Saturday, December 26, 2009

Aerostat Recovery Device (ARD)

Well, when I began writing this blog, I had promised to post some random stuff here. And it would be like throwing a biased dice if I don't include any technical GYAN.

So here it is- the fruits of my 2 months arduous efforts in IIT Bombay during summer 2009 The project title- "Design of an Aerostat Recovery Device (ARD) in case of accidental breakage of tether". Full pdf is available for download. Do check out this link, and refresh as many times as you like ;)

Well apart from that nothing much to share. Well yes, we said tata-bye-bye to BITS, our home for the last 3.5 years. It was a little sentimental moment, but considering that there is lots more in life ahead, I didn't feel that bad. Lots more includes Mercedes Benz PS in Bengaluru and job at John Deere. But yeah, I will miss DC++ badly :(

Anyways life has been great and will continue to be, Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A week in Bengaluru

Finally I am home, and I can pour out all that I am holding inside for the last one week. I haven't felt the need to blog more desperately than I am feeling right now and this post is going to be a long one. So prepare yourself, while I take a deep breath and start from the start!

I had booked my slot for online CAT 09 on the evening of 30th Nov.

Saturday, 28th Nov
We took the Yashwantpur train at night. I had slight cold and so had stuffed my pockets with HALLS chocolates. I had decided against carrying my laptop, for preparation on the day before the exam. (I had just carried one notebook of Quant questions just incase I suffer from boredom attack). My priority was to chill out. However, one important thing I did was to copy some rock bhajjans and relaxation music from my lappy to my father's mobile. I knew this would come handy on the night before the test. The journey was good, slept better than expected.

Sunday, 29th Nov
We received a warm welcome from our relatives in Bengaluru, after which we settled in our room and had breakfast. I loved the house. I found a novel about the History of Philosophy, it was called "Sophie's World". I decided to read it, as it would help me with relaxing and with the RCs in CAT paper. We visited my center of CAT exam in the evening. There was a lot of news about chaos the online CAT had created nationwide, so I was more worried whether I would be able to answer my test than about my performance in the test. Luckily, Iskcon temple was quite close to the place we were staying. So I could go into the "sharan" of Lord Krishna.

Iskcon visit:
The atmosphere helped me to relax. I entered into a conversation with Lord Krishna. I asked him how do I avoid stress while answering the paper? Then a thought emerged from within . (It must have been Lord Krishna). "Karma karo, phal ki iccha mat karo". This was the answer to a lot of my queries. If I was able to trash the thought of "results" out of my mind, it would help me to focus, give my 100% as well as keep my mind in the present. Next, I asked him: how do I avoid the anxiety that I felt before the test? He advised me "Karma karneka uchit samay hota hai." So there was no use worrying about the future. These two replies changed my mood drastically. I felt like I had attained nirvana. :) By the way, the temple is beautiful, definitely worth a visit.

That night, I was not much tensed, but still sleep eluded me. So I remembered the songs I had copied on my father's cellphone. I must have listened to them from 12:15am to about 3am, when I must have finally fallen asleep.

Monday, 30th Nov (C-DAY)
I woke up at around 9am after a good night's sleep. I had deliberately chosen the evening slot, keeping in mind my sleeping pattern during the semester :P I had a good breakfast as I had decided to have a light lunch. Also I had a long hot water bath under the shower, which was comforting. (Begaluru is cooler than Goa). I did feel a bit anxious, but I was in a better state of mind than expected. I had lunch and left for my center, listened again to the meditative bhajjans and kept reciting them all the while.

