I Love You

She: “I love you so much. I love the way you sing to me when I am not able to sleep. I love how you touch me with your strong and rigid hands, yet always careful not to harm me. I don’t know from where do you get that softness in your hands- though you are such a tough guy !!”

He says nothing.

She: “I love how you always eat only after I had eaten. How you are so particular about my diet- it should be healthy and nutritious !! To be frank, I sometimes don’t like when you don’t allow me to eat my favorite burger and french fries. ”

With some effort, He chuckles a bit.

She (also smiling) : “I love how you come to me after returning from work and keep hugging and kissing me. I really adore the way you talk to me; how you relate the events of your day to me and keep doing the same every day even if I fall asleep in between.”

He is a little sad now.

She: “Also, I know how important I am for you when you introduce me to every friend of yours in such a charming way. I can see the clear delight in your eyes when you are with me. I know you love me the most in the world.”

His eyes have a hint of moisture now.

She: “But since the time you came back from the hospital that day, you are behaving completely different. You no longer hug me, kiss me, touch me, even talk to me much. You seem to be ignoring me. I am increasingly getting the feeling that you are not comfortable by my presence in your life. You have started hating me.”

He: “No, I don’t hate you sweetie. It’s just that you have become my weakness now.”

She: “But you used to always say that I am your strength !! How can you change so much ?? Have I done something wrong?? Please tell me, I am ready to do anything to get your love back.”

He (controlling his fumbling voice): “There is nothing which you can do now. I have made my decision. We have to part ways. My life has no space for you now.”

She is unable to speak. She is crying uncontrollably.

He (maintaining the firmness in his voice despite the tears coming out of his eyes): ” Whatever decision I have taken is for the good of both of us. You are too innocent to understand the intricacies of this world. This world is a cruel place. This society is full of people who will make life hell for us and especially for you, if we are together. There will also be a constant burden on me to ensure your well-being. There will always be a sense of insecurity and fear in my mind of losing you. So, its better that I loose you now.”

She: “But I can’t live without you. I will miss you so much. For me, you are everything.”

He couldn’t control his tears anymore and started crying.

She: “Please give me a chance. I promise I will never be a cause of burden and tension for you. Also, I will learn how to handle this world on my own. You don’t have to worry about anything. Infact, I will try to be your strength again. But I can do all this only if you are on my side. Without you I am nothing.”

He is still indecisive and says nothing.

She: “I think there is no point in forcing you to change your decision now. But I want you to know that I Love you very much and I will never forget you. Thanks for all the lovely moments you have given me to remember you by. I feel lucky that I can be a part of your life. You are a very good man. May God bless you with whatever you wish to have. Bye.”

He  woke up sweating. This dream had shaken him from head to toe. He felt a sudden rage of anger and contempt rising inside his body. He thought,”What on earth was I gonna do? It was so wrong. I am a horrible person.” But then he realized he still had time. He looked at his wife sleeping next to him and how he had a fight with her over not going to the hospital tomorrow. Then his eyes shifted to the lump on her stomach. Immediately, he made a call to the hospital and cancelled the appointment with the doctor which they had for aborting the baby. Afterwards, he kissed the lump, being cautious not to disturb his wife from her sleep and whispered, ” I will always be with you now.” Inside her mother’s womb, She smiled.

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

Twenty-years later

She: “I qualified for the Indian Air Force pilot exam !! I will be flying a combat fighter plane soon. Yayy.. I am so excited. And guess what, I already requested them that I can take you to give a special ride over your favorite Himalayan ranges.”

He (extremely delighted) : ” I am so proud of you, beta. You are the best child anyone can ever have.”

She (hugging him): ” And you are the best father in the world. I love you.”

Life@IITD

I am leading the so called “normal” life now – yeah, you guessed it right ” The Job Life”!! The one where people work like crazy on weekdays and sleep/go out for adventure activities/movie/shopping/relax with a book/eat after browsing on Zomato /read a blog like this:P, etc.  on weekends – depending on interests. The happy moment for most of us is when we get a message from your respective banks at month end; the contents of which contain a word “credited” 😛 Its a routine life, monotonous – you have to live with it. Some people like it ; but then some people also like Justin Bieber’s Baby  😉  ( On that note, I just found out a couple of days ago that the second highest viewed song on YouTube is now See You Again – actually a good idea to listen to it while writing 😉 ). OK, coming to the point .. this post is due for almost four months now ( yeah, four months since I finished my Masters in Computer technology at IIT Delhi). Just wanted to write an account of my crazy experiences @IITD….okay all right, had not written a blog post since a long time  and got no other topic in my mind ( why does this Sugar song always starts playing after See You Again)

In case you need a background on how I landed into doing Masters @IITD , you can have a look at my series of posts here. I am going to divide this post into sections each describing one aspect of my life at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi ( yeah..we should use the full name too sometimes 🙂

