My First 5k

My 5k trail by Runtastic.

My 5k trail by Runtastic.

I have recently started exercising and gyming. I wanted to take part in 5k sometime and then i read about Automattics’s Worldwide WP 5k. I was not sure if i was prepared for it yet. But then i decided to give it a try today. It was a walk+jog. It was fun!

With a pair of sneakers all laced up,
An upbeat playlist to keep the spirits up,
Path lined up with lush green trees,
And lit up by the morning sun,
I was unsure if i could complete the run,
I walked and jogged and huffed and puffed,
Halfway through it got a bit easier,
The goal was getting a lot nearer,
All i could think of was WATER!
Legs ached but just a few steps more..
And i successfully completed my first 5k!

Yay!! I completed my first 5k. It is dedicated to Automattics’s Worldwide WP 5k. I took me less than an hour. I know its not great, but with just 15 days of practice, it’s good enough for me. Looking forward to improve the time further and take part in more 5ks!

Stay Healthy! Stay Fit!


Anything is possible for a superman with sneakers and headphones! :D

Smart city of my dreams

I am lucky to work in the IT sector, where all i need is a laptop and internet connection and i can easily work from home. However on days when i go to office, I get frustrated when i need to spend hours stuck in traffic. I then spend my commute time thinking of various ways in which traffic can be reduced, so that travelling to and fro to work doesn’t become a nightmare. My craziest idea so far is to own a helicopter for going to work :D But then it is turning out to be too expensive. Also if it becomes cost effective, then there would be traffic jams in sky :D I could not think of any way so that the current situation can be significantly improved by modifying my city. So, i decided to create a plan of my dream smart city. A city, which is clean and healthy, which has lot of open spaces, parks and lawns, lakes, which has easy accessibility to basic necessities and most important of all, clean fast free flowing traffic. After lot of thinking, planning and designing i have finally come up with the plan of the smart city of my dreams. This is my recommended plan if a new city is to be built from scratch which will have its own rules an regulations. This plan of a city is designed considering that most of people work in regular offices (Example- IT Industry). It will need some modifications if the city has a lot of manufacturing industries or import export factories.

A Single Block of City

Let us start with a basic building block of the city as shown in figure above. It is a round area divided into four parts. One forth part will have parks, lawns, trees and lots of greenery. Another quarter will be a huge water body like a lake (which can be either natural or man made) with pathways to walk/cycle around. One quarter will have huge multi-storey offices and finally the last quarter will have residential buildings. Residential building will be of all varieties like few independent houses and multi-storey apartments. There will be a block center having a recreation center, a shopping center, a school, a day care, all located within the premises of the block. Complete block will be connected to the high speed internet using WiFi. There will also be a recycling point which will recycle all the waste generated in the block.  Ideally each block should recycle its own waste and also generate sufficient energy (mainly from renewable sources) for itself. This will prevent from laying down electricity and sewage lines all over the city. Rain water harvesting can be done in all the blocks. This will increase the ground water level. With the increased water level, these water bodies won’t dry up even in summers.

All four quarters will be well connected by roads. Roads will be mostly used for walking or cycling. However there will also be separate lane for electric cars only. Also there will be free transport within a block so that people can easily commute to any point within the block. Its mandatory for people working in the offices to stay in the residential buildings of that block. Also its mandatory to send kids to the school situated within the block. Also just like organizations buy/rent office space these days, here they need to buy complete blocks. People cannot own the houses. They can stay as long as atleast one person in a family works in one of the offices of the block. If people change their jobs then they change their homes as well in the new block where they will work.

Plan of Smart City

Overall plan of the city is as shown above. Its planned in a circular manner with multiple independent blocks. I my opinion a circular plan is more effective than regular grid like plan if the best technology is used in all parts of the city. At the core of the city will be the airport and high speed train station which will connect this city to other cities. All the dotted lines in the figure represent multi-lane roads + metro-way. There will be tracks in circles around the city and some straight tracks. The inner most circle will have blocks of highest importance for all. For example as shown in figure some of the inner circle blocks may be like the administrative offices, police stations and judiciary, recreation centers with all the facilities one can dream of, colleges and universities, multi-specialty hospital and so on. There will be multiple concentric circles each having multiple blocks. Organizations can buy/rent blocks as per the number of people they require. Some of the blocks may be museums, huge water bodies or forested areas. On the extreme ends there might be a few factories and industries.

