Suspending for the moment the ubiquitous squirrels and crows, and the tusked duo that, after a heated dispute over Linux v. Windows, turned their backs on each other forever in the heart of the institute, and the residential zone's Pomeranians, Pekingeses, Pugs, Poodles and Profs, the exceptional fauna of Chennai-036 deserves an essay in every blog run by its citizens. Allow me to share my sensations.

Ever since I got kicked into this engineering school, I've chanced upon numerous nameless fliers and reptiles, listened to unfamiliar chirrups, beheld fawns leap forth like springs and stags lock antlers. This fever of studying the animal kingdom from close quarters was at its apex in the first few weeks of my freshman year. My eyeballs felt like National Geographic cameras. I pedalled far and wide in the evenings just to ensure I hadn't missed monkeys or blackmoney [some call it blackbuck] in action, or a strange species at perch or aslither. Hence, while I was indulging in rich zoological pursuits as these, when one nature-loving friend of mine, after calling me to witness a 'superb thing' and having me hurry there with colourful visions of a possible doe in labour or a kingfisher riding on a mongoose, ardently pointed his finger at the course of an ant -- an ant -- the natural fallout of momentarily losing two French words, to wit, sangfroid and savoir-faire, may be excused.

Lately, I visited a cave in the campus, amassing piles and piles of dust, throbbing with coloured bugs and beetles and laced with cobwebs in every cranny. It gave me a thumbnail view of the wide spectrum of insects the emerald woods of our varsity gives asylum to. I set out to spring-clean the grime and sweep the poor invertebrates out as it happened to be my hostel room [update: This was during the summer vacation]. While so doing, I saw, for the umptillionth time, a bug-couple Doing It. I had always wanted to know the name of these perennially charged organisms and, like all, had sworn at Google for not inventing Picture Search. Branchmate Raghu slaked my curiosity one day: they're officially called 'sexbugs'. I couldn't wonder less.

Sitting at my table at the far end of the room one afternoon, I was discussing light issues with Jayavel, who was leaning against the door frame. Since I was, as well, sketching an ME112 regular solid on my A3 sheet, I wasn't looking into his face during speech. The conversation reached a pause that wasn't pregnant, and taking the cue, J left. A bit later, out of the tail of my eye I perceived that he had re-entered and was standing in the centre of the room beside the bedfoot. I resumed the chat and kept at it for about 45 seconds, until I came alive to the feeling that J had considerably thinned down from what I had seen minutes back. I turned sharply.
'Jayavaaeell! Jayavaaaaeeellll!'
It was a cry for help. On the rail of the cot stood upright a rhesus monkey. My panic screams neither scared it away nor reached their addressee. I made an effort to strike my calm, with some success. My fright was not zoophobia; it was merely a shock, an abrupt realization of an animale presence. Typical of his race, the primate ignored shooing gestures with disdain, made a hollow mouth and surveyed the shelves. Only when I swayed my rifle (in the form of my mini-drafter in its canvas case) did he scoot.

A year elapsed. Mozart was treating my ears from the computer abutting a bunch of polythene packets. They contained candies of ginger, thulasi, vallarai and thoodhuvalai [the English names of the last three herbs are not in my cranial word-kit]. I was reclining on the wall by my bed. The subtle notes of the sonata completely mellowed me and more than once I caught myself yielding to the sandman. The world stood still, the sinews were limp with fatigue... It was (wink-wink) a moment of inertia...
All of a sudden a hairy hand appeared through the ajar door. I came to my senses with a start, and scampered to my feet. The monkey behind the hand entered. My pulse escalated. In a moment's notice, my precious gingers were in his clutch! Heavens! You could've felled me with a toothpick! I let out a war cry and sprang at him. He did not, contrary to my expectation, drop the parcel. I kicked air. He took flight. I gave chase. However, when the slapworthy tree-dweller's comrades joined him in the garden, ripped wrappers apart and popped toffees in, I had but to concede the triumph of Beast over Man. Inji thinna korangunga!

Fishy goings-on are taking place at the grassfield near S.A.C. Or rather, under the grassfield near S.A.C. Perhaps a bunker of ballistic missiles, perhaps a subterranean vault for unaccounted bullions. I don't know. All I can say is that the establishment has worked out a shrewd way to keep us off those plains by planting a board reading 'BLACKBUCK ZONE. NO THOROUGHFARE.' For I have sighted more fire-breathing dragons in that area than blackbuck. It is, as Prakriti wails in its mails, that their numbers dwindle by the week. And the buck keep coming up with inventive means of dying. Sigh...
Serious things apart, were Al Gore to look at the resource-squandering in the handful of green spots like ours, (I'm tempted to say) he'd be spinning in his grave. Of frogs, the acts of which I've already chronicled, and of the two kittens Raghu, Sriram and I rescued from the teeth of danger, I shan't blog.

Animals, thus, never fail to provide me with amazement, but when such provision comes from the monkey population, I take it with a pfoot of salt.


Punnishable Offences

$Question: What does 'P.P.' stand for?

Why did the gloomy man go down to the wine-cellar?
His spirits were low.

Traditional sheep-fodder is no longer in ewes.

What is the difference between (a) a crocodile let loose among goat shelters, and (b) a glycerine-eyed actor playing a kindly vicar?
(a)A crocodile tears apart prey's sheds.
(b)A part prays, sheds crocodile tears.

A novelist tried to write a story while bungee-jumping.
He was killed in the proses.

How come lions appear in groups only in summer?
Pride cometh before the fall. *

Why was the drunk skipper of the ship petrified when he spilt red wine on the right-hand rails?
He saw his port touch the starboard.

I fancy this is the, or at worst my, shortest sci-fi piece on record...

The Time-Tro

Twice upon a time there lived a physicist.

Why did the multiple ship owners chuckle at the newbie setting out in the industry?
He was a one-liner man.

The Special Theory of Relativity:
A rolling stone gathers mass.

Can you name 02 two-hyphen-containing nineteen-letter-words?

How does a urinal behave like a (wo)man?
When it gets pissed, it flushes.

Change in kinetic energy =
Integral v1 to v2 of mvdv
mv = momentum = p
Integral v1 to v2 of pdv ...(1)
Work done [by a gas] =
Integral V1 to V2 of pdV ...(2)
From (1) and (2), merely by changing lower case of v to the upper, we have proved that
Work done = Change in kinetic energy, thus establishing the Work-Energy Theorem.

$Answer: Read the papers. She stands for Indian President. So does B.S. Shekhawat.

*(i) I gently remind verbal amnesiacs that a collection of lions is a pride.
(ii) Erudite circles will scorn at the usage of the in a's stead. Can't help it, sorry.