Days of My Life

Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

What I say today is what mohammad ali said once , "It is very hard to be humble when you are as great as me". Lest people may be mistaken I am not into boxing. and therefore I resist from praising myself :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A Fiasco ?

I am always in the process of trying to reduce the size of my posts but some such thing comes up. So one more huge post ( or the better way as suggested by some people is to run it like a soap opera... btw I always wondered why the word opera is added... the soap thing I could understand - these things wash off any resemblance of sense from the brains. Operas are such delightful things and these soaps are ...).

So to take off from my early days as a politician. We planned a lot for the candidate-voter meeting. As there was a computer switched on last time round I thought maybe we could make a presentation as I believe I am good at it (touch wood :) And the agenda itself was an open source agenda... built after discussions with lots of people including our respectable cultural secretary who was man enough to admit that he will oppose me tooth and nail as it was his moral and ethical (??) obligation to support an opponent. Well ethics apart, PP did tell me about the difficulties he faced as a CulSec ...none of which looked unsurmountable to me. I thought my chances were slim till then when PP remarked that he would have asked his friend to step down from the election had he known I were standing. That was a shot in the arm. Though I take peoples words at face value a hint of apprehension and doubt was not to be missed in his voice. Lot of it stemming from my choice of partners too.

The meeting was a disaster for us. I was scheduled to talk first but was pushed to second .God and the EC know why.No laptop allowed, no projector allowed and I was already overcharged by the lies bandied around. I was not given a microphone. Had to shout. But the most disgusting part was the behavior of some of my classmates many of whom were supposedly friends. I realised then that I was in massive denial. Well... its not that friends shouldnt ask questions but that some of them were accusations and blind ones at that.R (whom I thought was a good friend) accuses me of doing nothing as a house captain and of seeing the same faces again and again (is it wrong if the same people come ?), S (had good relations with him) accuses me of lobbying for posts (which posts ? And I thought people sat in rooms and decided which post should go to whom) and G (I counted this guy among my best friends.wonder when he decided to become part of mobs.) picks a non-existent issue and tries to mark me out as an idiot and irresponsible.Welcome to the world of politics Dear Ravi. Where there are no friends. I was fired up by what I thought was a betrayal and a deliberate ploy to unnerve me.And unfortunately they succeeded.I was angry shouting about accusing people.Wonder what my teammates and supporters thought of me. My temperament deserted me and consequently my intellect.I ended without talking about my agenda at all and was not allowed to answer even a single question. People said that I was incapable and was unable to answer even a single question. I hoped they knew better. They even laughed when I felt my throat go dry and had some water. Led by that respectable dude.

I was crestfallen. For the first time in my life I felt a loser.I dont mind losing at all. But definitely not to mobs and baseless accusations. My teammates tried to cheer me up but couldn't. I couldn't listen to what the other contestants were saying as I was in no mood to ask questions but I stayed on out of respect for the EC and the other contestants.Ruchir was good but I was surprised that the mob who had badgered me asked him nothing.He who was publicly the cause of most of their insecurities. He who was allegedly responsible for the trampling down of their talents. He who was supposedly arrogant and misbehaved with them when they had supposedly valid complaints.Did they run out of steam or was there some other reason ? Pranav was good as usual but one of the questions (which woke me up from the stupor) posed to him by a member of the mob was that "Is there need of so much documentation for the Canteen ?". Either that guy did not attend SE or was another plant to unnerve Pranav.Arpit was good too. I always felt that he was a capable guy.Just loses his temper at the wrong moment sometimes. In fact he would have made a great team with Pranav.Guess efforts were made but were in vain.I felt theirs was a clean contest.Abhijeet surprisingly was very confident and gave fitting replies to the mob. Shivudu was good but had some factual inacurracies which were blasted by the last Sports Council member Siddharth Ravi.I felt Shivam was better but some of his proposals looked like a Vision 2020 for IIIT :) But I liked them as I always appreciated ambitious people. Moreover he was a good friend apart from having Rohith and not to mention my best friend Sid.

I came back in a very dejected mood.Thanx to good friend & debate partner Harsha and the support of my teammates and friends I was able to get back to normalcy within a short time.Along the way J tried to grab away my support by telling them all sorts of things true and made up & promising them some flashes and breaking news. I was in no mind to answer back as I felt they were smart enough and they turned out to be so. Imagine a guy trying to convince someone to do something for one hour and they reply saying that they would do exactly the opposite of what was asked :) The other contestant's chief campaign manager 'Politician' was on cloud nine. He offers me sympathies and says that it is all politics and election. I blabberred something in reply and certainly not something pleasant.

My running mates advised me on certain issues and the most useful advice came from a well wishing senior.Well I cant reveal names :) What with rumors of elections getting postponed. I felt after some clear thinking whether it was a fiasco at all. Hence the question mark in the sentence.