  1. Academics: Computer Technology was the most worked up branch for Masters when we joined ( though some friends in Power Electronics may have a different opinion :P). I am saying was because the curriculum has changed drastically starting from the batch which followed. The number of credits are reduced, labs have become optional, etc. Though I still think, we were the winners in terms of learning and also putting up more points on our CV during placements.
    • Assignments and Term-Projects: We spent our entire one year doing assignments, projects and classes.The main reason why all of us felt the “load” was that in our BTech we were not used to doing assignments like this. Most of the assignments ( in our college at least ) were written assignments where we just had to copy from two or three sites ( mainly Wikipedia 😉 ). I remember going to the Digital Electronics lab and seeing the Google Doc for the first assignment on screen which was to design a microwave controller. I had no clue how am I gonna do it…Initially, all of us thought it is impossible to do it in one day but at the end of the day all of us did submit it after completion :); such is the pressure ( or miracle ) of IIT. And yeah, I forgot to mention the most important point: you can’t copy from anywhere ..yes anywhere included Internet, your friends, your seniors submissions. Though some people in our batch thought of outsmarting the software ( and some succeed rarely ) , but I will strongly advise not to copy because if you get caught by MOSS (plagiarism detection software) you will suffer a lot. All these situations forced you to actually think and do assignments on your OWN and that is what has contributed the most to my learning curve. I especially loved doing Computer Vision and  System Software assignments. Being a person with ECE background, I was pretty apprehensive about my abilities to do programming , but I have realized of late  that their is no escape from programming anywhere. Its a tool to implement your ideas and love it or not you have to do it..you will eventually start loving it. I was just amazed with the idea that me with my laptop can do so many wonderful things and actually see its effect unlike in ECE where I used to just imagine Electromagnetic Waves and obviously, getting access and working on a chip was very difficult.
    • Courses, MTP and Professors: I enjoyed all the subjects which I studied as part of my curriculum (core courses as well as the electives which I took). My personal favorites being OS, Neural Networks, Computer Vision and Deep Learning for Vision. DBMS was also fun but for a different reason ;). The professors are good but not exceptional. It was absolute pleasure for me to attend the lectures of some professors while in others it became difficult not to yawn on the face of the professor. I always believe you do require a learning instinct and interest within yourself first rather than expecting the professor to somehow magically implant the “learning beans” inside you which will grow automatically to somehow make you love the subject and you being ‘pro’ at it. The choice of electives is mostly based on interests to the difficulty level of the course, i.e., if you want to improve your CGPA ( especially before placements ) you tend to go to a subject which will fetch you higher grades without much effort. Though personally I always prefer a subject which I am interested in more than a subject which will get me an A ( all good courses are actually difficult – but you will learn a lot from them ). Your 4th sem will go entirely in your MTech project (MTP). Again a lot of factors come into play here which primarily include your dedication and your supervisor’s impression on you. You might get frustrated at some (okay many ) occasions when you think you are doing your best still somehow not getting the desired results/ credit for your work – but that is what is research my dear 🙂download
    • TA duties: Well, there is a lot of variation in the amount and the extend of TA duties which you can get, even within the same branch.I remember having to check about 400 exam scripts of Basic Electrical Engg. as our only TA duty in the first sem ( got pizzas in the end though :P). For me, the final sem was most loaded in terms of TA duty as I had to mentor projects and take assignment vivas for two courses. Though I was liberal in marking , but its always fun to question BTech people and confuse them with the looks even if they answer a question correctly 😉
  2. Hostel : Living in hostel is always filled with pleasant memories. The late night assignments till 4 am and then rushing to classes at 8 am, finishing your browsing quota (the famous ” You are Squished ” message ), planned measures to open or download all necessary items before 1 am ( yeah the net stops working in IITD hostels after 1 am ; though WiFi in the main insti area and net in labs work 24 hours), necessary ritual to avoid Saturday lunch and endless gossiping laying in each other’s rooms were a delight. The mess food was bad/tolerable/good depending on days of the week. Staying in 3rd floor and climbing the stairs (no lift in Kailash 😦 ) especially in Delhi summer was horrible ; though coolers are now allowed inside the hostel rooms after the surprise visit by our Honourable HRD minister. You can find cats eating with you in the mess and scaring you on stairs, dogs successfully bringing down the tall dustbins kept on the hostel lobbies and shitting in your bathrooms, washing machine kept on every washroom just for display and the only laundry room in the hostel being utterly crowded so eventually you have to wash them with your own hands or else find an odd timing when you can expect to find a washing machine actually empty !! But nevertheless, how much I complain about the hostel, the fact is I like living there 🙂
  3. The Campus: The IITD campus is very small as compared to other IITs but the main advantage is its location. It is located just in the right place !! – the airport, railway station, all cool places to hangout are nearby ( yeah , with Metro everything is approachable unlike in Bangalore). The hanging spots and the birthday celebration spot ( if you don’t have lab keys) inside the campus being the WindT, CCD ..( yeah that’s all :P). Always remember that the Shani Mandir gate is more near to PVR Saket but then you don’t get autos there very often 🙂
  4. Placements: Seriously, I hated going to CSC for those tests..but now I am so happy its over :).To be honest, I am not the best person to advice you on this topic as I was not so serious about it, but yeah I always enjoying giving “gyan” to people. Just few important things to keep in mind.You will feel very bad especially in the month of November and it will seem that you will not get placed anywhere and all your tests will be screwed up, you will be able to solve just 1 question of of the 3 questions in the coding round..etc ( you know all that stuff). But just hang in there. You will definitely get placed somewhere and in a good company if you are an average student. I won’t be giving preparation tips here because the already long post will become the length of Lord of the Rings 😛 ( yeah, I crack lame jokes ).Just keep yourself physically and mentally fit during placement season and do not get affected by performance of others.
  5. Dilli-the city: Well people say a lot about Delhi being unsafe for girls and the extreme climate, but for me I love Delhi more than Bangalore. May be the reason is that I spent my beautiful college days here and may be if I worked there I would have loathed it. But irrespective of all this, Delhi is a beautiful place. There are historic monuments, malls, good food outlets, shopping paradises for girls ;), HKV, CP. The stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan – India Gate and Bangla Sahib were one of my favorite destinations.
  6. Fun times: I can’t even start describing the fun times here because it in itself needs a separate post.So, stay tuned for that 😉

