Saturday, May 22, 2010

The great Indian Wedding

"Female girl wanted. Non-smoker, non-ugly." - Joey tribbiani

"Posting one of my quotes before every article is such a cliché." - Oscar Wilde

All characters in the following article are fictitious and any resemblance to any character dead/alive/zombie are accidental and should be ignored.

Marriages are usually made in heaven, but in some places like India, they are man-made.  There are many types of marriages: love marriages, forced marriages, child marriages, bought marriages, accidental marriages (like in Indian movies), same-gender marriages, inter-species marriage, multiple marriages.  The following article will explore an age old paradigm of an arranged marriage, its advantages, its disadvantages and its effects on Indian heritage, Indian mentality and probably climate change.

There was once a time in India where the father of a newly born child used to buy some cotton from the merchant across and the road and pay by making a marriage deal with him. The deal would enable the babies of the two parties to get married. Being just toddlers, unable to walk, the babies had to crawl around the sacred fire thrice to complete the marriage ritual to become a couple.

[ Two babies, getting ready for the ritual ]

In the time of kings, a king would summon a random set of people found on the road and organise a competition (wrestling, archery, wall climbing, rhyme recitation, lemon and spoon to name a few) and the princess of the land would be forcibly married off to the winner of the competition, a guy she just met. The kings in those days found high correlations between successful genes and victory in say, an air guitaring competition. In fact Sita was made to marry Rama after he won an archery competition. (source Tinkle)

[ Lemon and spoon competition for a person who probably swings both ways ]

In the author's father time, the author's father realised he was engaged only when a few of his friends called him up to congratulate him on getting engaged. His father then wrote a letter the following week informing him that his engagement had been conducted.

That was all in the past, things have changed a lot in the 21st century. The face of an arranged marriage has totally changed. The selection process now starts off when the parents of a girl and those of a boy go on a date. If there is a successful conversation between the two pairs, the selection goes to its next phase. In the next phase the parents go to a priest and seek his consent for the marriage. The priest then uses the birthdays of the two and analyses the positions of the sun, the moon and the stars at the time of birth and uses a few rules to decide whether the marriage can happen or not.

Here are some of the rules that are used
  • If a person is born in prime numbered months, he is a demon. If a person is born in a month number which is a fibonocci number, he is a human. In other cases, the person is a god.
  • A human boy can't marry a god girl, a demon boy can't marry a human girl, a human boy cannot marry a tiger and finally a god boy can't marry any girl.
  • If the couple can still marry, they go on to the next round.
  • The group of stars that are brightest, directly opposite to the sun on the date of birth of the boy and the girl are selected and the pattern is analysed.
  • There are 12 such patterns: goat, bull, crab, lion, fish, scorpion, chair, computer, nuclear reactor, merry-go-round, university campus, face with acne.
  • Common rules are now applied like lion eats goat, scorpion stings crab, bull eats table, bull gores goat, computer sits on a chair, fish doesn't know how to use a computer, nuclear reactor is not in the university campus and a face with acne beats everything.
  • If the guy's pattern beats the girl's pattern, they are into the next round.
  • Every digit in the girls birthday is now added up, same goes for the boy. They are fed as inputs to a random number generator as a seed. The random number modulo 36 is calculated. if the value is more than 18, they are made for each other. In the olden days, the random number generation was done manually, these days there are numerous softwares available in the market for the job.
  • Some times there is an extra round conducted in case of certain girls. If the girl did not get a sufficient score in the previous rounds, she is given extra tasks before being eligible to marry. Say for example marrying a tree. This is very common and happens even in royal families.
    Now that the major obstacle to a marriage has been dealt with, the parents of the guy and the girl can go on and get engaged and become a couple-couple. After the engagement, its finalised that the boy and the girl will get married. This is when the boy and the girl get to know about each other and get the licence to chat.

    Even in an arranged marriage, the symptoms of love start appearing within a fortnight of the arrangement of marriage. The boy and the girl start calling each other names like 'cutie', 'sweetie', 'meetie', 'jaanu' and so on to show affection. They spend hours video chatting, stealing away considerable amount of bandwidth which could be effectively utilised by another connection in the house probably by a sibling to download ebooks, ACM-papers and other educational content. They keep contacting each other every few hours at work and at home. When they don't get a reply and a time out is detected, they get angry/tense and sometimes even end up beating up their sibling, who by the way is very likely a nice guy who doesn't make fun of the situation. They make each other smile all the time and sometimes actually laugh. These according to experts are symptoms of love.