CAT Experience
After a brief security check and all the procedures of fingerprinting and photosession, I finally sat infront of the computer screen that would decide my fate at around 2pm. My test was scheduled to start at 3:30pm. This 1.5 hrs were the hardest to pass. I tried to take a nap, but then heard one of the invigilator say, "this guy has fallen asleep or what?", so quickly opened my eyes and sat down. I smiled at him and he smiled back. On my left side was seated a beautiful girl, another CAT aspirant. Unfortunately we were forbidden from talking inside the lab, with video cameras fitted for surveillance. We were not even supposed to look anywhere except the computer screen, but I managed a look on my left, a few times :P Even she looked at me sometimes! Blush! :P Actually I was not sure, whether to look at her so as to pass my time or to stay focused on the test. Before I could decide about that, I decided to use the loo. (This was allowed only until 30 mins before the start of the test, i.e. till 3pm). I drank some water too, just a sip and was seated again in front of the computer screen.

Finally it was time to start the test. I started with my strongest section, Quant and did well in it, then moved on to DI and last Verbal. Time just flew past. This is what I guess Einstein calls relativity. After coming out of the center, I was overall happy with my performance. It stayed that way for a couple of days more, until I realised that some CAT aspirants had attempted almost the entire paper. The paper was simple but that simple? Had the CAT standard diluted so much? Only time will tell.

Nevertheless, CAT09 was over and I decided to enjoy the rest of the stay in Bengaluru. We were invited for dinner at my cousin's place. That night, I had ice-cream without even caring that I hadn't fully recovered from cold.

Tuesday, 1st Dec
I had two discount vouchers of Westside, thanks to Girish and Pratik, so I decided to do a bit of shopping. At Westside, on the commercial street, I purchased two formal pants and one jeans for myself and some stuff for my sister. My mother also did some shopping in FabIndia and then it was time to do what I had been long waiting for. We brought 3 zinger burgers from KFC, out of which I had one and a half. Had lunch at home and a nap after that.

When it was evening, it was time for the grand dinner at 'Coastal Express' as promised by Chhaya Aatya and it was really a grand one. Thanks to Aatya and Uncle for such a wonderful treat. We ordered so many varieties of fish and chicken dishes there. Aah, and the Virgin Mary drink! Later that night, I got boils on my hands and legs, I wonder whether it was due to the drink as I was the only one to have that drink and those boils. Anyway, after I applied the lotion, I was okay next morning.

Wednesday, 2nd Dec
We again did a bit of shopping at Maleshwaram street, two sarees for mammi and some handicraft idols of Krishna and Radha. E-zone disappointed us as the 1 Tb external HD, I was searching for wasn't available at a reasonable prize. Nevertheless, at lotmart we bought 3 formal shirts, well actually just bought one and got two free!

In the evening we went to the chemical plant owned by my relatives for the inauguration of a new lab there. My mother and I both loved to see the plant and had a good discussion about the process with the main supervisor. Then there was the pooja and the dinner. I loved the drive home when Aatya was driving.

Thursday, 3rd Dec
We returned to Goa by flight. It was the first 'international' flight I had boarded, well it was Bengaluru-Goa-Dubai flight! :P I enjoyed the take-off as much as I have always enjoyed. As we rose above the clouds, the scenery was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. My faculty of wonder perceived the clouds to be similar to waves of snow on a vast ocean and a little further, I felt they better resembled a softee ice-cream and sometimes plain vanilla icing on top of a gigantic cake. I was busier enjoying all this, than 'Kambakht Ishq' on a small screen in front of me. The flight was smooth and in about an hour we landed safely at Dabolim.

It was a fun trip to Bengaluru, though my DIGICAM went unemployed. I did not find time to click even a single pic in Bengaluru, and also it was stored safely in the cargo luggage, during the flight, when I actually wanted to take a few shots. Nevertheless, it was a great trip!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blitzkrieg '09

Well the story has grown old... So let me just upload the pics and avoid the bak-bak!!

Celebrations at domino's after winning Around 7k.
"Office Office", the event Girish and I won... :)

Thanks for the treat @Girish and Pratik, the megawinners!!

