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A Random Post. October 26, 2006

Posted by Karan in Personal.
9 comments

We had a meeting with Prof.PJN today. It was absorbing, he spoke in general about the B.Tech(Hons) program. It sounded interesting, and has actually left me in a dilemma. Earlier, I was bent on doing my MBA after graduation, but on second thoughts, management studies would probably be a better option after a couple of years of a job. Or will it not? I don’t know, I am quite perplexed about this. Guess have to make up mind quickly, because the time is not far off when I’ll have to decide about taking an Honors degree.

 

End sems are fast approaching and I haven’t done anything about it 😦 . Well actually, after screwing up my second sem, I had made up my mind on doing well in this one. But it’s hardly gone my way. And look at the number of things to distract me.. there’s yahoo messenger, orkut, movies, blogging.. pah! The list can just go on and on. ( By the way, DO go and watch DON. It’s quite good, fuck the experts’ reviews! ). There’s also the Goa trip to discuss.. Ah! We thought of holidaying at Goa in November.. Wonder if it’s a good idea?

 

I hope India finishes on the winning side today. Holy shit! I have to submit the Maths assignment in an hour. Have to go and find a copy from someone, and have to write down the whole thing after that. It’ll take some time, the whole process. 😛

 

 

PS: This is the first ARP ( so to say ) I have tried, it seems to be the season of such posts!

A Marwari Diwali October 23, 2006

Posted by Karan in General, Personal.
3 comments

I still remember the days when I was a kid. October-November was a time when I licked in anticipation, cos this was Diwali time. Diwali.. the mention of it alone brings a smile onto my face. For me, it was the best time of the year. For us, Diwali is real big, preparations for it are made quite a few days in advance.

Diwali is a Hindu festival that also significant for Jains and Sikhs ( I think…). Known as the “Festival of Lights”, it symbolizes the victory of good over evil. In our custom, its celebrated over five days, with Diwali the main falling exactly twenty days after Dussera.

Day 1: Dhan Teras- This day falls on the 13th day of the Lunar month. A single diya is lit on this day, followed by Puja. It is a very auspicious day for shopping. In our house, we always buy something valuable on this day.. it may range from jewellery to simple silver coins, but purchasing something is a must.

Day 2: Chhoti Diwali- On this day, we light 11 diyas. All the Diwali cleaning up is supposed to be completed by this day and preparations are made for the big day.

Day 3: Diwali- The D-day. The house is decorated like a bride. Puja ( which goes on for 4-5 hours) is offered to ‘Ganesha’ and ‘Laxmi’ devi with fervor and passion. 21 diyas are lit and then the crackers! I just love the sound and smell of it all. Fireworks go on well into the night, and the entire nation is united in celebrating Diwali. I just love the food prepared on Diwali days.. with stuff like Kanji vada and sweets being made. In the olden days, all account books are updated ( Of course, in the IT age, it is different 🙂 ).

Day 4: Padwa or Buddha Diwali – A day when people visit each other. I remember the monotonic stuff, with we having to visit different houses, and repeat the routine of saying “Namaste aunty” or “ Happy Diwali” over and over again. Of course, we got to hog a lot 😉 , but then it became boring after a certain extend. By the way, I love the dry fruits, kaju, kismis and pista which are served nearly everywhere. And yeah, 11 diyas are lit on this day.

Day 5: Bhai Duj – A day when brothers and sisters meet each other and display their love and affection for each other 😀

I haven’t celebrated a Diwali at home for the past five years, and as Himank mentioned, am missing the same! The new clothes, the wonderful goodies, the get togethers… I miss it all.

The Clemency Issue October 20, 2006

Posted by Karan in General.
10 comments

I thought Afzal Guru was supposed to be hanged today. He was one of the abettors of the heinous attack on the temple of Indian democracy, the Indian Parliament on 13th December, 2001. Having been sentenced to a death penalty (two others were let off when they appealed to a higher court, Unbelievable), his appeal for clemency now lies with the Home ministry. And as usual, human rights activists and the Hurriyat are up in arms against the death penalty. Don’t these guys realize that this was an attack on Indian democracy itself, aimed at wiping out the top leadership of the country? What if the terrorists had managed to storm into the Parliament on that fateful day? As for the argument that these criminals can be reformed, think about it. When these people indulge in such activities despite having knowledge of its consequences, where is the scope of changing them? The best example is Masood Azhar.

 

On introspecting further, I realise that the entire Indian law system sucks big time. A judgment can be appealed till you reach the highest court. Each case takes years and years to solve at every level. All this time, the offender is left scot free, and can as well indulge in similar activities. If most of the cases anyway have to go to the higher courts, why have the lower courts at all? An interesting stat related to this, the number of cases pending before the Indian Supreme Court has crossed 150000!!

