Saturday, December 12, 2009

In the line of fire

A spontaneous decision, followed by days of introspection. The smoke had lifted and I was no longer plunging into the abyss. The lure of money, luxury had me on my toes. I had almost made up my mind and sent out a mail on 16-11-09 to my friends stating my decision.
Dear All,
I had an interview at Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), Pune on 12-11-2009. The interview went well, and I got selected. This is a semi government organization and they are into applied R&D. Hence I would be moving over to Pune by first week of December. I am yet to receive their confirmatory mail.
The options available for me if I continue in IIT would be a 3yr MTech prgm in VLSI. I am certain that my patience would run out within that time frame. 3 more years in Mumbai would drive me nuts. Hence I decided to make a career for myself, and then if time permits pursue higher studies after a few years, be it MBA or MTech.
I received their confirmatory mail in the subsequent days, with the date of joining as 01-01-2010. Let me shed more light on the subject. The offer was 10k per month for an year, plus one time incentive of 70k. On completion of an year, the offer would be 60k per month. A spicy offer for a BTech graduate with little or no experience in the industry. I was lured. I had decided to forfeit my fellowship and leave IIT forever.

The fellowship at IIT is more of a studentship, with no classes and exams. You get to design and perform your own experiments, and report the result to your Professor. I was thoroughly enjoying my job, every minute of it. Failures and successes were part of it. Every result was a lesson learned for another set of experiments. It was during that period when a string of failures as well as some personal setbacks made me frustrated. I felt I needed a change and the call letter for interview came in. A real blessing and I decided to take leave for a day and attend the interview. I took the train to Pune, and found my way to this place on top of a hill. An exotic location for a research institution, I thought. The interview went well, and the panelists queried about my patent at Siemens, and the look of content on their face said it all. I returned to Mumbai the very same evening, with a sense of satisfaction. I resumed my experiments from the very next day onwards.

As days progressed, I was becoming more and more apprehensive about my decision. The inner voice sounded skeptical about my decision. Two mighty forces were at loggerheads, the free mind and the rational mind. The battle went on for a few days, and a resolution was no where in sight. I would say odds favored the 'free mind' .I was uncertain. I rang my parents and explained my precarious situation. The very same evening they expressed their opinion. They wanted me to pursue higher studies and hence continue at IIT. The battle had come to an abrupt halt, and a sense of victory prevailed in me. I am victorious, I felt and now, I had n-number of reasons to convince my rational mind. A few of them being,
  • It is not very often one gets a chance to pursue higher studies at IIT. It is a privilege.
  • If Mumbai could drive me nuts, why can't Pune? Would I opt for change then?
  • I have no plans of settling in Pune, and I plan to return to Kerala after studies. My parents are all alone at home, and either me or my bro got to be there at hometown. My bro's job doesn't give him that luxury.Teaching is a profession I would thoroughly enjoy. I went to the s/w field not out of choice but by chance.
  • Knowledge is power.How much money do you need to live?
  • I thoroughly enjoy my work here. It would be treachery leaving my work and leaving.
The frivolousness of my decision to leave IIT dawned on me. The clouds had blown over, and there was sunshine. I have made up my mind, and there is more clarity on what I want in life. There is no more conflict, and the road ahead though arduous, is clear.

Dear Reader ,if philosophy bores you, please skip the next para:

As I see, every tidbits in life has some meaning associated with it. The message may not be clear, but once you decipher the puzzle, everything makes sense to you. The world would be a wonderful place to live, if we start listening to our inner voice. Often, it is the logical mind that emerges victorious. The mind which talks about numbers, dollars, luxuries, chicks, booze etc. Eventually, it boils down to personal preferences. The crux being, never do anything against your inner voice. Remorse would set in at a later stage, and then you shuttle across centers that promise, 'peace of mind', a flourishing business these days.

Friday, October 30, 2009

October 2009

Dilemma, Chaos, emotional turbulence; October 2009, had me on my toes. I was frustrated, at times distraught, and on most occasions I did not have a convincing reason for the same.

Work Place:

It was not too hectic like the previous month, thanks to numerous equipments which went down. October,'09 witnessed the maximum equipment failures in our lab, and hence my basic work flow had to be stalled. At times I felt bored with nothing to do, and hence used to spend hours before the computer browsing the net, searching for papers, logging into facebook or twitter. My Professor, a true professional, realizing my predicament, directed me to spend more time in the lab assisting the system owners to debug the faulty equipments. I was always looking forward to getting my hands on some high tech equipment. The Plasma Immersion Ion Implanter, as it is called, is my new guinea pig. I am assisting my colleague to sort the issues out with the system.

The last few days of oct'09 was fruitful, I got some interesting results on my solar cell process and hence I was contented. The icing on the cake being, I could convince my professor to a new experiment, which I hope to commence by first week of November.
Perhaps the idle days at the start of this month had made me a bit annoyed and hence frustrated. It seemed to me as if I was directionless. Not knowing what to do next brought in those fears of an impending storm. This anxiety may have eventually transfigured into a chaotic state of mind.The inability to convince myself that Patience, and Optimism are two essential components in research also added to my woes.

