Tuesday, September 28, 2010


After living in the beautiful campus of the Indian Institute of Technology,Guwahati for more almost 430 days and experiencing the subtle variations of the weather, I have realized that I have lived some of the best moments of my life. The area just outside the campus is called Amingaon. Its so green. If you will walk down the road, you will feel that u are somewhere in kerala.The mighty Brahmaputra is always there to accompany you. The ashwaklanta mandir, the ferry ghat, the doul gobind mandir and of course the brahmaputra bridge are some of the places I often visit when I don’t feel like doing anything, when I don’t like feel like thinking anything…just to be with myself……IIT has been a good experience…first, to be with some of the best brains in the country…the geeks….nerds…..students are so free and independent…so open-minded….crazy to fulfill their passion and at the same time trying to handle the tough academic curricula…and they do it successfully…the system ensures that once you pass out, you are robust enough, tough enough to do anything and everything….producing the real engineers…who are capable to solve real life problems…..the other day, I was chatting with my guide and he told me…and I quote..”see, we are engineers and not mathematicians…hats off to them how they think…give big big theorems…prove them….i mean they are genius…we cannot think like them…we should work application specific….we don’t work on assumptions…we should think practically….we should be aware of the constraints that we are going to face while implementing something….” It was indeed a thoughtful thought….i pondered over it…in the mind, I had a flashback of whatever I had done in the project till date and I realized that if I go for the implementation, I will have “n” number of issues to tackle….so I decided that I should first find out what are the constraints….what is the ground reality…

I will tell you something about my project…..it is tilted”authenticating encryted data”….there is tremendous and overwhelming flow of information in the digital world…..this information needs to be protected....from whom? From pircay….for having secured communication…for making the communication secured, you need to present the information in way that is non-sense for unintended destinations….only the guy for whom you are sending the message is able to decode it….this is called as encryption….encyption scrambles the information, removes the correlation among the data points…

We are aware of the fact that bandwidth needs to be properly utilized. When, we deal with multimedia data like images, audio, video ..we actually deal with a large heap of information…it needs to be properly represented so that the storage and bandwidth requirements are reduced….compression gives us the solution…..compression looks for the correlation….looks for the pattern in the data and tries to remove the redundancy…..

And, here is the conflict…..compression looks for patterns….encryption tries to remove it….so, the first issue to be tackled is to have an encryption algorithm which preserves the compression ratio to some extent…..

Authenticating means to prove that I am original, I have originated from the true source…I have not been manipulated….here, I represents information….industry standards that are used are watermarks, hash functions, message authentication codes….in my project, I have to incorporate watermarks/hash with encryption so that the watermark remains invariant to the encryption process…..thats the second issue to be tackled….

Project has been a great learning experience….sometimes you don’t know what you are doing…where are you heading….there are moments that when you come to know that the lines you were thinking on was wrong…..you have to rethink, reorganize yourself….

At times, the final year of m.tech seems boring….no course work…only teaching assistantship duty…so going to the lab is not mandatory(thanks to my guide for being so flexible with me)….there are times when I feel blank….all alone….i so eagelry wait for the clock to hit 6 p.m. when the sun sets(the scorching sun I must say)….and I just flee away from my room into the ground…..i try to find someone to play with…badmintion..tennis or cricket…when there is no hang out with, I run….and run…and run….theni come back…drink one litre of milk….my hostelmates call me milk boy!!

Final year has been gracious enough to give me time to read some books…..books are the greatest companions….”To the last bullet” written by Vinita kamte, the wife of late Ashok kamte introduced a great personality….his life style, work ethics will surely have an everlasting effect on my life…presently reading”three statesmen: gokhle,gandhi and nehru”…trying to get into the history….trying to see how that world looked….how those visionaries affected the future of this country….how they shaped up our lives…..i think that the solutions to the problems lie in our past…unless we don’t know it correctly, we wont be able to appreciate and understand why things are like that? Gokhale once told and I quote…”we will never be able to unite hindus and muslims completely”…..i found it so true….

Also reading…”The world since 1945”….there is so much diversity across the nations…I always thought why countries are in conflict….now I realize, why they have so much less conflict!!economic imbalance, power concentration, arms race,neo-colonialism…these issues are taking the world towards more disorder….chaos…we need leadership…..leaders who can guide people…..

Seeing so much problems…so much diversity, I realize the importance of gandhi….what he tried to do….we have to accept the fact that difference will always be there at different levels….at community level, at caste level, at state level, at nation level….people have found unique tools to divide themselves in groups….groups which have common agenda……I will give tell you what I have experienced in my hostel in the last one year….the division between north and south people is so strong…they wont talk with each other….in the mess, they wont sit with each other….there is always a conflict on the mess menu….now leave this aside…once you enter south, there is again division…keralites will be together..telgu will be together……other day, I was talking to one of my friend and my classmate too on the very same issue of why there is such a division….he told that when we sit with north people on the table, they talk in hindi and we hardly understand anything….northern people say they talk in telgu and we don’t understand anything…they shud learn hindi…but the same question andhrites can also raise that why you don’t learn telgu…..and the poblems persists…. ..when the biggest assest of the country fight on such petty issues, I feel bad….acceptance, tolerance, presevearence have been the highlighting point of indian culture…have we lost it? Question haunts but the adventure to find the answer excites….and the excitement increases my belief that gandhi will make a better india…

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The great Indian psychotherapy - Chetan Bhagat

The great Indian psychotherapy


(TOI, 26 Sep 2010, All That Matters, Page 22)

Countless articles, books, thesis, papers and research reports have tried to answer the question, ‘what is wrong with India?’ Global experts are startled that a country of massive potential has one of the largest populations of poor people in the world. Isn’t it baffling that despite almost everyone agreeing that things should change, they don’t? Intellectuals give intelligent suggestions – from investing in infrastructure to improving the judicial system. Yet, nothing moves. Issues dating back thirty years ago, continue to plague India today. The young are often perplexed. They ask will things ever change? How? Whose fault is it that they haven’t?

