Friday, July 3, 2009

What I have been up to lately

I've been having those blog blues everyone seemed to be writing about sometime back. You know, didn't write because I couldn't think of anything interesting to say.

"Doesn't seem to stop you from talking", observed the missus, "not having anything interesting to say, I mean".

The missus confuses insult for wit, but I am dignity personified.

"Many people enjoy my writing, I will have you know", I told her in my most majestic manner, drawing myself up to my full height, which being half an inch less than the elder son, robs me of my alpha male status.

Any way, all this is by way of introduction to what I wanted to write about, which is that I'm back to school. Well sort of. I joined a course in Robotics.

When I announced my intention to join up, the missus raised a shapely eyebrow.

"Why?" I asked her combatively "you think I'm too old for the classroom?"

"Naren, this course is for final year engineering students looking to add some value to their CVs, not geriatric wannabe technology geeks."

She seemed to have read the prospectus.

"Well, I'm joining up anyway", I told her, chest out, stomach in, like my gym instructor keeps telling me.

And off I went, with the requisite amount of finance in my hands. The young lady in charge curtly asked me for my qualifications and asked me if I could see programming.

"I beg your pardon?"

"See programming", she reiterated.

"See Programming? I'm afraid I don't understand.. Ah C programming!" I'm pretty quick on the uptake. The lady was referring to the ability to write instructions for computers in a language called, for reasons best known to the highest echelons of geekness, 'C'.

I confessed that I was not an expert.

"It is very very important." she asserted, sternly, adding "If you don't know C programming, we will set you on fire" or something along those lines.

I decided something had to be done about this, and walked into a computer training institute near my house. An earnest young woman made me fill out a form and accepted my fees.

"We will start day after tomorrow, she told me.

When I reached home, I got a call from her.

"Sir, there are a couple of things you left out in the form. Could you come by and complete it?"

"If I tell you over the phone, could you fill it out yourself?" I asked her

"I suppose so", she replied. "Ok, what's your father's name?"

"V. V. Shenoy"

"And what is your date of birth?"

"21st april 1965"


"I mean YOUR date of birth, sir, not your father's"

Now it is my turn to pause.

"Miss, that IS my date of birth."


Well that was that as far as the computer training institute was concerned but the robotics course had its charming moments too.

We did the usual first session hellomynameis stuff followed by branch and year of passing out. I passed my engineering in 1986. All the other students are born after this date. And the teacher calls me "Sir". Most of the class thought I was on deputation from the State Government to assess the quality of students and teachers, and spent the first two sessions behaving as if I was an Aztec god looking for some decent human sacrifices..............


Idling in Top Gear said...

"And the teacher calls me "Sir". Most of the class thought I was on deputation from the State Government to assess the quality of students and teachers"

LMAO. I sense that the proceedings of the class will resemble scenes from Gogol's "Inspector General." :D

RukmaniRam said...

My dad went through a similar thing when he joined "lotus" classes in the mid nineties. The guys who came to service our computer at home turned out to be his instructors!

Anonymous said...

LOL! Robotics eh? Can I sign u up to coach my son's team this summer? Am tired of getting 13 year olds to listen to me!

The last few lines were hilarious only coz u wrote sitting in India. Or it's quite common out here, and I must say, keep at it and your son's friends will be clamoring to get on your fb. The girls I mean ;-)


Deepak Misra said...

Why Robotics ?


Another Kiran In NYC said...

Ah Aztec GOD, did you find any "Johnny come lately" virgin young engineers to sacrifice at the altar of Minor God of Robotics? Slay them with your experience and intellect?

Was the course all work or did you get to sit in the back and blow spitballs at the geeks in the front rows?

Bea Walker said...

People born in the 60s don't get any respect, I say, hmmmmmphhh...Continue behaving like an Aztec God looking for tasty human sacrifices, chomp ;)
and come up with a final autobot kinda thingy at the end of the course to kick some young whippersnapper a$$ :)) go Sir!!!

narendra shenoy said...

@idling - I'm totally impressed by the breadth of your reading. I just read up the synopsis of "Inspector General" on wikipedia. That's pretty much the robotics class! Made a mental note to read the original. Thanks.