There will be high speed metro lines in each of the dotted concentric circles as shown in figure. Also there will be some straight metro lines. At all the intersections there can be metro stations. All the blocks will be well connected to their nearby metro station points. Also there will be multi lane roads on the same path. Thus complete city will be well connected. People need not travel long distances to work. In most cases, offices will be in walking distance from residence within a block. Sometimes people might wish to go outside their blocks, and in that case they are connected to all parts of the city by the web of road and metro. Metro will be the preferred mode of transport as compared to independent vehicles. However there will be well spaced charging docks for the electric cars.

In the worst case, if every couple works in offices located in different blocks, then one of them needs to travel outside the block. So even in the worst case, atmost 50% of the population will travel outside the block, although its highly unlikely. Even then it should not be a problem due to well connected metro lines, roads and easy last mile connectivity to the blocks. Assume that a person of an inner block needs to travel farthest to a diametrically opposite outer most block. First he can travel to the outer most circle using the nearest straight line and then take the metro of that circle to that block. Most blocks are thus connected in around two hops.

In this city, people need not invest and spend huge EMIs for homes and cars. They can spend their money in other areas. After retirement people can either stay with their kids or they can stay in specially designed blocks for retired people. The cities can easily expand by adding more circles. It will require adding another concentric metro and road. And extending the straight roads. Expansion thus won’t hamper the other parts of the city. The best part is that most people will stay close to their offices. It will significantly reduce daily long commute times and also reduce air pollution. Also all the space between the blocks can have huge lawns and forested area. Additionally each block will have its own garden and lakes. This will surely make this city a “blue-green city”.

This is my dream smart city. With proper planning and technology, it solves all major problems that atleast i can think of. It would be great to see an actual city built as per this plan. Till then i will plug in my earphones and dream of travelling in the high speed metro in my dream city while i slowly pass through traffic in reality ;)

PS – I would like to have your suggestions and feedback about my dream smart city. What changes or modifications do you suggest? What are some of the issues and problems of this city? How can these be resolved. Also i would also love to hear about your dream city. How would you plan your dream city?

Killa: Movie Review

Killa (a fort) is the story of a 11 year old boy, Chinmay. Its a story about learning things by oneself. Its a story about facing challenges. Its a story about losing one’s father. Its a story about the beautiful mom-son bond. Its a story about relocating. Its a story about making friends. Its a story about growing up. Its a story about learning to live life!

This movie has been shot in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, India. The cinematography is awesome! The endless rains. The fort. Moss growing in the crevasses of the fort walls. Lush green surroundings.

The roaring sea. A lighthouse! Pools filled to the brim with cool blue water. Fishes and crabs. Coconut trees. It has been captured  in such a beautiful way, that i am sure you will feel like visiting this place.

Chinmay is a young, introvert boy who has recently lost his father and has to relocate to a village due to transfer of his mother’s government job. The movie depicts how he adapts to changes in his life both outside and within. The mother and son relationship is brilliantly played by both the actors. Many a times they need not say a word, their expressions are sufficient to know how they are feeling and what they want to convey to the audience.. Although they can’t exactly share their problems with each other, but they understand and support one another.

Another thing which i liked about the movie is that not each and every detail is presented to the user. The blocks are arranged just so that a person can understand the flow of the movie and connect the dots.

It brings back the growing up days of childhood. The nostalgia.. Times spent with friends. Cycle races. Exams in schools. Crushes. Fights and patching up among friends. The happiness of new school bag and books. Endless games with friends. Getting drenched in rain. And lot more!

Its a great movie. The performance of all members of the cast is brilliant. The cinamatography is amazing. The plot is nice and touching. Great music. Also, its available with English subtitles, so people not knowing Marathi can enjoy as well.

I just loved the poem which beautifully describes the plot of the movie. Although its best read in Marathi, however even the English translation is good.

The Sea bore an array of perils
A mighty storm ambushed the lone sailor
The sail snapped, the nails unhooked
The sailor persisted, unfazed by what lay ahead
Luckless, the knots of skill turned loose
He stood there alone, the storm slapped its noose
A life lived in benevolence will not let faith wither
He overcame fear and the storm lulled into slither
Courage of the universe, regathers in a single moment
A hundred arm’s strength regains, as the memory of mother returns

Deep, Isn’t it? :)

One year in the “Real” World

Today marks the completion of one full year in the “real” world for me. I mean since the time i can remember, i was busy with academics… pre-school, school, graduation, post graduation… I was used to my academic life. And its obvious, if we do something for so long then it becomes a habit, a routine, a way of life.