Many people ask me why do companies pay so much to IITans? Why are the companies biased? What is so special in them? Well what I feel is that the competitive environment changes the mental attitude of the person a lot.You somehow learn to take risks and are more open to new challenges. You know you will figure out a way to do an assignment in Java even if you don’t know Java :P. So, basically the job gets done at the end of the day. As pointed out by Prof. CNR Rao ( our Convocation chief Guest), IIT’s are truely the only Indian Brand which need to be preserved and cherished. On that note I will conclude my post saying Jai Ho IITD and Jai Kailash !! 😛

Sorry for the long post, but the memories were also 2 years long. Stay blessed and chillax !! 🙂 And as my friend pointed out, do not take out more than two tissue papers for wiping your hands as you never need more than two 😛 So, save paper..save trees and save environment ( inspired by recent smog in Delhi ) 🙂

For the fighter in you…

Me: “Yes, He was wearing a white half-shirt with checks and dark-blue denim jeans.”

Lawyer: “Are you sure that you remember this exactly?”

Me (controlling my rising frustration): “Yes, I am 100% sure and my statements will not change by you repeating the question again and again or framing it in a different way.”

Lawyer (with a shrewd smile on his face): “So, Mam can you please repeat your account of the events that followed? Please describe the fine details as well for the court to understand properly.”

He emphasized the word “details”. I looked at his dirty face with betel-stained teeth peeking from his mouth and eyes filled with slyness daring me to speak the truth. He knew that the truth if spoken out in public will not be good for the image of an Indian woman and defy the social norms laid down for women which require us to be shy and tolerate everything; to obey the so called men in our lives like a cow. Sadly, the lawyer didn’t know the material my heart was made of; it was pure steel which remains free from rust and vague attempts to weaken the strength of its resolve. I took a deep breath and recalled the incident which had haunted me for the past 15 years. The society had played its part well by ensuring that it occupied a centre-stage in my mind. It helped me in revisiting each and every detail of the incident. I didn’t want opposition to give an edge by finding even a slightest change in my narrative and hence prove that I am just a slut accusing a respectable man of horrible deeds. So, for the hundredth time in my life I spoke the events of that night as they simultaneously unfolded before my eyes.

Me: “As I said I had gone to bed early after a tiring day at work. My roomie was out of town to attend a conference. I was woken from my sleep by the sound of falling keys on the floor which was followed by cautious turning of the door-knob. By the time I could made sense of what is happening, it was too late. The security guard of my apartment had already entered my bed-room with the spare key he possessed and threatened to cut me with the big knife which he had planted on my neck. He tied my hands and mouth and tore all my clothes. His drunken eyes sparkled with lust as he moved the cold steel of the knife against my bare body. With a monstrous laugh, he removed his jeans and began his adventures on my body. To start with, he made several marks with the knife on my thighs and chest; thoroughly enjoying the sight of my face twitch with pain. I could feel the tears roll down my hot cheeks; the tears of pleading, helplessness and pain which later turned into tears of anger and contempt. He came inside me multiple times and with varying intensity and postures. When he was exhausted, he would pull my hair and kick me with his dirty shoes. I saw the hands of the clock move from 10:20pm to 11:45pm while he feasted on my body and soul. Eventually, he got bored and stared directly in my eyes. I watched him with burning rage and defiance which challenged his male-ego. For a moment, he seemed afraid but soon started laughing uncontrollably. Then he somehow managed to lift his drunken body on his limbs, put on his clothes and move out of my flat before imparting a heavy blow on my face and spatting on my body. I couldn’t believe this has happened to me. My body was covered in blood and I was in extreme pain. I somehow mustered courage to go to the nearest police station and report the incident.”

The defence lawyer was searching for tears in my eyes after this rendition, but when he couldn’t locate any hint of moisture around my eyes, he became a bit disappointed and irritated. He cleared his throat and said, “Sorry to interrupt you Prof. Manju Singh, I just wanted to clear a few points before you proceed further. Are these the under-garments which you were wearing on the day of the crime?”

He picked up my bra and panty with a stick and hoisted it like a flag for the whole world to see. People in the court started smirking and women covered their eyes with shame. Some of the men couldn’t suppress their laughter and it came out loud to reach my ears. Unaffected by the commotion in the courtroom, I replied, “Yes, these were the under-garments which I was wearing the day I was raped”.

