IIIT-B, My Alma Mater

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It says it all !

Two years have passed ! Yes, two awesome years :) It seems like yesterday when i had applied for masters at IIIT-B. It seemed to be perfect to me in every way. The news of being shortlisted for interviews … The preparation for interview … And then my first visit to Bangalore, which became my favourite since day one and then IIIT-B ! The campus just wooed my heart. It is a small cozy place. I distinctly remember sitting for my turn for the admission interviews and looking outside of the windows to the huge trees which lined the entrance, that’s when i had thought that i just want to be in this place. Interviews were good and i had a nice quick trip. And then the acceptance letter sent me on cloud nine :) I was sooo happy !

Our Main Block

Our Main Block

Joined IIIT-B on July 13th, 2012. Met people from all over India. Its always a bit difficult for me to make  friends, however somehow we just all got together ! I had the coolest gang of gals here :) Initially everything felt a bit new, somewhat different. But since i have already stayed in hostel during my undergrad days, i could gel in soon. New place, new friends, new weather, new food, new languages and thus overall a new life :)

Initially for around one and half months we had prep semester, where we studied the basics and got ourselves adjusted to the new life. I still remember the Linux installations and system crashes :P The seniors were all very helping and ready to guide their “juniors”. Our 2nd floor hostel corridors used to be packed sometimes when we all were listening to seniors’ advice. It was just the beginning of the life ahead. During this time, learnt and practiced basic programming and mathematics.

Very soon it was time to begin the first semester. The SAC elections, the campaigning both online and off-line. The freshers party! And then the serious stuff started. Four subjects, random project team allocations, whole night project meetings, coding, numerous demos and vivas by TAs, quizzes, mid-sem and finals. Sometimes it all seemed too difficult. But then we had seniors as our inspiration. They had been through this and so we felt that we could do it as well !

But it was not all that hard ! There was always preparation going on for some festival. Had a great time celebrating so many Indian festival with friends from all over India. Enjoyed the matki-fod Janamashtami, awesome Diwali with firecrackers, beautiful flower rangolis on Onam, one day Ganesh puja, Republic day and Independence day and many more. These special events added spice in daily life and made it more colorful. And then there were Ravali calls every now and then on birthdays ;)

Second semester started and it was time to choose the specialization. Time to choose two electives. Time to be part of a lab. For some it was easy, while for others it was very difficult to choose. However very soon things fell into place. Everyone was busy again doing some awesome projects in courses and labs. Second semester is awesome for two reasons:  SPANDAN – It is the time for all IIIT-B students and alumni to meet and enjoy playing and watching sports for three days. You ask any IIITBian and they will say that Spandan is perhaps the best time and it seems as though we are in a different world altogether ! And the second special event of the second semester is Open House. This is the time when we present our work to the outside world. Had a great time giving demos and presentations and got some amazing feedback and suggestions. And then very soon, again its time for final project submissions, demos and exams.

Then we had a mini semester called the summer sem. During this time, we studied some management lessons and technical communication. Being tech guys, management lessons were somewhat difficult for us to grasp initially. Had a great time in TC presentations, movie and book reviews and most of all the Mad-ads :) Our group’s product was an umbrella, and i must say it was a really cool multipurpose umbrella ;)

Third semester started and it was time to be ready for placements! Oh those days! It was difficult to handle both studies and placements. Those group studies. Those intense problem solving sessions. Karumanchi, the hottest book on campus during placements. It was so much in demand that it was out of stock on every online portal. Some amazing KSMs by our classmates. It was all very stressful but finally worth it ! The placement week. The written rounds. The coding rounds. A few rejections … This is the time when “real friends” supported and motivated. And then sweet success :)

At IIIT-B, one does regular coursework+projects for three semesters and the last semester is for either internship or thesis. In these three semesters i studied some amazing subjects, taught by some of the most awesome profs i have ever met. They were always there to guide and support and to clarify doubts if any. I was a member of OSL lab and got to do some cool projects. Experienced some fantastic unconventional ways of teaching and learning. The projects taught us to get our hands dirty, work on some real problems and to work in teams and manage the group. Overall it was awesome experience.

In my final semester, i choose to do thesis as i was highly interested in an area and had an amazing Prof. as my guide. And i am very proud to say that it has been one of the best decision of my life. These six months have been perhaps the best days of my life till now. I have never been so happy :) I did some cool experiments and simulations. Had numerous brain storming sessions and discussions to crystallize the ideas and generate appropriate results. Time just flew when i did my work. It was not work but play for me, as i enjoyed doing it. During this time, I realized that sometimes, its difficult to understand the implications of one’s own work! In such scenario, one needs a guide who has wisdom to see the bigger picture and who can connect the dots. I also understood that academic writing is very different from regular writing. It needs to be a lot more diligent and precise.  This semester showed me my area of interest, my potential and what all i can do ahead ! Also i have completed a full circle at IIIT-B. Gave my M.Tech thesis defense in the same classroom where i waited for my turn for admission interview!

