Browsing Category

College Life

Finally done and over with …

Today probably marked a pretty important day for me – college is finally done and over with !
I know this has been said before, but we had our project demonstration today, and so (considering I clear all my papers), I should not have any official reason for going back to college ever (except for collecting my marksheet)
Anyways, even though all these past four years have had many pleasant memorable experiences, I would be leaving with sort of a bad taste …
The only requirement for our project demonstration that we had off the college was access to a decent internet connection – we were carrying our own notebook (mainly because the college computers would not be able to support our development environment :p)
Anyways, our project guide from college called us personally a day before and informed us that the college was having some trouble with their internet lines and asked us if we could make some arrangements ourselves.
We ended up carrying a CDMA Wireless phone which gives dial-up speeds internet connectivity. It did get our job done, but was painfully slow and frustruating !
Anyways, on reaching college, we realised that the internet connection had been down from a couple of days and no one had many arrangements to fix it – or even call the customer care support for that matter, even though many teams needed an active connection to demonstrate their projects.
Moreover, all the computers were infected with worms and viruses which caused unexpected behaviour on the systems – adding to our misery.
The final ‘real’ downer – was that the examiner who came to check out our project was very, very unqualified to do so …
I’d go as far as to say that he was a complete idiot and had no idea at all about software development.
The college is not to be blamed for it – because the University sends these people – but c’mon, there has to be atleast some level of competence!
The guy who came to us, asked us questions like:
– What are the number of classes have you used in your project?
– How many tables are there in your database?
– How many pages does your site have?
It was very apparent that the guy knew nothing at all within the first five minutes, and to save his blushes, he had to ask us questions – many of which could clearly be termed as ‘stupid beyond belief’.
The demonstration did go past 60 minutes and he kept interupting us with his moronic questions throughout – half of which we had to strain to make sense off in the context of our demonstration!
It actually hurts when people spend months in completing a project – with the time, money and energy spent – and the person who is supposed to assess the project turns out to be a complete moronic idiot and does not even make an effort to understand what you have done.
With everything said and done, my other project partners feel that we did the best we could with this sort of a guy and we should be happy that its gone well.
I guess so … but the Pune University really needs a wake up call !!!

Remember remember … (V for Vendetta)

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot. Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent to blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow:
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!
A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah! Hip hip hoorah!

V for Vendetta” is an excellent movie.
Apart from the brilliant acting, direction, cinematography and everything else which made it such a treat to watch, it had a very, very strong message …

“People should not be afraid of their governments … The governments should be afraid of their people …”

PS: The following blog contains references to the movies “V for Vendetta” and “Rang De Basanti” … Though the references might be obvious to the plot of the movie, it may turn out to be spoilers for the majority of the people who haven’t seen the movies.

So, if you do intend to watch the movies, I must sadly ask you to skip this post … else, please carry on …

Though, we as Indians cannot relate to the movie a lot, I think most of the americans will be able to …
Michael Ironside who does voice acting for Sam Fisher – an NSA agent in the game “Splinter Cell” says that there are only two primary emotions that every animal understands : more so human beings – “Love and Fear”
What America is going through or went through (atleast from what we hear or see here) corresponds in some way the Britain in the movie “V for Vendetta” is going through …
I remember – after the 9/11 attacks, people were petrified beyond belief …
In the movie, “V”, which is an analogy to the Guy Fawkes incident, V (Hugo Weaving) successfully bombs the parliament building (without killing innocent people).
Though actually blowing up a building does not solve much of a purpose practically, it does bring hope and faith to the people and shows the government that people are not to be taken for granted.
According to him (V), its not the act of destroying a building, but the ideology behind it and what it (the building) stands for that you are destroying.

Strength through unity! Unity through faith!

