Wednesday, October 26, 2005


There are some things that, studying in NITT, you just can’t escape from. It becomes a way of life. Like chaat. Or bakkar. And constantly cribbing about our non- existent sex/love/night (mostly sex) lives. It is part of the culture here, and soon, it becomes a way of life. I thought I’d tell you a little about these things, partly because I think it will make you a better human being, not to mention elevate your mind and enrich your soul, but mostly because I’m a pathological chaat.

Variously spelled, but pronounced as chaat. One of the most versatile (and common) words in the NITTian’s (usually limited) vocabulary. It can be used as an adjective, verb or a noun. Personally though, I think it serves best as a fairly adequate and usable-in-public (if you ask me, there’s an acute shortage of these) swear word that expresses perfectly boredom and frustration mingled with irritation, all at once. See examples for usage. Ah, the layers this word has….

I don’t know the etymology of the word, but I’m sure you’ll get chaated reading it anyway.

Some common examples of its usage to illustrate its meaning:
1.) Adj. “That was one major chaat lecture.”
2.) Verb. “If you’re going to chaat me, I’m gonna put that ragging-time first year photo of yours on the LAN.” Or “Chaat liya, baap.”
3.) Noun. “Congrats, you’re one of us now,” said the veteran chaat to the greenhorn chaat.
4.) As a fairly adequate and usable-in-public swear word that expresses perfectly boredom and frustration mingled with irritation, all at once: “CHAAT!!!” However, to convey the right idea (or emotion, as the case may be), it must be pronounced with correct intonation, and more importantly, with feeling that arises from the very depths of one’s very soul. Otherwise, it will become very chaat.

You get the idea, right?

Now, for the formal definition of chaat: Well, chaat was defined in the 2004 edition of The Pierian Spring (our college magazine) as:
Chaat/’t?a:t/? adj, n, v, adv 1.Person who tells you more and more about less and less until you want to know nothing about anything. 2. What a chaat (refer chaat) usually talks about. Example: What a chaat class by a chaat professor teaching a chaat subject amidst chaat students asking chaat doubts entails.
But I personally feel that it is a word that defies definition, as it can be used (like a certain four-letter word that comes immediately to mind) several levels.

Chaat is mainly of two types: intentional and unintentional. I don’t think I need to explain the second type; it’s an inherent characteristic of the person/material/movie/whatever. Intentional chaat is, of course, practiced with deadly (to the perpetrator, not the victim; though there was this isolated incident when this guy passed out after one of our more accomplished brethren went to work on him. He denies it, says it was the heat) purpose. Effective intentional chaat is a subtle art, it is a skill born of long practice. Or it is simply a gift (and boy, do the gifted flaunt it). The object of the exercise must ideally be caught unawares, especially if you happen to have a reputation. The quality of chaat should be stepped up slowly but gradually, and stopped just before the victim chooses to reverse roles. The victim is usually much less subtler in his retaliation, but the moral and intellectual victory is the chaater’s. He may retire bruised, but he’ll retire with his head held high, and with the quiet satisfaction that comes with a job well done.

We are everywhere. And we shall inherit the earth.

P.S. I know that I’ve gone completely crazy in this post, and I understand that many of you might (and probably will) be tempted to respond with the same depth of feeling that makes the use of chaat such a success.

P.P.S. There exists NO first year ragging time photo of mine. Anywhere. I accept that I’m in denial.