The Art Of Presenting A Seminar


At regular intervals during post-graduation days, a medical student needs to find his inner management student, so that he can prepare a power point presentation based on superficial(and sometimes complete lack of) knowledge of a topic. As they might be teaching in Arindam Chowdhary’s alchemy project IIPM, it doesn’t matter what you put in your slideshow, as long as it is obvious that you don’t know what you are talking about. The expectations are straight forward. The presenter must
-Know the complete topic,
-Have studied the subject thoroughly,
-Be ready to answer questions related to the topic,
-Have prepared himself for having his self-respect shred to pieces,
-Not be wearing “I was born intelligent but education ruined me” t-shirt.

Call it talent or call it lack of grey matter in the brain, medical students tend to screw up at every single step with such finesse that can put Rahul Gandhi’s election campaign to shame. The following events may or may not have happened to me during my seminar, but then, I have heard that truth is funnier than fiction, and so is exaggeration.

Once the presenter has reached the seminar hall, he checks the nearest mirror or selfie camera for his hair and overall look. My look was one of sheer horror, usually reserved for the first 15 minutes after having seen a Sonakshi Sinha item number. Soon, presenter’s first task begins, the task of getting his technologically retarded brain to get the projector working. It takes around 15 minutes of tinkering and a few hundred thoughts of ‘saala kharaab to nahi to gaya! Professor gaaJAAN le lega!‘ before you realise that the main power switch is off.

Soon, the entire department is seated down, with your peers having an evil smile on their faces and your professors looking in the mood of having your soul for lunch. The tone of your “Good Afternoon” is the first and the last high point of the seminar because soon, the slides with grammatical errors and inappropriate photos are shown, and even God, leave alone your moderator, cannot possibly save you. The tone of your voice becomes more and more apologetic, you forget about your shaky hands and sweating forehead and you start running through the slides, with the words “Bhaag Sharma Bhaag. Mud ke na wekhiin” echoing in your ears. You are stopped at regular intervals so that questions can be asked and all you can do is to rotate your head sideways denying any connection to the question whatsoever.

All the goals of presenting a seminar are tossed in the dustbin and the only motto becomes to reach that ‘Thank You‘ slide, which is always written in the most beautiful font with a motivational photo, as if it would make the audience forget about your humiliation during the previous hour, including the fact that your ‘references’ slide had only Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V because you thought people would appreciate honesty. Like all good, bad and why-God-why-me things, seminar also comes to an end. You walk out of the room with Chak De India’s ‘maula mere le le meri jaan‘ playing in your head.

They say that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Not a seminar. It just kills you. Slowly, and painfully.

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I Tried To Relate To A Relationship


Like almost every young middle class Delhi boy, I dreamt of two things in the later half of my school life: A girlfriend, and braces, so that girls will stop noticing God’s sheer injustice to my face. Most of those years were spent trying to find someone special who would look beyond my nerdy image and lack of any interesting trait. But since no woman from a dream sequence or a video game is actually real, those years were wasted trying to figure out what actually went wrong when the natural calamity called puberty struck my life.

It took some time, but finally things like peer pressure, confidence gained from weird tips on sleazy sites, will-power to miss lectures and to part with my limited pocket money enabled me to ask a girl out, who said ‘Yes’ because may be she found me funny, but mostly because I threatened to slash my wrist. Happiness is a rather mild term for that moment because since that day, I have never paid for butter chicken ever again. Call it love, or call it excuses like “Oh I forgot my wallet!” or “Hey I paid the last time when we had bhelpuri at that local thela“, I have earned my free chicken meal a lot of times.

Like almost every non-Rahul Mahajan relationship, the start was a Romeo-Juliet level of romance, or as friends call it, “get-a-room level”. As per many dating experts, is usually limited to 6 months, out of which only the first two weeks are voluntarily participated in by the guy. Gifts are exchanged, new places are visited, parents want to disown you because of your phone bills, friends use phrases like ‘pyaar me chutiya gaye hain saale’, people getting sick at your public display of affection are called jealous. Then the first fight happens. The fight is never forgotten, and the guy is never forgiven.