Anyways, the problem with the government in the movie was that it was bullying its people and using fear as a method of controlling them.
That got me thinking whether a similar scheme of things would work for our country …
The problem with India is that its not bullying its people in a way that blowing up a building (parliament maybe?) would solve .
The problems that India faces (from its government) is mainly of corruption and apathy and having incompetent fools who don’t know what they are supposed to do.
Unlike the U.S, there is no restriction on the number of times someone can come to power, so the main agenda of the politicians is to please the majority voter bank before the elections so that they can be elected again.
A prime example is the government trying to impose another 27% reservations for the OBC (Other Backward Classes) (taking the total reservations to 49.5%) in the Education sector. The main reason for doing this, as blatantly mentioned by many of the politicians is to please a section of the society.
Thanks to the election commission, this matter has been halted for the time being and now the government is giving thought whether the move would be politically feasible for them.
In such a scenario … another movie comes to mind which I recently caught – “Rang De Basanti”.
In the movie, some college students go and assasinate the defence minister of the country because he was corrupt.
Again, the movie was brilliantly made and a treat to the eyes.
In the movie, after they have knocked off the defence minister (which is a relatively easy thing to do) – and not get caught, the government puts the assasination blame on terrorists (India has plenty of them to pass the blame around) and work of Pakistan’s ISI.
However, our protagonists go to a radio station and broadcast saying that it was them and not some terrorists who knocked off the minister – also giving complete reasons as to why they did it. This is the best part of the movie and apparently brings the government down to its knees.
However, unfortunately, these unarmed students are gunned down by the special task force with orders from higher authorities that there should be no survivors left.
Again, though going and knocking off corrupt politicians one by one may seem to some – an excellent method to rid the country of idiots, it will take a very long time and is not at all feasible. (because India has just so many politicians … we are the largest democracy in the world)
Besides, you also run the risk of getting killed soon…
This actually got me thinking and being the conspiracy theorist that I am … what if … just what if … the Parliament Attacks on Dec 13, 2001 were not actually done by millitants, but a couple of kids who just wanted to change something …
(some sort of a Rang De Basanti meets V for Vendetta)
But the bottom line is … change by the constitutional means … going to vote, electing a new government, etc etc … takes a very long time …
We need a V 😉

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot. I see no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

Goodbye college …

Today, unfortunately (for some) or fortunately (for most), was our Engineering College Farewell to all the final year students … Something to explicitly tell us – that its now officially over – end of student life for the most of us …

Most of us who have been placed, have to join by the first week of July – so its a big step, moving onto a job and whole new world …

Anyways, as I turned up for the farewell at 6:30 – there was the usual, the boring principal speech and the yada yada … Something which nobody enjoys …

As the evening progressed, the motley crowd of students that we are – some were enjoying it thoroughly while others were getting bored …

After the speeches that were given by members of the staff, there were some contests organised by the juniors … of which some were fun, and some weird …

I was dragged into taking part in two contests – one which involved recognising a junior student and being able to give out his full name – these guys brought in front of me, a guy – whom I had never seen before – and thus guessing his name was way out of the question – much to the embarrasment of both of us.

The only solace was that the best anybody got was one guy guessing the last name of his junior.

The second contest which I was dragged into – which I would never have gone into – on my own free will was the Mr. College Contest …

Here things got a bit awry …

The guys who got called up (there were about 12 of us there initially) did not like the fact that the compere was dictating rules very sternly to the participants …

The contest was supposed to be a fun contest – nothing was at stake and the rules could be bent a little.

Added to the fact, that the Final Year students of our college (and a good percentage of people on the stage at that time) are NOT the most affable, the guys decided to screw up the event.

So one common line was thought, and everybody introduced themselves as : “Hi ! My name is so and so … and I’d like to be known as XXXX” (XXXX being a common joke that we have amongst us)

So, basically – the Mr and Ms. College Contest got completely ruined

Anyways, what struck me at that time was that farewells are pretty difficult to organise … especially in colleges like ours where there is not much interaction between the juniors and the seniors at other times of the year.

The thing that screwed up the last Mr. and Ms. College contest was that people thought that they were being dictated rules – rules to a party which was being thrown for them.

