Friday, March 30, 2007


The Hon. President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was here in BITS today. I was among those who had the fortune of listening to him speaking in the audi, and by God, I do swear that this man wears greatness on his sleeve...

Technology is a non-linear tool which can effect fundamental changes in economic competitiveness.

This was how the great man began his address. The speech in itself turned out to be quite an anticlimax as I went expecting some drivel about making India developed by 2020 but ended up hearing probably the most exciting talk I've ever heard regarding future prospects in the field of technology and engineering.

I'll not bore you with a recap of everything that Dr Kalam said. (For those who want to know, you can visit this link which contains the transcript of his speech and his subsequent interaction with us students.)

The best thing about the Hon. President's address was that he held nothing back. He spoke like a true teacher, exhorting us to become leaders in the field of technology by taking up new cutting edge research in the fields of nanotechnology and ICT (that's Information and Communication Technology). Everything were in the earnest words of a speaker who believes in the potential of the youth and their power to make the country a better place.

All in all, a wonderful experience...Long live APJ!!!

The Battle Won...

What a victory for the anti-quota brigade! With the Hon. Supreme Court of India imposing a stay on the proposal for implementing 27% reservations for OBC's in educational institutes across the country, everyone of us (who have always/at some point or the other spoken against the very idea and notion of quotas) is rejoicing.

This is the reason why Indian democracy hasn't failed over the last 60 years - there always has been a check in place to prevent excesses by any of the arms of the Government machinery. I never lived in the 70's (obviously, since my birth year is 1988) but remembering whatever I've gleaned from various articles related to the times and from the memories of those older than me, I know that Indian democracy succeeded in salvaging itself even in its darkest moment.

But is this victory going to last? I do not know...I do not know if even the Judiciary at this point of time is strong enough to resist the strong-arm tactics of greedy politicians intent upon dividing the country on whatever lines they can conjure - all in the hope that somehow, they retain power.

But whatever happens, at least all of us have the hope now that in times of need - in times where justice is shrouded by the fanaticism of partisans - there is someone who will stand by us, provided we are right.

A showdown is imminent...
The battle lines that were drawn have just turned more prominent...
The battle might have been won...
But the outcome of the war remains to be seen...

Here's to the hope that equality and justice - and not the tyranny of bureaucrats - prevail in the end.

P.S. One thing that I wanted to add here is how fortunate I consider myself for being in an institute like BITS, which has always upheld the principle of merit before any other criterion. During the height of the Government's aggressive stance regarding reservations, BITS had the courage to say 'Sod off' (not quite literally though) and take on the Government in a matter of principle. It was because of the pro-merit stance of the institute that the anti-quota protests didn't affect us as much as it affected others. It is because of the institute that my apathetic attitude towards the issue was cured. It is because of the institute that I got one more reason to believe in India and its glorious future. Hail BITS!!!

P.P.S. These views are my own. Please do not interpret them as the views of people or organization(s) mentioned in this entry.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Writing for the Sake of It

I always believed that freedom from the daily run-of-the-mill activities would allow me to unleash my creative talents (*insert a roll of the eyes here*) and a direct proof of such a thing happening would result in an increase in the frequency and the number of blog entries. But with this sixth day of this short mid-semester break at an end, I find it surprising that this is only my second entry during this time period.

Maybe you do require that extra inspiration and push from your daily life to create something. Maybe that stress and duress does help you express your thoughts as you seek an outlet to free your mind. Whatever it is, today's post is undoubtedly more for writing for the sake of it rather than for writing as a craving and a need.

Before signing off though, here's something I conjured up after waking up today. It's the first vestige of rhyming poetry that I've ever produced (Maybe I should join the poetry club after all!!!)

The stars that were shining bright,
Have given way to the immortal light,
The dark must flee and the sun must shine,
So let the joy of awakening be thine.

Friday, March 16, 2007


What does freedom mean? Obviously, there is no standard definition...nor is there any standard way of defining how being free feels...The thing that everyone says though about freedom is that it means different things to different people. For some, it's the joy of waking up everyday and knowing that you are in charge of your own destiny while for others, it still remains an elusive dream that is the only reason for living...

It is on this note that I must admit of being guilty of something that is to do with 'the lost meaning of words' and that is of using the word 'Freedom' too liberally or too frequently, without probably knowing of its true meaning or of its true implications. Let me give an example to illustrate what I'm saying...

