Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cities Visited

13 states and 3 union territories visited this year :)

Travel Map
I've been to 72 cities in 9 countries
Asia
Hong Kong (SAR): Hong Kong Island
India: Agra
India: Ahmadabad
India: Anandpur
India: Badarinath
India: Bhakra
India: Chandigarh
India: Chennai
India: Colangute
India: Delhi
India: Faridkot
India: Gangotri
India: Goa
India: Haridwar
India: Hyderabad
India: Jaipur
India: Joshimath
India: Kedarnath
India: Kolkata
India: Kot Kapura
India: Kota
India: Kumbakonam
India: Madurai
India: Mumbai
India: Mussoorie
India: Nagercoil
India: Nangal Dam
India: New Delhi
India: Panaji
India: Patna
India: Patna
India: Pushkar
India: Ranchi
India: Renigunta
India: Rishikesh
India: Srirangam
India: Srisailam
India: Suchindram
India: Thanjavur
India: Tirumala
India: Tirupati
India: Ujjain
India: Uttarkashi
India: Yamnotri
Europe
Austria: Hellbrunn
Austria: Salzburg
Austria: Werfen
Belgium: Bruges
France: Etretat
France: Marseille
France: Montpellier
France: Nice
France: Paris
France: Versailles
Germany: Dachau
Germany: Munich
Germany: Munich
Monaco: Monaco
Netherlands: Amsterdam
Netherlands: Rotterdam
Switzerland: Engelberg
Switzerland: Interlaken
Switzerland: Lauterbrunnen
Switzerland: Zermatt

This is as on date Dec 30 2010. For latest updates visit http://www.geckogo.com/profile/pratikpoddar

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Aaall Izz Well With Shuturmurgh - Play Review

(I am no professional. This review is just my understanding of theatre embedded into reviews by popular critics :P Not 100% original)

Date: 17 Oct 2010
Place: Prithvi Theatre

Play: Aaall Izz Well With Shuturmurgh

 
Direction: Ramesh Talwar
Cast: Aasif Shaikh, Bharat Kapoor, Rakesh Bedi, Vignesh Sinkar, Prashant Padale, Akhilendra Mishra, Kuldeep Singh, Rashmi Sharma, Manju Sharma

Length: 2 hours

Main Theme:
When Ostrich is surrounded by enemies, it buried its head and neck in sand and pretends that there is no ememy outside, pretends to be unaware of its bosy outside the sand. In the play, Ostrich or Shuturmurg is referenced many times, representing humans today. The play is an answer to current issues like CWG Corruption, Elephant Statues in UP and Vidarbha Farmers.

Story:
The story starts with a king of ShuturNagri and his three ministers. Then there is the common man, a naive wife, a hunger stricken maid and a reformer. The king of this land has only one obsession: to build a golden Shuturmurg in memory of his father and in order to do so, he spends the entire kingdom's money thus leaving its people poor, hungry and homeless. Virodhilal protests against the building of the Shuturmurg and thus becomes a representative of the common man. However he is quickly bribed and transformed to Subodhilal and made into the Vikas Mantri of Shuturmurg.

When the common man learns that their leader has been bought over, he gets very upset and decides to stand up for the poor. We also see that the queen's chamber maid is starving of hunger herself because her family back home does not have food to eat.

The scene with the queen and the old hungry man dying is the most powerful scene in the play. The naive queen has never seen a dying man before and wants to experiment on one to see how their hunger problem can be solved. It is an attempt to tell us how oblivious the rich man is to the poor man's plight.

Ultimately the King is abandoned by his ministers and shrewdly robbed of all his treasures. The King then begins to appreciate the value of the common man who only wants to bring justice to the people of Shuturmurg.

Acting:
The act of the old dying man is played really well by Kuldeep Singh. Bharat Kapoor and Rakesh Bedi (Mohan Srivastava of Yes Boss) acting was consistent throughout the play. the gay king role was played very well by Aashif Sheikh. The lead roles were able to carry themselves well, neither too good nor too bad. Among the actors with small stage presence, Kuldeep Singh (old man playing the role of dying hungry old man) was exceptional and live while Rashmi Sharma (the lady who played the role of the queen) was mediocre and at times irritating.

Music:
I am still singing the title song. The music captured the mood of the play well.

Costumes/Props:
The costume of all the characters was ordinary and as expected. The king's props were funny and were used optimally. The use of irritating ping pong by the king to accentuate his gay character was creative and smart.

Questions:
1) Why was the king gay? What was the writer trying to tell us with that?
2) Why did the king have to lose at the end? Did the write want us to conclude that some politicians lose? It was fine in the age when kings ruled. The king who believed his ministers too much would be doomed could have been the moral. But in today's setting, when king is representing politicans, it does not make sense.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rajnikanth Jokes

(Update Dec 20, 2010: Some new ones added. Credits to Prashant Soni)

Recently China airports were closed due to heavy fog, later it was discovered that Rajnikant was smoking in India!

Rajnikant did his KG from seven different places, today those places are known as IITs!

Government of India pays tax to Rajnikant for living in India!

Definition of Solar Eclipse: When Rajnikant stares at Sun with anger, sun hides behind the moon. This phenomena is called solar eclipse

Think about what would have happened if Rajnikant was born 150 years ago? British would have fought for independence

Why do Earthquakes occur? Because at that time Rajnikant's mobile is on vibration mode

Why did Rajni buy an acre of land with 4 wells on wach corner? To play carrom..

Before Tom Cruise, Rajani was approached for the movie Mission Impossible, but Rajani refused as he found the title insulting.

Rajnikanths next project. Titanic in Tamil. Climax revised. Both survive. Rajnikant swims across the Atlantic Ocean with heroine in one hand and… Titanic in the other.

The Sardarji Association has decided to donate one hundred billion dollars to Rajanikant as a token of thanks for shifting people's focus away from them!!

Rajnikant can count real numbers

Only Rajni can dislike on Facebook

Rajnikant was born on 30th February. since then February decided not to give this day to anybody else

When Rajnikant hits facebook.com, facebook updates its status message!