Never forget a favor, never forgive a slight
- Sidney Sheldon (Master of the Game)

Saturday, March 19, 2005

ON to Politics

Not National or International ones but one in my own college. Its election time here. And I am in the fray for the post of Cultural Secretary. My major opponent is a friend Tarun Nayak. A very strong opponent but nonethless I am confident of my team (amazing dancer Aditya of second year & good friend Rasagna of first year). I am taking a big risk by contesting the elections. But the absence of strong leaders who also have a vision too is the bane of our society at large. There must be someone who will stand up and be counted. I was happy and fine with the Finance Secretary post. But that just did not give me enough power to directly improve things. The culture scene at IIIT is festering to say the least. One year of ELECTED councils did nothing to improve it. And it reflected in various events being cancelled etc. I certainly believe I could do something to improve the situation. So let's see.If the reader is a IIITian I request him/her to read my agenda and then make an informed decision at my home page . My friends are standing for various other posts too with Pranav & Rama in the race for Campus Life secretary as a team with opposition from another classmate Arpit. siddharth & shivam for the sports secretary post against shivudu of second year.All tough fights and I am itching for the process to start. But firstly I am suffering from this terrible cold and hope to get well before the Candidates meet tomorrow night.Wish me all the best :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Cup Overfloweth

After the closure of Openhouse and resetting our PCs to where they were I was very exhausted.Added to that I was not in a mood to dine in the mess after such a day. So I offer to take Rama to the noodles guy. He does not wanna go. We slouch in the TV room with no energy to get up. Tejo suddenly comes in and says that we will go to Chutneys for dinner. It being a Saturday night I dont eat rice (exceptions can be made if people decide to invite me for dinner :) and what better place to have a snack than Chutneys. And I had never gone there before too. Off we go to Chutney's. On the way Tejo spots a shop selling Belgian chocolates. I was a big chocolate fan especially Cadbury's Diary Milk. I used to eat two of the big sized bars a week right from primary school. In spite of the ernest efforts of my parents to convince me to reduce my chocolate intake I could not resist them with the result that I had a bad tooth trouble two years ago. I reduced the intake. Another reason was the worm infestation fiasco. So the position is today I have chocolate only occassionally. We take a counter at Chutney's and go and buy the Belgian chocolates. They are heavenly (both pricewise and tastewise) . But even more heavenly was the food at Chutney's. No wonder some our leading film stars have their daily dose of 'masala' from there. Then we had Ice Creams at GG where Rama and I came up with a table top hockey game with the knives as the sticks and the salt & pepper cans as the goal posts. The ball was a bit of saunf. I was leading when the ball went missing. I have my own doubts on Rama :) The thought of going back to my room and sleeping till eternity was alluring. But that was not to be as KSS Harsha of MSIT placed a note on my door asking me to meet him at 7 in the morning !!! Groan.

I met him at 7 and we did a bit of work on the topic 'Morality is not the product of fear'. We had a debate competition at ICFAITech. My brothers college. And one which is only about 8km from my home. Interesting combo. The debate is a cakewalk though with the opponents proving to be children even for me. And Harsha is a small giant in debating circles. He gets the best speaker award too. But the most interesting part was that there was a prize money of Rs.2500/- !!!! It was pleasantly shocking to me. Two hours of work and 2500/- This must be as good as it gets. Students - especially in IIIT- are very lazy to go out anywhere. But the advantage is that whenever you win an event in these market economy days there are some benefits. Not to forget the hidden advantage of spreadin your college name.

So that week was one of the most interesting of my life.On that ICFAITech high note I went home and slept.Woke up, went back to ICFAITech to collect my prize and watch my college band Insomnia perform. They are very good. Another marketing weapon for IIIT :) Hope the college people are smart enough to make use of all such weapons.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

IIIT R & D Showcase 2005 (The Openhouse)

I woke up with a start around 8 am. Only an hour to go. Rama was already up and running. I rush through all the formal processes :) and by 8:15 we are at the breakfast table.

8:15 - 8:20 :I stuff some stuff inside my mouth and drown it with a glass of milk.The whole mouth is on fire but no time to think of that.

8:25 : In the server room.Fresh roll of paper was placed grandly by sys admin.But the bitch (printer) absolutely refuses to do anything.I am the first guy in the printer room. Then VI enters and asks seemingly innocuous questions like how many do u need to print. You seem to know printing well etc, etc.Aha ! I am not to fall for those and I resolutely tell VI - "Yeahh I know how to get the stuff out of that. You are welcome to watch me do it and learn" .Hope such cockiness doesn't have adverse effects later.

