Sunday, March 19, 2006

Phunctional Phiction: The CET Chronicles, Folio - I

Introduction

"cold be heart and hand and bone,
cold be travellers far from home. "
(Inscription on the granite sacrophagus where we interred our last Principal... alive)


Two hundred plus acres packed with rolling hills, deep gorges, barren spaces, thick bushes and dark Acacia forests, the College of Engineering Trivandrum or CET is an apt candidate for a national biodiversity park. This land of ceaseless wonders is ringed by a three metre high wall topped with barb-wire and jagged glass pieces for assisting students attempting to sneak in/out of the campus. Those walls were painted bleak stone-grey till someone mistook the institute for a maximum security prison and dumped a busload of hardcore female crooks into the Ladies Jail...oops Hostel, about 7 years ago. This mistake was never rectified and sadly, 17 of these anti-social elements formed the core of women's wing of EEE 2003 batch. The British Empire which created this institute in 1939 (in their continuing quest for world domination) had fled India in horror when they realised the true nature of their creation.... Since then they have been pleading in vain with the Govt of India to let them nuke the damned place off the map as a redemption for their cardinal sin. The reasons for the Govt's refusal remain explained.

The archviles who grace this noble institute are supported from outside by the Sreekaryam-Ulloor-Karyavattom hinterland which boasts of notable humanitarians like Mahesh Karuna and Malayan Dillepan not to mention generations of RSS acolytes.... the latter tradition is so strong that male babies in this area are born fully attired in Khaki shorts, white shirts and black caps and refuse to let go of the umbilical cord till someone gives them a 9" wooden staff. The Govt has bestowed due recognition to the influence of this landmark by permanently stationing a battalion of battle-hardened Paracommandos and Military Police units in the Southern AirCommand HQ built right next to the college. The Kerala Police was found seriously lacking after an incident in 1992 where a band of armed personnel and concerned citizens were chased off with high casualities by mutated lifeforms from the depths of D-block, Men's Hostel. The 24/7 Close Air Support missions by IAF jets were somewhat effective till someone put up a Hi-Fi stereo system up the water-tower and played Balashankar's Judas Priest/Rage Against the Machine/Black Sabbath CDs at full blast. This brilliant act of asymmetrical warfare scrambled aircraft comms and navigation, effectively putting the mighty air-force out off the grid. A hapless pilot who bailed out in dazed confusion instead of dashing blindly back to Madurai Airbase on full afterburner was last seen descending into the bushes behind the Power Lab. It is believed that the abovesaid wretch fell into the hands of the 8th year "veteran" undergrads who stalk the badlands beyond the Labs.

The main building and the Electronics block are built in a Crucifix-Spanner layout as this design was found very effective in the St. Petersburg Crucifix Prison. The main block is a dismal 4 storey edifice who commands a view over the entire perimeter.... The sniper nests in the corners cover the roads radiating from the building and the potholes in these roads act as murder holes in case they try an armored assault. Never the ones to hedge bets, promising young CETians have fashioned an RPG launcher from the exhaust pipe of Nitin George's bike . Jacob's Engineering works furnish the armor penetrating casings and the Ladies Hostel Kitchen provides a steady supply of high-explosive material. Human bombs are in plentifull supply given the number of zombies who populate the SFI and ABVP ranks. In short, we are Qazba-i-Zameen, Secure Ground!

Chapter 1: The Electrical Department

The Electrical Dept , my old Ilaka, is embedded within the main block since the funds extorted from the harassed Govt for building a new block were diverted to our Cold fusion project..... an endeavour which took the lives of half the research students and two professors in a freak accident. (Oh, almost forgot.... it created a 700 metre wide crater and obliterated Chaavadimukku junction along with 143 of it's residents). Stragglers runts from the Civil Engineering and Computer Engg Dept hold court in this building otherwise monopolised by pillaging hordes of EEE jocks and the odd salivating tourist from the Mexxx dept. The classrooms themselves ain't very remarkable, except for what happens inside them..... dark stories I can't disclose for reasons of personal and national security. Maybe I'll tell you another day. What takes the cakes are the organs attached to the Dept, the labs. Ohhh, the laaaaaaaabbbbbbsssssssss........the laaabbbbbbs! Yes, I will tell you about the labs today.