This is the difficult part in organising such a thing …

I have organised a couple of things, but never a farewell of such sorts – nor have I thought about how I’d do it …

The difficulty comes in drawing the line between doing it well and over doing it a bit … and mostly in catering to the people whom the party is for, making the rules – and at the same time pulling it off without making the people think that they are being bossed over.

Then again, we have a pretty rowdy crowd – which makes it even more difficult to organise such an event. But at the end of it, it was fun nevertheless and people should probably be grateful to the organisers for atleast taking the initiative to hold such a thing.

Anyways, so long MESCOE … sort of mixed reactions for me …

Technically, still a long way to college “officially” being over – there are submissions, and exams and projects to demonstrate – so shall write an “official college over post” once all those things are taken care off …

Life comes a full circle …

For all those who wanted to know, we didn’t make it to National Finals of the Imagine Cup this year.

Now, unfortunately (or fortunately) the BE Project that we guys were doing and our IC submission was one and the same thing (for the sake of our sanities) – so atleast we will be seeing this thing through (hopefully)

Our theme and ideas were kept somewhat hushed up (which feels kinda stupid now) but anyways, will be letting the cat out of the bag soon enough.

In other news, came back from an awesome two day picnic to Nagaon (which is about 8 odd kms from Alibaug) and it was awesome fun. Will be posting pictures of the trip soon.

Perhaps the last with the guys from college – everything went off nicely and everybody had loads of fun.

For starters, here are a couple of images that I took on the beach …

Low tide at the Alibaug beach at sunset – small kid with his dad

A family of four moving towards the Alibaug fort which is accessible by foot during low tides

Education thingy …

This semester, the college attendance for our class has been pretty low.
On a good day, the class attendance has been about 60% at best.
I think this stems from the fact, that nothing much is happening in college, we have crappy subjects and people are basically bored having attended the last 3 and a half years of their lives coming everyday to college — so they want to cut it short.
Not to mention project work !!
Besides, we have only 4 subjects this semester and our time table has been put up in such a way – that we have Thursdays off for project work and then again Saturday and Sunday (which is normal college holiday too) – so we’re basically working only 4 days a week.
On top of that, we have no practicals on Friday – which makes it the juicy day to bunk on – something I did this friday – with disastrous effects.
It turns out, that more than half the class had the same idea which resulted in the only the other half turning up for class which eventually resulted in a very, very *angry* (read pissed off) Head of the Department.
So in order to get us back on track, there was a long lecture (I heard about it via many people who actually were present) and we’re having a test tomorrow on 2 chapters — in which, if we score less than 75% (which is again a pretty impossible result to achieve), we will be chucked out of the class.
Also, there were a lot of warnings about us getting very, very poor grades in our projects (which make up a good 150 marks) and term work if we didn’t attend sincerely enough.
Warnings also on “how what we do for projects does not matter”, as the marks eventually come from the internal and external examiner – whose good books we need to be in.
Using this logic, people who spend more time doing credible and decent work (and who happen to miss classes due to this reason) will end up getting less marks than other people who come up with some half baked projects BUT attend sincerely.
So, why should we bother at all?
As sad as it seems, this is how most of the places work – I think.
You need to suck up to the higher authorities to get anything done at all.
Luckily in our case, this fact has just been more “explicitly” mentioned.

Life on track …

I haven’t been blogging of late – have not had much time.
The last couple of weeks have gone in a blur actually. I was actively involved in organising our inter collegiate festival – and it was a mad rush of things …
One thing that I learnt after the event got over was – to never organise anything like this ever again. Its very very painful.
However, the event went off decently well – and most of the people were happy at the end of it.
However, this saturday – the last day of the event, all our sponsor banners disappeared from the parking in broad daylight – due to which, this event hasn’t gotten over – yet.
These things just never end.
Anyways, now that most of the thing is over and I have more free time, will be blogging more often.