8:35 : Printer still doesn't work. IDEA ! I abandon the poster printing job, Go to a normal printer and get the ppt printed instead. Job done in 5 min.

8:35 - 9:15 : Arranged all the posters printed earlier and the ppt of the four PKR projects at the DE exhibition area. Highly impressive arrangement.

9:15 - 10:00 : Rushed to agrids and arranged the CDs, DVDs, posters and the projector for the visitors with the help of fachchas Teja & Bhaskar.

At 10 I came back to the main building. Kiran Karnik, head of NASSCOM is the Chief Guest for the inauguration. He speaks some stuff on research and institutes.All useful, but nothing profound. Suddenly there is another emergency as the projector suddenly stops working in Agrids. I rush back, clear the matter and by the time I come back I realised that Mr.Karnik has left after the inaugural and supposedly after seeing only a couple of projects. It doesn't matter to me but the CUP starts filling when Kaushal says that Mr.Karnik listened to V at the Agrids project for 20 min and was accompanied by almost all faculty members of IIIT including the Director himself. After cursing my luck I told V then that maybe I could help him out at the Demonstration and ask him for half hour to get ready and come back. I am back within 15 min, dressed to near perfection ;)

V needs to go out and leaves the project in my hands. Before I could ask him some details a girl (hot female would be the right word, but I dont use such language :) came along. And here I am all dressed for nothing. So I read from the ppt (for the first time in my life), read the posters and give a general idea. She seems bored but its OK. We dont let such ppl go away just like that. So exchange of details takes place (that it not for public consumption ;) . She remarked that being a CS student how was I interested in agriculture. Here I could speak from the heart talking about farmers and suicides and stuff like that. She is suitably impressed and leaves. I also have an Agriculture expert from ANGRAU with me. This person is a part of the agrids project. So we split work with each of us explaining alternately. I listened to him for the first time and then went through the project documents when we had no visitors. I already had the technical knowledge of the project, now I acquainted myself with the Philosophy behind the work. Slowly I began to have a feel for the project. But it does take some time to become completely confident while explaining. Matters are not at all helped by Kaushal as he calls any female visitor to DE to visit the Agrids project.I am amazed by the man's confidence and openness. On the other hand was my Expert who was hesitant while explaining to females. So I tell him to relax and offer to do the whole job. Then I take off explaining the philosophy, then the technology and then about the future work of the project. Pest Prediction (my work) is added as a future area of research :) I had a lot of visitors many interested but many more curious to know what an Agricultural project is doing between RoboRescue and RFID (both of them by my friends Rama, Kirthi & Aravind). We three have the maximum number of visitors on Day one when compared to any other project for Openhouse. The rest of Day One passes off well except for one particular incident.

She is from a reputed college doing B-Tech 3rd year. Some people are confident, some others act confident to mask their Inferiority. At the first look itself I realised that she belonged to the second category. As with others I explained the whole project to her when she remarks highly uncharitably that the project is a simple one. I get angry but tell her that we have had enough of complexity and if a simple project is saving 1.5 crore to the govt. it is something to be proud of. Even funnily she then remarks that the project has 'NO' IT component in it !!! She's had it now. I asked her to sit on a chair in front of the comp., ask a fachcha to get her a coffee. I sat on a chair next to her and then calmly talked to her.
To reproduce verbatim (matter in the brackets are my comments) :

Female: So you are giving coffee to all the visitors :)
Me: No ! only to certain of them who are highly interested in the projects and who ask thought provoking questions. (the fact is that coffee was being given free to anyone :)
Female: As I said there seems to be No IT component in your project.
Me: Yeah ! Even I feel the same. But I didn't realise it till now.
Female: It sometimes happens. You should have got your project reviewed by someone outside.
Me: That is a nice suggestion.I am sure we will follow up on that.
Me: So what course are you doing ?
Female: CSE
Me: Oh ! I thought you were a Mech or Chem Engineer.
Female: :)) Why is that so ?
Me: Never mind.So what did you learn in CSE.
Female: In the first year we had C, then OS, DBMS and so on.I learnt Java on my own.
Me: What were there in this so on ? :)
Female: Lots of subjects. Like we were taught about SQL, and also about things like Scheduling etc.
Me: Oh ! So you have a lot of subjects .(And stupid me . I thought SQL was taught as part of DBMS and Scheduling as part of OS :)
Female: And a very important sebject called DLD.
Me: Yeah.That is very important.
Me: So I'll tell you sth which maybe wasn;t taught to you.
Female: I dont think there is any such thing.
Me: No no. There is. The box in front of you is called a computer.
Female: I know :D
Me: Even the coordinators were given computers (the ppl in the villages), they communicate with us using a technology called Internet. This has nothing to do with IT (sarcastically)
Female: Exactly. It is related to Networks.
Me: Yeah. And we use digital cameras to capture pictures.Anyone can do that.No IT there.
Female: Right.
Me: And we copy them on to the Comp., Burn CDs, upload them onto servers using Functions and Scripts.Then it is viewed using internet browsers and info is given using CGI forms. No IT anywhere along the line. And we are saving 1.5 crore along the way without any IT at all.
Female: That is what I wanted to say.
Me: So what is IT anyway ?
female : Well, C language. Java. somethings like that (she gets a wind of things here)
Me: So a computer, OS, Internet have nothing to do with IT at all.
Female : (Speechless)

