So I am thirty three

I like to make myself believe that I take my own decisions and have charted my own life. Unfortunately to counter that there is an “Exhibit A”- “Himangshu had no say on when he was born or where he was born”. In spite of my most sincere protests, every year like the year before the calendar says it is 15th May, my google doodle changes and my parents call me to remind me that I had no say in my birth.

This year was my third birthday in another country in another timezone. That got me wondering when is my birthday. India is sometimes twelve and a half hours ahead from where I live. It got me pondering which is my accurate birthday. My parents always told that I was born on Wednesday of 1986. But 15th May 1986 was a Thursday, (trust but verify even your parents). On further investigation, it was claimed I was born at 2 am on 15th May. That was 14th May in San Francisco.

Its been three years now. I was a failed entrepreneur in Bangalore. It was the month of May. Four months ago, my Hb1c had reached 11.5. I was losing it all. Still, it was my birthday and I was sitting across what I thought was the love of my life then. Halfway through the meal, we realized we liked each other but we were not the one for the other. We talked and confessed and promised to give it a try for old times sake. Wisely we drifted apart the week after. In a few months time, I  left the city and the state and the country. I made a few new friends and great friends here. But I had too many repressed emotions. I kept my birthday hidden for two years. One of them tried to force me to go for dinner last year but I feigned work to bail out. Time passed, my privacy settings changed and I had a not so surprise celebrations this year(2019, in case I suffer from memory loss) round.

With thirty-three years elapsed, I need to take a moment to thank people who have helped me through my life for no reason. Some of the people’s faces have faded from my memory but their kindness lingers on. This list is not comprehensive in any form or fashion but I cannot make perfect the enemy of the good.


When I was six or seven, my father was seriously ill. Back in those days, my father used to drop me at school and pick me up. A few days he could not drop me but I went with an aunt to school. After school was over, my father got more unwell and my aunt could not pick me up. I told about my plight to a slightly older student of my school, he was 15 or 16 I think as the school got over and he got me home. Helped me cross a busy intersection. The only name I know was his pet name at home called Bablu.

There was a neighbor of ours whom I only know as Jan Dai. He was no blood relative of mine but he taught me to ride a cycle. This was when I was ten years old.

At the age of sixteen, I left Assam for New Delhi to complete my school education.  Papney uncle who just happened to meet me at a bank branch one day took care of me like their own son. Papney sure does not rhyme with any Assamese surname but I never felt more at home.

When I was twenty-one, I got diagnosed with diabetes and clinical depression. I had difficulty meeting people outside my circle of trust. I once got a severe hypoglycemic attack on the way from Calcutta to my college. I had to sleep on a railway platform for a few hours sipping on an energy drink. Since that day, I always had one friend or another accompany me to the psychiatrist/medicine purchase. Those were Nawal/Aniket/Nitesh/Nikhil. We did watch the dark knight six odd times. That is another story. When my thesis advisor refused to let me graduate. Prof. Sinha went and talked him out of it.  Sometime during my stay in college and new pharmacy opened, I finally could get my medicines from Frank Ross Pharmacy. One day we were going to somewhere and I needed to replenish my insulin. I think it was Nikhil who went to get the insulin while lazy me was in the car. The pharmacist told him they don’t have insulin. Nikhil shouted to me from the pharmacy that they don’t have it. The pharmacist saw me. He immediately told Nikhil that he has insulin but “only for Himangshu”. Apparently, he had only 1 vial left and he had kept it aside in case I need it. For him, other patients can die for all they need. Shobhit/Naru/Nanda and others who jumped across closed doors to get me insulin or sugar as the need may be. It was a village that kept me alive at college. Some of the villagers I haven’t met since and will probably never meet again.

My SFO room-mate (Rock) who took me to hospital and back when I was having a severe sugar attack. Our run-club friend and coach, in the particular order, Nichole who bullied a security guy to reach me in a medical tent as I was freaking out. To the mother on the street of Vancouver who let me have her child’s food as my sugar levels were dropping. To the two groups of friends who rescued me at Yosemite and to many other names not mentioned, thank you for what you did. Thanks to you all, I get to live one more day.






Comedy in crisis

All good things in life must end. As one of the friend says even love comes with expiry date. But again too much of everything is bad. So, also my stay in kgp, although was a wonderful journey, the thought that some-other journey was awaiting was a not so frightening thought. I enjoyed every second of my stay in kgp. But there are some moments that forever brings out a smile and even fewer moments that make you want to scream in disbelief.

