To do that ... I happen to write!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Charles M Vest at IIT Delhi

Another fantastic person, and another fantastic experience.

Charles M Vest was the President of MIT for over a decade, director of IBM for over a decade and director of DuPont for over a decade, and has led several committees during the Clinton and Bush government.

The topic of his talk: Engineering Education in 21st Century.

China is currently the world's largest producer of Engineering Graduates; India does not come even in the 1st 7. (You can find several such indicators here) However, the good news is, that India is the largest producer of finance graduates; throughput: approx 350,000 per year. Infact, the other day one of our deans jokingly said, "We should rename IITs as the Indian Institute of Banking Technology."

Anywhoo, towards the end he mentioned his MIT learning, which in his opinion could be applied to IITs as well:

"Making universities and engineering schools exciting, creative, adventurous, rigorous, demanding and with empowering environment is more important than specifying the ciruculla details"

Hell yeah, I say :)

Also visit Rosseta@Home which is a new vista in science aiming at 'Brain Integration'! It's very interesting. Go find out for yourself...

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

A Childhood Dream - Fulfilled

Let me spoil the suspense - the dream was that of attending the Republic Day parade; at the India Gate; and boy it was finally fulfilled - today, on the 60th Republic Day celebrations of India...

I cherished the feeling of standing in attention, saluting my motherland and all those who lay their life defending it, and all those who devote their life in making our motherland more prosperous...

I did love everything else too - the 'showcase' of all the states, the air show, the stunt bikes, the marching bands, the military music bands, the NCC and the likes...but standing in attention, unmoved by the ear deafening noise of the artillery fire; the famous '21 topon ki salami' given to the Supreme Commander of the armed forces - the Indian President, is what I will cherish the most...

The fluttering flag, the foggy morning, the frosty winds and the sound of Jan Gan Man!

Jai Hind.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Peter Chan at IIT Delhi - Bonsai

Who is Peter Chan? B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Kgp; batch - 1958-62. Yes, he is among the first, or as some might say - the purest IITian!

What does he do now? He is a Bonsai Expert! In his own words, 'When I started my bonsai business back in late 80's - I was no. 6th, but now I am no. 1'.This is one of the Bonsais he made, and believe it or not, this bonsai is worth over 30,000 pounds. Keep converting that to Rs, but at any rate you now know how rich he is!

On 19th January 2010, he came to IIT Delhi, and wanted to meet students. Pity, only a handful of our students turned up. However, I knew little of who all were there and who all weren't. I was busy listening and observing...

Picture yourself 72 years in age. How many smiles do you think you will be able to manage in a day? How much enthusiasm would you still carry to learn, to see? How much self satisfied would you be? Boy! You so should have met Peter Chan.

In his presentation (rather conversation) we talked at length about several things. Like, how back in his day there used to be an interview apart from the written test for getting into IITs. How his stint in the Margret Thatcher's government proved to be a vital value add in his life. How can the London Alumni Association help IITs and so on...

After the whole discussion, we went on a short IIT Delhi tour with him. Oh, he's a true IITian I would rather say. How friendly! Infact, he came visiting even our hostel rooms! After meeting him, I realized that there are some things which haven't changed even after 50 years. Like IITians differentiating b/w people who got in through JEE and those who didn't, our star studded language, the innate curiousness and inquisitiveness to see new things, cherish old things and learn more. Well, at the end of the tour, we waited atleast 10 minutes in the sem-hall for inter hostel GD competition to start. He wanted to see it. Alas!

Several people ask him, 'How Bonsai, after engineering?' And he answers, 'Engineering is the training of the mind. The inquisitive nature my IIT education developed in me helped me learn Bonsai all by myself and make my hobby, my business'

Check out:
Heron's Bonsai
PS: Bonsai = Aesthetics
PPS: Stories about other people I met during this week to soon follow (Nicholas Burns, Tom Wheeler and Charles M Vest)

Thursday, 21 January 2010

History of IIT Delhi

History of IITD

Recommended Read. Nice account of how IIT Delhi came into being, but I am still curious where did the writer find this all information from?

And just when you are there, you can explore the 'I Love you' too, an article which I wrote long long back...

I Love you

And then when you would have explored these 2 articles, do explore the others. They are great! Looks like BSP IIT Delhi should publicize this site of theirs more!

PS: The sad part is that results from this website are not indexed on Google!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Lock Unlock

So this is the 5th time when I locked my unlocked cycle when I actually wanted to unlock it. All these instances occurred when I was either talking to someone was lost too deep in thoughts to be consciously aware of things.