She wore a sheepish look and went away. May she receive strength and knowledge :)

That was the end of the first day. People do not readily acknowledge the efforts of others and that is acceptable as it is in the nature of human beings. But when u try to belittle someone's efforts especially with half-baked knowledge somewhere down the line you will meet your match. And that realization is painful.

The second day started off briskly.Many people visited my project. A few press people too. But the most impressive were a couple of young men who asked thought provoking questions about the data collected and how we were using it etc,etc. It turns out that they were from ICRISAT - the mother of Agricultural research in India.After listening to me for about half hour one of them gives me his card, complements on my efforts and asks me to come and visit ICRISAT anytime I like. That made my day or was it half day ???

After lunch the crowd only got bigger. A couple of colleges even had their students coming in exclusive buses.Thanks to Openhouse I could meet at least 10 of my friends and acquaintances from school days. One striking note is that all the guys seem to have become kinda nerds whereas the girls are better than ever. They were quite beautiful during school days too. All in an aesthetic sense :)

The day was passing soon when I realised that I could not visit any projects of my friends. So I go back to my room and change into semi-formals. I always feel quite suffocated in formals though people say I look better in them. Especially the formal shoes are a nightmare for me. I dont have smelly feet but the leather is kinda irritating to my skin.

I was just going around the projects when a fachcha informs me that there are some important people who wish to know about the Agrids project . I rush back to the DE room to find an important freelancer and a long lost senior of mine. The freelancer spent about 45 min with the project going into the details in depth. I asked my senior what he was doing and his reply fascinated me. He told me he was absolutely free.I didn't understand it at first.He elucidated by saying that he worked for the Free Software Movement and was connected to Gnome at the international level.

After his visit I saw a cameraman moving around filming some of the projects. I thought this was some guy hired by IIIT but I was wrong. Ms.Padmaja and a female reporter of ETV enter the lab and the first project they came across was what else but Agrids. Paddy asks for PKR who is nowhere to be seen. Kamal seemed reluctant to talk.So paddy asks V to talk. He is also tense to talk.So who does the mantle finally fall to.Yes !! yours truly is asked to explain the project. That too on camera.Explanation was by now kids stuff.I had done it about a 100 times.But the reporter adds a rider that there have to be a minimum of English words. I tell her I cant assure that and that I'll call the prof.Reporters being what they are she has a ready solution.She would be asking questions and I only have to answer them in one or two sentences. That should be easy. What an experience that was ? even though hardly for 5 min I gave my first press interview.That too for a major TV channel. Adjusting my position was only a problem as the camera was short for my height :) She aked a couple of innocuous questions and I handle them with ease.It was immensely thrilling to see the whole of DE lab watching me as I gave that interview. UNdescribable in words.They also took an interview of Rama.Both the interviews were telecast on ETV news at 7 am on 12th morning.

After the interview the VP of aa comp comes and is highly impressed by the project and especially the way I had a feel for it :) I now was well and truly an Agrids guy.After him even more surprises were in store when a CEO of an agro based company offers me a joint venture to extend the project to fruits and vegetables. I answer him with a smile that I am only a student and that a decision will be taken only by my professor.

On this high note finished my Openhouse. What more does a college student want than recognition of his work and some publicity ?? The most disconcerting part was that none of my classmates apart from those showing their own projects visited any of thte projects.TV coverage is OK but the real acceptance is from peers. I cared a damn though for such uninterested people.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Cup ... (contd...)

I slowly seem to be getting a George Lucas complex.For the uninitiated ... he is the Director of the Star Wars series of movies. Just like his movies my posts too do not finish off in one go. Of course like his movies each post of mine tells a different story.One of these days I am sure there will be a Trilogy as good as Godfather or LOTR :) For fellow fans of Star Wars, the new instalment The Revenge of the Sith will be out in theaters this May.