But exactly one year ago, it all came to an end (for now ;) ). On this day, one year ago, masters convocation was celebrated, graduate degrees were awarded, caps were thrown high in the sky and then suddenly it was time to change… It was not a gradual change. It was a drastic change. Today we were students and tomorrow professionals. It was almost like throwing a fish which had always stayed in the small protective bowl into the huge ocean.  It was known long before, that this would happen, but then, knowing and finally experiencing is a lot different!

This change brought a lot of changes in life… From casual/informal clothes to formals, from night-outs to waking up early, from group studies to group meeting, from classroom to boardroom, from meeting friends daily to meeting them after a lot of planning, from daily chit-chat with friends to infrequent messages on Watsapp, from random project groups to random people in office teams, from grades and spi to ratings, from stipend to salary, from profs and deans to bosses and managers, from parties with friends to team lunches and outings, from walks in college to chai breaks in office, from project meetings to office calls, from daily attendance to filling time-sheet, from real classes to classes and trainings online, from reading 1-2 papers in a semester to reading 1 paper every week. Things have changed, yet they have remained  same…

Life has changed. It was bound to happen. This one year has been like a roller coaster for me! Full of up and downs. More appropriately, downs and ups (in the correct sequence). Faced worse times.. Understood the importance of the area and type of work which i wanted to do, the hard way. Worked hard to bring the change… I am happy, atleast later on, things changed for good for me. In this one year, i have met so many people.. Colleagues and friends. Learnt to handle difficult people and then met some of the the most humble and down to earth people.  Learnt many new cool things! Discovered myself in ways, i myself didn’t know. Understood things i like, things i value. Discovered and worked in areas which i find interesting. Met people, whom i can look up to. “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” ~P.B. Shelly I am happy that for me, spring came when i could wait no more :)

I am nostalgic about the previous part of my life. But i am also happy to have experienced the change. It has made me a lot more mature. It has shown me that one needs to put in lots of efforts to fulfil one’s dreams. Also funnily and strangely, its more satisfying to learn life lessons the hard way. I also learnt, that it helps if one knows what one wants. And with what intensity. What things are we ready to give up, in order to get the things we want? Probably, then its easy to take decisions in life. This year has taught me how to prioritize the things that matter the most to me.

Change can be both good and bad,
A person may be both happy and sad.
Its best to learn something new everyday,
Striving ahead, no matter what others say.
Life is not a race, to win or compete,
But to follow one’s dreams, however offbeat.
Creating new music and silencing the din.
Balancing between angels & demons within.

Hoping for happier times ahead, with new lessons and new challenges! :)

Book Review: The Book Thief


What a book! The book thief by Markus Zusak is a story of a 9 nine year old girl Liesel in Germany during the time of World War II. Strangely the book is narrated by ‘death’. Initially it sounds a bit strange and creepy to see the world from the eyes of death whose job is to collect the souls of the dead. This is what it had been doing since forever. It is tired of doing so and wants a break. But then there is no substitute of death.

I knew about the WWII partially. But this book presents the actual life of the common peasants during those time. One can feel and visualize the hardships faced by the people. Scarcity of basic necessities. Ill treatment of the Jews. Concentration camps. Marches and parades. Horror dreams of the survivors. Watching near and dear ones die in front of one’s own eyes. War times. Death describes how war was very difficult time for it, as it had to collect so many souls of the dead…

The story is about Liesel who is abandoned by her parents to a foster family as they are unable to take care of their children. On the way Liesel watches her brother die and this memory haunts her for a long time. Her foster mother is a short tempered, talkative woman. There is a very beautiful relationship between her foster father and her. He patiently teaches her to read and write, which plays a major role in her life ahead. He is like a pillar of strength and support for her. She is friends with a neighbourhood boy Rudy and they have great times together. Numerous happenings of her life are described like.. Her school life. Football games in the evenings. Helping her Mama in the daily chores. And food of her life – reading. Sometimes the story seems so normal just like a regular day.. But then suddenly there is bombing and war. Probably that’s how even our life is… most of the part is routine life filled with happy and sad times in between..

The main thing which keeps Liesel sane in difficult times is her love for books. Papa teaches her to read and write initially. The progress is slow. But Liesel loves reading and very soon picks up. Together they read the same book multiple times every night. Her passion for reading is so strong that she starts stealing books and is thus called a book thief. Later on she writes her own story in the form of book which ultimately saves her life during WWII. This book shows the power of words on individuals and masses.

The book is about 550 pages. All the charecters are describes so well that they almost come to life in our minds. There is not much of suspense as readers can foresee some of the events (mainly deaths). Still the overall story builds up nicely. I would recommend reading it in a day or two to get the complete feel of the narration. It will make one think about life, death, friendship, love, challenges, hardships, inspirations and much more. More importantly how to find and then hold on to ray of hope in grim times.

