BITS Pilani, The Story So Far…

5th May, 2018: Saturday. News spread like a wildfire that Institute will be charging Rs 1.6 Lakh per semester as the tuition fee. An average expense of Rs 6000 (including mess, travel and other basic needs), the effective fee per semester becomes Rs 1.9 Lakh. 4 years ago, in my First year (joined in Aug, 2014), the effective fee was Rs 1 Lakh per semester. By the time I am graduating, I am already paying nearly double of this amount per semester. Average inflation rate has been around 5% which means that fee should be increased by not more than 8% each year, which sums up to roughly Rs 1.25 Lakhs for in my last year. On the contrary I have paid Rs 1.88 Lakhs per semester in my last year. This is because each year fee has been hiked by 15% pa. Due to this regular steep increases, students’s loans have exhausted, graduating students have to take up shitty jobs instead of pursuing Master’s or PhD in their field of interest.

This has been going on for too long now. It isn’t like if my fee at the time of admission is Rs 1 Lakh, then it will remain the same throughout my degree. There have been consistent fee hikes which has finally agitated all the students on campus. So a message was finally spread that BITSians will assemble on 6th May, 2018 in the Auditorium to protest against this move and will try to get concrete answers from the Administration. Dean of Student Welfare Division challenged a few student leaders that not more than 500 students will turn up in the protest. All their efforts will be useless.

6th May, 2018 (11 AM): Sunday. Auditorium. More than 2500 BITSians turn up to protest against fee hike during their end semester exams.31960804_1645145045563344_2693508629956395008_n

These 2500 BITSians gathered in the auditorium in the middle of the day to get answers to their painful questions. Hats Off to Siddharth Namburi, Bharatratna Pulli, Jai Agarwal, Satyansh Rai and a lot more people for doing such awesome mobilization last night and maintaining peace and logic throughout. The Director along with Sub-Registrar, Deans of Student Welfare Division, Alumni Affairs, Chief Warden and other senior faculty came to the auditorium to clarify our concerns and have an open conversation with our elected representatives.

Director opened the debate with a sentimental speech claiming that their previous revenue resources like Work Integrated Learning Program have shrinked due to low cost competition in the field. There is no single penny donated by Govt. and the hiked fee is still subsidized by BITS administration. The only source of “extracting” revenue is students and unfortunately they have to pay the fee to keep the institution running. Fair enough. Only sympathy for suffering students. After this, the Director opened himself to questions from student representatives. 31946375_1645180898893092_4832768785679122432_n.jpg

I will not go into full details and refrain from biased interpretation of answers but try to portray important questions and their answers by the Director (Left most person on stage above). When asked the logic behind 15% hike, the Director said inflation is 8%, expansion of facilities is 4%, 2% is for maintenance and 1% is for contingency. The student representatives pointed to him that inflation is nearly 5% and never 8%, to which he was speechless. Then we asked about “expanding” research facilities on campus in the context of dropping research reputation and NIRF ranking of BITS Pilani. He answered by saying that in order to compete with world class universities, we have to invest more in research and since Govt. has reduced funding our projects, it is students who have to pay for it. There is no other way out of it.

When the Director was made aware of the fact that for many students, their original student loan was exhausted after 3 years and it is difficult to extend the loan or take second loan from the Banks, he replied, “We have indicated in the fee structure that there can be 15% fee hike. This should have been taken into account while applying for loan.” To this, a question was put up that now students are unable to pay the fee (due to exhausted loan) and what can the administration do about it? Should he/she drop out of college? He replied, “We have scholarships to help students.” A concern was raised that such high fee would lead to decrease in student quality as evident by 2017 cut offs. He replied, “We did not communicate that we are increasing seats. So this year cutoffs will not drop. We will see.” Finally we asked him that since we cannot see any observable increase in the quality of education as compared to the fee hike and clearly, at this stage, can we focus on affordability first? He replied, “If a student cannot pay fee, he can always opt (during admission) for Govt. College. But right now, we do not have any other revenue model and students will have pay for their education. If you have one, I am happy to hear and convey it to the highest authorities.”

