleast Rs. 10!! This is the same guy that asks for any fancy thing that he sees in my room, a keychain, a pen or some things like that. Once I caught him asking one neighbour for a pen after he just got a pen from me. Again, they come regularly to my room asking for old newspapers to sell outside, whether they come to my room to clean or not!

With the first set of workers, they tried to organise a union, they 'stiked' only to have their 'leader' kicked out. One of my neighbours tried to organise a campaign for that guy and wanted us all to sign a 'petition' to the contractor. That guy had pissed me off enough already and I certainly did not want him back. I didn't know how that ended but I never saw that guy work here again. I saw him once, on the hill chatting with some new workers.

A worldwide survey was conducted by the UN. The only question asked was: "Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"

The survey was a huge failure.
In Africa they didn't know what 'food' means
In India they didn't know what 'honest' means
In Europe they didn't know what 'shortage' means
In China they didn't know what 'opinion' means
In the Middle East they didn't know what 'solution' means
In South America they didn't know what 'please' means
And in the USA they didn't know what 'the rest of the world' means.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Googling Manoj

I googled for the term Manoj and I found it in position 178 .

What's interesting is the first 200 search results doesn't have anything about the most famous Manoj of our times, Manoj Night Shyamalan but has atleast 5 results per 50 for Manoj Bajpai (first result at 17). The first Manoj Prabhakar appears only at 67, and the next at 181. The geezer Manoj Kumar's first was at 18, one below the younger one.(This number widely varies depending on which position you start your search!)
In a related incident, search for Manojar yielded the 1st and 9th positions for this blog and my quasi-tech blog, Manotechnology, which I made just because I got 50MB of webspace.
In an unrelated incident, there was a slight titter when someone allegedly found a condom pack outside the hostel block (actually, the in the lawn in the centre). That someone showed a red and white (or red and/or black and white) box. It was around 1 am and could not clearly see what it was. Didn't go down to verify because it was very cold and is none of my god-damned business. No further comments!