Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Three Stories

It has been a while since I wrote down on this space and hence, I try to conclude an extremely dull and unsatisfactory day by penning down this piece which I must add, was promised to my brother to feature on my blog more than a month ago. It was he who narrated to me what appears next in this post.

Now, my dear reader, before you try come up with enthusiastic questions as to why my day was unsatisfactory, let me quickly summarise what this post is all about. What follows here, are three stories (very short ones!), each having a moral from the corporate world. Remember that you will enjoy the stories even more if you try o figure out the moral yourself before reading the same, described after each story.

· The First Story: A wild turkey was sitting on the top branch of a tree. A rabbit spots it from the ground and curiously asks: “Hey! How can you sit continuously for so long and do nothing.” Before the turkey could reply, a hunter spots the rabbit and shoots it dead while the turkey flies off.

Can you guess the moral of the first story? If you want to sit and do nothing, it is better to be on top.

· The Second Story: A rabbit asks a cow: “Mr. Cow, I want to climb up the tree. Can you tell me how to do it?” The cow cheerfully replies:”Sure! Just eat my dung and you will gain enough energy to climb the tree.” The rabbit eats the cow’s dung and is able to climb the tree. Moments later, a hunter spots the white rabbit in the tree and shoots it dead.

This time, can you guess the moral of the second story? If you reach the top after gaining favours from others and then do nothing, you are sure to fall.

· The Third Story: It is freezing cold. It is so cold that a cuckoo sitting on the top of the tree freezes and falls off the tree. A cow standing next to the tree feels pity and drops some dung on the frozen cuckoo. The dung is warm and it melts the snow on the cuckoo. The cuckoo becomes so happy that it starts singing. A cat, on hearing the cuckoo sing, pulls it out of the dung and eats it.

This story has three morals:

i. Not everybody who drops dung on you is your enemy.

ii. Not everybody who pulls you out of dung is your friend.

iii. If your life is in deep shit, do NOT sing about it.

Well that’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed the stories as much as I did.

Not a part of this post but as an aside: Folks interested in visiting the state of Jharkhand may like to visit before making their plans.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Before the Arrival

This is going to be a hurried post. The entire campus is going wild. There is excitement everywhere with the ever dozing administration turning into perfectionists overnight. There is just one topic of discussion everywhere: “Rahul Gandhi is coming to the School.” From state party leaders to a mess worker, it is the same utterance everywhere.

Here’s what different sections of the society had to say before His (‘the almighty?’) arrival.

· S State party G.Sec.: “Mr. Gandhi thinks that by coming over here and probably sleeping in some tribal homes and eating there bread, he can fix their problems.” (The state needs Godfathers like us!)

· I Institute’s Administration in a meeting with the students: “How can you even think of calling a politician to a technical institution? No wonder why we are always reluctant to support you.” (We are reluctant to construct a hostel in a year and now we have to construct a helipad overnight!)

· T Teachers to students: “Oh! Mr. Gandhi is coming. Will he talk to you? Please convince him to change the name of this institute.” (Yeah! A light in the darkness for you.)

· S Students to administration: “Postpone the examination scheduled on that day and leave the rest to us. We will find a way to get things done through him.” (The true master minds.)

· C Canteen worker: Rahul Gandhi to congress ke liye aa rahe hain. Wo is hostel canteen ka kya, main canteen hi halat nahi sudhaar sakte.” (True words of wisdom.)

· M Mess Worker: ”Aamra o oke shunte jaabo. O kon bhaasha e kotha bolbe? Hindi na Bangla na Ingriji? (We too want to listen to him. What language will he speak in? Hindi or Bangla or English?) (The one truly interested!)

Feel free to add your reaction as comments.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Alternatives galore

I observed him carefully again. Here was a boy sitting on the opposite birth to me. My age. Hair reaching up to the shoulder, shirt unbuttoned to the waist and jeans folded up to the knees. I assumed he too was going to Delhi like me albeit with a very different purpose. I was on a mission. I was the elite. I guessed, he must be returning to his college. I didn’t venture to bother him and continued day dreaming about what lay ahead of me. A while later, my eyes fell on him again. This time he was reading from his diary. I observed that it was some handwritten notes in Hindi. Examination then; last minute preparations. I couldn’t help smiling. Poor dude is suffering from nerves. However, the fact that the notes were in Hindi aroused my curiosity. “Where do you study?” I asked after some hesitation. He told me. I looked at him with utter disbelief and amazement. I was curious and asked him to tell me more.