Why this Hypocrisy? October 17, 2006

Posted by Karan in General.
13 comments

I pity the denizens of Pyangyong. The United Nations sanctions imposed on the country is the latest in the series of adversities they have been facing for a long time now. It all started with Japan’s conquest in the early 20th century. One of the causalities of the long standing acrimony between the two world super powers, Korea was divided into two. This was a major turning point. Thanks to the virtual control of the USSR and the USA in North and South Korea respectively, the two countries have never been at ease. It even led to the Korean war (often called the ‘Forgotten war’) between 1950-53 (a part of the cold war) Millions of civilians lost their lives on either side. Then followed the terrible and oppressive communist regime in Pyangyong. Famines and murders were rampant. And now the sanctions coming as a consequence of the nuclear test. (North Korea became the 8th country in the world to go nuclear on the 9th of this month.)

 

            The question I want to ask is why are the Americans and others displaying this level of hypocrisy? Isn’t it natural that a country which is constantly being threatened by world’s only super power (for no reason… for any doubts, refer Iraq) will only try to defend itself? Isn’t it obvious that the tests were a reaction to America’s reactions after 9/11, branding North Korea as one of the axes of evil, along with Iraq and Iran. The fuel added to the fire was the uncalled for action against Iraq, which is now facing widespread condemnation across the world. And now, the world puts Pyangyong further in distress by imposing acrid sanctions. Just having recovered from a hoarse and prolonged famine, this measure is bound to anger North Korea further. And India… why is India so strongly condemning the nuclear tests. Did they not conduct similar tests in 1998? Have they forgotten the reactions from our side, when the world belittled us in a similar fashion? And why should the poor Koreans suffer further? Sometimes, I just can’t understand the world and so-called ‘leaders’.

Hostel Life :) October 12, 2006

Posted by Karan in General, Personal.
6 comments

It was one in the night. Watching a movie from the last couple of hours had made me ravenous. I called up my pals, and asked them to get ready. Together, the four of us had a nice walk and then we headed towards the canteen. Munching on sandwiches and dosas, we gossiped along unto the wee hours of the morning. Hitting the sack at a time when most of us would have been waking up at home, we get up directly at the lunch hour! After a bath and some solid BC, we are off to CCD to spend the evening.

 

Whoa! Quite a way to spend my day. But this is hostel life, my dear! Where else (except maybe during marriages) can you lead such a carefree life?

 

I haven’t spent the last four Diwalis (which is the biggest festival for us) at home. Been missing Mummy’s food and care for quite some time. Am bereft of the really long talks I have with papa and Sneha (my sis). Miss those long drives with friends. But know what? Hostel (and campus) life beats it all. Apart from all the fun you have (24*7 with friends. That’s quite good! ), hostel life is also a wonderfully enriching and learning experience. I will go the extend of saying that its one of the most important components of whole-person education. The plethora of things that you get to learn in a hostel is amazing! Acclimation, time management, self administration etc are some of the things you imbibe. A few years in hostel in your late teens is bound to prepare you for the big jungle out there.

 

Even taking into account the other side of the coin (which is quite dark for many of my friends), I’ll say that boarding is a must for one’s development as a complete human being.

 

 

PS: After some disturbing events in the last few days, have really been missing home, feel like running into Mom’s arms right now!

Classes@IIIT October 7, 2006

Posted by Karan in IIIT centric.
24 comments

8:30 A.M The schedule time for the class to start. The Prof is all set with his slides, but students.. there are hardly five of them seated, in a class of 140!

8:35 A.M Seeing no other go, the Prof starts the class with about twenty students on board.

8:45 A.M A swarm of students enter the class, fearing the closure of the door.

9:45 A.M This is the time when the maximum number of students enter the class, just for the sake of attendance, damn the 85% attendance rule X-(

 

Well, this is the story of one of the supposedly top colleges of India. Now for some facts. The fees we pay per semester is 35K+. Taking in the point that some of the money is used for infrastructure maintenance, and lots of it for research (wonder how much.. and is it all that necessary?), there is still a lot of cash which goes into the classes. Definitely, more than 50 bucks per class. And how do students spend their time in the classes? Sleeping, SMSing, catching up with novels and friends are the hot activities. Listening to the class, you must be joking! And why should they listen? We have some of the most boring professors around. Of course, a lot of the blame lies with the complacency of the students, but remember, these are some of the most sincere and hard working students around, who have sweated it out throughout their lives. So, there has to be something wrong in the system too. Take my case. After screwing up my second semester in comparison to the first, I had decided to make amends this time around. I had decided to pay attention to the classes. However, what most of my Professors (save a couple of them) do is to read out stuff from slides or material prepared from textbooks (which even my grandmom can do well). Who would be interested in listening to such classes, when there is much better stuff to do 😀 . And to say that listening to classes ensures good marks in the exams would be a big mistake. There are innumerable examples in my class, where students score top marks without paying too much attention in the class, and vice versa.

 

Anyways, here are a few points I would like to make:

 

1)      Why have so many students in a single classroom, when it is so very difficult to manage them? It’ll be much better if each room has a strength of about 50-60 students. And it definitely shouldn’t be too difficult for the professors to repeat what they have taught.

