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I am not mourning Sridevi, but a Sridevi-fan. My college mate, project mate, last-bench mate. We never had those late night heart-to-hearts, we never got almost-caught for crazy stuff, but he was a friend.

He had Sridevi posters in his room – pre-nose-job posters, he would insist. Such fine distinction was important to the well-coiffured sophisticate that he was. He was a misfit amongst we ruffians, and he knew it.

His handwriting was perfect and his lab notes were works of art. One early morning, when the entire hostel was sleeping, I had just completed copying from his books, and was walking up to his room to return the books – the whole world was silent, the sky was still dark, there was a chill in the air – and I could hear a faint melody from a distant temple, faint but crystal clear, infusing something magical to that cold, dark morning. I stood in that corridor for a long while, trying to listen to that song, feeling wistful and sad for some unknown reason.

I keep thinking about that morning once in a way…

Yesterday, when I heard about Sridevi’s death, I was again in that corridor, trying to listen to that distant tune, mourning a friend who passed away too soon.

A few days ago, Gaddam, an REC junior dropped in to my office. He runs a software company in B’lore and was in Chennai on business.

He used to stay in Anand Apartments when Chacko, Puthu and the two Bijus shared a flat there. I was in Anna hostel then, but was a near-permanent fixture at Anand. Yet, when I reconnected with Gaddam on FB, my mind was embarrassingly blank about a lot of things that he excitedly recounted.

But when I saw him, it all came back to me…

At Anand the credo was Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Anandam (that is, Happiness, not the neighbour’s VK). ‘Getting wasted and acting like an idiot’ was the main thing, and soon the news reached our landlord. He landed up to investigate on a sell-bottles-buy-beer Sunday, made some weak joke about the 100 bottles in the living room, informed us that his sister is moving in to Chennai, and asked us to vacate (Call it a coincidence, any house I stay for 6 months, the landlord’s sister would get a transfer to Chennai).

Alumni: TK stayed in Anand during his first month in Chennai and Samy, during his last month (in Chennai, that is).

OK, back to Gaddam. We had a rollicking bull session, which Gaddam, with an acute sense of history, summed up as NON-POLitically Correct.

CREC 1983-87, 88, 89, etc. batch is planning a reunion at the college, next year. Shilen Sagunan is co-ordinating the event. Please mail shilens(at)hotmail(dot)com or yours truly for more info.

D321 – ഒരുവട്ടം കൂടി…

In case you know somebody from the CREC 88 batch, please inform them about the get-together. Spread the word. Thanks.

REC, 1986, Election season. There are not many things I would like to remember from that period of blood, sweat and tears except perhaps the deep bonds of friendship we forged under fire…and my first logo.


Flashback: After the suspension/ police action that happened in our first year, it was rumoured that politicos refused to help sort out the issue because the student-body was apolitical. Anyway, soon after that NSUI and SFI units were formed in REC, and nothing would ever be the same again.


I was in B224 during the period, with Paramu, Jackie and Binod Ramakrishnan. I was a little upset about this whole politics thing, and one evening while Paramu was mugging, I had this – to use a Sangham phrase – sudden brilliant idea, ‘Let us start a movement to fight party politics in campus…Engineering Students Council Against Political Exploitation, ESCAPE for short, the tagline would be ‘Escape with us” and the logo, the letters e-s-c-a-p-e stacked to form a stairway to heaven…’


I don’t remember what exactly Paramu’s response to my idea was, but it was something on the lines of ‘smirk!’ (expression of disgust, said out loud, not a facial expression). But that very evening we were called to Thadian Vinod’s room, and briefed about the launch of…a movement that fights party politics in campus. I told him about Escape, Thadian told me the objective was not to form another party…RIP Escape.


We fought two elections under Thadian, unofficially called Anti-Pols (the world referred to us as Andi Poliyans). By the time we reached the final year, we adopted a less-confrontational name, Non-Pol, and during the election season I created the Non-Pol logo, and not that anybody cared, the logo grid.




Over the years I have had the good fortune to moonlight as a graphic designer and create logos for products, events, awards, etc. Here are my personal favourites…


CD Check Valve. Inspired by the product. Sajeev helped refine the logo. Thanks.