He told me that he was one of the twenty successful candidates to be selected from a hundred thousand applicants. He told me that his institution was one of its kinds in the country. He told me that his institute’s alumni included great names like Nasseruddin Shah and Anupam Kher. He told me that he was a student of the National School of Drama.

He too had a viva-voce during his entrance test but he was asked ‘what lights would best suit the stage while staging a murder scene.’ He too has internships to worry about but those include ‘training schoolchildren to stage famous plays.’ Finally, he too is tensed about his placements but that depended upon choosing between the theatre and the screen.

I flipped through the pages of his diary. It countained notes on the types of the modern stage, stage lights, latest costume styles, a list of all oscar winning movies and dramatis personae of plays he had directed in the past.

I asked him: “How? How could you build up the courage to choose such a different track?” His reply was: “I knew I was born for the theatre. I have been acting since I was eleven and staging plays in the town since I was fifteen. I knew I had to do this or else I do not know what I could have done.” Such was his confidence, his zeal to do things differently.

I wondered how many of us had unique talents that suffered in the hands of compulsion and stereotyped professions. I have known great actors and lyricists masked as engineers, authors and painters left craving as unwilling technocrats. Will we ever realise that we do not know what we want to actually do in our life. Quoting the play ‘Love in December’: “Most people do not know that they do not know what they want to do in their lives.” How true. I still believe that there is still time to seek what our heart seeks. I still believe that we ought to keep looking. The alternatives galore.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Rename Game

I desperately wish to write something. Blogging is a great way to relieve tension and bring up the calm. As usual, I have nothing to write but the motivation is high and the night has just begun. So here I am; hunting for a topic to pen down my thoughts. My last presentation of one aspect of college life seems to have gone well with my scanty bunch of faithful readers. Therefore this time I try to explore another fun aspect of college life: the renaming. It can be easily said that you enter college with your pleasant and sweet name and you go out re-christened with a cryptic acronym drafted out of your name. I and my friends have been victims of this weird tradition and I am sure my dear reader, if you be from some other college, you have been too. That’s how, Siddhant becomes Sid, Nilesh becomes Nilu, Gyanendra becomes Gyani and Vijit becomes Biju (this one in paricular reflects the creativity of a professor.) As far as I am concerned, I have been DD since time immemorial. I think it must have been sometimes after my birth that much to my annoyance, I have been stamped by this acronym which has now become my identity and has replaced my name which could have reflected my parents’ creativity.

However, I consider myself luckier as there are worse victims. There are people, who are almost unidentifiable if you call out their true names. I often wonder who the hell Ashish Yadav is for he is Haria/Harry (for his friends decided to rename him to make his name sound like that of a manservant) or who is Satyendra Aggarwal for he is Boss (for his dominating style.) Nor can I decipher the name Shubham Shankadhar for he is better known as Kholu (for he holds the best JEE rank among all the ISMites of my batch.) Then there is the case of Telly who is called so because of his exceptionally poor eyesight. I am sorry but I do not know his real name.

The rename game runs high in college life and most names stay even after leaving the institute. There is hardly anyone left out whose name hasn’t been transformed into something creative. My message to all those who believe in the statement: “What’s in a name?” Well, at college your name may not just identify you. Beware! If you have a bunch of creative friends, it might just reflect your entire personality or even peculiarity.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Peculiar Relationship

It is once again that time of the year when people with a lucky JEE getaway are lured to spend their next four or five years at our outstanding institute. The reason I call it outstanding is that it stands out from the seemingly endless list of IITs that our patron: the MHRD has so humbly bestowed upon the better minds of the nation. This implies that people need to trouble themselves less about making it into the list of the better minds.

However, before I cease pretending that I care about these younglings who will be soon ushered into our huge family (we have insufficient rooms to keep them), I would like to give them sincere advice about something that is so important to them: relationships. Now, before you classify me among those preachers who are forced to preach something they have as much idea as a laboratory mouse might have about the Helium-Neon Laser, I must clarify that I am talking about the ever important relationship with your roomy.