By your buddha year any dual degree students know what he wants to do with his last year in kgp. I wanted a year with minimal academic interference. The first step in this direction is to take courses whose syllabus is less. In this pursuit, i took information theory and coding, for non electronic students, the subject name and matter is of little significance. We duals were only 17 and my wing-man in more ways than one -Lodu- did not take this course. So, I find myself as one of the only 2 duals in this class. The other dual was Kishore the only dehli(for non kgpians, a dehli is a 10 pointer), so as a sincere six point someone, i felt it was the moral responsibility of my high cg friend to tell me of all tests etc. I have omitted assignments for assignments were beneath the dignity of fifth years.

Five years in kgp creates a lot of bad habits, we are really dependent on net. If possible, we would even have our food through computer.So, both of us choose to ignore the analog exam time-table put up on our class room. We were by now used to deciphering the central time-table, finding out the subjects that were taught in same slot. It was a complex process but it could be done online so our spinal cords made us prefer it over anything else. But in fifth year some exams diverge from central time-table. This exam of ours was preponed to forenoon from after noon.

My wing man Lodu had another subject in the same slot. That subject too was pre-poned for all departmental exams of that slot were preponed. Usually, I go to Lodu’s room a few hours before exam to know the syllabus and he tells me what to study to pass.This time the syllabus was too short and he had different subject so this routine was dropped. Kishore had told me the exam was on after noon. So after waking up at 5 am and completing my morning run, I went to partake in a siesta.At around 11 am Kishore called me to confirm the exam time. By the way 11 am was the time exam ended for mid sems, I told him it is scheduled for afternoon for he had himself told me so.

While I was having sweet dreams, Lodus exam was being held in two rooms, he was surprised not to see me. But he thought against calling me for he supposed I was in the other room. Sometimes, the world really conspires against you. Anyways, blissfully ignorant that the exam is already over, I went to exam center at 2 and found to my horror that the exam is over. Initially, I was mortified but then I confirmed that Kishore too had missed it. In my mind I was laughing hysterically. I had the dehli power with me. Aggressive diplomacy and absence of our normal faculty adviser and a great Professor meant we had a re-exam.But the entire exercise was really hilarious. Probably the most hilarious experience of my life.

Today and even then I laughed at the matter but my stay in KGP would have been extended by a year had it not been for this re-exam. That is ok but the stay of only Dehli would have been extended.

Ruminations on the years gone by

“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones” : William Shakespeare.

A fictional piece intended to raise raw emotions in a mob inclined on forgetting the treachery enacted in the corridors of power of Rome. Like everything written by Shakespeare, you can interpret these exhibits of superhuman wizardry over words to suit you needs. I too indulged in the same. There are moments in our life that make us inexplicably happy, makes us want to scream in joy loud enough to snap our vocal chords so that those joyous screams get mortalized as the last sound vibe emanating from out mundane existence.

As i enact those moments in my conscious and sub conscious minds, i cannot fail to appreciate the single thread that binds those moments together is the element of surprise. There is no such thing as a pleasant surprise.

The earliest such surprise that my Alzheimer free brain can think of dates back to the early nineties- 1994 to be precise- I was in class three. Had not achieved much till then. was a mediocre at school who somehow managed to get a double promotion. Was the opposite of being an athlete. My only claim to fame probably was that I was the cutest person in the co-ed school. We had a 10 minutes break after two classes. My cheeks used to ache after that. In fact one of my teacher remarked that i am only fair guy in my class much to the displeasure of a few of my classmates. So coming to the pleasant surprise. I was asked by one of our neighbours to go and watch a quiz competition. The quiz was open to students up to class 8. So, I went. I thing led to another and I found myself participating in a team with another guy from class five. The quiz was a written one. So, the results were not declared immediately. Guess what we were third by getting five out of 30 questions right :D. The winner had around 20 questions right. But boy my joy knew no bounds !!!That certificate remains the most wrinkled piece of paper I still treasure. I got many a certificates after that but that one remains special.

Next surprise fast forwards my life to 2002. I was in Assam then- upper Assam. I just heard of IIT a year back and wanted to get in. But nobody I knew any of the interiors of any of the IITs. I had a row with my best friend that year. So, had spent the better part of the year trying to find out how to get into IIT. For a reality check, I though I should give NTSE exam. I was a student of the state board and the scholastic part of the NTSE was from CBSE board. And like JEE, nobody I knew had cleared NTSE. Anyways I gave the exam. I had no faith in the way our answer scripts were going to be corrected in class 10th boards. This lack of faith was vindicated when my entire school was awarded 66 in English. I gave NTSE so that I can back my claim that my state board sux in evaluation. On the day I was leaving for Delhi to apply for schools, I read the paper. The paper had my name. I was fourth in the state. prelim of NTSE So, I left for Delhi armed with evidence that my state board sux. Moreover, our state had a reputation for declaring results late rather late.

