Friday, 20 January 2017


This story dates back to my school days when I was in sixth standard and I was poor in outdoor sports. Actually, without the need to create suspense, I have always been too poor in outdoor sports. In fact, had outdoors been a subject, I would have failed with the minimum marks every single year.
During the Annual Sports Week, everyone was encouraged with a clause of near compulsion to participate in the games. I too joined in. The preliminary qualifiers were on and winners of last years filled the crowd with ample expectation. I might have participated in many events which had all the same results, but I remember two of them.
I folded my pants and tried to bring in some feelings of being a sportsman, which I failed. I couldn't even imagine of being one for two concrete reasons: one, I didn't actually play sports, and two, we didn't have a cable connection until 2008. So, even if I were given a chance to imagine being a sportsman, I couldn't really connect to anyone except Sachin Tendulkar on DD National, who didn't play long jumps and running races.
The first event was the long jump. Like every other athlete, I chose to have my tempo built from a long running length. The whistle was blown and I started running. I felt like I was running fast and when I reached the decisive line, I jumped. It was not  leap of faith; rather it was a leap of the entire fat my body carried at that moment. I landed safely. The result was less than 2 metres. Fail. 
After receiving consolation appraisals from the crowd, and encouragement for participation, I proceeded to the next event in line: the 400 metre race. I had to complete the circle four times. The whistle was blown again and I started running. The air was too cold. Really! And I felt like a parachute, airy and lazy. By the time, I covered two circles, the other three had finished their third lap and were about to cross me again. I was, therefore, disqualified due to a sluggish run.
I huffed and puffed like an old moped, and sat down tired. The day ended, and I didn't find people so interested in my poor performance. I was happy. I, therefore, decided to go for the sack race qualifiers, but I realized that it was in the sub-junior category. Feeling grown up, I quietly joined the spectators with my pants unfolded and shoes on!

Monday, 16 January 2017


It was February, 2006 during the Board Finals of my tenth standard. I appeared from a private educational institute and the examination centres were all government. The students of our institute and nearby private schools appeared at the same government school. 
This happened on the first day of the Finals. Like every Indian parent, my parents too followed the rule of seeing me off at the examination centre. I was nervous for it was the first time I would be facing a Final, the simple reason being that I hadn't failed before. 
I entered the premises and met some of my friends. I felt a bit relaxed. I looked up my roll number on the list displayed on a board. I found my room and took my seat 15 minutes before the commencement of the examination.
The bench-mate happened to be a student of the government school and he seemed to appear for his third time perhaps (I only assumed from his appearance.)
He started:"See, little boy. I will need some help from you. So, don't hesitate. Otherwise, you know, you have more exams to appear for with me. I will check on you."
Oh! First, I lost my school swag: no one knew me there. Second, if I passed on answers to him today, he would trouble me for the rest of the exams. If I didn't, he would bully me whenever he would see me at the exams. I was trapped. So unlucky I was."
I told him: "Brother, I haven't achieved much in the field of cheating. I can pass on hints for questions carrying 1 marks only. Will that do? That is better than both getting caught, isn't it?"
He pondered over the deal and nodded his head. I got my first phase of plan executed.
The bell rang. The exams started. The first exam of my life and I was making a business deal. Strange and humorous, isn't it? May seem so. But I was the most nervous one in the hall. Now, these 1 mark questions formed the first part of the question paper. I completed the questions as quickly as possible while my bench-mate seemed clueless. After 20 minutes or so, he knocked a few times on the table. I understood the signal and started the transmission of answers.
I had already found out the most optimal solution to the complete problem. I told each of them wrongly to him. I didn't need to make much effort in convincing him because all were one word answers. He had to believe. Besides, he was out of options as he had not studied.
For making concrete demands of my loyalty, I showed him an answer which I had intentionally wronged. After showing him and getting a sense of confirmation of his belief, I corrected the answer. It was only a word, so it didn't much altered the impression of a clean presentation of my answer script.
I completed the examination well. The bully thanked me with a tone of superiority and left.
The next day, when I arrived for my next examination, he didn't utter a word. Probably he had thought I was a bigger loser than he was and that asking me for help was a tremendous risk for him. He then booked the boy on the seat in front of him. Poor boy! Had he known my trick, he would not have been tortured and bullied for rest of the examinations. 