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View from my window :)

Some random pointers of IIIT-B – the green lawns, the mini pond, ducks and rabbits, lots of squirrels, the orange tree (African tulip tree) in front of my window, awesome independent room, MCR, smart boards, colorful canteen, mid-night Maggie, sandwiches and fruit juice, walks around the campus, small terrace on the 2nd floor, the musical fountain, the basketball court, table-tennis games, Spic Macay programs, Philosophy Club meetings, Movie sessions, i guess i can go on and on :)  There are so many things that flash in my mind when i think of IIIT-B.

And now time ticks by. Earlier i used to wait for the convocation day but now i want time to slow down … Very soon it will be time to throw the graduation caps high in the sky. To be there, together,  for the group pic. And then to wave good byes. I know its going to be difficult. Very difficult. IIIT-B has been like heaven for me. I have realized my potential here. I have understood what i am capable of doing. I am ready to face life ahead. It gave me some close friends for lifetime. It showed me, my area of interest for which my brain jumps with excitement and interest. I was lucky to study and work under the guidance of some of the most amazing profs here who are experts in their field. IIIT-B thanks for making me what i am today ! When i see myself now and myself two years earlier, i can clearly see a transformed myself. Adieu to MT2012 batch ! Had a great time with all of you. Its the memories which will be cherished forever ! And finally, IIIT-B, my Alma mater, thanks for everything.

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Batch of 2012

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IIIT-B made us and we made IIIT-B :)

 

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Patience & Attention : A Lost Art

Every coin has two sides. And same is the case with today’s technology. It has made our lives simple and fast, or rather lightning fast. Things which took days or weeks can now be done in mere seconds. But things are not all that rosy as they seem to be. We are paying a price of this convenience by losing some of our precious skills like patience and attention which are more like a lost art these days !

Patience

A new unknown word ? Google it ! Who has time to search it in a dictionary ?
Want to inform something to someone ? Email or message ! Who has time to write a letter which will reach the destination in atleast a week’s duration ?
A bug in code ? Google it ! Why waste time trying to correct it yourself ?
Want to read a book ? Download an ebook ! Who has time to buy a real book ?
Want to cook a new recipe ? Search online ! Why experiment ? It may be a disaster !
I could just go on and on …

I don’t mean that doing any of this is wrong. However, some of its aftereffects are ! It has made us so much accustomed to getting results instantaneously, that we have lost our patience. If a webpage takes more than 3 seconds to load then its not worth it ! We want everything immediately. A time lag is just unbearable. And then the same impatience is also evident in our day to day life. We expect everything to be instantaneous. Immediate success, immediate replies from others, immediate delivery of goods, immediate results, immediate solutions. But it is not possible always. And this results in broken expectations leading to anger and grief.

Another shortcoming is that this instant gratification prevents us from trying things ourselves. We would rather believe what others have to say about something that experiencing it ourselves. That’s because others experiences are available instantaneously, however trying out something ourselves requires time and efforts. But the amount of joy and knowledge which one gains by experiencing things oneself can never be learnt from other’s experiences. Also one is more likely to remember and internalize the lessons learnt by oneself than by just knowing other’s experiences and lessons.

Solution – It’s important that we recognize our reducing patience levels and work towards improving it. One of my favorite technique is to learn a new skill. Try learning a new musical instrument or some sport. Learning something new requires a lot of time and patience. One needs to repeatedly do the same thing multiple times in order to perfectly master it. I still remember the numerous number of times i played the seven notes on my keyboard after which i could play it without seeing the keys. Only then did my teacher teach me to play a song on it ! I know it can be difficult. Monotony may lead to boredom and that’s when one feels like giving up. But a little persistence and patience and take us a long way ! Also its very important to remember that the instantaneous results of technology are not applicable always. Some things like growing a tree require time and patience.

