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Update March 29, 2012

Posted by smit in My Life.
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Finding it very difficult to get the right words to start writing something. Such a long time it has been. Just felt like putting an update here, of what has been going on lately.

So I am leaving for my convocation, probably the last one, probably : ) Convocation is scheduled on Monday, 2nd April and my parents are supposed to join me in Calcutta on Monday morning. Thereafter, a few days at home and have to leave for Singapore on 11th. Again 2 days in Singapore and then off to London for 4 weeks on 14th April.

Except that there is a small catch. I haven’t got my visa yet. Almost everyone has got his’/hers’. Except me. Though it has been approx. 2 weeks since I submitted my application and they told me that it will take 2 weeks but still.. peer pressure is a dirty concept. The British High Commission seems to be testing my patience. Or is God doing that?

God. Interesting Concept. I am calling him (or her?) a concept because I am still not at ease with his existence. A few days back my mother asked me to pray, at least sometimes. Obviously, I just ignored that like most of her advices. She said that people remember God only when they are having a bad time. Now I have just two words to say, Absolutely true! : ) Now that I am helpless with my visa, all I can think of is to appeal to God invoking all sorts of ‘punya’ from good deeds of the past.

Similar thing happened during the Vaishno Devi trip as well. There were 3 of us. One had a decent enough faith in the legend. One was a staunch athiest. I stood in the middle. I felt bad when the atheist used to pass his expert comments on everything at the shrine. Again, I could also not get myself in agreement what the believer said. It was just difficult for me to understand why I was even there, and not at some place like Manali or Shimla.

Anyway, bad things come and go. Good things come sandwiched between them. I too have an interesting story to tell. I have a datacard, for using net at home, along with two laptops. The old one is around 7 years old and barely works. The new one is good enough, ‘only’ 2 years old. The problem was that the datacard did not work on the new laptop for some reason and the old laptop gets heated up, switching off every 10 min. So I tried an experiment. I got an old table fan from store room and placed it on the side of old laptop. Also lifted the floor of the laptop to make an inclined plane so that cool air from fan can seep in and touch the lower part of the laptop to keep the temperature in control. And Eureka! Now surprisingly I am able to work on old laptop for several hrs straight. Problem solved!

It kind of taught me a lot of things, or rather reminded some of them. That problem are always there, you just have to work out a solution, somehow.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Would return with one thing that has been pending for past 1 month. A term-by-term account of last 2 years. Just to keep all that as a written record somewhere. Good night : )

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Trivia-I June 8, 2009

Posted by smit in India, Politics, Trivia.
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Okay! this may sound like little gibberish which none would like to pay any heed to, yet I decided to put it here for the sake of ‘the observation’.

Here is an ironical fact:

  • This is an Indian state which is home to nearly 20% of Nation’s population.
  • It also accounts for nearly 15% of seats in the Lower House of our Parliament.
  • Most importantly, it contributed nearly 10% MPs to total Congress tally of 206 in these general elections.
  • And it was once said that Road to Delhi passes through its capital, Lucknow.

And you know the number of MPs in Union Cabinet from this state:

ZERO

yeah ! thats right.

PS: It would not be an intelligent idea to infer anything out of this, without a holistic view; just that I found this interesting.

Countdown to 16th May May 14, 2009

Posted by smit in India, Politics.
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The countdown to 16th May, the day of vote counts, is nearing its end. Though I am not too much excited about the overall outcome of this election but all I am currently concerned is about a stable government at the center which can provide the much needed confidence to stock market and can take some positive steps for the ailing economy.

However, there are a few things worth watching out, in to be announced results on 16th May:

1. In the extreme north, for the first time after 1987’s (allegedly) rigged assembly elections, a separatist leader is out to seek people’s mandate. Sajjad Lone, son of late Abdul Gani Lone (a moderate Hurriyat leader who was assassinated by militants in 2002) is contesting from Baramula-Kupwara Parliamentary constituency. He is repeatedly being quoted in media of having said that he would be taking an oath under Indian constitution with a ‘heavy heart‘.