My firm response shocked the defence lawyer and the crowd. It was clear that he had not expected me to be so bold and shameless. Anyways, seeing his mental tactic of humiliating me getting failed, he said, “You told us that my client had torn your clothes including your under-garments, but the only fingerprints found on them were yours. This suggests that you took them off yourself with full consent of yours. Am I right?”

I wanted to grab the throat of the lawyer and strangle him to death. Controlling my rising adrenaline and rapid heartbeat, I decided to play rather cool. I smiled and answered firmly, “You were not listening to my statements properly. I never said he tore them by hand, he used his knife to tear them off, and you can clearly see the signs of cuts made by a sharp object on the fabric. Now if you allow me, I want to complete my narrative without any interruption.” The lawyer went speechless and sat down after passing a couple of mental curses to me.

Me: “I went to the nearest police station located in INA and registered an FIR. I need to mention here that the police were very understanding and co-operative. They immediately rushed me to Safdarjung hospital to get my physical examination done. But destiny was not done with me yet. It was in the hospital that I got raped the second time in one day. The main doctor with a group of six students gathered around me. My vagina became a specimen for him to teach his students the art of performing the two-finger test (This test is done by forensic doctors to check the laxity of the vagina of the rape victims to determine the past intercourse history of the victim. It is extremely painful and unnecessary and was used by the defence lawyer to do a character assassination of rape victim in the court thereby influencing the punishment given to the culprit. It has been banned now by the Supreme Court of India. For more details see this).This was followed by each of the students taking turns on my vagina to see if they have perfected the test or not. I couldn’t tolerate the extreme pain and became unconscious. I was discharged from the hospital the next day and returned back to my home. Since then I have been coming to the court repeatedly for the past 15 years to seek justice. The culprit was arrested immediately and was then released on bail. He got married and now is living happily with his family. I have also moved on with my life and done well both professionally and personally. People advised me to give up fighting the case. But each day when I go to bed, my thoughts remain convoluted with the images of that unfortunate night and I can’t live with the thought that the beast who did this to me is enjoying a sound sleep. This is what keeps me driving and I will remain to fight until I seek justice.”

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

It was a pleasant morning. The dew drops on the tree leaves sparked like pearls when the sun rays hit them at weird angles, somehow forming a sight that did wonders to the eye. Squirrels roamed freely; occasionally picking up a fight with the birds on the ground and then quickly running to hide within the bark of the tree. I thought about the innocent yet deceptive beauty of mother nature. It remains totally unaffected by our thoughts, our pains, our happiness, our desires. For her the death of a mighty elephant is equal to the death of a tiny bacteria because all of them are born out of it and later merge into it. People have spent ages to find the true meaning of life. The more you think about it, the more you get confused. In my opinion, the true meaning of life is that it has no meaning at all. My philosophical train of thoughts was halted by the sound coming out of my idiot box. “In a historic judgement, the Supreme Court of India has awarded life imprisonment to the culprit accused in the case concerning the rape of 45 year old Manju Singh, a Professor of Political Science at JNU. She was raped while she was sleeping in her Green Park based flat fifteen years ago. Let us ask her about her feelings and experiences while dealing with this long case”. With this the camera shifted towards my face.

Me: “To be honest, when I heard about rape incidents happening to other women, I dismissed them as mere news articles. I was never able to empathize with the victim and understand the graveness of the crime. But when it happened to me I could feel the pain and anger rising within me. For the first few months after the incident, it seemed that every single leaf on the trees, every brick in the building and every pair of eye in the world had been witness to the act that happened to me. I lay naked before the world to see and make fun of. I couldn’t face the students whom I taught. There were murmurs through the class-rooms I went in, the hallways I passed, the elevators I stepped in. I just wanted to hide myself from the world and used to cry horribly. I wish I would die soon and put an end to the shameful and embarrassing life which lay ahead of me. But then I thought that what is the charm in living if one choses the easy way out at each stage? Besides, I can’t let that monster roam freely and destroy someone else’s life. I am suffering without any fault of mine. I haven’t done anything wrong. Clearly, it should be the other way round. He will have to pay for this. Then one fine day I woke up and decided to shed my veil of shame and accept all the challenges that life decided to throw on my face. I witnessed that as my attitude towards myself changed, the people around me also started respecting me as a human and got inspired by me. I fought for a cause and I am very happy that I have achieved it, though with some delay. I urge every girl, every boy, every woman and every man who has suffered sexually to come forward and speak openly. Rape is not the end of life. Don’t think less of yourself if you are raped. Just go ahead and knock the world until it comes down at your feet; for you owe this for the fighter in you.”

 

P.S. This story is a fictional account of the true events described in Satyamev Jayate (Click here to watch the full episode). Rape is a serious crime. By the time you read this story, a minimum of three girls have been raped worldwide. Lets join hands in putting an end to this grave crime and build a better world where women are respected.

A Parallel Universe ..