Believe it or not, a hurried decision to bind yourself to an unfamiliar face at the beginning of the year can create the most hilarious and uncomfortable situations for an entire year. Your roomy may want to sleep early when your nocturnal escapades may involve playing music at the highest pitch. Or maybe your roomy may find clinging to the phone the most interesting part of his/her jeopardized life, thus causing you to delve into the deepest well of frustrations and inferiority complex, provided you are one of the paradoxical creatures who crave for commitment and at the same time happen to be commitment-phobic. Funnily enough, break-ups and divorces can emerge from the tiniest of issues such as locking your roomy outside the room while he/she is at bath. You can’t blame the offender for that. The tragedy of Othello rests merely on a perfumed handkerchief. Alternatively, partners who vouched fidelity in their first year have fallen apart before me and unforeseen divorces are no longer a rare event. You may always expect your roomy to have begun sleeping with the most unlikely character after your return from a nice vacation.

Therefore, it is my sincere advice to my fellow juniors to choose their partners wisely. The relationship with your roomy has greater value than that between you and any of your girl/boyfriends. The greatest of friendships emerge from this peculiar relationship.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Curves of Time

The good times at IUCAA, Pune will soon be over and I will be back at my old rooms at ISMU. Most people have the opinion that if you stay at a place for too long, you imbibe the general qualities of the place. Having stayed here for six weeks now, I can now invariably argue that they are wrong. Astrophysics flows in every block of concrete that IUCAA is made up of. However, nothing sticks unless you want it to and you take up only the part that you really enjoyed and that becomes a memory. Now I must really thank the reader for having made this far in this article and before you quit, I would like to state that I haven’t forgotten the sole objective of this blog: “to amuse and cheer up the reader.” Having said that, I would like to ask you, did you ever imagine that your entire life can be represented by a single curve in three dimensions? That’s where the concept of World Lines comes into the picture. It is the one topic that I found the most fascinating during my stay at IUCAA.

The following perquisites are necessary to understand the fundamentals of World Lines:

You need to know the four dimensional coordinate axes in space-time. (Bet, they didn’t teach that to you in geometry!)
• You should be fascinated by curves. Only then you can strongly appreciate the concept.

Having mastered the above, let us move on to what we set out to understand. Imagine a space-time coordinate system which represents the position of the particle in space as well as the instance of time. Thus a curve in this space-time coordinate system will represent the sequence of space-time events corresponding to the history of the object.

Now let us take this concept one level further by considering humans as points in space-time. In that case, the world line will represent the history of the human being! Thus two world lines will intersect only if space-time coordinates of two people coincide or in other words, they meet at a certain time. Not only this, since a curve can take any particular shape in space-time we can invariably argue that future has infinite possibilities and thus predicting the future or worrying about it is similar to tracing an arbitrary curve’s future path in four dimensions, or in other words: futile. We meet so many people each day and often make the best of friends. It is fantastic to imagine that when and where two unknown people will have their world lines intersected which may result in the development of a beautiful friendship or a relationship.

I found the concept of world-lines fantastic as it provides a way to think about ordinary things differently. Meeting of two people, your future, and your past can all be explained scientifically through world-lines. I hope my meagre knowledge was able to fascinate you with this charming concept. Do read Stephen Hawking’s masterpiece A Brief History of Time to know more about these curves of time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A lot closer to heaven

A year ago, I had watched Shane Warne and his men: the Rajasthan Royals lift the IPL trophy after having battled their way from the underdog status into stardom. I had cheered and booed along with Vijit, my good old pal and a bunch of unknown mates at the dormitory of our temporary residence at Barrackpore, Kolkata. This time the season 2 of IPL brought new surprises and who would have thought that it would be the Deccan Chargers who would steal the show and likewise, I had never imagined that I would watch it from an AC guest –house room on a personal television at the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune.

So, it has been a week since I landed here in Pune, this time without a known face by my side and life has been full of surprises, new companions and unforgettable experiences. While, it is always nice to be served food free of cost, I am still getting used to jokes such as: “Oh! Those fireworks must have produced gravitational waves” and “Instead of putting so much money into the IPL, why couldn’t they just make an 8m telescope.” Also, my distinguished guide has been good and supportive by moving to France for the next two weeks, putting me in the care of a bunch of software engineers with the command of ‘putting tight reins around me.’