2)      One and a half hours for a single class! Even by our standards, that’s way too long. It’s a commonly known fact that the average span over which a person can remain at the top of his concentration does not cross 30-40 minutes. It’s nearly impossible to pay attention for more than an hour, and this invariably leads to grumblings within the class towards the latter half of the class. Frustration creeps in on both sides.

3)      I suggest the methods of teaching be looked into once again. Teaching from the slides and prepared material from the text books just leads to waning interest among students. The best respected professors, Dr.Jawahar, Dr.Jayanthi, Mr Marathe, Mrs Marathe and Dr.Anoop are the ones who do not do so. They are the ones who use the board more often, and try to cover the critical aspects, which the students may not understand dexterously. A course like Operating Systems could have been very interesting, but for the method of teaching, which just acts as a  major turn off.

4)      Finally, I question the benefits of an attendance rule and advocate its withdrawal. Not having such a rule will ensure that the interested students stay put.

 

I guess this is an issue everyone should look into and contemplate. For our institute to stay on top, how long can we allow such a sorry situation to prevail?   

 

 

My experiences with Sathya Sai Baba -2 October 5, 2006

Posted by Karan in General, Personal.
5 comments

This is continuation on my previous post on Baba:

“I have come to light the lamp of Love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added luster. I have not come on any mission or publicity for any sect or creed or cause nor have I come to collect followers for any doctrine. I have no plans to attract disciples or devotees into my fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of the Universal, Unitary Faith, this Path of Love, this Duty of Love, this Obligation to Love.”

Sathya Sai Baba, 4th July, 1968.

As seen from His declaration, Swami’s aim has not been increasing His devotee base or asserting Himself as God. He has just been looking to teach mankind how to live, which we have truly forgotten. He often talks about achieving the ultimate goal, which is to stop living like an animal and attain divinity. Now this is something worth posturing upon.. Why are we here on Earth. Do we have an aim or a purpose in life? Is birth or death happening just by chance, or have we been sent by someone?

To demonstrate the principles of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa which He wants us to imbibe in our lives, Swami has done a lot for mankind.

1) He has single handedly, just with private party donations transformed Puttaparthi into a modern town having all amenities.

2) Built ultra modern super specialty hospitals in Puttaparthi and Brindavan (Bangalore), all providing health care, inclusive of operations free of cost to everyone! Motivated by the desire to serve humanity, doctors, nurses and administrators all render extraordinary care (I have experienced it myself!)

3) Has built schools all over India, providing education free of cost. The Institute of Higher Learning in Puttaparthi, Anantpur and Brindavan is a renowned deemed university providing courses like B.Sc, MBA etc, all without charge. The students of the University and schools are extremely well groomed and talented, all ready to face the challenges of life.

4) The Sathya Sai drinking water project has brought drinking water to more than 700 villages in Andhra Pradesh and most of Tamil Nadu. Swami succeeded where the government had failed for years. The project has costed more than 100 million dollars, and has covered a population of over 20 lakhs.

5) Adapted thousands of orphans across India, providing them all the requirements of life.

6) Apart from the so many other things which cannot be stated here, He has inspired millions of people (this is no exaggeration) across the world to take up acts of charity to improve the condition of people around them!

So what if you don’t believe in Him? Can you just ignore all the good activities which He has taken up?

All I am saying is that one need not be a believer in Him; it’s just that we should sit down and think about our lives. Think about what we want, and how we should lead our lives and how we want to be known after we leave this place. The answers will come from within your heart, because there is a divinity within each one of us, one only has to realize it.

( to be continued.. )

Wish I were.. October 3, 2006

Posted by Karan in Personal.
8 comments

Chester Bennington: Good luck to everyone of you guys man. We were on the other side of the barricade a few years ago, man. Coming to these shows, seeing our favorite bands and having the dreams. Just persevere, believe in yourself. One day you’ll be up here with us. Or Metallica or Limp Bizkit, Deftones, Mudvayne

 

(Audience jeers and cheers!)

 

2003, Texas. The Live Linkin Park concert. An unbelievable and electrifying atmosphere. Over 200000 people jumping up and down, head banging and pitting to the beats of Crawling. Chester, Shinoda and the others being looked upto ( both literally, and figuratively ) with Chester’s energy blowing one’s mind away. His enthusiasm was infectious, his stage presence, awe-inspiring. For me, it was an amazing experience.

 

Maybe, because this was the for the first time, that I was seeing a concert (so what if just on my laptop). Maybe, because I am a hard-core fan of LP, and Chester. Maybe, because I am nascent to the world of rock.

 

It’s now that I understand the term, ‘rock star status’. For most teenagers and youngsters across America and the world, the top rock stars enjoy a God-like status. Respect, money, power… they have it all. What else could they have asked from a career? It makes me wish, that I were a rock star 😀 . For popularity is something that I really cherish. And rock stars are not just popular, they are iconic.

 

 

PS:

Do watch the LP live in Texas video, if you haven’t as yet.

And yeah, do suggest more such concerts to me.

Wish one of these top rock bands visit India, that would set the atmosphere on fire.

Thank you Aditya, for introducing me to rock!