My life in kgp revolved around extra acads- kshitj, tech gc ,placement committee work and alumni cell- necessarily in that order :D. When I joined kshitj or ktj as we affectionately call it. It was not so big as it is today. I was primarily involved in events in Ktj but the biggest surprise came in spons. Me and chuha went to Delhi for our DP trip. DP as in Durga Puja– this trip is the time when we go out with a begging bowl to organize the fest that has become a phenomenon now. The year before the entire member team had collected around 20 k. Not even a single penny came from Delhi. Me and chuha were given target of 20 k from Delhi. By that time our entire member team had collected 2k from one months worth of calling. With modest hopes, I landed in Delhi and within an hr of my reaching Delhi, i started cannibalizing SF(:D)- the cult fest our bigger brother back then. By afternoon I had 8 k. Chuha had arrived by then, we then decided to meet one alum who was not so inclined on giving us money. I don’t know what struck me but i started talking to him about an ad. Chuha was getting frustrated by my side thinking we lost the money – why will someone sponsor us after hearing the nonsense i was blubbering. But I was in the midst of a Midas touch then and he backed me adding a few more nonsensical sentences.When I had finished, we got a cheque of 15 k. We had achieved our trips target in one day. We somehow held our nerves for a few moments and once beyond the visible range of Mr. Subhash Kalia – we indulged in mad celebrations. We got many more sponsorship deals – probably bigger in volume but first time surprise tastes sweet.

On Insurmountable odds and immovable rocks

This is probably one of my numerous nonsensical monologues that usually come to pass in verbal countenance. For a change it is now in zeros and ones and thus I shall try to please the high lamas sipping their cup of tea which made its journey from a garden near my childhood abode to the porcelain cups that now graces their smoke tarred lips in some corner of the Oxbridge. In my not so distant childhood, we had a subject called alternative English. From a mathematical perspective or rather arithmetical smog, this subject was nightmare. On a philosophical plane there was no right or wrong answer. You never got marks. For me the subject went beyond marks, it had stories to tell it had words to be looked up in dictionary, words that spoke a thousand words that painted a thousand pictures.Words that stained my imaginary canvas with all the droplets oozing from the battle field of the fight between the rain Gods and the Sun. For the sake of my literary mind, it did help that my first major crush went to the same English tuition as me. I was in a boys school so the only avenue to have heterosexual crush was tuitions. For the holier than thou, who feel I have defiled a sacrosanct temple of learning, I tender my unconditioned apology. But my teenage crush did spur me on to reach higher echelons of English language. It is another matter that things ended rather acrimoniously, one fine day I realized my then best friend had substituted his crush for three months with the object of my crush. I was devastated and in my state of shock I started doing things I never did before too much. I started studying like hell and made my way into IIT.
Somethings really don’t change, I still waste major chunk of real estate of my post in my customary beating about the bush. Well in the alternative English, I read the story of Antigone, her indomitable spirit that surmounted all odds moved the immovable rocks to give her slain brother a decent burial. I also read about the vengeance of fate that made kreon lose his own son who dies by his own hand on learning of Antigone’s death at the altar of his fathers inscrutable laws.The words inscrutable and insurmountable still finds me stranded on the sand dunes of a dry desert soaked in the tears of Kreon and lips parched by the dryness of the world that surrounds me. But the fascinating part of the experience was that the story was written by a blind man. Having conquered my malfunctioning pancreas to some extent, I thought i could conquer all but alas certain things are beyond the grasp of my hand. But life is not a fairy tale, I was told one day that I have lost one of the biggest fights of my life sometime back. Certain rocks do not bow before the indomitable spirit of civilization. Every day I pray and hope for the words of the essay “On Fame” to come true. Maybe human spirit is indomitable, maybe we win something in all the battles that we loose or it might be that somethings are just written and will come to pass no matter what the minds of any insignificant human soul decrees.Maybe some dams can defeat the surging waves of the oceans till the oceans tire and dry out. Maybe you are born to lose something and win a few in the few moments that we exist in this world.

Adieu to five fun filled summers

It is funny but interesting that a word like myopia found itself an adjective cousin and is now reserved a whip to be wielded by the wielder of pen and keyboards on unsuspecting mortals. But at some level or another we are all myopic. In the physical, there is only a few hundred metres registered by our eyes.Even at a more intrinsic level, our memories fade as time flies by. But some landmarks do beat this trend. These memories stay on with us till we close our eyes in the grave. Not too long ago or rather five long years back, I was packing my bags, embracing myself for any form of ragging that might take place at an alien place called Kharagpur, a place I called home for five of my most memorable years of my life.