There is a lot to describe and words are not sufficient to put them forth. For, how am I supposed to describe the feeling when waking up late caused us to miss the official bus trip to the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope (GMRT) and the IUCAA Girawali Observatory (IGO). Needless to mention that missing the bus wouldn’t have stopped us from going, as we decided to face the twisted 100km route to GMRT. Or, how am supposed to put my mental state into words at a stage when I find myself capable of sitting through a dinner with more than just food on my plate. Thanks to my colleagues, we are also served haughty discussions on turbulence, accretion disks, gravitational lenses and super massive black-holes. Also, I am trying my best to make the environment homely here which means that I am working efficiently to bring the state of my room close to the state of my old room at Sapphire. Did, I mention that I am facing the additional challenge of having my room cleaned every alternative day by the guest house authorities.

All said and done, and with my knowledge of Marathi increasing to a word count of two, I need to watch out before this centre dealing with the study of the heavens enchants me through its eternal charisma.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A bit closer to heaven

I think I have lost all my writing skills or at least the will to write. But the inner war for keeping a dying hobby alive has been won and so, here I am, penning thoughts which I could easily have avoided telling the world. More so, since I am enjoying the blissful comfort of home. How many of you have complained getting bored at home after two days of stay? My dear friends let me tell you that this is the only place where you can savour the delight of accomplishing the goal of absolutely doing nothing and at the same time enjoying heavenly food.

However heaven has its rules and restrictions, which explains the state of my hair. It has been reduced to a bare minimum even though I had taken guard and had already reduced it to half of its actual size. Also, when the prodigal son returns, he is expected to announce his arrival to all the near and dear relatives who had seen him off initially. Relatives too have a strange way of outpouring all their sentiments and piling you up with questions which have one similarity to the questions asked in the examinations: ‘you are clueless about the answer.’ At one of these places, I was sympathetically asked whether I had managed to have a girlfriend. I have now sadly and hopelessly resorted to the answer: ‘yes, many.’ At another place, I was recounted the story of a sixteen year old lad who fled to Agra when he heard that his girlfriend had shifted to some random city.

In the world of people close to my age, it is good to see old friends doing well in their lives. They have risen up and have made and unmade many commitments. I as a well wisher, wish them several more commitments and broken-hearted women. Also friends have pointed out qualities in me that I was unsure of previously and have suggested a few remedies. I list them below:

• I try to chicken out of tight situations and need to have courage for making a commitment
• I should look into the mirror and remind myself: “you just don’t deserve to have a commitment dude.”

Also, some of my friends have decided to setup their own start-ups. I plead to them to be quick in achieving their target so that I can at least start formulating a list of my possible placements.

Among other things, my career in three dimensional modelling has ended even before it started. The disaster took place when rendering a plane surface looked so less interesting than watching King Julien (Madagascar) dance on the big screen.

I will be off to Pune in few days time. See you later folks.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An anatomy of the FPS genre

When everyone thought that SRK alone had the capability of tormenting us with stereotyped soapy movies, would you believe that even FPS (first person shooter) action games suffered from clichés and predictable game-play? For those who came in late; FPS is the class of action games where the camera hides the central character and projects the world directly before you. Readers who are ardent fans of anything other than action games need not navigate away from the page as ‘the other Devdeep’ shows you, why you need to hate them even more:

  1. 1.       The central character: The central character in most FPS games is male. It has the simple logic that if you design a game with a female lead then it better be in third person.  The game would then attract lot more buyers if it were sold with the catch-line: “We know our game kind of sucks but look: she wears less as the game wears more!
  2. 2.       The environment: Even if the scenario of the game is set up in the distant future, it is sure to have many ladder climbing exercises.  I remember playing a game called ‘Project IGI   which came with the added realism of the inability to shoot while climbing a ladder. Also, the environment of FPS games must have the following:

·         Long empty corridors

·         Rooms full of crates

·         Long corridors full of crate

3.   Guns, lots of guns: FPS games usually come with an inventory of guns and weapons. From assault rifles to snipers to rocket-launchers they have it all. Also no FPS is complete if they don’t supply you with a crowbar and a knife as well (who cares!) Certain games such as ‘Mortyr’ and ‘Return to castle Wolfenstien’ also allow you to kick enemies; probably to satisfy the urge to humiliate a bad guy rather than riddling him into a leaky piece of meat. It doesn’t stop here. An FPS must allow you to sprint, climb, strafe and jump around and at the same time allow you carry the aforementioned inventory along with a perennial stock of grenades and ammunition.