At Home:

Oct'09, I had been to Trivandrum twice. Dusshera holidays gave me enough time to plan for a trip home. I had a great time home with my dear ones. Not a speck of dissatisfaction. I came back to IIT on Oct 5, '09. Coming back from home is always an emotional ordeal.
Oct 13, '09 I received a call from home saying that my cousin (not a direct cousin though) had met with an accident at Salem, and passed away.
Sabari was more than cousin to me and my bro. He was our school mate, we used to travel in the same bus, had spend so much time together as kids. He was the one who introduced us to the world of TV video games, he had a 'Balbaro' cricket bat and we used to play with him for so long. In the course of time, we had to go our separate ways, our careers, exams, and all those ensured we couldn't even meet for years. Sitting alone in my hostel room (my roomie went home for diwali), all those images flashed across my mind. I had no one to share my grief with. I was totally down, with tears rolling down my cheek. A state of numbness ensued and the realization that I could not go down to attend the funeral pained me. Two days went by, thinking about the state of mind, the near and dear of his family would be in. I couldn't take it anymore, and I asked my professor whether I could go home for a couple of days, who was more than willing to give me the permission. I called up my dad, and expressed my desire to come down. He too agreed, and finally, I managed a flight via Bangalore to Trivandrum on Oct 16 '09. From the airport, my brother picked me up and we went directly to Sabari's house. I met up with his mother, and she was inconsolable on seeing me. The recollection of the same fills my eyes with tears.
Having spent the next three days visiting Sabari's house, I realized it was time for a some piece of mind. I needed to gather myself, and put my thoughts in perspective. I couldn't go back to Mumbai with so much trauma going through my mind. I had a couple of days up in my sleeve. I spend the last two days of my stay at home with my parents and talking to them really eased me out. My return ticket was scheduled for Oct 21 '09.

Back in Mumbai; From Oct 22, '09 I got deeply involved in my work. I was putting in extra effort to get myself in shape, and my efforts were proving successful. Success is always a receipe for lifting your spirits. A couple of highly successful endeavours lifted my spirits, and here I am blogging about my state of mind.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Great Indian Search

A week back, I got a message from a friend. It read "I got engaged". Bemused, I rubbished it as one of those prank messages. My logical mind insisted that the veracity be confirmed. Hence I decided to call him. I called him, but he was not answering. I tried again, and the response was the same. After an hour, he called back. I was driving the car. I stopped, and picked up his call. I asked him, "Are u engaged?". He replied,"yes". I asked him to divulge more details, and then we spoke for another ten minutes. The fact of the matter was, he got engaged to a girl, who he knew for quite long(since school). It was a shocking piece of information, because none of his friends, including myself, never heard him mention such a girl or any girl for that matter. My Best wishes to my dear friend.

My brother turned 26, this July.Employed with a multinational networking company, he earns a decent salary. Sounds like a matrimonial ad,doesn't it? My parents have embarked on a mission to find a prospective bride for my brother. The search parameters have been shortlisted, and the search is in its 'beta' stage. A couple of prospective alliances came over, but the ever problematic, astrological match took its toll. The alliances came from relatives and well wishers, and hence technically the search was confined to a restricted 'database'. As the days progress the search will expand to a huge database, and the task more daunting. Yesterday, as part of this exercise, we(me,my bro and mother) had to search for a profile in a matrimonial website. The profile was viewed and it hit the astrological roadblock. We moved on,and performed a search based on the 'parameters' . It yielded, some 1500 profiles,with photos and details. While browsing through various profiles, the thought dawned on me. How do we identify a person for this enormous list, and my brother will have spend the rest of his life with her? It is an extremely complicated search. A whole range of external factors come into the purview. I told my mother about my dilemma and she retorted, "it is indeed a tough job, but there is no other go". I told her not to bother me with this, when my time comes.

I have been a proponent of arranged marriage for some years now. 'Arranged' as per my definition excludes the 'stage managed' arranged marriages (rebellion at home in order to marry the girl/guy whom you loved). This is strictly my personal take on it, and I do not intend to hurt anyone. The tiresome nature of the above mentioned exercise made me wonder, whether I was endorsing the right thing. I still believe, it is the duty of the parents to find the right match for their children. After all, they have earned that right. The first two paragraphs contradicts itself, and it is this contradiction that baffled me. If I go the traditional way, I will have to go through a long search routine, and If I break free of the tradition, the search would be far less 'painful'. Is it that a wiser mind (older mind) takes more time to arrive at a conclusion than a younger mind?
I leave it to you dear readers to post your comments on the same.

However, the search continues...................

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Random Thoughts

Many of my friends, during their college days longed for a chance to stay away from home. Many envied the guys who used to stay in hostels. Hostels, as they put it was the ideal place to lead their own life in their own way. It has been an year since graduation, and I still maintain a healthy relation with most of my friends. The voices which always longed for freedom has subsided. The prospect of spending a week at home enthralls them, more than anything. Many are longing for a transfer back to their home town. The reason being "Home Sweet Home".

Over the last one year I have been away from home for over 7 months now. I spend each day thinking of when can I go home and spend some time with my parents. I lost the job at Siemens, the only positive I took from it was, the very fact that I could spend sometime with my parents at home. Might sound preposterous, but i mean it. It was four jobless months, and my parents often bore the brunt of my depression and wild mood swings. They were inspiring, supportive and kept me going. My parents were happy that I was staying with them for so long, after a gap of 3.5 months.

I had an interesting telecon with one of my friend, a practicing lawyer here in Mumbai. He was wondering when can he spend his time doing nothing like those days during our summer vacations in school. Watching movies, reclining on the couch. He plans to write a book and perhaps if it clicks, he would quit his job and spend his time at home on his 'couch'. The message is pretty clear. It is neither laziness, nor love for easy money. It is the longing for those days of 'bliss and solitude' . Those were the days, when we were all free birds. No tensions(except for those exams), no big thoughts, no humongous responsibilities.The thought process, might seem very comfy, or to rephrase, a longing for an easy life with no hard work. It has nothing to do luxury, nor a longing for easy money. The point in contention is that the best days of our life has gone by, and we are all now part of this fiercely competitive world.

My brother has moved to Chennai as part of his job, and I am in Mumbai. My parents have fallen into those category of parents who have both their children away in different places. News of my brother or me coming home for leave makes them happy. After all, I believe these are those little moments of happiness that we as sons or daughters can give our parents.I had some plans for going to Bangalore to visit my friends during the first week of October. My mother asked me, if you can come to Bangalore, why can't you come to Kerala. I was in  dilemma. I had to make a decision. After days of deliberation I decided in favor of my parents.

