Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mumbai Disappoints

Phase 3 of the Lok Sabha elections, at the end of which two-thirds of India would have ended the electoral process, saw minimum turnout from Maximum City today.

India's economic capital, Mumbai, saw an abysmal 45% turnout, even lower than that in 2004. This in spite of 26/11 and the so-called 'middle class awakening.' It just goes to show that the educated elite like to crib without doing anything about it, they do not care to look into the finer details of various candidates and their parties. What happens to Mumbai hence will be of its own doing.

Meanwhile, polling was much better than in 2004 in Kashmir, although the disguised-secessionists, theMuftis, chose not to vote. Around the country, VIP candidates, including Sonia Gandhi and LK Advani, voted. Bollywood stars also made their presence felt.

Phase 3 included all of the BJP's fortress - Gujarat - and Chief Minister Narendra Modi exuded confidence of a sweeping victory. In West Bengal, the Left faced its toughest electoral battle in decades, while the BJP looked to open its account in the state by winning Darjeeling. 

Lastly, Sikkim held simultaneous Assembly and Parliamentary elections. The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) looks to further its hold with a new generation of candidates. Indeed, the party's ability to keep its members together in spite of mass-denial of tickets is something other parties can only wish for. The main opposition, the Congress, looks too weak stop a powerful SDF, while the BJP's position in the state is very small. Sikkim is also in the news for a unique constituency, comprising of 3,058 Buddhist monks in a monastery. The constituency has no well-marked borders and the candidates are all from the 'Sangh', but the SDF is sure to win this one too. In fact, the only real challenge for the opposition is to retain its lone Assembly seat. Who knows, Sikkim could be the only one-party legislature in the country!

Ironically, SFI conducts Mock Test

WEEK 102 DAY 4

Sri Chaitanya Campus IV, SR Nagar, Hyderabad, Apr. 30: There was no rest for the weary. Or at least, not for a few of them. After the morning's EAMCET Grand Test (a common paper for ICON, NEON and LEO sections), students were given the option to write a mock test conducted by, ironically, the Students' Federation of India (SFI).

SFI is the students' wing of the Communist parties, which are infamous for their infinite bandhs and closure of Jr. Colleges across the state. Which is why it was quite a surprise when they of all people conducted the test! However, the test was very good, matching EAMCET standards and shortage of space. The test was prepared for SFI by Anurag College of Technology (I've never heard of it either). The key was pinned up on the notice board after the exam, but many lacked the patience to copy down 160 answers.

According to college authorities, the test results will be published on SFI's website. OTFS cannot independently find out which of SFI's many websites they meant.

The exam saw large attendance, although it was limited as far as the IIT Campus was concerned. Authorities discovered that they had limited test papers and had to turn down many applications. Early applicants were lucky.

The online BITSAT mock test conducted by JP ends today at 10:00 PM. Overall, I found the test to be very good an simulated BITSAT conditions to the T. (OTFS)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Marching Backwards

What do you get when you hurt a communist's ego just a few months before the elections? That's right, you get the so-called Third Front!

Of the eighteen districts in West Bengal, fourteen fall under the category of 'most backward in India.' In other words, most of the state is backward. And that's after 32 years of leftist rule. The lack of development is amazing. Kolkata is the least hygienic and most backward metro I've ever seen.

The Marxists have had only one policy prior to the Buddhadeb Government: distribute land. They gave away large swats of land to farmers but did not teach them how to make it more productive. The Government did not care to introduce new technology to them or to educate their children. They just distributed land and let urban infrastructure rot. Heck, even the British did better than that!

But apart from agriculture, WB could never boast of anything. There is very little industrialisation; Bengalis are revered outside the state for their intelligence, but in the state, that intelligence seems to vanish. The education system there is medieval, it discourages hard work and competition. Now, the left would quote magazines that say that WB is one of the fastest growing states in India, but that's because of a very low base. It's growth is not like Gujarat's or Andhra Pradesh's, as both of them already have a high base. The Left wasted a generation living off land and not helping people acquire other skills. Murshidabad is the most backward place in India. That's right, Lalu's Bihar or Mayawati's UP don't contain India's most backward place, Marx's West Bengal does! The whole country is laughing at WB because communism is dead everywhere but it thrives there.

Now, the Left seeks to replicate its model in the rest of India! Prakash Karat and AB Bardhan have been harping on about a 'non-Congress, non-BJP secular government,' which is impossible. Now, having realised that the Third Front cannot muster up the numbers before the President, they're talking about taking 'external support' from the Congress! Ludicrous! How stable can a government be if its only lifeline of external support happens to control as many seats in Parliament as do all the constituents of that Government put together? When the Left ditched the UPA, the Congress managed to rope in a few allies and keep the UPA afloat. But if the Congress ever ditches the Third Front Government, the Left will have to virtually double the Third Front's seats without going anywhere near the BJP and its allies. That is impossible.

The Third Front was created by the Left because their ego was hurt after Manmohan Singh won the Trust Motion. Opportunistic regional parties joined the Front, hoping to expand their influence beyond their states/regions. They have no common thoughts, they cannot agree on anything! They are just opportunists without a vision, a blind and raging Buffalo! The Third front cannot hope to come to power.

The Communist era is coming to and end. After Nandigram in WB and anger towards the LDF in Kerala, the Left will probably lose half of its current seats. They will be pushed into the back benches, which is where they belong. The country does not need a regressive party like the Left. The country is marching into the future, and the Left is shocked that they are being left behind. An ideology such as theirs has no place in modern India.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shoecide: The New Fad

Elections 2009 have seen a rather disturbing trend. It all started with an Iraqi journalist who threw a shoe at former US President George Bush. And, like everything else, we Indians decided to copy it.

First, Home Minister P Chidambaram faced a shoecide attack from a Sikh journalist. And it's been a circus since then: LK Advani, Naveen Jindal and even Manmohan Singh, shoes have been flying all over the place!

Now, apart from the first such 'attack' on the Home Minister, all of the others have been for publicity. CHEAP publicity. Which brings us to a disturbing feature of this election campaign: callous disrespect. I disagree with many national leaders on a lot of things. But that does not mean I can treat them like dogs!

The sheer lack of respect for a fellow human being clearly manifests itself in these shoecide attacks. What these hoodlums expect to gain by this cheap publicity stunt is beyond me. Will a shoe solve our problems. Will a shoe prevent an action replay of 26/11? Will a shoe save our farmers? No! There should be constructive debate, not shoe attacks. 

What's worse is that the victims choose to forgive the criminals, obviously to avoid any trouble with the EC. But they are setting a bad example. One police case and all the shoes will go back to where they belong. It's time the Indian masses were disciplined a bit.

Keen Contest in Mumbai South

Mumbai South is probably India's most affluent and politically apathetic constituency that goes to polls on Apr. 30. Now usually, most voters here would not come out to vote, they would rather buy their way through the system and provide a simple excuse that they have 'lost faith in the system.' But 26/11 changed all of that. The rich and famous cannot remain apathetic, because now their lives depend on it.