Rajni once killed 20 men just by saying "BANG"

Rajni will be the star lead in the remake of the movie '300'. It will now be called '1'

Rajnikant first takes Gold Medal and then starts the race

Paul the Octopus was asked to predict when Rajnikant will die. Paul died....!!

Rajnikant has counted to infinty - Twice

Micheal Jordan to Rajni : I can spin a ball on my finger for over 2 hours. Can you?
Rajni : Rascala; how do you think the earth spins!?

Once upon a time, while playing, Rajnikanth said "statue" to a girl... Now that statue is known as "Statue of Liberty"!

Ghosts are actually caused by Rajanikanth killing people faster than death can process them.

Rajanikanth can build a snowman..... out of rain.

Rajanikanth can strangle you with a cordless phone.

Rajanikanth can kill a shark by drowning it.

When Rajanikanth enters a room, he doesn't turn the lights on,............. he turns the darkness off.

When Rajanikanth looks in a mirror it shatters, because the mirror is not stupid enough to get in between the two Rajanikanths

Rajanikanth's calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd, no one can fool Rajanikanth.

Once a cobra bit Rajanikanth' leg. After five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.

When Rajanikanth gives you the finger, he's telling you how many seconds you have left to live.

Leading hand sanitizers claim they can kill 99.9 percent of germs. Rajanikanth can kill 100 percent of whatever he wants.

There is no such thing as global warming. Rajanikanth was feeling cold, so brought the sun closer to heat the earth up.

Rajanikanth can set ants on fire with a magnifying glass...at night.

It takes Rajanikanth 20 minutes to watch "60 Minutes" on TV.

In an average living room there are 1,242 objects that Rajanikanth could use to kill you, including the room itself.

Rajanikanth destroyed the periodic table, because Rajanikanth only recognizes the element of surprise.

With the rising cost of gasoline, Rajanikanth is beginning to worry about his drinking habit.

The square root of Rajanikanth is pain. Do not try to square Rajanikanth, the result is death.

If you say "no one's perfect", Rajanikanth takes it as a personal insult.

When Rajnikant does pushups, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the earth down.

Rajnikant doesn’t wear a watch, he decides what time it is!!

Rajnikant’s house has no doors, only walls that he walks through.

Rajnikant grinds his coffee with his teeth and boils the water with his own rage.

The Bermuda Triangle used to be the Bermuda Square, until Rajnikant kicked one of the corners off.

Rajnikant once ate an entire bottle of sleeping pills, they just made him blink.

Chuck Norris once met Rajinikanth. The result – He was reduced to a joke on the internet.

Rajinikanth kills Harry Potter in the ninth book.

Rajinikanth calls Voldemort by his name.

Rajinikanth gave the Joker those scars.

To be or not to be? That is the question. The answer? Rajinikanth.

10 actors have played the role of James Bond. No one has been able to enact Rajnikant… THE REAL JAMES BOND.

Why do you think there are no superheroes in india…. Simple… no one can invade Rajnikant’s territory.

Rajanikanth can delete the Recycling Bin.

Bill Gates lives in constant fear that Rajanikanth’s PC will crash.

Rajnikant’s email id is gmail@rajnikant.com

If you Google search ‘Rajnikant getting kicked’, you will generate zero results. It just doesn’t happen.

Google won’t find Rajinikanth because you don’t find Rajinikanth; Rajinikanth finds you.

Rajinikanth can make PCs better than the Mac.

If you spell Rajanikanth wrong on Google it doesn’t say, “Did you mean Rajanikanth?” It simply replies, “Run while you still have the chance.”

The only man who ever outsmarted Rajinikanth was Stephen Hawking, and he got what he deserved.

When Rajinikanth plays Monopoly, it affects the actual world economy.

Rajinikanth knows what women really want.

Time and tide wait for Rajinikanth.

Rajinikanth sneezed only once in his entire life, that’s when the tsunami occurred in the Indian ocean.

As a child when Rajinikanth had dyslexia, he simply re-scripted the alphabet.

Rajinikanth leaves messages before the beep.

The last time Rajinikanth killed someone, he slapped himself to do it. The other guy just disintegrated. Resonance.

Rajinikanth can answer a missed call.

Rajinikanth doesn’t need a visa to travel abroad, he just jumps from the tallest building in Chennai and holds himself in the air while the earth rotates.

Rajinikanth’s brain works faster than Chacha Chaudhury’s.

Rajinikanth has already been to Mars, that’s why there are no signs of life there.

Rajinikanth doesn’t move at the speed of light. Light moves at the speed of Rajinikanth.

Rajinikanth knows Victoria’s secret.

Water boils faster when Rajinikanth stares at it.

Rajinikanth got small pox when he was a kid. As a result small pox is now eradicated.

There is no such thing as evolution, it’s just a list of creatures that Rajinikanth allowed to live.

Rajnikanth can divide by zero.

Rajinikanth can win at Solitaire with only 18 cards.

Rajinikanth did in fact, build Rome in a day.

Rajinikanth once kicked a horse in the chin. Its descendants are today called giraffes.

Rajinikanth killed the Dead Sea.

Rajnikant’s every step is a mini whirlwind. Hurricane Katrina was the result of his morning jog!

Where there is a will, there’s a way. Where there is Rajnikant, there is no other way!!

There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Rajnikant lives in Chennai!

Rajnikant gave Mona Lisa that smile.

Rajnikant can make calls from his iPod to his iPad

Once Rajnikaant signed a cheque… and the Bank bounced!

Once Death had ‘near Rajnikant experience’ !!

When GOD is shocked he exclaims “Oh my Rajnikaant!”‌

Great mystery solved : the missing piece of apple in Apple’s Logo was eaten by Rajnikant!!

The world is not ending in 2012…. Rajnikant just bought a laptop with 3 yrs warranty!!‌

Rajnikant knows the exact value of Pi upto a Googol

Rajnikant knows what came first, chicken or egg!!

