Project

Growth

Spinach and Soya plants that we’re growing as a part of our final year project work.

I never knew growing plants was such a hard thing to do. At first, we had to get the right sized pots, appropriate soil along with organic manure, and seeds (everything that we bought from the fantabulous nursery at Lalbagh). We’re presently taking care of 36 pots(!) and need to monitor the growth of these seedlings everyday. I didn’t know that I could be a good “plant person” either. Every time my mom asked me to water the plants and trees at home, I ignored. But now, I volunteer to do it even before I’m asked to help. Anyway, this has been really cool and a lot of fun so far. Moreover, I get to take pictures of them too, so wohoo.

Another thing about this work is that the person whom I’m working with is really different from me and the kind of people usually in my friends circle. This has given me an opportunity to explore the dynamics of a different kind of relationship. This is something that I need to experience and learn from.

Final Semester

I attended the first day of the final semester of college today. After many days of sleeping past 9 am, I was inspired to wake up early and have the same zeal in me that I had while attending the first day of college. I sat alone for a while, deserted in a huge chaotic classroom, and pretended to be busy on my phone. In reality, I was thinking about the way things turned out in the past four years. It is true what people say about college. They are the best and also the worst years of our lives. Four years ago, I was quite clear about my goals and the direction I was moving in. Today, I feel like I’ve been left to wander off in the middle of an enormous desert.

When I think about all that I’ve achieved and all that I haven’t, I don’t majorly regret any phase that I’ve been through or any decision that I’ve taken. Sometimes I feel that I should’ve done some things differently, but I don’t regret them either because I was fully aware of everything that I was involved in at the moment.

Anyway, in the last couple of months here, I hope to make the most of the time that I’ve got. For the first time, I feel like Time is on my side. Even if for a short period.

We learn by teaching.

“Akka, what do you want to do next?” she asked me.

The gleamy eyes of a eleven year old waited for a reply while I was setting the video playlist in the science exhibition organized by our department for the government school children of classes 6, 7 and 8.

“I want to go out and eat something; I’m hungry.” I told her.

“No no, not now. What do you want to do after studying?”

Whoa! A eleven year young girl wanting to know my life plans! Even my folks haven’t asked me this question yet. I wanted to tell her something that she could comprehend easily.

“Oh! Erm, I’ll be an engineer in one year…” I thought out loudly, still thinking of something appropriate to tell her.

“So you will work at a company?” she stopped my thought process.

“No no, I will study more…”

“Why?”

“So that I become a good teacher and come back to teach…”

The reply was spontaneous and almost came instantaneously. Maybe sometime in the future, given the opportunity and right circumstances, I wouldn’t hesitate a bit to be a teacher. I understand that there is still a long way to go for me, but it is one of the noble ways to give back and gain a lot more in return.

Our college has adopted many government schools across the state. Students help them out during the weekends by teaching english, computers, science and mathematics. I learnt a lot of things yesterday while teaching the children some basic physics experiments involving temperature measurement and thermometers. These kids had never seen any practical experiments before. I felt that the teachers in these schools need more help than the students. They are unaware of many concepts and in turn, misguide the students. Many kids were really smart and interested, and asked many questions too.

The kids viewed microorganisms through microscope for the very first time (Oh, The Joy!) , saw different metals flame up in different colors and awed while white light dispersed into rainbow colors from a prism, to name a few.

sixth semester: keep calm and carry on

After the long wait (I mean, after 2 weeks of holidays), sixth semester began today. The first hour of the first day of every semester is dedicated to course registrations, HoD’s address and coarse discussions amongst herds of sheep about GPAs (“she doesn’t even know how to use a micropipette in lab, how did she end up with a 8.36?” and the like). An interesting bunch of teachers would be facing us this time, trying to decode their area of science to us. The methods of dealing with the subjects and tests is refined every semester. We find newer ways to memorize or remember something and get ‘smarter’ by taking up tests.