It seems to have been this understanding that prompted ABN Amro's India chief Meera Sanyal, to enter the fray. She comes with clear objectives: improve security, overhaul the public transport system (the local trains in particular), implement the Nagar Raj Bill (which further decentralises administration of the megapolis), better infrastructure and a directly elected Mayor who becomes the single point for accountability. 

All her objectives, except the last one, are achievable. Mumbai contributes close to Rs. 1 lakh crore in taxes, but get a pittance in return. As an MP, Ms. Sanyal will be able to force the government to allocate more funds to Mumbai and see to it that they are used where they are needed. I believe that she can be trusted to use her MPLADS funds for the good of the city. However, her last ambition, that of a directly elected mayor, would require a constitutional amendment and, although I fully support the idea for Mumbai, I don't think she can achieve it. Nonetheless, she can definitely raise the issue in Parliament and create awareness. 

But Ms. Sanyal faces a formidable foe, sitting MP Milind Deora. He is accessible to his voters and is generally liked by most people. However, he comes with the a family ticket, as voting for him would endorse the nepotistic legacy of the Congress. Voters will have to balance their views and consider their options wisely. The other two main contestants, Mohan Rawle of the Shiv Sena and a candidate representing the newly-formed PPI, don't stand much of a chance. 

Over the last few weeks, a lot of hate mail has been making the rounds about Ms. Sanyal. While some of the allegations are garbage, the fact that she is on a sabbatical is true. However, she said with pride on CNN-IBN that "I am not a professional politician, and I am proud of that. I am a professional banker." Ms. Sanyal represents change from within, the kind that this country and Mumbai in particular needs.

OTFS endorses Meera Sanyal for Mumbai South. Now, it's up to voters there whether they are ready to step out of their homes and usher in change. This time, if voters are killed in floods or terrorist attacks, they have only themselves to blame.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Seven Bricks of our Society

The case of little Shanno, who was tortured to death by her teacher for being unable to recite the alphabet, has left a deep scar in my mind. Our society is moving quietly in a very dangerous direction; we are obsessed with results and we do not care about the means. I fear for my future, and the future of my country.

Nauman Sait wins Roadies 6

The Grand Finale

The atmosphere was pretty tense in the hotel rooms, as Nauman, Kiri and Palak tried to guess what fate held for them. They didn't have to wait for long, for, soon after Kiri shocked the world by bagging a place in the finals, the next task stood like a mountain before them.

OK, so it was a cliff, not a mountain. But the task was tall all the same: a race to the top of Mt. Roadies. The three contestants were strapped in and had to climb the vertical edge of the cliff. The task was not about speed, rather, it was about technique. Kiri, perhaps with some experience from the hills of the North East, excelled in the task, leaving Nauman far behind, while Palak was still virtually on the ground!

But Kiri got the shock of his life when he saw who were waiting for him: Raghu and Rajiv. Kiri had to choose one Roadie who he would challenge in the finals. Obviously, he wanted to take Palak because that would guarantee him victory. But Raghu and Rajiv used a clever mix of flattery and criticism, not to mention LOUD LECTURES, to convince him to take Nauman.

And so the stage was set: Nauman vs. Kiri for the title of winner of Roadies 6. The task was inspired by Bumpy's mad dreams: he envisaged a tortured, enslaved Roadie walking on ice, carrying hundreds of kilograms of weight by his neck, hands and feet. At the end however, after Rannvijay had to struggle like never before to complete the task, they chose to drop the ice and drastically lower the weight. The task was simple: the finalists were strapped on to a balance, which carried considerable weight. They had to take twenty steps and pull out a flag at the other end. The first to do so wins.

That's easier said than done. The first five steps were easy, but then it got really tough as the chains began to tighten. Blood began to flow to their faces, as the entire Roadies crew, and not just the Roadies themselves, took sides and cheered for their favourite. Nauman struggled so hard to keep his balance that his feet began to bleed and his platform was covered in blood. But he persisted and pulled with all his life, yanking out the flag with Kiri a few steps behind.

There was a deafening roar as the flag came out. Nauman's name went into the history books as he became the sixth Indian to win Roadies, while Kiri also earned everybody's respect as 'the Warrior.' The entire Crew congratulated themselves for a job well done and, just before the series ended, a completely revamped Roadies 7 was promised!

On Facebook, some feel that Kiri should have won while others are in love with Nauman. However, the sheer excitement in watching Roadies 6 and discussing it threadbare was a part of the experience for all of us. For me, as a first-time Officer who oversaw two anonymous voteouts on Facebook, the experience was unforgettable. But it doesn't end here: we'll be back to cover Roadies 7. And we can't wait!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Matter of Time and 'Length'

WEEK 102 DAY 0

Army School, Ramakrishnapuram, Secunderabad, Apr. 26: Faces filled with excitement and fear could be seen as hundreds of students gathered to write the All India Engineering/Architecture Entrance Exam (AIEEE-09) here today. Although the exam was to begin only by 9:30 AM, the school's grounds were packed by 8:30 AM. Being a military school, military men asked parents in a not-so-polite manner not to accompany their children to the exam hall!

Fortunately, I had two friends with him I could chat to kill time. However, by 8:45 AM, we walked through the underground subway (yes, the school has such a thing!) and found our way to our rooms. As with every school run by the Armed Forces, the infrastructure was terrible. The rooms did not have a concrete roof, the benches were made of old, worn-out steel and the fans (two per class) were woefully inadequate. There was even a banyan tree with a concrete platform around it: much like those nagar palikas one gets to see in villages!

Now, coming to the exam. As usual, CBSE put up loads of formalities. Circling bubbles with a pen can always be risky, and we had to be extra careful while filling in our details. At 9:30, we were asked to begin. Chemistry was quite easy, some of the questions were rudimentary, while a few were difficult. Organic and inorganic chemistry took the lion's share of questions, as physical chemistry was reduced to a small number. 

Physics was not very difficult, although it was not all that easy either. Essentially, it was a good mix of straightforward questions and not-so-straightforward ones! Maths on the other hand was very difficult. Some people even wondered if it was an IIT paper! The maths section was not just difficult but also time-consuming, and only a few questions could be solved in under two-minutes. 

CBSE changed the marking scheme this year for AIEEE. Unlike last year, there were just 90 questions (30 per subject), but the maximum marks shot up to 432 (144 per subject), the highest in recent years. Also, in a controversial move, six presumably-random but contiguous questions in each subject were assigned eight marks, while the rest were given four, all of them coming with a negative mark of 1/4th of the maximum. Now, there seems to be no reason as to why some questions were given double the weightage as others, as all the questions went in a flow and these particular questions had nothing special in them. However, as nobody can question CBSE, the matter will probably remain buried forever.

