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? 🙂

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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 😛 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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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 😛

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 🙂

2013 Review

2013 has been a wonderful year for me. Now when i look back, i feel as if it just zoomed away. I learnt new lessons, met new people, increased my friends circle. Some of major highlights of the year 2013 which i can recall are as follows –

  • It has been a year of learning. 2013 was the last year when i studied formal courses of M.Tech at IIIT-B.  Learnt many new and interesting concepts. Some of them actually left me amazed ! Worked with many Profs. Did some interesting projects. Gave the last exam !
  • Took the decision of doing thesis instead of internship in the final semester of M.Tech. It has been one of the best decision i have made. I am enjoying every moment of the work i am doing. This is the most amazing work i have ever done ! Hope to get some new and interesting results. Looking forward to the next six months of research. I have realized that doing what we love, can give us maximum happiness, maximum satisfaction.
  • A year of firsts – I did many things for the first time in 2013. Tried new things, had new experiences. The ones that i can recall now are as follows – Watched the first 3D movie (Frozen, it was amazing !), attended the first conference, published the first paper, presented first poster (at Open House), first time went on a tour without parents, first birthday away from home (but also one of the best), first time traveled in a metro, got my first job …
  • I gave the best gift to my parents on their 25th marriage anniversary, a “Gold Medal” for being first in B.E. in the Computer Engineering department of Gujarat Technological University (GTU). The best thing was that my convocation was on their anniversary day (19th Jan). Mom and Dad, I am proud to be your daughter. It is because of you both, i am, what i am today 🙂 I know thanks is too small a word but still, thanks a lot for everything !!!
  • Increased my friends circle. Our gang of girls increased from 5 to 7. It has been a great support system. A family away from home. These are people whom you can call even at 2 AM to talk. I will miss our long mid-night walks and then sandwiches + fruit juice in canteen, our shopping trips, our study sessions together, our meals in canteen. Thanks a lot guys for being there ! Lets all be friends forever 🙂 This year brought us all closer and bonded us even better. I also realized that it can be very difficult to wave goodbye to your close friends.
  • This was the year when most of the festivals were celebrated away from home. Be it lighting up the hostel on Diwali, or the colorful fun with colors on Holi or the beautiful flower rangoli on Onam or the most awaited three-day long Spandan-The Sports Fest at IIIT-B or the ethnic day celebrations. Celebrating festivals can be fun with friends.
  • I have always believed that its better to be alone than to be with people who don’t match your values and ethics. I have been an introvert in some ways, and never initiated conversations with strangers for example while travelling or at other public places. Thus i have a small close-knit friend circle of a few close friends. I have always enjoyed my own company and hence i can say with full confidence that being alone can be also be fun ! However, this year i have also realized that making friends can be easy if the wavelength of the other person matches yours.
  • This has been a musical year for me. Thanks to the SpicMacay events at IIIT-B, other performances and lots and lots of YouTube musical videos, it has been an enchanting and euphonious year. I am planning to learn a new musical instrument next year. I will update about it later. Music is food for soul. It has the magical power to transcend us to a new different world. Music can refresh the brain even after a long and tiring day.
  • This year for the first time a visited a home for physically and mentally challenged girl child, Swanthana. All i can say is that, i was completely moved. Our problems, our setbacks, our challenges, our sorrows are nothing, yes believe me NOTHING once you see their life. But still they SMILE (and it can bring tears in anyone’s eyes). To read my full experience, click here.

I am looking forward to 2014. I hope it is a great year full of new ideas, new experiences, new lessons, new friends and new learning. Wishing all of you a very happy and prosperous new year 2014 ! May all your dreams come true. May you get all that you deserve and more !

Age is just a number

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” ~Mark Twain

Days, weeks, months and years pass. And so do birthdays ! But does anyone feel “grown up” with each passing birthday ? Atleast i don’t. If you do please let me know what it feels like. A birthday is like a milestone for me. An indicator of the amount of time i have spent on Earth (in this lifetime 😉 ). A reason to celebrate, enjoy and party ! But i don’t feel anything different from my previous birthdays. May be next year i will, or probably not. No idea. Probably for me age will always be just a number !