Trying to move your cycle believing that you have unlocked the cycle only to find it jammed, is a stupidly hilarious way to make your deep and serious stream of thoughts seem like a farse.

And on (the topic of) cycle - it is a super efficient way to save your time. Reach insti from Kumaon only in 3 minutes! On days, when you want to chat with your friend or just want to enjoy the weather - you can always walk with it. You can park it anywhere - no one will 'chain' it, no one will steal it, no one will fine you.

And just in case you happen to have a Hero Hawk you can bully other cycle fellows with your super fast speed. Go, buy one today!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Finding Frozenland: A trip to the Himalayas!

Inspired by Tejesh Kinariwala's Toast Master Speech.The post is mostly his views, paraphrased.
We went on a trip. Traveling from Delhi to Haridwar to Rishikesh to Uttarkashi to SangamChatti to Agoda to Bewra to Manjhi to Dodital to Darwa Pass and back...

Forget about awesome mountains and frozen waterfalls, the mushy fields of snow and the crystal clear lakes, the rosy cheeked mountain girls and the breeze of fresh air; I wouldn't write a hyperbole about these things here - I want to tell something much more important.
We were clueless about what was to happen, so before we started there was a great mayhem and confusion about what should we carry in our baggage? Will we be able to survive on bread jam, or do we need to take rice? Should we take stove or will firewood work out fine and so on...

Don't we face the same mayhem and confusion everyday in our lives? Don't we ask ourselves - 'what should I carry in my bag on this journey of life?' - We don't know the answer because we don't know what is to come...
It was one of those times in my life, infact it was one of those times in everyone's life - when we pushed ourselves; and did what we wouldn't have otherwise done - like trekking 40 Kms in 2 days; or after spending a horrific night in -7 degs, pooling up enthu to go to -12 degs. Each one of us was highly motivated to do this. But everyone was wondering, 'what will help me travel that last furlong...'

Don't we always ask ourselves after we have put in loads of hard work and have come far, and when all that remains then is the last step - 'What will help me travel that last furlong...'

And during the trip I found an answer, simple one - friends. What should we carry in our baggage - friends. Why?

After camping in the freezing cold night we had to climb a steep and high mountain the next day and reach 4200m for the first time in our lives. The temperatures dipped as we moved and the air become thinner. With every step we bargained with our legs to take us just another step further. The more we climbed the more we felt that the peak still stood just as far...

But we HAD to do it. So we kept climbing. However, when we were just there, and could even see the peak - 3 among the 5 of us collapsed, sat down and proposed to call that very place as the 'Darwa Pass'. It was the remaining 2 who stood by and pushed them, before we all made it to the actual Darwa Pass...

Hence the answer is simple - friends. What should we carry in our baggage - friends. Why? - Because they help us travel that last furlong...

And hence the trip was actually -

Finding Friendsland

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Hidden Lands of IIT

I Know, I must be half insane to write a blog at 4 in the morning, but folks - can't help it.

YOU GOTTA DO WHAT I JUST DID - walk from Bharti Building to Kumaon (or anywhere to anywhere in Insti or Delhi for that sake!) and feel being transformed to mystic lands of yonder valley - yes, just like the one you always saw in your dreams.

It was 3 AM, when I decided that I would rather sleep on my soft bed than on hard chairs of my lab. As I stepped outside the Bharti Building I was stunned, mesmerized and not to mention afraid to see that visibility was barely 3 meters in even well lit areas. As I slowly stepped forward I realized that I could only see in a radius of a hand's stretch around me in poorly lit areas.

It was like being in the forbidden forest of Hogwarts or being in some lost Valley of Ancient times - Since I was of those few 5-10 odd people out of total 10,000 at IIT Delhi out on streets; each step felt as if it was a fight for survival, as if I was in search of some hidden treasure.

My thoughts transcended when I heard a plane fly above me; and for the first time I saw upwards - only to realize that I could bloody see nothing - forget a hand's stretch. A little later, I heard a roar of engine go past me which told me that it was a truck, which looked to me as a mystic creature with light emitting eyes but a camouflaged body! The streetlights too looked the same - floating orange Sun's without a body of their own...

I was shuddering by the time I reached my hostel - half due to fear, half due to being in my fantasy land for 20 minutes at a stretch.

I will definitely carry a camera when I do this the next time, but the fantasies cannot be captured - you have to feel them, you have to see them!