Final question was posed, the fee is too much and BITSians cannot pay it anymore? What decision are you going to take about it? He replied, “I have to discuss with Birla Leadership Group. You see today is Sunday, so a lot cannot be done. I can assure you that something will be done about it.” We had to make him take a note that students are sitting in the jam-packed auditorium during their End semester exams, skipping their lunch and the best reply he can give to us is “Today is Sunday after all.” I immensely respect him for talking to us straight on and attempting to clarify our doubts. Since our student representatives were adamant on getting immediate solutions, he assured us that he will try to get in touch with other authorities like Directors from Goa and Hyderabad Campuses, Vice Chancellor (VC) and such. He returned after 45 minutes saying that VC is traveling. He will be landing in Delhi soon and will come straight to Pilani. He could get in touch with one of the three Directors and they have assured that together they will notify it to authorities.

We decided to wait and let the VC address our issue. He came to Pilani at around 8pm, met with out student representatives and wasn’t very happy with the developments so far. He called student leaders incompetent and refused to address the students in Auditorium and preferred to hold the talks behind closed door. At this stage, we emptied the auditorium and all 2000 students sat in front of his residence to urge him to come and speak in auditorium. All peacefully! He agreed but on certain conditions: “There shouldn’t be any howling or shouting bad words in the auditorium. The crowd should behave. No interruptions at all.” Perhaps he was looking for excuses to not address the audiences. To his surprise, everyone obeyed. There was pin-drop silence when he held the mic. Throughout his 5 min cameo, he never used the words “fee hike”, lied on stage that student representatives have agreed to meet him on Friday and discuss the issue. But his lie was called out by Union president, Bharatratna Puli, and VC heard the “NO” of 2000 people.

This “NO” was more louder than Jadavpur’s hostage situation and VC left the auditorium within next 5 min. It disappointed 2000 BITSians who were sitting there all day long during their end sem exams to hear something meaningful from Vice Chancellor of a reputed Deemed University. Disappointment everywhere.

7th May, 2018: Monday. Exam day. As a symbol of protest, we decided to write #RollBackBITSPilaniFeeHike on our answer sheets and wear black. Protestors then stationed themselves near Main Gate and a student decided to sit on hunger strike. In order to make our voices heard, we decided to block the Main Road as was advised by Chief Security Officer (ironically). After multiple round of talks by senior professors and inspection by Police Team of Pilani, we removed the blocked around 6pm in evening. Later that night, a severe thunder and dust storm hit Pilani and students took refuge in nearby mess. Still didn’t deviate from their silent protest. Still no word from Administration about the issue.

8th May, 2018: Tuesday. We sat on protest in front of auditorium, right below Vice Chancellor and Director’s office. Still silently protesting against the unreasonable fee hike. Around 2:15PM, we started this initiative, a symbolic expression, “Change for a Change”. We decided to place a bowl in front of Director and VC’s office and urge the students to drop 1,2,5, 10rs coins (change) to help them run the institute. It wasn’t meant to insult anyone, just a symbolic representation of our protest. Yet no word from Administration. Later that day, through Director of Hyderabad Campus, we got to know that VC is having blackouts since the day before. Doctors have ruled out cardiac reasons and it could be Neurological symptom. To this effect, he has been hospitalized to AIIMS, Delhi where he is undergoing treatment. We wish him a speed recovery. Later in the night, protestors led a silent march to show that their strength and resilience is still unchanged.

 

9th May, 2018: Wednesday, It was communicated to us that directors of all 4 campuses have agreed to talk to student representatives of all 3 campuses and address the issue. After a little bit of convincing they decided to live stream the meeting to BITSians and alumni with the condition that video shouldn’t be leaked outside of the community. What we witnessed was sheer diplomacy by Directors. To some extent they made sense, where as on other issues they just beat around the bush. Meeting concluded at around 9:30pm (after 3 hours of discussion). Long story short: Directors agreed to keep the students in loop about the decision process. They will submit the demands to Vice Chancellor with their inputs as well. Till a decision is made, SWD will not release the fee for current batches. Till a decision is made, students were urged not to take any step (like road block or such) that would distract the directors from discussing the matter at hand and to have faith in them. Mind you, this wasn’t a small feat. An administration which seems impenetrable, to get all these demands satisfied was a big feat. Thanks to our Student Leaders from all 3 campuses, everything was done peacefully and silently.