A new change to the system was announced today – laboratory final exams to be cancelled this time. I don’t support this new change at all. I think lab exams are important. Labs are the only place where we get hands-on experience and where we’re forced to think for ourselves (during exams) while conducting an experiment. Theory exams on the other hand, are more read-from-textbook-and-vomit-on-answer-sheet kind. To be honest, I have understood a few experiments and their concepts  only while preparing for, and performing the experiment in lab during the finals.

There is nothing much to say, except that I’m looking forward to the next three months which will be filled with many unexpected events/occurrences and many more comic sans powered powerpoint presentations (lets hope not!).

personal contacts

This is a story about two boys pursuing engineering from the same college. The first boy was not very serious about his courses and just floated through the semesters without worrying or doing anything phenomenal. He got into this college because of the close friendship between his influential father and the college principal. He was also sure of getting a job at a huge company the same way later on. The second guy struggled, got involved and strove to learn the subjects. He may have not been the brightest in the entire batch or in the top 5 percentile, but he was very much interested in the courses and was willing to take ‘that extra step’. He got admitted into the college after getting a good rank in the entrance exam. He even took extra classes to prepare for these exams. He was thrilled to have gotten the opportunity to study in a prestigious university.

So what happened to these guys? The first guy ended up in a good company using his father’s influence and got everything without having to work hard. He completed his engineering with below average scores but still bagged a six figure salary job. (after all, marks aren’t everything, right?) His life remained to be easy and smooth. The second guy ended up with a mediocre job along with a major part of the rest of the uninterested bunch. His life cycle continues the similar way – striving to succeed in work too. His life is now merely reduced to a 9 to 6 job inside a cubicle of an air conditioned room with a five figure salary.

Protest at PESIT – an account

Today, I witnessed something that was shocking, surprising, ruthless, emotional – all at once in college. A second year EC student committed suicide in his hostel room by hanging himself and without leaving behind a note. I got the news at around 9am while looking out of the classroom window where a huge crowd had gathered outside the boys hostel which is right next to our building. The classes still continued, with many rumors floating around. We had lab internals at 10am which was disrupted when a teacher walked in to announce that the day was called off due to the sad demise of this student. We were asked to leave the campus immediately. As I waked towards the main gate with my friend and the rest of the college crowd, we realized that the gates were locked and saw a big group of students shouting / protesting against the institute management (especially against the hostel warden). We didn’t know the real story yet and watched a bigger crowd gather near the main building and gates. Press and media had already arrived at the scene – students didn’t allow them inside the campus so they climbed the magnum gate and took videos. Cops came soon in jeeps and vans. Students continued to shout slogans against the hostel warden and the principal. I couldn’t fathom what the actual cause of the protest was – as some people shouted against the college rules while some were against the hostel warden. There were many mixed up issues about the whole situation. By this time, the crowed moved towards the main building along with the director as he struggled to walk through the crowd with the police without being pushed or pulled. Some unruly students then threw stones at the glass building and broke principal’s office. They were immediately made to stop acting this way by other students who went and calmed them down.

We moved towards the cricket field (due to larger area that could occupy everyone) to discuss the issue with the management. Agitated students gathered at the field to listen to what the director had to say. In between shouting and all the chaos – I gathered that an unofficial student union was being formed to discuss the issue with them – as 500 people can’t do it all together. A couple of students who had spoken aloud before – formed a group and would represent the student body. To calm us all down, the DCP took in charge and spoke up loudly. We obliged to her and sat on the field. First – the cops and media were asked to leave as it was now more of a student vs management issue. We told our problems to the reps. Some of which were:

  • 5 marks for attendance to be removed.
  • We should have 3 internals (best of 3) instead of the currently existing compulsory 2 internals. Follow the VTU system.
  • The minimum marks for semester end exam writing eligibility criteria makes no sense in the GPA system. It was asked to be removed.
  • Councilors and doctors to be in the college premises on most days. We have no medical center as well.
  • Support extra curricular activities. Not treat students as prisoners.

