The Story of a Crush, and a Friend Request : Part I

Wednesday, 23 January

I went moon-gazing at the SAC (Student Activity Centre) today. I saw through a telescope for the first time! Also, got to know a lot. These clubs at IIT Bombay are really good! I still don’t know the difference between a lunar eclipse and new moon though. I know I can be really dumb when I can’t help it.I saw a girl today. I don’t know her name. She must be a volunteer or coordinator of the Astronomy Club, I have no idea. She is cute, seems like a really nice girl too. She came up to me for contact details- name, email id and all. I wonder what year or branch she is. I should have asked…

Sunday, 10 February

The trip to Vangani was just as expected. Awesome! 9 of us went. 8 from Structures + Nidhi Tiwari. Anang, Balaji, Gaurav, Babu, Manoj Sir, KJ and Ravindra Masal. Night talk with Ravi was very “enlightening”. Stars, stars, stars. 😛

I think I have a crush on this girl. I wish I had enough courage to speak to her.
Her name is A*****a
Hostel 10, Room **2
Phone number 98x xxx x704

That is all that was on the poster. She is a coordinator. With a list and a pen, she was ticking off names and distributing coupons. Sweet! Anang and Ravi nicknamed her as “tick mark”.

I spoke to her once, got the dinner coupons and tea coupons for our group from her. She was handling her responsibilities pretty well, just like anybody else in her place would. Nevertheless, I was impressed. Then, in the early hours of morning, Anang and Ravi made me call her number and ask if and when we would be leaving. I called her at 3:57 am. She said she would call back and confirm. She actually did, at 3:59 am. Sweet! Okay, what is wrong with me?!

Preliminary search results yielded-

Roll number: *******30
Department (same as mine), B.Tech. 2nd year
E-mail id: a******

IITJEE 2011 Rank: 3**3 (Reg. No. B***436)

She went to St.Joseph’s Co-Ed School, Bhopal. 2011 passed out? Quite possible.
She was previously allotted Room 101 in her first year, along with her classmate MD.

a******10? Her birthday must be on the 10th of some month. And Bhopal? Interesting! That’s all I know about this girl. For now. Good enough. She has a unique name, which of course helps. There is no other A*****a S**i.

Thursday, 14 February

It’s Valentine’s Day! I haven’t seen her after that Vangani trip. Well, actually, I have seen her just twice. And I was fida at first sight. Wasn’t I? If I see her again, I would surely ask her out for a cup of coffee or something, but I have no idea how I can do that. If we are in the same department, how come I never run into her? Where do the 2nd years have their classes? Whenever I pass H10, I hope she’ll be outside somewhere, so I can “accidentally” run into her. No such luck, so far.
I am unable to trace her Facebook profile. I wonder why. I know she is on Facebook. Either she has deactivated her account, or it’s her privacy settings that is coming in my way.

Saturday, 16 February

Aiko made me an “Amo” theme for my Google Chrome browser. That silly little girl! But I secretly love it! That was so sweet of her. She has been forcing me to go and speak to AS ever since I told her about my new crush. But I still haven’t figured out how I could go about it. Aiko reckons I should send her a chat request on GTalk, or even better (worse?), send her a friend request on Facebook (which I am yet to trace)! I have her phone number, but I am reluctant to call. What if I talk like an idiot? I must make a good first impression. She hasn’t replied to the email I sent her on 10th, thanking the Krittika Team for a wonderful trip. Even if that email didn’t warrant a reply, I was kind of hoping she would. Yeah, I am kind of hopeless that way.
Anyway, I have decided to send her some sort of request after midterms. She must be having midterms too. How I wish I could just run into her somewhere. All this would have been a lot easier. But I don’t want to get my hopes up. What if she isn’t interested? Or what if she doesn’t respond at all?

Well… It’s worth a try. It’s better than regretting for not having tried at all, right? If she responds, great! If she doesn’t, at least I shall be glad that I tried. I could build my confidence to speak to a girl I like in the future at least.

And I’ll kill Aiko for driving me crazy! By the way, that new page on Facebook- IITB Confessions is going viral. Every other college is going to follow suit now.