From 20th to 24th March, BITS is going to play host to APOGEE - the institute's All-India Tech Fest. So, it effectively means that all of us have a fortnight off starting today. My classwork ended today at 10 am. So what have I done after that? I logged onto Google Talk and promptly set my status message to 'FREEDOM FOR A FORTNIGHT', freedom as in there being no tests, no exams, no classes for the next fortnight.

So, maybe I have forgotten the true meaning of freedom. After all, being born and brought up in a free nation, there are many things which are taken for granted...some simple pleasures of a free life that are not appreciated...some historical percepts that are not remembered...

Today, as write this entry, I hope I can absolve myself of this crime of taking the word 'freedom' so lightly. I hope that I always remember what this simple word means to those who suffer from its absence, and I hope too that the freedom that I enjoy, also extends to all other beings on this planet.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Duel or A Reply???

This is what I think has the makings of a bloggers' duel - at least one in which one shot from each side is fired. To know what I'm talking about, you first have to read Harshad's latest blog entry though. (You can read it here.) It's really a good insight into what I think and believe in...For example, when I see him play FIFA, I can't help wonder how his sedate, calm approach and a slow build-up to the game is similar to his careful and measured attitude to life in general. (Sorry Harshad, couldn't resist that jibe :) )

Anyways, it's true that I do find a lot of similarities between what I see around me in the inanimate world to what I find in people engaging in various activities related to this inanimate world. It's because for me, everything boils down to two things - your choices and their consequences. And in consequences, everything related to whatever goes on around you - animate or inanimate - is included. And I've already spoken about the influence of your daily life on your daily thoughts and the stuff, so I won't bother you with a repeat of that. (In case, you don't remember or you'd like to know of it, click here.)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Right Time

2200 hrs now and I was trying to get some sleep…it’s too early for a normal BITsian to succumb to the slow seductive harmony of sleep but the reason for resting is much different than the usual suspects – tiredness and sickness…Manchester United play in less than an hour and I thought that getting a little rest while I had nothing better to do would soothe the frayed mechanism of my biological clock.

Anyways, inspiration and thought (the latter being more important than the former) struck me and so here I am…composing a blog entry in the dark with only the light of the display screen before me (I do wonder how weird the scene must be for an outsider)…

The thing that struck me was regarding the phrase ‘the right moment’. We do tend to use it over and over again…always treating it as an excuse through which we could escape something…sometimes using it as a tool to conveniently represent procrastination as necessary…There’s always an expression like ‘I am waiting for the right time to do this thing’ or better still ‘I knew the world wasn’t prepared for this…I knew it wasn’t the right time…so I decided not to do it…’ around the corner for you to use.

But somehow, I tend to believe that there is no right time in our lives. There never comes a time when you say this time is most appropriate for this and all that stuff…

Am I getting abstract? I guess so, but then again, the chance of speaking out against old clichés doesn’t come up everyday, does it? What I’m trying to say here is that the best time to start with anything is ‘now’…not today…not tomorrow…not the right time…but now…The reason I say this is that if you don’t do what you plan today, someone else will do it in your stead…And imagine if that something which you wanted to do was some wildly original idea that could have changed the world…Just imagine…

All difficulties in life can be overcome by starting early…If you find something difficult to understand in study, start studying earlier, put in more efforts, work harder and you’ll surely succeed…If you find yourself struggling to make a mark in writing a story, think harder and longer, put pen on paper and produce something even if what you actually write transpires into shit. Eventually, you’ll produce something completely original.

That’s why I believe in the tenet of starting now…If you do so, if you decide to start with whatever you want at the earliest possible moment, you’ll never have to give the excuse of the ‘right time’. The opportune moment will always be there before you and you will always achieve whatever your heart desires.

For me, that’s the most important lesson I learnt today…And in hindsight, if I hadn’t tried to rest early, would I have learnt this?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Fall and the End

"There is providence in the fall of a sparrow..."

That was the tagline for the last HDC play. Never thought something would remind me of the same few words so soon...

After all, what providence can you find in a fledgling (I can't even call it a pigeon) falling from its nest, lungs quite likely crushed and trying most probably in vain, to breathe some air, to somehow increase the duration of its very short life? Maybe, it would have been better if it had died immediately upon its fall...It definitely would have been better had it not fallen at all...