While these were some academic demands, there were many demands for the victim’s family as well – college should compensate for travel of his parents, cremation. Warden’s apology for his mishandling of the situation and letting in media barge to film the student – while he was still hanging from the ceiling. Apology for the late arrival of the ambulance which arrived 3 hours late. The principal also clarified that he had not given any statement to the media yet, and everything that was telecasted was based on assumptions.

The director listened to every point and agreed on most changes. (Some illogical demands came up too – which I have not mentioned and don’t think are necessary). I think the principal and the director handled the situation well, and took a stride to support the students. By this time, both the management and students were on terms. The student union announced a candlelight march in the memory of the victim. It was extremely intriguing to see such a huge crowd turn up for it in the evening (more than the number of people who were protesting). We lit candles – the teachers and the principal guided us through the campus starting from the boys hostel. It is the largest crowd I’ve seen in my campus – more than during the cultural fest times. It was something that I’d never though I’d witness in (my) college. It was an emotional and a proud moment.

My take – since the boy left no note, the blame game has started. Yes, the pressure is unbearable sometimes. Too many tests, reports, assignment submission along with project work takes a toll on us. But is suicide the last option? Certainly not. Many have survived this system (and even tougher ones) and passed through it successfully – with happy and depressing memories. Some rules can be removed or tweaked, but this kind of situation should never be taken advantage of. Some students protested today without sticking on to the actual cause and drifted towards irrelevant and illogical demands. Yes, this is probably  a good opportunity to make the management listen to us and bring reforms, but not at the cost of unruly behavior and breaking college property. But in the end, I think the students showed some great character by listening to the authorities and calming down. When this happened, the whole atmosphere changed and provided an opportunity to carry out talks and stop the chaos. One thing that sickened me was watching the video of the boy hanging being shown on television channels and media coming up with random cooked up reasons to justify it. Read more about how the media reported the issue here.

Amongst all this, we are just lost in between deciding what is right and what is wrong.

Basic PowerPoint étiquette for teachers.

Today, I was blinded by large comic sans typeface and pixelated photographs for almost an hour in class. The teachers are getting more “tech-savvy” these days and adapting new methods for teaching (or they do it just to complete the syllabus on time). They get too excited and dump in large diagrams flicked directly from university websites (without mentioning the source) and are happy to just read from the slides than teach by themselves. I think it is my duty to respectfully (ahem) point out some basic powerpoint design etiquette to all the teachers (who’re still in the transformation stages) out there.

Dear teachers, believe it or not, a simplistic direct PPT does work quite effectively on students. No need to exaggerate content just because you have an open digital medium that let’s you do many number of things that traditional methods usually don’t.

  • First and the foremost -use decent or plain backgrounds for slides! I know that you get excited seeing many grunge textures and punk pattern templates that microsoft offers, but please refrain from using them against non-elementary reaction flowcharts and kinetics data analysis equations.
  • Please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD – avoid comic sans. Looks like it is your second favorite font after Times New Roman.
  • Use fonts that are simple and clear to read – preferably sans serifs. Keep the typefaces & size consistent throughout the presentation.
  • Learn color basics (It’s not too late to learn something that doesn’t pertain to your course work. We students learn a lot of non-study related things everyday and it kind of makes us much smarter in the real world). Red on brown, Ink blue on black, yellow on bright orange, etc (you get the drift) will eventually lead to some kind of disorder of vision. Plus, you don’t want us to go blind for the later half of the day.
  • If you want me to cite references in my project report, I want you to credit the photographs/illustrations/diagrams in your power point presentation as well. This is a personal thing, but I’d respect you a lot more if you did.
  • Don’t use animation/transitions on texts! I really don’t want to see words rumbling and rolling all over the place while reading about atomic force microscopy or something. Save the animations for demonstrating real experimental processes instead.
  • 6 x 7 rule – No more than 6 lines per slide and no more than 7 words per line. Use bullets and short-hand writing (consisting of keywords only). We really don’t want to see tons of textbook material copy-pasted on the slides :-|
  • Why oh why, did you type EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS?
  • Make lists. We all like reading lists that are progressive and lead us to a final result.
  • Clipboard is not your toy house! Ok.
  • I prefer (personally) if the subject and topic name is mentioned in the footer of every slide. Helps me stick to the theme and not drift away after a couple of slides.
  • Important words could be in a different color.
Finally, make use of this tool only to guide you in teaching. Don’t read everything directly from it and use it as a main source of teaching material. Some teachers just cannot proceed if the projector konks off in the middle of a class! They go blank and call every helper in the building to make it work to resume teaching. This shows how dependent they are on an external support than themselves. Finally, ask students for help. No harm in it.
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“kya maal lagti hai yaar”