Prizes bagged by our group were Paper Presentation first and second place, Quiz second place, Office Office FIRST place, Sudoku second place... \m/ BPGC rocks!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Laughter challenge

Well I have no intentions of participating in any laughter challenge. Just thought I would post a collection of jokes I liked: (Courtesy- Reader's digest)

"He: “There are an awful lot of girls who don’t want to get married.”
She: “How do you know?”
He: “I’'ve asked them.”"

"Two astrologers met each other in the street on a particularly cold and bitter day.
‘Terrible winter we’re having,’ muttered one.
‘Yes,’ replied the other. ‘It reminds me of the winter of 2057.’"

"Judge: ‘How do you plead? Guilty or not guilty?’
Prisoner: ‘How do I know, your honour? I haven’t heard the evidence yet.’"

"The frantic-looking lady came rushing out of her house into the street and cried: ‘Help! Help! My young son has swallowed a coin and is choking. I don’t know what to do!’ Everyone looked the other way, except for a middle-aged gentleman who rushed into the lady’s house, found her young son, turned him upside down and shook him until the coin fell out of his mouth.
‘Oh, thank you!’ cried the lady. ‘Are you a doctor?’
‘No madam,’ replied the middle-aged man. ‘I’m from the Income Tax Department.’"

"A small farm boy was milking his cow when all of a sudden a bull came charging towards him. As horrified workers nearby watched, the boy calmly continued his milking. To everyone’s astonishment, the bull stopped a few inches from the boy, turned around and walked away . ‘Weren’t you afraid?’ one of the workers asked the boy. ‘Not at all,’ the boy replied , ‘I knew this cow was his mother-in-law.’"

"Husband and wife were in the midst of a violent quarrel, and hubby was losing his temper. ‘Be careful,’ he said to his wife. ‘You'’ll bring out the beast in me.’ ‘So what?’ his wife shot back. ‘Who’s afraid of a mouse?’"

"The editor of a small weekly newspaper, annoyed at legislation that had recently been passed, ran a scathing editorial under the headline: HALF OF OUR LEGISLATORS ARE CROOKS. Many prominent local politicians were outraged, and tremendous pressure was exerted on him to retract the statement. He finally succumbed to the pressure and ran an apology with the headline: HALF OF OUR LEGISLATORS ARE NOT CROOKS"

"Late one night, a mugger wearing a ski mask jumped into the path of a well-dressed man and stuck a gun in his ribs. ‘Give me your money,’ he demanded. Indignant, the affluent man replied, ‘You can’t do this—I’m a politician!’ ‘In that case,’ replied the robber, ‘give me my money!’"

"A judge looked severely at the defendant and asked, ‘How many times have you been imprisoned?’
‘Nine, you Honour.’
‘Nine? In this case, I will give you the maximum sentence.’
‘Maximum sentence?’ said the defendant. ‘Don’t you give your regular clients a discount’."

"After they had brought their first baby home from hospital, a young wife suggested to her husband that he try his hand at changing diapers, ‘I’m busy,’ he said. ‘I’ll do the next one.’
The next time the baby was wet, she asked if he was now ready to learn how to change diapers. He looked puzzled. ‘Oh,’ he replied finally. ‘I didn’t mean the next diaper. I meant the next baby!’"

"A poor man sat begging outside a temple. ‘In the name of Bhagwan give this hungry man some money to fill his belly,” he cried. “Bhagwan will bless you.’ But the devotees gave him very little. In disgust the beggar left the temple and sat outside a country liquor shop. ‘A few paise in the name of Bhagwan,’ he whined. As customers came out of the shop in high spirits, many dropped rupee notes in his bowl. Thanking God, the beggar said: ‘Hey Bhagwan, truly inscrutable are thy ways! You give one address but live in another.’"

"A doctor was called in to see a rather testy aristocrat. “
Well, sir, what’s the matter?” he asked cheerily.
“That, sir,” growled the patient, “is for you to find out.”
“I see,“ said the doctor thought-fully. “Well, if you’ll excuse me for an hour or so I’ll go along and fetch a friend of mine - a veterinarian. He is the only chap I know who can make a diagnosis without asking questions.”"

