If you like maths, then you will love this book and if you don’t like maths, then probably you will start liking maths because of this book. I have been reading Ben’s blog posts (which also have similar stick-figure drawings) since a few years and I finally decided to read this book. One is lucky to have teachers like him who can inspire not just about the subject but about learning in general!
The book covers a variety of aspects of maths as well as “real-world” scenarios where maths is required. There are sections on maths and mathematicians (it’s my favourite section), geometry (with many cool use-cases!), probability, statistics and more.
The writing style is simple and easy to understand, not like the usual math books! Also, it’s filled with wit and humour. Mostly people cry about maths but I guess this is one of those rare books which makes people laugh! And then there are these hand-drawn illustrations of stick-figures (they are so expressive!) which make the topic fun and also drill down the key points!
A couple of my favourite quotes for this book are: “To do good work, you’ve first got to engage with nitty-gritty details. Then, to do great work, you’ve got to move beyond them.” and “Creativity is what happens when a mind encounters an obstacle. It’s the human process of finding a way through, over, around, or beneath. No obstacle, no creativity.”
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!
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 (later renamed to Web Science Lab, WSL) 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!
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 it’s 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. It’s the memories which will be cherished forever! And finally, IIIT-B, my Alma mater, thanks for everything!
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.
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 !
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 !
My Cup of Tea turned 1-year-old on Oct 2nd, 2012. I am so happy. I was busy with my mid-semester exams so i could not post on that day itself. And so i was craving for a Sunday when i could make this post :D. This one year journey has been awesome. I have discovered a new me via my blog. MCT is the first thing i mention as my hobbies (even in interviews) and it feels good to see that most people are interested in it (more so if they themselves are bloggers :)).
This journey has been memorable because of the blogging friends i made all over the world. It feels great to imagine that we live in different parts of the world, have our own very busy lives, we all face challenges on the journey of life, yet we all connect with each other via blogging. Blogging brings me in a completely different world 🙂 Today i would like to thank each one of you who have read my posts, liked them or have been gracious enough to take some time out of their busy lives and commented on a post. By reading my post, you read a part of my life, my experiences, my journey. Each one of you has inspired me to keep going on and post something new and interesting.
I can proudly say that MCT has been one of the best things i have done in my life. Even the thought of MCT brings a spark of happiness in me. Reading back through old posts, sometimes i am surprised how i could have written it 😀 But such things happen and we discover our own potential and capabilities. And so i believe that we have the ability to surprise ourselves 🙂
In one year i posted 45 posts including this one. I had imagined much more. But its ok 🙂 If you ever feel that i have forgotten MCT as i am not posting frequently, then you are wrong. I promise that atleast once in a day a thought of MCT passes my mind. Sometimes on a free day i sit down and read all your posts. My frequency of posting may have decreased due to my busy college life, but i can assure you that MCT will be a part of me, ALWAYS.
I still remember that day very clearly. 2nd October 2011. Since a long time i had been thinking of having a blog. I had done a lot of research on whether to go for blogger or WordPress (finally i picked WordPress, lucky me :)). I just could not decide on a name for my blog. I wanted it to be perfect so that i never feel like changing it again. And so on 2nd October last year a Sunday 🙂 i finally decided to create my blog. When entering the name of blog suddenly it flashed “My Cup of Tea”. And that was it. I just love it soooo much since that day. Here is the link to my first blog post 🙂 My First Post !
Once again a Very Happy First Blog Anniversary MCT !!!
My interview for the MTech at IIIT-B was scheduled on May 03rd, 2012. It was mentioned in the call letter to report at the institute by 9AM. So I along with my Dad started early and reached the institute at 8AM. I was given a gate pass at the entrance. The institute is so beautiful. It is surrounded by trees and there is greenery all around. IIIT-B was my first preference to do MTech and after the first glance of the college my decision felt even more correct. Here are a few pics…
Blessings of Goddess Saraswati !
The lush green lawn
The huge tree !
A beautiful pond with ducks 🙂
Hostel at IIIT-B
Lawns in front of hostel.