It has been 2 years in college and I have still not got the hang of being in a 70% male-dominated group. I have been around guys before, yes, but this time it is a very different experience – the one that I am still not accustomed to. Precisely, 90% of the guys in the group are from different parts of the country and that is what is contributing many differences. What bewildered me at first was their attitude towards girls. I am not a hardcore feminist or anything, but I think when you are 20 years into experiencing the world, that too in an environment like this, there ought to be some respect towards people of the opposite gender. Referring to a girl as ‘maal‘ and other words that are way beyond my comprehension level. I usually pretend to ignore such random comments (and prefer venting out my feelings here instead :|). I have been told that it is very common for guys to talk or behave like this, but what I cannot understand is how can they be cool with behaving this way right in front of other girls? As far as I have noticed, the other 2 girls don’t seem to be bothered about these kind of remarks (sometimes, they even encourage them – which is astonishing). This is not the kind of environment I have been raised in over the past years. In my school, boys and girls did go around and everything – but it was always clean, cheerful and decent. There was no use of abusive language and indecent behavior. The vibe that I felt there was different. I din’t have to be conscious in their company. I am not generalizing, but purely speaking from experience. Every day in college, I hear a series of cheap words and gaalis being used proudly in a single sentence. They seem to perceive women as “objects” that they can comment on in groups whenever they feel like.

Letting my feelings out, and writing about all this, I remember once a random friend from college asking me how I could tolerate to be in such a company and how “miss-fit” I must be feeling. The real answer to the question is- to be honest, these guys are my friends and have always been nice to me. They have never been rude or spoken cheaply to me. I wonder why can’t this attitude prevail for other girls too? Why can’t they be more open minded about the world and not come off as desperate wannabes? This is not really a north indian boys vs south indian boys thing. I’m sure there are all kinds of men in every region of the world.

a random life update that i hope will help me put things into perspective.

Ok, so where do I begin? It has been 3 weeks since college reopened and it seems like forever already. It was exciting at first, and I was really looking forward to some of the courses we have this semester (like bioinformatics and genetic engineering) but the classes have turned out to be another set of the have-a-blank-face-and-disappear-into-dreamland kind. The only course that I am still enthusiastic about is the 2 credit special topic subject. Each one of us gets to pick up a topic and carry out an extensive research by reading different journals and publications. In the end, there is going to be a presentation in front of an external examiner and we are even asked to write a critic report on one of the papers. I chose the topic “Human-machine interface” as I’m looking out for more opportunities in the inter-disciplinary fields for the future. It’s a non-pure biology subject and needs to have equal knowledge about technology and biology. More on this topic later, as I wish to write about brain-computer interfaces (with references to the movie matrix of course :P) and etcetera.

I began reading ‘The selfish gene‘ by Richard Dawkins and have started to feel the early signs of depression for my/general human existence. We are all machines driven by selfish genes after-all! I was heavily influenced and intrigued by Dawkins’ talks and lectures a couple of months back. Though I am not an atheist or anything, I find his ideologies and theories quite brave and acceptable in today’s times. It is one thing to have faith in a super power (or in yourself) and a different thing to place yourself in a religious category to satisfy society. After reading a couple of chapters, I find evolutionary biologists leading quite a mysterious life-on-the -edge where half of the world perceives you to be non-existent. Talking about scientific writing, I have come across a number of frequently updated interesting science blogs whose links I’ve put up on my blogroll.

