Friday, December 28, 2007

first day@hostel IIT madras

good morning/afternoon/eve dear reader,
So, this is my first post as a student. Student!!!!!!! after three and half years of working, that too as a teacher/resident tutor/network and proxy administrator to 180 degree ulta. I wonder what to say now. Lot of incidents comes to my mind. Like, thre were days in my school where I hardly heard about institutes like IITs and RECs ( or current NITs). I hardly had any idea, what is life going to be in IIT instead of any college in my hometown. Everywhere we study almost same thing, systems are built under government rules. So what could be the difference?
When I was completing my pre-degree, I came across IIT's JEE. Oh, with the sample questions itself I decided, its too far to reach now in 3 or 4 months. I came to know that there were people who started preparation from 10th onwards. God!!!! Crazy ppl. Thats what I felt. When I started B-Tech, in Information Technology, I first saw something called a syllabus. Before that , we have prescribed texts from which we can study. Of course reference books are there for the "hungry" ones. Many of the papers in semester 5 onwards does not even have text books available. When we started searching the keywords, the pages came from IIT Kanpur. We thought, oh we are as equal as one of IIT's. Great..........
Later when I joined as lecturer, I was thinking, what is there in institutes like IIT's which make it so unique. Another question I faced from students, when I switched colleges as a faculty is that " Sir, how is new students? are they better than us? Do you really find somebody like us? etc. I normally reply that, students are students in any college i work. But when I joined BITS, I replied. Ya, there is something I can say, here students are self motivated. I am not saying about all, but majority have good capabilities, good leadership and management skills. The way in which they do things are much more professional than the other colleges in Kerala where I studied or taught.
I was thinking, what could be the reason? What is so special in BITS or now in IIT,which is not there in other colleges. One noticeable thing is that, all these are residential townships with deemed status. But is that the only reason? I know there are many other universities which are deemed and residential, but still did not recognized like IIT's. The other noticeable fact is that IIT or BITS have strong alumni spread across the globe. Still there is some thing more. I do not know I am right, but its my belief that its the attitude as a student that makes the difference. Just being in IIT means, your inner mind also says, hmm I am now part of a prestigious institution in the country. I do have the power" . Yes , I can feel it for myself. That mindset is having enormous power to face anything coming across your way. Probably that is the reason I can say to my reader about difference in IITs and normal colleges.
Apart from all these, let me add something more. As my student Manish says, while he was comparing BITS and IITs. "BITS and IITs are made for different purposes. The atmosphere, the culture, the course structure... everything is different to make you BITSian or IITian." But let me add something more here. All institutions are like that.

There are many local vendors who make shoes, some of them with quality even better than branded ones. But they are meant for different purposes. A local vendor may not be good enough to trade his things to other parts of country. Or he restricted himself to that locality. Just like that, all institutions are good. You are being nurtured in that specific environment. You can not experiment/ go for probation to say which one is best for you. Its you who make your choice the best. Its your attitude to stay like a local vendor or go and compete to any extend.

Thats for now
cyu on next topic, some other time

Friday, December 14, 2007

the sail.........

Hi again, dear reader

So this blog post is when I am in midst of leaving another great institute, BITS-Pilani Goa campus.This time, its to one of best institute in India, IIT Madras.
I was just recalling the path I came. It's really strange. You may remember I was telling, the things you may not even dream or you feel will be what comes to your way.

What will be your feeling after getting a degree!!! masters or work?
Normal question people will ask you. You will say work because everybody says so
Or people will say, oh you go for MBA and get a better position.

