Watery Chennai, Watery IIT

The heavy rains since a couple of days have screwed up the place. This city sucks when it rains.

The insti somehow looks like a natural jungle. Although the streams of water flowing here there and everywhere add to the jungle-look, for the not so junglee students like me, it's quite irritating and annoying. I already had a three days fever (that too during quiz time) because I got myself wet in the rains enough number of times, and not once though because I actually wanted to!

But the best part of this weather is the temperature. I mean it's just perfect! So I am not so unhappy if I can save myself from getting drenched in one of those all-of-a-sudden downpours. Aftterall most of the times, when the rain is not falling directly over my head, I can be cool :)

Down to earth Entertainment

This is for everyone. Don't miss Khosla ka Ghosla. It's a mast movie!! From the name it might appear to be an out and out comedy film. No sir, it ain't. Hold on though 'coz when I say that it's not an "out and out" comedy, I only mean it does not belong to those sustained-only-(and-only)-by-humor kind of cinema. Yep, I remember the term that should clear it all. Situational comedy! Exactly!!

Let me sum up on why this movie rocks. Khosla ka Ghosla is an extremely real-life-types movie which is witty enough to keep you entertained (and seriously entertained) because of it's simple-yet-adorable plot, brilliant performance, and superb flow of story till the very end. More so this movie scores well on the music too.

And if any of you have seen this movie, did you notice that the younger son has been shown to be an IIT D pass out? :)

The only negative factor for this flick is Tara Sharma, the IITD-pass-out's GF. Her Hindi is horrible! Or better still, her Hindi sucks!

DON revisited

Liked it. Was a decent movie. I would have enjoyed much more if I were ten years younger! SRK was good enough.

: Okay, here's the spoiler. If you recall, in the original, Don dies very early. His look alike Vijay is trained as Don who then joins Don's gang to get information about a lot of other criminals and especially one called Vardhan whose picture doesn't exist with the Police. There's this DCP who is the only guy in Police Dept who knows that Vijay is playing Don. Unfortunatlely the DCP dies in the middle of the movie and Vijay has to put hazzar fight to prove that he is Vijay! Finally he does. The only secret revealed as Vijay tries to prove his identity is that the interpole agent who had been involved in the investigation is none other that Vardhan himself.

In the remake, Don never dies! :) Quite a spoiler, ain't it? When caught by the DCP, Don is brought to a hospital and kept unconscious using anesthesia. The DCP then calls his look alike Vijay (yes all names in the SRK version of DON are as that in the original itself) to the same hospital and asks the doctors to immitate on Vijay's body, all the marks present on Don's. So far so good. But somehow, Don manages to listen to all this funda and when the body-marks-copying-job is done, he slips into Vijay's bed, and shifts Vijay to his. And he ensures that Vijay dies in the hospital bed.

This funda is revealed to the audience only in the end!

Yet another spoiler is that in this movie DCP also never dies, and more so he happens to be Vardhan, the wanted criminal.

I am sure you are going to enjoy the movie! :)

Fight AIDS in India

Are you wondering why am I suddenly asking you guys to fight AIDS? I can explain.

A couple of weeks ago, there was an IP (read notice) put up in my hostel. It invited submissions of logo/web-template designs for an NGO called "Fight Aids in India". I tried making a logo because there was a cash prize attached to it! The prize for the logo-design was 500 bucks while that for the web-template-design was 1500. In case you are wondering why I chose to make only the logo and not the web-template, I should tell you that making a logo takes something like 15 minutes while creating a template definitely takes a lot more time (at least to me). Basically 1500 bucks was too less a prize money to motivate me to try making a template (which might or might not have been selected). Fifteen minutes was worth betting for.

So my 15-minutes of graphic stint ended with this logo that you see below.

The good thing is that, today I was informed that this logo has been selected. :) Good news. Isnt' it? The better thing is that I am richer by 500 bucks! And can I also add that I in my own way also contributed towards fighting AIDS in India? ;)

A teacher's point of view

For those of you, who are not already aware of my PTJ, this is the post to read. And those of you, who are already aware of it, read more.

I did use to put science-maths fundays to my siblings at times. But teaching for money is somewhat different. One needs to 'act' like a professional. I try my best. In the process, I have started looking at the world (albeit only at times) through the eyes of a teacher. I know this sounds so weird. I mean, afterall I just spend few hours each week with tenth class kids!