Coming to the other part of my life – photography/art. Okay, I’ve attended WAY too many photo walks in the last month that I’ve now lost track of all the images in different memory cards. After the Avenue Road shoot, I went to Srirangapatna along with my BPW friends. It was one whole day of exploration of the small town along with history lessons. More on that later. Next, there was a photo walk in lalbagh (yes, again) with the folks from PIXELS, the photography club of my college. Then there was the KR Market shoot (yes, again!) with the same folks again – this time, along with the juniors! The thing is, every time I go with a different set of people so it’s quite difficult to refuse to them! Ugh. Anyway, it was all fun and every time I visit the same place, I find something new and end up have a completely different experience.

Delhi vs Bangalore is steadily progressing. Nidhi and I have very interesting conversations and I’ve realized that we actually have a lot of things in common. Not the 2 cities, but us too! We have many posts lined up for the future and are constantly exploring different ideas and ways to make it more interesting. It is not a very hard-core photography project. It is about the 2 cities and more importantly, it is about how we – the 2 girls – perceive it to be. The best part about it is that we are learning so much from each other – behind the scene – than what we are offering the viewers.

Issue 7 of START is in progress. It was supposed to be out last month, but due to my traveling and busy schedule, it’s scheduled to be released on/by September 20’th. This time, there is some exciting news about the magazine!! I’m not sure if Im allowed to reveal everything, but let me just say this – I am not the only person working on it this time! Let’s see how everything goes, I have my fingers crossed. Also, the early stages of entrepreneurship has a fair share of fear & excitement. I’m nervous and sometimes question my decisions. At the same time, I don’t want to play safe all the time and not know how it feels to be taking risks in life. 10 years from now, I don’t want to sit in a cubicle in an air conditioned office, with a 9 to 5 job-and ask myself – “what if i had..?

Uncertainty

I feel strongly about education. Sometimes, for no apparent reason. The thing is, I have never really had any “academic dreams” in my life from the beginning. Everything that I have studied so far has happened by chance. I was never desperate to get a particular stream or college, even. It all “just happened” and I went with the flow. I always remember what my mom used to tell me – “Be thankful for whatever you get to do in life, and give your best in that”. So basically, I start liking a particular topic/subject of my course and proceed in that direction. I’ve come to like many things in this process and have always tried to learn more about them outside the mainstream education.

I have also realized something about myself – I will never feel tired or bored of my mainstream life because I always have other things to do on the side that makes me tremendously happy and lightens up everything. It’s like my life right now. While all my peers are interning at different places and taking up extra credits in college, I am here dreaming about all the travelling that is going to happen in the next 6 weeks. One can always work and study, but nothing beats an experience like this. Also, I have 2 years to go. So I’m just going to go wherever life takes me and not regret it one bit.

A fresh start.

Fourth semester officially ended with a final lab exam yesterday. With this, I complete two years of engineering at PESIT. I can’t come up with appropriate words to describe my life here over the last couple of months. Fourth semester was HUGE in terms of academic and non-academic achievements/works/experiences. Yes, I have started to organize my life calendar of events according to semesters. It’s easier to remember things this way. A few months ago, I felt that I’ve outgrown this blog and stopped writing. Now I realize all the disastrous/joyful moments that I’ve missed recording.

Urban Bengaluru happened in March. I’m glad I went ahead with it – in the middle of college (being good with the balancing and all). Working with Fabian and the 4 other selected participants was wonderful! I had a whole day to shoot with him in the first week. We went around many areas of the city – and I had a great time interacting with him. I was very curious about his life and work (what is it to be a ‘journeyman’?). 2 weeks is a lot to describe. The workshop ended with a grand exhibition and (my favourite -) a global pecha kucha night. I was overwhelmed to find my friends from college and the first members of the B’lore Photo Walk group at the show. I loved giving the 20×20 format presentation too. It was my first non-academic presentation. (The facebook album).