11th May, 2018: Friday. So now, we wait. Directors are discussing it among themselves and will present to Vice Chancellor once he recovers his health. Students of Hyderabad Campus led a final march and submitted a Pen (a symbol of affordable education), a letter (with stories written about negative effects of increasing student loans) and a rose (a symbol of faith in Administration) in front of Administrative block. Students in Pilani campus made a human image of iconic clock tower in Gym Grounds in the night with flashlights. These were to assure administration that we have not lost our faith and respect for BITS Pilani and its administration. But, if the need be, we can again assemble and take necessary steps if our voices are neglected again.

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This was the story of Silent Protest conducted by all 3 campuses of BITS Pilani. Amazing story isn’t it. In a country which has seen protests as violent as Rajasthan University, Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi) or Jadavpur University (West Bengal), this was a refreshing site for many. We showed that Gandhian Way of Protest can still work with some determination and logic. We, BITSians, stood apart from the crowd once again. What seemed to be a tragic ending to my final few days got converted into a magical one! Thanks to efforts of BITSAA international, alumnis all over India and world, student leaders of all 3 campuses and BITSian janta (of course), we made our voices heard. Kudos to everyone!

BITS Pilani, Its Magic!

(PS: All the photos have been taken by someone else. My purpose to use them here is just to illustrate the protest. And not make any profit from them.)

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Dark side of the research….

Its 4 AM in the morning, but don’t worry, it isn’t a post which I am composing half asleep. I had a virtual espresso shot and somehow just for today- I have become an insomniac. Fun!

I had been working on a funded research project (for last 6 months) focusing on sensitivity analysis and reduced order modeling of mathematical models of infectious diseases like tuberculosis and typhoid. My mentor and I started working on an hypothesis. We strongly believed in the hypothesis as it was highly intuitive and seemed quite practical. Initial experimentation were in-line with the hypothesis we had started with. Gradually the hypothesis got converted into a theory which we wanted to publish. In fact, we had started writing the draft for the Journal of Theoretical Biology or Journal of Mathematical Biology. What went wrong then?

During drafting of the journal paper, one day an idea suddenly struck me (while playing badminton). I had done a semester long course on Machine Learning and its applications in real world problem. Techniques used in machine learning are suitable for analysis of high-dimensional data, something which I was dealing with in my research. I wanted to visualize and cluster my high-dimensional data and provide a strong argument in support of the theory which we were going to present. Ambitious!

We found a technique: t-SNE (t-Stochastic Neighbor Embedding), which worked remarkably well with even very very high (>20000) dimensional data. The crux idea of the technique was fairly simple and we implemented it without any hiccups. To our utter shock, the results from t-SNE shattered the hypothesis to bits-and-pieces. It wasn’t something which my supervisor had asked me to do. It was my own idea which resulted in scrapping of my previous 3 month’s work. Shattering and painful! We simply couldn’t neglect the findings (though we are confident that we would have published the earlier results as well since no where in systems biology, had any one has ever attempted to implement t-SNE algorithm. No one would have challenged us!). It was the matter of upholding research integrity: that as a researcher we have to put the most correct form of information in front of the world.

None the less, there were beautiful lessons to be learnt from this incident. I learned about the strength of integrity and honesty. Staying true and honest to my work was really difficult and required very deep work ethics. I learned that a certain amount of knowledge is never enough! Never! There is always something which you will not be aware of. You really need to work hard to keep up with recent research trends in all the domains which are even remotely connected to your work. And this is very essential as you never know what might become useful for you. Most importantly, I learnt to tackle the failure.

Discussing with my mentors, I realized that what happened with me is not rare. Rather it is quite common and happens with almost everyone at some point in their research. Instead of withdrawing from the problem in fear of further failures, one should take inspiration from it. Use it as a building material for your next hypothesis which would be that much more robust. Catching your own mistakes is no smaller feat either since it is difficult for us to scrutinize our own creation. Yes, there will be a bitter taste left in you after such incidents but that taste will keep you on your toes, ever so cautious and attentive with your next steps.

What did I do in my case? For starters, I didn’t hide anything from my supervisor. I struggled to come up with a new idea/hypothesis to test for a long time. Partially because moving on from a hypothesis I strongly believed in was difficult and partially because systems biology isn’t my long term research domain. Some inertia is justifiable! Currently, I have a new idea which I am eager to discuss with my supervisor. It is something which gives me joy that I can push myself beyond my own limits in challenging circumstances. I have a new beginning at least, which is very important. Incidents like these test your character and work ethics in the most challenging circumstances. I am happy to be able to just pass this test. The entire experience was quite humbling.