What do I mean by the phrase 'looking at the world through the eyes of a teacher'? I am not sure if I can explain this fully. But there's surely one thing that I can write about. Today, it so happened that I was teaching Physics to the two kids together. In some time, I realized that one of them was actually too low on concentration. I 'hated' it. I don't belive that I 'hated' it when I myself, had always been a student like him! All this time! Did someone say that you can't feel the other guys pain till you actually step into his shoes? So true! Just so true!

I am sure that the next time I switch to a nap-taking-mode in any of the classes, today's incident will help me come out of it. Good for me!

Medha re Medha re

Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) fame, was here in insti this Monday, to share her piont of view with us, the IITians. Since I happen to be doing so many case studies this semester, which involve in some way or another the resistances offered by activists and environmental groups, I was particulary interested in hearing to what she had to say. And oh my holy lord, she had to say a lot. She is an extremely effective orator. She knows how to put forward her points and how to fight back against so many powerful forces.

She was here in Chennai, basically to oppose the airport expansion plan, which if initiated would displace about five thousand households. I wont go into the details of her speech (as if I remember everything she talked about in that something more than an hour duration), but I would definitely like to share some points that are worth pondering over.

Before writing any more, I would like you to recall that I am being trained as a Civil Engineer. So you see, guys like me come up with engineering solutions in the form of Dams, and Airfields to meet the needs of the society. Guys like Medha on the other hand, just brush aside our otherwise appreciated projects. So there's supposed to be an inherent conflict between our ways of thinking. All I would like you to do is to keep this in mind while you read my arguments so as to make a better assessment of the affair.

She questioned the meaning of development. Do rising shopping malls in cities, or the increasing number of airports or the construction of hydroelectric power projects really signify development? She said no. And she said she belived so, because these activities lead to disparity. These so called parameters of development, leave behind the poor who are not included fairly in the policy making processes. She asserted that every individual matters and so any infrastructure project should not be given a nod, till every affected 'citizen' is happy with it.

She is no different from the other activists who fight for the plight of small sections of society who so often get negatively affected by the process of so called development. Though she never explicitly mentioned, what she was talking about was 'Economic Development'. And Economic development indeed includes all the stuff (especially the infrastructure realated stuff) that she talked about. It includes any thing and everything that leads to improvement in the overall economy of a nation. So if the Govt decides to invest in a project that will lead to an increase in power generation, it indeed is a step towards economic development. Doesn't matter what Medha Patker thinks of it.

But yes, her issue about rising disparity is true. Economic Developments often tend to increase the gap between the rich and poor. The section of people who are directly going to benefit from say increased power generation are the industrialists who are in real need of power to run their machines. Why should a villager who doesn't even have a power transmission line crossing his village care about it? He care's about his land, which gives him rice and wheat and maze and sugarcane and what not. That is all he wants. And so if a dam at an upstream spot is going to sink his land deep inside water, he is going to raise his voice. What we are talking about here is a trade-off. Scarcity of resources is the concept on which the whole theory of economics is based. So many times, it happens that to produce A you have got to give up B. So how do you decide then? Tricky question.

It felt good when Medha did admit that some kind of econimic development was definitely needed. But it should be done in fine balance with the social develeopment where the benefit of any project trickles down to the lower sections of the society. A fine balance! Well, it makes sense though it does have one problem. Being almost always surrounded with the affected groups, she wont ever be happy with any kind of balance that guys like me come up with. What kind of balance is really the best? It's really a difficult question to answer, more so because here we are two different sets of people looking at world from different places. The more we listen to one another, the better we will be able to appreciate each other's concerns. And look, that's happening! :)

Look what follows!

It's quite a coincident that just two days after the last post (yesterday), I was gifted a super-cool no-wood-all-graphite 8B pencil by one of my best friends. I call this a coincident because I am more than sure, she hasn't seen the earlier post, which carries a Fabre Castle ad. :)

And this pencil is amazing. It's unlike any other graphite pencil that I have ever used. Love it!

Ideas appear with pencil and eraser

World Talk

No, this is not about tech-fests. This is about a small report in today's ET, titled "IIT among world's top universities".

Only when one reads furthur, one finds that IIT's rank is 57. Not bad! Afterall India is a developing nation. The report is based on the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) survey.

Well, the bottomline is: It feels good be studying in a place like this! :)

It's spirit everywhere; the spirit of engineering. Today is the third day of Shaastra2006 and I am having a good time!

No plans to participate and all. My only job is to see that there are volunteers around all the ambience-models on display, who can put fundays to anyone who is 'curious'. And then of course, I also need to use my grub-coupons in all the stalls that are running.

A decent number of babes to be seen this time! Babes in a tech-fest just rock! ;)


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