I was reading Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome the other day. Inspired by J’s splendid description of anecdotes, I thought of sharing a small yet interesting event of my life as well 😉

It was the time when my parents were doing PhD from IIT Kharagpur. I was about 7 years old. My mother had gone to Kalyani for a day and were to return late in the night. That left me and Papa at home, which meant we will have dinner outside.Its ironic to think that once I used to wait eagerly for an opportunity to consume outside food and now I would give anything in the world for eating home food. Truly you come to know the value of something when it is no more with you. Anyways, focusing on the narrative, we had our dinner and returned home. I was very happy and we were watching TV. It was a Monday night and we were watching Om Namah Shivay. For all my friends who remember, this was the glorious time when we had only DD National and strangely enough we were quite content and thrilled by the serials coming on it. This show in particular was my favorite due to its wonderful title track ( You can watch it here ) where a man made of fire danced the mighty Shiv Tandav !! Needless to say I would always try to sing along and dance by copying the steps of the Fireman , but was never able to do it properly.Suddenly my father remembered that he had to make an urgent STD call.Mobile phones were not the necessity of life those days as it is now ..god knows had we lived without mobiles at that time.. people met and talked..how strange and idiotic right !! Since we didn’t have landline also, my father needed to go to DVC market to a telephone booth to make the call.Usually, the simplest and the best thing to do in such a situation would be to lock the door from outside without me worrying about opening and closing the door. But I somehow had got an eerie nerve that day ( What’s the fun in not taking risks..so life should be complicated ) and demanded that the door would not be locked from outside if I am inside and I took the responsibility of taking care of the house and myself.Much to the dissatisfaction of my father, he instructed me not to open the door for any stranger and he will be back within 20 minutes.He also told me not to sleep and I just laughed at the idea and argued back saying that how can I fall asleep when I am watching such a lovely serial.Moreover, I am grown up and not a kid anymore !! So, he left and I immersed myself in TV.

After a certain period of time ( I don’t know how much..strangely I had no idea ), I heard my friend crying out my name and banging the door. I immediately went upto the door to tell her that I it is not advisable to call me to play at this hour of the night and she should be mature enough and go to sleep. I was about to say this when I heard atleast 10-15 more voices shouting and hands banging loudly on my door ( enough to wake people within miles). I felt a massive intrusion of my personal space and leisurely time. Why the hell are these people behaving like this!! Also, this is my door, not their personal property to damage by knocking it with hammers.I opened the door and shouted, ” What is the matter?”. I got a cold chilling look from all my neighbors like the one you get when you come across White Walkers.There was some relief in my friend’s face though and then suddenly she said, ” You Kumbhakarna !!  All of us were so worried “.

I was like what are you saying? She then unfolded a narrative which I was completely shocked to hear and hard to believe in.She told me that I had fallen asleep and was not opening the door.Initially, my father tried knocking, shouting my name,everything which could be done, for 10-15 mins.This was followed by the whole locality gathering there and each one of them trying their best to wake me up ( basically to prove their heroism). My immediate neighbor Aunty had even tried blowing Shankh and ringing bells.Some children took this opportunity to try to wake me up by bursting thunderbolt-crackers outside the door.People were knocking with hammers on the door.This noisy and jolly procession continued for about 1 hour with people making weird suggestions and some others just gathered to gossip and intensify the situation.They were kind enough to draw the attention of my father and the crowd on the fact that how dangerous it can be for the life of a small kid like me if door is not opened in time.What if gas leaked from the cylinder and the house caught fire or some short circuit happened because of the running TV..Poor Disha won’t even notice since she is sleeping 😦

At this point, I would like to describe a bit about the building we lived in.Our house was on the 3rd floor and had adjoining balcony with a neighboring house on the 3rd floor on the right hand side, with a gap of about 2 feet between them.My father was trying to jump from the adjacent balcony of the other house to the balcony of our house in an attempt to eventually disturb me from my dreamy world and suppress the growing tension and anxiety. Breaking the door was also an option, but I guess my father being an Amitabh Bachchan fan was more comfortable in jumping than breaking doors like Daya. He was just about to jump when one brilliant person gave the advice that I will hear my friend’s voice only because of the intimate connection between us and also the fact that a girl child’s voice is very shrill..and hell yeah it worked !!( don’t ask me how or why). My father came after 5 mins (after he was informed that the door is finally open ). He had an expression of utmost anger on his face, but a slight sense of relief can also be seen hiding under it . I thought he would shout at me but he simply hugged me THAT time (later I got an earful from my mother and father both ).I felt quite embarrased and ashamed thinking of what would have happened if my father would have really jumped and risked his life just because I couldn’t stay awake for some time !! All my neighbors then went home happily after witnessing and being part of a fun drama for the day and I was given the nickname ” Sleeping Beauty ” by my father for the rest of my life to be teased with 😀

To this day, I can’t recall the time I fell asleep, woke again and how I remained deaf to all the violent noises made outside my door.I still strongly believe that the events of that 1 hour or so never happened. All the people were simply lying, trying to pull up a prank on me or maybe this was part of a deep conspiracy to defame me which needs to be looked at carefully by the FBI 😛 Anyways, I have now come at peace with the theory that during this time ( if there were such a time) I was in some parallel universe performing the magnificent Tandav on stage, leaving people of some other planet to be in complete awe and mesmerized by my performance 😉