"Manager - “From your references I see you’'ve had four jobs in the last month.”
Applicant - “Yes, sir, but doesn’'t that shows how much in demand I am?”"

"Teacher: “Who were the first human beings?”
Pupil: “Adam and Eve.”
Teacher: “And what nationality were they?”
Pupil: Indian, of course.”
Teacher: “And how ho you know they were Indian?”
Pupil: “Easy. They had no roof over their heads, no clothes to wear and only one apple between them - and they called it Paradise.”"

"Fred at last could see a way of making a fortune. He had trained his parrot, after month of hard work, to tell jokes. At last he felt ready to cash in on all his hard work, and took the parrot down
to his pub. ‘This is my incredible joke-telling parrot,’ boasted Fred. ‘
Go on ,’ jeered the pub regulars. ‘We’ll give you ten to one that your parrot can’t tell us a joke.’
‘All right,’ replied Fred. ‘I accept your bet.’
But try as he could, Fred was unable to make the parrot talk — let alone tell jokes.
On the way home Fred shook the bird and shouted: ‘What do you mean by keeping quiet? You made me lose a ten to one bet!’
‘Don’t worry!’ squawked the parrot. ‘Tomorrow you’ll be able to get fifty to one.’"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Born with a silver spoon in the mouth

Over the years I have cultivated the habit of accomplishing important tasks at the eleventh hour. This has worked in most cases. But now I am faced with a new Herculean task of improving my vocabulary for which I am ready to leave no stone unturned. In a nutshell, there is no point for you to read any further as I will harp on some random jargon in this post. To hit the nail on the head, this post is not meant for amusing my dearest readers; it’s meant to aid me in memorizing some idioms and phrases.

I have always obtained and hope to obtain in future too the Yeoman Service of my highly intellectual pals; significant one among them is a friend who has the gift of the gab combined with an oily tongue as evident from the lip-service he gives to the faculty to get his work done. By hook or crook, by fair means or foul he always strives to get as many marks as possible in all the exams. He never has second thoughts when he decides to open a book. His room is always helter skelter with books, but he doesn’t care about it.

Last three years which I spent with this man of letters has led me to believe that by the sweat of his brow he can bear in mind anything that he wishes. It is not possible for anyone to push him to the wall when it comes to mugging up stuff. Over the years he has also learnt to plough a lonely furrow when the situation demands. But whenever he finds a hard nut to crack, he puts his head together with his hostel room neighbour. He never sails close to the wind by not solving any problem in the textbook beforehand and yet keeps his fingers crossed when we ask him how many marks he expects after the exam.

It is quite easy to pull the legs of this non-social creature, which rarely leads to quarrels and even in such cases it is easy to pour oil in troubled waters. Once he was caught red handed reading a book, which he till date denies touching. Looking at the picture if you can smell a rat, you are right. I could keep the pot boiling if I wanted but let me put my cards on the table. I gave him an applied thermodynamics book to read and led him up the garden path and threw dust in his eyes by editing the picture. But this guy always lets the bygones be bygones and never tries to pay off old scores. This guy always keeps his nose clean; however, he will almost always fight tooth and nail if his faith in his Lord is questioned.

Coming back to the point where I started off, I have derived immense inspiration from this man of spirit and have decided to pull my socks up to improve my own vocabulary. So when we got an unexpected vacation of two weeks due to jaundice outbreak in campus, while others painted the town red, I decided to make hay while the sun shines. Or would it be more appropriate to say that I am fishing in troubled waters? For the past few days I have been successfully burning the candle at both ends to ensure that I make the most of these days. Also I turned over a new leaf and started reading some books and newspapers. There is no hard and fast rule, but this generally helps to improve your vocabulary.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A walk to remember

Two months since my last post, and my readers seemed furious with me for having kept them waiting so long. I had to blog tonight, even though it meant staying awake as late as 3:00am. Well that's the earliest I sleep actually ;) Thanks to my totally messed up schedule. Anyway back to the post.

