The Talkative Man speaks
<--Added on 8/22/08 for migration to TPB -->
Sunday, February 25, 2007
  Freak encounters - I
There are some things in life which happen in completely arbitrary fashion taking you by surprise. Random probabilistic quirks that you least expect.

Like this event during my college days: we had two days left to pay our semester fees. We leisurely turned up at the Accounts Section and found a serpentine queue of around 75 students jostling and shoving. Almost each of them held a bunch of 4-5 invoices, to pay on behalf of their friends. About 150 others gathered in groups and chatted, waiting for their proxies in the queue to finish their job. Noticing 2 of my classmates at supposedly the business end of the queue(the counter had not yet opened), I handed over my invoice and cash to them and joined the rest of my classmates for idle talk. Just then, a peon opened the counter at the other end - all the chaps at the tail of the queue gleefully made an about-turn! The whole area burst into laughter as the early birds acknowledged defeat and left the scene, returning the invoices and money to their friends.
The next day being the deadline, I braced myself for a torturous wait in the queue - had a heavy breakfast and went to the Accounts Section in the interval, intending to skip the rest of the classes. Several others joined the queue and within 5 minutes I found myself right in the middle. I comforted myself with the thought that no matter which end they opened the counter, my position wouldn't matter. Soon the clerk got down to business at the front end. 2 minutes later, a peon opened a counter around the middle and split the line in two, catapulting me to the front of the new queue! Hehe, I triumphantly finished the task in a jiffy but bunked the rest the day anyway! :)

A more sinister situation happened in my schooldays. Those were the days when private tutoring had an air of taboo to it. People not comfortable with the concept avoided it. However, seeing the number of my classmates signing up, my parents pushed a protesting me to a professor's classes. He wasn't the batch-tutor kind, he used to seat a bunch of students around him and monitor them individually. It was a good method but not productive monetarily. While the batch-tutors roped in the big bucks, this prof stuck to his convictions, although at times he would show some resentment against his successful peers in the market by launching a tirade against their methods. He was a great guy to be with for what touched his heart loosed his tongue. Giving us problems to solve, he would pore through Junior Vikatan, air his political views, dissect the policies of the government, the municipality, city planners, the railways, the bus routes, traffic, KG admissions. Pretty much every institution got under his skin. Very sharp guy - one day he'd seen my dad talking to his friend's son(a senior) somewhere. 'If I am correct, the boy used to live in XYZ Street in 1985 when he came to my classes. His dad works in so-and-so company. Bright chap, but he had some wrong attitudes', he said. The senior corroborated the story when I asked him.

On another occasion, he showed us an interesting problem from a college text to extol the uses of probability. The chance of finding a girl with a sound education is 0.25, handsome dowry is 0.20, western manners and etiquette is 0.15. What is the probability of a prospective bride possessing all the three qualities? He didn't realise that the answer, next to nothing, had nothing to do with Probability Theory and could be guessed by any simpleton. 'Namma class edutha answer kandippa .9 aachum varum da!', my classmate whispered in argument. But the worst was Sunday mornings - the one-hour class at 9 would stretch to noon as he would throw at us problem after problem(textbook exercises over) from the Manickavasagom Pillai Calculus text which universities used since the days of our forefathers. "What will you fellows do at home anyway, enna kaetta Sunday should be a working day - no home does anything productive Sunday mornings!", he'd say. But to his credit, he had given us a robust foundation in Calculus and Trig - I'd sit in his class with a blank mind, one half of which would unconsciously pulverize a problem step by step, hand moving over the paper, while the other half would dwell upon more invigorating stuff like inter-house matches and plans for the weekend chitchats.

I and a friend attended his classes for a year. The next year my friend decided to switch to a batch-tutor who lived nearby. Not having the courage, he told our prof. that he was shifting home 30 miles away. Prof wasn't so gullible but let him go. The latter lay low in the neighborhood for a few months. I had no option but to abet my pal in the story as I was still stuck with him.

Days went smoothly. One Saturday I was at my tutor's place working out problems as he went outside. I could overhear the conversation between him and a prospective student:

-"Sir, I need tutoring for X std. Can I join you on Monday?"
-"What does your father do?"
-"Works for Central Excise. Got transferred out of town recently."
-"Where do you live?"
-"Andal Street".
And this kid had mentioned the very area that my absconding friend lived! I completely freaked out when my tutor asked him to come on Monday as it was only be a matter of time before the lie got exposed.

I racked my brain for a solution. I had no idea who the guy was or his name. I needed to stop him from joining the tuition or tell him not to reveal that my friend lives next door! Several months back I had played cricket with boys from this locality and this chap's voice sounded like one I had heard during the games. I made up my mind to scoot out this guy in 24 hours and avert the impending situation.

-to be continued-

Dear TTM,

For some unknown reason, I just tried to search for Rajan Bala and ended up in your blog. How glad I searched for Rajan Bala on a quiet sunday afternoon.

It is not all quiet out here, it is the calm before the winter snow storm, but be as it may, I have just started reading through your archives.

Just noticed a comment from Tilotamma in one of your posts. How strange, if you happened to like somebody's blog and it so happens that both end up liking a third blog.

Will check you out regularly.

With Regards
Its like an open-ended tale. I can think of multiple "climaxes".:-)
They say Heaven knows no better fury than a woman scorned. I feel, they may not have seen the boy/girl, who stood first in the queue and lost ( last) the chance.
Never been lucky in queues back in India. If I was lucky the counter wouldn't close/tickets wouldn't get sold out just before my turn!!

