Wednesday, July 26, 2006

KReSIT Alumni Day

KReSIT's "IT Association" (ITA) is organizing an informal Alumni gathering, on Saturday, August 12, 2006. Details for the event:

Date: - August 12, 2006 (Saturday)
Time: - 6:00PM onwards
Venue: - KReSIT, IIT Bombay
RSVP: - B. Karthik (Alumni Secretary): karthik [at] it [dot] iitb [dot] ac [dot] in
Webpage: KReSIT Alumni Page

Those KReSIT alumni reading this are requested to pass on the message to their batchmates, seniors and juniors.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


* IIT-B is no rural municipality that struggles to provide many of the urban comforts to its denizens. Which is why the atrocious street lighting is hard to believe. The orange lamps are old and dull, and only on one side of the main throughway. That is if they haven't conked off or are plain unavailable, leaving several patches bathed in light that barely escaped a black hole.

Given the sloping roads, the "wild"-life (esp. during the monsoons) and the profusion of cyclists like us who ride without lamps, I wonder why the situation is the same as it must have been close to 50 years ago.

* While on the topic, I must say that one more aspect of IIT-B that disappoints me big time is the fact that while the campus is vast and green, it hardly looks the most impressive aesthetically speaking. I am envious of the university campuses abroad (I may have been seduced by the zealous marketing machinery of these univs but as of now I'm taking their website pictures at face value) who seem to have very good looking buildings and carefully snipped landscapes. At IIT-B, the buildings are usually of the worst RCC-government type. Closer home, places like IIM-A and ISB look attractive (disclaimer: 2nd hand pictures seen). Pune University also had this vast sprawling out-of-control look to its landscape, but at least its buildings had the old stonework (not that that is everthing - you should come to COEP).

IIT-B is purely functional at many places.

* 'tis the time for change. A change of guard. People have unofficially graduated. People (and seemingly bright ones at that) are coming in. We move a rung up the benefits ladder, which means changes in labs to occupy the more coveted (read "private") of nooks. More than privacy, I wanted to be in a bigger lab this time; the last one was a little too cramped on all sides.

* The direct admissions to KReSIT this time have proved to be a bad decision, IMO - seeing that about 25% of those candidates who were offered admissions have not turned up. Some have left for the more renowned (virtual) portals of the CSE department. It is safe to guess that many of these "direct admissions", because of their high percentiles in the qualifying exam, would have had more than one offer to juggle with. I know so many people who were close to the criteria for admission, were very keen to do a post-grad this year and have missed out. Life is not kind. It is very unfortunate how much fortune dictates the little pathways ahead.

* The move to H-12 was completed last week. The "lake-side" view being much coveted, there were a lot of strategising to get one of those A-wing rooms. I do have a A-wing room facing the lake, but I didn't really care for it much, because I don't spend a lot of time in the room anyway. One can step out to a nearby balcony to see the sights. However, I'm v. happy to have a great view of the open sky. Each passing year, it gets harder and harder to do so. At home, the view has been obscured by buildings taking over real estate on the front and the trees at the back. I wouldn't be able to see the Hale-Bopp comet today as I did about 9 years ago from one of the balconies. It's great to lie back and see the canvas-like sky as the day ends.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Of PThesis and others

* The M.Tech thesis work here at I.I.T (must be a IIT-wide phenomenon, I guess) is presented in stages. (The 1st stage is a literature survey due very soon.). All this talk of stages makes it sound like a terminal disease.

George added to this by saying it should then be called "PThesis"! (refer list of diseases starting with "P" or rewind to Pyaremohan Ilahabadi asking puujya jjijjaajji about phthisis and pneumonia in "Chupke Chupke".)

* The trick about writing anything long, as I have always painfully felt, is to not stop writing.

* This is the first Saturday in many weeks that I'm in the campus instead of home. I am rather notorious in these parts for taking off for home on the slightest available opportunity. So much so that, I have to only lift my satchel for people to conclude I'm going to warm a seat on a bus between Bombay and Pune.

Some of this has been justified, no doubt. My excuse is that there is still a lot to do at home - library books and DVDs to borrow, read/watch and return, quizzing to participate, while still being able to keep the essential wheels of work turning. This weekend, it's a genuine case of there being higher priority work here.

Still, this should do my sullied image a surf-excel-makeover. Temporarily.

