Free as in free pizza

"!!! FREE PIZZA & DRINKS !!! Group meeting of Alpha-Phi-Sigma !!! FREE PIZZA & DRINKS !!! Come to XYZ building at 6:30 p.m. on 9/30, Saturday !!! FREE PIZZA & DRINKS !!!"

Posters of this kind are in abundance around the campus. Right from group meetings of interest groups in forensics to special meetings and get-togethers of Astrophysics alumni. The common theme you notice in all of these is the free pizza and drinks. Nobody wants to know if you are really interested in forensics or if you really care about dying pandas in China. As long as you are a face in the crowd listening to all they are saying with rapt attention, clapping when the crowd does so and making a suitably sad face to know about the death of a waste recycling factory in eastern Yugoslavia, you are in. In fact, if you can plan properly, I believe you can manage to get all your lunch and dinner sessions taken care of by the university for almost all days of the week. Even a small cottage industry can be formed (zero investment, huge returns), posting on a forum about all the different venues where they will be serving free food around the campus for the coming week.

People are helpful... if one guy sees another friend walking with a paper plate on his hand and muching on a pizza slice, their conversation is usually limited to an initial nod, followed by a question mark expression on the face, followed by something like "BXD Duilding, room 2.406, Chi Theta Gamma meeting". Thanks to the advancements of the wireless age, I usually find girls notifying each other of such places before they actually reach there (on the way, that is) and the guys do that after they've reached the spot (managed their slice first, that is).

And yes, in case you missed it, there are loads of exclamation marks on the posters as well. I don't know what makes people think so, but apparently any poster is incomplete without at least double the number of exclamation marks as characters! And the "Free Pizza and Drinks" messages are always placed by tacit understanding on the side, with attractive fonts, and surrounded by exclamation marks of different shapes and sizes. If you could come up with a font having just exclamation marks, I guess you could get rich just by selling the copyright to some group that way!

Whats more, we had the career fair recently. It meant that loads of companies came, held sessions telling us how challenging and exciting their work was, and of course they stuck to the golden rule of free stuff at the end of the talks. Free stuff included T-shirts, pizza and drinks for everybody, and a lucky draw where stuff right form XBox 360s to Palmtop PDAs were given away... yes, for free!! You should have seen people from Civil engineering vigorously nodding their heads in agreement at the Microsoft presentation when the guy was explaining DirectX drivers and XNA programming APIs. Or you must have caught the disappointment of people yesterday when they learnt that the 'samosas' at the counters for Navratri celebrations were not for free. These days, you see a lot of people going around wearing "I'm Feeling Lucky" t-shirts or "Amazon.com" written across their chests... I guess grad student life is not so much of a bore anyway. As they said in the orientation for our department, "So long as you can digest pizza, coffee and donuts, you will not starve in this department!!" :)

Ok, there were some exaggerations up there which I hope you'll discern for yourself. However, I have a very different take on the issue as well, a rather serious viewpoint, which I'll share in my next post. Till then, keep commenting! :)

Comments

  1. so...pizza...and drinks...so...the thing...the thing is...that you have missed the point...the point, the point is that you have missed the point buddy...you have totally missed the point...there is a level of insiduousness in all of this...there is a really high level of insidusouness....and if you can understand that, then you will have understood it all....

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  2. Sometimes I am so suspicious of free offers... while the husband is a total sucker buying a packet of chocos (worth Rs140 which nobody touches) for a free little superman light (worth Rs10).
    But this reminds me of the free holiday-to-goa offer for which you need to go sit with your spouse at a 4-5 hour conference.
    But free pizzas and drinks when you are a student is kickass!! Keep at it! :)

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  3. Das, yeah, right... post something the next time you read this, will you? :)

    Anumita, your poor hubby... maybe the superman lights should be priced the 140 bucks! :)

    P.S. - Just a 4-5 hour conference and you are on a trip to Goa!! Please please please give me the link here!! :)

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  4. been there. done that. very entertaining read; something which I could relate to 10000% !!!!!! (Yeah yeaah, the exclamations hehe!)