4.    Resources and goodies: You will find lots of resources and goodies while exploring the FPS world. One can pick these up by simply walking over them. Picking up stuff must cause a loud bonky noise. Also resources will be kept in high inaccessible places and usually would come in two flavours- health and armour; health and manna or anything similar. I once collected a big keg of health (worth 200 health points) from the centre of a reactor and another time from a rock amidst a lava pool in ‘Unreal Tournament’.

5.    Bad guys: All throughout the course of your journey in the FPS world, you will come across a variety of bad guys. Few of them will be the ‘bosses’ who as the name goes; must be killed before advancing further in the game. The size of the boss is proportional to the level you are playing. Therefore the final boss must really be huge. In that case, I really appreciate the creativity of the developers of ‘Half-Life’ who designed their final boss as a huge baby that fired green bolts from its head.

6.    Women: Now this is a cliché that is worth carrying ahead. Women in FPS games are usually veterans in martial art and animated eye-candies with tight outfits and curves. You would usually see them in the role of elite guards and shrewd conspirators or confederates.  I have never met a motherly character in an FPS.

Now that I have cut open the FPS genre of action games, next time you see or play one you know what to expect.  Dear John Carmack (founding CEO, ID Software, and the god of FPS) forgive me, I have no grudge against you.


The Final Word

Note: This post was written by me almost a year ago with the motive of signing off from the editorial team of the official newsletter of I.S.M. University: Mailer Daemon (MD). Now that I have reduced my involvement to a bare minimum, I must say that MD has given me the unforgettable memories that I would always cherish. Also I must add that the following post has already been featured on the following two blogs:

• SAME DIFFERENCE by Siddhant Pattanaik at
• TO BE OR NOT TO BE by Vijit Prabhu at
I thank the authors for giving my article a space at a time when I had no identity on the web.

A year has passed since I pushed myself into Team MD. And I have managed to stick to it till today. My colleagues in the team are aware of two kinds of Team MD members: one, those who are dedicated to it and work hard till the end. They ‘eat, dream and think MD’ while working on an issue. The second category belongs to those who were not able to cope up with the pressure and left MD for its and their good. Guess I am a third kind- a category still needed to be researched. (Right now, my colleagues are working on our last issue, while I am typing this article.)
But this article is not about ‘how I fared for MD’. So let us forget this part and let me tell you what is going on in MD right now. Right now, we are interviewing candidates for selecting a new team for MD. How I had waited for this moment since the day I was selected. Back then, I imagined this day as one in which I would scrutinize, analyze and cross-question each candidate so as to bring out the true successors of our team. Now, I amuse myself by watching my colleagues do the same. Just on the second day of the interviews, I found myself hardly uttering a word. (Don’t dream of an HR like me!) ‘My colleagues, try to recall, I was there sitting right beside you.’ I watched, as some anxious, some nervous and some energetic faces took the chair before me while Ishant from one end and Shreya from the other, hovered like vultures, ready to peck at every slip of their tounge. Among the remaining enthusiasts were Sid, Divir, Sukhi, Avinash and Sukanya, ready to chip in their part whenever they got a chance. ‘The dedicated and sincere team MD.’ Meanwhile, ‘the Bad Boy of team MD’ (that’s me) was busy planning this article and was randomly generating numbers to fill up his analysis sheet. I decided to go back in time and put myself in the interviewee’s position to analyze how I would have fared in the same test.  

Interviewer (MD): Would you like to introduce yourself?
Me: (Actually no. My name is a bit too long and you would forget it, the moment I leave this room. My branch will sound alien to you and my hobby-reading books- is of no practical use to you. Anything I mention thereafter about myself will generate further cross questions- causing myself to land in trouble. It is most unwise to introduce myself. But will have to say :) Yes.

MD: Introduce yourself.
Me: I would blabber out the usual intro and add nothing extra, lest I provoke further questions. All this, I would say in a loud tone, with an accent so that you get irritated and leave me quickly.

MD: What do you want your role to be in MD?
Me: (Let me think. If I choose editor it means sitting at my comp, reading other’s articles, sometimes writing by myself. OK, I will manage that, others will most probably help. Reporting will mean running here and there, speaking to admin etc etc. That is too much work. Easy decision.) I want to take up an editor’s job.
I now realize that back then my decision to choose editor actually got me selected. I escaped the PI round, something -I now feel, I would never have qualified.