I think more than the birthdays, its those special moments of wisdom which make us feel big. For example, when we help someone, when we face our fears, when we make BIG decisions, when we follow our heart/brain and not what others say, when we find happiness in doing things and so on … I think these moments make us wiser and older. It is the experience we have from these moments that makes us mature. And thus due to this reason i think it is possible that people celebrating bigger birthdays may not always be mature and in similar way, sometimes the young ones may be. It all depends on the experiences we have had. The people we have met. The friends (and enemies) we have made. The books we have read. The lessons we have learnt. The choices we have made. The decisions we have taken. The roads we have walked.

On a lighter note, when i was small and innocent and didn’t know the ‘reality’, i believed that i would grow taller on my birthday 😛 My parents tell me that i would ask them to measure my height before the birthday night as i would be taller the next day. Seriously we as children can have strange and funny beliefs.

My friends liked this idea, so i thought i would share it with all. How many of you feel that the day for which you waited so long, i.e. your birthday just flies away ? The next day, it feels like a dream. And then you have to wait for whole one year to celebrate it again ! So the idea is to celebrate “Birthday Month” instead of just “Birthday”. For the whole month, daily do something you like doing. Make each day special in its own way. Also celebrate the birthday. In this way, you won’t feel that your birthday just zoomed away. You will be enjoy each and every moment of the entire birthday month. Thanks to Mom and Dad for this wonderful idea 🙂 Also how about celebrating “Birthday Year” ? Lets make every moment of our life special ! After all its OUR life !

Do you want to know what is your actual mental age ? Try this fun test online -> http://www.mbti123.com/mental/en/

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” ~Satchel Paige

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic | My Cycle and Me

Good Old Days

This week’s “Weekly Photo Challenge” encouraged me to go back in time and see a flashback of my life till now. It feels just yesterday when i used to go to school, enjoy vacations and play with my friends. Time actually flies very very fast. It feels so good to have a look at the old photographs. Its only sweet memories which we are left with, to ponder, recollect and enjoy the old times.

I recalled my first school. I recollected how we friends used to go walking holding the hands of Aaya. I still remember the green abacus kept in a corner of my school which had intrigued me a lot. Reciting poems in class, doing homework, participating in games and fancy dress competitions (I had got first prize for being Indira Gandhi :)). I can see a video recording of all these events as if it is being played in front of my eyes !

Then we got shifted to the colony, so that i could have more friends. My life changed ! I made so many new friends. Every evening we used to play. I remember, we even played during exams and yet performed well. Hide and seek, ice and water, hopscotch, racing, cycling, climbing trees, dark room etc were the games we played apart from badminton, carom, basketball, chess and table tennis. You name it and we played it 🙂 Then there were fun filled birthday parties, the return gifts, the tasty dishes, sweets and chocolates, it was so much fun. We also used to fight with each other for various reasons. Now the reasons may look silly but at that time it mattered a lot to us.  However all fights and misunderstandings were forgotten and each day was a fresh new day. We never held any grudges for one another.

“When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.”
―Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The picture above shows me with my companion “my maroon Hero bicycle” when i was 7 years old. I was so proud of my bicycle. It was my surprise birthday gift ! It was a big transition for me from a tricycle to a bicycle. I still remember how my Dad used to teach me cycling every evening. I used to wait for him to come back from office and teach me how to cycle. The roads lined by lush green trees, the fresh air, the chirping birds, it was all fantastic ! In the beginning the bicycle was so huge for me that i could not even sit on the seat or take a complete round of the pedals. But i myself don’t remember when i started racing with my friends. Off course there were a lot of scrapped knees followed by tetanus injections, but i guess it made me stronger and braver 🙂 Later on we used to do cycling every evening on the broad roads, chatting together. We would get so engrossed, that we just forgot about the distance we had covered. Later at night when our legs pained, did we realize that perhaps we had cycled lot more than our capacity 🙂

I think childhood is the best time to imbibe a lot of skills in children. I hindsight i realize we learnt leadership, team management, time management, handling difficult people, facing challenges and so many other skills without even intentionally learning them. These skills can only be learnt practically. No book or teacher can teach you these skills in a classroom. Thus childhood is the best time to inculcate various qualities which are useful later in life. There cannot be a better teacher than our own experience.