The important thing here is that result of this seat would provide us a clue about the nerve of Kashmir Valley. His win would mean that a separatist sentiment is on the rise while his losing would mean that people have voted for unity and integrity of India.

2. Rampur has been in limelight for most of this poll season. Despite being one of the few Muslim majority constituencies in the country, it is worth noticing that it sent Jaya Prada of SP, who is also supposedly an outsider, to the Lok Sabha in last general elections. This time her path has been rendered difficult due to opposition by regional heavyweight, SP’s rebel leader Azam Khan, who is covertly supporting Congress.

The point I am trying to make is that if she is re-elected it would be a win for her development-centered campaign when both region & religion are hampering her prospects.

3. Finally, not so flamboyant is the constituency of Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh (which, incidently, is my native place) where a four-cornered contest is typical of any constituency in the state. Here, 3 times municipal chairman BJP’s Mithilesh Agarwal (she also happens to be the manager of my former school) in hand-to-hand combat with the former UPCC chief Salman Khurshid, former power minister and regional heavyweight BSP’s Naresh Agrawal and 2 times sitting MP Chandrabhushan Singh of SP.

The interesting thing about this seat is that Mithilesh ma’am has won the municipal elections for 3 times in past 15 years as an independent candidate, solely on the basis of her reputation as a non-corrupt leader who has wonders for the town in terms of providing basic amenities like roads, water etc. However, unlike others, she does not have support of any particular caste by her side and hence her win would solely mean a vote for development and progress.

PS1: The three cases cited above represent the most important characteristics of Indian politics viz Region, Religion, Caste and Separatism and a mandate in these three would be a litmus test for Indian Politics’ and voters’ maturity.

Ciao.. April 30, 2009

Posted by smit in Friends, IIT Life.
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It has now been 4 years since I came to this place called IIT Delhi (and still have a year to get out of it). Nearly ignorant of the life here, I had no special expectations from the place. All I had in mind was to (somehow) complete the formality of studies, get a job and then live happily ever after.

But now when I look back at the four well spent years and try to reminisce about the memories, the nostalgia grips in. Moreover, if I were asked about the most important thing this place has given to me, the answer would, of course, be the friendship garnered and the friends I have made here. Sadly, around half of my good friends would be passing out this month to enter a new phase of their life.

Parting with ones who have been an integral part of one’s life for last 4 years would be really painful. Last time I felt so sad and nostalgic was when I had to leave home to live as a p.g. in South Delhi for a year to get coached for JEE (that being the first time I was away from home).

But that’s life; things come and things go, leaving behind their imprints. The life is a synonym for change and all one can do is to move on, the sooner the better. The veracity of the old saying, Every good things come to an end, stands tall and high. In essence, I will miss you all and will cherish past years forever.

I will remember (few of) you guys getting drunk sometimes, thus, acting funny at times and maudlin at others;

I will remember the outings and trips we all had together;

I will remember the (birthday) bumps and treats we had;

I will remember you guys making fun of things, be it me or anyone or anything;

I will remember every little incident of these beautiful years;

Above all, I love you guys and will miss you guys since y’all were one of the most beautiful things to ever happen in my life.

Little Evil for a Greater Good April 11, 2009

Posted by smit in India, Politics.
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Someone has said that maneuvering ‘a little evil for a greater good’ is justifiable. Taking inspiration from the anonymous, and despite being a ‘Friend of BJP‘, I have cited 3 reasons why the country needs  UPA Government for one more term:

Firstly and most importantly, With the deepening global economic woes, an Economist, Oxford educated Prime Minister(read Manmohan Singh) can be a saving grace for the nation. Not to mention that the Chidambaram-Manmohan duo has already done wonders for the Economy, despite the enormous pressure of coalition politics.

Secondly, Choosing an octogenarian man, to lead a nation with a median age less than 25 years, would obviously not be considered an intelligent decision. Furthermore, given the LK Advani’s past record, his controversial comments have not helped in improving his integrity and credibility.