MD: Where is the campus administration building and the maintenance department?
Me: (Campus Administration has to be within the campus. That is one thing I am sure of. But Murphy’s Law states that: ‘the greatest myth about administration is that, it exists.’ That makes CA a mythical place. What the hell!) I don’t know where the CA is.
Of course, I know where the maintenance department is. It is right behind the workshop. I went there once in the first year to get my window’s glass fixed. I had broken it, made it drop right from the first floor. The complaint got registered, nothing happened thereafter.

MD: What are your likes and dislikes about ISMU?
Me: (I must be cautious about this question- a tricky one. These guys love to point out shortcomings about ISMU, be it students or the admin. So to impress them, I must do the same. The part about ‘likes’ is just a pitfall, I must avoid. I am a clever guy.)
I dislike the students of ISMU. They make too much fuss about everything. There is a breed in ISM which wastes a year discussing ‘why shouldn’t we give certificates of merit to our rivals?’And prior to this, they would plan out a strategy for a month to ‘reach to a particular high status so that they can discuss the previously mentioned question.’ There is another species which goes on claiming for ‘more space.’ Then there is another which spends most of their time in challenging this claim. There is a group that has decided that its life’s ambition is to see all the infrastructural developments that ISM is ever capable of within their four or five years of stay in ISMU. Also ISM must have an increased area and the net speed must build up every year-all this they must witness while they are here. Finally there is MD which compiles all of this into six pages and hands it back to them.

What do I like about ISMU? I like the students of ISMU. There is a breed which is hell-bent on making a mark at ISMU. They would go up to any extent to fulfil their ambition, while they are here at ISMU. Be it promoting their departmental identity, helping the poor, or inspiring entrepreneurial skills, they are always out at the forefront. They are warriors. Remember the shout when the trophy of Muqabla was brought home. Remember Mechathlon, remember Sparx. Those were the times when ISM shone like never before. Ask yourself, don’t they deserve a little more than what they are getting? Maybe they asked for coaches, maybe they asked for a little more departmental and admin cooperation. Shouldn’t an effort be made to grant these? Remember: ‘A college is known by its students.’ And finally there is MD, which is composed of heroes selected from this breed. (When shall the groups mentioned previously get merged with this breed? But I guess, they are one and the same. ‘A mere flip changes the face of the coin.’)

MD: Improvements for MD?
Me: MD. When was the last time I read the complete paper? I remember noticing bar graphs in one of the issues. Then once, there was an article about status of girls in ISM - written by girls of course. You generally expect such stuff from them. ‘Good (status) generally leads to the expectation of Better (status).’ Once again, there was a full page of ‘Ruby Survey’. But that article was not for me. I have stopped staring at them since the time they started staring at me as if they were looking at an ‘ascetic kid.’ No wonders there. I hardly speak, while in group. Other than these, I hardly recall any other article. Therefore you must increase the frequency of MD so that people like me at least remember a bunch of articles to speak about.

The final question was usually based on a situation, where one had to interview an admin member usually. I having chosen editorship would have escaped this question. So let me tell you, that my colleagues pretended to be part of the admin and conducted a mock interview. From their act, the following things about the admin were clear:

The admin is ready to come up with excuses at every mistake that is pointed out.
• The admin/G.Sec is ready to take up any action if ‘approached through a proper channel.’
• Everything is student’s fault. ‘No proper events are conducted because students don’t turn up.’(So no point conducting a better event.) ‘The sports complex need not be improved since the students won’t maintain it.’
• The Yahoo HR will never accept the existence of ISMU at least in this life.
• G.Sec will simply act as an interface between students and admin. He lacks the brains or guts to gather support and fight for a cause.

There were further inferences, but I don’t remember them right now.
There you go. I have spoken my heart out. I seldom do that. Judge for yourself whether I deserve to be in MD team after giving such an interview. By the way do not mistake this for a BC article. Trivial BC is not my job. I am totally serious regarding all views expressed. Also I am responsible for any hurt feelings upon reading this article. ‘Hate mails invited.’

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Excursion report: Condensed and Accurate

As the title goes, I am not going to waste my time over beautiful metaphorical and allegorical descriptions about our experience of the industrial excursion to BSNL, Dhanbad.  What follows, is an ultra condensed and accurate description of the excursion that can be framed into a report and can fetch you good grades. So, its no big deal: just facts.

We (that implies fifty odd CSE and nine mathematics students) boarded a bus headed for BSNL, Dhanbad at 10:30 AM.

