Where would that leave us?

Diving deep, swimming deeper.

Words scathing my skin.

Thought I could stand it. My flaws

you brought in the open.

 

Your counsel, was music once.

I see you hiding, scars under sleeves

in the shadows, building smoke screens.

Pretending to be, one piece.

I can see you, cutting through.

 

You take me deeper, while the shore is

all I dream. Facing these dark walls.

Where have you brought me?

Spitting fire, eyes bleeding, these tears

will tear us. The sea is turning

red from our bleeds.

 

How much more pain, can we bear together

I see the future, the devil standing.

My fears in your eyes. Hearts still beating

one for another.

 

How far will love take us?

Where will it leave us?

Where would that leave us?

 

 

 

 

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Harry met Sejal: Review

Imtiaz Ali wanted to make a simple movie this time (biggest mistake), that speaks to a larger audience (even bigger mistake). So what he did this time is, he made a wishy-washy film that washes over literally everything, from loneliness of immigrants, to travelling all of Europe, to new-generation ki tharak, to insecure women, to arranged marriage, to friend’s marriage, to falling in love-seperation-reunuion, family reunion, and much much more.

The problem is there is no script, no reason for any of it to happen. Just scenes stuck together. And the protagonists are engaging enraging to the superlative. The trailers have fooled you! they looked interesting because those were the only original parts this movie had to offer. Even if finding a ring (as bad as a reason it was) had made these two people fall in love, we would have forgiven it. But it didn’t.

Also, in these times when women empowerment has taken such momentum and your primary audiences are women, you cannot just make a character as fabulous as Sejal. Just can’t.

All great movies have a reason, a purpose to their stories, and we had it here as well. ‘Loneliness’ and ‘inferiority complex’. These are such universal feelings and so ingrained in the characters that had they issued these two character-flaws well and concentrated on it, we could have ended with a sensible movie. A classic even. Alas!

At this point, let me just say, I have nothing against Anushka or SRK. They did their job well. It is the story that’s nagging me. By the end we were back to good ol’ SRK times- those intense looks, getting jealous, grabbing girl’s hand, protecting her, winning her over… But my problem is, all his romance starts as soon as the girl says- “I’ll be your temporary gf from now on”. You hear how casual the statement is, right? so why couldn’t he? Harry’s switch just goes from OFF to ON. From being a cheap-hu-cheap Harry he suddenly transforms into this romantic SRK. Like how? Why? And I can’t even start with Sejal, so how could I end with her.

I wouldn’t ask you to watch this movie. Ever.

How to get a “Lateral entry” into IIIT Hyderabad.

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There is always a direct way of getting what you want and an indirect way. Now getting 200+ in jee mains (jo humse ho na paya) is the direct way of getting a good engineering college. Then there’s lateral entry. Just so you know, it’s a thing. Where you apply for a different college (IIIT-H) after finishing your second year and if selected go there and finish the rest of your degree, only after once again repeating your second year.

Being a blogger, and a highly experienced and successful candidate of this particaular mode of admission (the only success I’ve had so far) I feel it is my duty to share with the world the turmoil I went through.

Step 1: Apply for Lateral entry before the deadline. Keep visiting the site regularly for updates, or subscribe to their mail. And when the mail arrives don’t confuse it with a private college advertisement. The course is called “lateral entry to dual degree in CS(EC) with MS in Research”. A pretty long name for a very long course that wants 2nd year students passing in August to repeat 2nd year and finish the 5 year dual degree course through research at IIIT-H, if selected. Fill the form for the written examination, pay the registration fee and sit for step 2. Do not get worried if your college results don’t come out till september, you may apply too.

Step 1: Give the written Exam. I thought this was the biggest challenge owing to so little information about the syllabus and the kind of paper that may come. And this early in life you haven’t actually come across a MCQ paper on engineering subjects. So all you can do is take the non updated IIIT site information and head to geekforgeeks for relevant subjects. It helped me, so I believe it shall help you too. Hex-codes were something I wish I knew. The paper though wasn’t tough. They just expected you to know what a 2nd year CS student should know.

I did not have anybody to tell me this, but I shall tell you this, highly-confidential information that- the written exam score will never be revealed to you or your family. Owing to autonomy of the college they do not feel it appropriate to give out this informaton, irrespective of whether you beg, pleed, are selected or rejected.

They’ll let you know your results through mail and if selected you’ll also have the bonus information of interview dates.

