Gang of 6...

This blog belongs to 6 ex COE students of NSIT... Though, now, we are all in separate places, studying or working, we hope to remain in touch with each other lest we forget the great time we had back in college. This blog is an attempt to achieve the same. Here's to us...!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Hogenekkal discovered!

Yesterday I went on another long drive on my bike. Usually I decide on the route I want to go on in advance, I memorize all the turns, places I want to eat etc their distances down to the last kilometer. Since I dont know Kannada and Tamil I need to do this, because in villages asking for directions can get a bit tricky.

Yesterday I just got up and decided to drive to Hogenekkal. However the internet was not working properly so I couldnt do my research. I knew that the place is about 120 Km from Bangalore, I knew the two major towns near it as well, and since Hogenekkal is quite famous I thought I will just ask for directions. So off I went at 10 am... (without knowing how to get there)

I took the Hosur road (NH 7), drove straight till Krishnagiri. The drive was good, lots of greenrey, hills on either side of the highway and very less traffic. At Krishnagiri I asked for directions to Hogenekkal from a shopkeeper. All I understood was 'Kaveripattam' and 'right'. So I took a right turn from Kaveripattam leaving NH 7 behind. It was a 2 lane road, not very good, leading to a very very small town Kaveripattam. In the middle of the town I saw a small board, ( I almost missed this), pointing towards Hogenekkal 72 Km. At this point I was though about turning back, because 72 Km on that road was a crazy idea. It was already close to 1 pm and I had to go home before night as well.

Still I thought I have come so far, lets check out this road as well. After a few kms I was essentially in the middle of nowhere. It was a one lane road, with enough bumps to make going past 40-50 kmph impossible. Both sides of the road there was just greenrey and hills, and I would encounter just an occasional hut and not a signboard in English!. After a while I decided to call up someone and try to figure out where I was. The signal wasnt great but luckily managed to call up Ashok ( the call disconnected gazillion times in 15-20 minutes). Asked him to open a map, told him how I got to where I was and somehow he figured out that I wasnt too far off the course. ( I still cant find the road I was on in google maps!) He gave me some directions and names of villages I might encounter... Palacode and Pennagram. While redialling Ashok's number for the nth time I had also managed to stop a taxi going in the opposite direction. Luckily the driver knew Hindi. He also gave me the directions( but the distances he told me were way of the mark).

And I again continued my journey, and after about 10 kms reached a T- Juncation on a bigger road. Asked couple of people, and found that one side leads to Hosur on NH7 and the other to Hogenekkal... phew! The drive to Hogenekkal was easy from here on, there were sign boards every now and then and in English! The last few kms to Hogenekkal go through a forest reserve and hills, really green hills I must add, and also lots of monkeys.

Hogenekkal was kind of a disappointment, it too crowded with everyone (old men) getting a oil massage and bathing (sometihng I didnt want to see at all). The falls werent that great either, but were not so bad also. Also it was getting late, 3 pm now, and I still didnt know the way back very well. So I started back, asked a couple of folks about the shorted way to Bangalore, they told me to go to Dharmapuri on NH7 (45 Km) and then follow NH 7 back to Bangalore. But I wanted to take the smaller road to Hosur, as I was hoping that this would be shorter. As I left Hogenekkal there were 3 bikes going in front of me, all three Karnataka registration, so I decided to follow them and see where they are going.

These guys, I assumed were going to Bangalore, headed towards Dharmapuri and I against my better judgement(at that time) took the smaller road to Hosur. This turned out to be a fantastic road. Narrow, winding, 2 lane road with minimum traffic. I even found a 'Panjabi Dhaba' on this road! This road is the best I have driven on till now. Total of 358 Kms in a day, and a nice experience! Getting back to office work now...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Delhi6 - really hits you in the end

Delhi 6 is much like RDB - A first half of general hulla gulla and some masti with characters being built up. There are some really funny typical "Delhi" moments - like the cop scenes, the one with the politician and pandemonium at the Ramlila. Abhishek and Sonam have done a good job here - the love story is subtle and interesting.