Finally, the election of Advani would thwart any chances of Narendra Modi for the top job in near future (I am assuming that Economy would worsen in coming years and any new government would be unable to do anything but wait-and-watch). Although, Modi has been repeatedly accused of not doing enough to control the 2002 Gujarat Riots, yet despite all criticisms, he has turned Gujarat into an economic powerhouse with a growth rate highest among India states and has been acclaimed as Best Chief Minister in India.

Because ultimately, Nationalism* and secularism are more important than appeasement politics and pseudo-secularism.

*Nationalism should not be confused with Hindu Fundamentalism.

PS: I am no fan of Modi. Like any rational person would, I do not support his stand on Hindutva but fully endorse his economic policies, anti-terrorism stances and anti-pseudosecularistic outlook.

On Scientists and Terrorists March 24, 2009

Posted by smit in The Crunch.
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I am doing a course on Social Sciences this semester titled “Environment Development and Society”. Both the course and the professor, demonize Scientists and Engineers as accomplices of a future Apocalypse, who are poisoning the world through their polluting technologies.

Although I disagree with almost everything being taught in the course (which seeks an idealistic individual), some issues like the Bhopal Gas Tragedy evoked some sort of helplessness and emotions. As a supplement reading, I had to read a journal article called “Vestal Virgins and Engineering Ethics” in which there is one particularly engrossing analogy to which I could find no refutation.

The paper draws an analogy between a terrorist and a scientist. Author appears to believe that both commit acts of killing innocents, the former being involved in it directly while the latter being indirectly involved in it but at a much larger scale. Here is an excerpt:

“Consider a terrorist who plants a bomb in a primary school. Plainly, the act is wrong, and in breach of a general obligation not to cause (or recklessly risk) harm to fellow citizens. Even though the terrorist may not know the identities of children, we would all agree that this is an evil act…………. Some engineering works, such as the hazardous waste disposal alluded to above, have very long fuses, and there is no doubt that future people can be harmed by irresponsible engineering activities.”

After reading the article I thought and thought about the argument given by the author, which clearly calls for a self-critique, to find a possible alibi for scientific community’s misdeeds’ vindication. To my utter surprise, I am still looking forward to a honest confute which a guilty conscience could accept.

On Elections etc. February 3, 2009

Posted by smit in India, Politics.
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The General Elections in the World’s most vibrant democracy are round the corner. But really? Its not so obvious this time, at least the low media coverage does not suggest so (the media seems to be in concordance with the view of this post). The lull before such a great event is not a thing that can be easily construed. Although, we are only 3 months away from the final showdown, yet we don’t know even the belligerents of the duel, quite contrary to the US where presidential campaign goes on for 18 months.

It appears like these elections will be a low key affair and the most boring ones in the recent Indian history. The three major coalitions have accepted that they will not be able to gain majority all by themsleves. The UPA is fighting anti-incumbency, NDA is fighting with itself while Leftists are fighting with everyone. The scenario is in many ways similar to that in 1996/1998 which resulted in a period of political instability. Quite obviously, it pops up in my mind that the General Elections of 2009 is, perhaps, a short skirmish which may follow the Grand Finale somewhere around 2012 / 2013, which would probably be between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. That will probably be a clash between the ideologies of Secularism and Nationalism (pseudo-secular hypocrites may read the latter as Fundamentalism), which will be deciding the course of future India.

****************************

If , in a high school composition, I were to list the major festivals of India, I would say Holi, Diwali, Id and, of course, the Election Day. Everyone waits so eagerly for it. Some are content with the associated holiday, some for their enthusiasm to vote and some for the results. Elections have always been fun, except in these metropolis’. The real enthusiasm about elections can be seen in towns and villages, where the real India resides.