 

 

Intolerance in India

When I open up my Facebook page , I see many posts wherein people express their views about many events. At one end I feel happy that We as youth of this country are concerned about issues related to our country, religion and morals and are courageous enough to voice it openly on a social platform ( as opposed to the belief of Mr. Honey Singh who thinks that Indian youth just talk about party, sex and alcohol ). At the same time, I feel deeply disturbed by some posts which are totally illogical , posted without proper verification of facts and are specifically targeted  towards perpetuation of negativity and hatred. Since there are no algorithms yet to discover the correctness or intentions of posts before making them visible to the public ( would really love to work on this though !!), we have to be extremely careful in what we are reading and most importantly what we are getting influenced by.

Now coming to the main point which I want to talk about : Intolerance. Just a few days back, intolerance was just a normal word like any other word present in Oxford English Dictionary. But in the past few days, I bet you would have seen this word spoken and written almost everywhere and by everyone on this planet and people going to all extends to explain its rise in the Indian society and how living in India is the worst thing which can happen to you. Well I won’t be discussing about any of these issues because they had already been spoken about at length. Instead I want to mention a few points which according to me, WE as INDIANS should  definitely be INTOLERANT to :

  1. When women of all ages are being raped openly in broad daylight and the monsters ( YES rapist is a very lenient word !! ) roam freely to unleash their lust on another 2-3 year old kid.
  2. When politicians issue public statements justifying the actions of monsters saying that ” Ladko se Galti ho jaati hai ” and ” Ladkiyon ko maryaada me rehna chahiye” and crowing them as public heroes.
  3. When an honest IAS officer is murdered brutally and all we can do is express sympathy , criticize the Indian SYSTEM and then resume our normal operations.
  4. When a candidate who has scored in negative in a competitive exam is  given admission at the cost of a deserving candidate just based on the family name he/she was born with and to make matters worse lands up getting a government job directly mocking the merit of a  person who is desperately struggling to get employed.
  5. When a bunch of inhumans misuse your RELIGION to cover up their cowardly actions of killing fellow brothers and sisters ( And I am talking about all incidents irrespective of religion) and defame it by passing statements which we all know are pure BULLSHIT.
  6. When you become so critical of the government that you start opposing each and every action taken by it and thinking very little of what can be your contribution to the betterment of the nation. Instead you run abroad and take a safer alternative ( Can’t use the word SAFE anymore for any country in the world !!)
  7. Last and the most dangerous one, when you start judging people based on what religion or color or caste or state  he/she belongs to and completely ignore other important qualities of the person like his/her knowledge, sense of humor , compassion and attitude towards life.

At this point, I would like to discuss RELIGION. It has become the nerve which you prick to offend someone and a tool by which you can easily hurt the sentiments of others.  The concept of religion may be different for different people and each one of us may chose to respect or disrespect it in our own ways. For some it gives faith at strong times, for others it provides moral guidelines to chose between right and wrong, while it gives some a sense of purpose for their existence in the universe. For some sections of the people, religion is utter nonsense and doesn’t mean anything.Personally I feel that religion is a private affair between me and my God. Yes I can talk about it with others if I wish to but I don’t have the right to force my own views of religion on others and dictate others to follow the same path . Each person should be given this much privacy and freedom. I think all of us are at a stage in life where we are logical enough to know that NO religion in the world can teach you to kill fellow human beings and spread hatred. Also, I would like to say that absolutely NO ONE in this world (Yes not even God!!) deserves importance more than your basic needs like food, water, clothing and education which are far more essential for survival.

The human mind has capability to tune into negative frequencies pretty easily. But , we must all know that hope is the strongest element which can help achieve the impossible. What we need at this point is to IMMEDIATELY STOP people, groups and media who we know are deliberately giving communal colors to every event happening in the country and trying to portray our country as Hell as described in Dante’s Inferno. I agree We as a nation are not perfect and we DO have many drawbacks , but the end of the day we must realize that it is WE who represent India and WE have the responsibility to make it better.Please try to SEE the POSITIVE developments around you and highlight those.Let us resolve to be collectively intolerant to events which try to demolish our nation and divide us on the basis of religion, state or caste. Love yourself and the people around you because in the end these are the things which define who you really are !!

Cheers 🙂

 

 

GATE Preparation

Hi friends!! Hope you must be having a wonderful day. After posting my Post GATE interview experiences (you can check them out here), I got responses from many students requesting me to post some preparation tips for GATE.So on popular demand, here comes my long post recounting my Pre GATE experiences.

Well, I remember my days before GATE as one of the most difficult and challenging times of my life; yet when I look back upon them I wonder how many things they have taught me which helped me consolidate my character and emerge as a stronger person.Nine hours of job followed by 2-3 hours of coaching on weekdays and wait! weekends were no relief. My Sundays were the worst; lasting from 6 am to 9 pm of studying :O ( 15 hours in a row!!). I am amused  how I survived those times.The one thing which kept me going was my firm resolve to prove myself to the world and the ambition to see myself in a top IIT.

