by Isha Bhallamudi and Chockalingam Senthilnathan
Like the average non-localite, I looked forward to going back home after a long and meaningful semester. The prospect of much-missed family and ghar ka khana, not having to do your own laundry or sweep your room, sleeping in instead of being awoken by that infernal alarm tone every morning, getting to meet school friends and catching up over Bambaiyya chaat, all those images hung like a mental mirage at the back of my head, taunting me increasingly as the endsems closed in.
But like everyone else — that is to say, I hope I am not the only one — I find myself treating the Interwebz* as a too frequent source of mental engagement, toeing the addiction line. I mean that as an understatement. Unfortunately, this engagement is centred on unhealthy amounts of Reddit and 9gag, those proverbial Internet black holes. I am sure the reader (hello, you) can empathize. Facebook, of course, if you aren’t experiencing an FB-hate phase right now, is a third black hole, and I don’t think I’d be exaggerating if I identified the holy activity of stalking as its event horizon.
It’s only natural that tons of insti-based Facebook pages of all kinds lie out there waiting to be discovered. If you are an Internet addict, you’ll find yourself familiar with most of them. In this piece I try to highlight the more interesting pages, the ones you might want to like and share and, of course, stalk.
Of course, ants are nothing compared to the worms which have plagued the mess food this past semester. I speak for Vindhya mess, but I’ve heard the same complaints about some others. Whether or not you’ve lived through the glory days of this page, it’ll still manage to give you enough wry grins and perhaps a few chuckles.
Next destination: IITM Maggu Memes. Featured: The Maggu-est of the Maggus, in varying roles of I-Will-Make-You-Feel-Bad-About-Your-CGPA. Quite appropriately, most updates happen during quizzes and endsems. RG much? The secretive page owners claim that they have “found the pulse of insti”, and that it lies in a “subtle anti-maggu sentiment”. Here’s an example:
Swaroop Ramaswamy, Final year B.Tech and subject of the above meme (and several others), only has this to say: “People I meet on the road recognize me as the ‘Maggu Memes guy’. It has left me emotionally scarred. I have considered turning into a goat and living out the rest of my days in Nepal.”
For the Umberto Ecos who like to spend the time-interstices in their lives well, possibly by filling in the interstices in their brains, the pages of the IITM Quiz Club and Word Games Club provide a refuge. You don’t need to be aficionados to post or answer questions; some enthusiasm and interest is all that’s needed to participate or even just watch and read. While the Word Games club is quite small and is filled with the crossword and scrabble enthusiasts of IITM, the Quiz Club’s group, now bursting at the seams with over two thousand members, is often the site of flame-wars more entertaining than some of the questions one might find on the page. The one satisfaction that most members have, though, is that of learning something. Even if it is about the sex of Harry Potter’s pet owl.
If you think you have a future as a stand-up comic, but are completely underwhelmed by the response of your usual audience, the IITM Mokkai (or PJ, for those uninitated in Tamil) Club should be your refuge. Torturous gems of all sorts abound, from the likes of “What did Ustaad Bismillah Khan ask the high energy physicist? Ga-Ma-Re-Sa. (Gamma rays ah?)”, to ones capitalising on the placement season like “If Goldman Sachs, who hires?”, to political snubs like “Average height of a tube light is 3 feet. At 5 feet 8 inches, Rahul Gandhi is an exception”, to more amorphous specimens such as “Why was the annoying kid decent one day? He forgot his perfume, making him de-scent!” and “My friend Carlos got his car stolen. We just call him Los now.” Hmm. You could also call him Car-less, I suppose.
What if you’re one of those people who are always looking out for the next sale, offer and set of discounts, both online and offline? If you spend a lot of time on Jabong and OLX and Ebay and Flipkart — and then, invariably, end up ditching the item you carefully shortlisted over a few hours from a list that originally contained the top 27 specifically hand-picked by you, just because it could have been a lot cheaper, you might want to join the Buy & Sell, IIT Madras page. You’ll find all sorts of second hand items for sale, ranging from cycles to routers to kettles to phones (I just spotted an Android phone being advertised for Rs. 2000), mattresses, chairs and even bookstore vouchers. You’ll even find pretty decent looking bikes on that page (see picture below). You might be sceptical of the quality, but since all the dealing is done within campus, it would be quite easy to check and confirm. Conversely, of course, if you find yourself broke and in possession of an unused cycle, you have a good chance of striking luck on this page right here. Non-food court diners in need of coupons, remember to check this page towards the end of every month to buy coupons at discounted rates from those who have too many. You can also visit its sister page, Share a Cab, to help you find company for those trips to Central, and save some cash while you’re at it.
Who could possibly miss the rising excitement (and the workload, depending on which fest department you belong to) over these, expressed in parallel over Facebook? Aside from the clandestine coercion that precedes people sharing, liking and commenting on updates from various events and departments, the pages that belong to these fests are a great way to keep yourself abreast of events, registrations and performances you might not want to miss. Among other things, keep an eye out for the Lecture Series from both fests, which each promise some big names, as well as Shaastra’s Lunar Rover Challenge and Saarang’s World Fest. Caption contests and photography competitions promise fun comment threads, so don’t forget to grab some popcorn while you’re at it. The controversies and snark wars that invariably accompany certain decisions, announcements and statements, whether deserved or not, add more masala to the average instian’s viewership of the whole fest scene. There are also Facebook groups dedicated to the interhostel versions – LitSoc and TechSoc – where all the activity will move to, albeit on a much smaller scale, after the fests are done.
Confessions and Proposals
It doesn’t feel right to write an article like this without even mentioning IITM Confessions and IITM Proposals, two pages that go hand in hand. The hullabaloo died down a long time ago, but when one is sufficiently bored, the eye unfailingly turns to these. I am sure most of us have read most of the ‘confessions’ on these pages, but they shock, surprise and amuse every time you go back to them. We’ve said enough on the matter already.
Pages that need more attention
Quite a few clubs on campus have pages on their own, with interesting tidbits posted from time-to-time. The Thespian Club’s page has regular updates on all of their performances, in case you miss the enthusiastic thespi-vangelists selling tickets outside the messes. The Oratory Club has a pretty active page too, with details of competitions to participate in, and the results of the club’s various rhetorical expeditions.
It would be fitting to conclude by mentioning the T5E page on Facebook. Shameless self-publicity? Perhaps. This is one more resort when you’re bored; you might stumble upon interesting articles (like, ahem, this one. Like vote share!) quite randomly. Bonus points if the article you find is followed by a comment war.
On that exciting note, I wish you luck in spending the impending semester fruitfully (or not) Internetz-wise. Happy next semester!
*Capitalized in order to pay homage to that great deity, the God of the Interwebz.