Rajnikant once won an argument with his wife

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Convocation

My first post after joining my job!! \m/ \m/
Its not about job.. Its about convocation..

The official links (Link1 & Link2) say:
The Convocation Day marks the culmination of a students academic life for which he has striven so hard. :P

Before beginning, apologies to all my friends whom I could not meet during convocation as I had fever! :(
Nevertheless, went to the stage and got my degree and a convo pic :P \m/ \m/

Now the serious point.. As the Chief Guest speech, we should have got something better. Now, I can't help but compare Steve Jobs' and Oprah's speech to Stanford's graduating students and Bill Gates' speech to Havard graduating batch to the Aerodynamics Lecture we had. We should have got a better speech if not a better chief guest. :( Who chooses chief guests anyway? Thoughts on impeachment?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Indian Rupee Symbol - The deciding date is today

(From pluggd.in and TOI)

We will have a new symbol for Indian National Rupee today.

The Union Cabinet will today decide on the symbol for Indian Rupee, a privilege (unique identity) available only to major currencies like dollar, euro, pound sterling and yen.



The proposal, said to be prompted by the growing influence of the Indian economy in the global arena, involves a shortlist of five symbols (finalists above) for the Indian rupee drawn up the finance ministry, reflecting the Indian ethos and culture.

1) The symbol should be applicable to standard keyboard
2) The symbol has to be in the Indian National Language Script or a visual representation
3) The symbol should represent the historical & cultural ethos of the country as widely accepted across the country

I think fourth one should be he winner. Both Devnagri and Roman script of Rupya and Rupee are visible in the symbol. The first and the second symbols definitely do not stand a chance. Go India Go!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Movies on Bombay

  • Aamir, 2008 - Raj Kumar Gupta
  • Black Friday, 2006 - Anurag Kashyap
  • Bombay, 1996 - Mani Ratnam
  • Mithya, 2008 - Rajat Kapoor
  • Mumbai Cutting, 2009 - Various
  • Mumbai Meri Jaan, 2008 - Nishant Kamat
  • Page 3, 2005 - Madhur Bhandarkar
  • Salaam Bombay!, 1988 - Mira Nair
  • Satya, 1998 - Ram Gopal Varma
  • Company, 2002 - Ram Gopal Varma
  • Sarkar, 2005 - Ram Gopal Varma
  • Sarkar Raj, 2008 - Ram Gopal Varma
  • Slumdog Millionaire, 2008 - Danny Boyle
  • Tum Mile, 2009 - Kunal Deshmukh
  • 26th July at Barista, 2008 - Mohan Sharma
  • Chandni Bar, 2001 - Madhur Bhandarkar

Watch them and then you will say "I love Bombay" :)
Can you suggest more movies?

As of June 20, 2010.. I have not seen Mumbai Cutting and Tum Mile (WTF? How could I miss them? :( Both released just before placement season. :() First thing to do when I reach IIT now.

Also find a Weird Things to do in Mumbai List here: http://pratikpoddar.blogspot.com/2009/12/weird-things-to-do-in-mumbai.html

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cities Visited

Travel Map
I've been to 47 cities in 9 countries
Asia
Hong Kong (SAR): Hong Kong Island
India: Agra
India: Ahmadabad
India: Badarinath
India: Chennai
India: Colangute
India: Delhi
India: Gangotri
India: Goa
India: Haridwar
India: Jaipur
India: Joshimath
India: Kedarnath
India: Kolkata
India: Kota
India: Mumbai
India: Mussoorie
India: Panaji
India: Patna
India: Patna
India: Pushkar
India: Ranchi
India: Rishikesh
India: Ujjain
India: Uttarkashi
India: Yamnotri
Europe
Austria: Hellbrunn
Austria: Salzburg
Austria: Werfen
Belgium: Bruges
France: Etretat
France: Marseille
France: Montpellier
France: Nice
France: Paris
France: Versailles
Germany: Dachau
Germany: Munich
Germany: Munich
Monaco: Monaco
Netherlands: Amsterdam
Netherlands: Rotterdam
Switzerland: Engelberg
Switzerland: Interlaken
Switzerland: Lauterbrunnen
Switzerland: Zermatt


This is as on date June 15 2010. For latest updates visit http://www.geckogo.com/profile/pratikpoddar

Monday, May 31, 2010

Uttarakhand Tourism

Just uploaded some photographs of my 14 Day Trip to Haridwar, Yamunotri, Gangotri, Mussoorie, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Rishikesh on facebook. Along with doing some good work, visiting some temples, enjoying nature and having some interesting philosophical discussions, I tried to learn some photography as well.

Link for the photographs is here

I will use this space to cheer for the Uttarakhand Government for the great tourism development in their state. Looks like the economy of the state is driven by tourism, at least in these 4 months. http://www.gmvnl.com/newgmvn/ shows the great work that they are doing. However I still do not understand some things. I am hoping that a localite would read this and answer.

1) Why are "Prayags" (Meeting point of two rivers) not developed as tourist spots? Two rivers, one grey, one green in colour meet at a point and form a beautiful scene. I could capture one of the prayags out of the 5 great prayags forming the Panchprayag. I am sure government and the people would be earning more if they were developed as tourist spots?

2) Why don't they put iron hashed or criss-cross barricades in temples? Don't they know that anyone can just cross an iron bar or a rope? Is it some sort of loophole left so that the pandits can get some extra income by allowing their people to get inside?

3) These mandirs have a lot of money. They spend crores of money on organisation and temple management. Why can't they hire trained people? Why do I not see an MBA from IIMA employed at the top temples of the country. They can easily pay them more than what McKinsey is paying. Why do our temples and its management still rely on pandits?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Purpose of Life - Version II

I wrote a post on purpose of life a few day back. I had some interesting discussion and I am revisiting the post.