The ones that came before wisely built the EEE labs far away from human habitation.... The Basic Electrical Lab is run by Bela Lugosi characters right off Marvel Comics and Pokemon manga, and the lab itself was the inspiration behind Buffalo Bill's lair from Silence of the Lambs. Unearthly sounds of metal spikes driven into wooden boards (via God knows what), electric arcs and discharges and occasional bloodcurdling shrieks fills the air..... quite a foreboding place.
Instrumentation Lab can be accessed only by humanoids of high pain and electric-shock tolerance and ability to wade through seas of metallic junk and coils of high-tension wires . Experience in wood-chopping, knife-fighting and training in Samurai sword arts is a must..... the wire insulations are very thick you see. Dozens of signboards shrieking "440 Volts: Certain Painful Death" with grinning skull-n-bones embossed above only increase your sense of security and pride in this pleasant ambience. The safety record is however exemplary.... past sixty years have seen only 7 fried balls, 11 mangled knockers, 16 amputated fingers, 23 instant hair-loss incidents, 14 third degree burns...... and just one tragic death, from an Eveready pentorch battery. (Shit happens, right?)
The High tech Robotics Lab was shut down by the Govt somtime the 80s when a final year project termed T-800 went renegade, brutally terminated its creators and the Head of the Dept, escaped to the United States posing as a Phelwan and became the Governor of California. Every Feb 27 around noon time, one can still hear muffled sobs, welding and cutting sounds, gunshots, screams and a chilling German accented voice saying "I'll Be Back" from inside the barricaded doors.
Electronics Lab is a rather euphemistic term for the national Cathode Ray Oscilloscope graveyard. It is perhaps the only realm where Kirchoff's Laws (and thus the Law of Conservation of Energy) and Laws of Thermodynamics do not hold..... It has therefore been postulated that there is a flaw in The Matrix program at this location. How else can one explain CROs showing sinusoidal , wait triangular..... no square.... no Kaledoscopic waveforms, even before we connect the goddamn circuit leads to it's steel titties (i.e terminals)?
The Microprocessor Lab is one of the two saving graces in our Freakshow. Four/five person teams per experiment and only three wooden stools per station. WTF, three stools for five asses?! Jolly Good, 'coz I was the only guy in my team....... and let me confess that I recieved my first (unintentional) lapdances in this holy place (long before I came to sincity LA). Oh my sweet, virtuous, unsuspecting, focused-on-experiment teammates who might be reading this.... now you realise what a pig I was? Now please don't send your husbands or parents or brothers or boyfriends after my scalp, for I am phully reformed now. Honest! :P
Software Lab, ummmm.... that was evil! Perhaps the only air-conditioned location in CET, carpeted floors, cushy chairs, that sweet musty smell and the pyshedelic atmosphere of those seedy Mumai pubs. Windows (Linux is for useless geeks), ACDSee 4.0, fully catalogued Desibaba galleries, Pam Anderson screensavers and Mysore Mallige installed on every system... this was our temple. Sighhhh, I miss you, ol' girl.
Electrical Machines Lab is perhaps the most hated place in the good college.... well, right after the Pricipal's office atleast. Its not just for us EEE freaks, but hapless Injineers from Tele, Applied Electronics and Mech dept also were cursed with this lab. Run by a person of notorious repute as a taskmaster and an unforgiving martinet, aided by a pack of freshly minted demons, this hellhole still scares the living daylights out of generations of CETians. The perennial smell of grease, oil, short circuited boards, rusted wires and the blood and sweat of countless students before permeates every pore in your body, rapes your nostrils and assaults your higher brain functions. The only respite for us EEE folks is watching clueless Tele or Applied students blow up one machine after another.... these pitiful mortals being used only to microvoltages and ICs, they run into hysterics when someone tells them there really something called 220V. I fondly remember one of them pouring a bucket of water INTO the fr1ggin machine innards and blowing half the lab to kingdom come when the Prof told her to cool the machine drum...... You know, there's a slot for pouring in water to cool the belt and the drum, which our poor protagonist was unaware of. The student (who survived miraculously) is still serving her 7th year in Coimbatore Jail for multiple charges of destruction of government property, arson and manslaughter.
Now we come to the Power Electronics Lab which is the least fun. Yuck! All you have to do is run the slider up and down the Rheostat like a DJ and occasionally check if the circuit devices are glowing, smoking and pulsating. If so, the best course of action is pile your partners around you as a human shield and hope that God loves you despite all the terrible sins you have committed..... Or, you can flick a last birdie at the hated lab instructor and run like hell before the God of electric fire comes visiting in a thunderous flourish.
Power Lab was out of bounds for mere undergrads like me...... rumors are afloat on the Chinese opium den operating inside and the heady cocktails brewed inside the deep bowels of this Barad-dûr. Yessss, concotions rumored to be made from innocuous ingredients like transformer oil, brake fluid and Neelabhringadi Hair Oil..... Ambrosias which give you intense Xanaduesque hallucinations. The carcass of one cocky undergrad who attempted to recce the lab and raid the barrels was found floating in Vembanad Lake with rolls of midterm answer-sheets stuffed into his orifices. There have been no further attempts.