Also, CBSE has yet again proved its competence in tackling the practice of copying by introducing four sets (A-D). Each set had a different order in which subjects were presented. Each subject's questions were in a jumbled order and even the questions' options were jumbled up; it was virtually impossible to copy in this exam! Circling with a pen proved costly for some questions, but being just a little careful could have solved that.

The comments from students have been interesting. Most agreed that Maths was difficult, although some opined that it was because the questions were genuinely of a higher standard, while others felt that the paper was time-consuming but not difficult. But everybody agreed that the space provided for rough work was woefully inadequate. About 60 cm² of space below each page (20 cm x 3 cm approx.) and two pages (or one single sheet with two sides) at the end were all that were provided. Compare that to IITJEE, in which just 60 questions were given about ten blank sheets! Many people, including yours truly, were forced to cram their answers in every square inch that they could find; the more innovative students used the envelopes which stored their hall tickets!

AIEEE-09 is however, not over as of yet. Students who are interested in pursuing B.Arch are currently writing their aptitude and drawing test. Indeed, many who do not intend to pursue B.Arch are also writing the test just for the heck of it! Interestingly, the B.Arch paper asks students to 'bring their own drawing boards and crayons.' That scared off a lot of students!

Various institutes will be releasing their key over the next few days. Note that these are not foolproof solutions and CBSE does not publish the final key.

Two major exams - EAMCET (in Andhra Pradesh) and BITSAT - are scheduled for May/June. OTFS wishes you good health as you prepare for those. (OTFS)

Friday, April 24, 2009

IPE Results Declared

The Board of Intermediate Education, AP, declared the results for Second Year Intermediate (Vocational and General) at 11: 30 AM today. The results came as a surprise to some, in a good way and also in a bad way.

My marks are as follows:
Maths 2A: 75/75
Maths 2B: 75/75
Physics: 60/60
Chemistry: 60/60
English II: 90/100
Sanskrit II: 98/100
Phy. Practicals: 30/30
Chem. Practicals: 30/30

Adding to the First Year marks, my grand total comes to 980/1000 or 98%, a record for me!

Meanwhile, other marks from the college began to flow. Divya Ravi topped the IIT campus with 985/1000, including an amazing 97% in Eng. II. Aditya S. scored 977/1000. Other marks have reached the administration.

Overall, most students from S1 seem satisfied and even surprised by their marks. For example, I was sure that I would lose significant marks in Chemistry, but I didn't lose a thing! Also, I was guaranteed of losing at least one mark in Sanskrit because of a mistake in the MCQs, but again, I seemed to have lost just the bare minimum of two marks (1 mark per essay)! However, students from other campuses and even other sections of the IIT campus were not so lucky, and many felt rather disappointed by their marks.

However, the truth remains that these marks are not of much use. If a students scores 80% or more in MPC, they can write all the well-known competitive exams. Also, only MPC marks (and not language marks) will be counted for EAMCET. 

For those who did well, there isn't much time to celebrate. AIEEE will be held on Sunday from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM. OTFS will be reporting from Army School, Ramakrishnapuram. (OTFS)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Elitism at its Best

Over the past month, three student-related issues have attracted the attention of our news media: the so-called 'voice of the people.' First, the tragic death of Aman Kachroo; second, the death of little Shanno at the hands of a monster-turned-teacher; and third, making news today, is the death of Akriti, a patient of asthma from Modern School, Delhi.

While the media gave each story its due share of sensationalism, the elitism in our media showed prominently. News channels felt it appropriate to equate Aman Kachroo with all or nearly all students in India, although he lived in a private hostel and spent a part of his life in the US. The media automatically assumed that Aman was like all of us, although the truth is that he lived quite a comfortable life that few can hope to live. The media also gave his parents, his Father in particular, plenty of time to take out his frustration. Now, although I believe, nay, I know that ragging is a universal disease in Indian education institutions, it seems so very wrong that the media chooses to focus on a rich student being ragged to death but not on the discrimination faced by poor students or those from the SCs/STs in our 'institutions of national importance.'

Then there is the case of Akriti, who died of a severe asthma attack and, her parents allege, negligence by the school. To be honest, I wasn't even expecting the story to be free from elitism, as it comes from Delhi. But the discussions going on in the media shocked even me. Her parents complained that the school's oxygen tank might have 'expired,' there was no ready ambulance, too much red-tapism etc. Well, I beg to differ. Not even 1% of schools in India, even in the very elitist city of Delhi, have an oxygen tank or an ambulance or even a doctor. Most of them depend on their PE teachers to help out a sick child. Some of them don't even have a first-aid kit, don't even ask for a nebuliser. Red-tapism is everywhere, and these parents must know that raising their kids like they're living in America will not help them when they grow up. And finally, that 14-year old girl who 'raised her voice.' If you ask me, she just got excited with the camera in front of her. Indian schools do not promote democracy or creativity, what you saw was a sudden outburst from an emotionally-charged teenager, not some Mahatma Gandhi-reincarnate.

Then, there is the case of little Shanno. This case was given massive coverage for one day, but Shanno's parents were asked questions quietly on the streets, not invited to plush, air-conditioned studios. Elitism, maybe? Shanno is a girl who really does represent the vast majority of Indian students, her death at the hands of corporal punishment by her inhuman teacher is more common that schools keeping 'expired' oxygen tanks! The media will give this case at most ten seconds an hour, and it will die in some dark judicial dungeon. The elitist media also passed verdict on this incident: the girl studied in a Government school, that's why it happened. Of course. Private schools don't practise corporal punishment, is it? Or are Delhi's kids too thick-skinned? Does anybody care that for every Shanno, there are hundreds of Shannos who have been pushed to the brink of death because our education system encourages rote learning, discourages creativity and punishes hard work not that doesn't turn into success? Or is quality education a right of only the rich elitists?

The media has been playing a very negative role recently in India. Whether it was the way 26/11 was displayed or the elitist assumptions they make, the media has simply sensationalised everything and given it up after a few days in search of greener pastures, passing off as the messiah of the masses in the process. The time has come for a Government-appointed regulator. The free media cannot regulate itself.

Big Names in Phase 2

Phase 2 of the 2009 General Elections are currently underway, as the rural heartland of India expresses itself. Although every phase has a large representation of rural voters, Phase 2 in particular shows a sharp rural focus.

Among the many 'bigshots' who are up for election this time is Rahul Gandhi from Amethi. This constituency, and also that of his mother Sonia, are sure victories for them. The question here is not whether a Gandhi will win but by what margin. 

In the Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections, all three candidates for Chief Minister - the incumbent YSR Reddy, main opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu and newcomer Chiranjeevi - are in the fray. Chiranjeevi is contesting from two constituencies, the most important of which is Tirupati. YSR Reddy will be contesting from him home constituency of Pulivendula and Naidu from Kuppam. 