Some revelations:
1) Life does not have a purpose. Anything created does not have a purpose. Creator has a purpose. So, The creator of life has a purpose.
2) So, the purpose of life is the purpose its creator (God) would have while its creation. Any guesses?
3) As far as I can guess, God would have wanted us to live in such a way that we do not disturb god's world. We help it grow. We help it continue. We help it evolve. We improve the world.
4) So, Purpose of Life would be
  • Help those in need
  • Reproduction
  • Be happy and make others happy
  • Make the world a better place to be in
  • Change the way people live their lives, hopefully in a positive way
5) In Hindu Dharm, there are three types of Rin which must be paid off before one's death: Dev Rin, Pitra Rin and Rishi Rin. Dev Rin is paid off to Devtaa by doing Yagya; Pitra Rin is paid off to Pitar (ancestors) by forwarding one's Vansh (lineage or family line) i.e. by producing a son; and Rishi Rin is paid off by studying.

But Vaalmeeki Jee describes 5 types of Rin while Dashrath explains this to Raam -
(1) Dev Rin is paid off to celestials by doing Yagya and holy sacrifices;
(2) Pitra Rin is paid off to ancestors by producing a son to forward one's family line
(3) Rishi Rin is paid off by studying
(4) Braahman Rin is paid off to Braahman by giving donations and food to them
(5) Self Rin to self by enjoying all kinds of pleasures - means that one is all satisfied from this world.

Spiritual Development

Read about this concept in Ignited Minds by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam but I could not appreciate it until a discussion that I had in a beautiful swiss cottage on a beautiful hill in God's own place Uttarakhand :P

Some of the ideas in the post are original. I have absolute faith in the idea and if you do not agree with me, I will love to have a discussion. :)

Dr Kalam identified five important areas to transform India. These are:
1) Education and Health Care
2) Agriculture
3) Information and Communication
4) Infrastructure
5) Critical Technology

Pramukh Swami Maharaj of Swaminarayan Sanstha at Ahmedabad suggested a sixth dimension:
6) Spirituality

I did not appreciate the sixth point that why do we need spiritual development for development of the country.  But indeed, we need spiritual development. Spiritual development would comprise of the basic human quality to differentiate between good and bad, right and wrong, God and Satan. Spiritual development would include not cheating your family and your organization. It would put an end to corruption. It will put an end to crimes. It will put an end to riots and communal disturbances. We need to rekindle belief. This will make things easier for development.

Immediate actions that come to me that would imply spiritual development:
1) NO Corruption
2) NO Cheating in exams/labs (I am sorry for OS course case. As I said, we do not know how to differentiate between good and bad)
3) NO getting special privileges in Mandirs/Mosques/Churches because you have more power/money
4) Helping people in need - Discourage beggary though
5) NO to illegal drugs/alcohol
6) Pay Taxes

Best of Luck!! Let India Develop (Spiritually) !!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CPI/SPI

Finally its over.. Passed all courses.. I always wanted to write this post.. Its not at all interesting.. But I always wanted to do the analysis..


Some not so well known generalizations of CPI: (which I have heard in the last 4 years)

My mentor, brother, friend, senior (all in one) told me before even I came into IIT, "CPI badhegi nahin giregi.. shuru mein acchi maar lena"

First year second sem... may of us are in the false impression.. "Abe wo to main padhta nahin hoon.. main padhta to main bhi dassi hota.. its just about choice". Bull shit statement hai.. Main kitna bhi padh leta 9.5 nahin hota.. ya phir main itna padh hi  nahin sakta tha ki main 9.5 le aaoon..

Second year first sem.. "Ya to CPI le aaon.. ya CG/Manager Ban Jao.. Ek hi baat hai".. kfh? kitna stupid statement hai..

Third year second sem.. "CPI important to hai.. saali companies ko kaun bataye ki CPI basis par shortlist na kare.. us nehli se jyada CS to mujhe aata hi hai"

Fourth year first sem.. "Saala thodi si CPI bana li hoti.. 8.5 ke neeche shortlist nahin kar rahe saale"

Fourth year second sem.. "In the end, it doesn't even matter" :P



Thursday, May 6, 2010

Berkeley Commencement Lecture

Commencement Lecture by Prof. Satish Rao, University of California, Berkeley. (Congratulations! Letters and Sciences, Computer Science Majors, Class of 2003)

Link shared to me by Giridhar Addepalli, Senior Software Engineer, Yahoo! Banglore & IIT Kanpur Alumnus.

Enjoy!
--

John Henry was a steel-drivin man.

John Henry worked on the railroad, he drove steel. This consisted of driving a metal spike into the rock with a hammer. John Henry was the greatest of hammerers, as well as the best of gamblers, the biggest of drinkers, nastiest of ghters, and the best of lovers.

He was born to the railroad. When he was a baby, he told his momma that he would die with a hammer in his hand. More importantly, its how he fed him family. He worked on a legendary connector in West Virginia, which is a long tunnel in a mountain connecting two sections of track. It took years and hundreds of men to build. One day, a man brought a steam engine to the tunnel and said it could drive steel better than any man. So, a contest was made between John Henry and the steam engine.

For twelve long hours, John Henry hammered and the steam engine drilled. At the end, the tape was brought in to measure.

Wait...What does this story have to do with any of us? None of us are big strong men who make their living pounding steel into stone. For me, this story is about someone who did what he did with passion, pride, integrity and a undaunted optimism. I see these qualities in so many of you. You
have faced your connector, which has been graduating in computer science at Berkeley. Whether you were born to it, as John Henry was, or were drawn to it, or are doing it to earn your living, you've faced your challenges. Your steam engines were many, from crashing programs, to unfeeling autograders,
to difficult problem sets, to mystifying exams. You rose to these challenges with the integrity that comes from working hard and earnestly on what is put before you. To be honest, you young women and men mystify me. The harder the course, the more you to like it. The more you build, the more you want to build. You run, don't walk to get into courses that overwhelm me. Honestly, many people would consider you guys to be a little bit sick, ..but I am totally impressed.

I hope you know what you accomplish. You passed those tests, satisfied the autograders, and you maybe even solved a couple of those theory problems. Very cool. Again, the earnestness of your efforts, your thirst for doing things well, and your integrity generated these accomplishments. This is the sense in which your story is reected in John Henry's.