Winning at Confluence 2011 on my 20’th birthday was special. P and I spent a lot of time researching on applications of nanotechnology in the field of  oncology from the end of 3rd semester. We got a chance to presented a review paper on the same at BMS. We both have been debate partners since the first year, but this was the first time we did something related to academics. Our second presentation was at a national level conference at MVJCE where we got pwned by all the seniors and PhD students. It was expected but the exposure we got there was brilliant. Travelling to the place alone took us 3 hours. On the way, we met the ‘bio boy’ from SIT Tumkur – who’d won like ~14 paper presentations since his 2nd semester! Whew.

Had some of the least interesting subjects (like thermodynamics and bioenergetics & metabolism). Done with mathematics for now. Found a new interest in molecular biology. Finally got into the student assistantship program (yes, the one which I have cribbed about before). But after getting in, I was withdrawn and wanted to quit within weeks. You may say something was seriously wrong with me. It was something that I wanted since a year, and when I finally got in, my routine changed and I started to develop a disinterest towards the subject itself. Sometimes, it is better to be an outsider and enjoy things rather than get into it. Funny and strange how things change. The money that I got every month made up for all the discomfort though :-P

There is so much more, but this is all I can think of now. Last year’s vacation was VERY productive. This year’s is going to be better. Super excited for the next 2.5 months!

18’th generation teaching style in 2011.

These days, I’m either really frustrated or really depressed. Sometimes I’m both. Everything seems to be speeding up and somewhere along the line, I stop and wonder about how the hell I ended up here or what the hell am I doing?

When 3rd semester began, a lot of us (or a few of us) were very keen on getting into the core course and study ‘biotechnology’ as a field. I am currently in my 4’th semester and I am still wondering if that has happened so far? We have a lot of mechanical subjects added to the course. I am not complaining, but nobody around me (including the teachers) seem to be able to answer my questions any more. Their knowledge is so theoretical and limited to the books. It frustrates me. The whole system is ancient. There is nothing related to application. We do have practicals, yes, but they seem to have no connection with the theory that we’re studying simultaneously in class. Estimating the amount of protein and inorganic phosphorous in the body fluids is fun, yes, but why isn’t it being connected to any of the theory subjects? Bio-energetics has 20 to 30 cycles that has to be studied. And 20 to 30 substrates and enzymes. Learning about them all is at times interesting, yes, but how are we expected to remember them all during the tests and exams? Teachers need to teach us about such skills rather than plain blunt textbook stuff. Even I can mug up the whole of Lehninger’s book and blurt it out in class. Or, make power point presentations (with pages and pages of text – in comic sans) and ‘present’ it to class. Teachers have to help students in understanding the concept and at the same time, help us with the learning techniques.

This not only makes the subject more interesting, but also increases the confidence levels of students. By doing that, maybe we’d want to explore more of the subject/ topic and get involved in it. Molecular biology – one of the most interesting subjects (where we learn about the central dogma of life) is being made so mundane and boring. This is the kind of subject that’d need more of videos and visuals. Not badly drawn 2-D figures of 5/6 enzymes and their functions.

The problem is, these old fashioned teachers don’t want to change. They are not even ready to accept a new idea. We had a lot of discussion about this during the faculty advisors meeting. The teachers only defend themselves and their methods, but nobody wants to bring something new to the new generation of students. How will they understand that the kind of teaching that they had during their times just won’t work now? We do not want to come to college every morning, takes pages and pages of notes, do something in lab that we cannot connect to the real world or even state it’s applications, take more notes, and go home? The system is only bothered about finishing the syllabus on time (before tests and exams) whether we learn anything or not. Nobody is in a position to justify anything.

If you are still a student, are you just going with the flow, or are you trying to change anything? If you were a student, what did you do?! How important are teachers in your learning process?