Wednesday, 20 February

I had my AE 639 mid-sem today. I did much better than the first test, which is good news. Watching Batman BeginsI am sending her a chat request tomorrow. LAN ban is on again. I hope she accepts it. Fingers crossed. Also, I hope I don’t come across as desperate. I only want to get to know her right now, I really hope she gives me a chance. She seems like a nice sweet simple girl.

IITB Confessions only lasted a week. They seem to have lost their way now. The posts are no longer confessions, the admins only choose the spicy wacky stuff to publish.

Thursday, 21 February

I decided not to send her a request yet, for some reason. Let me wait. I found her Facebook profile too, finally! I could send her a message, but there is every possibility that it may go unnoticed because of Facebook’s new notification policy (The damned ‘Other’ folder).  I can’t take the risk. I’ll wait a couple of days, then maybe give it a try.

The other options are sending her an e-mail (stupid idea!), giving her a call (not even an idea!) and running into her (God, get an idea. Take the cue!)

Watching The Dark Knight. Yes, again.

Friday, 22 February

The Dead Man Stalking! I ran a Naveen-typical regulation background check. This is what I got:

  • St.Joseph’s Co-Ed School, E-6, Arera Colony, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh – 462016
  • Green-white building, green-white uniforms.
  • The school celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 2011 with a laser show.
  • The 2010 Graduation Day ceremony had a song performance of ‘hum rahe na rahe kal‘ by a certain Rahul and Palash, followed by a hilarious group dance by the boys.
  • Red, blue, green, yellow checkered uniforms- must be houses. It reminded me of my own Yellow House, Topaz House and Phoenix House.
  • The school has an Alumni network, but she hasn’t registered yet. I checked. I must remind her.
  • An elder sister, who is a doctor. She has a 3-year old niece. A younger brother, I don’t know how old he is. All names begin with “A”, which is amusing, considering my own fixation with the letter “N”.
  • She has been to Srinagar and Gulmarg not-so-long ago.
  • Mutual interests? Photography, humour, psychology, astronomy, art, history, screenwriting, Calvin & Hobbes, Mr.Bean, Shah Rukh Khan, Levi’s, Tom & Jerry, Harry Potter, badminton, basketball, World Wars, Manchester United, Barcelona (“Seriously!”), Mohit Chauhan, Saina Nehwal, Akon… Good to go!
…and some other personal/family details not to be shared here.

Username: winnie.t*****e (“Haha, aww!”)

She loves Winnie the Pooh, by the look of it? No wonder, they both look equally cute! Winnie the Pooh once said, “You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

Really? So be it. I’m gonna “go”. God, please forgive the stalker in me.

I had my CE 620 mid-sem today. It went better than expected, even if I messed up the 2nd question. Watching The Prestige.
“Are you watching closely?”

You bet I am!

Monday, 25 February

I saw her in the department today! She was on a call. I passed by her twice, in the Annexe building! I was on my way to meet Professor Arya. She is so pretty! She was wearing that Messier Marathon T-shirt of Krittika Club. And oh, the TA work returns to haunt me. Another sleepless night ahead. 260 equations!

I’m a bit disappointed, couldn’t bring myself up to go talk to her. How I wish I could! But also, if I go up to her and introduce myself, she might freak out. And react negatively. I am but a stranger to her. Well, I could message her on Facebook (a bit risky, the new notifications), or e-mail her (risky again!). Who the hell initiates friendships over the internet! On second thoughts, that seems to be my best bet at the moment.

So, should I wait longer till I introduce myself personally? Is that really going to happen any time soon? Or, maybe I should just follow my instincts. The only problem is, right now, I have no clue what they are!

P.S. As an afterthought, I could wait till Zephyr next week. I have a real chance to talk to her.

Friday, 1 March

I made something for her. It’s a Winnie the Pooh drawing. I hope she likes it. It’s my Plan B. If my trying to talk to her fails, I will give it to her. That’s the plan. We have a placement session in the department at 10 pm. After that we have a cake-cutting ceremony at midnight. Maybe there!

It is 3 am. Just back from volleyball practice in H12.