Step 2: Should you go for interview to Hyederabad? 

They don’t change the allotted interview dates, so if you have exams going on, you really need to think hard. Because they will terminate your admission if you fail your second year in your present college, and back is not a ‘pretty-thing’ to carry in your resume.

My interview was on 8th June, a day before my final end-semester exam. And I didn’t really think very hard. I just flew to Hyderabad. But then when I got selected, that is when I started panicking and having my doubts- “Do I really want this?” “Is it worth the time and money?”. So you must decide now, because there are very high chances that you might get selected. There are LEs here in every batch.

On the day of interview there’ll be an hour long presentation for parents and students, which frankly speaking, felt like a private college trying to sell itself with all the statistics. Then serial number and panel numbers will be allotted for interview.

The system seems a bit chaotic and complicated, but you just trust the authority because it is such a nice college (apparently).

Step 3: The INTERVIEW.

Q1. “Why do you wan’t to come to IIIT?”

I said- “Because the academics is very good compared to where I am now.” However what they wanted to hear was your love for research.

Q2. “Out of all the topics covered so far which topic excited you the most and why?”

I first confused it with favourite subject, but they were asking for a topic to take the interview in that direction. I said-“Divide and Conquer paradigm because…I gave the definition…” However what I should have said is that the recurrence tree makes divide and conquer very intutive and understandable visually.

Q3. “Where do we use it?”

“merge sort, binary search, quick sort”

Q4. “Why do we use insertion sort instead of merge sort to sort cards handed to us in ascending order?”

The answer is because mergesort is not a in place sort, I guess.

They also asked me to write code for mergesort.

Q5. “What is the application of fourier series?”

I said-“To convert time domain to frequency domain”

Q6.” If you have n numbers how do you find duplicate numbers?”

I asked if the array was sorted. First they replied with a “No”, then they were like, alright it’s sorted. I gave a quick code verbally which they then asked me to write, and find out it’s exact time-complexity (with constants). I took a lot of time.

Also instead of array if it was a linked list what would be the complexity?

Q7. What are the different methods of mathematical proofs?

“induction, deduction, contradiction…”

Q8. Last question was to prove square root 2 is not a rational number.

To which I had no clue. So I started with x=1.414. Taking 10x and subtracting. The same ol’ elementary school thing.  And then they said that the proof was more complicated.

And that was it.

I had done a stanford MOOC on Algorithms by Tim Roughgarden which impressed them a lot. (they asked me the full form of MOOC and I had no clue then. Painful.)

Here are some pro tips from the pro who got selected:

  • Take your relevant certificates. Certis that say something about you. Because most probably the form you filled online on your interests and achievements won’t be with them.
  • Do a Stanford open course and take them the certificate. Why you ask? because it is free, you can do it and they love it. Profs from good intitutions love students with certificates from even better institutions.
  • The second question is the heart and soul of your interview. Here interviewer gives you a chance to choose the direction you want to take this interview. Always say a topic if you are confident discussing it. And never ever use a term if you don’t know what it means.
  • When asked to solve a question, keep trying. Do not give up and say “I can’t”. Let them tell you to leave it. If you don’t understand the question ask them to explain it. They just want to know how you approach things.

 

If you get selected you won’t have a clue, because your interview didn’t go that well. It never does. I knew stuff but I said it all wrong. But then I guess that panel of five professors understood my caliber or maybe just gave a free pass. Who knows? I got selected. However the acceptance letter I feel is quite cold. Because in the first line they congratulate you and immediately in the second line threaten to terminate your admission if you fail to pay the registeration fees by deadline.

 

My half an inch of a pencil

Pipe running, ends in cone
filled with poison, no need for stone.
Casts them lines in lead
fires bullets, and paints hearts red.
Weapon to the mind,
some hearts can be kind.
Build a world, no one’s ever heard
“Here! use a rubber, pick a scale
enough of the free hand”- the world may say.
The traces of vigour, alas! still linger
Power to the fingers,
it is reborn each circle
as blades shave and expose
the incoming big close.
steal those hearts, make’em cry
great tragedies, give it a try.

About a trip

Travelling is a bug, a passion, a habit, an experience- that widens horizons, stirs curiosity, builds empathy, fills wonderment and brings home the idea of how varied, expansive and wonderful this world is. How miniscule my idea of life had shrunk into in the dogma of routine, I realize now. Life isn’t meant to be spent sitting on a desk. With us having advanced this far in making transportation quick, we owe it to mankind to take that flight every once in a while. So here’s a story of an impromptu journey I took last year.