Theme for 2007-08. We had the budget confab in Manali. The logo combines the contours of the hills and a growth graph (The rhyme would work only in Australia)





Logo for silver jubilee stockists. The letters 2 and 5 merge to form a valve icon.




Event logo. Started as a scribble on a napkin…





Face-to-Face. Customer Interface Programme. I was trying to fit the two Fs together and the ‘2’ suddenly popped up and hit me. 


Sadanandan of REC Mess passed away. He apparantely lost his footing while crossing a kaana between hostels, hit his head against a concrete slab and died on the spot. He is survived by his wife and 2 kids.

I understand a fund has been created to help Sadanandan’s family. In case you would like to send in a contribution, the details…

Late Sadanandan Fund
c/o. Prof. Sathidevi, #205 Electronic Block, NIT Calicut 673601
State Bank of India, NIT Calicut (2207), CREC Campus, Chathamangalam, Calicut 673601
Account Number: 30555201351, Control: 3576531 2207 30555201351 05/11/08

RIP Sadanandan.

Placements at the National Institute of Technology, Calicut (NIT-C), this year saw a new high in salaries offered.

Twenty-five students have got job offers with annual salaries of Rs. 10 lakh each. Thirty-eight students were offered salaries in the range of Rs. 9 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh; eight in the range of Rs. 7 lakh to Rs. 9 lakh; and 42 of Rs. 6 lakh to Rs. 7 lakh. The average salaries: civil engineering: Rs. 3.7 lakh; computer science: Rs. 5.1 lakh; electrical and electronics: Rs. 4.2 lakh; electronics and communication: Rs. 4.4 lakh; mechanical engineering: Rs. 5.7 lakh; production engineering: Rs. 3.5 lakh.

A stage has come in which the institute cannot give date to any company offering a salary of less than Rs. 5 lakh

From Hindu Business Line. Gory Details here.

Recently we dropped in on Vinu and Sindhu. After the inevitable rounds about family, friends and REC, the talk drifted to movies and movie stars. Sindhu asked me who my fav Tamil actor is and I said ‘Kamalahasan’.

Sindhu: I should have known. You look a bit like him…


Flashback. 1992. I shaved off my mush, and my friend Shobhana was like, “Mallu, you look like Guna”. Wow! Shaving-off-my-mush…and waiting for some guy to go, “You know, you look a bit like Kamal” became an annual ritual for me.

Then one day, mush-less, I entered the office, and the gang went…“Tada Tada Tada Tada…Avvai Shanmukhi…”

(Avvai Shanmukhi = Chachi 420, hence this post qualifies for the ‘Series 42’ stamp given to posts about my fav stuff – thought you would like to know)

I met Pauli, my REC classmate, C 303 roommate and L&T colleague, a few months ago. Couple of rounds, and we couldn’t stop talking about the good old days – the fights, police cases, suspensions, lost friends, lost causes…man, college was serious fun.

Paul was our batch’s diarist, and his diary was more famous than Anne Frank’s. He was an early exponent of magic realism and had a dedicated fan following on campus. For a long time Joef and I contemplated stealing the diaries – that was when we were working on ‘Shaft: The Non-Pol Story’ – too bad we didn’t.

I don’t know if Paul has preserved those diaries (new wife and old diaries don’t mix well). Let me talk to Paul – guess I can work out a deal to syndicate his diaries…or let us hit him with the RTI or something.

Now you know why the Non-Pol story was called Shaft…

REC was a pain. The classes, I mean. And most of us attended only just enough classes to qualify for the exams.

In 4th sem, I bunked so many classes in the beginning, that in the second half, I needed to attend all the remaining classes – and then some – to touch the magical 75% mark. To cut a long story short, thanks to my friends in the various clubs, I managed some duty leave and scraped through.

Attended: 66.12%
Duty Leave: 10.11%
Total: 76.23%.

The drama is all there in my attendance record. The early wickets, the asking-rate piling up, the tail-end heroics, the victory…would make a nice movie…

Final Year. D Hostel Loo…

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April 2021