To me, the story of John Henry also gives a guide for the future. Again, a gambling, hard drinking, steel driving man, and computer science majors at Berkeley? I can't be telling you to go out and drink whiskey and gamble, well, at least not in front of your parents. Still, even that part of the legend does suggest that you are, you must be, de ned by more than just what you do for work. You will, of course, pursue many other things, including of course, you will pursue the opposite sex (or maybe the same sex)...some
of you will your travel, some of you will do public service, and some of you will have children (Which for me, is the hardest and most rewarding thing I have done.) All in all, it is a wonderful, and beatiful world. But what
makes it more wonderful, is the energy that you bring to it. And knowing many of you, I am excited for what you bring to our world.

Still, the legend of John Henry is about steel drivin. Or for me, about injecting passion into his purpose. You know...I get excited sometimes. I see something that hasn't been done before and needs to be done, or
something that can be done better, or something that can make things easier for people. You will see this things too. People with your talents will see the steam engines coming from miles away. You will see an opportunity to make something happen. It may be a program that makes your group better, or makes your company better, or makes the world better. It might be making a sale that brings value to your company and your customers and even to your the community. It might be building an organization that really nice for the pople in it and serves its purpose well. If you see such things, if you see such steam engines, challenge them. Pursue the challenge with a passion, stay up all night, don't shower (....well..ok, you can shower,
in fact, please do).. but do what it takes to meet the challenge.

And sometimes, sometimes, you will make it real...and that will be cool. People will say look, look at what she did! That's so neat. It will be a glorious thing.

Finally, sometimes talented people such as you need a reminder that you aren't all that. John Henry hammered the spike better than all takers. But Little Bull or Polly Ann held the spike. With every strike, they would lift the spike, shake it, turn it, and replace it, all before John Henry's hammer came down again. For you too, there will always be people around you. They may not appear to be as important or as talented as you, but pay attention. Take the time to understand what they do, what they want, even their hopes and dreams. The more you consider people around you the more you will respect their integrity, and their passion. That will make you feel good. And if you are lucky, you may even be able to help them acheive their hopes and dreams. And that will make you feel great.

Oh, yes, what happened to John Henry?

He raced the steam engine. When time was called, they brought out the tape measure, 12 feet for John Henry, 9 feet for the steam engine. He didn't just beat the steam engine, he crushed the steam engine. A glorious result. Of course, right after the race, John Henry died. He died with his hammer in his hand. Even I can't see the lesson there. But you know..it is not a sad tale. It is an inspiration. A model to live up to.

Finally, you aren't going to be the women and men with the hammer in their hand. You are the chosen ones. You will be building the steam engines. Hey, you guys even won the BIG game against those ..those who would not be named..

The world has become a place that you, with your talents and skills, can change. No one can stop you, if that is what you want. And do it, by all means, do it with the passion that you are lled with. Still, just pause for a
moment, and maybe even grieve for the old world, while you create the new world.

Congratulations, and good luck.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Movies this Sem

Movies and TV Series have been an integral part of my IIT life. In last 3 years, I have watched more than 400 Hindi Movies and 150 Other Languages Movies (Telugu, Tamil, English, French, etc). Apart from being with 3-4 close friends, I enjoy spending time watching movies/TV series the most. Saw Friends, 24, Seinfeld, 2.5 Men, HIMYM, Hustle, BBT, Tales Pin, Duck Tales, Hannah Montana, Roadies with 100% loyalty and dedication.

Just did some math to find that I have devoted approximately 2700 hours to movies/tv series now. That means, on an average I spend approximately 2.5 hours per day watching movies/tv series. :P

Movies This Sem:

Aamrass
Ajab Prem ki gajab kahani
Morning Walk
London Dreams
All the Best
Rocket Singh
2012
Twilight
Mujhse Shaadi Karogi
3 idiots (twice)
Mirchi Its Hot
De Dana Dan
Akele Hum Akele Tum
Julie
Pulp Fiction
Raat gayi baat gayi
Saving Private Ryan
Pyaar Impossible
Do Knot Disturb
Aao wish karein
Ishqiya
Money as Debt 2006
Good Will Hunting
Beautiful Mind
Amar Akbar Anthony
Zanjeer
New York, I Love You
India Untouched
Sneakers
Up in the Air
Rann
My Name is Khan
Hitler: The Rise of Evil
Indecent Proposal
Lost temples of India
Striker
Mein aur Mrs Khanna
15 Park Avenue
Dil Maange More
Bhoot
Chance pe Dance
Click
Paathshaala
Chandni Bar
Lage Raho Munna Bhai

TV Series This Sem:
Seinfeld All seasons
Hustle 6 seasons
BBT 2 seasons
24, 2.5 men, himym on track

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Purpose of Life

This is my last post from IIT as a student.

We are graduating from the best engineering institute of the world. We are seen as among the smartest of the country. Since we are graduating now, I hope this post will help you mull over some of the basic questions which I have been thinking about for these 4 years.

As an individual, we have our own problems and will have some throughout our lives (supporting family, paying off loans, getting a job, securing your job, fighting recession, divorce, death, market crash, business loss, health, health of near ones, etc). I agree that we have to take care of these problems first. But look at the bigger picture. Think of a person seeing us from an outside world. Did we meet the expectations of the world? Did we do what we expect out of us? By fulfilling expectations, I don't mean earning 100,000$ a year at the age of 22. I mean doing something "meaningful". Doing something that would be useful for the country/world/human race.. Leaving a legacy behind.. Leaving footsteps that the world would follow.. Providing a new way to live/think/believe.. Doing something original.. Something unique.. After 25 years when we will meet at the alumni day, we will definitely ask these questions to ourselves. The question is not that whether the world/IIT/country believes you gave something back.. The question is whether we believe that we were able to contribute something to the society. Lets work towards that goal. Lets help each other to reach that goal. With the help of senior batches passing out in 2007, 2008, 2009 and juniors who will graduate in 2011, 2012, 2013, I am sure that if we work with a dedicated soul, we can change the world around us.