It was a walk to remember, a stroll along the beach with Amey, Girish, Anand and Pratik. Early morning (9am is early according to my time zone) we met and after a light breakfast at Hotel Kamat started off to Benaulim. Rain God was kind with us; light drizzle was fun to get wet in while we played with a ball and a frisbee. We let our bags and belongings have the shelter under the tent built from my umbrella, lest Pratik would have to buy his 4th cellphone in 3 years!

Then we walked and I kept my Digicam busy. The shells, the starfish, the dead snake and the supposedly poisonous jelly fish (if you touch them you would get boils on your hand) were the main attraction.

Well, the last one is a jelly fish. We decided to poke it with a stick to see what's inside :P

That reminded Pratik and me of a butterfly, it reminded pintoo of something else!!

We continued our walk and Pratik suddenly dreamt of a Jeannie. Watch the video below.

The walk helped us build a good appetite by the time we had crossed Sernabatim and reached Colva and so we decided to have lunch at a nearby shack. It was the right time to try out new dishes, each of which rocked; fish was really tasty.

After a splendid lunch we took a bus to KTC and walked to Natural World, had a tasty scoop each and then returned home, tired but happy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Last Fortnight in Mumbai

All good things come to an end and so did my Mumbai stay. If I am asked to weigh what I gained during the internship against what I lost (a few kg weight thanks to travelling) I would definitely say I have gained more in terms of knowledge, experience and confidence.

Surviving for two months in a city like Mumbai, in the traffic, in the rains, in the waterlogged streets, and without having had to pay fine/bribe though I had risked not purchasing bus tickets on two occasions, deserves an applaud. (Clap, Clap, Clap!) A few memorable instances besides the scrumptious KFC ‘Zinger’ 100% Chicken burger that I ate are cited below:

Time: 14th July 2009, 14:09:42

I have to complete editing the video of my project work and realise that I don’t have sufficient time for it, as today is the last day of my internship. I hadn’t got accommodation in the campus; I worked till 7pm and then left for my uncle’s place in Vile Parle where I stayed. So I took a hasty decision to stay overnight in the lab with my project engineer, Mr Kaviresh Bhandari. It turned out to be a good idea because it was raining heavily and it would have been really difficult to reach home that evening thanks to the water-logged streets.

Time: 14th July 2009, 21:29:17

After having my dinner in Tansa Mess, fully sponsored by my project engineer, I returned to the lab to start working on remainder part of the video. I needed a high configuration desktop with Windows-XP to run the software. I had done all other work on my Vista laptop and for the first time I was using the lab desktop. I had installed the software on the previous day and started my work. I estimated that I would need 3-4 more hours to finish my work and after that I would watch TV series or movies for the remainder of the night. Suddenly I receive a shock as my project file refuses to open, a few minutes later I realise that the desktop is virus affected. I try to shift my work on the next desktop but I realise all the comps are affected by the network virus. The realisation that this would mean a waste of all my previous efforts chokes my throat.

Time: 14th July 2009, 23:25:13

I don’t realise whom to curse for all that had happened and finally decide that a better solution would be to start making the video all over again, which also meant I had to scrap all my plans of watching BBT and Prison Break.

Time: 15th July 2009, 05:46:07

After slogging for six hours, I am finally done with my video. I pack all my project stuff into a box, label its contents and keep the box in a corner in the lab, wondering when next it would be opened. I also burn a copy on a DVD of all data regarding the project for the lab records. I show the video to my project engineer who is happy.

Time: 15th July 2009, 07:35:50

The rains have stopped and the morning is smiling at me. After bidding adieu to my project engineer, I take a bus back home. It turned out to be the third time I had kept a night out for making a video, a memorable one in IITB.

