Friday, September 17, 2004


Topology would unquestionably be associated with the subject of Geography. Nevertheless, there is another interesting coinage of the word which definitely can change the landscape of a person's grade cards. Errr.. confused. Let me explain.

Engg grads prepare bunch of periodicals and lab journals over their 4 year course of "B.Tech." Needless to say, its the topper of the class who has to burn the midnight oil to complete all the work, calculations, manipulations (how else would value of 'g' be always obtained to be 9.81 m/(s*s) in lab conditions and Ohm's law experiment always result in a straight line graph). The less intelligent but more practical batchmates of this topper master an art which not only sails them through the whole grad but also keeps them blissfully unaware that world is not a perfect place (until, of course, till their examination halls).

The art is a serious business. Its a cult, its a rage. It has a fan following of thousands, may be millions. The Art of "Topo"logy. "Topo"(slang)(n.)(origin - unknown) - to copy. "logos"(Greek) - science or study of. Topology is the implementation of the art of copying. In present context, it refers to the phenomenon of mass copying of lab journals by purely human methods. (i.e. no photostat etc.)

The pattern follows binary tree. For the uninitiated, binary tree is something like a family tree. A man. His two sons. Each son having two sons each. Thus, 4 grandsons of the original man. Followed by 4 great-grandsons and so on. (There will be daughters also. But as females are complex beings, the data structure will become increasingly complex. It is out of scope of this blog; more so because of my cipher understanding of female psyche).

Ok, ok... I digressed from the main thought flow. The binary tree pattern is replicated as follows. The topper creates a lab journal (hencefoth referred as "master copy"). 2 of his closest freinds get the first privilege to practice Topology on it. Now we have a "master copy" and 2 "carbon copies". The "master copy" goes back tot the original master as the hostel rooms are black holes from which never ever returns to the actual owner(I challenege Stephen Hawking to disapprove my theory of "Singularity exists in Hostel rooms"!!!).

The 2 carbon copies are religiously copied by 4 other guys.... and so on. Thus, the whole batch gets their lab journals ready within matter of hours. Such marvel of human excellence cannot be even rivalled by amoeba or any unicellular creature which increase their population exponentially by cell division method.

Here are the 2 outcomes I remember fondly after a genuine and hardworked mass effort of Topology.

Incident 1.
A guy, in the hurry of things (and also pressed by the fact that he HAD to watch a movie just on the eve of his practical exam), was blindly (not exactly, the word is used figuratively) copying his preceding carbon copy. The next day he submitted his journal. After sometime, the prof called him and told to search for his lab journal. He started looking in the lot of journals. Identifying a journal looking in size, shape, state and writing of his own; he pulled it out. But he was mystified to see that the roll number on the journal was not his. After exchanging some glances between his professor and his journal, the guy realised that he had copied even the roll number of the other guy. Rest of what followed is censored.

Incident 2.
The topper's writing is not very legible. The "master copy" contains some words which are not legible. Also, the topologists (!!) are not able to figure out the words from the context (as, if they had any knowledge of what they are writing about, they could have as well themselved had written the journal). Now, this leads to a "dharm sankat". The topper is not available for comments (after completing his work, he is probably sleeping or preparing for next exam; he cannot possible go out with a girlfriend, he doesn't have any). They can't leave a blank space in place of the unlegible words. Taking cue from the first law of Toplogy :- "Thou shalt not use thy brains", they religiously copy all the pen strokes for that world like copying an ancient script. Done with their work, they are quite satisfied. Subsequent carbon copies follow the same path (Mind you, topologists are the world's most tightly knit community without any reports of sectarian violence!!) When the prof randomly picks up one of the journals and reads through them, he finds a graphical element which he has never came across during his whole association with the subject. He asks the guy what does it mean. The guy first stammers, then says he doesn't know. The prof traces it down (or techinically speaking, "up" the binary tree) to the "master copy". He asks the topper what this is. The topper innocently replies, "I was copying from the book and their was an oil stain over this word"!!!!


HimS said...

IIT Roorkee's official motto is "shramam bina na kimapi sadhyam"...but the popular version is "Topam bina na kimapi sadhyam" :)

Braveheart said...


great one Neo. Recalled all those topology days..:)
- Love.

Gyan said...

Truly hillarious.....

BD said...

Long time no blog?

Gurinder said...

Haha.. Truly funny. I used to do that glyph copying all the time. Humare wala topper sala kaafi gandi writing mein likhta tha. To tope maarte samay hum likhayi kam aur artwork jyada kar rahe hote the. I of course testify to Braveheart's observation about the high art of "Topam" in Roorkee. Thank you guys for reminding me of those days.

Prerna said...

Awesome piece of writing.

Sachin said...

Good one Dude...
I remember one more incident about this. One of the girls from my branch used to make all the notes and job was to consider them bible. Sometimes i remember she copied the professor verbatim. Backbenchers like me used to have good laugh whenever we read in the bible "So now we are going to discuss..." or " last week we studied..."