@Rukmani - LOL! I've had an early experience of this kind of thing. We were learning "Wordstar4"! Our instructors were often found playing cricket in the office corridor in the morning.

@rads - Even eavesdropping on conversation can be an alarming experience. I have a better understanding of Hungarian poetry than some of the things these "dudes" say to each other!
Are you coaching 13 year olds? That's a triple wow for bravery. You must be bungee jumping and going over falls in barrels for entertainment!

@Deepak - Well, we fabricated a welding robot for a large company. Toiled for a month, did all the dirty work, ensured parallelism, positioning accuracy, that kind of thing. These guys just showed up one morning, punched in some programs, attached a few servo motors and earned 100X of what we earned for the job. I therefore concluded that
1. There is no justice in the world
2. If I figure out how to punch in programs and attach a few motors, i could earn 100X myself.
3. Which means I can finally afford to buy the i-phone.

@Another Kiran - I had one glorious moment when the discussion turned to metals and I was the only guy who knew the densities of aluminum, steel, brass, copper and bronze, there ultimate tensile strengths, melting temperatures and many other fascinating details. Unfortunately, several of them dozed off as I was regaling them with all this. Kids! No respect for knowledge!

@Bea Walker :)

magicalsummer said...

lol, way to go narendra! and all the best with your quest for the iphone.

Abishek Goda said...

"If you don't know C programming, we will set you on fire" or something along those lines.

Pretty true. I wonder why they left java alone. Oh!it was a robotics course..

Most of the class thought I was on deputation from the State Government to assess the quality of students and teachers, and spent the first two sessions behaving as if I was an Aztec god looking for some decent human sacrifices.

Ha, if only they did..

Loved this post..

Coconut Chutney said...

We've missed u! :)

I had this one guy in my CA accounts class whose hair AND mustache which were completely orange. We always used to wonder what kind of gene combination could have probably led to such a fiery orange crop of hair.
Then one of us finally plucked the courage to ask him how, and the answer we got was "henna" and a grin.
We stopped calling him carrottop after that.

We started calling him carrot uncle :D

le embrouille blogueur said...

Way to go Naren ..... it is posts and confessions like yours which makes my will (to get back to school as soon as I am done with the mundane affairs of a decent living) stronger ...the best thing about them thinking that you are there to audit will not be asked too many questions..way to go !!!..and I agree to what Kowthas said is very common here ...maybe in India it still raises some eye brows !!....good luck !!

Cynic in Wonderland said...

:) liked verr muchly.

thats what i feel with the guitar class - fortunately the teacher was born on the wrong side of ..well world war one i think.

gauri said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
g said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gauri said...

That is something! Do write more about the experience sometime. Nice :)


narendra shenoy said...

@magical - Thanks!

@abhishek - Thanks!

@chutney - I shudder to think of what my faithful classmates must be calling me behind my back.
I once witnessed an exchange which I shall definitely use someday. This guy is buying vegetables in the market and the vendor says something like "Uncle, le lo na. Bahut accha hai"
He retreats slightly and peering at him over half-moon spectacles, tells him "Uncle? Hum sabjee khareedne aye hain, rishta banane nahi"

@le embrouille - Thanks!

@cynic - Thanks!

@gauri - Thanks!

mani300bc said...

You write so well Naren! Keep up your penchant for learning new things! You actaully should write a novel. I bet it will be much better than many of the bestsellers!


Anonymous said...

LOL!! You never fail me when I come here for some hearty laughs :D

Hat's off to your brave new endevors ...I have no doubt you'll come out with flying colors..then make loads of money punching programs for robots!

narendra shenoy said...

@mani - Thanks!

@always - When you see a commercial robot couple where the guy robot looks meek and timid, look no further. That'll be by M/s Narendra Shenoy Pvt. Ltd.

Pitu said...

HAHAHA awesome :-D To annoy your fellow students and solidify their respect for you, you should sing Saraswati Vandana before class every single time. Also, pls get up when the Prof. comes and say in a singsong voice "Adhyapikayai namah". :-D

Samita said...

hehehehehehe. Brilliant