Best of Luck!!
Cheers!!

For the last time ever:
--
Pratik Poddar
Senior Undergraduate
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, INDIA

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Beauty in Computer Science

4 years back when I was chosing which IIT to go to, which department to choose, I had no idea what computer science is.

Primary reasons to join Computer Science:
1) I like Maths. CS is more mathematical.
2) Hacking
3) Gaming
4) Scope of Research :P
5) How Windows work? How can I make Microsoft Excel?
Looking back. All the above reasons were "wrong". Yes CS is great. Its because of the great professors and some really really smart people it has got.

Computers are amazing. I used to think how does it store information? Isn't it amazing that memory is nothing but a flip-flop. I used to ask myself what is windows? What is it exactly? Now I get it. How beautiful is the idea that windows is just allowing the other processes to happen smoothly. Its just helping our computer. How can someone learn so many things in 4 years? If you don't understand one course, you will not understand computers and so failure!! But everything in computer science is abstraction. This is a great idea. I see something more than computer science in this idea. If we see one problem at a time and keep the other problems/events as a blackbox as we do in a computer science course, wouldn't life be great?

One problem that I have been obsessed with since last 4 years is finding patterns. I try to see patterns in all numbers. I try to put things in a function so that it can be represented in a crisp and artistic way. When I was first told in my first year that its not done in case of prime numbers, I spent nights and days writing prime numbers and calculating each next prime by hand trying to see some patterns. I still believe infinite information can be stored in finite space. The probability courses that I have done this semester make me happy when I see that infinite information made approximate can be stored in a finite space.

Other problems that I have been interested are primality testing and factorization. The beauty of the problem is that even 4 years back, I could explain the problem in 5 minutes to my sister 4 years younger to me (So, 13 years old then). So simple is the problem description that I feel somehow its a challenge by the god to mankind. Its perhaps the simplest unsolved problem. People have been trying to solve it since 1000s of years. And so the thrill and excitement when you attempt to solve these problems.

The idea of Red-Black Trees, Circular Stacks, Strassen's Algorithm, FFT, Union-Find Data Structure, Chudnovsky and Chudnovsky Algorithm, has brought and will bring smiles to many faces. It feels awesome to be in the time when we have developed beautiful solutions to difficult problems.

Of course, my topic is cryptography (Tujhme Rab Dikhta Hai Yaara main kya karoon?). The reason is that it merges so well with number theory, calculus, probability and combinatorics that learning cryptography would imply learning all the above topics. I am lucky to have been introduced to this topic in my first year itself and due to constant encouragement by Prof. Kapil Paranjape (IMSc Chennai), Prof. Ajit Diwan (IITB), Prof. Bernard Menezes (IITB), Prof. Angela Yingjun Zhang (CUHK), Prof. Bruno Salvy (INRIA Rocq), Prof. Frederic Chyzak (INRIA Rocq), my interest in the topic has always grown.

Thank You Computer Science. Thank You Mathematics. I had a great time.

P.S. I hate OS, POPL, Databases, Architecture, Engineering Drawing, Mechanical Workshop, Chemistry :P

Thursday, March 25, 2010

50 Things to do in your College Life

Blog post written my Ben Jones, from the MIT Admissions Office, in 2006. (Original Link)