Another critism of my blog has been that the posts are too long. Referring to the many blogs around where people write that blogs are to give an outlet to your thoughts etc, etc I have no reason to shorten the length. If I have such a huge number of thoughts it is not my fault :)

Coming back to the week.Thursday started on a positive note (a portent of things to come ;).PKRs class was canceled (yaay !!!!). Now that is not exactly yay stuff but still ... any deviation from the routine is acceptable.I lazed around in the morning.Around 11:30 I realized that there was an NLIDS class at the same time. So I hurriedly dressed and went to the class. After the usual stuff (i.e. the class) Suncle asked about the students who were putting up projects in the R & D Showcase (hereafter referred to as Openhouse). Almost all the PG students and some of my friends (Akshay, Aseem, Rahul) answered in the affirmative. The rest of us did not care or felt guilty. I was from the guilty part. At the beginning of our hons project Sat & I had an aim of showing a complete project in the Openhouse if not a research paper itself :) Subsequent lack of interest and laziness negated those aims but still I hope we come out with something good. I feel most awful on three occassions - when someone shows sympathy towards me, when someone insults me & when I feel guilty. Last year to drive away a similar feeling I took up the job of the official photographer (and did a good job too :) This time round I could not do that as I was a 3rd year student and it would not look good. Something had to be done.

I asked around and ppl said that there were no instructions to show only complete projects, even work in progress can be displayed. I felt that this was not very attractive. We could show work in progress to our funding agencies or to academics or future partners, but for students who come to have a feel of the excitement of creating new software ... incomplete GUIs, non executable codes and stuff like that are a put off. In fact IIIT realised this and future work is shown only as posters. In my past few semesters I had done quite a few interesting projects one of them being Pest Attack Prediction under PKR. I approached him and asked him whether that cuold be kept in Openhouse. Then began all the fun.

Being an RA in Agrids PKR asked me to help me with the posters and arranging other stuff for their projects in Openhouse. I stayed all through the night to get the posters printed and for all the stuff to be in place. In this I must mention the help rendered by my first year friends - Harsha, Teja, Rasagna & Bhaskar. Apart from being diligent workers they also enjoy the work and helped me only out of friendship. No incentives offered and non asked for. I thought even my classmates had a similar attitude in the first year. Wonder what happened now. V meanwhile sends me a mail asking me to be ready to explain the agrids project to visitors. This shocked me. I was an NLP hons student and even though I did some system administration for agrids I had no idea of the project. I told V that I will explain the Pest prediction part. But he was insistent. Apart from being a good friend V was the person who got me the RAship. Therefore I decided to do the agrids part too. I hit the sack at 4:30 that morning after the miserable printer did everything but to print properly and the system administrators had lesser knowledge than me :) They were being paid to do such stuff and they were clueless. I had a fitful sleep . What with Openhouse coming up in 5 hrs.

The Cup ...

Disclaimer: In any of the matter given below if the reader feels that the author is boasting or has resorted to excessive self eulogy ... he/she has two options:

One: consider it unintentional and forgive the author.
Two: Ponder whether the author might be true ;)

--------Disclaimer ends---------

Westerners (I meant americans & britishers not Marathas & gujjus :) talk of the cup in a lot of contexts. The cup or the chalice has a major role in their cultures and in fact a brilliant bestseller The Da Vinci code is based on the chalice. They also talk about 'cup' in some other contexts ;) but the idea with which I am concerned with is the phrase 'The Cup Overfloweth'. The origin of this phrase could be inferred from its meaning (Abundance of happiness). It might have been in the context of those people partying with such huge quantities of wine when they were happy that it overflowed the cups in which it was served.

The highly incoherent rambling given above assumes importance in the wake of how I would like to describe the last week in my life.A clarification here... even though I talked about cups and wines...the reader may note that I am a teetotaller.

It all started with the preparation for the Globalization presentation (hereafter referred to as P).I started gathering material on the morning of the 9th for the P scheduled at 1:30 that afternoon.The P was worth 50% of the total grade. Such insolence was uncalled for but I had the confidence of finishing it on time. The P was grandly titled "Managing Globalization - The Role of International Institutions, National governments & Corporates" :) To put it plainly ... I was trying to offer solutions to a problem ... a problem which people like Joseph Stiglitz (my favorite economist), Jagdish Bhagwati and Amartya Sen could not solve even after years of research and two of them were Noble laureates :) I was trying to solve such a problem by 6 hours of internet searching and after reading a huge collection of 3 books :) (Titles would be provided on request). So I start off by searching for World Bank, WTO & IMF.Everyone seems to dislike them and it does take some innovative query formation to find something positive about them.Especially for the latter two.It seemed to me that the Anti-globalization activists are spreading like wildfire on the internet and Sergey Brin & Larry Page (Google CEOs) are unable to do anything about that.In fact these people are making the best use of Globalization :)
I finished my material collection around 9 am. Then I started organizing it as a ppt.When I finished completing it the P is of about 15 slides and the time is 10:30 am.Remember this is only a third of what was planned. Therefore the title is pruned by removing the Corporates part.I started searching for the role of National Governments.These people were worse in the opinion of many 'experts' and they made their countries worser off. The only examples where the Globalization process was managed with minimum pain by the governments was in a South American nation called Chile and in a somewhat familiar country called INDIA (yahoo!!! Mera Bharat Mahan).