FB, BPC and Flickr.

It is really depressing to see what they’re doing to facebook. I understand that people will get over it soon enough  (just like the new twitter), but, this time it is really sad. Facebook as a whole has become so uninspiring these days. A couple of friend requests from strangers, 101 events and lame nonsensical status updates. The only reason I’m going to stick to it for a while is because of PIXELS andSTARTmag. Facebook is the source of 90% of the hits for these, and also a great way to communicate or pass on a message to a large group of people. It does nothing useful on a personal front. I mean, keeping in touch with your best friends through facebook is the same as not having spoken to them on the phone in a long time. Stalking them is not the same as ‘keeping in touch’.

So today I had my 2nd semester end exam. Bioprocess calculations is a subject that requires remembering a lot of things. And while writing the exam, you either know it or you don’t. There is no explaining or beating around the bush. It went ok I guess. I am not particularly fond of this subject (more because of the teacher – which is a cheap excuse for not liking a subject). But I know that I can handle BPC – part 2 in the 5’th semester. It is amazing when we realize that as we grow old, the amount of information that we can take in increases manifold. In high school, lets say, I spent 4 hours on 1 chapter. Now, I complete 2/3 chapters in the same time. And engineering is really not what it seems to be from the outside to a lot of people. Cutting off all the holidays and extra time, 4 years – 8 semesters can easily be finished within a duration of ~ 2.5 years!

My flickr pro account expires in 7 days. I am still not sure if I’m supposed to renew it. I don’t think I will. To be honest, I am now bored of doing the same thing again and again. What is the point of posting hundreds of portraits of random people on the streets? Without any story about them at that. It may do good to your collection, but it seems meaningless. I am now determined to experiment with other technical things that I never payed attention to before. I keep getting these ideas every now and then, but never the will to get to it. Maybe once things start falling into place, I will make time and mind.

One Week & One Day

I hate going to college on Saturdays. Yesterday was hell. It rained like crazy all day long. My friends bunked class and went out together. I didn’t want to bunk so I stayed in a tormenting Chemistry class watching the sky pour outside the window and thinking about all the fun they must be having. Then I had to walk till the parking lot all alone in the rain. I went home fully drenched. I love my mom so much, she’d boiled corn for me and also made hot steaming maggi. Yesterday was strange for so many reasons.

College has started to slowly sink in. I hardly get time to interact with any of you all, but that’s okay. Also, I helped out the college formula racing team (HAYA) guys in making their presentation. They gave me a Bournville in return (they are broke) which I cherished at different points of time today. We also had a photography club volunteer’s meet. Planning on a photo walk this weekend. I am not sure how well this will go. I have my doubts. It is sad that our club is not getting the recognition and support like other clubs in the college.

The classes are okayy. We were asked about our future aim, area of interest for research, etc and I was the ONLY person in the whole batch who said “I don’t know” for which I was given a 30 minute lecture on how it is important to have targets and goals in life (yes, it was embarrassing). I can’t believe I am the only person in my class who is clueless about everything, including my course, interest, etc. Just when I thought my life was screwed up, I applied for the Student Assistantship Program. The test went well (according to me) but I don’t think I will get selected. I spoke about a lot of things negatively and I don’t think my teachers will appreciate me bashing Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Government, Technological Advancement, etc in my test paper (It was a general test).

The teachers are not as bad as I had concluded on the first day. Some of them are very close minded and traditional (education wise) which I don’t really like. But that’s how it is everywhere I guess. Its time to stop depending on the goddamn educationists to come up academically, right? Some folks are real good though. The labs are fun. I wish we could perform the experiments individually. I get excited and ruin it for the team mates (I think).

So that pretty much sums up one week of my life. I am making a photo wall in my room and coming up with lots of new different ideas. I haven’t shot anything nice for a long time. I want to execute a lot of my ideas BUT there is just NO TIME to do it all.