To be continued......

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17 Comments:

At 9:56 PM, Blogger >|' ; '| said...

OMG!!!!!!

dude i ll get a heart attack from ur posts!

The High tech Robotics Lab was shut down by the Govt somtime the 80s when a final year project termed T-800 went renegade, brutally terminated its creators and the Head of the Dept, escaped to the United States posing as a Phelwan and became the Governor of California.

jesus h christ! LOL

em labs were always a nightmare..
i hope u r referring to kari..i have a soft spot for him. i went in for the 1st em lab uni with bandages covering me cos of a bike shunt i had suffered some 30 minutes back. i was @-) and i managed to bust 3 ammeters and boil the water load! he gave me a pass :)

 
At 10:10 PM, Blogger Anand K said...

@ Posion: Bingo!
However, Kari was pretty nice to me for some reason... And to be fair to him, he didn't go easy on girls who try to pull the tears stunt, like some people we know ;).

BTW, you did a bike stunt on a fr1ggin Univ exam day?!!! And THREE ammeters? !

 
At 7:38 AM, Blogger venus said...

quite an interesting profile you have anand, will definitely revisit you!

 
At 8:50 AM, Blogger silverine said...

Hilarious!!!! This was a laugh riot =))I haven't laughed so much since Jiby's 'Ullasapoothiri' post!!!!

 
At 2:24 PM, Blogger calvin said...

Dude , You forgot the measurments lab and not to say the venerable HV Lab into which even the undergrad veterans were not allowed . Of course we , the EEE 2004 batch trapped a over enthusiastic professor into opening it for us and oh my , you shoulda seen the oohs and Ahs . The place looked like the sets of 'The Day after tommorrow '

And oh yeah , I miss the µP lab and the software lab . Since I , like you was the only male in the batch .......
And Oh software labs can also offer similar comforts , but you should have a female team member ( Who apparently has no idea what FORTRAN is ) hell bent on programming the computer to bits while you give her the monopoly of the keyboard - situated right in front of you .

 
At 2:27 PM, Blogger Jithu said...

apart from a good and hilarious read, it brought back good old memories. thnx buddy!

 
At 3:27 PM, Blogger Anand K said...

@ Aashik: Hallon brother EEEian... I was referring to HV lab when I talked about Power Lab. :) At least you guys got to see what was inside those shaded glass doors. We could only stare at wonder by the wayside.