 I had been home for onam for about ten days. I came back to work at Mumbai, and the very next day I called my parents and told, when shall I come again. Maybe I am home sick or whatever you may call it. Now I have booked my tickets to go home again on the 25th of September for another ten days.  

Yipee!!!Home Sweet Home


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

College Reunion

Dear All,
This is my third mail in a span of one month regarding the reunion.
It has been disheartening that some of you didn't even show the courtesy to reply.
'Senti' apart, I wish to remind you that the farewell in all likelihood can take place either on 4th September or 5th September. Will Sent an invitation mail stating the venue and further details by the end of this month.
Hope you are all doing good.
Hope to meet you all soon.
This was the mail I had sent to my batch mates on August 4,2009. The lack of response to my previous mails had coerced me into using the tried and tested methodology, "Senti". The response was far better this time around. Numerous phone calls, group sms 's etc were made to reach out to the 65 odd students of GECB, EC 04-08. The turn out on the d- day was a paltry 16, 15 guys and one girl.

To quote a friend, "Reunions are a forum to show off how much you have attained since graduating". The comment, though debateable, was one of the reason for a lower turnout; other being the busy work schedule. My frustration over the minimal attendance, has resulted in me starting on a negative note.


I spoke to couple of my friends enquiring whether they would turn up. I ended every call on the same note, "even if nobody turns up, we can meet, after all it has been an year".


Kanakakkunnu Palace, Trivandrum was the proposed venue. The scheduled time was 12.30pm. I reached the place at 12.40pm, late as always. I parked my bike and walked to the palace, and on the way, I met four of them. We got together, the chatting and the pleasentaries ensued. We were waiting for the rest of the lot (though we were not sure who all would be coming). One by one they started trickling in, and the attendance crossed my anticipation of 10. There were more coming and finally we were 16. A sense of achievement dawned on me. This number was far beyond my expectation.We spent some time at the palace grounds talking about our work, hair loss and weight loss (I seriously believe hair loss is an issue intriguing the younger generation now).

Time was flying by and we were hungry. We had to decide on a place. Sindhoor palace, came up, but was rejected. Taj, Park Rajadhani too came up, but was rejected too. We wanted to be in a place where all of us could sit together and eat. Going for a buffet would mean just the opposite. After lot of discussion we decided to move to Hotel Indrapuri, at Vazhuthacaud.

At Indrapuri we demanded that we could all sit together. They agreed to make the necessary arrangements. Little did we expect them to arrange a table in the 'BAR'. We were confused on whether to take the place or not. There were objections to the idea, but we could convince them quite easily. Ramya, the lone girl, and many others perhaps had their first experience of having lunch from a Bar.(Reminds me of the words from Malyatoor's Verukal, "Pattar pattapakal patta adichu!!!"). Ordering the food was next on the agenda and Jikku took the onus. He would shout the name of the dish and we would raise our hands like school children. It was more than half an hour before the food was served. We had lots to talk about, and finally the food arrived. It was already 2.30pm and we ate like pigs. We had finished our meal, and ordered juices. Then came, Vivek, who had took the effort of driving all the way from Kollam to Trivandrum just to attend this reunion. Kudos to his commitment.
We settled the bill and moved out. At the exit we posed for more photos, bid farewell and left the hotel.

This was a reunion which may serve as a launching pad for more such reunions in the coming years. We had delibrated on the feasibilty of a yearly reunion, but nothing came of it. One keynote about reunions is, it can be an ice breaker. It can act a forum wherein our old grudges can be laughed off. Over the years we may get more busy with our work and stuff, but the fact remains that the memories can't fade off. I am looking forward to arranging more such reunions in the upcoming years.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Time for a Revamp??

This is an excerpt from the letter I have sent to an uncle of mine, who is a senate member at Kerala University. I need you to comment on it, raise your opinion on the same. Put in your thoughts for revamping the system.
Hello Uncle,

I am currently at IITB and my stint here has left me pondering on the flaws in the system back home in Kerala. I would like to bring to your notice two very important facets of the students across various Universities in India(Kerala being an exception)

1) The students across universities like Mumbai,Pune etc have the provision of 3 month internships at various places of their choice

2) Our syllabus is more focused on giving tidbits of information on a plethora of subjects, and hence the fundamentals are often compromised for. My syllabus for engineering covered such a wide range of topics, ranging from electronics and communication systems. I can't claim expertise on either.

This is not just a one off opinion, I guess many students would vouch for the same.

I think the time is ripe for fine tuning the technical education system in Kerala.Changing the syllabus every five years will do no good. Our syllabus doesn't even incorporate the latest trends in the field of technology like nanoelectronics etc while many private universities are offering dual degree programs on the same.

I can suggest some valid points on the same. Most of the companies spend huge chunks of cash for training the new recruits. A plausible alternative could be,the recruit should be given a 3 month internship with the company,which could double as a training as well as an academic requirement.

Being a senate member at the Kerala University, I believe you can take up this cause and go for a wider discussion regarding the same in the senate."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Swine Flu!!!

There has been too much talk regarding this over the last few days. The media frenzy on one side, and the indiscriminate comments from the Union Health Minister fueling the tension in the air. Lot has been talked about. Websites, and media trying to rope in on the chaos to earn extra bucks.,the mask dealers selling the masks at exorbitant rates, exemplifies the commercialization of calamities.

The rate at which the disease is spreading is indeed alarming. Instead of insisting on basic first aid, the Government should enact some law, that prohibits mass assembly of people. An air borne disease is impossible to control, until you eliminate the chances of contamination. It is my best guess that government is trying their very best to downplay this, in order to eliminate mass panic. (As I type this, I can hear people coughing!!!). The efforts of the government is undermined by the media, who has done a great deal to spread mass panic. I could see many people wearing face masks and covering their face with handkerchief, not to mention that it doesn't help, but in creates more insecurity to the people around.