Suddenly I realised that the time was 10:50 am and that I had a Compilers class from 10:30.There goes another missed class.I cringed a bit at my own carelessness. Not that I would have done wonders in the class but that I was now unsure about my attendance. Any thoughts of running to the class were banished by the hot sun and the short time left.So I continue searching.

I find so much positive stuff about the Indian experience that I become cynical. I intensified my search to find something substantially negative but I was unsuccessful :( I didn't understand whether to be happy or otherwise.a brainwave then struck me. I recalled Prof.Ashok Jhunjhunwala's lecture at the ExOR (refer previous post).I ran back to my room.Searched and got his printed notes and the points I've written and ran back to the lab.The title of the P is further pruned by removing the National Governments part. I now added some part of the Prof's lecture which concentrated on the telecom sector.I refashioned the ppt by touching on how the Indian govt's poor policy (versus others' supportive role to their companies) affected the ability of our telecom majors to go Global or even achieve success at home.I finally suggested a set of measures (far from a solution).It roughly dealt with having a confluence of the International Institutions, National governments & the corporates.I also added my favorite issue.That of the participation of Educational Institutions :)

Preparing a ppt is tough enough.Delivering it is hell. To my credit I never had stage fright and stuff like that thanks to a very vibrant cultural scene at school.There is some tension of course but it inherently keeps me alert.But now I was feeling a little too tense.I had talked in front of audiences of strength upto 10,000 and today there were only the Prof,tutor and 5 other people all of whom were close friends and acquaintances. I understood after a few seconds of analysis that the source of tension was the 50% weightage tag attached .I told myself to forget about it and to relax.Surprisingly it worked.Also in my favor were the extremely friendly attitude of the Prof and the TA.

I started slowly and within a few minutes understood that it wasn't going that great when the prof and my good friend Simeen started nodding.Not in approval but in slumber :) This was an unfamiliar situation for me. I always had wide awake audiences for my speeches and presentations.And I prided on my ability to keep people interested and awake.Well 'Pride has a Fall'.The balloon was pricked.I felt I was no longer the same speaker who presented in the Accounts class a few months ago (not so important here.Just remember that everyone present on that day liked the presentation).Thankfully all this happened within 10 minutes of the start.And to make a comeback from a bad start is what counts.I still had 20 mins to do that.

While continuing to speak I again did a parallel analysis in my brain.Results of that analysis flashed before my mind's eye:

  • The other speeches/presentations were in the morning or evening.This one is bang after lunch.

  • The others were to a bigger audience.Maybe even on those days people slept and u didn't just notice.

  • Most importantly all the other presentations/speeches had a fair amount of humor peppered through.This one had zero till now.

I smiled at my thoughts and the possible solution.I raised my voiced, came a bit closer to the audience and tried a few feeble jokes.To my surprise it worked.Within a few minutes the Prof was wide awake and Simeen too was much better :) I then take off by trying to remember all that I had read. Interesting anecdotes.Stirring successes and resounding failures of the Globalization process.I was all over the place and finished off on what I felt was a high note. No one asked any questions.The TA told me that even now I hadn't told them how to manage globalization.I replied by saying that I was too small a person to do that and that I could only mention possible measures.The prof talked about institutions like the Panchayati Raj. I replied saying that the institutions which could not withstand bureaucracy by evolving cannot be expected to withstand Globalization as it is a bigger force. The prof was impressed.He dismissed the class for the day.he again congratulated me on the presentation especially on the amount of information I could give and the reasonably original solution.We discussed some other issues and I was pleasantly surprised when the prof told me that a bit more work could mean that I could write a paper worth something.

The rest of the day was uneventful.I ate a lot in the mess that evening and also at dinner.The presentation made my day.I thought it even made my week when I was in for more surprises.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

What a week ??? (contd ...)

Then I freshen up and check my mails to see one from Dr.Jawahar asking for volunteers for the ExOR (Excitement of Research) . I am always for such things as it helps me meet new people and listen to talks from proven experts.So I dash off a mail to tejo (yeah the same last night guy). Then I finished off on a couple of other tasks and even managed to see Dr.Govindarajulu (whose compilers class I skipped the same day morning) :) The rest of Friday was uneventful when around 10pm the security informs that I have a call. This is surprising as my parents almost never call me (no family feuds here but that I have a schedule of calling them and I am under standing instructions to stick to that :) and there is no one else who'll call :( It was from school friends and Karthik asks me come to a party the next day. The party incidentally is in my honour (really !!!). It seems that my suggestions helped three of my friends to get 1250+ scores in GRE some 3 months ago and they couldn't trace me. Readers may please note that I haven't myself given the GRE and so my suggestions were at best quite general. But then if someone is giving u credit for something and more importantly a party ... better accept it :) Immediately after that my parents call me asking me to meet them at some place the next day which is closer to the party venue.I finally hit the sack but no reply from Tejo.