    Arranged marriages are better than love marriages because
    • one doesn't have to fall in love with some one and realise that the person is a married mother of two and even has a pet dog by the name Tommie. The unnecessary depression that is undergone, the amount of time that is wasted in recovery from the madness all alone, the additions of arbitrary girls to the friends list in one's facebook/twitter accounts to console oneself, can all be easily avoided in case of an arranged marriage because statistics show that in 96% of the cases, the bride is unmarried and in 99.97% of the cases the bride is not yet a mother.

    • One doesn't have to pack his luggage in a hurry, run away from home with the girl he loves, get married and start living in a hotel room where he unpacks his luggage to realise that he hasn't brought any of his underwear. The girl may probably get furious if she realises that her husband has been wearing the same underwear for over a week. Any attempts in explaining the similar system people follow in college campuses where clothes are changed once a fortnight will probably end the marriage in just 7 days.

    •  One doesn't have to fall in love with a girl whose face is as white as snow to only realise on the night after the marriage that its just the face that's as white as snow. Speaking of which, there is not much an arranged marriage can do about it but the author felt that bringing it up was important.

    The author interviewed a cricket players who has been through both arranged and love marriages and asked him about his views on marriage in India for which he had the following to say.

    "Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim, Alla ko shukr hai mera doosri Shaadhi huvi. My first marriage was love. I chat with the girl online, she show me pictures, I love her pictures. I ask her photo real? she said yes. 2 saal baad, Internet relay chat pe hamaari Shaadi huvi. Maine ek SMS bhi bejha tha 'Nikah Nikah Nikah' bolke. Shaadhi ke baad I find girl is not look good, I not love her any more. Love marriage is like cricket, one team is play well and win and other team is loose. Arrange marriage is not like that, is me toh dono family ek hota hai. In this case two nations becomes one. All of the people in my land love Sanya a lot and creates a website called in love for her."


    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Lan cuts at IITM

    Since IIT-JEE results will be out soon and the admissions will begin eventually, the author has decided to revamp his wall and share his two cents of information about the IITs and IITM in specific with a selfish motive of increasing the hit rate for this page. To the people who are new to this place, a quick introduction. The author is a Computer Science student at IITM in his final year who strives hard to maintain this blog to provide reliable information to the innocent students trying to learn about the new world (IITM) they are trying to enter.

    This post is about one of the policies that the administration of IITM has introduced to maximise productivity of the engineers that they manufacture. The LAN-cut law was passed in 2009 by the senate of IITM and was signed by Mani A, the chairman of CCW. According to the law, the institute LAN should be made dis-functional in IITM at the stroke of mid-night and should be switched on at two in the afternoon on all weekends. Why did Mani introduce such an arbitrary law in IITM? We will try to find out in this post.

    The SNet group of IITM is a student initiative established in June, 2009. According to the site, the immediate task was to save power as this would be appealing to everyone on campus in IITM. A survey and study followed in order to understand the power consumption pattern of the IITM campus. It was found that the peak hour of Internet usage was between 12:00AM and 1:00 AM. Students of IITM are used to completing their home works in that period of time and hence they download their e-books during that hour. The senate of IITM thought it would be a great save of some precious calories by cutting of LAN during that period and hence with no further thought, passed the above mentioned bill. Since some evil students have managed to crack the system and have obtained access to get Internet after 12:00 AM, the IITM senate now plans to cut off the power supply to the rooms as well. This will be implemented next summer according to some reliable sources. The mid-night canteen Olive-Kittchen as it is called now will change its timings to use the day light and will now be renamed 'mid-day express'.

    The IITM DOMS made an in depth method study and work measurement on the students and came up with a remarkable discovery that 6 to 7 hours of sleep could boost examination results by around 2%. This was only next to nutritious-tasty food (24%), on the list of things that could boost productivity in IITM. The senate of IITM flipped a coin and chose to make the students sleep between 12:00 AM and 7:00 AM instead of the other alternative. This they planned to achieve by cutting off the IITM LAN.

    Piracy is a major issue in the IITM LAN. The policy makers decided to decrease piracy by 20% by introducing LAN cuts in IITM. By cutting off the LAN at 12:00 AM, the administration of IITM has managed to cut the number of movie downloads by around 20% and hence has taken its step to fight piracy. Since students of IITM prefer to watch movies when they are fresh, i.e just after downloading, it is very unlikely that a student downloads a movie at 11:00 PM and watches it at 2:00 AM as the movie would have lost its freshness by then.