I will conclude with a small poem written by me on childhood –

Childhood is the best time to learn and grow
To inculcate and nurture the seed you sow
Play games and make so many new friends
Not to give a damn about the latest trends
Enjoy life and be happy each and every new day
Not to be apprehensive of the mysteries future lays
To fight with friends and then forgive & forget
Not to worry about the deadlines that are set
If life seems to be so good from a child’s view
Then lets bring back the child, whom we bid adieu !

Cisco Girls in Technology Experience

What will you say when you get a chance to visit an awesome campus of a top company, see the work they are doing, learn many new things, get to interact with numerous like minded people and have a lot of fun ? In my opinion it is a perfect example of a day well spent. And this is what i experienced at the Cisco Girls in Technology Event held on March 16th, 2013 at the Cisco campus in Bangalore.

The preparation for this event had started long back. We were to compete with various teams and present a topic assigned to us. Overall it was a great learning experience to give a presentation online on the Web-ex tool. We also got the chance to interact with teams from other colleges. Our mentors from Cisco guided us and gave us feedback. The winners got to present on the D-day.

A group of 14 girls from our college got the opportunity to participate in this event. We reached the campus by 8 AM. We were all awe-struck with the beautiful and huge campus. It was green and well maintained. I am sure everyone must have thought of it at a perfect workplace 🙂 Well we were done with the registrations and had a tasty breakfast.

The event started with a welcome note where around 100 girls from various colleges participated. We were introduced to the main motive of this event which was to have more women at higher positions in the organization. Statistics say that a large number of women quit as it is difficult to balance the personal and professional life. Cisco is trying to come up with strategies that will help in reducing this trend. And Cisco GIT is one such step. We were motivated to be passionate about technology, so that no problem can be big enough for us.

Next session was on Cisco Technology Trends where we could see the current market trends and Cisco’s involvement in it. The best part was “Tele-presence”. Using this technology, people at far off places can interact with each other as if they are having a round table conference. We interacted with the girls from Chennai. We came to know about “Internet of Everything” which brings together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable.

Next was the lab-tour. Here we could ourselves see the amazing work done by Cisco in diverse areas.

The first was Health-Presence. Using this technology the doctor can treat the patient from far off places. It can send heartbeat, blood-pressure, pulse etc to the doctor. The doctor can then diagnose and sent the prescription back to the patient. This system has been actually used during the floods in Raichur.

Next demo was on Cloud Computing. We got to see their servers and other resources. We also had a demo on how a user can easily demand for the required resources on a cloud and access it within seconds. We were also demonstrated how the admin manages the cloud.

Last demo was on the Security and Maintenance at Cisco.  We saw the complete system which manages their security. We were told about the smart-doors. We could see the live streaming of various Cisco offices. Cisco is also doing great work for protecting the environment by conserving the resources. The complete lighting system is automated. They have won a platinum award for this.

After these demos we were all very hungry. Tasty food was ready for us. We had a sumptuous lunch while interacting with the Cisco team.

Next it was time for presentations. All the teams gave the presentation on various topics and were thoroughly questioned by the judges. In the end top three winners were declared. Then there was certificate and goodies distribution. The event ended with a vote of thanks.

Overall it was a great day packed with lot of practical learning and fun. Interacting with industry gives a new perspective to us. We are able to judge the gap between the academics and industry and then we can decrease this gap. Thanks a lot to Cisco for the awesome day!