Saturday, 2 March

She didn’t turn up at the cake-cutting ceremony of Zephyr. I was so hoping to see her there! Later, I went back to H12 for volleyball practice. There I saw her walking and talking with a guy friend. I’m guessing Krittika had a night sky observation session in the H12-13-14 premises.

Then in the morning I saw her again at the inaugural talk by the Director of DRDO, Dr. V. K. Saraswat. She was sitting a couple of rows in the front, on the left. She was wearing a white floral print top. She looks so cute even when she is yawning! (“Gawd just stahp”I thought maybe I could catch up with her on the way out. But once the session ended, everybody headed to the door, she slipped away and I lost her in the crowd. I saw her at the table where tea/coffee and biscuits were kept, but before I could make up my mind about my courage levels, she went upstairs with her friend.

I didn’t run into her for the rest of the day. Have I lost yet another precious opportunity? Only time will tell. I bought an envelope and put the picture in it and sealed it. I don’t want the sketch to smudge away by the time she gets it. I even made a few random doodles and sketches on the plain side of the envelope, clues about me. I already know so much about her, I feel it would be unfair to her to not know anything about me, or even where to start. The envelope should help. I shall carry it in my bag at all times, so I don’t miss another opportunity.

Zephyr was good. Decent organizing by the 3rd years. Not bad, could have been much better. It brought back Entwirft memories. Much of Dr. Saraswat’s presentation went over the head. Then there were the RC plane and water rocketry competitions in the cricket ground. Post lunch, we had a live airship demo from Professor Pant’s lab students, followed by demo of Netra UAV by Idea Forge and an airshow. To end it, we had a panel discussion on Entrepreneurship in Aerospace by some very good speakers- Air Marshall J.S. Gujral, Mr. Babu Peter, Mr. Bharat Malkani, Mr. Pulak Sen, and our very own alumni Mr. Amandeep Singh. I didn’t get my Zephyr T-shirt though. I so badly wanted one!

Monday, 4 March

Yesterday turned out to be one of the craziest days of my life! It was PG Cult Night. The event started at around 6 pm. All of a sudden, in an act of stupidity in the face of desperation, I called her (twice), but she didn’t respond. The intention was to ask her if she wanted to go to the PG Night with me… A decision I regretted almost immediately after.

But, at around 1 am, on my way back, I finally ran into her! It was so unexpected! I was on my way back from the Convocation Hall. The road towards my hostel is fairly dim-lit. And at this hour, completely deserted. I had my earphones on, and was listening to songs on my way. So was she. I guess both of us were looking down mostly. But at the last moment of her passing by me, I happened to look up and I recognized her face in the light from the nearest street light. It was a split-second decision, the kind when the inner voice tells you NOT to reconsider or you will surely change your mind. I doubled back behind her. I think I tried calling out her name, but either my voice trailed off, or her earphones prevented it from reaching… well, her ears. I don’t think I have the kind of voice that reaches straight to the heart anyway.

I reached out my hand and almost tapped her shoulders before she turned around and started. I don’t recall the exact conversation anymore, but it went somewhat like this:

Me: “Hi… I dunno if you recognize me but I was wondering if… I mean… you know… um…”
She: “Excuse me. Who are you?”
Me: “Oh! I’m so sorry… um.. I’m Naveen, I’m your senior, I mean, MTech, but same department… um… I was in the group that came to Vangani, you know… The other day?”
She: “Oh yeah… okay…”
Me: “So… um… I was wondering if you would… you know… like to have… er… coffee with… (Deciding that this isn’t the way it was supposed to go) Oh, wait! I have something for you!”

I start taking out the envelope from my bag. A few awkward moments later I hand it over to her. She immediately looks at it and begins to go through the doodles, turning it over a couple of times. And while she does that, she says…

She: “Actually, you know, I’m getting late. I need to reach my hostel…”
Me: (Finally finding some voice) “Oh! That’s perfectly fine! Take your time. You can open it whenever you want!”
She: “Fine. Okay then… Bye.”
Me: “Okay, sure. See you.”

I finally managed a confident smile while waving a quick goodbye, but she had already turned and started to walk away.