The Monkeyman menace is fresh in our memory. The director cleverly weaves this into the script by showing how people use the monkeyman for their own ends, to hide their own follies. from the dhongi baba, to the lil kids, the seth's two timing wife everyone uses the monkeyman menace to save their face. How Delhiites blame everyone but themselves is something I have noticed living in this city. Also the mindless religious beliefs, fundamentalism is never far from the surface here. Archaic practises like marrying off girls early and not letting them choose a career is common too. All these are depicted in the film in the most brilliant and subtle way.

The ending is handled brilliantly. With a communal riot brewing and Abhishek taking the hit to save the community. It takes an outsider for the people to realise their mistakes. A must watch film that makes you think. Also look out for the songs - I liked the "maula maula maula mere maula" song ! Maskali is done to death .. hehe :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Interview experience

Gave my first IIM interview on the 18th. First had a case study in which 10 of us were given a situation. A panel is unable to decide who to choose for a job from among 4 candidates. We had to write our case study followed by a group discussion. That's where things got interesting - All through the discussion we chipped in with some points in favour or against some of the candidates. A gem of a one liner by me - "Passion is the only thing required to succeed" .. hehe:).. Anyways the group started voting on the candidates names at the end and we decided on 1 candidate. Suffice to say that I was quite involved along with 2 other people.Then a long wait for our interviews - we were (10 of our group) called in seemingly random order. 2 hours I waited before becoming the 9th one to be grilled. One of the profs was sitting there - the other one was outside the room. It started off with a simple - tell me about yourself -- well I told him some things telling him how I would like to learn a lot about management at IIM-Indore - well he indicated that they don't teach anything at IIMs ?? (I was a bit confused with that statement).. He went on to ask me about Netaji Subhas. I mentioned that he died in a plane crash - the prof asked me if it was a crash or a hijack - it was a crash so I said so. Then he started asking me about the IC814 hijack situation in 1999 - that's when an Indian plane was hijacked taken to Kandahar and three terrorists were released to save the passengers. He tried to confuse me on the dates and other details but I think I got them right.Then started a difficult phase - this was a stress interview - where the panel tries to pressurise you and see how you react. the other guy walks in and starts looking at some certificates. Now I mentioned I wanted to go into management to eventually become an entrepreneur and serve my country by providing employment and would like to go into the defence if I can't make it through management so I can serve my country from enemies. Now the guy had read this and asked me why don't you join defence - you can serve the country better. I told him that if our country is economically strong then it will be easier to defend - we need jobs, employment etc. to make our country strong but he cut me off and started asking me to join politics. You see Rahul Gandhi - the PM in waiting is from our school - so a 30 sec 1 way discussion on politics - no scope for me to respond. He(1st prof) then picked up a certi and started discussing what I had done to get it - it was a National award. Then suddenly he started asking me about LSA and whether it is a Single Pass or multi pass algorithms - well I did not know about them and said so - but he persisted. The other prof finally said something - ohh engineer - - well I smiled and said - yes sir - I'm sure you met many of them today (90% of the people there were engineers).. well he smiled back and asked me - well what is engineering? -- I started to explain the difference between engineering and a mechanic - how an engineer knows the design and other aspects - he wasn't satisifed- well after racking my brains I came up with - engineering is problem solving using technology - well that kinda convinced them.The first prof was still looking for me to tell him about single pass and multi pass algos - I again indicated that I did not know what they are :( - we hadn't studied linear programming you see. anyways what is an algorithm and program were discussed followed with a question on 5 major national disaster in India in the last 5 years- try as I might I could only think of 2 major ones worth mentioning.. (I can still think of only 4-- that too after scouring the net ).. after a pause they asked me to leave - at this point I asked them a question regarding IIM Indore case study method way of teaching and how that helps which they answered..Overall an interesting experience ..phew .. im tired of typing..