As this is my last post on summer internship in Mumbai, here are a few guidelines if you are new and plan to spend a few days in the city. If you have to travel by local train, don’t take the shortcut and jump across the tracks to go from one platform to another, use the fly-over or you might land up in jail for a fortnight; cops wait there to catch and fine you if they see you leaping over the tracks. (READ MORE)

TCs also wait on the flyover to catch you if you are travelling without a ticket. They are specially trained to smell fear hormones emitted by those who don’t have tickets. It is best to purchase a monthly pass for train, which is quite cheap and you don’t have to stand in the queue daily to buy tickets. In case you see a TC and you don’t have a ticket, just walk boldly past him with a gentle smile without trying to avoid eye contact with him, probability is higher that you will not be caught than when you try to slip past a corner by avoiding his sight.

For bus travel, it is best to purchase Rs 20/- daily ticket with which you can travel unlimited for the full day in any BEST bus up to Bandra. Buses have two doors, one at the back and one in the front, only the back door is used to climb in and the front door to get down. And you have to stand in a queue at the bus stand if you want to get a seat. In the rains, it is better to purchase a small polythene bag worth 5 bucks for your mobile lest it gets wet in the rain and you lose a thousand bucks. There is no need to go to gym, if you are traveling by bus, just make it a point that you travel standing [:P] And yes unlike Goa, there are special buses and trains for ladies only; in the first week I had almost jumped into one before realising this fact.

Monday, June 29, 2009

It Finally Happened

After a long time, it finally happened. Before I tell you what ‘it’ is I have to tell you the background. So read on!

This weekend we planned to go to Elephanta Caves and also roam around a bit at Churchgate. Frankly, I am not much interested in history, so as expected I didn’t love the caves much. A few pics here and there, especially of monkeys, a snake and shops there, meditated a while there; but what really rocked our moods was the boat trip while going to and coming back from the caves, which are located on an island. This was the first time I had adventured into the sea; luckily for us, it was not raining that day; but the currents were still strong and they almost threw me off my feet a few times while I tried to stand on the deck and take a few pics. We decided to go on the top deck by just paying Rs10/- extra which were worth the amount of fun we had there. The driver even allowed me to manoeuvre the boat for a while, (when it was docked of course :P). The view was amazing, awesome, breath-taking, overwhelming, (even MSWord Thesaurus won’t provide me enough words, so let the pics say the rest. For higher resolution pics see my orkut album).

And yes, the boat trip begins and ends at Gateway of India and Hotel Taj. Earlier that day we took a few pics there.

After returning from the boat trip my friend did a bit of shopping at the Fashion street, we had ganne ka juice and went and sat at Marine drive for a while. Just then there was a drizzle, light enough for us to enjoy getting wet in it and strong enough to cause the rainbow behind us. My friend and I (both mechanical engineers) had a good discussion on how tetrahedral shaped concrete slabs, piled on top of each other, would help to disperse the stresses caused by splashing sea water tides and prevent the wall from falling. For nature lovers like me, apart from bird watching :P there were variety of crabs, (no pun intended here if it exists) and in all sizes. And finally I think I have told enough things to tell you what ‘it’ is. Unfortunately, ‘it’ happened. My DIGCAM battery got discharged, I had not charged it for a long time! I cursed myself over a hundred times for letting ‘it’ happen. So I could not take any pics at Marine Drive.

When the sun was almost about to set, we decided to retreat. I had a hamburger at Wincy and took a packed local back home. It was neither BCC, FCC, nor hexagonal packing; but worst kind of packing I have ever encountered, the density was highest I assure even without any calculations.

On Sunday we went to Juhu Chaupati, which was not much different from Colva beach, only it was more polluted as the tides brought with them polythene bags in addition to sea water. However, some things that you won’t get to see at Goan beaches are the Bombay Pav Bhaji and other chat stalls, the kalakhatta, chana masala, fruit decoraters, flute-sellers and the state-of-the-art fortune tellers, not humans but robots! (See the pic). We transformed our jeans into shorts and enjoyed the splash of waves for a while and then fed our hungry bellies at the Chat stalls.