Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Passing The Parcel Incident

This is a true story. The main protagonists in the story are Me, Amit Julka and there's a cameo by Yasho.

Here we go -

This happened way into the beginning of the 7th semester. It was the CL practical, we had to make a lex & yacc program for recognizing parts of speech, given any sentence. Now we're talking about the B3 batch, so you must assume extreme laziness, ignorance of basic subject knowledge and a total disregard to sincerity. As usual, a bunch of us sat down in a corner of the lab, we all were huddled onto a computer in the corner [under a fan, thus guaranteeing a cool 2 hours where we could pass time without feeling the heat] and I started my search for an existing program which i would read and then pass off as an original B3 program ;)

I found a program made unfortunately by the B2 batch. I say unfortunately, because it was technically so advanced that it was literally impossible to decipher. Now again, the assignment was to make a program in lex, but whoever made that program decided to show off and made it using lex & yacc, which none of us knew back then. [and some of us may still not know]

Anyways i started reading the program and was just about done with the Lex file, when all of a sudden in walks our Ma'am, not the M Tech, the real Ma'am. And as luck would have it, even she wanted to cool off under the fan, or so it seemed coz she came straight at us. Everyone had a panic attack, for me it was worse, since I was the one sitting in front of the only PC which had a program on the screen.

Maam: Have u all finished the program?
10 seconds of silence, everybody looking at each other and finally at me
Me: Almost maam...

Maam: Show me?
My mind: I'm so fucked
Me: Yes maam

I run through the code, line by line, my brain started compiling, interpreting and most importantly guessing what each line meant.
So i'm done with the lex file and feel proud of myself, when...

Maam: Now show me the YACC file
My mind: Is there a rope somewhere? Coz there is a fan above me, i'm one rope away from suicide and an easy escape.
Me: Yes maam

Now, for a guy, who has never seen a YACC file before, who doesnt know the syntactic rules and who quite frankly has no idea what the freaking program is about; to have to face a demand from his Prof to EXPLAIN a yacc file of a program he has no idea about is a horrifying prospect.

Anyways I read the code, and started explaining it when suddenly the worst happened. She had a doubt.

Maam: Why are you using a linked list to store the words?
My mind: What??? Linked list??? Where???
Me: Well maam....

I run through the program using page down and finally find a piece of code which looks like a linked list.

Me: As you can see here, this linked list is storing the words of the sentence
My mind: I give up dude, this is just too much... i give up

Suddenly I realise, there are 8 freaking people right next to me, who haven't explained a word so far.

Theorem - Whenever a guy is in trouble and there is lots of public around, the only one he chooses to take his place and face the bullet, is his friend.

Me: Maam, I think Julka will explain this part

Julka, who till then was enjoying the show suddenly looked stunned, but to his credit he handled it well.

Julka then takes over the mouse and starts scrolling up and down.

Julka: Well.... so let's see here.... so basically... what we are doing here is... using... a linked list... which is storing the words.... and.... Maam, i think Harsh will explain this part better!

My mind: Saala $#&@$%!!!

While Julka was stalling for time, i was reading that piece of code and understood what was happening, so i explained it.

Maam: Ok, so wouldn't it be better to ... [she said some stuff about improving the code]
My mind: Keep nodding... don't laugh
Me: Yes maam

Maam: Ok, now carry on...
My mind: Is raat ki subah nahi
Me: Yes maam

I then carry on, she keeps stabbing away with her doubts and suggestions and then finally my mind again revolts and once again i choose my man Amit Julka

Me: Maam now Julka will take over
Julka's mind: Saala $#&@$%!!!

Julka then did something i didnt think was possible -


He moves the cursor to the middle of a line of code and says
Julka: This code will run
Then he inserts some random character in the middle of the code and compiles it. Obviously there are errors.
Julka: Now this code will not run.
He goes back to the character and deletes it and says
Julka: Now it should run
He then compiles it and runs it.
My brain: WTF? WTF? WTF?


To the credit of my brain, it recovered from what happened in a matter of seconds and then I took over the rest of the program and explained it.

Maam looked a little bewildered and a bit irritated. She then went on to give us a lecture on how this program should be improved and then when none of us reacted she looks at me and says

Maam: Is this your logic or the group's logic?
Me: Maam, I can assure you it is definitely NOT my logic.
My brain: Sachai ka phal meetha hota hai

Maam: Then whose logic is this?
Me: Actually maam, we just saw this logic somewhere and used it.
Maam: So you've taken this program from the internet?
Me: Maam we have definitely not taken it from the internet.
Maam: So from where did you get this program?
My mind: Ab tu gaya
Me: Ummmm...
My mind: Should I say "Now Julka will explain it" again?

All of a sudden from nowhere we hear a voice say

Voice: Maam this program is from O'Reily

We all turn back and see Yasho! Yasho was the Voice.

Yasho then went on a detailed explanation of how the program is from O'Reily and Maam totally agreed with the whole idea.

Finally Maam gives us a bhashan of how she wants to see our creativity and not just code copied from O'Reily. We all nodd our heads vigorously. Then she leaves. We wait for her to leave and then all i could hear was - HAAAHAAAHAAA HAAHAA!!!

To be quite honest i think we were at our creative best that day ;)
Such an incident has never happened again since then and i dont think these things happen that often. But it was an awesome incident which we call "The Passing The Parcel Incident".

PS: For other B3 batch exploits - Read The New Text Document Incident starring Sanjeev, Kalpesh and once again... Me!


Parag Sandhansi said...

thank god.....we had M Tech Maam for CC..... ;)

Shantanu said...

ha ha incident this!

Amit J said...

excellent post...arre but the character of julka seems to be a lil sidelined(you forgot the part where he rescues the playboy bunnies from the dragon]

Anuprit said...

can't stop laughing over "My Mind" comments... and what was that!! Julka put some characters and run the code and then removed.... he did that?? And What an idea...o'reilly!!
Pass on this idea to our juniors...

Rohit said...

Totally mindblowing, awesome to pull out something like that...
If I should say, My Mind is simply the best character.. :P