One interesting fact is, more people die of hunger, cardiac arrest, dengue fever, malaria etc. Neither the media, nor the government's around the world has taken concerted measures to tackle these. I have downplayed the rapid emergence of health clubs over the last few years. Since it is the lower class who is at the receiving end, the media too is not bothered. This neglected lot have no voices, and the deaths do not even get reported.

An alarming trend is emerging in this modern world. The profit or long term benefits is what keeps one going. The misfortune of one is a route to another man's fortune. The medical industry has been thriving on this for sometime. There are unreported incidents of hospitals, performing needless operations on patients to thwart money. One can't blame the doctor for it. If he doesn't achieve his "business" target, he will be fired. Am I being a socialist? Yes, I maybe one, but I am not a communist. I have started believing in collaborative growth. A process wherein the standard of living is improved for all. A marginal improvement would mean a lot to the needy and hungry.

Flu or no flu, I hope the media and the government realizes that many people lose their lives owing to the hunger, malaria etc. The idea of a collaborative growth should take the center stage in this modern world. There has to be a sea change in our attitude. Think over it. Be an agent of change!!!

I don't know whether any flu virus has gone into my body. I despise going to hospitals.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"We are not Friends, We are known by an institution"

Much needed revival for my dwindling creativity. Thanks to my buddy's gtalk status message. Weekend's in Mumbai has been a harrowing experience. Spending the weekends in the confines of the walls of your hostel room made it worse. Last week was an exception. I called upon my schoolmates to come over to IIT campus. Sandeep Mathew Jolly, Bimal, Varun and Kiran; they came and we went to various parts of mumbai including the 'hot spot', Bandra-Worli sea link. I don't intend to elaborate on this weekend experience, but on certain subtleties that cropped during our chit chat sessions.
  • "It is always a heartening experience, spending time with Loyolites", said Jolly.
Yes, It was indeed one hell of an experience.This brings me back to the point in contention, are we known by our institution? Are we not friends?
Loyola was the heaven that brought as all together. The emotional bonding between loyolites is so deep rooted that we never think of as friends, but 'Loyolite'. Any Loyolite can vouch for this fact. No matter how far we are, We always bear the same affection we had during our school days. A trivial word like friend can never summarize this association.
  • "It has been quite sometime since we ran", said Kiran
Yes he was right. I guess maybe way back in school. A stark deviation from the title. Kiran, Jolly and Varun started running along the worli sea face, stating this reason. Lazy as always, me and Bimal waited and watched the scene. A stark realization of the fact that our childhood days are up. Of course, they were gasping for breath and hence we got three bottles of Mineral Water, and one bottle of Gatorade, and took rest for 15 minutes. It makes me wonder, are we losing the never ending battle with time.
  • Sitting at Nariman Point facing the sea, we were talking about investments, career goals and stuff.
Our chitchats have outgrown those days of trivialities (were they????) to more serious issues like investments, career prospects and future. Don't conclude that we are a group of gay morons!!!.

It was indeed a memorable day in my life, and perhaps the best weekend I had. Of course, the day ended on a bad note for me. I couldn't get down at my station, owing to the crowded train even at 11pm on a Sunday. Had to shell out 50Rs to the rickshaw walla to take me back to campus.

We have decided to meet at least once a month. Muhahahaha!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

In Solace

IIT, Powai, one would be mesmerized by the co-existence of technology and environment. On one side you have the captivating, Powai Lake and the ineluctable Sanjay Gandhi National Park as the other boundary (Lake Side and hill side, as it is called here). Despite being from a state renowned for its greenery, I was taken aback by the amount of greenery in campus, despite being at the heart of the city. Once inside this sprawling campus, one wouldn't feel he is in Mumbai. No wonder IITB has produced some of the greatest minds in the country (drawing parallels with Buddha having an enlightenment under the bodhi tree).

Being a Research Fellow, I am provided free accommodation and food is charged at Rs 38/- per day. I have access to the library, and permitted to take 7 books at a time. To cut a long paragraph short, I have all the paraphernalia required to lead a comfortable life here. I have the study materials, access to top guns of the Electrical Engg. Dept, access to nano fabrication and microelectronics labs. The realization, of being in the best technical institute in the Country dawned on me. I have now embarked on a knowledge empowering mission. The more i try to learn on a subject, the more I realize how little I know. I have made up my mind to attend lectures on topics of my choice (after discussions with the Prof's concerned) and empower myself.

We are happy when we do something we always wanted to do. I thoroughly enjoy my time here (most of it working). The prospect of working round the clock thrills me (now). Everyday is a new learning experience. I am at peace with myself. I doubt, whether I have fallen into the big league of IITian's (point of contention!!!). I sincerely hope that I don't loss this enthuse that keeps me going now, after all those debacles in life. This is what I always wanted to do in life. Work on real stuff, rather than just sitting in front a computer. I may come in for lot of flack from the IT professionals for my last statement. Being an electronics engineer, I was driven into the software field by chance and not choice. Siemens, though had offered a job which had some semblance to my graduation. The only thing I miss here is the meticulous life of the corporate world. I think I can adjust for the time being.;-). I have embarked on a quest to acquire knowledge. Let us see how far I would go.

As I have reiterated at various points in my blog, this blog is an assimilation of my thoughts. One fine day, I can come back to this blog and trace the course of the evolving thought process. My view points over certain issues might get refined over time and can lead to certain contradictions here and there, but the basic principles in life doesn't.

PS: I wanted to open my account for this month. It was a torture writing this post. My imaginative mind seems to have taken a back seat for now. Makes me wonder, Am I evolving into an IIT product???

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Curse of the DVD-RW !!!!

A rewritable DVD as a gift to that very special someone!!!..Sounds hilarious, but true. 'Token of love', a previous entry in this blog, had dwelled about a gift meant for someone special. This memorable token was nothing but a Moserbaer DVD-RW. Kudos to the protagonist. Well, let us call this protagonist, Mr. M.