It all began with a text to my friend- ‘ssup?’ (like all great things do).

‘we are planning to go to Panchmarhi tomorrow. You wanna come?’

‘Wow! enjoy. No you go I don’t know them.’ I’ll just sit here waiting for my slow death.

‘But that’s no problem. See it’s a 6 girls-only/solo- trip. It will be fun.’

And that was it. She had me at ‘fun’. I was in. Then there were “mummy ko manyenge” phone calls and finally Ammi Jaan was convinced because this friend of mine had special powers when it came to parents. Apparently the rest five households too had been convinced by the same angel. Parents believed her when she said stuff. So finally by 11p.m. it was decided that I was going to catch the 5 a.m. train the next morning and we were going till Pipariya by train then take a bus to Panchmarhi. I was very happy to have some excitement in my sedantry-life. And about the company, I was clear- It was just a three day trip and I knew my friend. So even if I got into a fight with the strangers(which I probably wont seeing how tolerant I am) that was okay beacuse I’d never see them again.

The trip though- was a huge success. Travelling alone for the first time, had to be. And the six of us when I look back did very well. We were pure awesomeness. From saving money like a pro to finding an acommadation amid all sold-outs, to being super-hot tourists, to finding our way in this big-bad world, to making room for each-other. We did everything in those three days that there was to do in Panchmarhi and when we’d exhausted that, we went to a nearby district with an amazing dam to take a dip, and the highlight was our open-Gypsy. From sipping hot chai under moon-light on a hill in the forest very far from our hotel, to climbing the rocks to sit under the fall where the pressure was maximum like a pro, to watching the best sunset of our lifetimes, to visiting all the caves and temples that the forests could offer, to feeling the wind standing in the gypsy whenever we could (nomatter how bad the road was), to experiencing hot spring bath and drinking the entire pond of sulphur-water because the locals said it was miraculous (oh precious!).

A trip to a nearby hillstation is all you need and some good enthusiastic company. And I have to say, our enthusiasm to make the most of where we were (because we couldn’t go to manali) was phenomenal. We justified our trip in every way we could. And I was right in thinking I’d never see them again but I came to acquaint with six amazing personalities who’ll be scaling great heights in near future I’m sure. But we’d always have ‘Panchmarhi’ to look back on. The bond of ‘Panchmarhi’ will always be there to bring us back to the days when we were photographers, coders, accountants cum maa, and her assistants, bomb-shells and dreamers. In those three days I believed more in myself than I ever did in my 18 years, some credits go to angel for making me feel precious and frankly I wasn’t really managing anything except gracing my presence but that’s better left unsaid. Travel does bring out the best in all of us (and then there are the spoil-sports). But we six were a pact of dream-tourists, a fellowship of sorts freeing the bugs of travel feeding in our hearts since long, and in the end we were richer all the more.

No grass is any greener

To be happy where I am, and not be constanltly lured by the greener grass out there, well that ain’t me. Maybe that comes with not trying at all, but even when I do try, I wish to try harder. There’s more, more, more- always MORE. The need to be more than I am, achieve more than I can, feel more, see more. But this is a bad thing and I’ve come to realize it now. It needs some insight to really understand the worth of what you have in hand, and it may take me a lifetime still to get there, but here I am now. Today those bunnies in the bush excite me much less.

Maybe shooting for the stars on a cloudy day isn’t the best idea and you’ve just gotta wait till it clears out. That constant tugging in the chest to break free, to get out of here, to be more has made me a dreamer instead, and not the visionary sorts that we generally associate with dreamers but the selfish kind, the kind that takes refuge in the most unlikely of futures. Seeking solace from the idea of doing things and not lifting a finger. Sure, you too must have faced those days. But to constantly keep dwelling in wishes just keeps mounting the heaps of desries. And it definitely isnt the mindset to have when getting around in this world.

If I can’t be happy with myself, how am I suppose to digest others lives without getting insecure in mine. To not be swayed by those who seem superior or pose to be. To not be blindsided by my weaknesses and utterly fail to recognize my worth. Because people are well, people. You can’t expect much from them. One day the world is by your side and the next moment you are your only audience. Sadly this burden of one’s weaknesses is ones own to carry and with years- to overcome or to make peace with.