I will not define my preparation to be an ideal one. I didn’t study all the available material nor solve most of the practice problems and questions ( some of my coaching material was left untouched); but what I did study and solve was sufficient for my preparation.I am a person who believes in studying on my own without any coaching or tuition.But, things were different this time.Since I had to prepare with job, I decided to join a coaching institute which can keep the spirit of competition alive in me and provide me the required motivation needed for clearing any competitive exam. Also there will be some part of me feeling guilty if I paid a heavy price as coaching institute’s fees and still didn’t study seriously ( just a psychological trick 😉 ) For all those people who fall in the category of job+GATE, I want to say that preparing with job is difficult but not impossible.Try to prioritize your work.Keep some e-books on your office desktop and study them as well as some online resources ( provided links below) whenever you get time.Avoid distractions (I mentioned a few in my Introduction post).Remember if you work hard now, you can enjoy later.There will be many people to discourage you saying that GATE is useless, there is no use of MTech, why bother to leave a current job which is paying well, go abroad for MS, blah blah blah. It’s your ability to discard the noise and improve the quality of positive thoughts entering your mind. As it is truly said half of the battle is mentally won.Always be mentally strong and believe in yourself and what you are aspiring.

Ok, enough of pravachan from my side :P.Let’s be back on track. So, after deciding to join a coaching institute, I began a hunt for the same. Living in Hyderabad, I had lot of options to chose from ; but one of them was a clear winner based both on its past records and its location near to my office and flat.Yes, you guessed it right! I joined evening batch of ACE Academy located at Abids. The classes started from 16th or 17th July which was quite early based on my standards of preparation which I have been following throughout my life ( later I was proved wrong when I saw batches starting from March ).What happened later for the few months till GATE is as I have already mentioned above ( office+classes).After returning from coaching, I somehow had my dinner and dropped straight to my bed. Life was indeed hard but I was happy thinking that each passing day is bringing me close to my goal.I have been a topper throughout my school and college, but I can tell without a pinch of doubt that the hardest I worked and studied in my life was this particular period.

I will provide a subject wise description of my preparation below:( only EC – other strams having some common subjects can also see)

1. Engineering Mathematics: This was the first subject to be started at the coaching institute. I would say that this is one of the easiest and scoring subjects of GATE. It is easy to grasp and questions asked from maths are pretty straightforward. A word of caution: Do not ignore this and leave it till the last month for studying.The things I studied for my Engg. Maths preparation are:

  • Higher Engineering Mathematics – B.S. Grewal ( problems on Stroke’s and Gauss Divergence theorem and some portions of statistics)
  • ACE material and class notes.

Important topics: Stroke’s and Gauss Divergence theorem, probability, complex variables, linear algebra.

2. Network Theory: If you see previous years questions, you will find that this subject carries a lot of weightage. You also need its concepts in other subjects like Analog ( OPAMP based problems ) and Digital. Moral: Be sound in network theory. Practice a lot of questions and try to analyse them before solving.There can be many methods to solve one particular problem; chose the one which is convenient for your use.Before joining ACE, I had a feeling that I am good in network theory. But the classes at coaching helped in clearing my myth and solving some of my perennial doubts in this subject.My prep. included:

  • ACE classroom material and notes ( this is excellent and more than sufficient)

Important topics: Transient and steady state analysis, Thevenin’s & Norton’s Theorems, Nodal and Mesh Analysis, Phasors, Maximum Power transfer theorem.

3.Control Systems: This is one of my favorite subjects. It carries almost 12-13% weightage in GATE. Practice and more practice is the key to success.Try to be fast and accurate while solving problems. Use shortcuts and tricks wherever possible.My preparation included:

  • ACE classroom material and notes ( The teacher provided some amazing shortcuts to solve problems. The variety of questions included in the question booklet are too good not only for GATE but also PSU’s,IES,etc.)
  • Control Systems Engg.- Nagrath & Gopal.( PD,PI,PID controller, lead and lag compensator)

Important topics: Time domain analysis, root locus, bode and nyquist plots, gain and phase margin.

4.Electromagnetic Theory: Well, this is a subject which most of the students of EC find the most difficult and annoying. The same was the case with me. I hated this subject since my college days. The long and complex formulas and equations just blew my mind off. It is only after coming to ACE that I appreciated the true beauty of the subject.The first set of classes laid the foundation for my rising interest in the subject.In my opinion, EMT is the most scoring subject in GATE as well as other exams like ISRO,IES,etc. Most of the questions asked from this are either direct formula based or application of basic concepts. If you are confident in this subject , rest of the subjects will be quite easy for you to prepare.Success Mantra: Revise many times and write down all the formulas as frequently as you can.Never ever take the chance of leaving EMT and writing GATE.You will be the biggest loser.My preparation included:

  • Field & Wave Electromagnetics – David K. Cheng ( all topics esp. waveguides )
  • ACE material and notes.( served mostly as revision of my concepts and formulas)

Important topics: Boundary conditions, transmission lines, maxwell’s equations,Poynting theorem,basic antenna concepts.