Mr. M, always worried about the practicality of things, decided to gift his beloved, the gift she yearned for so long, a pen drive. Like Mr. M, she too was utilitarian (Like minded, huh!!!). There was a complication, for both of them. Money was his issue, and parents were her problem (as if his parents had permitted him to do so!!!). He raised the issue with her, and asked a hypothetical question, 'Assuming that he arranges the finance, how would she manage to explain the genesis of a pen drive out of the blue, to her parents'.  She had no clue on how to go about it, and sought time to think over it. 

Days passed by, she was still in dilemma. Adding to their woes, was their straight forwardness. Neither had the courage to lie to their parents. After days of introspection, they decided to drop the plan for a pen drive. They came to a conclusion,the same purpose can be served by a DVD-RW, and itwas well within his budget. Rest is history. (If you want to know more, kindly read the post "Token of Love").

The Token of Love, stayed in cupboard for so long. Everytime, he saw it, memories of those days would flash across his mind, but never evoked any emotional response. It was not a soveniur anymore. He decided to remove this DVD-RW from his cupboard, but how?. 

It was one of those, when he visited his friends at their office. A team of four was successfully running a software company. Somewhere along the conversation, they had mentioned about an immediate need for a DVD-RW for transferring data. He offered to give them the DVD-RW, which they gracefully accepted. They knew the need for him to part away with it, and hence they were more than happy to help him out.

Week passed, and Mr.M having been busy with some personal issues, couldn't find ample time to drop in at his friend's office. One day, he got a call from his friend asking him to come down to their office. My friend sounded a bit off colour, the vibrance was missing in his voice. He conjured that something was wrong. He reached their office, and found that there were only three of them. One of them had left the company owing to some differences with the rest. The story doesn't end here. My friend had met with an accident the very same day, he gave him the DVD. He was carrying it home, when his scooter slipped. The case(plastic case) of the DVD-RW had developed a crack owing to the accident and it was lying on the table.

Mr. M commented, "This is nothing but the curse of the Rewritable DVD". Bursts of laughter ensued, and there was smiles all around. 


Jinxed or not, my friend still has the DVD-RW and the company is running successfully.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

First Days at IITB

I joined IITB as a junior research fellow on 17th june 2009.The sweltering heat of Mumbai and the extremely humid conditions (owing to the dark clouds looming the back drop) welcomed me there.Adding to my woes was the sheer magnitude of the campus. Having spent four years of my life in a 5 acre campus, where I could go from one corner to another in less than 10 minutes, the size of this campus was appaling. The greenery in the campus was in sharp contrast to what prevailed in the city. 

I had to go to the Electrical Engineering Department, and standing at the main gate, little did i realise that I had cover some ground to reach my destination. It was a long walk, and by the time I reached my destination, I was dripping in sweat. I had to complete my joining formalities and hence more long walks ensued, shuttling across departments. Much more was left to be done, and I was informed that this process would take a couple of days. 

The microelectronics lab, where I had to work was humungous and modern one. There are almost all facilities that i had learned in my VLSI course during graduation and add to that many facilities like nanofabrication and stuff. The prospect of working in a high tech lab enthused me. I wanted to get my hands on those equipments, but there was hurdle. I had to clear a test, to get access to the lab. A mandatory procedure for anyone who need to use the lab facilities. I had to take a course on Basic Clean Room procedures and General safety and give the test. The criteria for pass is a 100% accuracy. I took my test on 18th June, but couldn't get the desired accuracy level of 100% and hence was adviced to take it again next day. So finally, i gave my test yesterday, hope to secure the elusive 100%. 

My mentor,Prof Anil K, a stalwart in the field of Microelectronics, gave a briefing on the area of work on 18th June. The 45 min session was one among the best lectures I had attended all this while. His subject knowledge and the ease with which he drove home the complex concepts was simply mind blowing. Yesterday, I had an one on one session with him, wherein he gave exact instructions on what and how to do. The salary and perks offered by this one year long project is not something one would die for. The amount of knowledge one can acquire working on such a research project is quite astounding. Hands on experience on IC fabrication is not an opportunity that comes your way too often.

I am looking forward for a fruitful learning experience at IIT. Hope to continue blogging, whenever i find time.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Before you take the plunge

Mistakes are the portals of discovery

--James Joyce
An year back, my mother insisted that I go for higher studies than a job. The perks, and the brand value of the company I was placed in, ensured that, I turned a deaf ear to her words. Over the last four months, I had lots of time for introspection. I was analyzing the various judgmental errors I had made over the past year and half.

I realize that joining Siemens was not a mistake, but it was my perceptions then that was totally out of place. I am listing down the major flaws in my judgment
  1. Vague picture on the pyramidal structure of company hierarchy.
  2. A couple of years of experience within an organization= MTech /MS/MBA
These flaws do have a significant amount of correlation between them.

When you are one among the many hired by a company, don't forget that the company is not bothered about you but the group as a whole. As a BTech/BE graduate you are nothing more than a needle in a haystack. You are at the bottom of the pyramid. With experience comes an increment in salary but a promotion within the organization does take time. If you are lucky enough, and talented you may get promoted to the next level (I hope you have seen the italicized words). At Siemens (my former employer), the first promotion would have taken a minimum of three years, though your salary would have increased substantially by then (Thanks to global financial crisis,Salary Increment is history). You would always be on the firing line,project interviews, yearly reviews is the order of the day. It can prove to be too stressful on many an occassion. The driving point here is you need to better equipped than the rest.

How do you acquire better skill sets?

I am not a career adviser, still I can give a few tips out of my limited experience.
Take a break from your job, and do a PG or an MBA. Now you may think, i am towing the same line as any other career adviser. The point maybe the same, but always bear in mind, you are at the prime of your learning ability when you are young. Go for it, before it is too late. Once you are done, you will be one or two steps higher on the pyramid, when you join the same/another company for a job, where as others will be reeling at the bottom.