When I passed out, really I was in darkness or like in the middle of the sea, witout a compass. Everywhere it's water. Sometime with thunderstome. I was facing a lot of questions.
But can you see a different picture altogether in such a situation. Standing with out compass, is much more pleasant, for you are free to sail to any direction. But there is no sailing back. I was feeling like Columbus trying to find a route to India. He finally landed up in America. I still did not land.
All that I knew at that time, was I do not want to be in so called highly paid "s/w" job. And a lot of questions in mind. For me its neither so "SOFT" nor a living. Is that the only way to live? Why do all running for it? Is it like flies attracted to a lamp? Is it necessary to earn 4lakh per annum to make a living?
Confused? There were" so many" questions. I asked my friends. Some one laughed at me, like "ye kya bakwas bolthe hei". For them its stupidity, but for me its not. I was asking myself, IT is called a new field. So why can not we go for learning more and do some thing new. ( the definition for "new" was totally unclear at that point.... still).
Soon after completing my course, I found everybody busy with getting to a job, or already placed people trying again for "so called better" jobs. I asked some of them "why company A you believe is better than company B?" Or what do they do ultimately? Many of them did not even know that what they were going to do after joining. Many of the mechanical, electronics guys or even I found people from Science degrees has been recruited to these software jobs. I could not understand, why do people take degree in mechanical or electrical and go for something they have seen only for watching movies or gaming or ch(e)atting.
I was confused, "arey am right or wrong". Then I learned one more thing, we are in same boat. They do not know what they are going to do. Me too. Difference is that they are definite that they are going to earn and I am not sure.
In an unexpected way, I joined in one of the colleges in Trivandrum as a guest faculty. I started earning. Lol that was really great experience, to eat with what you earned.
Still I was wondering, is it the correct direction I am sailing. But I started liking the job and the satisfaction I got with feedbacks from my students. To serve them better I started studying for GATE. It was not to achieve good score, but to make myself better. The score came was 2100 around rank all over india. I did not know when I scored that, it's good or bad.
Appreciations came to me, and questions again. "So you are going to join NIT right?" will you get in to IIT? Why can't you get much more better score? Which area you are going to work?

Are yaar, what these fellows are talking? I did not even think. My decision was to work again. Thus joined the next institute, with a label of permanent faculty. Again I wrote GATE in 2006. That time, I had work of 5-6 hours per day and hostel duties. But with momentum of first GATE score, I kept reading atleast half an hour to max 1 hr per day. The paper was so tough that I used the tactics I used in Engineering, to write answers.
lol, when result came, I found I scored 938 as new rank and a score of 435.
Again Questions. By this time, I know how to close my ears . People ask questions. But hardly a few needs an answer. Thank god, by this time I learned how to "sail". From that institute to an institute with brand name "BITS", the distance was too short. The interview was unexpected and BITS was never marked as a place in my sail before. From BITS to IIT Madras, its again totally unexpected. At least I dreamt to become an IITan in childhood. And when dream came true, my mind is empty.

tooo strange............. that is the sail in life
Thank you for your time to sail with me, and we will have some more entertaining sessions in next postings
bubye 4 now

Thursday, December 13, 2007

better not to compile a program if u r s/w engg ;)

Dear reader,
( as usual good morning/afternoon/eve..)
So you are waiting for my writings about girl friend!!! lol
but I am worried about how to use computer!!!!!
Yeah, at semester 3 only I bought a new computer, AMD athlon 900MHz with integrated graphics accelerator. Thanks to Midhun Mohan, who was(/is/hope will b) great friend of mine. In fact we are from villages, situated nearby (For a village; nearby means it can be 10Km even).
The next thing is loading games and films....... But there was no facility of writing to cd or usb drives. Still we managed to copy things much efficiently
The first film set I saw were Men in black and DumDumDum. ( I am a fan of Jyothika ... ;) )
Because the system is assembled, it gave me immense oppurtunity to open the cpu unit and study the interior. We used to carry hard disk as a medium for sharing, since CD Writer was a precious thing and we were not interested in anything so precious. I do not know y ppl call hard disk portable now. We were using hard disk portable even 7 years back.
Within one month, my hard disk of 20Gb was full with songs, movies and games. I started with games roadrash and two arcade games( hard to recollect names). That together with chating in yahoo, gave me a good speed in mouse and keyboard.
Playing games causes an addiction. Used to start playing from 5oclock to evn 2 o clock in night.

