That first crush at college



Alright, so for anyone who got too excited reading the title, It’s not my own story. And even if you are one my college mates reading this, you wouldn’t be getting any names or even hints so as to track down the culprits of this short but timeless saga. For all intents and purposes, we would be calling the Hero, my good friend, as Mr. Nivea (Oh Yes, it’s a tradition for me to use the Deodorant name people use as their alias in my stories. You never guessed? Strange !! ). Now what should we call our quintessential heroine, in this little story. You know, well, I don’t happen to know the deodorant used by her, but I would imagine I should call her Ms. Cherry. So, now that the nomenclature is settled, let me take you the interesting bit.

It was the very first semester at college and life was pouring in from every direction you turned your head to. Amidst all of this outrage, there was this innocent little guy, the quintessential college friend who is meant to fall in love atleast 60 times through the 4 years and get rejected by all of them. And this innocent little guy, Mr. Nivea as we would have it, dared to fell for who was considered the ho…… most popular girl at college. What can one do, fate has mysterious ways to get you in trouble.

Anyway, it all started when Mr. Nivea realized that given the start of his college life, it was high time that he should fall in love and let almost the entire class know about it.  So he befriended Ms. Cherry and to everyone’s surprise, he was quite a good talker (although in a crude way), far as good guys like him are supposed to scale with such girls. Maybe it was because Ms. Cherry herself wasn’t one of those ‘Mean Girls’, who get on the seventh cloud on starting college. Maybe she herself had perfected this social notion of boys throwing themselves at her and how she never saw it as bad in anyway. Whatever were the reasons, our Mr. Nivea was through, atleast in the zone of being able to call himself a friend to the lovely Ms. Cherry.

Time passed, seasons came and went away. And our Mr. Nivea, the scholar that he is, and the poet that he became, was filling pages and pages with poems  of interesting conversations that the two of them seemed to have had. And what’s more, he would show them and read them and recite them to everyone who visited his room. Of course, the smart ones among us were able to figure out where the decorations had been added in those tales. There was even a giant pencil drawing dedicated to Ms. Cherry on the wall right next to his bed. Oh, the age of innocence, the age of adolescence.

Mr. Nivea, however, was unlucky in one other regard, apart from having fallen for a star that would never fall on the ground for him. He had some…’friends’ who would encourage him about the rather. They would tell him how he should come out of this friend-zone and come up with his true feelings. There were such ways that were tried to get Ms. Cherry impressed by him before Mr. Nivea could blast the big bomb on her. Even I, someone who remained rather neutral witnessing this little love story was roped in. As chance would have it, Ms. Cherry was my lab partner and so hours have to be spent discussing the experiment  chatting up on the weirdest aspects of college life. The good friend that I am, I did the job I was invested with fairly well. Everytime things slightly bent towards a discussion of the students of our class, I would make sure to throw in some praises about Mr. Nivea. “Oh he would be knowing what the teacher can ask in the Viva. He’s been getting straight A’s ” and “Oh that guy is so brilliant, he has actually read about a thousand books unrelated to the normal academics”(Things that notably are all true). She would ofcourse nod, and was impressed, even though she would have wondered at some point why I keep throwing this Mr. Nivea Trivia at her. Still, she and Mr. Nivea seemed to progress in their little ship, their ‘friendship’.

And then came the valentine’s week. Oh the horror and the joy of Mr. Nivea’s friends to get him pumped for a proposal. It was a rather peculiar place Mr. Nivea found himself in. But given all the passion that had been filled him with optimism beyond the ‘glass’, he actually went ahead and did it. It is unclear what words were spoken, and if they were actually spoken, but we know there was a rose and that it was first accepted and then declined, when the gravity of the situation actually dawned on the two.

It was then that our Mr. Nivea was made acquainted to the reality that a girl like that is never…’open’ or ‘available’. There is a busy tone whenever you dial for such a girl and the dialings are a plenty. And after all of that, there is one exquisite line whose connection has been made way back and he would never ever drop the phone or let anyone else’s call slip in. The Half relationship had ended, and the dream was over for the day.

But Mr. Nivea woudn’t rest. The final bullet was yet to be fired and it was something that made him come top of this story, which as a matter of tradition, is one where the boy is always the loser. It was the time for our English Communication presentations, and the topic that Mr. Nivea was assigned was ‘How to deal with stress in College life’. It began with a sappy introduction by some other student in his group, but when his turn came, that man stood infront of the class and the second line he spoke was “There can be so many frustrations. For example, in the last year, I fell in love with a girl, and that didn’t work out. I was so stressed.” The heads were turning as the man spoke and everyone was trying and trying to suppress his/her laughter. Even the teacher appeared to be in on the joke, and we could see Ms. Cherry as mousy, hesitant, afraid and timid as one would ever see her. She must have been praying that Mr. Nivea, in his flurry, doesn’t spill out her name. But thanks to the modesty of the man, he didn’t.

He kept this half relationship a part of his dreamy days, and ofcourse moved on to the next 59 girls in the semesters to follow. But this little ‘flinge’ with Ms. Cherry would be the highlight of his life at college, both for him as well as for his friends. There are such emotions that this story still sprouts in a discussion among us friends, who really know the entire story (Guilty confession: I have kept one integral part of the story a secret here, because it’s not really meant for a blogpost. But Hey, isn’t the story fully fledged without it? :p ).