Elections to the APLA will decide the next state government. Although Telengana - with a majority of seats - already voted in Phase 1, it will be imperative for parties to make up their losses in Phase 1 in this phase. In particular, Chiranjeevi, whose party has virtually no significance in Telengana, is expected to do well in Coastal districts. His Praja Rajyam party has been mired in controversy, being described as a 'poison tree' by a former member.

Incidentally, the Telugu Desam has also been in controversy, with the CEO clamping down on its workers for implementing the CTS as a 'novel' way of bribing voters. The presumably unimplementable scheme has already begun to heckle bureaucrats!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

High-Voltage Drama

WEEK 101 DAY 3

Sri Chaitanya IIT Academy, SR Nagar, Hyderabad, Apr. 22: Informed sources have told OTFS that a high-voltage drama played out in the campus today. SR Nagar 'Dean' Mr. Naidaiah (spelling may be incorrect) came to inspect the campus, where the AIEEE Set Batch and the ICON Star Batch were supposed to be studying together.

However, for the first time ever, the entire ICON Star batch was absent. The reason: the timings were 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM, and all protests by the ICON students fell on deaf ears. Thus, they boycotted the exam and classes. For the first time, attendance from the ICON side was at 0%!

The Principal asked some students to come to college and gave them a long lecture, during which he actually said, "you couldn't give me good marks in IITJEE, at least don't make me hang my head in shame for AIEEE." With about 15 students from the class expected to make the cut of IITJEE, this led to widespread resentment and students strengthened their resolve not to attend classes.

Vice Principal Mrs. Jhansi went into damage-control mode and convinced the 'Dean' that students from the ICON Star Batch will simply not do as the college says. Consequently, they have been permitted to college at 3:00 PM, write their exam, and leave by 6:00 PM, with the option of staying for an hour to resolve any doubts.

This huge compromise on the part of the administration is still not enough to get too many students to college. OTFS estimates that no more than 20 in a class of 43 will show up tomorrow! Students essentially are fed up with the college's system of prolonged hours and infinite tests (an excellent report of which was published in today's The Hindu). Still, the high-scoring students are expected to show up, and that should lead to some good competition with the AIEEE set batch.

EAMCET Hall Tickets
The college began the distribution of EAMCET 2009 hall tickets today. The exam will be held on May 14 (Thursday) from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Jayaho Results?
An alarming number of people have been asking OTFS as to how they can find the results of Jayaho Model Test conducted on Sunday. We wish to inform them that the results have not been published on the website and no TV9 office has them either, as far as we know. However, it has come to our notice that some administrators of various campuses do know the results. For example, the Principal of the SR Nagar campus appears to know the results. Students should contact their Principals or Vice Principals for accurate information. (OTFS)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Roadies 6: The Stage is Set

Episode 15: Karjat

This week on Roadies 6, the first part of the grand finale was shot. Interestingly, the episode was shot recently, three weeks after the Roadies returned from Sydney. Palak looked like she lost some weight, but her attitude didn't change one bit.

Like all the previous seasons, the finale was held with the previous Roadies. However, the five 'undeserving' Roadies on Episode 1 were not invited, which makes this season hideously different. As all the Roadies sat around the finalists - Nauman and Palak - tempers began to fly. Videos showing the finalists' real attitude towards their fellow Roadies (Nauman admitted to using Tamanna and Palak said she hated Sufi) led to a war of words, with Sufi using language so foul that MTV had to 'beep' over it!

In came Raghu, adding more fuel to the fire. His outburst against Palak saw her in her nautanki best. She huffed and puffed out of the stadium, pretending to quit the show, and fell down and pretended to have a seizure! And of course, Samrat came to her rescue :-)

After that drama, the Roadies were informed that Palak (if she chose to come back) and Nauman would have to face off against a third Roadie, who would be decided by a vote between the others. So, the horse-trading began. Samrat seemed adept at it; 'vote do paise/bike lo' seemed to be his mantra! Kiri and Paulomi didn't even try to garner voted, they just enjoyed the atmosphere!

The next day, Sufi and Natasha were given a chance to become a finalist, because their voteouts had been controversial and unfair. The Roadies voted for a third contender - and Kiri won! After the initial surprise came the task. It was quite unique: the Roadies had to walk around a four-feet high, four-inch wide rectangular frame in the dark, with blinding lights to 'see' in the dark! The task was challenging and demanded extreme concentration and self-control. Kiri performed outstandingly well, Sufi failed to complete the task and Natasha took longer than Kiri to do so (by nearly 6 minutes!). 

So once the dust had cleared, Nauman, Palak and Kiri stood shoulder-to-shoulder, as the final task awaits them next week. 

Voice of the Youth?

This is in response to an ad about the Indian National Congress, in which the party takes credit for 'listening to the voice of the youth' by lowering the eligibility to vote from 21 years to 18 years of age. The picture above shows medical students being treated like criminals and rioters for peacefully protesting against OBC reservations. 

Don't forget this.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

TV9 pays a visit

WEEK 101 DAY 0

Sri Chaitanya Campus IV, SR Nagar, Hyderabad, Apr. 19: The second edition of Jayaho 2009 was conducted, with students from various classes and even colleges writing the exam, based on the AIEEE format. 

Two-thirds through the test, a reporter for TV9, which conducted the exam jointly with Sri Chaitanya, came to the exam hall and asked a few questions to some students in Telugu.

Overall, the paper was moderately tough, with Physics being hard.

OTFS has learned that the college has collected the EAMCET Hall Tickets and is currently entering the data into their records. In another two or three days, they will be distributed to all the students. (OTFS)

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's Back!

After a smash-hit first season, the Indian Premiere League returns today in a new location and with some new faces. The IPL created a wave last year by evoking mass city-based support; that will be missing this year, because of a clash of inetrests with the General Elections.

Nonetheless, IPL will be screened on SET Max during prime time for Indian audiences. Spread over five weeks with 59 matches, IPL will be a little stimulus package for South Africa, and a big one for cricket fans around the world. 

Last year's champion, Rajasthan Royals, looks to defend its title against fearsome adversaries, notably Chennai Superkings and Kings XI Punjab. Teams such as Bangalore Royal Challengers and Deccan Chargers (which has a new look), which shared the bottom spot last year, will look to improve their performance after a change of leadership. For Kolkata Knight Riders, it will be a strange experiment with multiple captains, and failure could mean disaster for the team. Finally, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils, which did fairly well last year, will look to go the last mile this time round.

So, whose chances are higher? Personally, I favour KXIP, more so this year. However, RR is still strong and will definitely be the team to beat. DC and RCB, in spite of their corrections, still seem to languish, while DD and MI have good chances of winning. However, KKR's chances seem low as the new multiple captain system is hitherto untested. 

I also have a bet going with a friend that DC will be in the bottom three this year, as opposed to his view that it will be in the top four. If it comes fifth, well, nobody wins!