As you begin your college experience, and I prepare for my 10-year college reunion, I thought I’d leave you with the things that, in retrospect, I think are important as you navigate the next four years. I hope that some of them are helpful.
Here goes…
  1. Your friends will change a lot over the next four years. Let them.
  2. Call someone you love back home a few times a week, even if just for a few minutes.
  3. In college more than ever before, songs will attach themselves to memories. Every month or two, make a mix cd, mp3 folder, whatever – just make sure you keep copies of these songs. Ten years out, they’ll be as effective as a journal in taking you back to your favorite moments.
  4. Take naps in the middle of the afternoon with reckless abandon.
  5. Adjust your schedule around when you are most productive and creative. If you’re nocturnal and do your best work late at night, embrace that. It may be the only time in your life when you can.
  6. If you write your best papers the night before they are due, don’t let people tell you that you “should be more organized” or that you “should plan better.” Different things work for different people. Personally, I worked best under pressure – so I always procrastinated… and always kicked ass (which annoyed my friends to no end). ;-) Use the freedom that comes with not having grades first semester to experiment and see what works best for you.
  7. At least a few times in your college career, do something fun and irresponsible when you should be studying. The night before my freshman year psych final, my roommate somehow scored front row seats to the Indigo Girls at a venue 2 hours away. I didn’t do so well on the final, but I haven’t thought about psych since 1993. I’ve thought about the experience of going to that show (with the guy who is now my son’s godfather) at least once a month ever since.
  8. Become friends with your favorite professors. Recognize that they can learn from you too – in fact, that’s part of the reason they chose to be professors.
  9. Carve out an hour every single day to be alone. (Sleeping doesn’t count.)
  10. Go on dates. Don’t feel like every date has to turn into a relationship.
  11. Don’t date someone your roommate has been in a relationship with.
  12. When your friends’ parents visit, include them. You’ll get free food, etc., and you’ll help them to feel like they’re cool, hangin’ with the hip college kids.
  13. In the first month of college, send a hand-written letter to someone who made college possible for you and describe your adventures thus far. It will mean a lot to him/her now, and it will mean a lot to you in ten years when he/she shows it to you.
  14. Embrace the differences between you and your classmates. Always be asking yourself, “what can I learn from this person?” More of your education will come from this than from any classroom.
  15. All-nighters are entirely overrated.
  16. For those of you who have come to college in a long-distance relationship with someone from high school: despite what many will tell you, it can work. The key is to not let your relationship interfere with your college experience. If you don’t want to date anyone else, that’s totally fine! What’s not fine, however, is missing out on a lot of defining experiences because you’re on the phone with your boyfriend/girlfriend for three hours every day.
  17. Working things out between friends is best done in person, not over email. (IM does not count as “in person.”) Often someone’s facial expressions will tell you more than his/her words.
  18. Take risks.
  19. Don’t be afraid of (or excited by) the co-ed bathrooms. The thrill is over in about 2 seconds.
  20. Wednesday is the middle of the week; therefore on wednesday night the week is more than half over. You should celebrate accordingly. (It makes thursday and friday a lot more fun.)
  21. Welcome failure into your lives. It’s how we grow. What matters is not that you failed, but that you recovered.
  22. Take some classes that have nothing to do with your major(s), purely for the fun of it.
  23. It’s important to think about the future, but it’s more important to be present in the now. You won’t get the most out of college if you think of it as a stepping stone.
  24. When you’re living on a college campus with 400 things going on every second of every day, watching TV is pretty much a waste of your time and a waste of your parents’ money. If you’re going to watch, watch with friends so at least you can call it a “valuable social experience.”
  25. Don’t be afraid to fall in love. When it happens, don’t take it for granted. Celebrate it, but don’t let it define your college experience.
  26. Much of the time you once had for pleasure reading is going to disappear. Keep a list of the books you would have read had you had the time, so that you can start reading them when you graduate.
  27. Things that seem like the end of the world really do become funny with a little time and distance. Knowing this, forget the embarrassment and skip to the good part.
  28. Every once in awhile, there will come an especially powerful moment when you can actually feel that an experience has changed who you are. Embrace these, even if they are painful.
  29. No matter what your political or religious beliefs, be open-minded. You’re going to be challenged over the next four years in ways you can’t imagine, across all fronts. You can’t learn if you’re closed off.
  30. If you need to get a job, find something that you actually enjoy. Just because it’s work doesn’t mean it has to suck.
  31. Don’t always lead. It’s good to follow sometimes.
  32. Take a lot of pictures. One of my major regrets in life is that I didn’t take more pictures in college. My excuse was the cost of film and processing. Digital cameras are cheap and you have plenty of hard drive space, so you have no excuse.
  33. Your health and safety are more important than anything.
  34. Ask for help. Often.
  35. Half of you will be in the bottom half of your class at any given moment. Way more than half of you will be in the bottom half of your class at some point in the next four years. Get used to it.
  36. In ten years very few of you will look as good as you do right now, so secretly revel in how hot you are before it’s too late.
  37. In the long run, where you go to college doesn’t matter as much as what you do with the opportunities you’re given there. The MIT name on your resume won’t mean much if that’s the only thing on your resume. As a student here, you will have access to a variety of unique opportunities that no one else will ever have – don’t waste them.
  38. On the flip side, don’t try to do everything. Balance = well-being.
  39. Make perspective a priority. If you’re too close to something to have good perspective, rely on your friends to help you.
  40. Eat badly sometimes. It’s the last time in your life when you can do this without feeling guilty about it.
  41. Make a complete ass of yourself at least once, preferably more. It builds character.
  42. Wash your sheets more than once a year. Trust me on this one.
  43. If you are in a relationship and none of your friends want to hang out with you and your significant other, pay attention. They usually know better than you do.
  44. Don’t be afraid of the weird pizza topping combinations that your new friend from across the country loves. Some of the truly awful ones actually taste pretty good. Expand your horizons.
  45. Explore the campus thoroughly. Don’t get caught.
  46. Life is too short to stick with a course of study that you’re no longer excited about. Switch, even if it complicates things.
  47. Tattoos are permanent. Be very certain.
  48. Don’t make fun of prefrosh. That was you like 2 hours ago.
  49. Enjoy every second of the next four years. It is impossible to describe how quickly they pass.
  50. This is the only time in your lives when your only real responsibility is to learn. Try to remember how lucky you are every day.
Be yourself. Create. Inspire, and be inspired. Grow. Laugh. Learn. Love.
Welcome to some of the best years of your lives.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What can I do for the country?

I have thought over this problem for hours and days. I am no big shot. I am no political leader. I understand that I am in no position to bring a big change. So, the answer is that all of us should change to make India a developed country. Fair enough. I reached this conclusion 3 years back. Now what? How can I contribute in my way? Any suggestions? I talked to many smart(er) people. Got some answers. But not complete. I think its still unanswered but most of my doubts are gone by the book "Ignited Minds" by APJ Abdul Kalam.

This is not a review of the book. I am in no position to do that. This is just a compilation of the points I thought, points that came up in the discussions I had with a few seniors, discussion I had with my internship professor in Hong Kong, my lab mates during my internship at Paris and also the ideas from Ignited Minds. An attempt to answer the question on "How can people like me (young and educated) contribute to India's development?"

(Order is not important)
  1. Say NO to corruption
  2. Pay taxes regularly and honestly
  3. Don't practice social evils like untouchability, dowry, female foeticide, etc
  4. Keep our country clean
  5. Stop whining about everything Indian. Respect India, its culture, its people. If we need to make small talk, we start talking about how bad it is, how bad our government is, etc in buses, trains and other public places. If you have a solution, suggest it. Just whining that India is bad in public places have led to this situation that we don't really respect our country
  6. Don't blindly respect everything foreign. Don't buy foreign goods just because its foreign
  7. Don't fight over religion, caste, place of birth, language, etc. Believe in unity of the country.
  8. Vote honestly without any bias
Best of Luck!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Finance for IITians

Question to answer: Why do lots of IITians move towards finance?

1) Money: Finance companies pay way more than other companies. The average pay of a finance company is 1.5-2 times that of an average CS tech firm and 2-2.5 times an average non-CS tech firm. This probably is the single most important reason. More importantly the prospects of hefy bonuses which can surpass any salary in any industry. People flock to finance because of the riches/lores of traders/i-bankers who have earned a software engineer's lifetime salary in a few years.

2) No interest in Tech: Since most of us have the feeling that "acads to nahin hi hoga" or I am not born for tech, we have anyways narrowed down our choices to a few out of which most are financial services firms.

3) Analytical skills required: This is perhaps the only field where they require analytical skills but do not pay much importance to your CPI. Proving that you are smart is more important than getting a hi-fi CPI. :) The skills required are basic mathematics which all the engineers are good at. Students might find problems with partial differential equations and eigen values but not with basic statistics and probability.