Most of my friends who are employed at top notch companies have expressed resentment over the lack of job satisfaction, whenever they have called me. Some even went to the extent of seeking advice on how life is like if they quit/lose the job. The matter of fact is none of them are willing to despise their staggering 5 digit salaries and toil again for a new lease of life. Well, I can say it really needs courage and boldness. Given the chance, I too would have gone my friend's way, but their was no choice for me. Chance and not choice had determined my destiny. The crux being, you got a life to live, and why are you wasting it by doing something you don't want to do?

Well, my dear friend, I have given you some pointers on how your career path can be shaped. The onus is on you. After all, "Freedom is not worth having unless you have the freedom to make mistakes"--M K Gandhi.


Thanks to the almighty, I have found a career path in research and development (As a research fellow at IITB). It is a dream come true, and I can't express the sense of satisfaction I feel now, despite being offered a 4 digit salary. Hope I have a fruitful stint at IIT.

Friday, June 5, 2009

In the footsteps...

Nikola Tesla, had over 300 patents filed in his name in different countries. Until recently, Tesla meant nothing more than an SI unit of magnetic flux density (Pardon my ignorance!!!). The Movie, Prestige, starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, was an eyeopener. Nikola Tesla, credited with invention of path breaking Alternating Current and many other marvels. Like any other young engineer, I was inspired by his ingenuity , the mystery that shrouds him intrigued me.

Siemens Information Systems Ltd (SISL), my first employer too was an organization with a reputation for innovation. My tenure lasted for just over three months, after which, I was shown the door citing Global economic crisis as reason. Having had an history of narrow escapes from catastrophes like the December 26th Tsunami, and the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, this was an exception.

After completing two months of training at SISL, Mumbai, I landed in Bangalore on December 20, 2008 to join SISL, Bangalore on 22nd December.New office, new surroundings, new people. I was posted to the Embedded Systems Group along with nine others under Shitij Sah, Project Manager, SISL. Mr. Sah, had completed 11 years of meritorious service at SISL, and he was my (our) mentor in office. In the days that followed he briefed us on the domain of work and provided us lots of documents to read. The reading session turned out to be quite an ordeal and often ended up in a game of minesweeper or Virtual Stock Exchange (no wonder they kicked us out!!!!). A couple of weeks passed, and Mr. Sah called us for a meeting, the agenda being briefing him on what we had learned. The meeting went smoothly , and he truncated the session asking us to come up with some innovative examples based on what we had learned.

Back at my desk, I recalled a statement by a dear friend, "Thinking is an easy task". I took out a sheet of paper, made a list of the topics I had read. I put the pen down and stared at the paper. It was a refreshing experience, similar to solving a jig saw puzzle, the difference being, this was a puzzle construed out of core technologies. A crazy thought came to mind, and started typing it out on the computer. A word document spanning half a page was composed. I sent the document as an attachment to Mr. Sah, and I left office early. It was a Friday.

Monday Morning, back in office. A surprise was in store. I turned on the computer and opened my inbox. . Mr. Sah had sent CC of a mail he had sent to the IP Department, which asked for considering the concept (my word doc) as an invention report. A series of mails followed (all were CC's), and finally I was called onto Mr. Sah's desk. I was asked to keep mum on the events that were unfolding. He asked me to fill up a Patent Application form. Filling up the application form was a painful exercise. I had to write pages about the invention, adding to the woes. Days of extra work followed, and eventually on 14th January 2008, I completed the application form and it was mailed to IP department, by Mr. Sah. On 15th January 2008, I got an acknowledgement slip from the IP Department stating that the application has been filed. I was on cloud nine. It was a moment of personal satisfaction and pride.

Despite all the sincere effort and hardwork none of us were spared, when the order of layoff was issued. No regrets, though. Recalling words of consolation offered to close friend by an acquaintance of his, "Don't worry, Siemens has a lost a talent".

Mr. Tesla, behold,here I come. One patent filed, 299 to go...hehe

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First Anniversary

Change is the only constant .
"Will you stop talking on the phone and have your dinner?", my mother used to shout at me. Those were the days when my mobile phone would be buzzing with activity. Those were the days when I had a group of friends coming over to my place for combined study sessions. Those were the days of late night messages and chatting. Those were the days when I was blindfolded by love. Those were the days.....

It has been an year since I left college. Lot of things have changed. My outlook, perception, apprehension, thought process has seen a drastic change. The last one year has equipped me with the right tools to face an aggressive, in-compassionate world. The dark days reinvigorated my thought process and cemented my beliefs and ideologies. I am no more a pessimist, optimism has driven away any tad of pessimism that was in me during my college days. Those days, I always feared the worst, be it, attending a practical examination or on the eve of publication of result.Hence, I used to frequent the temples and try to attain solace and peace of mind. The tide has turned now, I have realized the essence of 'true faith' (my take on true faith can be read from a previous post) and hence I am no more a pessimist.

My friend circle 'was' quite an enormous one. Time has proved that it was a fallacy, and has separated the wheat from the chaff. A handful of ever reliable and dependable friends, that is what my treasure-trove is left with. They don the cap of my mentors and critics. Hats off to my dearest friends.
'A broken friendship can be soldered but will never be sound', a fact I realized over the past one year (refer to my earlier post "Token of love", if you are not a regular follower of the blog).