Slugging it out on TV

This is the new warzone.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

IPE 1st Year Results Expected Tomorrow reports that the results of the Intermediate First Year (General and Vocational) Public Exam '09 results will be announced tomorrow, Apr. 17, 2009. Results will be available via IVRS, SMS or the Internet after 4:00 PM tomorrow. Lakhs of students who wrote the exam will need the marks to evaluate their chances in EAMCET one year hence, as these marks will be counted. 

The results for Second Year are expected in a few days. Bazaar gossip indicates that they could be released around Apr. 23 or 24, but that is speculative and unconfirmed as of now. (OTFS)

60% Turnout in Phase 1

An estimated 60% of the electorate exercised their franchise in Phase 1 of the 15th General Elections, according to the Election Commission. Simultaneously, about the same percentage voted in state elections being held together with National elections in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. 

The polling process was marred in some Northern states by Naxalites trying to prevent people from voting. The insurgents have called for a poll boycott. Exchange of fire between police and naxalites in some places left 18 people dead, ten policemen, five poll officials and three voters. However, apart from this, no trouble was reported from other constituencies, including Jammu. 

The fate of some high-profile candidates, including D Purandeswari, Renuka Chowdary, Lalu Yadav, K Chandrashekhar Rao, Rudy Pratap and others was decided today. The next phase of polling will be on Apr. 23.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Boon and the Bane

Over the last two days, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made two comments, one of with which  I agree and the other I do not.

He said that regional parties were obstacles to the development. He is right: most regional parties are the outcomes of egos and hunger for money and power: these parties have no vision, they depend on votebanks to keep them afloat. A host of parties - the TDP, the SP, the BSP, the RJD and many others - rouse regional sentiments and use clever rhetoric to win votes, but lack leadership. These parties do not have a credible economic policy, they would much rather launch populist programmes that please for five years and mercilessly wreck the economy later on. Some, like the communists, who are essentially confined to three states (one of which is electorally insignificant), have major ego issues and want to steer the country in the direction they deem fit, irrespective of what others think. Regional parties are also created because its 'President' (a euphemism for 'King') wasn't treated like a King in another party. Such parties, like the TRS and the MNS, use bold and hateful campaigns to gain policial mileage, but are essentially worthless.

Then, there is the part with which I do not agree. Dr. Singh said that Independents were 'spoilers.' His own Congress party is infamous for the minimum qualification to 'make it big': the surname 'Gandhi.' While most Independents really are spoilers, many of them are genuinely interested in changing the way New Delhi works. Take the case of Meera Sanyal from Bombay (Mumbai), an Independent who has left a wildly successful career because she could no see people die any longer simply because politicians refuse to care. She represents a rebel: someone who refuses to sit back and accept the chalta hai attitude. People like her would be thrown out of Party offices in any state: she is just too smart and too determined to fit in! Independents provide life to politics: they vote freely on issues, they debate without any party whip and they really know the constituencies they represent. 

Change, as they say, must come from within. Some of it is good and some of it is not. Regional parties are a bane to National politics, but Independents are its jewels. 

The Miracle of Indian Democracy, plus the Cynicism

During the fourth general elections in India, The Times, of London, sent down a correspondent to cover the event. He found a great deal of apathy towards parliamentary democracy in India, with people seemingly ready to be ruled by a dictator. He wrote, "I cover India's fourth, and probably last, general elections."

Tomorrow, the world's largest democracy begins the process of its fifteenth general elections. But the success of parliamentary democracy - no longer 'western' - has come with a lot of scepticism.

Yes, there is widespread corruption. There are threats, there is liquor. Lots of liquor. But there is apathy only among a small section of what the West would call 'liberal elites.' These 'elites' do not really need a government, since they cannot afford everything, except security. After 26/11, demands for a benevolent dictator rose once again from these quarters. But soon, some of them realised that such a situation would be the end of the country.

Comparing Indian democracy with its Western counterpart would bring up sad facts: the former is like a wicked cousin of the latter. But comparing it to the chaos left in Asia post colonialism paints a rather rosy picture! Consider India's neighbours: Pakistan (more than half its Independent history is under military rule), Nepal (a violent communist uprising that killed many is what it took to dislodge a King whose accession to the throne was questionable), Sri Lanka (a country torn apart by civil war), China (a one-party state that executes thousands of its citizens and has an abysmal human rights record), Afghanistan (let me not elaborate), Myanmar (with a military junta that refuses to relinquish power), the Middle East... I could go on and on. But the point is, amongst this sea of war and dictators, India stands a stable democracy, with a military firmly under civilian command.

India is also arguably the most diverse of all these nations. With 18 official languages, thousands of dialects, religions, castes, sects, economic status etc., this country could easily be termed the least likely place for democracy to flourish. Instead, it is the world's largest democracy.

Tomorrow, Indian voters will once again demonstrate just how they earned that title. India's democracy, scorned by many but justified by most, stands as a prefect answer to dictatorships and Communist countries which feel that democracy is 'Western' and cannot be implemented. Democracy is not 'Western'; it is universal.

Litmus Test for TRS

As voters in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh vote tomorrow, it will be a major test for the so-called 'Telangana sentiment.'

Last year, the TRS President K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) quit yet again from his Lok Sabha seat and forced yet another by-election, presumably to show the ruling Congress that the people wanted a separate state. However, that move nearly back-fired for the TRS, as it lost some Assembly and Lok Sabha seats and retained others by small margins. That defeat nearly led to KCR's resignation.

Since then, quite a lot has changed. Talli Telangana Party - which strives for the same objective - has merged itself with the TRS, despite its president Vijayashanti's well-known dislike for KCR. The new 'Grand Alliance' (GA) has been formed solely with the intention of defeating the Congress, even though its members disagree on Telangana. 

Meanwhile, the Congress is betting on the development plank. Unlike the TRS and all the other pro-Telanegana parties, the Congress has actually undertaken development works here, and that has registered with voters. In fact, a view from ground zero in Telangana shows that people are actually voting for the TRS more out of sympathy for its 'son of the soil' rather than its work, which is abysmal. But how long voters' patience will last is yet to be seen.

The Telangana issue has been a major part of campaigns for decades. But if the TRS loses badly tomorrow, it will not be an end to the issue but rather, it will open up a new debate altogether.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Preposterous Promises and Demands

The TDP's promised cash-transfer scheme (CTS) will lead to a financial collapse of the state. This is clear from the source of this ignoble idea.

Let me explain. CTS is not a new concept, it is being implemented in some Latin American countries. However, there is a fundamental difference between these countries and India. All of these countries are export-orineted: they export primary products and crude oil, as their human resources are not developed enough to generate wealth. Huge exports created a surge of liquid money in the country. However, this came so quickly that governments there were unable to use this wealth to create better education, sanitation etc. Consequently, faced with a situation of impoverished masses under a cash-rich government, they introduced the CTS to try to use that wealth directly. While it provides some immediate assistance, it does not do much for the development of the population, as the money simply disappears. 