“The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn’t be any of this.”

Istanbul Travelogue



I did M.Tech. from IIIT-Bangalore in 2012-2014. In the last semester at IIIT-B i did thesis on the effects of entrenchment on cooperative behaviour. It is based on Multi Agent Systems and Game Theory. Had the best time of my academic life so far doing research in an area which i found very interesting. I successfully defended my thesis and graduated. My dream was to get the paper based on my thesis accepted in a good conference. And as they say, if we try hard enough, our dreams do come true! :)

We submitted our paper in one of the tier 1 conference in the domain of multi-agent systems. And then one day we got the mail informing about the acceptance of the paper :) I was on cloud nine! It is the best thing that can happen to one’s thesis.

With the acceptance came lots of things and planning to do.. Had to submit the final camera ready paper, create a poster and most importantly look for funding for travel to attend the conference. I would like to thank my employer for funding my trip and giving me the opportunity to present my work and attend the conference. It made things a lot easier. With a tatkal passport, tickets and visa, i was all set to fly to Istanbul, Turkey, the world’s fifth-most-popular tourist destination. :) My first foreign visit! Luckily the Prof. under whose guidance i had done my thesis was also coming with his family :)

The Trip…

We boarded Boeing 787 Dreamliner of Qatar Airways! One of the most hi-tech planes of today. And for a window seat lover like me, the huge electrochromism-based smart glass windows were the coolest thing! There was a small stopover at Doha and then we headed to our destination, Istanbul. In the first look itself, Istanbul looked beautiful. Clean roads lined with lawns and trees and with an amazing view of sea, fast moving cars and a pleasant weather just like Bangalore.

We checked in at the Zeynep Sultan Hotel. It had been recently renovated. Had a nice, small and cozy room at a reasonable price in the heart of the city. Major landmarks like the Blue mosque were at a walking distance from our hotel.

We were mainly busy at the conference. It is the first tier 1 conference i have attended. And the difference was obvious. Met people from all over the world. Had interesting discussions during breaks. Our presentation was good. Also attended many other talks and presentations. Saw many posters and demos. So many tracks went on parallelly that sometimes i wished i could be in multiple places at the same time! It was a great learning experience. It was cool to meet so many people from around the world who are all excited about a particular subject (MAS). Also got to see the amazing high quality work that gets accepted in a top conference. I hope i will do more such quality work and present in similar conferences in future :)

We also visited the SoSLab of the Boagazici CS department. The university is beautifully located with a wonderful view of the strait. It has a lush green campus situated uphill. Had interesting conversation with the Prof. and students of the lab. Talked about topics like topic modelling, annotations, social semantics, sentiment analysis etc.

Did some sight-seeing in the evenings and over the weekend. Istanbul is a huge city with so many places to see that even a week will be less. The two major highlights of our tour were – the Bosphorus cruise, a two hour cruise with a breathtaking view! We saw wild dolphins! It was awesome :) There were a lot of jellyfishes in the strait. The view on both sides was beautiful with lots of mosques, high end houses with there own yachts, huge suspension bridges and deep blue water and sky! The second highlight was our visit to the Galata tower, one of the oldest towers of the world! Its like the Eiffel tower of Istanbul. The view from up the tower just cannot be described in words! I could stand there forever. The blue strait, houses on slopes with orange slanted roofs, the European and the Asian side and the cool breeze! Enjoyed snacks in the cafe at the top of the tower :) We descended via stairs and saw the tower’s built from the inside with the stony walls and small openings for natural light. We travelled by the world’s second oldest tram which was literally pulled uphill using huge automatic pulleys! Also went to the blue mosque and the gulhane park which were close to our hotel. I promise i will wake up early morning everyday and go for a walk if i have a park like gulhane park close to my house ;) Huge trees, blooming flowers, chirping birds, lush green lawns, Turkish tea and an amazing view of the strait!

We thought food might be a problem as we are vegetarian. However we mostly found something good to eat :) The breakfast at our hotel was good. I have never tasted such juicy strawberries before. One must try figs and olives in Istanbul. Also tried turkish bread and pizza which was yummy. Our plain Indian dal is called lentil soup in Turkey :P which was also good. We found a pure vegetarian restaurant and had delicious falafel! Tried so many new dishes. For food connoisseurs like us it was fun :)

The grand finale of our trip was the idyllic time we spent at a cafe in the gulhane park overlooking the Bosphorus. It was a calm and peaceful evening. The sky was slowly changing colours and slowly it was getting dark. And then gradually the Asian side lit up! The view was fantastic. Ships and yachts were sailing across the Bosphorus. We had a yummy HUGE baked stuffed potato (which we craved for since day one :P) and endless cups of turkish tea over interesting discussions. If only time could be paused, i would have paused it then… forever.

