Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Craziest things to do in a Cyclone...

Cyclone is coming! Just imagine all the crazy things you could do in a cyclone! Here are some!

Do a Oppan Gangnam Style:

You could do that part of Oppan Gangnam style where a huge fan blows wind at him and he eats foam! All you need is a blue jacket, someone to spray a foam can at you and a hope that you don’t get blown away.

Bungee Jumping:

Find a high bridge or tie a long pole across the hostel from the even wing to the odd wing and jump off from it. The wind will make you feel like you are flyyyyyiinggg...

Get Some Wings:

Well your KFC chicken wings won’t work here. You will need something bigger. May be try catching a vulture, steal its wings and jump off the roof of BT department. If you can fly, you will do a great service to science. If you can’t, well you tried and science will remember you forever :P

Do a Felix Baumgartner:

Take a hot air balloon (a tutorial on maneuvering a hot air balloon in a storm can be found in any biography of Richard Brenson), go on top of the cloud (9th one preferably) and jump off. You might not breach Mach 1, but you will definitely breach a few layers of soil after falling on earth.


Make a huge kite, grab it and go to St. Thomas Mount, and jump off towards the airport with it. Hope that you don’t collide with a flight. You can then enter the airport, hijack a kingfisher flight (they are anyways out of use) and fly away…

Get some Trampolines:

A whole lot of ideas above involved jumping off… So let’s jump up now. Get some trampolines. Use your basic kinematics to find out how far a distance you should place them so that you jump from one to reach the next one. You could do this wearing a space suit, record a video and send it to NASA saying it was taken in Neptune :P

Do a Titanic:

Build a titanic, well a 1000 times scaled down version of it, and stand in front of it with your arms widely spread. James Cameron would be very proud of you.


If you ever wanted to sail alongside sharks, this could be your chance. Since the sharks would be busy running away for their lives, you could surf alongside them.


You could ride a cycle till the main gate, from where you could break into a car and drive it through the ECR road to Pondicherry. (If you can of course :P)

Sleep on the roof:

If you want to “feel” the cyclone up close and personal(in which case, a certain prof in Dept. of Electrical Engineering would be very happy with you), you could go to the roof and sleep there. Then you could measure the luminous intensity of lightening and the breakdown voltages of air, and think of harvesting power from lightening.

Tie yourself to a wind mill:

If you ever wanted to experience a centrifuge but do not have access to NASA or a Lockheed Martin facility, you could tie yourself to a wind mill. You will experience the centrifuge with zero carbon footprint and hence doing a bit for yourself and for the earth :P

Most of it came up during a fruitful mess discussion with Vaibhav. There were a lot of shady stuff as well, of course I am not going to tell them here :P

The Plan of Action:
As Ironman would have said, the plan of action, is action! Take a hot air balloon and go to the 9th cloud and jump off. After falling through the 9 clouds, engage wings. If you are able to fly great! If not, engage parachute and fall exactly next to a cycle in IIT Madras. Break open the cycle and ride it till main gate. From there drive a car to St. Thomas Mount, where your para-glide would be waiting for you. Jump off the cliff, dodge as many flights as you can, and enter the airport. Break open a plane (kingfisher preferably) and fly away. After a proper take off, shift to auto pilot with a course towards the center of cyclone (somewhere between Cuddalore and Nellore) and do a bungee jumping from the plane (you can have the James Bond (Skyfall) or Jason Bourne theme playing in the background). Keep yourself taut to the plane until you arrive on top of Nellore. On top of Nellore, cut the ropes and jump into the sea. Your surf board would be waiting there for you. Surf alongside sharks till you reach your Titanic. Now sail the Titanic to Chennai, and arrive at Besant Nagar beach. From there, you could tie a sail to a mast on a surf board and sail on land towards insti. After reaching insti, you could ask your friends to spray foam at you and you could do the Oppan Ganganam style.  Then you could go and sleep on the roof of your hostel and think about what you have done!