As the strains of 'DJ's Breakdown' from Rang De Basanti fall on my ears, as I contemplate whether it would be better for me to solve a couple of Physics problems before I leave for my ASP.NET class, I also feel the pain of the chick's fall...I can imagine the Herculean efforts it must have taken for it to take that one more breath...I can see its mother watching a couple of friends as we tried to pick it up gently and placing it back in its nest - all of us knowing unconsciously that it was only a gesture to help the mother have a last look at its chick.

And yet, as soon as I stood on that chair, the mother, possibly feeling threatened by a human, flew away. I placed the chick on the nest and got down, but I don't think the pigeon ever returned to its chick.

It is in times like this that you realize you are humans...The pigeon will forget its grief and will soon begin to look for a new mate to give birth to more chicks...It will not wallow in self-pity nor will it linger in the past. For the pigeon, there will always be challenges around the corner - ones that it must overcome to ensure its own survival - everything else will come later...there will always be the promise of a better future without the sceptre of the past hanging on its head...

But what of humans? What about those who have undergone such innumerable sufferings in their lifetimes? Why can't we forget? Why can't we move on? Is this what it is to be 'higher' beings? Is this what humanity does to a living being? Is such a life of remembering depressing moments and lingering on the memories of lost opportunities worth living for?

I don't pretend to have felt all these personally in my life (a fact that I'm very thankful for) but I know these things do happen. It's only when it happens around you or to someone you know that you really sit up and take notice. And even though you wished you never knew about it, there's nothing you can do to forget...nothing you can do but move on with a heavy heart...wishing that time will mend the wounds and make the scars fade...

The Path Less Trodden...

Have you ever wanted to break away – to break free from the moulds of convention and fly into the realms of the unknown…Have you ever called yourself a coward for believing in an alternate reality with you as its centre…Have you ever actually broken bonds that bind you and taken the path less trodden…If yes, what have you called yourself then – an escapist or a pioneer?

The world today seeks individuals, not institutions…that much is apparent enough. The truth is that everyone loves to see an individual rise from the depths of sorrow and agony…everyone loves to see that individual attain the heights of glory…and everyone loves it even more when that individual falls to the ground, encumbered by failed ventures and the burden of cataclysmic decisions. It’s like all other people in the world want to experience a pseudo life they could possibly never have got.

The world demands that you be different…it demands that you bring something new to the table, each and every time…That’s the only way you can possibly keep the world interested – by doing something new each and every time. (While writing this, I remember the scene from King Kong where Ann Darrow entertains Kong by performing calisthenics…It’s something new for the giant simian and that’s what keeps him so engrossed.)

This possibly goes against a previous post of mine where I say that people do not want to be unique…that they find it much easier to tread upon the path that others before them have taken rather than to discover new ones…and I still stand by that…But the truth is that this argument stands for the common man alone.

Great people are known for innovation, for their will to invent, for their thirst to discover and for their knack at improvisation. The competitive world of today basks in the glory of the limelight provided by such great men, and this glory (possibly undeserved) makes today’s world thirsty for more of the same. It is for this reason that the world demands and covets individuals who are different…it is for this reason that the world asks us to dare to be different from the ‘also-rans’…it is for this reason that the world coerces us to become great so that it may bask in greatness as well…and then as they say, this cycle simply goes on and on and on in an endless manner.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Blogging Perceptions

I have been blogging now for the best part of the past two months and as is no doubt clear to the very few readers of this blog, I've always tried to make this blog an account of my thoughts instead of it being a sort of Dear Diary thing. However, despite my attempts, I admit that what I've done or have been doing during this time has had a clear bearing on what I've written subsequently in this blog.

So, what's the point of all this? Actually, what I'm trying to say is that your thoughts are only an extension of the things that surround you...of all the things that are happening in and around you. As humans and as busy people, you rarely get to debate on the merits and demerits of globalisation or WTO meets or political issues and propoganda on a regular basis. Your thoughts are usually encumbered with ways and means to handle all the things been thrown at you. So, it's only natural that your thought process becomes an extension of what you're seeing in and around you, i.e., your own life and its happenings.