This is a disclaimer: this piece is not to highlight any form of intelligence; rather, it is a recall of a life-changing incident.
It was 2004. The results of my eighth standard was out, and as expected, I performed poorly in Advanced Mathematics which I had opted following the suggestions of my intelligent relatives, father's colleagues, mother's friends, uncle's seniors, aunty's neighbours and neighbours' relatives. Well, the list is endless: you must be familiar with this form of Indian tradition. Now, this subject is peculiar to the State Board of Assam, and I must say, it was the toughest for someone like me who had often got confused with terms like perimeter and circumference, and the fact that the two words meant same in case of a circle. I could do a few sums of General Mathematics without asking for a glass of water, and that explains my limits. [General Mathematics was the compulsory subject and Advanced Mathematics was elective.]
My parents were worried and furious. I was worried too, for I would fail if I continued with the subject. I had scored 60, whereas the highest marks in the class reached 90s. In short, it was a disaster. Like doctors cure diseases, tuitions cure Mathematics in India. So, I was put alongside a home tutor. This is where the story gets its life. He was tall, around 6 ft tall, and carried a well-built physique. He happened to be a Lecturer of Mathematics at a college, and a colleague of my uncle who was a Lecturer of Physics at the same college. I was afraid because I knew he would have received complete license from my uncle to interrogate me. I couldn't even pray to god because even he would say, "Everything happens for your good, son. Even saints have tests."
I appeared before the master. He asked me my name and put the first question to me: "Can you prove that 'e' lies between 2 and 3?"
I was struck with momentary paralysis. Instantly, two questions popped up in my mind. First, what is 'e'? Second, does 'e' lie between 2 and 3? Really? Then what are 'd' and 'f' for in the English alphabet? This was serious for me. Too many doubts in a single question. I replied: "Sir, no." I was expecting a dumb look on his face, something like a remark of disgust and inferiority. Instead, he said: "Okay." Then he started solving the proof and explained everything to me including the definition of 'e' and how it is an important symbol in mathematics. I was relieved, and at the same time, realized how important a teacher can be for a student. His attitude of not scolding me at that point when I was weak and afraid of the subject developed a sense of respect towards him and a thought that 'Math isn't that bad.' 
I started following his instructions. The simplest way to mould clay is to treat it gently, so as to craft an earthen lamp. He did the same with me. He didn't make any compulsions because he didn't have to. His attitude towards me made me do those tasks. I improved and from a mere 60, I scored in 80s in my ninth standard, and brought 97 in my tenth finals in Advanced Mathematics.
Nine years later, I was pursuing my Master of Technology in Microelectronics and VLSI Design, and our class faced a surprise test in one of those subjects. I had forgotten my calculator, and the teacher was too strict to allow to borrow one. The 10-marks test had a sum which eventually, when solved, gives a result in terms of 'e'. I didn't have a calculator with me but I had one line of hope: "Can you prove that 'e' lies between 2 and 3?" I applied that, and got my answer correct, without a calculator.
I was happy and nostalgic too. Had I not taken up Advanced Mathematics and had I not scored a minimum 60, I would not have met such a wonderful teacher in my life and I could not have solved a sum of a postgraduate test!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017