You were a single guy in a lab team too? Heh heh heh... more power to our types! And god save their team-mates. :P

I had a femme partner in Software Lab... but I was too genuinely fond of this lady we all call "Stu" and too busy ROTFL at her zillion gaffes to be a baaaad baaad bad lech. Lavv u, li'l Stu....

BTW, it ain't safe talking this.. what if our ex-partners read this blog? Ve may haf bean already compremized, ze mite be reading all zis even as vee zpeek. ;)

@ Jithu: Thanx boss! :)

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger Anand K said...

@ Silverine: Thanx Silverine! Coming from Tina Fey herself, this is a compliment. Mucho Gracias again, Senorita.
BTW, I heard that Ullassapoothiri horror story way back.... Too bad I couldn't be there in person and see Jiby shake it. :D

 
At 4:38 PM, Blogger Anand K said...

@ Venus: Thanx Venus!
PS: Tell me you share my taste in the out-of-the-box movies I put up in the profile.... Everytime I bring them up, my pals scream in horror and head to the hills!

 
At 1:29 PM, Blogger Alexis Leon said...

Hilarious...The Robotics final project episode was too much...ROFL Waiting for the next part...

 
At 8:50 PM, Blogger Jiby said...

dey good one...reading this shook me off my post-history class slumberrrr!!! a post on u is on its way...am assembling all the anecdotes, all the abadhams, all the snaps...its gonna be one heck of a well-researched story...i am sure u will love it...if u treat me to a mutton biriyani at samrat i promise to keep the dirty stuff out. btw i think u should forward this post's link to the other cetians and let them too nostalgize.

 
At 10:00 PM, Blogger Anand K said...

@ Alexis Leon: Other folios are in the making. (I am presently brewing some high-quality Acid to take me to higher creative levels a-la Coleridge). That is.... if the other departments and my old classmates don't put a contract on my head. :)

@ Jiby: Oho... bheeshani? You had the temerity to shakedown MEEEEE?!
No dice, Sheikh Jibr-Ibn-Yohanna-Al-KhattaKhayaam! The pendulum swings both ways remember.... and those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at each other. NJAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

BTW, Is there no honor among thieves? :(( I never imagined you would try to sandbag a (long suffering) pal of 20 yrs :P Kalikaalam!

PS: And about the treat.... expect no more than a Gas Muttayi from the local Paanwaalah.

 
At 1:17 PM, Blogger mathew said...

it was one helluva good laugh reading this blog man..cheerss....

 
At 4:55 PM, Blogger lost optimist..^!^ said...

i bow to thee!!^:)^ ..thanks for enlightening a rookie like me with the dark stories of the campus, in particular the EEE dept.. i totally empathize with my fellow EEEians..

btw, the kerala police has a brand new police station in sreekaryam exclusively for us..ah!lucky us 8-|.. ciao :)

 
At 11:11 PM, Blogger Rockus said...

On hell of a laugh riot!
Good to read these old CET chronicles...
MP lab was nice for me too

 
At 10:57 PM, Blogger Anand K said...

@ Mathew: Thanx Mathew! :)

@ Magneta: I agree boss! At least the coming generations shall be saved by my whistleblowing..... especially the ladies. But still....... I've been such a traitor to mankind! :P

A new police station? Yeeeeeehaaaaaaww!

@ Rockus: Thanx Rockus.
And what.... you're another "beneficiary" of the MP lab?! :)
May our tribe prosper!

 
At 11:21 AM, Blogger unni said...

``The Kerala Police was found seriously lacking after an incident in 1992 where a band of armed personnel and concerned citizens were chased off with high casualities by mutated lifeforms from the depths of D-block, Men's Hostel.``The history of cet.can you explain this?
and you know the current situation in the college?the college had seen some big political stunts and dramas in the past 3 years.MH had transformed from the hunted to the hunter ...and a non political organisation which have allegations to have political connections made a challenge to the mh(sfi)in the college in the last college elections

 

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