Sadly, for all the joy (of solving problems) research gave me, this is one of its dark sides which I got to experience. The wiser people say that: “The more you struggle initially, the easier your path will be become later on”. I hope that is applicable to me as well. Apart from these hiccups, research is beautiful, elegant, powerful and at times eccentric! Really really enjoyable! I hope the readers will get something out of my own experience (which is the prime motivation of writing this blog post).

See you next time. 🙂

 

When Ants Ate My Maggi!

So in 7th standard…my final exams were going on. That particular day was my Maths paper and after surviving a grueling “after-paper-discussion-session” without any heartbreak, I was pretty satisfied with my effort for the day! Even though next day it is mother of all examinations, History, I decided to feast myself with Maggi! It was an instant winner. Not 1 (who eats one at a time, Pff!), not 2 (it is a special day after all 😀 ) but 3 packs of Maggi! There is no one to stop me after all! (Evil laughter)

So I got into the act; pot carefully selected- not too big that it makes eating from it difficult, not too​ small that Maggi sticks to bottom. Water carefully measured with my trusty tea-cup! Enough to make the “Soupy” version but not too much that every thing is floating! Now comes the big question- Maggi first or Masala first! Now the problem here is that even though instructions behind packet tells you to add them together, but for all practical purposes you need to pick your favorite and  “swaha” it in water. But then if you make noodles enter first, then pour in masala, there will be masala lumps stuck in noodles! If you make masala go in first and then put noodles, there is a chance that masala might get over cooked, leading to a tasteless Maggi! Ah what dilemma! How a 7th-grader was supposed to know the enigmatic concepts of entropy and diffusion! But some how practical results trump theoretical explanations! So going by the rule of thumb, I intelligently poured in Masala and then the noodles. All that is left is to cook it!

Now there are different ways to go about it! You can either stir it constantly, evenly mixing everything and evenly spacing noodles in your pot. Or you can leave the cake as it is and have nice rectangular chunk of noodles, just like in Lasagna (A western dish with alternate layers of noodles and gravy). Or you can do a semi-stir, and get best of both worlds! Hahahaha! Greedy Me! In those days, I used to go for Semi Stir, and then let the steam do its job! These days I am more like a Full Stir guy! Thinking about a movie or t.v. serial to see while feasting on 3 packets of Maggi! Those were the days when Byomkesh Bakshi and a Prem Chand Written T.V. serial used to air on Doordarshan! I glanced the wall clock to see what is going to be aired in next 15 minutes…..Byomkesh Bakshi! My favorite detective!!! (I wasn’t a Sherlock Holmes fan until I had seen Robert Downey Jr. play it later on!)

I took a quick look inside the pot, thinking how I will be wiping it clean as Byomkesh Bakshi solves the crime! Already drooling at the sheer amount of Maggi at my disposal, all for me! I feel like a Greedy King sitting in his treasury, tossing his money around with both hands! Now while I was day dreaming about my pot of Maggi, I realized that I have let it boil for too long and now I will have to wait for a while before I can start eating! So I covered it with quarter plate, placed the ladle aside and went on to switch on the TV! So I arranged a small stool in front of my comfy little chair placed at a correct distance from ceiling fan and in front of TV so that I wouldn’t get scolded for sitting too close to TV nor will I get drenched in sweat after a long bout with Maggi! (I am little particular about these things!)

And then the mother of all the heart breaks begun- Show started on time. Spicy murder mystery! First advertisements were rolled out and I ran towards kitchen at god speed so that I don’t miss out on anything at the end of adverstisements! I removed the hot quarter plate, only to find ants crawling all over my Maggi! 😦 I swear to god, first heart break and a painful one! 😦 That was the moment when I was able to justify the heinous crime of burning ant hills with magnifying glass! -_- Was I crying? No! But I learned that complaining won’t get you anything! You just need to move on and go to next best thing you can do, which in my case, was eating Namkeen and bid my sincere adieu to the Maggi hijacked by those tiny Ants! Also learned that never to imagine about something so much that it hurts later on!

This was my Maggi story (there are a lot more: like fighting with siblings over securing a fair share for yourself or sneaking in night to make Maggi).

Happy Eating!

Let Education Be Education!

