Always with You

I was amazed by this site. This site recites the stories of people from derived deprived (Thanks PS!) parts of the country (villages, poorer sections of the cities) and how they are changing under the influence of technology, and with help from philanthropy in some cases. I was completely amazed by the first story, that of Sarita, who has been able to get advanced education thanks to Abraham George. Her English was as fluent as top notch convent schools in the country!

In the words of the creators:

Always With You is a collaboration between Interactive Filmmaking and Microsoft Research India. It is an exploration of the impact of rapid growth in economy and technology in India, through the voices of those whose voices frequently go unheard.

Do have a look.


Three Men in a Conference Room

What’s worse than Three Men in a Boat? Three Men in a Conference Room [This could have been made into a MTV quiz question]. Full points for guessing that correct.

However, that’s not quite the best answer. It’s ‘Three Men who claim to do research in Computer Science but having many other varied interests sitting huddled together in a Conference Room when nobody’s watching and working on the giant problem of figuring out what it means to do a single unit of work’. That’s not very succinct. So, let’s just stick with ‘Three Men in a Conference Room’ (which pretty much describes it anyway). So, if you have been using your brains on steroids, you must have already guessed the protagonists of the story. Let’s call them – M, G and K.

When you are discussing extremely esoteric abstruse concepts like what it means do so some work, the conversation can take many turns, meandering around with flippant frequency, confusing everybody involved. Sometimes, verse gets thrown in:

K: So, we have to keep track of everything – the job, the task, the assignment, the activity, the process, the worker, the employer, the system, and (of course) the gig. Check the thesaurus — are their any others that we need to consider?

M: But, you forgot the solution. What are we doing the whole exercise for?

G: (non-chalantly) Job Kar beta, Solution ki chinta mat kar [Do the Job, don’t worry about the solution — an oft (mis)-quoted verse of the Bhagwad Gita]

M: And the activity is the meta-level concept and lives on

G: The tasks keep coming and going for each activity.

K: (Reminiscing) As Tennyson had said: For Jobs may come and Jobs may go, Activities go on forever.

M: (ExasperatedMinutes to write before I sleep, Minutes to go before I sleep

As you can very well imagine, this does not bode very well for human sanity.

The conversation meandered to outsourcing. We are such hypocrites because we teach children to do everything themselves, and when they grow up they are taught words like outsourcing and core-competency (Child: Mommy, hygiene really is not my core-competency. Maybe I can just outsource bathing to you)  — and we concluded with err… (ah, yes!) the conclusion that an extreme form of outsourcing would be when Apple Computer is stripped down to one person — Steve Jobs.

Why IIT-Kharagpur is a geek paradise?


It really feels good to read nice things about your alma-mater. It fills you up with pride, the place almost revisits you — the labs, the classrooms, the hostels, roads and intersections — all those small little things that were a part of your life, things you took for granted, until you left the place. Oh, I am getting nostalgic again :)

Anyway, the good news is that IIT Kharagpur has been adjudged the best government engineering college in India, by the OutlookCNN-IBN survey. I don’t lend much credence to such rankings because I personally feel that all the ones in the top-5 are almost neck-to-neck, and establishing a pecking order can not be an objective process. This is clearly illustrated because in the same year, it is ranked 5th by the India-Today ranking.

For a student who is looking at just entering the IITs, the biggest advice I would give is that it is far more important to do well in the IIT you go to rather than worrying too much about which IIT is better. At the end of the day, you will have a gala time and pass out with a world-recognized degree which will provide a platform to build your career further.

However, what really got me to write this post was this video which made me really really nostalgic!

Social Interaction should not be curbed in the name of Ragging

I wrote this for Desicritics. Read the article here.

The article was a response to a number of reports I read in the papers about ragging being a big social evil. While that is true, there are some beneficial fallouts as well, which I have tried to write about.

Also posted here (I plan to archive my writings here).

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