There is some talk by Prof.Kota Harinarayan as the first item of ExOR. He is a brilliant speaker but I might have listened to him some 20 times. So I decide to skip that. A cursory glance at the schedule shocks me as the talk is on LCA (Light Combat Aircraft). After cursing Tejo and then myself I rush to the venue to realise that the talk is 3/4 th up but still stick around for the ending. I meet a couple of students from other colleges (all of them were toppers from the CS and ECE depts) and have a general discussion about research etc. The afternoon talk was by Prof.Ashok Jhunjhunwala one of my heroes and who has been profiled in one full chapter in Sandipan Deb's brilliant book 'The IITians'. He was amazing. Each thought of his seems to be an idea worth a million rupees. Pity the IIITians who missed his talk.That finishes off the first day of ExOR.

I leave to meet my friends at IMAX for the 'Polar Express' wearing a red kurta.Onlookers praise and criticise alternatingly but its ok with me.The color red is my favorite one and I wear it when I want to be in a really extreme mood and believe me I was in a mood to party. We enjoy the movie on the big screen wearing weird looking glasses. Three cheers for technology. While coming out I notice a car similar to ours in the parking lot. As my parents told me to meet them at NTR gardens nearby I thought they might have come to watch BLACK on my advice. So I wait by the car and imagine my shock when they tell me that they also watched the same movie as I did.My friends and I then have dinner at a nondescript Pizza joint.The pizzas were amazing. Since the time was close to midnight I decide to go home instead of the college as it was closer.

The next day of ExOR is interesting too with Dr.Sangal's talk, a brilliant introduction to Robotics by Dr.Bipin and ending with Prof.PJN's call to see, listen and comprehend. The ExOR set me thinking. I thought of never doing research as I felt I was not cut out for it.Also I used to feel that researchers live in a world of their own with no concerns for the rest of the world. But people like Jhunjhunwala are bigger patriots than any of us. So maybe I'll just come back to research after some time in the outside world.Who knows ?? And the research may not be in CS too.
But the sad part of ExOR was the minimum participation of IIITians especially the two targetted audience of potential researchers the dual degree students and second years. There were hardly 10 of both groups put together. They seem to have gotten their priorities all wrong.

Sunday had an interesting incident.Given the paucity of interaction with the opposite sex some soul of the batch decided that we were all homosexuals. And almost everybody of the batch was linked to someone. Some had multiple partners :)) I was linked to Sid. It was really funny in the beginning but then the hidden frustrations took over and things took an ugly turn. Thankfully the file was removed. If people have such hatred and a deprived attitude towards their own classmates then God help them. No wonder some of them are going crazy.

I had an interesting chat with S yesterday. It was on a wide variety of issues ... some funny some serious. But the most interesting part was when S told me that I might be at harm because of my 'brutal' frankness. I was always frank... but the word brutal apart from being colorful set me thinking. It is my belief that it is better to be brutally frank rather than fatally foolish by sugar coating the facts. But the world doesn't work that way.People are ready to suffer by hiding facts and feelings rather than speaking them out. They dont tell a person that his/her behavior is affecting them, they do work unfit for them instead of frankly disagreeing to do it, they kid thenselves on their strengths and weaknesses and worse of all they suffer in silence and build castles in the air instead of telling a girl/boy that they like her/him. I am not ready to do all that but maybe I have to because we are social beings and as S remarked there is no point in being brutally honest. So a process of change has began.Definitely not for the better.

So been a long day till now.Got globla presentation tomorrow and some other works.Will be back soon ;)

What a week ???

Well...looking at the title one may think that I have something interesting to write. I usually have something noteworthy happening around me (or do I look for noteworthy things in mundane stuff ;) but this week at least in the beginning was quite the opposite. Plz wait before you decide to close the window. I am just not done.