    The students of IITM love to play games during End-semester examination and end up missing their end-semester examinations. In fact, there have been over 5 such documented cases of students missing exams in IITM in the past decade, which is around 1 every 2 years. To top that, a student from the humanities department of IITM, wrote a paper in which he said he felt that students are more likely to miss an exam because of gaming than because of a night-out studying. Two of the members in the senate being from the humanities department of IITM, liked the excellent vocabulary used in the paper and decided to veto on LAN cuts.

    The Sting-team of IITM conducted raids in some hostels in IITM by breaking into the students rooms, to find out what the students had been up to and wrote a report on their findings. Although one of the people in the Sting-team of IITM who tried to raid the Sharavathi hostel, was mauled to death by angry girls, they managed to get information about the rest of hostels in IITM. According to the report on IITM, 86% of the students had signed into Google talk gadget in Gmail and 23% of them had chatted with a person of the opposite gender at least once that week. This finding about IITM hurt the religious sentiments of some of the people in Tamil Nadu where two people of the opposite gender speak to each other only after they are married. This was also one of the reasons why IIT has a 95% reservation for boys.

    The IPL chairman Lalit Modi wrote a secret letter to the dean of IITM where he expressed his interest to donate large sums of money if the students are forcefully made to watch IPL matches in the common room. Since You Tube streaming of IPL matches hadn't been introduced yet in 2009, the dean of IITM decided to cut off the LAN according to sources.

    Manual labour:
    There are rumours according to which, the IITM LAN goes through a single gateway where a person manually holds two pieces of wire together to keep them connected. Since he feels sleepy after 12:00 AM, the LAN at IITM has no option but to go down. The person holding the wires does not sleep on Saturdays and Sundays and that explains the curfew holding only on weekdays in IITM. Once in a while, the person at IITM feels itchy and scratches himself and during this period of time, he lets the wire go for a minute. This explains the frequent connection and disconnection of the Internet at IITM during the day time. The police academy in IITM is trying to teach the person to manually sniff packets that contain dirty things and dis-allow such packets to flow. Since people in Chennai sleep early in general, no person has been found who can replace this person at IITM. If you think you can handle the job, you are welcome at IITM.

    Nehru's goal:
    The dean on the 50th year anniversary of IITM remembered one of the founders of IITM and the goals that he had in mind while establishing IITM. He interpreted one of the quotes he made as "At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, IITM shall sleep as well." and hence possibly decided to cut LAN at IITM at 12:00 AM. Source - Advait Alai (my friend)

    Overheating of server:
    The temperature in Chennai is 44 degrees Celsius in the morning and drops to a very low value of 36 degrees Celsius in the night at IITM. Despite the night temperature being that low, the servers at IITM cannot handle these temperatures and hence have to be turned off in the night at 12:00 AM where studious students of IITM need it the most.

    The author went and met Mani A and asked him why the LAN was cut in IITM. "Who are you, what do you want? Show me your ID card? Who are you?" Mani said for over 15 minutes. Finally on giving a clear explanation, he said "see, 20 years ago, no LAN. Why are you wanting LAN now?"

    Now that we know the causes of LAN cuts in IITM, here are some of the effects.
    • The temperature of the IITM has decreased by 1 Kelvin because of the decrease in the electricity consumption.
    • There has been an overall increase in the number of students in the class room. The Probability and Random Processes class had an average of over 208 people in it as opposed to about 172 the previous year. Although critics say the increase in the student intake is the reason for the same, the dean of IITM has rubbished the claims and suspended the critic for making such criticism.
    • The performance of students has gone up by 2% as suggested by the DOMS IITM and a huge party was organised to celebrate it in April 2010.
    • The number of cases of pre-marital chatting in IITM has come down. The number will be brought down further by the administration by creating a separate campus for female students outside of IITM.
    • The number of visits by students to the library after mid-night has increased on average. Again critics claim the students visit the library for pre-marital meetings and again the dean of IITM has silenced the critics by debarring them.

    Whatever the reasons might be, the students of IITM are at a loss because of the inefficient utilisation of Bandwidth which otherwise would have been effectively utilised as the screen-shot below clearly shows.

    [DC++ in IITM Courtesy Mohammed Puli Iqbal]