And many a times I've realised how accomplices have a harder time than guilty ones.
Narasimhan, I havent read Bala's recent book but do look for his 'All the Beautiful Boys' from India, it's a great one to possess if you don't have.

deepa, hope the ordinary ending doesn't frustrate after all this build-up :)
MD Saar, oh no, the treatment was par for the course! The staff used to make us come 2-3 times to get our original school marksheets back..maybe they even expected something under the table!

me too,
I've had a 20-min power cut just as I reached the railway counter inch by inch :) It's all the law of averages!
Dear TTM,

I sent an email to your Yahoo ID. When i placed the cursor on that yahoo id in your profile it says that it is an IM id. I am assuming it should be same as Yahoo ID. I sent it to Let me know whether you received it.

I have an article on Ilaiyaraja's carnatic music in PDF format. Actually it is an old article that was avaialble on web and I documented it on Latex, when I was learning it. One another way to waste time during graduate school.

Let me know whether I have your correct address and I will send it to you.

The more I dig into your archives, I more want to comment on each one of them. Will do soon.

With Regards
Narasimhan, thanks for mailing Ram's blog. I recall a train journey I made from Bangalore-Chennai 4 yrs back, where printouts of some 40 pages of Ram Sir's 'Curdrice Cricket' series from chennaionline sustained me.

Are you referring to Dr.Laxmi narayanan's series or Vel's ilayaragam series? I was recently thinking of learning the latex format until I discovered I have a dozen-or-so huge .doc files like '101 articles by Raju Bharatan', '128 temples of south India(from The Hindu)', Ramnarayan series, Film reviews, Database of tamil films which all need to be made into pdfs.
ithuvey andha idhathula naan ninnu irundhaa...another counter opp side la open panni la ninnalum final ah I would be still the last person :-)
Intha 2 b continued podra maater than i dont like.. Eager'a padichitey varum bodhu tabalnu kathava moodra maari iruku..Cha cha! :P

Seri waiting 2 c wt hapnd 2 the freidn :))
LOL! Naanum andha expectation-la thaan ponen but just my luck :-)

already running out of interesting matter...cant afford 2 tales per post :)
TTM, nee pesama sex story eludhu, nanaum join panikaren..
fiction ellam ezhudha maaten.
hi ttm..(thamizh thathumbum manam)??(!)...

First time to ur blog.I am amazed to see people's interest and care towards the society.You people really serves the society .I am proud to know that these kind of services are from Thamizh people.Keep it up
where is the ending?
You're right about the stigma attached to tuition - I distinctly remember many teachers themselves pushing tutition as being a respectable thing rather discretely. I wonder how it is these days.

BTW, Latex is a PITA - I have used it. PDF is unreadable. I prefer HTML.
Even TV Serial, thodar kadhais in magazines had only 1 week wait(ok, 'Gokulam', 'Ambulimama' were exceptions)!
Appurom enna thaan pannenga?

Idhu padikkum podhu innoru episode gnabagathukku varudhu. collegela 'not well'nnu mam kitta sollitu rotaract club eventla participate pannadhu..

roadla ninnukittu vara pora vandi mela ellaa poster otti adutha vandi mela otta vandha, adhu mam-oda vandi!! avanga paaka, naama paaka!!! semma bulbu!!
welcome and which post is the comment for?!?

I like good old HTML of course but in these days it's a pain - it gets very difficult to open if there are 101 embedded scripts or external links. PDF/Word is great for printing.
deepa/me too,
Just recently I discovered Prof is visiting his son settled in the US! I won't be surprised if he himself completes the story in the comments' section!

LOL! I'm reminded of Ek Duje Ke Liye where Kamal/Rati are stranded and get a lift from Rati's dad :)
fantastic.brought back some memories
Many thanks for the exciting blog posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you are a brilliant writer. I actually added your blog to my favorites and will look forward for more updates. Great Job, Keep it up.. :)
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An archivist with varying interests

Previous Posts

Davis Cup semifinal 1987
Sai Paranjpe's Chashme Baddoor
Director Bharathan's Pranaamam
Anything but Big Fun : bubblegum
Railway Journeys - II
A Hyperactive spirit
Ek Duje Ke Liye
Looking back on Amritraj vs Jaite
Freak Encounters - I
An unlikely friendship short-lived
Railway journeys - I
Michael Jordan the greatest:The Flu Game
History at Capetown?
Images from Malgudi Days(DVD)
Found after a 17 year search!
Champions Trophy deja vu
Deepavali song
Heard in passing
Phil Tufnell fielding school
Indian cricket since its embryonic days
Journalism's Joan of Arc
Stills from Idhaya Thamarai/Aur Ek Prem Kahani
The World of Amar Chitra Katha
..and I saw Carl Lewis last weekend!
Two memorable Calypso hits
The sensational triumph in the '83 World Cup
Doordarshan and Frustration!!!
Date with a chennai girl!
Mayhem in the morning
Dream Teams: India XI vs World XI
How Dad's work
Pelting his way into the record books!
Relentless march of time
Close encounters of the Desi Kind
Thandaa paani!
Keep going
Indian Male yuppie: Boy->Man->Gentleman
Hamlet revisited
Rediff is just another TOI
Malgudi Days on DVD
TN Cricket - I : Early heroes
Bala, Bharatan and Guha
Warne does the trick once again
Remembering PV
A rare pic: Aandavans of Alwarpet
Random jottings on friendship
A gutsy analyst
Rarest among Jewels
Adhu Oru Kanaa Kaalam(2005)
The Terrorist(1997)
Holiday plans
Those small pleasures
Stalwart Narrator


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