I was always apprehensive about leaving home and staying in a new place. I despised staying in hostels and dormitories. As part of the training program for my job, I had to leave the comfort of my home and head for Mumbai. Two months of training aimed at molding a corporate from a college grad. The initial couple of days was stressful having to mingle with a whole bunch of new people from various parts of the country. My roommate too was a guy from Bangalore, who was quite friendly and we got along well. The apprehensions flew off, as the training programs gained momentum. Thanks to the countless group tasks.
Quite contrary to what I have been at home, I visited places in Mumbai, and every weekend would be marked by a trip to a tourist spot. I had a lucky escape from the 26/11 terror attacks, thanks to our local train, which left the station 10 minutes before the attack commenced, much to the anxiety of my parents.Those were testing times for me, moments of chaos and anxiety.
The tenure in mumbai ensured that my inhibitions took a back seat. I grew beyond the realm of being a Keralite into an Indian, who could accept the wide cultural and regional diversity of my country.

My tenure in Bangalore was a fruitful one, yet I witnessed the black day in my career, thanks to the global economic recession. The lack of colour, and the routine nature of the days in office reminded me of the sweet days in college. I was missing it perhaps for the first time since college, but I felt helpless. I wondered whether this routine would make me numb. I always felt out of place in office. I pondered on whether I had come to the wrong place. Then came the layoff. I was caught unawares.

Days of trauma followed the layoff. I was staring at darkness. Two months had passed by until I had learned to live with the harsh reality. Now, I wonder, why was I upset over losing a job which never gave me a tad of satisfaction ? The profound damage to my ego (prospect of being unemployed) had driven me to the point of exasperation. No more egos or the like haunts me anymore. I feel like a free soul, and have the freedom to decide what I want to do in life (kudos to my parents, who in no way pressurize me into securing a job).

I firmly believe, what ever has happened to me has been for my good. I feel I have become a better person than an year ago. The one thing I miss now, is my friends, who have gone places owing to their job requirements.

Before I wind up, I am jotting down the proverb that i firmly believe now:

A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.

One year down the lane, I may write another similar post. My view points would have changed further by then. This blog has been more like a personal diary for me, A collection of my evolving thought process.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Resurgence of the India Voter

Hearty congratulations to Dr. Manmohan Singh, and Sonia Gandhi, for the thumping results in the General Elections.

The segmented Indian voter has given a clear mandate against the secularist, and narcissistic forces of the country. Is the Indian voter truly segmented?. Does the dalit appeasement work?.

The changing face of the voter was evident in the initial phase of the campaigning wherein people from rural India were raising their voices against the demi gods of their constituency. There were instances of villages threatening to boycott the elections due to lack of development. The writing was clear on the wall, vote bank politics would take a hit.

General elections 2009, saw the resurgence of the grand old party. The electoral bashing of the regional parties and the opportunistic alliances, the third and the fourth fronts clearly pin points to the emerging face of the voters. Like all elections, there was enough drama in this one too. The shoe throwing incidents, Varun Gandhi hate speech, black money, and mud slinging to name a few.Seems like most of these factors worked in favor of the congress, despite being at the receiving end on more than one occasion. It is quite clear that the pivotal issue in this election was Development, which not many parties realised. They embarked on a flawed election strategy based on the tried and tested formula of divisive politics.

What turned it around for the UPA?

Analyzing the electoral trends across various states, one tends to identify the two decisive forces, were a State Government high on a development agenda, or a Newly instated State Government. The states of Gujarat, Andra Pradesh, Maharastra, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh,New Delhi and Bihar corroborates the former argument, while the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka, J&K ratifies the latter point. The left parties recorded their worst ever performance in the elections owing to anomalies in their policies and an ego centric leader. To large extent the failure of the left parties can be attributed to their central leadership. The people were forced to believe that many reforms brought in by the UPA government could not see light owing to the left parties. The left was seen as a thorn in the flesh of the erstwhile UPA, and they have paid for it. Their performance in their bastions, WB and Kerala needs special mention. In WB, they refrained Buddhadeb Bhattacharya from pursuing his policies, while in Kerala, they neglected VS Achuthanadan's pro people stand (arguable to some extent!!) and has paid the prize for it. The press conference's by the two CM's authenticate my claim. The WB CM was critical at the central leadership's anti-congress stand and the Kerala CM was all smiles at the electoral bashing, and his body language suggested that his stand was vindicated.

UP, the home turf of the SP and BSP, the key state as was suggested by all the news channels turned upon it head. The ground gained by the Congress, still baffles the BJP, BSP and the SP alike. The SP openly endorsed that the presence of a pre poll coalition with the congress could have swept the BSP away. The BJP, still groping in the dark to find a reason for their electoral bashing, blaming Varun Gandhi for his extremist comments which seems to have driven away the muslim votes. After all, How could they have expected to receive the muslim votes by endorsing on a hindutva campaign? The aspirations of Mayawati to become the prime minister too took a hit. Little did she realize that development doesn't come along by building her statues across the state. The state of UP testify Rahul Gandhi's ability as an election strategist. He persuaded the congress to believe that they can go alone in UP, a stand vindicated by the electoral triumph.

The Shoe hurling at the Home Minister as a mark of protest of the Sikh community did create some nerves at the congress headquarters before the elections. The congress had switched to damage control mode and revoked the candidature of the person in question. However the people of Punjab proved that the lack of good governance at the state was the core issue than their sentiment against the anti-sikh riots of 1984.

In this elections verbal assaults were at an all time high. Advani vs Dr. Manmohan Singh, Narendra Modi vs Priyanka Gandhi to name a few. The people of India has proved who is weak and who is not. Dr. Singh proved once again to the opposition that 'Singh is King'. He seems to be the dark horse. The people of India has reposed faith on this honest and workaholic Prime Minister. He is neither a crowd puller nor an eloquent speaker like Mr. Modi or Mr. Advani, but has the qualification to run this secular country. The party has done away with their dynastic politics by taking charge as Prime Minister in 2004. The endorsement of a democratic setup within the party too has helped in that regard. The congress governments of the past were tainted by the charges of corruption, but the previous UPA saw some of the honest and trusted politicians donning the mantle as Cabinet Ministers. Critics often point that congress is an old man's party. The emergence of Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot has brought in the much needed youthful exuberance to the party. What really turned it around for the UPA is the NREGA, and the farm loan waiver. A right mix of pro poor and corporate policies helped the party to garner votes from the various sections of the society across caste and party lines.