Perhaps these will be my first General elections away from home. I miss the late evening discussions among the elderlys’, on which I always eavesdropped. The villagers visiting my father’s shop would come along with the voter mood-swings in their area. After sunset, when everyone is back after day’s work, there would be a demographic disintegration of each part of our constituency, an intense one for the areas in vicinity, ‘the so-and-so candidate has an upper hand in so-and-so area because of so-and-so caste combination etc etc’ (I come from central Uttar Pradesh, the heart of caste-based politics).

However, my favorite elections are the ones for local governing bodies which, in my case, is a municipality. Ours’ is a small town of 25,000 voters divided in 25 wards. We have to vote to elect a Municipal chairman as well as ward a representative. The petty issues like location of proposed hand pipe, renewal of power lines, revision of colony’s house taxes et al. dominate the polls. Also, unlike legislative or parliamentary elections, the municipal elections are marked by a polling booth in every locality. In the lane adjacent to ours, a polling booth was always set up at the premises of a government-aided primary school. With poll booth so near, we used to loiter around all the day and fundas like how to remove the permanent ink stain to cast multiple votes etc. came in handy. And after the elections, came the expert comments and analysis on what went right/wrong with our candidate as well as who did and did not vote for him.

PS – The hostel elections kind of remind me of those Ward Representative Elections because of their local character, though I’m involved in none of them, but eavesdropping is always fun 😀

The Satyam Crisis January 14, 2009

Posted by smit in Economy, India.
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After a year full of bomb blasts and ‘innovative’ terrorist attacks, 2009 appears to be a year of financial turmoil. The new year has begun with a wham with the startling confessions of Satyam chief Ramlingam Raju, to unveil the biggest corporate fraud in the history of  (semi)capitalist India. Satyam has been in news for a month or so, since December last year and all due to bad reasons. At first, I simply ignored those news’ as just another case of an industrialist lobbying for his family businesses, but on 7th Jan, the scandal became too big to be ignored.

Satyam has been in news owing to various reasons, first it was due to some World Bank sanctions imposed owing to some payment irregularities. Then it was a court case filed by one of its UK client alleging fraud and breach of contract. Again it was in mid-December when Satyam made headlines due to Raju’s failed attempt to acquire Maytas Properties and Maytas Infra, two real estate firms promoted by his sons.

Although the failed acquisition attempt led to a considerable damage to Satyam stock prices, both at SENSEX and NYSE, but no one had thought that this was just tip of the iceberg and an apocalypse was in waiting. Finally the tremor came on 7th Jan afternoon. I was shocked to read the news near 7th Jan evening when Raju had written a letter to company’s BoD and SEBI, confessing of severe accounting frauds, inflated profits & revenues and fictitious cash reserves. However, I was even more surprised after reading the text of his letter (I was able to comprehend the technical language with some difficulty), to know the reason of him trying to acquire the Maytas firms, and it took me quite a bit of time to understand what had actually happened and then to absorb the shock.

Particularly worrying was the fact that Satyam had always been portrayed as an icon of Indian outsourcing industry and Raju as a self-made entrepreneur. So what? Would this scandal mark the end of Indian outsourcing bubble. Immediately two questions flashed into my mind:
1. The accounting fraud bears astounding similarities to the case of US’ energy giant, Enron.
2. Satyam, probably, reported an operating profit near 26%(which Raju now declares as cooked up) and the operating profits of other members of big-4 club(TCS,Infy,wipro) also lie near to it. So, are their profits and revenues also cooked up ?

Next day, I saw Satyam being addressed as India’s own Enron in TOI (in conformance with me). Again, on 14th Jan, I read an editorial in Hindu, which raised similar questions as the second one above, but with no answers. However, what was apparent, was the fact that wrongdoings of a man had endangered the careers of over 50,000 professionals and had pushed the entire Indian IT sector into a circle of mistrust.

Now what excites me (sadist.. uhh) are the possible answers to Q.2. Also, all this crisis could not have unleashed at any worse time when a economic downturn bigger than the Great Depression has just started to show its effects on Indian Economy.