Attention

Our attention spans have significantly reduced. As one of my Prof. rightly says, one of the major challenges of today’s generation is to survive death by thousand distractions. We are constantly being swarmed with a lot of information, most of which is not all that important. Just count the number of tabs open in your browser right now and you will know what i mean. Email notifications, Facebook updates, News updates, Messages, Music playing in the background and the ever coming Whats-app messages. Just try leaving all things aside and concentrate on a task and the mind jumps back to these sources just to see if there is any important update.  We believe that we can do this multitasking, however actually the brain is constantly context switching from task to another leading to an illusion of multitasking. This continuous context-switching deteriorates the quality of information stored in our brain. It is also difficult to filter all the useful information and store it into long term memory. The mind is in a constant state of flux and sadly it is unwilling to return to its original calm and peaceful state.

Solution – “Do one thing at a time !” When you read, just read. When you eat, just eat. When you work, just work. When you enjoy, just enjoy. When you code, just code. Leave multitasking for the gadgets. It may be difficult, but not impossible. It makes life much more simpler and enjoyable. Even i am trying hard to practice this. And i am sure with a bit of patience we all can master it !

My Keyboard

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Black and white keys together,
Can create a melody unheard,
Pressing the right keys at the right moment,
Can generate a melodious tune,
It can play any instrument whether guitar, sitar or flute,
It has numerous options to choose an accompanying tune.
It uplifts my mood when i feel low,
And makes me euphoric when i am happy,
It is like a time machine,
Which can transcend me in a new different world,
Which is filled with melodies and tunes.
Like a good friend, it is always there,
Waiting for me to switch it on,
And to play a new song …
Sometimes i may not play it for days,
However even on everyday objects,
Sometimes my fingers glide as tough on a keyboard.
Just a glace of it gives me immense joy,
A new tune on it energizes my mind.
I keep practicing and improving this skill,
A little bit more, a new step ahead each day,
I need to learn playing keyboard by my left hand,
The neurons of my brain to learn this trick.
Sometimes it takes a lot of time to catch a new tune,
However, i always keep trying till its perfect,
All it needs a little patience and practice,
And then the results are fantastic !
My keyboard is an instrument spreading melody and joy,
Its keys are the steps leading to a dreamland.

Here is a song titled “Raabta” played by me on my keyboard. Enjoy !
http://yourlisten.com/jayati/raabta

Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty

Five stories. Fifty words each. Inspiration Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty.

A fifty paise coin

I am a fifty paise coin from India. Earlier i was a prized possession. I could buy a meal, a ride or even a movie ticket a few decades ago. However today i am good for nothing, although i am legal. Even beggars and bus conductors refuse to accept me.

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Fiftieth Anniversary

They cut a multi-tier chocolate cake on the beach on their Golden Anniversary. As they looked back through the photographs, it seemed as though is was just yesterday when they married. It seemed as though time had flown. Hand in hand they promised to be together till their last breath.

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Fiftieth Test Century

The stadium was shouting “Sachin! Sachin!”. He was patiently waiting for the right ball. And finally in one stroke he completed his fiftieth century in test cricket. Sachin became the first Indian to set this record. Complete stadium was cheering and saluting the master blaster. Indeed a moment to treasure!

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Fiftieth Birthday

Today i have completed 5 decades on Earth. Its a day to retrospect and rejoice. I dreamt, planned, worked hard and achieved most dreams. Grew wiser and smarted. I achieved everything i wished and more. I promise to spend my life ahead helping others achieve their dreams, like i did!

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A Question

100 Units of cash. Two players. You decide the ratio of distribution of cash among the two and the opponent either agrees or disagrees. If he agrees, cash is divided as suggested. If he disagrees, then roles are swapped and process continues. How will you divide? Fifty-Fifty? Or someway else?

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Road of Life

One may wish a road to go on and on,
And to keep moving ahead smoothly,
Singing all the way along,
Enjoying every moment spent,
But in reality, life is different,
Road is unpredictable and ever-changing,
Having both smooth and bumpy patches,
It may be lined with green shady forests,
And sometimes it may be dry, hot and dusty,
Or slippery after the heavy rains,
It may be a fast multi-lane highway,
Or just a steep narrow pathway.
There are no maps or GPS to guide,
Just stride forward or enjoy the ride.

Sometimes a road may diverge into multiple roads,
Whether you like it or not,
Whether you want it or not,
It is the time to make a choice,
To stand at the cross-roads and decide,
To choose one road and reject others aside,
This decision however hard needs to be made,
Turning back is not an option,
Moving ahead is the only solution.

The current choice may affect the choices ahead,
Opening new ways and closing some doors,
This may further complicate the decision,
But this is the way how things are,
So think coolly and take your time,
Ask others, read the signboards,
And then just choose the road which seems best,
Opt for the one which your instinct tells you,
Past experiences and lessons may help,
But then nothing is guaranteed anyway,
The decision has to be taken,
However risky and insecure it may be,
Hoping for the best ahead.