Now, consider India. We were never an export-oriented economy: our growth came primarily from domestic demand. Successive budgets were based on deficit spending, which has gotten much wore due to the International Financial Meltdown. We do not have enough resources to export them and generate large wealth. Our only option is to develop our human resources: education, housing, employment, health etc. The government has enough money for these initiatives. However, if the CTS is implemented, it will drain the exchequer entirely, as our exports are not that great and tax collections are not enough to sustain the CTS and other programmes simultaneously. Moreover, simply giving money to the poor without doing anything to improve their lives is a waste of time: no amount of money will ever be enough, and whatever is pumped in will disappear just as quickly. 

Incidentally, rumour goes that Chandrababu Naidu's son Lokesh dug this idea up after browsing through pages related to it on the Internet: pages which, surely, would only contain information about the project and not the problems faced in its implementation. Without proper planning, this scheme can be the last and final one before the state heads for bankruptcy.

Let me not comment on the Free Colour TV scheme. It is so worthless, self-defeating and corrupt that I do not find it worth discussing.

Also, the Communists' 'demand' that the Centre should come out with a "huge package" to fund CTS and Free TVs scheme is ridiculous. This is perhaps the most comical thing I have heard so far during the campaign, and it happens to come from a party which is living in the 1980s and is distraught by the way the country is leaving it behind as it heads into the 21st century. It deserves contempt and discouragement, not votes.

An Exam of Coincidences

Sunday's IITJEE-09 had quite a few coincidences in store for me. No, none of the questions were solved by me previously: that would be too much of a coincidence!

Firstly, my seat was right in front of the class: the first number allotted to that room! This is very rare (how many times has it happened to you?). Next, I met an old friend from five years ago. The meeting was somewhat embarrassing, because while he remembered me, I did not remember him. But hey! We knew each other for just two weeks some five years ago, I can't be blamed for forgetting him, right?

Then there were the solutions, posted on the Internet by reputed organisations. Much to my chagrin, several questions, which I had decided not to attempt in spite of suspecting a particular answer of being correct, turned out to have those very answers which I suspected. Now, it feels bad when you make a calculation error for temperature in a fusion reactor, or when you know that the coordination number of aluminium chloride is 6, but do not mark it. 

But there is no use crying over spilt milk. Life goes on, and there will be other exams.

Incidentally, FIITJEE's 'rank calculator' (see previous post) has assured me of a good rank in between 1,500 and 3,500. So, maybe I'm destined for an IIT after all. Ram jane!

Estimate Your Rank

Like every year, this year's IITJEE paper has been scrutinised by various educational organisations in India and abroad. Overall, the paper was harder than the one in 2008, with the descriptive problems turning out to be a huge shocker.

FIITJEE (Forum for IITJEE) has come out with a 'rank calculator,' which will try to tell you what rank you might get. The calculator is best used after checking your score with FIITJEE's solutions, available for free download on their website. While OTFS cannot verify the accuracy of this 'rank calculator,' we feel that as FIITJEE is a respected institution for IITJEE coaching, their numbers will be based on solid scientific estimations.

The 'calculator' asks you for your score in each subject and tells you what rank you might get. Actually, it gives you a fairly broad range of marks, usually spanning 1,000 to 2,000 ranks. It also gives you some nice advice, whether you made the cut or not.

Meanwhile, Narayana, Career Launcher and other organisations have released their keys, which can be found using a simple Google search.

OTFS wishes you luck in your future course of action.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gruelling Exam

WEEK 100 DAY 0

Chaitanya Bharati Institute of Technology, Gandipet, Hyderabad, Apr. 12: Getting there was by no means easy, but the long ride, across kaccha roads, thick forests and military establishments, was worth it.

The prestigious IITs conducted their Joint Entrance Exam today, on Easter, across the country. My centre was CBIT, and I must say, it is an excellent institution. The furniture was more than comfortable, the buildings were clean (except for a bee's nest) and the canteen was the place to chill out.

But enough about the centre, more about the exam. True to their habit, the IITs changed the format this year. While the total number of questions was reduced, the difficulty level was increased. Unlike 2008, Paper 1 had multiple answer questions which carried a negative mark (+4, -1). It also included the usual straight answer questions (+3, -1) and the two linked-comprehension type questions, with three questions each (+4, -1). However, a major shock came in the form of the matrix matching questions: instead of the 4x4 format that was used in 07 and 08, the IITs introduced a new 4x5 system, lowering the probability of answering a question correctly. However, they made the system more fair by introducing a 2-mark per row system, making the entire question worth 8 marks, unlike the previous system where you could score 0, 1, 2,3 or 6. However, the number of such questions was reduced from three in 08 to two (+2 per row, no negative marking).

The wait for the second paper was murderous! While the atmosphere at the canteen was soothing, I couldn't help hovering around L-block, where I was to write the test. Watching people eat in various styles was a good form of entertainment. While I chose to eat in the comfort of my car (and its AC), there were some who ate on the benches with their parents, while one group placed some newspapers on the ground and had a little picnic! Of course, the canteen made a huge profit as thousands thronged its refreshments stand.

By 1:30 AM however, we had to re-assemble for Paper-2. After the initial signatures and the thumb impression were given, we received the paper. Again, the format was a shocker. And I mean a shocker! When JEE first went objective, they used a numerical-grading system, which was discontinued because of the near impossibility to solve good questions without a calculator. Naturally, most of us thought that such questions were gone for good. But the format was re-introduced this year, with a sadistic twist that the answer would necessarily lie in between 0 and 9, and we just had to circle the answer!

I found this format extremely difficult to work with. What's worse is that it included a negative mark (+4 ,-1), and there were 8 such questions per section! This was the toughest part of the paper, both the papers even. The other questions were the usual: straight objective (+3, -1), multiple answer questions (+4, -1) and two 4x5 matrix matching questions (+2 per row, no negative marking). However, there three contributed to just 11 questions together, showing a clear favour towards the numerical-grading type, which, for all practical purposes, is a subjective format in an objective test. 

Overall, the difficulty level was balanced between the two papers, with a slight bias towards Paper-2. While Paper-1 was quite time-consuming, Paper-2 was student-friendly as far as time goes. 

Various organisations will be publishing their keys on the Internet. I recommend FIITJEE's solution, which comes out at midnight. However, if you don't want to get yourself too tensed, you might just want to skip the process of going through these 'keys,' since the final (and undisclosed) key tends to be a little different. After all, there is no time to rest, as AIEEE is just two weeks away! (OTFS)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Operation Habitation

By this time on Sunday, I would've finished writing IITJEE-09. Ah, the sense of freedom! A huge burden off my back... now waiting for another.