Reached destination in 10 minutes

The official at the BSNL office naively inquired as to what bizarre circumstances made CSE and maths students plan an excursion to BSNL as they were interested only in Electronics or Electrical engineers.

A lot of irrelevant things happened which included demonstration of large cabinet size machines with multiple glowing LEDs. The kind which one likes to break using a crowbar while playing first person action games.

During the demonstrations, the official instructor mentioned cryptic stuff which I noted down. They are as follows:

"E1000B STS CSNMM SMC SMA SMYA SMT PCM (32 channels) TAX Tier 2 BNG"

Anyone who has any idea about what the above line means is whole-heartedly welcome to enlighten me.

In an hour, everyone was tired of learning and wanted to have beer. We tried to convince the teachers in charge but failed.

We returned- tired and exhausted and suffering from an overdose of industrial exposure and therefore we decided that we will not be attending any classes in the afternoon.

Yay! Another feat added to my CV.

Monday, March 9, 2009

We will not forget...

The boy was shivering. He hung his head in shame. The teacher had hit him hard on the back. Sixty pairs of eyes stared at him. That is more than sufficient for a boy aged 16 to be grieved beyond limits. But then who comes prepared for answering questions in the very second class of the year. He tried to reason. His inner voice screamed out: “The teacher told everyone to prepare, but you simply weren’t attentive. Now this is the outcome.” The teacher slowly walked away, firing questions at random unsuspecting students, punishing his victims. “Sparing the rod” was a phrase he had never learned. The iron routine would be followed on and on for the next two years as well. Computer Science at intermediate level wasn’t exactly a cakewalk.

The teacher’s effect on his students was tremendous. Initially fuelled by fear, even the lowest of the lot would restore to study the subject. There would be an unnatural silence in the class with all eyes on the masterful teacher, as he moved from topic to topic laying down the foundation with care. Later, the fear would be replaced by respect and a newborn urge to master the subject. My fellow Flowerites would admit that back in the good old days, when people cared about exams, the tests he put us to were the toughest and their level was unmatched by even that of the comparative university papers. Questions were never repeated and brainstorming became an obvious habit.

On the lighter side, he was immensely popular among the students and in every batch, by the end of high school; he would be having a set of fan followers. Those that came to know him beyond the classroom and the rigorous tests would talk about his expertise in almost every known programming language and popular software. Mimicry of his Tamil accent became a favourite pastime of almost every Flowerite. I hereby recount some phrases, clichés, and incidents that people always associated with him:

  • Short statured and dark complexioned, he would walk in the class with rolled up sleeves and palms smeared with chalk. Almost every class began with: “last class we had gone through...”

  • The words: “You, corner one, come to the board man...” to an unsuspecting student was a nightmare to all of us.

  • How did you get two marks out of sixty?” (Often asked to some girl on the day papers were shown after some examination.)

  • There would be a thump in every heart and nervous faces as he would announce marks of every student to the entire class –a habit despised by most Flowerites.

  • Write a C BLUS BLUS program to ...” was a phrase we heard at least five times in every class.

His passion, devotion, uncanny zeal and enthusiasm motivated scores of students to take up Computer Science and related subjects as their career or at least develop immense potential and interest in the field. He may not remember us but we know that there was:

  • A Rajeev Aggarwal (‘99 batch), graduated in CSE from IIT Kanpur. He completed his MS in the same from Stanford University.

  • A Abhijatya Pandey (2k3 batch), alumnus of ISM University (Mineral Engineering)whose programming skills were well known and well utilized at college and now overseas where he works at BHP Billiton (global giant in mineral processing) with a pay package of over Rs. 30 lacs p.a.

  • A Sankalp Bose (2k3 batch), currently in final year M.Tech CSE at IIT Kanpur, placed at Qualcomm.

  • A Manavendra Roychoudhury (2k2 batch) who is a successful Applications Engineer at Oracle India.

  • A Siddhartha Kandoi (2k5 batch), who is currently pursuing his masters in Mathematics and scientific computing at IIT Kanpur. He works in the domain of cipher and cryptography and coordinates the SUN programming club at IIT Kanpur.

The news hit me like a bullet when I came to know, a few months back that he had left the school and went back to his hometown in TN. Last week, I had to apply for a scholarship where there was a field that said: “name of your favourite teacher.” With a heavy heart, I penned down almost instantaneously: “Sir Vasanthraj.”