4) Glamor attached: We have seen our MI CGs and Techfest managers and GSs going to financial services. Those were people whom we looked up to. We feel safe if we are walking on paths of those "studs". Investment Bankers hog a lot of limelight in the corporate world, rubbing shoulders with CEOs and giving media briefings. The pin striped suits, and luxury hotels and business class travel build an aura around the investment banker.


Disclaimer: The views expressed here are personal and are not intended to hurt the feelings of any community. They do not refer to any legal entity, living or dead. I should not be held accountable for any brain drain from engineering to finance and vice-versa or any losses(sanity, monetary) incurred after reading this article.

What certifications can we get in finance field during our stay at IIT?

Now this is a tricky question. To find an answer, I contacted Pristine Careers (www.pristinecareers.com) - A finance training institute founded by Pawan, Paramdeep and Atul, alumni of IIT Bombay, Delhi and Kharagpur. They stressed the need for getting international certifications instead of domestic. The following certificates are internationally recognized and should give you an interview if not a job in finance.

CFA: http://www.cfainstitute.org/
FRM : http://www.garp.com/
PRM: http://www.prmia.com

Best of Luck!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Study Tips for JEE

I have been asked by many people about tips on JEE preparation. Thought writing this on the blog might help some aspirants. Best of Luck!! I gave this interview once and thought of making the transcript public on the blog.

1.What was you rank?
IIT JEE 2006 - All India Rank 3
AIEEE 2006 - All India Rank 2

2.Which books did you follow during your preparations?

Physics:
1) NCERT
2) Concepts in Physics by H.C Verma (Two volumes)
3) Problems in General Physics by I.E. Irodov
4) University Physics by Freedman and Young or Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick and Walker
5) Aptitude Test Problems in Physics by S.S. Krotov

Chemistry:
1) NCERT
2) Numerical Chemistry by P. Bahadur or Numerical Chemistry by R.C. Mukherjee
3) Concise Inorganic Chemistry by J.D. Lee
4) Chemistry Principles & Applications by Sienko and Plane
5) Organic Chemistry by Solomons and Frhyle or Organic Chemistry by Morrison and Boyd

Mathematics:
1) NCERT
2) Higher Algebra by Hall and Knight
3) Problems in Mathematics by V Govorov, P.Dybov, N.Miroshin, S.Smirnova (Edited by A.I. Prilepko)
4) Trigonometry by S.L Loney
5) Coordinate Geometry by S.L. Loney
6) A Course in Mathematics for IIT-JEE by Tata Mc-Graw Hill

These books are more than sufficient. Of course, you have to read only those sections which are there in the syllabus.

Important:
A strict No No to the books by the following publishers: Dinesh, Pradeep, Krishna, Modern's, Arihant, Gupta and Gupta. These books are nothing more than waste of time. Never ever read these books. The material is crap.

3.Any advise to our readers? What tips you want to share with our readers ?
1) JEE is not the only time when you can prove yourself. So relax! Sleep well and eat well! Don't try anything special. Do whats most natural to you.
2) Don't waste time watching movies, going to parties and attending guests. Keeping yourself away from these pleasures for 2 yrs does more good than you would expect.
3) A strict No No to books by the following publishers: Dinesh, Pradeep, Krishna, Modern's, Arihant, Gupta and Gupta.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Targets set at IIT

Targets Set at some point or the other at IIT :)

Target       
                        
Did or Not  
                       
Comments

CPI 9.00 No Whatever.. Ditch :P
EnglishNo :(
GuitarNo :(
JobYes :)
MathsYes :)
DramYes Did basic level. Ended it with an awesome PAF :)
WeightYes Went to a terrible state.. But getting back now. Lost more than 7 kgs now. :)
TTYes Can play at a very basic level and win against a beginner.
BlogYes +80 followers and +120 posts on puzzle blog
Euro TripYes :)
SwimmingNo :(
DebatingNo :(
NovelsNo :(
PublicationOngoing I need luck!! :) Sent BTP work
FinanceYes Did a basic level reading this sem :)
GoaYes 27th Feb 2010 :)
GFNo :(

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chatur's speech : 3 idiots



Adarniya sabhapati mahodaya, atithi vishesh shikshan mantri shri R D tripati ji, maanyaniya shikshagan aur mere piyaaare sahpatiyo

Aaj agar I.C.E aasmaan ki bulaaandiyo ko chhu raahaa hai to uska shreya sirrf ekinsaan ko jaataahai - Shri Veeru Sahastrabuddhe

Give him a big hand. He is a great guy really.

Peechle buttis saal se inhone nirantar is college mein balatkar pe balatkar kiye. Umeed hai aagey bee karte rahege. Hamein to aashcharya hota hai ki ek insaan apne jeevan kaal mein itni balatkar kaisi kar sakta hai. Inhone kadi tapaasya se apne aapko is kaabil bunaya hai. Waqt ka sahi upyog ghante ka purna istemaal koi inse seeke. Seeke inse seeke. Aaj hum sab chaatra yaha hai, kal desh videsh mein fail jayenge. Waadaa hai aapse jis desh mein honge waha balatkar karenge, I.C.E ka naam roshan karenge. Dika denge sabko jo balatkar Karne ki kshamtaa yaha ke chaatro mein hai wo sansaar ke kisi chaatro mein nahiii. No other chaatra. No other chaatra.

Adarniya mantraji! Namashkar aapne is sansthaan ko wo chees di jiski hamein sakht zaroorat thi. “Sstunn”! Stunn hota sabi ke paas hai. Sab chupa ke rakte hai, detaa koi nai. Aapne apna stun is balatkari purush ke haat mein diya hai, ab dekiye yeh kaisa iska upyog karta hai

Utthamum dadhdadaath paadam - Madhyam paadam thuchuk chuk - Ghanisthah thud thudi paadam - Surr surri praan gatakam.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

More Dilbert and IIT

First 7 comic strips posted earlier here

8)














:)