It is not easy being with me, because here is what she has had to endure so far:
• Regular bargains over compensation money for having to laugh at my jokes in public,
• Semi-violent bursts of my own laughter at my own jokes,
• A ‘Raag-Depression’ low note rendition of Albela Sajan Aayo Ri in response to a request for a romantic song on Valentine’s Day,
• Consistently embarrassing Khap-Panchayati behaviour after the 4th drink at any party.
• Having to sit through almost every movie with me, even the ones with Tusshar Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha.
The girl has not only done all the above while keeping a brave face, she has also avoided giving any response which will hurt me to the question “Why are you dating that imbecile?” (her current favourite answer is “I’m paying for sins of my previous lives”). Sometimes, when I have kept quiet for a few minutes and she is able to hear her own thoughts, she says that I bring balance to her life. Yes, I use the somewhat funny teacher-and-haryanvi-student WhatsApp jokes to make her laugh when she is feeling down, and when she is too happy, I restore it back to baseline by smiling for her. Our support for each other goes way beyond the odd-even formula that we have employed for who will make the STD call on which day because, you know, long distance.

About the future, hopefully she will develop more interest in football and watch matches with me, but not too much interest because one of us needs to go to kitchen and make me that sandwich to enjoy the match with. Hopefully she will keep that affinity for cleanliness so that in future, my pizza boxes will not keep lying on the floor for days. Hopefully she will catch a permanent cold so that she can live through the phenomenon called smelly feet. Fingers crossed.

I do feel lucky, and I guess I should just count my blessings. (NOT just a semi-emotional dialogue in the end to save my ass.)


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Most Epic New Year Plans! Well, Almost.

Last day of a year is an important day for introspection, when almost everyone can see flashes of all the important things that happened throughout the year. For committed guys, it is mostly a compilation of memories of getting shouted at by their girlfriends for not knowing which God-damn shade of pink is the rang gherua, while for single men it is mostly a blur of post-throwing-up ‘tu hi mera bhai hai bc’ conversations with a close friend. Both the above scenarios need to be repeated on 31st as well, because if you do not party on the last day, you risk getting labelled anti-social or a loner or worse, a baniya.

So, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, you have got to ‘party hard’ on new year’s eve, by which I mean it doesn’t matter if you drink or not, because there is always going to be a friend who will be out of his senses by 10PM, and shove two or three shots down your throat. So, it is better to avoid him till 11PM because by then he would have passed out or better, in an ‘everybody-wins’ scenario, might have choked on his own vomit and died. Now you just got to decide between a house party or a restro-bar, and here is a pros vs cons assessment to help you make an informed decision:

The Bring-Your-Own-Booze system saves you from having to pay thousands of rupees and dealing with shady people to arrange for passes for a party, and also gives single guys a chance to meet new people who are single as well as, mostly, guys. The party will start with a cheers!, go on to political discussions about how Modi or Kejri are screwing the country and only the people in that room drinking their way to cirrhosis know better. The party will most probably end with someone sharing a sad break up story and you cursing your luck, but hey, take your laptop and you will get to play the songs of your choice at least.

Expensive, but there will be real women and loud music, so you will probably get excited enough to get your money’s worth and drink beyond the limits your already half-dead liver and shameless conscience can handle. If the person with whom you went to the event brings you back home alive, marry him/her, regardless of the gender. You get to dance in flashy lights, stare at legs (if you are in Delhi) or wrists (if you are in Lucknow), and stand a chance to get lucky if your girlfriend gets served adulterated spirits in her cocktail. Worth a shot.

The issue remains on how to get back from a party, because let’s accept it, driving straight with one tyre on the divider is called a skill only when it is intentional. In Delhi, you can use Metro to get to the venue but it is closed by the time you want to head back, and hence you need to shell out more than what you spent on the passes, along with a lot of pleading, to get an auto driver to take you home. In Mumbai, local trains operate till late, but safety remains a concern, for e.g.
Delhi Metro announcement: “Next station is Karol Bagh. Doors will open on the left. Please mind the gap.”
Mumbai local announcement: “Next station is Dadar. Doors were open throughout the ride. Hopefully you didn’t fall out on the way and are still on the train. If not, I call dibs on your belongings.”

Also, we need to actively stay away from the moral police doing rounds because if you have to explain a bruised face the next day, “Bro I got so drunk I fell down” is a fun story while “Bro my girlfriend was wearing a one piece dress so Shiv Sena wale ne peet diya” is not. The moral police might be against this idea because they think it is against hindutva as it is not Indian new year. They may be correct, but celebrating in a humid April month where fungal infection of crotch area is a given is not a great idea.

So get out there, and have fun, and try to stay away from Bajrang Dal. Janhit me Jaari.


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