Having completed this phase of my life,I now find myself at a very interesting junction.I find myself bereft of words to describe how I feel. I am not sad, I am not overjoyed at leaving the calm village which we often likened to a prison. But every moment I brood over never fails to bring a smile on my face.But it is kind of strange to say the least. Phrases like “you can take a kgpian out of kgp but cant take kgp out of a kgpian” seems true.As things are I cant write all I want in this post.So, I shall try to write a semi autobiography.I hope they all fan out as funny. And most importantly, I would like to thank all my seniors, juniors and batchmates for feeling so many joyous moments in my life.

The window that every geek craves for

By conventional definition, every engineer is a geek. By conventional definition, every person who manages to study his way into fooling an impossibly skewed filtering process is a geek. By conventional definition, a geek likes his workbench(computer) and knows how to use it.By conventional wisdom, a guy falls in love with a girls, dates and marries.

But if you are an iitian, none of the conventions hold true.According to some disenchanted iitians,if male female ratio is 991, our number starts from 992, the guys for whom God refused to make a girl assuming pairs are made in heaven. There are few who managed to buck the trend. But for many it is the reality of life. To give you a clearer picture of what I am trying to say let me elaborate more on the curves of the background. If as a matter of exception you(reader) happen to be a girl, please do take offense to the use of word “curve” for the only curve we are familiar with are the ones on our computer screen.Well I was trying to draw parallels with the strokes of a painter on his canvas.

Coming back to the point, we spend most of our times in front of our computer. so we definitely know how to use it. Computers and the lan is our lifeline. Movies,gtalk, music,games and occasionally for some work – we run to our computer to satisfy all our needs(pun intended).But we refuse to call all of them geek. for us a geek has to like linux and ha to hate windows. I shall not justify the reasoning behind why we chose such a convention. But among other things, peer pressure, ease ranks high. for me though, it is freedom from virus.

So, now I have established that we geeks in kgpland hate windows. Now returning to the title of my post. according to one of fellow iitians, all girls who are open to the idea of having a boy friend already have it. And while the rest of mankind used their precious college life to follow conventional dating wisdom, we dream and day dream of a never land where male female ratio is more than 20 :1000. so, I extended the hypothesis, that now that we are about to reach heaven, we shall be rewarded for our misfortune thus far.But then where are the promised forty virgins.So, i set my sights lower and I realised that breakups among couples are gods apology to singles like us.Justification:

1) We wont be a party to it.( we are singles or we know that we wont get a second chance)
2)Girls open to having boy friends will be single.
3)Girls will be most vulnerable and hence we can sympathise our way into their hearts in this window of opportunity,

Boy, we do love break ups.

Return to the cliches

Today is 8th of January, kshitij or ktj (as we like to call it) is going stronger than ever. for the first time in four years, I have nothing to do to make it a success. Times move on people come by to follow in your footsteps.Last year this time round, I was searching images thrown up in google searches to make questions on excalibur. An event that I had very much made my own. I was scanning for the judges to look for any loop holes. If this blog was a more frequented one, maybe many of you would not have understood a word of what I am saying. but since i am the only one reading this blog, I shall the liberty to write any nonsense that I want.

My second year this time around was spent in cal trips every alternate day.In my third year it was spent ensuring everything falls in line. writing codes for accommodation form.Preparing budget and what not. Last year was spent handling math challenge, Excalibur and other such activities.This year I relax in my chair and write about my past experiences.

It gives you immense joy to see your proteges go beyond the horizon. And I am thankful that I am fortunate enough.

Times Change

The time to say goodbye has come for my sojourn at IITKGP. Many people blessed with the kind of friends I had had here would be tempted to use the catchphrase “best days of my life”. I would like to add the word “almost” to this catchphrase.My best days were the days of class 11 and 12 at DPS VK. In no small reason for the kind of friends I enjoyed there. Over the years I had lost touch with them.I have been playing catchup with them for sometime. This month I met my roommate for two years pp or prajwal pradhan as his birth certificate would like to say. He was in Bangalore. He was in job. The only thing remained the same was his lack of beard and my five year old t shirt. The guy who bid adieu to dps hostel by being dubbed as gizmo guy was wearing semi formals. Black leather shoes, semi formal shirt, trousers. Never in my soberest dreams did i envision pp like that.

Another shocker was my other roomie rambo aka Abhishek Raman. I used to terrorize him by threatening to sit on him as he used to pull my leg over my north east flaboured hindi.Five years down the line he has put on twenty kgs i have reduced 20. This nullifies the forty kg advantaged I once had over him.