You could just stay indoors, put peace, and do yourselves a favor by not putting yourselves in danger and probably read one of my experiences in a real cyclone here and stay safe :) 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Some fond childhood memories of Dussehra...

Dussehra, also known as Durga Puja, is one of the biggest festivals in Odisha. For me though, it was more like that time of the year with 10 days of school holidays, awesome food, huge pandals with amazing blinking lights and patterns made out of them. Societies in Odisha have a great knack of pulling of such beautiful pandals that you would be really amazed just by seeing their size and their beauty. They would be themed, sometimes the Titanic, sometimes the Taj, sometimes the pandals would be covered with obsolete 5 and 10 paise coins, the whole pandal, the size of a 7-8 storey building of it. The major ones will have amazing work of gold and silver, and one in Cuttack where the Goddess would be made completely of silver every year. Its really so inspiring to see the creativity and dedication of the workers in making these pandals just for the sake of a few days. Then they would be decorated with lights about 500m radius around it. So essentially, 70% of the roads in Bhubaneswar would be decorated in lights.
The first few days of the holiday would be spent with my parents visiting these amazing pandals in Bhubaneswar. About the 6th or 7th day of Dussehra, we would go to my grandparents place. Both my grandparents live in a quaint little place called Jagatsinghpur, about 60km from Bhubaneswar. At my paternal grand parents place, me with my cousins, and my father, would go for fishing! We would play cricket for like 6 hours out of 10 hours of daylight, and the rest would be spent eating and pulling each others leg. At my maternal grandparents place as well, it would be my uncles and aunts instead of my cousins. There, there is this culture that everyone gives everyone delicacies specially made for Dussehra, things like Kakara Pitha, Nimki, varieties of sweets especially Laddu and Rasgulla etc. (Heaven!! :D) And since both my grandparents come from a background of Zamindaars, they have a huge list of people to give. (even better :D). And hence cooks, just to make all these, would come. A makeshift kitchen would be set up in the backyard, where the cooks, typically 2, would continuously keep making stuff for us for about 2 and half days and they would be continuously consumed or given away. There were just too many people who would visit my grandparents. I, on the other hand would stay put at the makeshift kitchen. I just loved watching them being made, in those huge kadhais and of course popping in one or two at times :D. Whether it was the aroma, or the color or them taking shape, I don't know. But I just loved watching them being made. I was like the food inspector, every lot of whatever was made, had to pass through me first :D.  When laddus were made, I would don the hat of the chef trying to give the laddus their shape. I had this signature style of shaping the laddus (any shape but spherical :P) that every one who saw it, knew I was the one who made it :D

On the 8th day of the Dussehra, or the Durga-Ashtami, a huge puja is held. Everyone would have to wear new, its just so childish now, but the feeling then was amazing. Then the 10th day would be the day when the "victory of good over evil" or the Vijaydasami happened. This is the day when an huge effigy of Raavan would be burnt. Unlike I guess the rest of India, Jagatsinghpur has this amazing tradition of all gods coming together and watching over when lord Ram killed Ravana. Wherever Dussehra is celebrated, pandals have either Goddess Durga or Lord Ram or sometimes Ravana. But in Jagatsinghpur, you will find pandals of lord Krishna, Ganesh and Shiv as well. And on the Vijaydasami day, during the evening, at a huge ground in front of the office of the district collector, there will be the effigy of Ravana ready, lord Ram would be straight in front of him, all the other gods and goddesses would encircle them standing on huge trucks. It's just so magical, as if it were happening in heaven. And the effigy would be burnt up with rockets, and I would count the number of them. It would go on for about ten minutes (I would have given up counting by 5 :P), and then there would be this feeling that something good happened over something evil. Some evil died. And that is the ultimate spirit of Dussehra isn't it?! 

More amazing pictures of Dussehra at Bhubaneswar can be seen here (Courtesy: "Stunning Bhubaneswar" fb page):
2012 and 2010