Recently, I along with a friend had got involved with a minor project that deals with electronic circuits! Rejoicing over the fact that it got completed successfully, both of us have learned a lesson worth sharing!
Now, we used to visit a laboratory of sorts to carry out our project. The supervisor of the project was a young man with lots of spirit and knowledge. We used to discuss and share ideas on the project regarding almost everything, from design to implementation! The laboratory contained some of the most recently developed models, designed and kept for display. Amongst them were outputs of a 3D printing machine, a few prototypes of cost effective technology, and a cycle! Both of us could grasp some basics of all the displayed prototypes and products except the cycle! We used to stare at the cycle for long, everyday, trying to figure out the technology that it had! The cycle was the first product on display, which made us even more curious about its uniqueness. There was no additional machine attached, no circuit based device or automatic braking system. It looked so simple, yet, it received the best of places: at the front! It went like this for a few days, but we could ask no one about the cycle. Because it was so simple that the people there might throw jokes on us! We could decode even the toughest of all projects, but not that cycle that seemed to grin at us as if: "Engineers...huh? Did you read your books well?"
Our project began in full throttle. There was so less time sometimes, that we could hardly take a snack break in between. We worked. Sometimes, we were reminded of the cycle but the work load diverted us from discovering the theory behind it. Time went on and we were nearing completion of the project. One day, we were facing shortage of time as the project demanded rapid implementation of a number of tasks. We were about to miss our dinner when the supervisor asked us to have meal and return. Since it was already late, he said: "One of you may use my cycle to the mess so that you may return soon."
Both of us realized that the cycle we had seen on display wasn't an invention; it was rather a simple bicycle bought for transport! We have named it: "The Supervisor's Cycle."
Everything seems funny, isn't it? Of course. We laughed to our hearts' content when my friend disclosed this to me. But you must know a truth behind this event. We define objects by their places, not by their qualification or the uniqueness they have. We judge people based on their appearance, colour of skin and apparels. Although we must take these on lighter notes, but we must check ourselves constantly on lighter notes if we have misjudged anyone or anything! Otherwise, everything is fine, just like 'The Supervisor's Cycle': it runs on wheels!

Friday, 6 January 2017


I took to writing when I reached tenth standard. Two years before that, I was just like any other fellow who ignored the newspapers like textbooks. I was, therefore, weak in vocabulary and general knowledge! When I was in my sixth standard, there was a Junior Rhyming Contest. My father wished me to earn some laurels in English, especially after feedbacks regarding my poor stock of words were received from school.
I went, hesistatingly! I was clueless! A Rhyming Contest? Seriously? Plus, there were scholarly boys and smart girls from different schools. I felt like what a demonetized 500-rupee note might have felt in December, 2016 had she (let's be feminists at least for the sake of an assumption) been human!
The Contest started. The rules were something like this: each participant would be thrown a sentence, and he would have to rhyme that! There would be a total of three sentences! I wanted to finish everything soon, and get back home: the air was already humiliating me!
The first sentence to me was: "The significant cultural diaspora of Assam is enthusiastic!"
I replied: "Yes, the singora cultural diapers of Assam is like plastic!"
Dad frowned at me! I smiled, feeling some success at completing the statement!
Second one was: "The concerns for world's environment rise alarmingly!"
I felt something easier. I uttered: "No, the concerns for the school toilets are very lacking!"
Everyone laughed. I was an entertainer! Dad frowned at me again. I smiled again.
The third one was a real gutsy one: "Who would ferociously slaughter an innocent donkey?"
I rested my defence:"I would ferociously muffler my nightie!"
Dad stopped frowning! I kicked in the air for completing all three!
But that's not all! Today, I write! Just daring it is! Like the man who is brave enough to pee on a police station wall!


One of my friends was in search of true love. This excerpt is derived from a conversation with him. 
It was mid-September, 2015 when the Puja holidays in Guwahati were approaching. Approaching holidays mean attractive offers, and attractive shopping offers mean more women out in the evenings than usual.
He was returning home from office when he saw a young, beautiful lady in an overly crowded bus. He squeezed through the crowd, and placed himself near to her seat. She bought a ticket for the last stoppage of the route. He requested the conductor to extend his ticket for the last stoppage, paid him extra, and held on to his place near her seat.
He was admiring her traits when she received a call from someone. She spoke gently, made some feminine conversation symbols with her hands as she explained something. All was Greek to him! Thereafter, she requested the bus conductor to return her money.
Sensing possible change of plans, my friend asked the ticket master about this. Now, these bus conductors are clever and often enjoy the instant love stories that happen in buses. He smiled, and said, "Okay. I understand!" And he handed a new ticket to him and whispered, "Next stoppage." My friend acknowledged his gesture. 
As the stoppage approached, the boy decided to get to the rear door so that the girl would not suspect his intentions of following her. He unboarded the bus, and waited to see her. Seconds later, people unboarded the bus, but she wasn't there. Just then, he raised his head and saw the young lady seated at the window seat as before, waving goodbye to her friend who had just gotten off the bus.
The bus started. As the bus moved out, the ticket master grinned at him from the inside of the bus like a cunning owl! Poor soul! He had to cross the road and board another bus back home!