So…results are out, breaking news are being flashed, interviews are being done and sentimental background stories are getting compiled! But wait a minute- Am I talking about an athlete or celebrity who struggled through hardships to do well and make India proud on international stage or the results of JEE-Advance are out? Difference is almost non-existent, right! And in a few days from this article, another field will be going through same roller coaster ride. So what is this article about? Is it about pressure on students grilling day and night to score good marks…..Hell no, because there is nothing wrong in hard work! So what am I try to imply with such a thought provoking title “Let Education be Education”- probably the fact that most of us have truly forgotten what education was supposed to mean! The basic question of “What, Why, How, When, Where” are long lost and no one, especially in these factories (coaching institutes) churning out doctors and engineers by the second, are doing anything for their revival!

I studied in one of these factories, blind like everyone else in the starting, lost my way in the end. I somehow managed to crack through entrance exam of one of the most sought after institution in India, lost my way again and now I am about to graduate, finally with a clear path ahead. That being said, I recently had a chance of observing the Great Indian Results Drama! There was this exam which almost 1.5L students appeared for. Some students achieved a good rank because of their effort. Some achieved a good rank, well because they were born in certain special circumstances! (The debate about reservation if for some other day!) Then students who scored well were celebrated as heroes and heroins of some Bollywood Movie. Processions were carried out, they were honored with garland and tilak, a ceremony so grand that even Knighthood Ceremony of UK would get a tinge of inferiority complex! (Exaggerated, I agree). What about those who did not score well? Simple, Villains for their family and society! (To be clear here, I never allowed my coaching institute to publish my photo because I am strictly against such publicity!)

Let us take a step back and see what are we doing- There are students, still teenagers, treating them like Kings and Princes, giving them “God Complex” too early to handle! We then introduce them to dogma that a particular branch is the “only” good branch (just after observing short term benefits!) and not encouraging them to pursue their interests! What happens next? These students get complacent at the worst possible time of their career and screw up at a place where they should be excelling with flying color. So congrats “factories” for screwing up most of the engineering generation! Kudos! Complacency + God Complex + Freedom of college life = Disaster in most cases! (I was one of them!) End result is a generation of engineers without any perspective or vision for their future!

Coming back to these “factories”- buildings are proudly labeled as “coaching institutes” and people working inside those buildings, especially those who interact with students are “coaches”. Mind You, not “School and Teachers”! Funny isn’t it! End result, you don’t get “education” from teachers, instead you get “instruction” from coaches! As emphasized in a great movie “3 Idiots”- “Chabuk ke darr se sikhaye huye sher ko Well Trained kehte hai, Well Educated Nahi”.  We are getting a supply of “Well Trained” students and not “Well-Educated”. Is it purely the fault of these “factories”? Well is corruption purely because the officers are corrupt, No, right! What I believe is that, it is the right time for “Coaches” to turn into “teachers” and give their students some perspective about life and subjects! Work hard to inculcate the passion of “finding” an answer rather than “solving” a problem! Decide for yourself! What do you want- instruction or education?

But then, who is going to listen to me! It is not like parents will stop submitting their “raw materials” to these “factories”. I am not totally against these factories. They give you a chance to sit in premier institutes of country, make you hard working, competitive and quick-thinker! What they lack is inculcating a perspective, a vision in their students. May be a lot of practical problems like suicide and depression may get solved on their own with a little change in atmosphere. I don’t mean to hurt anyone. But I believe that somewhere someone will appreciate my thought, and life of couple of students will change because of that!

Let Education be Education!

 

 

The Old School of Ink Spill

In a student’s life time, there is always that one pen which leaks every now and then and at the very wrong moments. Be it early morning, Ink Refill session while you are trying to make it to school bus in time or in the middle of writing an essay during an essay writing competition! There were all sorts of trouble attached with that ink pen! But when I look back, I see it as one of the first few lessons I learned for crisis management. 🙂 Weird isn’t it, that how something as trivial as an ink pen can teach you something as valuable as crisis management. Here are a few lessons from those fond/frustrating memories of ink-spills:

  1. Always predict before hand.

Will the ink last the whole day? Should I go for a refill? What if the pen stops working? Since those days, pen used to lack an indicator to show the amount of ink left, you would have to rely solely on your instincts to decide when to refill! A lesson missed by ball point pen users. They can see the whole refill thing right there.

Thus Ink Pen taught me an important lesson of anticipating the problem even hours before it might occur and take steps to counter it or at least be prepared for it. Predicting product durability was another key concept taught to us by Ink Pens.