Listening to this song all day long. Its the lyrics. Yes. Also updated my posterous with a lot of cool stuff. [check out the “WTF Should I Do With My Life?” site, I got some really strange options haha] ;-P

Best Vacation Ever.

Alert: Long post ahead.

One day for college to begin. 2nd year of Engineering. I am still surprised how one year just passed by so soon. I know its cliched, but really. A lot of things have happened since then. Things about which I’ve already talked about here.

My vacation began from June 1st. I was initially very apprehensive about how I’d spend 2.5 months of time doing nothing. I wanted to make the most of it. I wanted to make it special. It went by very well, wayyyyyyyyy well than I’d imaged! This wouldn’t have been possible without certain people. All very kind and extremely supportive. I sometimes am amused by the help I’ve got from the people in my life. All strangers to me at some point!

~ I finally got a chance to buy my very own DSLR. One word: overwhelming.

~ Got to watch the whole of discovery Plant Earth series, Helvetica(!), Objectified, etc and read about Typefaces, Design and Photography. All thanks to Suyog. There is always something new and uplifting after every discussion and meeting. I am not even kidding, THE most inspiring person I have ever met in my life.

~ PESIT Photography Club. I started a college photog club. Got in touch with the director and he responded positively. A lot of things to be planned and executed. The facebook page has 100+ fans. I’m hoping this will go well for the next 3 years of my college life. Photography seems to be everyone’s new found passion all of a sudden!

~ IISc visit.

~ Yoga. After a lot of pestering from my mom, sister and music teacher, I had to sign up for a month long crash course in yoga. I had to wake up at 5:30 every morning. I don’t know. I just wasn’t comfortable listening to stereotypical discussions at that place. I know it would do me good and even help me with my wheezing problems, etc. But I wouldn’t do anything if I didn’t believe in it. At least as of now, no. I fell ill after returning form Mysore and gave up on it. I have an option of continuing the course now which I won’t be. I can’t handle another major time consuming thing in my life right now. 5:30 mornings are reserved for assignments and record writings.

~ Learning Light Painting and Stop Motion.

Work experience. I mostly did stuff at home but visiting them every week and having long random and non-random discussions was fun. I got to learn a LOT of things from them and be more open minded. Sandeep and PeeVee are two great people and really supportive. I can’t thank them enough. Sometimes, other people are more confident about you than you are about yourself. Its very strange.

Lepakshi Photo Walk. I have already written about this. This walk will be special for more than 3 reasons.

Mysore Trip. One word: Awesome!

~ Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk. I had an option of choosing between 2 places. One, Malleswaram, where all of my photography friends were going to. The walk was lead by Suyog and PeeVee, the location choice was excellent. Second, was BTM Layout. I chose the 2nd option. It was a challenge to be shooting in a metro highway area, with a lot of limitations. We did manage to explore the little cross roads and talk to a couple of workers there. I got an opportunity to shoot alone [even though in a group] and learn by myself. It was basically about going out there and doing things differently and seeing things on my own.

~ Shopping with mom. Not half as bad as I’d imagined it to be. Its actually fun. I’ve always ALWAYS shopped with my sister. This was my first time experience of shopping alone with mom [yes, after 19 freakin’ years!] I think since we both are straight to the point, I find it easy. We don’t spend too much time contemplating. Its simply like: “Like it? Buy it!”

~ Audible India. Nice and fun. Not just the podcasts but the whole process of making each episode. The long aimless skype conferences with the team and especially with this kid, who makes me feel old already. But yes, behind the scenes is always fun. Its like a whole team effort.

START Magazine Issue 1 release. What an experience! Again, I can’t thank my sister enough for this. She gave up on sleep for many days just so that we could go through the layout and design again and again. Her suggestions always work out. The issue has crossed 800+ hits now.

I know I have missed out on many things. I can’t write about them all here. This has gotten long already [ignore the typographical and grammatical mistakes, too long to proofread!]. So just for the record, BEST VACATION EVER!