5.Communications: I am sure everyone of you knows the importance of this subject.It carries the maximum weightage in GATE and has a wide syllabus to cover. This subject is quite interesting and you need to be good in maths to be good in communications. My preparation of communication included:

  • Communication Systems – Simon Haykins ( Analog Communications )
  • Principles of Communication Systems – Taub & Schilling ( Digital Communications- more questions are asked from digital communication as compared to analog in the past 5-6 years)
  • ACE classroom study material ( only for practicing problems and revision )

Important topics: Random variables ( one question sure), probability of error, FM, Noise, Matched filter, superheterodyne receivers.

6.Signals and systems: I was lucky to get a very good teacher for this subject who taught in a very intriguing way and challenged us to solve problems making us competitive enough. Success Mantra: Write down all important formulas and definitions in a piece of paper. One of the advantages of this approach is that it will help you relate concepts used within the subject making your preparation smooth and easy. My prep. included:

  • ACE study material and notes (excellent material which is more than sufficient for cracking all sorts of competitive exams)

Important topics: All topics are important; questions on sampling and laplace transform are frequent.

7. Analog Electronics & Electronic Devices: These are the two most important subjects for GATE preparation and being an EC student you have to be very good in them not only for GATE but also for your future.I have clubbed them together as both are highly interrelated both content and material wise.You should complete electronic devices before starting your preparation for analog. Success mantra: Clarify your concepts and apply reasoning in every question.The more you read and solve the better you will become in these subjects. My preparation included:

  • Microelectronics Circuits – Sedra Smith ( best book for enhancing your basics; read it only if you have time as everything is explained in very much detail which is not required for GATE exam; but will be helpful for your interview prep.)
  • Electronic Devices & Circuit Theory – Robert L. Boylestad ( topics are explained in a simple and point wise manner)
  • Integrated Electronics- Milliman & Halkias ( called the Bible of Electronics – is the best if you read from the beginning. You can rely on it blindly)
  • ACE material – concepts were explained in a very unique and exam-friendly way( good for revision )

Important topics: OPAMP , BJT amplifiers, Feedback amplifiers, Diode based problems.

8. Digital Electronics: This is one of the most interesting and popular subjects among the students and truly so because it offers a logic based approach to problems and we don’t have to memorize any complex formulas or equations in this ( as opposed to many EC subjects). A word of caution: Don’t be overconfident.Questions asked in GATE may seem quite simple but will be tricky most of the times.My prep included:

  • Digital systems Principles and applications – Ronald J Tocci
  • Digital Design – Morris Mano
  • Microprocessor Architecture Programming and applications with the 8085 – Ramesh Gaonkar ( for microprocessor )
  • Digital Computer Electronics – Malvino ( microprocessor explained in a very short but effective way)
  • ACE practice material

Important topics: Flip-flops, counters, logic families,microprocessor ( one question compulsory)

10. English and Aptitude: Most of us completely ignore this section. But, I tell you this can prove a deciding factor where either you or your competitor can score over and bring a better rank. I referred no material for this section. The practice questions and mock tests were sufficient.

Some Preparation Tips:

  • Practice at least 10 years of previous GATE question papers. This is very important as it not only helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses but also proves critical for your time management skills.
  • 45 days before the exam, solve a mock GATE paper every alternate day ( and it strictly means 3 hours).The environment should be the same as you will face during the actual GATE exam. Club this with revision of all subjects. Remember the last one month is very crucial for your preparation.
  • Prepare subject-wise short notes for quick reference.This will prove very handy during revisions as well as interviews.
  • If possible, enroll for a test series(preferably online as the final exam will be online). This will help you maintain the pace of your preparation and the AIR will give you an idea on where you stand. However, I will advise you not to take this rank too seriously and get disheartened or relaxed.This is only a prep. exam and not the final GATE exam which is your prime focus.
  • Be confident of your preparation and solve questions with a patient head.I will advise you to attempt your GATE paper in three rounds.1st : easy questions which you can solve at one go; 2nd: average questions which require some thinking but can be solved; 3rd: difficult questions which require more time and thinking.This approach will gradually build your confidence in solving questions and bring out the best in you.
  • Don’t take too much stress and worst, don’t get influenced by other’s preparation.Each individual has different levels of understanding and approach. So, never compare yourself with others. Plan your studies carefully keeping adequate time for practice and revision.

This was all I could tell you regarding my GATE preparation.I knew my prayers were not unheard when I saw my result ( to know more about my result read here ) which was just above my expectation :).I would like to thank my parents without support and understanding, it would have never been possible. I am lucky to have such amazing parents who are always ready to help and motivate me.The next token of thanks goes to my friends who always heard my constant whining and how I have studied so less till now ( this is part of my nature 😉 and still made me remember my strengths and how I can rectify my mistakes.I would also like to thank the some wonderful teachers and friends at ACE who helped clear my concepts and booked seats for me in the classroom (respectively );). Last but not the least, I would like to thank God and of course me( who did it finally 🙂 )

Other online resources:

Hope you enjoyed reading this whole series of posts on my Pre and Post GATE experiences and they proved helpful. I will highly appreciate your feedback on the same and will be glad to clear your doubts. All the best for GATE!! 🙂 🙂