    S!

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  5. Supremus, thanks! :)

    Oh sorry... thanks!!!!!! :D

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  6. Your post reminds me of a mailing list at my work place that talks about all the free seminars and workshops happening around the campus. They have free food too! No prizes for guessing I am already subscribed to that list! *wink*

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  7. Rujul, hey!! Who said that they are bad?? Enjoy your free food!! :D

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  8. Ha! Ha!Ha!!!!!! Everyone wants free stuff. :-) I think, the food will do the trick, not the topic or not the lecture or not the seminar!!!!!! :-)

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  9. Alka, exactly!! The next time you host a seminar, make sure that you advertise the free food!! :D

    Oh, BTW, I can attend that too!

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  10. it's pretty sad that everyone that read your blog missed the Richard Stallman / GNU reference...what kind of losers read your blog anyway?

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  11. Das, yeah well it is sad that so many people missed it, but I guess there aren't so many GNU/Stallman fans around.

    Ummmm.. about the kind of losers that read my blog: put up a public blog and you'll find out better, will you? :D

    P.S. - I just noticed that you 'read' this post twice :D

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  12. well...i'm in charge of controlling the proliferation of losers in this world, otherwise known as NPLIW (Non Proliferation of Losers in World) and when it came to my attention that there were all these losers reading your blog, i decided to do something about it...and just so you know, i don't actually read your blog...i have an AI parser which does the reading for me and it brings it to my attention if there are any losers that are not getting the references to my mentor (the great RMS)...so there!! BTW...there is one and only one punishment that the losers deserve...and that is...to be banished to a lifetime of using Windows operating systems for the rest of their lifetimes...and now if you'll excuse me, i have to actually steal some code and call it my own....a.k.a TPL( Thief Public License)

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  13. oh yeah...and Das may be a loser but Sudipta's act of editing the system files to flash the bash message "Das is a Loser" on a machine that Das was kind and generous enough to loan to Sudipta to do his schoolwork makes Sudipta a giant a-hole....there i said it - Sudipta is an ASSHOLE!!

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  14. Please note the word 'spouse' in the free trip to goa offer! Lot of people pretend to be married and bravely go but cannot last the 4-5 hours of intense lecturing and preaching.
    If you live in bbay and have a cell phone you will get one of these offers every 2 weeks.

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  15. Das, the first comment I liked... the second one I did not so much. However, I will not delete that comment or do anything like that: I'll wait for the payback time. And it will remain there as a reminder for me to do something.

    Anumita, darned! Where were these offers when I was in Mumbai for two whole years? :( About the 'spouse' factor... hmm that might have been another problem.

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  16. Good I did not write about it..... u could have sued me for plagarisim! Free pizzas and drinks!!!! :) Even I have been amazed at the number of posters and places this thing comes up. Full qorum ho na ho, pizza or drinks ke bagair meeting adhura hai! crazy people.
    Here is one good post about it http://pehlu.blogspot.com/2005/12/tsunami-of-dilemmas.html

    Anyways. got to go for another meeting with free pizzas and drinks. Hope they get 'no meat' pizzas this time around!!

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  17. Manasi, hey! You will not be sued: feel free to write! :) You are right: kabhi kabhi lagta hai ke pizza aur drinks ke liye hi meeting rakhkha hai! :) Enjoy your meal!

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  18. Hey Dude, Remember me ..ur colege junior...from UP...Ankit Agarwal....even Arunabh knows me well for I visited Austin few months back and guess what..?...we went together to some really cool place..so how is life in Austin..u r lucky that u got chance to stay with Arunabh..he is really a nice guy...take care dude

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  19. Ankit, yeah I do remember you: had seen your pic on his friends list and also talked to him about you. He is nice to have around as a room-mate, yes. :)

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

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