The event update …

I haven’t been getting time of late to blog … been extremely busy – painting the town red – everyday, going around for sponsors and then later for project.
The funny thing is that I HATE to get out of the house and roam around.
Part of this reason being that to go anyplace worthwhile, I have to go quite a distance.
So, in the vacations, when many of my friends just hung out the entire day, I would wonder why do they do it.
I rarely ever did it, and now I think, have compensated for it in this vacation … maybe even for the rest of my life …
Anyways, as per the event, we’ve made some progress from the last time the post came about, but we are falling drastically short as of now … unless some miracle happens soon, we don’t know whats going to come of it.
The event’s gonna be on the 30th of Jan, and we need to get some amount of sponsorship, by the 10th of this month. Then only, we’ll be going ahead with additional expenditure, like poster printing, advertising and the works.
I guess, by this Monday, we’ll have a much clearer picture.
Either we do a full fledged event as planned (decently possible), a more cut down event – with lesser prize money and stuff (pretty likely), or we’ll be scrapping the event altogether (equally likely).
Lets see …
One more thing that you come across while doing an event is that the various people who you work with, all, have an event which they love.
Now, when the axe is about to fall on a particular event, these people will try and defend the event till the very last.
It is difficult to be stern, coz firstly, very few people are working anyways, so you don’t want to upset them, and secondly, coz you generally don’t want to upset people.
The other kind of people, which I hate completely are the ones, who come up with their own damn, neat, ideas for contests or additions to the events – last minute – months after everything was planned and months after people have slogged their asses to get to this position.
Whats more worse is, that these people, take the liberty of talking to people and start organizing things for “their” new additions and contests without consulting the others.
Very annoying.
But I guess, these are the typicals.
During this entire month and a half, I’ve met many not-so-typical people, but I’ll leave them for another post.
Lets just wait and watch and see where this all goes.

Playing hardball …

I was going to let this post go, but now I am sort of compelled to write this piece.
Yesterday, something very strange happened … there was a comment on my previous post about sponsorships and stuff, from a guy named saurabh.
When I clicked on the name, I was taken to my own profile …
At first, I thought that either someone had gotten hold of my blogger password, or I, might have posted the comment in a delirious state myself …
Anyways, the trick is simple.
You say you want to post a comment, then click on the “other” option and then paste my profile URL in the URL area and volla … identity theft.
Though I have a pretty good idea who had done it (dude! I have a counter which tells me which ISP you guys come from), I thought I’d let it go and I deleted the comment, because it was pretty rude in context that the particular individual would go to the extent of spoofing my I.D. to probably mock me or for whatever reason he had …
For the benefit of all the people reading this, this was the comment that was posted to my previous post.

Hehe, But I’ve agreed to sponsor 100K more to the Prize money from my own pocket money;) Well, If it dosn’t suffice, I’d get it by selling my Computer, Bike and anything and everything I own;) For me, the Inter-College Festival is above everyting else…;)
– Saurabh

My verdict – not cool !
But then, after having deleted the comment, this person had the audacity to come and post the some comment again today – at approximately the same time as yesterday.
This time, I am not deleting the comment. You can read it here.
For your benefit, posting it here also …

Oops! Somebody has impersonated me on the last comment! I just deleted it, and incase any of you saw that last commnet, I suppose I can assure I am not sponsoring my money on that;)