Friday, July 14, 2006


* What do you say to a biped that houses a bunch of XX chromosomes and an accompanying keeper of XY chromosomes who turn up 40 minutes late for an appointment inconveniencing 5 other people, do not even once call up to convince us of their impending arrival and ultimately do not even bother to apologise or acknowledge at any level their starring role in this tardiness?

"How can you be so irresponsible"1 comes to mind, as Suchak saab said to Sadhu Agashe (getting that brilliantly accusatory lilt is tough, but I could have managed it on the occasion).

I must have spent many months worth of time waiting for such nutcases. My conversion to misanthropy is further justified. I wish I could be more rude.

* Yesterday was a colossal waste of time and mental energy, some of it self-inflicted. Above bipeds didn't help the situation. Worse, rank amateurs giving me philosophies on one of the very few subjects I know a lot about i.e. conducting quizzes. Couldn't stop myself getting into an argument - seniority goes for a toss. I don't tell you how to set up telescopes, you don't tell me how to conduct a quiz. Maaz tar maaz.

* Given the imminent move to H12, the internal pedometer is all set to record a 25% more increase in kms covered. I couldn't believe the H12 mess actually has "boiled-only" meal available too! The rooms have Spartek tiles too. They're miTTi-me.n-milaa-oing (apologies for Hinglish) the name of hostels all over.

* We had astrologers predicting Italy would win in an Italy-France World Cup final. If only they could have used all that "power" to predicting bad fortune for the 5.54 from Churchgate.

* Some of the things happening around me in the last couple of days have left me emotionally staggered, despite they not affecting me directly. I feel quite unhappy for a bunch of people. I wonder if I would have had the stomach to face such things if they happened to me. Not v. pleasant. There's a limit to how much you can empathise - it can never be total. The living bear the guilt when the dead are gone.

1: From "Ab Tak Chappan"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hum and yeh logs

* I was supposed to be out yesterday to dinner with S, his wife & GS, but didn't because of the blasts. Plus the fact that areas affected by the blasts were liberally sprinkled with relatives. Only could find out today that all seems well with them as well - the delay due to an unprecedented (for me) jamming of the phone network

* I have not been too close to such calamities before: when disturbances happened in Bombay 13-14 years ago, I was in Madras and relocated to Bombay only about a year later. And when Madras erupted during MGR's death, I was in Pune, only to leave for Madras a few months later. I hope I'm not the follower of bad news, some sort of local apocalyptic acolyte who lives in safety. I have not even been in a curfew situation, thanks to the nature of the places I have lived my life. But all that is changing

* Report writing continues. The urge to write seems to be creeping back slowly

* Local relocations seem to be the order of the week, for lab desk changes and hostel changes are imminent. Hostel 12 especially is a 3-star suite compared to the clearly infra-dig H-4. But then I thought about it a little and figured that with my notoriously frequent Pune trips and time spent at lab, it's not going to be as much about the ambience of a room (for I lack the infrastructure - on purpose - to work from my hostel room) as about the food. But then the hostel is at the other end of the universe

* Like during the 26th July incident last year, I'm in such a calm and seemingly unaffected environment amidst all the volcanic eruptions outside, that it is hard to believe I'm in the same city. I wonder if all this shelter is necessarily a good thing. Am I incensed enough (should I be be more?), or am I too asympathetically detached?

* The stories of how some changed compartments to escape the bombings (or worse, vice versa) and such like will pour through. What reasons will be ascribed to such twists in fortune?

* People are graduating all around me as I write. Must be a fulfilling feeling. Did they accomplish most, if not all, that they had hoped to in these two years?

* "O Saathi Re", "Jag Jaa", "BiiDii/Sasurrii", "Laaka.D" - worth writing about soon

* I have to take part in a Science quiz organised by ISRO and produced by UTV. I fear questions on the scientific explanations of everyday occurences will dominate, and so I have no real expectations of it. Hopefully DD will show it in some afternoon slot on DD Bharati and so even the 100-odd people who might have watched it will be denied access. I had intentions of taking a shot at preparation, but realise I'm not that really inclined. Let me out - I'm more of a useless trivia kind! The prizes are laptops for the winner, which is even more indication that with my usual hex of not winning anything that offers anything pricey as prizes, I should make a swift and painless exit