When I told some of my friends about what I had done, I received mixed feedback. It was brave, crazy and stupid at the same time. Have I spoiled it? It’s been a day and she hasn’t responded yet. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that. Did I freak her out? Can’t go back in time and do it any differently now. Will she respond? I have a feeling she won’t, but I hope she does.

Damn the reality checks, they always hit me below the belt. I need to focus on my academics and physical fitness now. Maybe I am not worthy enough for her or anybody else for that matter. I may not be prepared. Besides, I need to work on feeling better about myself. And make myself more confident. I was fumbling like an idiot while talking to her yesterday.

Enough of A****** ka bhoot, sab utar gaya aaj toh. I never expected the excitement to be so short lived. But, I enjoyed every bit of the pursuit, thanks to her. So, irrespective of whether this goes anywhere, it has already been a hell of an experience. For a socially awkward introvert like me, it has been a crazy month. 😛

Oh, by the way, this is what was inside the envelope:29649-capture

To be continued…

What do you think of my awkward old-school friend request? What would you have done had you been in her place? Would you choose to respond to such a move from a stranger? Have you done something just as crazy or crazier to get to know your crush? How did it go?

Let me know in the comments section. Cheers for now.

Also read: Crush ’em Hard

The Wild Catfight

The other day, I recall having this particular conversation over the phone with my friend Shilpa, which I thought was worthy of a post. So here goes! It so happened that during the course of the conversation, the topic somehow (of course I know how but don’t expect me to elaborate) got to leopards and cheetahs, and how they are different from each other. I realized that although I am confident I can tell them apart any day, from a distance obviously (because we stop caring when they aren’t so far anymore), I failed to specifically list out the basic differences between the two big cats. So I found myself taking some time off, researching around, and now I’m back with some interesting stuff you might not have known before. At least I didn’t. And so I thought we should share our gyaan, whatever little we have. The world ends in 27 days, remember? The disclaimer this time around will be that there’s nothing funny about this post. I’ve strictly stuck to the facts, and from very reliable sources, so the believability is 100 per cent. Read on.First let us look at the basic definitions, shall we?

The cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, is a large-sized feline (family Felidae, subfamily Felinae) inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East. It is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx. The cheetah can run faster than any other land animal— as fast as 112 to 120 km/h in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m, and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to over 100 km/h in three seconds. This cat is also notable for modifications in the species’ paws. It is one of the few felids with semi-retractable claws. The word “cheetah” is derived from the Sanskrit word citrakāyaḥ, meaning “variegated”, via the Hindi ‘चीता’ (cītā). The genus name, Acinonyx, means “no-move-claw” in Greek, while the species name, jubatus, means “maned” or “crested” in Latin, a reference to the dorsal crest found in cheetah cubs.
  • The cheetah has a tall and slender build.
  • The head of a cheetah is quite small in relation to its body, when compared to leopard, making the cheetah more stream-lined.
  • Their nostrils are large in size to allow maximum oxygen in-take for their muscles, while running at high speeds.
  • Cheetah’s tails are quite flat towards the end, acting as a rudder to balance it while running.
  • Instead of having rosette shaped spots, they have single large spots (like thumb prints), covering the whole body. The front of face has very few spots and is more a light brown colour.
  • Cheetah’s have black “tear lines” which run from the eyes down to the sides of the mouth. They hunt mostly during the day, so the black “tear lines” help absorb light, to prevent a blinding effect from the bright sunlight.
  • The cheetah can only retract its dew claw. The dew claw is hooked onto an animal that it’s hunting to try pull it down. The rest of the claws are non-retractable, just like dogs, giving the Cheetah better grip on the ground while running.

The leopard, Panthera pardus, is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four “big cats” in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion, and jaguar. The leopard was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its range of distribution has decreased radically because of hunting and loss of habitat. It is now chiefly found in sub-Saharan Africa; there are also fragmented populations in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. Because of its declining range and population, it is listed as a “Near Threatened” species on the IUCN Red List. The species’ success in the wild is in part due to its opportunistic hunting behaviour, its adaptability to habitats, its ability to run at speeds approaching 58 kilometres per hour, its unequalled ability to climb trees even when carrying a heavy carcass, and its notorious ability for stealth. The leopard consumes virtually any animal that it can hunt down and catch. Its habitat ranges from rainforest to desert terrains.