Since we reached somewhat early we were told to wait in the campus. Some other students had also arrived with their parents. At 8:30 AM we were called one by one and given the check list for the day. In the check list there were four rows stating Things to be done – receiving check list, biometric test, document verification and interview. After completing each stage we had to get our checklist signed. So my first stage was over in a moment :).
Next I was told to go to room number 160 for biometric test. We were told to sit as per our registration numbers and wait. There were two sections one for people who had got Gate waiver and the other for those who had come through the entrance exam. In the beginning they were calling us one by one. But then they started calling randomly. In the meantime a person came from a bank and told about easy loan schemes for students. Finally my turn came at 10:30 AM. In the biometric test they took a photo and scanned the index finger of both hands. Stage two over :).
Now I had to report to room 133 for document verification. My documents were all ready. I just arranged them in the given order and again waited for my turn. There were also facilities for students to get their documents photo copied if they didn’t have it. My documents were verified. Stage three over :).
The volunteers there said that my turn would come in half an hour so I could take a break. So I waited there and revised my presentation in my mind. I was hungry so my Dad suggested that we should go to the canteen. We went to then canteen and also had a better look at the campus. Some students like me were also there having snacks. We ordered samosas, veg puff and cold drinks. It was tasty. Now I was feeling much better with something in my stomach.
Again I was back in room 133. I interacted with some volunteers. I got to know a lot of interesting stuff about the college. I asked him so many things but I forgot to ask his name :D. At this point I would like to add that the volunteers were very helping and friendly. They will help and guide you in the best possible way and answer all your queries. Finally my name was announced and that my turn would come soon. I was told to move to the holding area where i was told to sit and wait for my turn for the interview.
There were around 7-8 cabins where the interviews were being conducted. I was both excited as well as a bit stressed. A Sir called my name. I had butterflies in my stomach :). That Sir gave my form to my interviewer and moved out. Finally my interview started …
Firstly I was asked to introduce myself in about 2 mins. Sir listened very attentively and asked a few questions in between. Then he gave a short introduction about himself to make me more comfortable (a very good attempt on his part to make the interview easy for me :)). He asked if this was my best Gate score. He asked about my favorite subjects. Next he asked me to give the presentation. At this point he told me beforehand that he would stop me as soon as he got the inputs since there was limited time, so there should be no feelings of disrespect (another superb gesture on his part!). So i gave my presentation, and after about 3 mins he stopped me. I was a bit nervous as i had only given the introduction of my topic. He told me that my presentation and communication skills were good. Next he asked me why i didn’t join TCS. Also to name a few companies i would like to work with in future. In the end he asked me if i had any queries. I asked a few questions and he gave its answers. With this my interview was over. Stage 4 which was the most tricky stage was complete 🙂 !!!
My interview was superb and went fine. I was sooooo happy! We had lunch at the college canteen which was OK. Next we roamed about in the campus which was simply awesome. Here i would like to mention that there is a small pond with some ducks. Oh ! it was so scenic. I just wanted to join this institute now :)!
Finally the good news came on May 14th, 2012 that i had been selected ! I was very very happy ! Out of 751 people who were interviewed, 150 were selected and i was one of them 🙂 I had always dreamt of this day. After visiting IIIT-B i had a strong urge to be its part. At this point i realized that if we strongly want something and dream about it day and night and also put in the required efforts, then the whole universe helps us in fulfilling our dream 🙂 (I know that it is a dialog of a movie but anyway this is the first time i realized that it is true :)).
Campus Tour of IIIT-B
PS 1 – Today i am sitting and blogging from train and will reach IIIT-Bangalore on July 13th, 2012 to join the institute. Yippee 😀
PS 2 – You can read my journey to IIIT-B for interview here – My First Flight Experience
PS 3 – I have closed comments as i have answered almost all the queries related to this topic. Please go through the queries and my replies in the comments section and with a 95% probability, you will get an answer of your question as well. Admission is on the basis of Gate score. There is no way i can predict whether you will get admission on the basis of your score. Just see last year’s cutoff and hope for the best. Best of luck !