That's why I've become inclined to believe that for a regular blogger, it is indeed hard to disassociate himself/herself from the real events that are occurring in his/her life. That's why a blog shall always be an extension and possibly a mirror of your own life, even if you don't want it to become a diary you never had.

Censorship is F**k

This is an issue that I do feel very strongly about and once again its significance in things that are going on in and around me is emerging very fast. We talk about freedom and conscientious thought to support our actions and the need to put our beliefs into other people...yet we carry on with out senseless propoganda regarding moral policing and senseless censorship.

Here at BITS, this situation has cropped up yet again with the emergence of inter-bhawan (that's inter-hostel) data sharing and especially, the new DC++ hub. It's true that most of the junta, over the course of the last couple of weeks has made more than a liberal use of this software...and why shouldn't they? It's the best way in which you can get the info you need.

However, we now have 'certain elements belonging to the middle to upper echelons of the BITS hierarchy' trying to go forward with their one-point agenda - 'Such things allow users access to evils like piracy and pornography'.

Honestly, these people need a break. Of course, I don't admit they are completely wrong. There is indeed a grain of truth in what they are saying, but on certain levels, is their way of going about inspecting random computers and confiscating the system whenever something incriminating is found justified? I don't think so...

This is the age of information, where information is the only thing that is freely and easily available. You can't hide from this fact, nor can you ignore the fact that sealing one way of info exchange will subsequently open hundreds more aimed at the same thing...the point being that moral policing and censorship are now passé. If students want to go their hands on porn, they don't need the Internet or the network to get it. They can get it as easily from spending a few bucks on magazines, or even CD's.

The solution lies not so much in restricting the domain of a person's reach, or in censoring his activities but more so in instilling in him, a judgement of what is conscientiously acceptable... The solution lies not so much in moral policing but more so in giving the individual the necessary freedom and allowing him to make an educated choice as to the path he is willing to choose...

Friday, March 2, 2007

Eternal Rhapsody

A new day...a new morning...a new belief...a new will...It's amazing what a night's good rest can do for it can make you eager to rush out to the battlefield of your everyday chores and jobs with renewed vigour, enthusiasm and desire.

So whenever you are feeling low, get some rest and listen to the eternal rhapsody that sleep conjures up for will leave you intoxicated, refreshed and recharged. No wonder then that a new finding endorsed the importance of sleep by saying that sleep is essential for the replacement and growth of brain cells. No wonder then that Jason Bourne, the fictional assassin, recommends rest as being the most crucial weapon.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Silent Surprises...

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? Almost a week to the day I posted last, but I don't think anyone's counting the days now, ain't it? Actually, I did write something on King Kong the other day, but somehow that post was never destined to see the light of the day. At least that's what I am inclined to think...

This has indeed been a week of silent surprises...The Chemistry test went bad...that was a surprise in itself...Didn't think that I had prepared that badly for it...Then there was Manchester United's remarkable win over Reading - we were three up inside the first six minutes yet had to hang on for a win by the barest of margins...And yes, most importantly, Pilani witnessed a big storm yesterday night as it poured cats and dogs in a place which is supposedly on the fringes of the desert. Along with the rains, the temporary chill returned and sent everyone scurrying back to the comfort of sweaters and jackets.

There is something about the rains that make me sit up and take notice...Maybe it's the rhythmic melody of the raindrops falling on the ground, or maybe it is the earthy smells that pervade the air after the rains, or maybe it is something else...Whatever it is, there is no doubting how uplifting the rain is...It is as if the rain cleanses your very frees your mind...liberates your senses (if I say anything more, I'd start writing poetry and that's something I'm not too good, let me stop while I'm ahead)...

Watching the rain come down and the wind howling reminded me of a time when seeing nature in such a wild form excited me so much. Don't get me still does...but somehow that enthusiasm...that excitement is tempered by the encumbrances that life presents before you to place shackles on your mind and create bonds to ground the flight of your imagination. Someday again, maybe I shall feel the same excitement...the same thrill upon watching the rain...

So do I miss the thrill? I don't know. I guess, it's a question of giving up on some things to be able to do well in others. They say 'greatness is not achieved without sacrifice'. As one of the taglines of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King always reminds me 'NO VICTORY WITHOUT SUFFERING'. Maybe that's what I need to observe these surprises silently and let them them change but never wavering in my goal...never straying from my path...