General Elections 2009, has drawn to a close. The Indian voter has simplified numbers game. This election saw the prime ministerial ambitions of many leaders taking a hit. The beginning of the election season the emergence of many potential king makers. As the season draws to a close, it is evident that there would be no more horse trading or king makers to destabilise the government. I hope a stable UPA government under the leadership of Dr Manmohan Singh can take our country to greater heights.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

True Faith

Stress is indeed too stressful to handle. So like most of us, i too resorted to reading books on spirituality. While skimming through the pages of one such book, I came across a short story. The crux of the story was 'True Faith in God'. This story sparked of an emotional turmoil, and questioned my faith in god. 

The story:

An aethist was walking downhill. He slipped, and was falling into a deep gorge. Luckily for him, he caught hold of a twig and was hanging. The man clinged on to his life, and out of his desperation, thought of praying to god.

He said, "My lord, I shall serve you for the rest of my life"

There was no response

He continued,"I shall spread your idealogies for the rest of my life"

No response

He continued further,"Oh Lord, I shall be your firm believer for the rest of my life".

A deafening noise broke the silence, and it said, "Son, I am impressed by your words. I shall help you out".

He said,"Help me, my lord".

The almighty said, "Son, you shall leave your hold on the twig".

Amused and disgusted, he said "I am no fool to do that".

I presume, dear reader that the moral of the story is self explanatory.

@The Aethist Reader:

I suggest  you should skip the rest of the article. 

In times of distress we turn to the almighty but the extent of our devotion is questionable. We never realise the essence of true faith. We tend to blame fate for whatever happens to us. If we start realising we are part of his script, we can bid adieu to our worries. We can leave everything at his disposal and wait. A point to be clarified here is, you need to do your part and leave the rest on god. If things don't go according to your plan, it simply means the plans are out of synch.

Failures are part of life. Just as there is day and night, there are failures and successes in life. Neither be taken aback by a failure, nor be too thrilled by success. Life hinges on this balance. Realise this divine principle and happiness will be there for the taking. 

FYI: I have had a mixed bag of success and failures. I have realised the essence of it and I am at peace now. No more worries or fear of failure haunt me any more. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Who am I ?

It is not the Jackie Chan movie i am talking about. One of the best things about being unemployed is, you got time at your disposal. Obviously an idle mind is a devil's workshop. I am not quite sure what instigated such a profuse thought on life. The uncertainty and insecurity of my life could have been the driving force. The introspection exercise added to the woes of my already distraught mind. I ended up with more questions than answers.

A foreword to the readers:

I am not a person who has lost interest in life. I have only documented some thoughts which seemed rational to me. Your point of view maybe antagonistic, I have no intention of reorienting your thoughts.

Who Am I?.

I know the logical answer to this query. I seek a spiritual answer; An answer that can convince me, instead of perplexing me further.
The seat of my thought lies in an unknown domain. A domain where no human research can trespass. Is it the key to unraveling the mystery shrouding each and everyone of us?. I can convincingly say that I am also part of the energy cycle. A store house of energy obtained from various sources of energy. What adds to my confusion at this juncture is the law of physics which says, Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed, it can only be recycled. What would happen to the immense amount of energy within me when I die ?. I found no answer. A scientific research into this aspect may answer it.

The next imposing thought was on the lines of the purpose of my life. Why does mother nature need me or for that matter anyone of us?. This has been the most baffling question. Even many days of introspection didn't seem to clear the air. A glitch in the thought process could have resulted in this. I seek an answer from you.

Forget the imbroglio, lot of things came through. If the concept of recycling of energy is inapplicable to humans, it means we have only one life (keeping in view the concept of rebirth). In this single life, you should do what pleases your mind the most ,subject to laws of the society. Violation of the social order can lead to a not so rosy 'life'. The point I wish to convey here is, you should bear this in my mind while making consolidated decisions on your life, like career, marriage, buying a house etc.
What is the need for a career, marriage etc needs to be deliberated though.

I think I have confused you enough for now. Take a break now. Come again later to read more scintillating articles.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Preview of my Book

February 5th,2009


Time:  2.05pm

There was pin drop silence in the conference room. He looked around him. There were faces of gloom, some were sobbing, some looked pale, and some had a smile on their face. He was smiling but deep down he was bleeding at heart. He felt as if he was pushed into an illimitable crater. Couple of minutes back he was smiling and was spreading smiles. He tried to recollect the sequence of events in the last couple of minutes.

“We are Separating”, said the senior manager.  Those words blew the winds out of them. They were powerful enough to restructure the careers of 150 of them. The manager elucidated on the impact of recession and the global meltdown on the company. He looked around him. He saw faces of horror, eyes were all red, some were crying while some looked shocked beyond disbelief. He felt it was the most harrowing experience he has ever had till date. He could hear his breath rising. He was dying to get out of the conference room.

The management had made their point and the baton was passed onto them to pose queries. There was a huge hue and cry. He heard one of his friend, asking “Can't you retain us with half of our existing pay?”  Smiles spread on the faces of those tattered souls. Someone else said. “Are there any chances of a recall?” He heard the management countering most of the queries with an emphatic 'NO'. The session eventually turned out to be a mere formality with the management winning over the employees.  Now, it was the time for instructions. They gave precise instructions on what needs to be done with their Identity cards and the like, and graciously left the room. 

For the complete article await the completion of the book I am writing. What I have posted here is the first page of  the book. Sorry to arouse the curiosity. After all that is how people sell products. 

The Book deals mainly about relationships and friendships. It will certainly be an enthralling experience. I plan to release the book in about two months. Looking forward to that proud moment. Signing off for now.