After the last blog I do not really know what happened to me. I decided that blogging is a waste of time and decide to get back to writing a diary (Yes !!! I used to write one ... Once upon a time that is) The WLAN fiasco provided further support to my decision. I never went to the lab to do my programming assignments :) it would be stupid to walk down all the way for writing a blog. So that spirit finished off two days and the LAN returned but not the intention of writing. There was also some project work and an assignment and after many days (or was it months) I could finish off for two days in a row my schedules (yeah I plan too ... with efficiency targets of 25 % :) for the respective days. That makes it Thursday night when we realize that we have a skit competition on Saturday evening. So I call a meeting at 12 midnight and to my surprise everyone informed turns up. God bless the first years for their enthu and creativity. Of course not to mention the ever enthusiastic Ranjitha and my good friends Sidz and Rama. Shivam came too.But now we have a problem of a script. The point is that when I narrated one the previous day everyone was convinced that this is the 'Script' and enthused to act in it. But when they narrated it to each other it seemed childish. To be frank it was a bit schoolish but I thought we could improve upon it. So I narrate one more and ppl are convinced by it thankfully. Meanwhile I get a wind of rumours that the event may be postponed bcos of the ExOR (more about it later). The enthu dies down and we go back to our rooms.The time is 3 am. En Route KV & I meet Kranthi & Tejo.

Its been years literally since we had an all nighter.Before the reader gets any naughty ideas I meant all night gossiping. So we start off one some 'hot' topics of the day like the T-Shirt issue, PS issue (see previous posts if interested) and the first years' academic performance :) What with Teja of first year also being with us. You can't leave a target like that without some leg pulling :) Teja decides to leave us around 4 am as he has a class at 8:30. So do we but when issues of 'importance' are being deliberated where is the time for classes :) For the next one hour there is a heated discussion on the whims, fancies & habits of some of our classmates, their affairs (non-romantic ones) and the way IIIT is going :) At 5:15 we call it a day and the rest of them decided to hit the sack. However my eyes fall on the book I was reading (Against the Third Way) and any thoughts of sleeping fall out of the mind. I finish off the book and the time reads 6:45. I set the alarm to 8 am and sleep. The alarm goes off at 8 (very funny) and I walk out of the room.I peep into the wing and no one is awake. Then I make a vital decision. That of going back to sleep and not attending both the classes that day. I was losing attendance but it was a calculated risk as I maintain a counter of my misses and I was very safe. So the next sighting of the world is at 12 noon. Then ... (to be continued)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Keep the child in you alive...

Well the title may sound strange but as I recently came across this quotation by God knows whom I was left pondering. I guess what the speaker might have meant was that we as children were curious (kyon ?), innocent, had a carefree attitude and most importantly an inexhaustible supply of optimism. But the problem is that some people have taken this particular quotation strictly in the literal sense. I mean that they just refuse to grow up. I find no other reason except childishness to explain the never ending mails regarding the Felicity T-Shirt issue that afflicted the ug3 mailing list recently. I care a damn for people's whims and fancies but since the Finance Council was mentioned in one of the mails I was forced to react.I wanted to send a mail to ug3 itself but then you would find my name mentioned uncharitably in some other blog :) The issue is that AK asks people to pay money upfront for the T-Shirts. IT says that the organizers should get them for free (which I believe was strictly humorous). AK gives a reply which is again purported to be humorous. Then this particular friend of mine (call him Leader L) absolutely flies off criticising the felicity commitee and what not. Now another friend of mine (call intellectual I) cannot stay quiet and offers to buy T-shirts for Ls friends girlfriends etc,etc. That adds fuel to the fire and the war of words goes on when a self appointed representative of the batch decides to cool matters down which is a very good thing. But even his act is looked upon as intrusion.Finally the mails stop and I think the reason for that is not because of dispute resolution (a cool diplomatic term) or exhaustion but that the protagonists :)) of the argument had tutorial classes to attend to.

Now my point of view is that if you wanna buy a T-Shirt and the way is to pay money upfront you do the same.If you dont wanna buy one then dont care. Being the aspiring managers that many of us are (or pretend to be we are) we must have a tolerant attitude to diverse views.And also when there are delays we must understand as to why the delay has been caused and help in quickening things if we can or shut up and allow people who are trying to do something if we can't. If we cant do even that then I guess forget about being managers we would have problems even to manage ourselves.

Well some of think that we are better than others.No problems with that except that if we think we are better than everyone else. The question is my friend Rash thinks that he is qualified enough to review blogs of others :) That is a very good thing as those blogging are desperately in need of a peer review (SE effect :) and who better to review than Rash :)) After all if we can review movies and books I think we are more than capable of reviewing blogs. So my review ... of only one blog:

Rash: Seems a decent effort.But calls for something more creative.I mean you dont write poetry for the sake of writing something that looks like a cross between wordsworth and mythalez.There is a huge disconnect between the man and the blog. And if - as he promised- he starts changing posts to please people left, right and center then the purpose of writing a blog is lost too. You dont change your opinion of someone just because they are displeased. Well businessmen have no affiliations to opinions :) And the best tribute to the blog is that it generated so many comments not to mention a review from the best (that would be me :). But to ask people to 'Post a comment' looks like begging.

That's all for now.Got some works around but will seriously be watching how long this blogging war and the heat generated will last.