Once I come back, and even before I begin studying for AIEEE (scheduled for Apr. 26), I will be faced with the daunting task of cleaning up my room. Over the last two years, I have bought a forest: innumerable trees must've been chopped down to create my collection of IIT prep material. 

Here are some books that I'll have to dispose off:
  • TMH Mathematics
  • Arihant Organic Chemistry
  • OP Tandon Inorganic Chemistry
  • Vidyalankar's series: five bundles of study material, one bundle of practice papers and one bundle of extra questions (yes, I've done nearly all of these)
  • Previous years' IIT papers (three books)
  • HC Verma Vol. 1 and 2
  • Sri Chaitanya's IIT Material for two years (over a dozen books)
To quantify these in wight would be apt: let me peg them at anywhere between 10 and 20 kg!

After AIEEE, EAMCET and BITSAT, it will be an even more elaborate operation. Some of the books that I will have to get rid of are: 
  • IPE textbooks
  • AIEEE/EAMCET study material from Sri Chaitanya (6 books)
  • VGS Study Material (2 books)
  • NCERT textbooks
  • Model papers
  • Miscallenous material that I did not touch even once
  • Blank sheets leftover from some event that I can't even remember
  • Brilliant Tutorials books, from 9th/10th class!
Since this task will be so long and difficult, yet rewarding, I have decided to give it a formal name: Operation Habitation. I need my room back. I don't even remember what it looked like two years back, but I remember how it felt. And I want my old room back.

No more books (well, education-related books), no more pens (I've got 50+ used pens littered all over my room, want some?). My locker has four levels, and three of them need to emptied. I'll probably sell off most of the books, though I wouldn't mind donating them. I'm not looking for any profits here.

Ladies and gentlemen, life is about to change like never before. I am going to reclaim my freedom, take back the liberties that I was born with. The wait is just killing me...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Chances are Low

Let me be honest: I do not think that I will qualify in IITJEE-09. 

Those who know me would think otherwise, but I assure you, I am not the know-it-all genius that you think of me to be. I wasted a lot of time over the last two years. Yes, I probably studied for far more time than I wasted, but I fear that it is not enough. Stories of people studying for 16 hours a day, everyday, for two years (or even five) scare me. I haven't done all that!

Let me evaluate this logically. Case 1: I qualify for IITJEE. This opens up a Pandora's box. Which subject will I choose? I want to study CSE, recession or no recession. I took MPC only because I wanted to study something related to computers and IT, and I would not be happy otherwise. Which campus? Well, IIT Hyderabad would be very convenient and, to be fair, the temporary campus isn't that bad, and we'd shift to a permanent one in two years. If I can get one of the other IITs (the original 7) I wouldn't mind, though Roorkee and Guwahati are strictly off the list. Then there is the question of living in the hostel for the first time ever, ragging, food etc. That's too far off to consider right now.

Case 2 (more likely): I don't qualify. This opens up a plethora of options. Two weeks after JEE is AIEEE, which I think I will be able to qualify in. AIEEE is tough, but not as conceptual as JEE, so it's easier to study for it. If I use my AIEEE Rank, I could go to NIT Warnagal, where I know a few people. Or maybe Bhopal or some other NIT. Or I could join one of the deemed universities that use AIEEE. Again, CSE would be the focal point. Then again, I could qualify for BITS (and I'm confient that I will). My choice here is clear: BITS Pilani, Hyderabad. The campus is new but very hi-tech and comfortable. There is no need for me to travel to the deserts of Rajasthan for an education. 

Lastly, there is the last-chance case: EAMCET, with which I could probably join CBIT or some other college, or perhaps even JNTU or OU. This would happen only as a last resort: I would explore all options, even bend my desire for CSE, before using my EAMCET rank. 

So overall, not qualifying in JEE doesn't seem to be so bad after all: in fact, given the way the Manmohan Singh Government has destroyed the quality over there, it might be a boon in disguise. There will be the disappointment, and the jeers from detractors. But I've been there, done that. I care only for a tiny group of friends and relatives, not what the whole world has to say. Criticism of me has seldom bored into my head: if I can't get into an IIT with the intelligence I've got, then that's the way it should be. 

The next two months - packed with exams, counselling and a much-awaited trip to Mumbai, are going to be memorable. 

PS: In case you're writing JEE too and I've managed to discourage you, I do not apologise. Your performance depends on your work, not on what you read on a teenager's blog!



Sri Chaitanya AIEEE Campus (4), SR Nagar, Hyderabad, Apr. 4: TV9 and Sri Chaitanya conducted 'Jayaho-09,' a model IIT Test. All students of S1 and most from S2 wrote the test, along with some from the AIEEE Campus as well.

Overall, the test was challenging, with a few major errors. Several questions were taken directly from one of the ICON Grand Tests conducted previously. The test was held from 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM and 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM on the foruth floor. 

Jayaho-09 (a corrupted version of the hit-song-turned-Congress-slogan Jai Ho!) includes a few prizes for top scorers: two Tata Nanos, three motorbikes, laptops etc.!

After JEE
OTFS has learned from the Principal that from April 17 to 26, S1 would be merged with the AIEEE Set Batch. Essentially, it will be a crash course: classes go on to 9:00 PM. Students will be provided all meals free of cost.

However, OTFS asked a few students from S1 what they thought of the plan, and it received a unanimous thumbs down. Just about everyone said that they would boycott it. After all, they did not slog for two years to finish things off with a crash course!

A similar system if expected for the EAMCET preparation.

Jayaho-09 continues with its AIEEE Exam on Apr 19: just 10 days to go!

OTFS will be reporting after IITJEE-09 from CBIT. (OTFS)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Absolutely Impossible to Implement

Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam Party (PR) announced its manifesto. Like every new party (and also old ones), the manifesto is full of populist schemes, most of which cannot be implemented and if they try, the State will fall into economic collapse.

Perhaps the most outrageous scheme is Rs. 100 for a cylinder of gas. The burden that this would place on the exchequer would probably force all irrigation projects to be grounded. New dams cannot be built, which will lead to an even greater electricity deficit. Amidst this, 10 hours of free power will be impossible without bringing urban Andhra Pradesh to a grinding halt, which in turn will lead to shutting down of industries, which will lead to unemployment.

Then there is the Rs. 1,000 unemployment insurance. This might seem good on face value, but it comes with no strings attached. Unemployment insurance should come with rules that force a person to find work as soon as possible. Simply giving away free money will encourage people to drink and smoke and stop working! I have no idea how the PR plans to create half a million jobs in 1,000 days: it seems impossible, though I am ready to listen to any solutions.

The 50% reservation for women among Government teachers is a good measure, but the Rs. 1 lakh per girl child is unimplementable: the money would disappear as quickly as it is deposited. The idea of educating women from KG to PG is good, but how the PR plans to fund it is unknown. 