2. The Faster You React, More You Can Save

The moment you come to know about the Ink spill, what is the first thing you do? Pull away all the important pages and objects away from the range of disaster impact. Then pull away the least affected one, and so on, till everything of importance is removed from the area of impact and that too within 20-30 seconds! Fast Enough! This is the crux of any crisis containment strategy.

3. If you play with fire, there will be burn marks!

Even if you do everything with extreme caution, you will still have stain marks on your hands, tore pages at the back of notebook with ink blots on the remaining part of the page. A beautiful lesson of how to accept the losses and work with them! We so brilliantly hid it from the world that we just had a face-to-face with the most staining disaster in the world, yet explained the whole adventure to our best friends. Perhaps a lesson about not sharing our losses with no one but only those who would understand and not make fun of you!

I still love writing with the ink pen, mainly due to the vintage feel and texture of impression and its smell. Perhaps I am the only one in my college to do so. But Still, that Old School of Ink Spill still keeps me on alert and proactive during a crisis.

Things I Learnt Last Semester….

It was an eventful semester! No doubt in that. I was partly glad that it was over and some part of me craved for more action. May be because I was getting addicted to the things happening around me! All the shuffling of things, coping up with set-backs, fighting through grueling exams and making memories. As the new semester is about to start, I think it is the right time to write about what I have learned from the last semester:

  1. No excuse for Academics!Ultimate truth! For juniors, who might be reading this, “Never slack off in your acads! Never flunk even a single test! Its no different from your 11th and 12th preparations!” People often console complaining teenagers that in college they wouldn’t have to study this much. As a result, most first year students end up throwing everything in the wind and start living carefree. For sure by the end of their college years, they realize the grave mistake they had committed by doing so! I hope I have realized it soon enough. The truth is, college education is just as fierce and competitive as Entrance exam preparations! The only thing that has changed is “complexity of concepts”.

2. World is Not mine, and I am not World’s!

On my very best day, destiny always have something else planned for me! World can throw weird and most joyous surprises in your way and little you can do about it. Instead of complaining about it all the time, I realized that this is not my world and I am not owned by this world! Last semester was filled with both horrific as well as memorable surprises and I am thankful for developing such a special view of things. Such experiences taught me that it is not the end the world even if you have hit the rock bottom! At any given time, you can choose to improve yourself or drown yourself in the puddle of disappointment, ultimately the choice will be yours! Not giving a shit about what world will think about you will keep you light headed!

3. There is always a happy ending!

No matter how gigantic the shit pile is, there will always be a happy ending to it. Sometimes, you will need the valuable help from others but there will always be there for you! I am stressing on it so much because a few things happened from which I couldn’t have recovered if people were not ready to help me. So always have a good company around you.

4. Tomorrow is now!

Don’t wait to learn something if you have the time to learn it right now. You might end up waiting for a long time to get another opportunity like this. Don’t be afraid that you won’t get enough free time. The more you work hard in your initial days, the easier life becomes later on. With such a fast paced world, the tomorrow is already here! Don’t miss out on opportunities! I wanted to learn Tabla, now I have to wait for more than 3 months to do that when I could have practiced a lot in these 3 months! Or all those software which I wanted to learn last semester, I have to invest time now, to start from scratch! Don’t be afraid of the hard work, do it smartly and you will be reaping gigantic benefits for yourself in future! Thus “Get off your ass and get to work! Always there will be enough hours in day, you just need to reshuffle!” 

5.  Making Memories doesn’t require planning! 

It doesn’t require an elaborate plan to make a moment worthy enough to etch it into your memory! One shouldn’t be too up tight to have every moment perfect so that it can be called memorable! Sometimes meeting people randomly, sharing a loud laugh with everyone can make it quite memorable! Thus from now on wards I have decided to throw caution to the wind and enjoy every moment in most weird possible way so that I have a story to share. Let us be honest, nobody is excited to hear about a well planned trip. Everyone will love to hear about your mis-planned adventures! 😀

These five things got etched to the bottom of my heart! I am sure they will contribute in making the next one even more better! 😀

 

A Friend

Forging a relation different from others,
Who acts like Newtonian Apple* when it matters.
Like Ruth* and Samson*, hold my hand when Earth Dances,
Tolerating my mistakes, hiding ‘em in crates.