Overall, this trip has been an amazing experience. Its a treasured memory for a lifetime :) Rarely things turn out to be better that what we imagine (atleast for me) however this Istanbul trip is an exception, it turned out to be much much more awesome than what i had dreamt :)

Bag of words…

Blue. Water. Fishing rods. Selfie Sticks. Reflections. Huge bridges. Speeding cars. Trams. Dolphins! Jelly fishes. Sea Gulls. Birthday. Cruise. Chilly winds. Galata tower. Sloping orange roofed houses. 2 and 4 engine jets leaving streaks in sky. Long walks. Useful pre-trip advice. Turkish music which sounded same. Blue mosque. Huge grand bazaar. Byzantine ruins. MG Road. Full moon background and mosque minarets. Blue symbol which wards off evil. European windows which open from all sides!  Royal shoe polishers. Cats. Lots of cats. Extroverts. Sufi round-round dance :P Pide. Strawberries. Olives. Natural Jams. Honey. Huge bread loafs. Vegetable salad. Hot chocolate. Cakes. Different varieties of cheese. Copper tea pots. Mini rice cooker. 3 course rice meal. Fast trams on road. Ice cream vendors. Turkish delights. Baklava. Dry fruits. Spices. Saffron. Sumac. Aryan (buttermilk). Kurus fasulye (white beans cooked in tomato gravy).  Geeky jokes :) Asterix and Obelix. Morse code. ᗅᗺᗷᗅ. Big Bang Theory. Skype Watsapp Viber.  Greenery. Blooming flowers. LOTS of pics. Memories. HAPPINESS.

Some key takeaways…

  • A line which makes us happy when we are sad and sad when we are happy – “This too shall pass!”.
  • Buy experiences, not things. It may seem to be counter-intuitive, but its true!
  • Never give up. Even in case of failure, make the corrections and try again!
  • Sometimes things may not seem to be perfect immediately, but in hindsight, they mostly do!
  • All the hard-work, perseverance and tons of effort seems to be worth it and more when we visit places and attend top conferences.
  • A tier 1 conference is actually number 1 in the quality of work and diversity of gathering!
  • Well maintained water bodies and/or historic relics within city can boost tourism.
  • If the people have basic civic sense, even a city of 14.4 million people can be spotlessly clean.
  • Cats looking like statues may actually be real. :P Cats and dogs can happily coexist! Cats actually do not care! :D
  • Traffic woes are the same everywhere!
  • Trip hangovers can last reallllly long. Even after a week, sometimes i feel i am in Istanbul!


  • Thanks a lot to my Prof. under whose guidance i did my Masters thesis. I look upto him. I have learnt a lot from him, about the interesting courses he taught in college and more importantly about philosophy of life! Thanks a lot for being my guru and mentor!
  • Thanks to my employer for funding my trip and giving me this amazing opportunity of presenting and attending the conference.


Istanbul is a beautiful city. An amazing conglomeration of people, religions and cultures. Hope i get an opportunity to visit Istanbul again! My first foreign visit is like a cluster of happy memories! I have enjoyed each and every moment of the trip. Hope to have many more such experiences in future :) Life’s good ! :)

A Piece of Puzzle


I am a piece of puzzle,
Having my own choices and preferences,
I am trying to find the place where i fit,
Where my interests align with others.
Its difficult to survive around mismatching pieces,
Every now and then, their edges hurt,
When they forcefully want you to realign,
As per their whims and fancies,
So as to somehow complete the puzzle around them.

I understand its a huge world,
With innumerable things which can be done,
Its not ever possible to try them all…
The only feasible way is to choose a subset,
Of areas that resemble my interest,
And then see how things work out,
It may be difficult to try many different areas,
As change is always unwelcome and unwanted,
But without this change how will i know,
Where i belong, where i should be…

Sometimes pieces of puzzles compromise,
With their own choices as well as their surroundings
They adjust with whichever pieces they get,
They find it cumbersome to change for the better,
Or to find their own perfect match.
But i have that faith and hope,
That someday, i will surely find my place,
The place where i belong,
They place where i perfectly fit in,
The place where i am truly happy,
The place and people who let me be me.
Myself, as a puzzle piece, will complete the puzzle,
Atleast in the area around me !
And that will be my sweet success…
That’s all i want, that’s all i dream
That’s all i hope and that’s why i live!

Image credits :