The land allotment scheme proposed in the manifesto is perhaps the best measure: it will create a difference, and it can be implemented. But the promise of providing groceries at Rs. 100 a month seems like something he took from a shop: easy to say, impossible to implement. If he tried to implement this scheme, the state's coffers would be empty and the Government would be forced to run to the RBI for aid. 

Already, the RBI Governor has warned that such populist measures would lead to an economic winter and cripple the country's finances. As such, I do not believe that the PR is going to come to power (I give the Congress a simple majority, though I could be wrong). However, Chiranjeevi must use his time to understand the art of governance and the importance of fiscal responsibility. 

Give a farmer food and you will feed him for a day. Teach him to use modern methods, educate him so that he can learn about new technology: and you will feed him forever.

Roadies 6: A House of Cards

Coffs Harbour

As Roadies 6 approaches its grand finale, the Roadies faced their final money task. It was in an ice-hockey rink, and quite obviously, it was a test of balance. So Paulomi couldn't stand up for more than a few minutes, while Palak kept holding on to Nauman, who himself had a lot of trouble. Natasha actually balanced herself well and was having fun.

Until the task began, that is. The Roadies were gifted Rs. 2.4 lakhs to start with, taking their total to well above Rs. 4 lakhs. However, the task was to stand before a net and block pucks being shot by a professional player (quite similar to Roadies 4, actually). Every goal would mean a loss of Rs. 20,000. Paulomi and Natasha saved one goal and let two pass each, while Palak saved two and Nauman, desperate and lonely as the only male Roadies left, saved all three. Finally, the Roadies closed their account with a little over Rs. 3 lakhs, a far cry from the promised Rs. 10 lakhs.

Palak tried her usual politics as usual. Her target was, obviously, Nauman, and she tried to make the girls gang up on him. But sadly, this girl does not know the art of sly politics, as she alienated Paulomi by poking fun at her.

The immunity task was perhaps the best one to date: a good ol' run in the Wild West. The Roadies would have run in a cordoned-off area and collect flags while escaping lassos from three seasoned cowboys. Palak and Paulomi did their best, while Natasha gave Nauman a strong fight. Eventually, Nauman, on account of his physical strength and Natasha's bad luck, won immunity.

All eyes were now on Palak. She tried some cheap politics, and eventually won Natsha over. During the voteout, Palak voted for Paulomi, who voted her back. Nauman voted for Palak, for in a horrific turn of events, Natsha voted for Paulomi, leading to a tie. Then came the first tie-breaker of the season. 

Marcus, a 'professional' card shuffler, was called in. He would shuffle three cards containing Palak, Paulomi and Natasha's names. Each Roadie, including the immune Nauman, would get one chance to pick a card, which would become a vote. Suddenly, politics gave way to sheer fate. Paulomi chose her own name, Palak chose Natasha's and Natasha chose Palak's. So Nauman's vote made all the difference. Much to Palak's joy, he picked up Natasha's name, and Nauman's only serious rival was voted out.

Before leaving, Natasha said that she would have rather changed her ill-fated vote. She did not comment on any of the Roadies. So as she left, the final three - Palak, Paulomi and Nauman - stood, waiting for the ultimate battle in Sydney. Paulomi concluded the episode by saying that she could "feel it," and that she was "ready to win." A tall claim, indeed!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

In the Heat of the Exam


Sri Chaitanya IIT Academy, SR Nagar, Hyderabad, Apr. 4: One week before IITJEE, the students of S1 are definitely taking things seriously. Most of them, anyway. In the fifth round of the ICON Grand Test Series (IGTS) conducted today, about 25 students out of 43 attended. Those who were absent cite various reasons, most of which involve an extreme disliking for the college and their wholesale exams.

As for the exam itself, it was quite tough and most students had to give up solving the paper after two hours. Also, an announcement was made that Sri Chaitanya and TV9 were conducting mock IITJEE, AIEE and EAMCET tests on various dates. Students needs to contact Campus IV for more details.

On account of Sri Ram Navami, the juniors were given a holiday today. However, the lecturers too have stopped coming to the college regularly as they are busy with other campuses. Consequently, students of S1 were allowed to leave by 2:30 PM without any paper discussion. The same thing will happen on the remaining days. 

Principal Vara Prasad advised students to revise topics which they know and not worry about those that they don't. He asked them not to study anything new now. (OTFS)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Roadies 6: Taking Risks

Episode 12: Gold Coast, Australia

This week, the plotters at Roadies devised innovative tasks and dangerous traps, apart from adding suspense to the show by changing the way it starts.

The Roadies started off with a unique money task. They were taken to an indoor swimming pool, where three of them (Palak, Natasha and Nauman) had to splash into the pool from the diving board and render the T-shirts of three very, very beautiful Australian models transparent. They would have to shout out six letters written on the models' bellies, using which Sufi and Paulomi would make up as many words as possibe and win money.

Quite an interesting task, and certainly one that had Nauman and Sufi smiling, courtesy the hot models. :-) However, the task turned out to be harder than they had thought. After a lot of mistakes and and corrections, and Palak diving in a most painful manner into the pool, the Roadies managed to make just a little under Rs. 40,000 taking their tally to Rs. 2,22,000. Rannvijay certainly seemed disappointed, and everyone was angry at each other (except the models, they were all smiles :-))

Then came the immunity task: again, it was innovative. The crew's mobile chef fixed up the most disgusting milk shake possible. The task was one that would take their digestive system to the limit: drink a glass of milk shake (contains eggs, but Sufi still drank it) and take a ride on 'The Claw': a rough ride in an amusement park. The Roadie who lasts longest without puking wins. Palak performed the worst, followed closely by Paulomi. The very religious Sufi tried to take a third drink but failed. Natasha did very well, while Nauman topped her and took the immunity.

Then began the horse trading. Palak, now hated by everyone, tried to beg her way to safety. However, she failed as she was unanimously voted out. Before leaving, she hurled some serious abuses at Sufi, whose patience began to wane. But just as Palak was about to leave, Rannvijay unveiled the 'twist.'

The previous night, an envelope was delivered to the Roadies' room, with 'Open at your Own Risk.' Palak opposed opening it, but Nauman and Sufi pushed for it. Finally, they opened it and it read 'during the voteout, you will go through hell.' Well, after the voteout, they really got 'hell.' The 'twist' was that, since the Roadies has opened the envelope, the Roadie they voted out would be safe and could kick out another Roadie (except Nauman, who had immunity). Without a second thought, Palak chucked Sufi out. before leaving, Sufi, who seemed to be close to tears, thanked Rannvijay and hugged Nauman. And now, the real showdown begins.

On fb, people are extremely angry over Sufi's eviction, partiularly since he was seen as the winner. Also, people are shocked that Paulomi managed to last this long and might make it to the top three. Roadies 6 is starting to get a very bad name. Finally, the Roadies 6 group is conducting its second FB Roadies Voteout. See facebook for more details.