That did help me a lot. The first programing language I studied was Pascal. Thanks to our teacher, that what ever she teaches, I can never get to understand. There were people who already knew C and had programming experience. So they were submitting the programs initially in the lab.
I was thinking, what to do... the time I used to spend in front of comp is more than 8 hrs per day. Then Midhun asked me, why can't you write programs in your system?
I told, hmm its not allowing me even to compile...... if it compiles, then only I can at least try running it to get a rubbish answer. But I was also thinking, "if any bill can write program, y can't me". I found Balagurusami's book , the one which I can keep it safely in dust bin. Instead I got a book written by "venugopal and maya" which taught me errors I can get and lot of sample programs. Inspired by that and the thought that , if I can spend upto 2oclock for games, let me try my luck in programs also.
The first program I written successfully was "date difference" which had around 100 lines of code with 2 procedures.
Bored again..... wait
that brought friendship with a girl.......... because I was getting output for first two labs, she thought I am a great programmer.. poor girl... she asked to join me in lab.
I used to do the programs. We became good friends, which later turned out to be an acquaintance. It was hard to complete all programs in lab, especially the ones with pointers. Then came a rule from a senior teacher, saying that we should take print out from college.
We found an old dot matrix printer in the lab with old bundles of paper which they might bought 4 years back. All were unhappy. When I said, "Sir it's utter useless to print in this paper you are providing, atleast allow us to bring papers" He did not respond, instead reported to senior faculty. Let me call her Mrs AS ( its not ass by the way ). AS came and told me, this is our decision, you are the only 1 having problem. Then I looked back "no 1 was there behind me"

The result was "even though I got output my marks went down to 56/100 in the lab exams". But later I had a very good relation with Mrs AS and now also I continue it.

tours.............. ;)

Hi reader
well , after a week or so, am back.. with the tour story. In between I got admission in IIT Madras. So next again goin to be a student.
That has nothing to do with the story I am going to tell. This is all about an unforgettable situation in the starting stage of my career as a teacher. Perhaps this is lengthy, but am sorry; I do not want to split it.
May I ask you a question, did you go for outing or tour with your friends?
Its ob. But did you try to co ordinate a tour or accompanied as responsible person?
If so, you know how painful is that job
To make things worse, think something really gone bad!!! That too in a place where you do not even know the language!!! What will trouble you more? To solve main cause or the other problems because of this?
Hmm, here is a version of such incident.