Loyal to Captain in a mutiny,
No hesitation to reach there for me.
Like Steve Jobs*, keep me under scrutiny,
One who caters to the need of me.

Have the strength to hold me back,
Someone to tell me when to tap*.
Having similar world in our mind,
A special one from my own kind*.

Always hold the mirror for me,
Inspire the world’s desire of being me.

Allusions:
Newtonian Apple: A falling apple triggered the concept of Gravity in Sir Isaac Newton. Similarly a friend should be someone who is constant source of inspiration.
Ruth: Ruth is a biblical figure known for her Loyalty.
Samson: Samson is a biblical figure who is known for his strength given to him by God.
Steve Jobs: Steve Jobs was known as a great mentor and inventor. He even mentored Mark Zuckerberg in his early days as Facebook CEO.
Tap: In a wrestling match, when one of the fighters is overwhelmed by other, he can bow out of a fight by tapping the ground as a signal to save himself from any serious injury.
Kind: Here referred to as individuals belonging to a particular race of human species.

Morning Hours

My last post took me almost 6 days to compile from top-to-bottom! Clearly something is wrong with my schedule and needs to be rectified! Earlier I used to write at the end of the day, sitting comfortably in my room and slowly and steadily completing each composition. This way I didn’t have to worry about time and could go on writing as long as I can. But then 6 days to write one post is too much time.

For a change, I have decided to switch to morning time for writing my posts. 9-10 am mainly because it is a free hour between a jam-packed academic schedule on all days except Friday. Starting a day with creating something positive fills me with positive energy. Certainly a different way to start an otherwise regular morning. Also sitting down early in morning, trying to  brain storm something positive helps to set the tone of the day. 

There is a saying: “Early risers get ahead in the game”. Getting up early and writing something is stronger motivation than getting up early and studying, I mean at least for a normal student like me. Waking up early and activating brain cells to start thinking about what to write from the moment alarm rings, helps in strong energy flow throughout the body. And before you know, slowly and steadily, entire body wakes up and you are already working at your 70-80% capabilities! A little exercise or yoga is like cherry on the top! But I am yet to walk on that road. Although I have made it a habit to cycle fast!

Writing in morning means, I have to sleep early in the night. This implies more sleep and fresher mornings! Hence changing the position of just one activity brought the entire schedule to a somewhat optimal level. Waking up early in morning is easier when we have slept enough and also with habit, one does not feel the need of alarm clock too. Hence no unpleasant sounds in morning and one wakes up to the noise of chirping birds sound and rays of sun. The feeling is super, trust me!

Remember, how our daily schedule was more than optimum during school days! We were able to accomplish so much in the entire day. Study 5-7 subjects, complete homework, play, practice some hobby, hangout with friends, sleep, watch tv too (I was a big cartoon network and Hungama fan. 😀 Shinchan, Kochikame and Beyblade, Tom & Jerry were my opium 😉 ). No wonder those were the most satisfying days! Most of us fail to do even half of that now! Just because we are losing productive morning hours which we used to get during school hours.

I also realized that developing a new habit takes time. It takes more of mental strength to stick to that habit than physical tuning! People are very enthusiastic during the initial days of starting the new habit or hobby but then lose the motivation mainly due to impatience. Our mind always wants to do things in the easy way with a few exceptions of course. It demands immediate results. Unlike bad habits, good habits often don’t deliver immediate results. They are more about long term effects on your life and health. Thus every time you start acquiring good habits, our mind tries to resist and immediately it will pose numerous obstacles. Conquering these obstacles is the biggest challenge while developing some new habit. This usually is not the case with the bad habits. One can easily acquire bad habits without much effort! 

Thus, I will be trying to incorporate “Early Rising” practice in my schedule and hopefully with time it will become a good habit. You can expect more morning posts from now on. Trust me, it is such a wonderful experience to write in morning with all the peace and calm around because everyone else is usually asleep. Fingers crossed! 😀 

Buenos días (Good Morning in Spanish 🙂 )

 

Person Next To Me

Before diving into the blog post straightaway, allow me to explain the environment I am this in. I am in IPC (Information Processing Centre) which has really high speed network facilities and students usually utilize it for doing online courses, practice for their lab assignments or may be just 1080p streaming of YouTube. I came to study like many other students but then I got this idea about the assignment I have to complete for the Creative Writing course: Describe a person! This requires observing people andplace better than IPC to observe, where everybody is busy in their work. Sort of perfect place to observe people and write about them without them noticing. <Evil laughter!> 😀

Let me start with some basic information about the victim of this blog post. She is a girl sitting on my left. She wears thick spectacles, perhaps studious in nature. She has an open notebook on which she is scribbling with a fast hand writing, assures the above assumption. She has black hair with a tinge of brown and tied tight in a fancy rubber band. It is suggestive of two things: she has a busy schedule and she takes her work seriously or she is not too much influenced by fashion styles and goes for the most effective option! Of course there can be other plausible explanations too. She is fair in colour and her steady head indicates- focused eyes. I think our “studious” theory might be true.