Monday, February 09, 2009

Random thoughts

Hey people - technically been a member of this blog but haven't contributed at all. Can't sit in front of the computer screen and write - being a software engineer I become sick when I see my home PC despite it's obvious speed, ease of use and efficiency (It's a first class P3 450 Mhz 16 GB Hard disk, 256 MB RAM :P oh and did i mention Win 98! )
I prefer to converse preferably one way conversation where I give my "considerable gyaan and wisdom" to any soul unlucky to come within my range. Off course this means that while Abhinav buys a car, Danny travels, Deepak gets a bike and Anish an SLR I pay hefty phone bills!
All this leads me to the perfect profession for a guy like me - a manager.. Somehow managed the mini miracle of clearing the unpredictable CAT this year -three calls the best of which is from IIM B. What's interesting is the one month after I got the news. I have seen the reaction of people around me - mostly happy with my mini-success. I have another obstacle to surmount - The interview and group discussion (GD) session.
A GD - more like a place where your true self reveals yourself. I have had people trying to shout me down, impose themselves even make wisecrack statements in the middle of a serious discussion. Nothing is more entertaining than a GD where the topic is abstract - I have inwardly laughed at some interpretations people provide.
The interview - well this is where the candidates whole life is laid bare - you have no idea which part will be picked on next. Some technical, some HR, some philosophy and a great deal of tension and stress.
An interesting concept was the Bootcamp session I attended. 2 days at a hotel with 99 other IIM aspirants from diverse backgrounds. A mix between a batch get together (there were 7 NSITians from our batch!) and a serious preparation session. Yours truly took everything seriously - there were others doing the same - still others indulging in fun and games - some guys chatting up girls (yours truly was on probation clamped by you know who).. I met some interesting young people - budding managers of this country. Some aggressive and pushy. A doctor - the most popular guy in the session and having a heart of gold. A naval officer who tragically has lost the use of his right arm in an accident while on duty - off course I chatted him up on all topics Naval in nature. Found him to be a rather bright and courageous man. A girl - soft spoken and quite shy but with a smile that lit up the room.

Also present was the redoutable Banga - with his baby face and sweet voice - ever helpful, always jovial. And Bansal - we two must have listened to a particular Ghajni song (guess which one!) 25 times (Banga might disagree here - it seemed like 150 to him!).

All in all a fun lil trip

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Moving my stuff

I am moving all my personal (and non NSIT-group related) posts to I am hoping to clean up this blog and use it for what it was meant in the first place. Catch me at both these places now...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Of Crucio & Verbalists

Quite some time back, I had gone for a particular quiz where the audience was asked to explain the meaning of the word 'cruciverbalist'. Being a bit too immersed in the Harry Potter lore, I shouted out "one who hurts others by using harsh words" (I am sure most people can understand this - whether you have read any Harry Potter or not). Only when the quizmaster actually laughed at my answer did I realize that I had done something quite stupid. And almost instantly I realized that the word actually refers to a person who solves crosswords.

And well, that seems to be the flavor of the season - Crosswords. To be precise, as Thomson & Thompson say, Cryptic Crosswords. I first came to know of this kind of crossword in college, when a few school friends of mine (and at that time in a different college) introduced me to the world of cryptic clues & crosswords. But it was only at Adobe, that I managed to get a hang of it. A colleague of mine & I would sit down and attempt the crossword, regularly. But we were never really able to proceed further than 10-15 answers. And we thought, that even that was pretty decent, Hindu crossword's difficulty level being what it is. That was until now. We just picked up this old habit again. After a long time. It has been 3 consecutive attempts in this second stint of ours & Lo Behold..! We have come close to cracking the entire crossword ( bar 3-4 clues each time) twice. Yes, we believe that the crosswords are sub-par, and we vent out all our frustration for that on Nita Jaggi ( the current Hindu crossword compiler ), but still, solving almost the entire crossword is another feeling altogether. Conceded that we had the help of an ace quizzer cum cruciverbalist today, but we were matching him as well..! 

How I wish I had a scanner and could upload these 3 attempts of ours, all the insane & inane) rough work, guesses, cuts & crosses. But alas..! Still, for now, crosswords rule..!! Cryptic Crosswords, to be precise.. :)

PS: The blog post is badly structured for a reason. Look out for the cryptic clues embedded within the post... :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Life on the Farm

Clarification :(especially for Stanford people) this is a real farm, my father's ancestral place in Kerala.

Three roosters they were true,
all day there'd be much a cock-a-doodle-doo.
Then my uncle caught one,
a Christmas stew was done,
and now there are left just two.
[well, the cow is getting old,
and the goat is a mite bold,
I guess their turn would be coming soon too...]