I joined as a teacher, soon after my B-Tech is over. People who go for teaching, after degree in Computer Science or Information Technology, is "rare species". But that was the first job I got. May be I liked the job. Thanks to my guide Mr Ramachandran Sir, who is retired engg from ISRO Trivandrum, who made me in to teaching. He is still a good motivation to me.
Well am not beating on the bush. The first question when I met Principal of the college for my post, was "can you teach Artificial Intelligence?" I was wondered. Is there any thing good in saying no?
I said, I like the subject, and have basic knowledge in it. Yes I can
She said "meet HOD and you can start teaching by next day".
I wondered. Is that an interview? or Is that enough to teach!!!!!
I started with AI for final years and Microprocessor for pre final years. And after a week, of joining, Principal came to see me, and told, Gireesan you are going with the industrial tour with students. There are other 3 faculties , so it is only for just a person in place.
I said "OK".
The journey started with 96 students and 4 staffs. Me and one other male staff and 2 female staffs, all from computer science.
All students were lively. dancing and singing. They never allowed to put a film. That much dey wanted to enjoy. So we reached Bangalore
This hotel does not had any parking for our bus and next day morning we have to leave by 8. to reach other 2 industry in time. But even at 8.30 4 students were not arrived
At 8.40 2 students came. The bus was parked in one way, where its not allowed and police gave sign to leave. So bus started, meanwhile we contacted reception to tell the 2 students to stay back there. But reply was negative, they were already left.
We were stunned. When we reached the industry, phone came from college that we left two students who called college.
We were literally in trouble. And college updated that the students are with their cousin.
After a long talk with them, they came bak and joined us at visweswarayya meusium
I thought trouble was over. Guess you also thought same.
But what I saw was entire 94 students were angry with the 2. That is natural. But it's only second day and that mood really killed the mood in the tour.People started saying about canceling the tour. All were disappointed. Because I was just joined and youngest, other 3 faculties called me and asked me "gireesh if u can make situations better , its a great thing. students will listen to you, coz you are young"
This surprised me. I said, ok leave the students with me. And give me freedom to speak.
They were left with me, with 2 other girls. We 4 sat till other visited the museum.
I asked the other students "you will not ask any thing; I mean ANYTHING to these 2."
And I started speaking to them They complained, about our carelessness, shouted at me. But I said, "ok , appologies, on behalf of all for that incident. Its a mistake. My voice was low, with soft tone. Perhaps that might surprised them. They again started telling "this is worse batch. These people always avoid us ... etc..." Then I asked, why?
They were silent. Then I started speaking. "
See , may be you are my age. I have been alone many a time in college, in my class. It gave me lot pain. Understand it needs lot of courage and support from good friends to get rid of situation when you are being made alone in a class. If you have difference oin opinion , its wrong if you try to oppose majority. Instead present it in a manner they will accept. But be with them, even if you feel you are right and they are wrong.
They were silent and started listening.
That was surprise for others. They were with me till 10 in night. We 5 went out for shopping, they selected dress for me.
we had food together. They went for sleep. Then I called representatives, asked them "strictly no question to them. Share what ever you eat with them. Play with them and do as usual '
They supported me. No one disturbed them. And from 3rd day onwards, as usual
By the time we reached back there was not even a sign of a problem

The teachers, told me "that was great. What you told them or how you managed it we do not know. But it avoided a great query in PTA meeting where we might not have any answer"

I do not want to blame the 2 who were late. Neither I want to say that what we did is correct.

Now what do you think? A major issue is solved will solve everything? Or do we need to re think on what is major issues?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Incidents creates a new way of life........

Hi to my dear reader,

good (morning/afternoon/eve/night) take t accordingly
Well let me start writing...... this is my first post.....
what is coming to my mind? A lot of things....... I have to order it........ reshuffle it and write it so that you can digest it. It's for you am writing....... well for me also
Have you ever thought of how life and society changes your views? Some time it make views clear, some other time make it blur......or keep it upside down.......... you may wonder "arey vo ulta ho gaya" Yeah, it even make your view just opposite to what you thought earlier.
Let me start with an example!!! me born and bought up in a village in kerala. I never had any idea about what people in city thinks. or what is their culture. When I was travelling through city of trivandrum, viewing University college and library or MLA quarters or secretariat, I used to think, is it for people like me? Will I be able to accept going in an auto for 2KM or hanging around with a girl friend!!

lol that was me when I joined Govt Arts for pre-degree.
When I was preparing for engineering entrance, I never knew that an engineering degree can bring about a lot of change in outlook of a person. In fact what is taught in engineering or what is so much difference in so called "branches of engineering" I could not understand. When I got rank of 988 in entrance, not only me, but my teachers also wondered. For me it was a victory of a new strategy for such exams which brought many successes later.I chose Information Technology, after reading a lot from news papers. But the picture I got from what I read, was not what I found in the actual course. I thanked god, that what I got was much more pleasant than the one which I expected.

I never liked failures in examinations. or never could digest why a person can fail in an exam.
But in engineering, at third semester I got it,I understood what is the mind of a person getting failure in examination. That was really a new taste in my life.
That changed my view about exams completely. From that point onwards I did not care about exams at all
Hmm, boring rt?
what silly things am telling. But it was a turning point.......... There are more..... the answers for change in many view points especially "girl friends" ........ hmm dat's what you are also waiting for na