Not to forget that I am graduating in May, 2010 and my placements are just 10 months away, so while living in such precarious times, when even a small incident can trigger an economic collapse, a sense of insecurity always prevails and prompts me to remain informed of any such matter which can hamper the economy and hence the job prospects of mine (and of my friends, of course).

A letter to the Blog.. May 24, 2008

Posted by smit in My Life, Uncategorized.
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Hi blog !!

last Sunday was your birthday, so… b’lated Happy Birthday blog !!

You must be thinking what a moron your owner is, who can’t even find time, to gift you at least a new post, even on the auspicious day of your inception. Although I know that any alibi or apology rendered in this context would be useless but I assure you the redemption of mistakes of the past.

Technically, its your second b’day because you were created two years back, but since it was only on 18th May, 2007 that the world saw this sweet face of yours, which makes you, only a year old and the time before that, a gestation period.

However, when I raise my head to look around, and compare you to your contemporaries, it still appears to me that you are not mature enough or, to be honest, yet far from that level of maturity. But you know, it’s not your fault, you are just another casualty of your owner’s negligence. Anyways, don’t you worry now, i assure you a prosperous year ahead with frequent updates. Also, you would be happy to know the process of creation of a brother of yours is on the roll.

By the way, your owner wasn’t happy either while doing all this to you. His life has seen so many ups and downs since your birth, with the mind and energies running hither and yon, without any focus, and hence towards a wastage. Fall 2007 saw a closely avoided an F grade with the GPA touching new troughs. Then it was the time of feb-mar’07, the worst time ever which was like dominated by a guilty feeling of the loss of all friends.

However as they say often, Good times follow bad ones. Although good ones just don’t simply follow, one has to fight for every bit of it and with no exception. So, after some damage control in months of April and May, things have taken a turn(yet not a U-turn though) and I got my best GPA of 3 years this semester.

Now, as I draw towards the close, I can see far upto the horizon from the window at my left, I can see the shower reducing to a light drizzle, I can see the clouds being waved away by the blowing cool sensuous winds, I can see the sun peek-a-boo’ing from behind the shoulder of a small cloud fragment and All that comes to my mind, is about current thoughts of that dark cloud curtailing the sun, probably he is thinking,

May be, now its time to depart and make room for a paradigm shift….

good bye blog,

your grateful owner 🙂

Arbit inspiration May 17, 2008

Posted by smit in Arbitary.
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A quintessential example of the what they say: Necessity is the mother of all Inventions. Its about how automatic switching at telephone exchanges was invented.

This is an interesting story I came across while reading about switching in early telephone systems(my intern is related to networking).

It dates back to around late 1880’s , the time when telephones had just started gaining popularity in US. The Bell Telephone Company(the company co-founded by Graham Bell, the inventor of telephone, his father-in-law and some other person) had installed several telephone exchanges across US. During those days, if any person wanted to make a call, he has to first call the local telephone exchange where the Operator would physically connect his line wire to the line of person whom he wanted to call.

Meanwhile, there was this eccentric, short-tempered and often-called-mad Undertaker(a person who prepares for cremation of dead bodies and for funerals) named Almon Brown Strowger in Kansas City(Missouri, USA) who was busy figuring out why his business had slowed down with the advent of telephones in his town. Actually there were 2 undertakers in the town and he suspected that the Operator at exchange was his rival undertaker’s wife who, in event of any death in the town, didn’t connect Strowger with any call made to him but connected instead to his rival undertaker, citing the reason that Strowger’s line was busy.

Strowger’s suspicions were confirmed when one of his friend died in Topeka, Kansas and the family contacted his rival undertaker. Strowger quickly figured out that either he has to ruin his fortunes or get the Local telephone operator out of this work of making connections. Hence in order to save his business, he decided to work on an automated switch to connect lines at Local Telephone Exchanges.

Finally succeeding in his endeavours, he invented such switch in 1891 and thence came a automatic switching system now known as “Strowger Switch”. Strowger formed a company called Strowger Automatic Telephone Exchange Company forits marketing but later sold his shares in the company and returned to the business of being an undertaker.