  • The leopard is a very large, muscular predator, weighing 100kg and even more.
  • The leopard is a far more powerful animal compared to the cheetah.
  • The spots of the leopard are rosette in shape, covering the whole body as well as the face.
  • They have white eye-linings at the bottom of the eyes. The white colour assists its vision at night by amplifying light which is reflected off objects around it, into the eyes.

Here’s how the two big cats measure up to each other:

  1. Leopards have rosette-shaped spots. Cheetahs have solid round, or oval, spots.
  2. Leopards have no “tear” line. Cheetahs have a black “tear” line running from the inside of the eye to the mouth.
  3. Leopards are bulkier and stronger. Cheetahs are lighter, but taller, than leopard.
  4. Leopards have a familiar “cat” shape. Cheetahs are lankier than the “cat” shape.
  5. Leopards hunt at night. Cheetahs hunt during the day.
  6. Leopards like to drag prey up trees. Cheetahs prefer grassy plains.
  7. Leopards rely on stealth. Cheetahs rely on speed (up to 115km/hr) over short distances. They are the world’s fastest animal.
  8. Leopards have strong teeth and jaws and can crunch through thick bones. Cheetahs have smaller teeth and jaws, leaving a larger nasal cavity for rapid breathing. They cannot crunch large bones.
  9. Leopards live a solitary life and cheetahs leave as a family.
  10. Leopards climb trees for they have retractable claws while cheetahs don’t.
  11. The cheetah can run at a speed of 112km/hr while leopards do 65km/hr.
  12. The two black lines below the eyes of the cheetah are known as tear marks and act as reflection absorbers while they are hunting during sunny days.

And finally coming to the very point that started this whole meowing, trilling and purring around… The coat prints! Just look at the image below, it’s self-explanatory.

For those who are more curious to know about the rest of the wild cat family, this last one is for you guys.

If you think this post was educational, interesting and useful, do make a silent wish for my next exam to go well. I badly need some. If you think my posts are getting boring by the day, then you probably need a break. Please close your browser and go to sleep. That will be all for now, people. Stay tuned and have a happy weekend! Cheers!

Edit (24 May 2017): My apologies for not including the sources or references from where I had picked up my facts from. I was way too amateurish back in 2012. That’s my best excuse. Deal with it.

Hold On

It’s been awhile since my last post, hasn’t it? Let’s just assume I’ve been a bit held up of late, both personally as well as professionally, which even involved shifting base across half the length of the country. To those who do not know, I recently moved from Bangalore to Bombay! Not that I’m any less busy now. And that is exactly why this particular post is less on originality and more cut-and-paste. Just to maintain continuity, in other words.

There’s this particular song that I have been listening to, so frequently these past few days. Multiple times a day. Totally mesmerised by it. It has got meaning! There’s something about that song and its lyrics that transports me from the past to the future and back to the present at speeds comparable to 299,792,458.5 metres/second, i.e., the speed of light (pardon me for trying to show off! Can’t stop myself, can I?)

The song is called Hold On by Sean Paul. Wikipedia has this to say about the song:

Hold On is the third single from the Jamaican recording artist Sean Paul‘s fifth studio album Tomahawk Technique. It was written by Pierre “The Maven” Medor, Rico Love and Sean Paul Henriques and was produced by Pierre “The Maven” Medor, Rico Love. The song has charted in France. Hold On is widely associated with Usain Bolt in his endeavour to victory in the London 2012 Olympic Games in the 100m and 200m races. A Lyric music video to accompany the release of “Hold On” was first released onto YouTube on February 21, 2012 at a total length of four minutes and nine seconds.

No wonder! This song has Usain Bolt associated with it! It sets your heart and mind racing at Bolt speed. It is an absolute privilege to share my birthday with one of the greatest athletes of our generation.

Hold On

Also, here are the lyrics of the full song for those interested. I suggest you listen to this song and/or watch the video and you’ll know why I dedicated a post to it. So long guys. Signing off… Hope you have nice long weekend.