I don’t know whether I am reacting to this in a proper manner or not, but I am pretty pissed.
Hence this post.
I am not going to remove the anonymous comment posting feature, because I believe that everybody reading what I write, should be able to express their opinions.
However, going way out and spoofing an identity, is just plain shameless.
I have a fairly good idea who you are, and you know who you are … and I pretty much know that you are reading this too !
As for the statement about the inter collegiate event being above everything else for me, it isn’t quite so.
The only difference is that I believe that something worth doing, is worth doing well – or not at all.
For people who have no motivation in life, and spend most of their lives just “planning” and who probably don’t have what it takes to go and actually do something, this concept might be a bit difficult to grasp.
I am not complaining at all.
From the time the vacations have started, a couple of us guys have been slogging our asses off, trying to get sponsorship for an event, which has no “visible” benefit for the whole lot of us.
At times, we wonder, why are we bothering with all this …
Things aren’t going too well … but we aren’t quitting anytime soon.
It is easier to sit on the sidelines and pass judgement.
I don’t blame these people … I actually pity them.
And these are the same people, who will turn up at the end of the event to collect their “Certificate of Appreciation” for helping out in the event.
I am not complaining … I have made my peace with that.
As long we get our event rolling, we can carry such people along …
It has always been this way, and I guess will have to continue for times to come ahead.
In retrospect, I won’t say that the entire sponsor hunting endeavour has been a waste.
I have learnt how to deal with people, and I now know, whom I can trust with some responsibility and what are the chances of it getting done.
My problem has been that I trust people way too much. I learnt it the hard way this time.
I may not have turned into a cold calculating machine – yet … but I think I am getting there.
And I know it is for the best.
It takes all kinds of people to make the world …

Sponsor hunting …

These vacations (if they qualify as vacations) have probably been the worse ever …
Which I guess was pretty obvious after the disastrous exams that I gave before them …
Anyways, we guys are having our inter collegiate festival in the last week of Jan – from the the 30th Jan to the 3rd of Feb.
After a much smaller event last year, we guys decided to spruce things up a bit – with 5 days instead of the customary 3, and 12 contests compared to the 5 last year.
Naturally, to get more people to participate, we guys even cranked up the prize money we “intended” to offer.
So, from the 19 grand last year, it jumped up to 119 grand this year.
We guys thought, what the heck … we have lots of time (we’ve been working on this from the last week of Nov somewhere) – and we should manage to raise the dough.
Now, with only about a month left for the event, and only 46k from 2 sponsors, things are beginning to look a bit hazy.
The reason that the vacations have been sucking so far, more than the fact that we’re literally hauling our asses every morning – to go sponsor hunting, is that the response we’ve got so far is pretty dismal.
We’ve been trying to analyse the reasons to this and can point to a few, but these are primarily out of our reach.
I just hope things start picking up now, or 2005 will be a year best forgotten.
Hehe … I intended to put down a blog later about “successful” sponsor hunting, but I don’t see that happening now …
Lets see where this goes …

The long march ahead …

As I stepped out of the corridors of the college, into the sunset and the open fields, the Gladiator Movie theme (the one with Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerald) started playing somewhere in the background.
Was I imagining things?
It was really playing.
As my other fellow mates slowly trickled out outside, squinting their eyes at the sight of the sun (or whatever of it remained at this time of the day), I slowly made my way to the fields.
The music was still playing in the distance, but I could hear it clearly.
I walked up to the more sandy parts of the field and stood there for a while.
Then, I dug a hole in the ground with my bear hands … and taking the five sheets of papers from my bag, buried them in the hole which I had dug and covered them up with the mud.
I stood up (the music still playing), looked up at the setting sun and said “Now we’re free”
I had just finished writing my last exam paper for the semester, and the five papers that I had buried, were the tragic question papers – ones which had killed many of my fellow mates and would kill even more (including me) once the results are announced.
However, the time had passed.
We were all free to live whatever life we had left.
As I walked across to my bike, the feeling of relief and jubilation set it in …
The music in the background had gradually stopped and it was now replaced with a soft sort of ringing, which had gradually grown louder and louder.

Till I realised it was my alarm !

I woke up. It was 6:30 am – and I was in my bed with still one paper to go !
I cursed, got out of my bed, when …

I heard a thud.
It was me falled off the bed.
I was dreaming about the alarm and was actually having a recursive dream (dream in dream) like the picture in picture feature of many TVs.
Just to be sure, I dug out my cell phone and read the date.
It said, 16th Dec 2005, 3:34 am
Exams got over yesterday.
Phew, what a nightmare !
— NOTE —
Just came from watching King Kong as a post exam treat.
Wrote a review on it, which you can check out by clicking here.