Whether you live in the small-city, or the big one, with family or alone, in a relationship, or single, in the country or abroad, employed or jobless, in a financial crunch or not, whichever, take pride in it and strive to be happy in it. Convince yourself that there is no get away, you have to deal with it here and not in some parallel dimension where anything’s possible aka your head. Convince yourself that there is not a soul who could live this life better than you.

Definitely you could have done much better being somewhere else as some xyz’s lad but boy this is where you are. There is life much much worse, and never for a second feel that you’ll never get there. The hell-gates are open for all. So, never undermine the unpredictability of circumstances, bad times spare no one. Always remember if the tables ever turn then this is the place where magic will happen. If you are ever to become great then no matter how doomed you feel today, this is the place that will redeem you. Take pride in the little you have, because no man ever had enough, and no grass is greener.

Love: My Muse

Love is my muse

On days when I choose

To dream and get lost

From worries and painful sores,

the lonesome days and desolate ways.

yearning for love to enter,

as dramatic as ever, and take me

into a place of mystic and meander.

Where not a brood or a fret can pester

 

Hiding away from life itself

I dream of love- full of ardour,

time flies, the onset of coming doom

lightning falls, that’s my honeymoon

 

Lovers from an era, adding to the orchestra

The dream now an elaborate mess

Oh! What a lover should have? How could I miss

comforting hands and a warm embrace,

loving eyes and a passionate kiss,

true to the core, his intentions all sure.

Gatsby, Darcy, Romeo, Orpheus

all smiling fondly, dance around me.

But my lover- I still couldn’t see.

 

Hurricane of reality swirling onshore

reality I’d escaped, not anymore.

It’s vacuum cleans the mess from before. This world

where promises always get breached, never

a good time for getting hitched. Switch off

the lights. No-one’s up for keeps!

 

Alone I’d come, alone I’d go

A cat lady I’d die, frail and slow.

 

 

70 years of Freedom

“Ab tumhare hawale Watan Sathiyo” and they left us their new born babe. The fight for freedom asked for the sacrifice of many lives. And those who survived had yet to watch the babe get divided and torn apart. The silent cries from the land, as it burried in itself the men who’d fought so bravely for it, echoed for years to come.

This had never been an easy fight. As men, we chose to walk the path of humaniy and to rise beyond human limitations. Unified by the goal of “self-governance”, fueled by the fire of patriotism- this country unified in a battle against the propesterous invaders. How had they ever let those hands touch their land was as nonsensical as their fight without weapons.

But their leaders knew- the power in disobidience, the power of passive agression, the power of self-control, the power of tolerance, it was a frustatingly long fight for some and they fought back the injustice. Ultimately it wasn’t the fights that gave us freedom but choosing not to. With poverty having penetrated every crack in this barren land it was impossible to unify Indians into a conventional army.

We needed an army fueled by the strength of soul, with determination in their minds, and an unflinching loyalty to their mother land. It was no ordinary struggle and we required an extra-ordinary leader to carry us through. Could we ever have achieved Independence without Mahathma Gandhi? Ofcourse not. And what did the people do? Simple. Assasinate him.

Freedom came as a country damaged for years was handed down, and what followed? they mutilated it further. But this time in a vicious, pitiless fight for a piece of their own. It’s been seventy years to our walk to freedom, and we are still walking. Debolition of caste system, sati system, child-marriage, untouchability, have been struggles against the greatest demons that haunted our nation.

But as we still walk towards “self-governance” fighting against the corrupt impostors, the past demons still haunt us.  Those of poverty, malnutrition , illiteracy, inadequate public healthcare, opression. Life isn’t easy in the second most populous country with more mouths to feed than there are skilled hands to work. But if we look back to what the East India company and British Raj had made of us in their 150 years of exploitation, to what healing we’ve done in these 70 years, it isn’t that bad.

We have a past marred by community clashes, as we still learn to truly walk the path of tolerance. If you think now, India had somehow always been destined to attain freedom by non-violence and tolerance- to teach the generations it’s power and be a reminder of what this country stands for. India, a country with 22 official languages, and a total number of 1652 mother tongues, we embody the essence of unity in diversity.

The colour, the variety, the spark and the spices- all makes us pop in this world as the exotic land, as we paint the world Indian and this world celebrates International yoga day, we’ve made ourselves one hell of a name. With us becoming the CEOs of the biggest tech companies, and having launched our own Mars mission, it is now a good time to feel proud.