One may sometimes regret past decisions,
But remember it was the best road that you had chosen,
So instead of repenting on past choices,
Foresee and listen to inner voices,
One may recall roads traveled in past,
And dream of the roads ahead,
But then one can just move along the road,
Enjoying and learning from each moment spent,
If you are lucky, the road may connect to your dream road,
Till then, don’t stop, anticipate & just move ahead.

the-road-ahead

 

Discover Yourself – MBTI Test

Since the time i can remember, i always knew that i was different. My parents tell me as a 4-5 year old kid, before buying a new board-game, i would ask them if one needed “brain” to play that game. I would rather not play a game which did not require using one’s brain. And i used to look down at others who played such (brainless) games! I liked playing with boxes and puzzles more than playing with dolls and kitchen sets. Since childhood i always wanted to be independent. My Dad tells me i used to spend around 15 minutes trying to tie my shoelaces myself when i was 4 even if i was getting late for school. As a kid i hated holding my parent’s hands while walking. Reading has been by favorite hobby ever since i can remember. I still have those hard bound books like The three bears, Puss in Boots etc which i read in childhood. Train journeys were always special because i would get a window seat and a Champak (a kids magazine) to read (later i progressed to Readers’ Digest).

Fast forward few years … I always had very few friends. One or atmost two at a time. It was always difficult for me to make friends. I remember during schooldays when most of my classmates sat under the neem trees and gossiped, i preferred playing basketball. I always had a strong aversion to gossip and small talk. I was never interested in the stories of my classmates’ crushes and heartbreaks and thus probably they were never interested in me. Library was the coolest place in school and i used to eagerly wait for the day when i could get new books issued. I always preferred watching NGC and Discovery instead of daily soaps and music videos.

Fast forward to the present … I know that its difficult for me to mix with people. Being a single child i am always happy being alone. Although i effectively interact with others when required, i always prefer being by myself. I am a good listener. I avoid phone-calls as much as possible (my grandpa’s trait). I mostly make better friends with people who are elder to me. I take a lot of time to fall asleep as thousands of thoughts keep me engaged. And thus i publish most of my blog posts after midnight. If i start something, i cannot just leave is half done. I am never satisfied with what i do, as i always see that i could have done better in hindsight. I think i am crazy, but then i am not too sure :P

In short, i know i am different. There are very few out there who are like me. I prefer to be with myself than with people who are largely different from me. But all these were my assumptions about myself till now. This is what i thought about myself. Then i came to know about he MBTI test. It categorizes people into sixteen categories on the basis of the following characteristics – introversion / extroversion, sensing / intuition, thinking / feeling, judging / perceiving. You can take this test online here. There are no right or wrong answers. Just answer what YOU think is correct. The test is a bit long and time consuming but its worth trying. Although we behave differently in different situations depending on various factors, however there is a dominant characteristic that determines our personality.

My test results told me that i am an INTJ (Introvert, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging). I did not know what it meant. The more i read about it, the more amazed i was. At some points i felt as if i was reading about myself. I was so happy. Mostly I could relate to what was written. It seemed as though, someone understood me and had written it specifically for me (for some points). Do you know the best part? Wikipedia tells that INTJs are one of the rarest of the sixteen personality types, and account for approximately 1-2% of the population (and only 0.8% in women). Finally i had a result to show why it was always difficult for me to make friends and why there are so few people of “my type” out there. This test has showed that there is nothing wrong in being different, and its my personality that i am the way i am! Also its good to be rare and different. For me, these test results have been like finding the proof of a hypothesis which i had assumed since a long time. It feels good :)

Plea of the Girl Child

I have big dreams in my heart,
I just want a push to start.
I will do everything i can,
Just let me go ahead with my plan.
Don’t pin me down, set me free,
Give me freedom, let me be me.

Give me your guidance and support,
I will be as strong as a huge fort.
Nurture me with love and care,
Even i can be your rightful heir.
Don’t pin me down, set me free,
Give me freedom, let me be me.

I am brave, I am strong,
I can tackle when things go wrong.
I can judge between wrong and right,
So trust me and have faith in my might.
Don’t pin me down, set me free,
Give me freedom, let me be me.

I will be there whenever you need,
With all my love and respect indeed.
Just one chance is all i ask,
To show my competence in my task.
Don’t pin me down, set me free,
Give me freedom, let me be me.

Don’t force me in a cage when i want to fly,
Don’t cut my wings when i want to soar high.
Don’t kill me as i want to live my dreams,
What will be achieved by silencing my screams?
Don’t pin me down, set me free,
Give me freedom, let me be me.