Worn off nail paints again indicate either she didn’t get the time to repaint or she is not bothered too much by rules and regulation of fashion world! She is average in height, her chair position and sitting posture clearly asserts this theory. She is sitting with a slightly forward inclination portrays inquisitive nature. She types fast both on keyboard and phone. I noticed her replying quickly to a couple of messages. Perhaps she doesn’t like getting distracted too often or she believes in finishing simpler tasks quickly.

She constantly have one or both hand touching her chin. May be a by product of coaching institute where students spend hours in lectures 100-150 other students! Long lecture hours in coaching institutes automatically develop such habits. May be something “awestruck” is happening on her monitor. We would never know! She doesn’t like moving her chair much. Such stability might be result of stable personality and self restraint along with calm mind. She hasn’t written or typed something in a while, probably fell prey to YouTube and high speed internet. Perhaps not too much self-disciplined.

Never leaned back on her chair projects the urge to stay attentive and hard-working nature (not slacking off). She looked towards me once. I adjusted my eyes and pretended to be lost in my thoughts! Phew! Close call! Here quick scribbling speed and now indulging in pleasure activities, is suggestive of “work hard, play hard” nature and combined with hard-working and attentive posture and tolerance for long study session (from hand on chin), projects a strong and prioritizing person who has worked hard all the way to reach here! May be she is searching for some APOGEE project! It is near by. There are many possible interpretations here! I might be completely wrong too! We would never know! Time to leave before she notices that I am creepily writing about her! It was fun though! 😀

Good Bye (Good Bye in English 😀 )

5 minutes

It was a quite Friday morning. After a long streak of cloudy mornings, it was the time for to Sun finally grace us with its presence. As I was walking out of my hostel doors, I sneaked a glimpse of my watch. 9:00AM! I am late! I rushed towards my cycle. Unlocked it, jumped on it and pedaled with all my strength and stamina to make it to the tutorial class on time. It was the race against time itself. And lets face it- I ain’t that fast!

As I cycled to the main road going to Faculty Divisions, I noticed a rickshaw-wala in half sweater going in the opposite direction. May be an acquaintance was riding the rickshaw, it was too late for social etiquette to be observed. As I made my way through fast moving crowd, I noticed less markings of bird shit on road as compared to other days, may be “Winter is Going”.

I nodded to a couple of friends who were returning from their early morning class. May be they nodded back too, I was cycling way too fast to notice anyway. Had a look at my watch again, 9:03AM and I had just crossed Gandhi Bhawan Stairs (almost half way to the class). Observing the crowd movement pattern, current speed and temperature of wind, I decided to increase the pace with hope to make it to class by 9:06 AM with an error of 1 minute at max.

The saplings near Krishna Stairs looked greener and younger and there was a group of students making their way to NAB from Krishna Bhawan. There were two choices in front of me: either increase my speed cut them in their path or slowdown and let them pass first. I decided to pedal with all the strength left in my calf muscles and toes almost as if my life depended on it…… Phew! Just crossed them. Finally found a parking space next to a purple lady bird, locked my ride in hurry and rushed to the stairs. Skipped one step at a time on the next two flights, finally walking briskly (almost running) and entering 2203.

I quickly went to the teacher’s desk, picked up the practice problem and drawing sheet with my name scribbled on it and comfortably sat at the back bench, trying to avoid the constant stare of my instructor. I am quite sure that he is disgusted from the fact that his students cannot reach the 9 AM class on time. I looked at my watch again, 9:05 AM. As I was pulling out my stationary from my bag, I gave my surroundings a final glimpse and then indulged in the velocity diagram I was going to chart.

That was the 5 minutes from my morning and an assignment which was never evaluated by my creative writing instructor.

સારી બાય (Good bye in Gujarati)