I am sharing a Half relationship story at BlogAdda in association with #HalfGirlfriend.

You can even watch the trailer here.


जुगाड़ गाड़ी

I remember the first lecture that the Director of our institute tossed our way in a jam-packed auditorium. Ofcourse he did use the obligatory powerpoint presentation as he went on to tell us first year undergrads about the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead us. But soon he realized that the fancy bullet points and animated slides could only do so much to leave anything worthwhile in the minds of his students, let alone help them in using any of his teachings in day-to-day life. And hence, he used a very crude but logical example to get the crowd excited.

He took a paper clip and asked a girl what she thought the manufacturing company of that paper clip made in a year with this little piece of, ‘technology’, so to speak. The girl was a bit stupefied by the question and our Director noticed it. And so, letting the girl relax and lay back in her seat, the Director of one of the premier technology institutes of India let out a word that made almost the entire auditorium chuckle to its tune. He said, that it didn’t matter what the exact turnover is or the cost of manufacturing and selling was in regard to his question. He only wanted to demonstrate that this ‘jugaad’ was what was reaping millions for the company. And then he told us that our job, rather our responsibility, as engineers was to found the most effective, efficient and feasible solution for a problem in an engineering layout. And that optimum solution is what us Indians have always relied on- ‘Jugaad’. This is what would make Indians the next gen inventors and innovators, and this is what would take us ahead on the path of new creations.

Not to brag about myself or anything, but as our respected Director Sir was saying the last few words, images of a little win-win story were flashing in my mind. They belonged to my High School days and given the amount of jugaad we put in for a science exhibition project, I could seriously believe then that I would become a great engineer, going by his criteria for the same. (But Alas, there are other useless things too like Mid Terms and Grade point averages to ruin the day :p ). Anyway, here is our lovely High School project story-

Back in the day, the science fairs at my school were scarce and the liberty of doing something really innovative was lacking or lukewarm. It was in such desperate times that our group of six football-playing, cricket-breathing boys took the mantel of making a Canon to be put on display for the project. Internet was scarce but we could still find the relevant data from the lovely sources we call ‘teachers’ (the real ones, mind you. Not the google teacher). We were able to sort out a basic, commonly used reaction for the same, that employed an adorable compound called Calcium Carbide. Bah, I wouldn’t bore you with much of the Chemistry here. Suffice it to say that you can get a handful of it for Rs. 10 in any car repair shop. And the jugaadoos that we were, we bought much more than a handful.

Next, we used a thick piece of  PVC Pipeline left astray around my house for the initial testing of our canon. We sealed it on one end using the obligatory quick-fix (another synonym of jugaad? ) Fevi-quick. And Lo and Behold, we were good to go. The trick was simple, seal the other end with a ball, put a piece of Carbide into the pipe, add some water and give it a spark through a top hole. And SHAZAM… You have a fire emitting dragon of your own. We called it- ‘The Destructor’ (We really did, those were the days !! ).

We used a mean, fire-breathing barrel !!

The technique was spot on. What remained was the showmanship. How to make it look like an actual canon of the days of ‘Kranti’? No matter what my friends tell you, it was MY IDEA that we would actually install the canon body on a tricycle axle that I had seen so many times lying around at one of my friend’s house. It was a complete home-made, Ghar-ka-Vaidya recipe !! We took the axle-wheel combo from that tricycle, got a little encasing to hold the canon body welded to it, and our own mobile canon was infront of our eyes. In all its glory and might, it looked like a bazooka. But we did not stop there, another friend who had by far not done significantly much to the project was given the charge to paint up the canon. And we wanted it in Jet Black (Because… Batman). Given his love for the job, he was happy to oblige. And within a few days, we had ourselves our own batmobile.

No we didn’t BREAK any kid’s cycle. It was lying around already broken. We gave it a new life okay?

The day the teachers of the school were to inspect the level of ‘safety’ of the project, there was a slight hiccup though. We were till then using a small hole at the top of the barrel to feed the carbide piece, water and matchstick. But that allowed considerable gas to escape and even fire could throttle out of the way. The teachers labelled it potentially dangerous but we couldn’t be stopped. Because the Indian Jagaad Gaddee had to survive. We then proposed using the general kitchen lighter with a spark button to initiate the blast. Oh wasn’t that a masterstroke, it kept the gas and fire in check, and even a little Kindergarten girl could now initiate a blast (And one actually DID. BOOM).

Oh don’t tell me it was an easy guess. It was an awesome idea to use a kitchen lighter as the trigger.

The exhibition was a success ofcourse, and while a silkworm cultivation farm was the clear winner, ‘The Destructor’ was what drew the most people to our corner. The Jugaad Gaddee, had run wild once again.

This and many similar little cute and cool stories of my life keep me reminded that while India keeps growing in its technological flair all over the world, its ‘desi’ innovative ideas are catching the attention of one and all. Even the large global conglomerates and institutions are recognizing this unique ‘Indian-ness’ and accepting that this growing global influence of India is one to be celebrated. Look at Lufthansa, the largest European Airline, recognizing and celebrating the same in this uber cool advertisement of theirs, stressing how it is #MoreIndianThanYouThink.


Oh and the celebration doesn’t stop here. Have a look at the amazeballs website of theirs, acknowledging and adapting the Indian way to do so much more for themselves. Visit here if you haven’t already hit the link- Take me to awesomeness.