Home to the oldest civilization and yet a developing nation. We are a nation of contrasts and contradictions. Our female Godesses being fearless, fierce, bold and worshipped on the one hand and we, looking down upon such woman is one of the many. Woman are beaten, teased, taunted, raped and violated and it is well ofcourse their fault, but atleast violence against woman is an issue unlike the yesteryears.

As newer people come out of their closets we lag behind in coming to terms with their different orientations. The freedom to explore beyond boundaries, and having the choice to draw a line is the gift we enjoy in this 70th year of independence.

Making a crush-101

The moment you laid your eyes on this one person the world stopped, and from then on your mind has been circling back to him. It is hard to rationalize this irrationality. When you haven’t met or talked or even known each other that long. To have this enormous liking from a distance, there’s gotto be a basis to it. We as humans are no doubt attracted towards beauty and contrary to popular belief, we generally agree on who is and who is not physically attractive. But then, like flavors to ice creams, there are kinds of attractive. Some to your taste and some not.
The people you get attracted to instantly are constructed subconsciously in your mind over time. The first glance that bring thoughts of approval are grounded in familiarity. It reminds you of some past that strikes a chord of familiarity in some deep stored memory. “Basically what our brain does is we go around in our environment, picking up people’s faces and making the average out of these faces we see on a daily basis,” Dr. Kang Lee, psychologist at the University of Toronto. What you observe has to interest you in some way to become a memory and the faces that stick fall into a cateogry of likability, it may have started out as a quality you idolized or an achievement you admired in a person, or an actor who played a character you absolutely adored, and that grew into a fondness. You were unknowingly paying attention and the memory stuck. That liking further passes on to others with a link of resemblance.
Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips wrote in his treatise on the paradoxical psychology of how we fall in love- “You have dreamed them up before you met them; not out of nothing — nothing comes of nothing — but out of prior experience, both real and wished for.” Nothing comes of nothing. The likings you develop are tightly knit to the life you’ve lived and experiences you’ve had.
Think about it- your favorite heroes, characters, actors, relatives, friends, might be boiling down to you giving form to your future soulmate. So the latest crush you have, give it a thought- does he resemble someone? even faintly so. And don’t discard it as vague resemblance. You might be amazed to find a trend in the faces you find attractive.
And that’s how you rationalize being attracted to the cafeteria guy who your friend doesn’t quite appreciate.
.

You will get there

Life isn’t about what you did or did not do, time will pass, you’ll fall, get up, be stuck over and over again repeat the same damn mistakes, until a point comes and you’ve finally learned. When you’ve grown, matured, become something better than you once were. Have hope because there are no downfalls. Now this might give you some relief but it isn’t true. You can fall so deep that the hollow in your heart echoes with past guilts. There is no end to it, it is a process that will go on and on till you forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself. But be incharge, be confident in what you do, in each and every action. It should have your 100%, no doubts lingering around because they can shatter enthusiasm like nothing else. Be beautiful. Be the best version of yourself, amaze yourself. Believe that you will grow. It isn’t apparent but it is happening, you are getting closer to death, to the end of your journey, with every breath, every second. One day you’ll sit and wonder- why it turned out the way it did. In the start you are eager to reach the end and when you are almost there, you regret having not payed attention. Each phase in your life is a beautiful phase. And the ones that make you cry are the best. The tougher you become, the more immune to life you get. All great men said- be in the present. It’ll saves you the regret. It may not seem but change is happening every second. Your cells are dying, regenerating, growing. Your heart’s getting older. It will beat only n many times. With each beat you are expending a piece of your time on this earth. You say life isn’t challenging you? well, you aren’t challenging yourself. No one can force you, make you, take control of you and do something for you. You decide your each action. You do what feels right, the action that resonates with your thoughts is what you do. Don’t try to pin your actions on someone, that is just deluding yourself. You are responsible for your life. Circumstances are just an excuse. All you make is from what you have and what you take. You brought nothing, you’ll take nothing. The point? you ask what is the point of all this, when you are to forget in death anyway. With everything you do, all those moments you went weak, gave slack, backed off or the times you rose, you survived, did what felt right. All of it defines you, makes you- you. Not this body with a name in this life, but you as a whole, the spirit transcending lives. The idea of life beyond this life feels so satisfying. To know that there’s still millions of journeys left to be made, and there’s still hope for overcomming those limitations that bind you today. You’llget there someday. One-day.