Today, i will attempt to answer these tricky questions, although from a different perspective. I will not put the blame on everyone’s favorite punching bag– inept politicians. That is too easy an argument and not entirely correct. After all, we elect the politicians. So, for every MP out there, there are a few lakh people who wanted him or her there. I won’t give ‘policy’ solutions either – make power plants, improve the roads, open up the economy. It isn’t the lack of such ideas that is stalling progress. No, blocking progress is part of the unique psyche of Indians. There are three traits of our psyche, in particular, that are not good for us and our country. Each comes from three distinct sources – our school, our environment and our home.

The first trait is servility. At school, our education system hammers out our individual voices and kills our natural creativity, turning us into servile, coursematerial slaves. Indian kids are not encouraged to raise their voices in class, particularly when they disagree with the teacher. And of course, no subject teaches us imagination, creativity or innovation. Course materials are designed for no-debate kind of teaching. For example, we ask: how many states are there in India? 28. Correct. Next question –how is a country divided into states? What criteria should be used? Since these are never discussed, children never develop their own viewpoint or the faculty to think.

The second trait is our numbness to injustice. It comes from our environment. We see corruption from our childhood. Almost all of us have been asked to lie about our age to the train TC, claiming to be less than 5 years old to get a free ride. It creates a value system in the child’s brain that ‘anything goes’, so long as you can get away with it. A bit of lying here, a bit of cheating there is seen as acceptable. Hence, we all grow up slightly numb to corruption. Not even one high profile person in India is behind bars for corruption right now. This could be because, to a certain extent, we don’t really care.

The third trait is divisiveness. This often comes from our home, particularly our family and relatives, where we learn about the differences amongst people. Our religion, culture and language are revered and celebrated in our families. Other people are different – and often implied to be not as good as us. We’ve all known an aunt or uncle who, though is a good person, holds rigid bias against Muslims, Dalits or people from different communities. Even today, most of India votes on one criterion – caste. Dalits vote for Dalits, Thakurs for Thakurs and Yadavs for Yadavs. In such a scenario, why would a politician do any real work? When we choose a mobile network, do we check if Airtel and Vodafone belong to a particular caste? No, we simply choose the provider based on the best value or service. Then, why do we vote for somebody simply because he has the same caste as ours?

We need mass self-psychotherapy for the three traits listed above. When we talk of change, you and i alone can’t replace a politician, or order a road to be built. However, we can change one thing – our mindset. And collectively, this alone has the power to make the biggest difference. We have to unlearn whatever is holding us back, and definitely break the cycle so we don’t pass on these traits to the next generation. Our children should think creatively, have opinions and speak up in class. They should learn what is wrong is wrong – no matter how big or small. And they shouldn’t hate other people on the basis of their background. Let us also resolve to start working on our own minds, right now. A change in mindset changes the way people vote, which in turn changes politicians.

And change does happen. In the 80s, we had movies like “Gunda” and “Khoon Pi Jaaonga”. Today, our movies have better content. They have changed. How? It is because our expectations from films have changed. Hence, the filmmakers had to change.

If we resolve today that we will vote on the basis of performance alone, we will encourage the voices against injustice and we will place an honest but less wealthy person on a higher pedestal than a corrupt but rich person. By doing so, we would contribute to India’s progress. If everyone who read this newspaper did this, it would be enough to change voting patterns in the next election. And then, maybe, we will start moving towards a better India. Are you on board?

lost in the processing.......

The innermost level of consciousness:

a sudden surge...conflicts and confusions...knowledge expansion...more confusion...when we start projecting our problems on a higher dimensional plane, we allow more factors to have an impact on the solution....no doubt we broaden our horizons as we gain knowledge but at the same time we make our lives difficult...we start thinking more....scratching our head....trying to find out that optimized solution that suffices the constraints...we always strive to find the ultimate truth...sometimes we feel that we are the sea and we know everything...and the very next moment, the notions...the understandings fall apart....ability to learn and unlearn the things gives us the flexibility to face such situations....it gives us the space to introspect, to analyze the things...it lets you form your own theory and design the apparatus to do the experiments with truth....at the end of the whole process and irrespective of whether we learnt a new thing or unlearnt an old one, we definitely stand as a more experienced being

the whole life moves under a big for loop until we enter that infinite loop...in life we have so many control loops, conditions are being checked, some printf statements, some scanf statements...calculations,miscalculations, break statements, if-then-else statements....sometimes, I feel that life is the largest and the most complex program ever made...where the programmer never dies...it just gets lost in the processing.......

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