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 :)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Game must go on

Yesterday my status message was 1/5. Lots of people were asking what it meant. I gave them the explanation...that five signatures were needed for me to leave IIIT and the first of them is done. So in a way the countdown officially starts (this is for P, who asked me why I was still in IIIT in spite of having an orkut status at adieu IIIT :). Though the excitement of a bright future lies ahead (especially one that I have chosen of my own volition), a lump has already started forming in my throat. I am an excitable person, but not really emotional. Even in matters cryworthy, I usually pass it off through some stupid sense of humour. The worst case being when a cousin of mine was married off and there is this event called Appaginthalu (bidaayi is the Hindi word I guess). All the relatives were blaring away and telling the guy's family that the girl was a sundar susheel kanya and I pass a sidey comment that the guy was a much more susheel guy and ideally his mother must be crying. Man didn't I get a pounding.

The first signature was from the Sports Com. I've been away from sports since my standard 10. For reasons obvious ... i was basically fitness free. A morning jog cannot get you into the school or college cricket team, and skill is developed over time. Of course I had my own share of gully cricket matches and 15 minutes fames on the cricket pitches and football grounds. Sports and IIIT would always remind me of the intense cricket matches especially in the first year with legends like Surya and Joon (of my batch), the needle rivalry between our cricket team and that of our seniors, our basky team and that of our super seniors, and the brilliant carrom matches played by the members of my house. The most funniest memory of course was when a second (or even third) string ug2k2 team (of which I was a part, and I hit a boundary) beat the first team of MSIT in the summer of 2004. They really did not know what hit them.

The biggest gain from IIIT Sports has been the excellent gym and the steady supply of TT bats. TT was one game I could pick up thanx to a whole set of people from Sayan and Akshay (who taught me this wonderful game), to rama, tejo, aravind and kranthi (fellow newbies and practice partners). I plan to continue to learn the game as we have a national level player in XLRI.

The Sports people also taught me something more. Given the right faculty backing, even at a chronically lazy place like IIIT the right things can be done. Today many people in the city know that we have a decent volleyball and football teams and a colorful basky team. A large part of the credit should go to Dr Pradeep. And of course to the many Sports Committee members over the years. It is really unfortunate that the Cultural scene could not be similarly made exciting. It is however glad to see the summer classes and other efforts being made to improve the situation.

I do hope one day we have enough infrastructure in place that the various IIIT teams would be a force to reckon with. I promise to cheer them on, if they happen to play in whichever city I might live in. Till then keep up the sporting spirit. As with life ... the game must go on.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

IIIT protests ??

Right from childhood I've had this compulsive disorder of going to the extremes in any argument. That is, I either need to win it or lose it - I should convince or be convinced. This urge has probably led me to many a times lose sight of the fact that life is led in shades of grey. The stark truth is that there are no "pure" heroes or villians. One of the "take homes" from IIIT has been the ordering of this disorder. I no longer need to win/lose an argument. Either with parents or with friends or anyone else. Unfortunately this has led to many people (especially those who know me before coming to IIIT) branding me as defensive but that is ok. What people think of you is an impression, what you think of yourself is character. And I want to lead my life based on character and not on impressions.

Two factors have been primarily respoonsible for this change. First is my friendship with Pranav. Of course that fact that he never ends arguments quickly is a key reason, but his immense efforts are to look at an issue from many different angles(sometimes too many), but when Pranav takes up a job, you could trust him to do it well because of this factor. The second reason is a book. A formalization of what Pranav does. It was among the earliest books that I read in IIIT. The "Six Thinking Hats" by Bono is a classic. A must read for everyone.

Now the title of this post has pretty little to do with the above rambling. I was chatting with Pranav yesterday night when I notice two mails in my inbox - from Sumeet Gupta and a reply to that by Leela Kiran. Sumeet was seeking public support for a protest against reservations. I am a person who usually deletes mails after reading the subject. I did read those mails. One reason is that they were the first voices to be raised in this issue and another was that when a ug2k3 student talks something about general IIIT life you tend to listen, giving deference to the idea that the speaker who speaks least is listened to the most. Of course to give him his due Sumeet has been one of the few (shall we say fingers of one hand) ug2k3 students who actively participated in IIIT public life. Pranav was asking my opinion on whether the students should protest or not.

Now when does a person protest. When something affects him/her personally. Reservation is one such issue. It will be affecting us profoundly. So whether on supports it or opposes it, one must definitely have an opinion on it. But IIITians protesting for an issue is something which firstly provokes laughter and then a general inddiference. A set of students who could not even get a proper mess in place and those who cannot even protest to make the very food that they eat better (those who had problems that is) cannot protest against anything. General shouting on the mess table is all that we could do.

I had read this about the IITs somewhere,

One of the best thing about IIT is the exceptional people you meet there. They haven't all climbed Everest, or made lakhs in the stocks, or attempted some other Olympian feat - and even if they have, they don't seem to have the mountainous egos that come along with such people. Rather, they are intelligent and confident, capable and modest. Each and every one of them has some spark…some dash of brilliance within them.

The few IIIT alumni are also much similar.If you read the blogs or talk to people like Satya,Thyagarajan, Vasanth, Rajat and Vipul you will find them supremely confident and achievers in their own right. They are also modest and there is very little of ego on show (even if they possess it).

But which breeds of students do we belong to. I find that we are becoming into a very colourful set which knows that they can do it, who can do it…and still who don’t do it…because for some reason we don’t find it worth it. As if waiting for some destined moment to show our class. Our biggest strength and weakness is that we are fired only by disaster. We have this confidence in ourselves and a feeling of security that we can work the best when we are on the far end of the ‘panic’ spectrum. We seem to have our own lazy, sleepy way of achieving feats.

I always hated those who despised the system by staying outside. So I will not turn into one of those. But each of use has to ask ourselves whether in this effort to look "cool" are we not massively underachieving ? There is this refrain which goes
around especially in Telugu movies that everyone is good at something or the other. The main puspose of a University education is to provide us with the understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. But at the end of four years I still find people who are uncertain about their future (I mean what they want to do, not Vision 2020s) and low on confidence, a doubt arises. Did IIIT fail or did we fail ? Any answers.

PS:Do protest against the reservations issue if you are really convinced that it would be affecting us in the future if not immediately. The early indications that ug2k3 may lead this activity is one of joy for many of us who felt that they usually underachieve. I congratulate Sumeet on that. All help is offered.