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Showing posts from 2010

Another note on placements

This was a comment I wrote on facebook in response to the comment thread that was going on in Pratik Vimal's thread. This post is just a way to preserve it and make it easier to read. I would say that placements are quite random. It is difficult to be sure of cracking a process. Of course preparation, CPI, extra currics help but quite often it comes down to luck. Also the placement team does get placed quite well from my experience. As far the placement of the OPC goes I think eventually everyone manages to do quite well even if the campus placements do not pan out. I guess ultimately one has to do what one likes and is passionate about. If people like Synchro so be it, work in Synchro. If you want to work in the placement team do that. Counselling service draws a lot of flak and a lot of it is justified but if someone is really passionate about it then carry on. If someone likes to study then study by all means but keep interacting with your batchmates at all times. I guess compan

Un Lun Dun by China Mieville : A sidekick comes into her own in this sublime book for the younger ones

Mieville has famously said that he plans to write a book in every genre. Un Lun Dun is Mieville’s attempt at writing a book for younger readers. The book seems to be inspired from Through the looking glass by C.S Lewis and many others. The book starts out slow. The first hundred pages or so just feel like a drag. The protagonist who is supposed to be the chosen one is extremely extremely boring. It is at this point that I felt Mieville practically read my mind and made the sidekick the lead and the novel is immeasurably better for it. Once the sidekick becomes the main lead the novel takes on a life of its own and Mieville flexes his considerable literary skills. In fact you could skip the first 200 or so pages and still come out feeling that you have read a complete novel. That is probably my only gripe. The book though turns the conventional ideas of fantasy completely upside down with destiny, prophecies et al taking a backseat. All in all a fun read. I wish I had read

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie : Indian History has never been more interesting

I am envious of Salman Rushdie. He writes like a dream and seems to have the latest and greatest women in the world. What a life. What talent. Initially I supposed he was all hype, from what I saw in the newspapers. I wonder why they never highlight the fact that he is a splendid writer as well. Positives don’t make for good sales I guess. The enchantress of Florence took me by surprise, in fact blew me away. I wasn’t expecting anything and didn’t think I would proceed beyond the first 40-50 pages but it just drew me in the way all the best books do. I have been reading Midnight’s Children over the past couple of days and it is a fantastic book. Every page is a sheer joy to read. Never have I found Indian History to be more interesting and intriguing than when Saleem Sinai is narrating it. The book melds elements of fact and fiction using magical realism into a delicious cocktail of language that dazzles and delights at every turn. It truly is a masterpiece and the Bookers did

Murgi’s fun facts

This one goes out to Mrigank Gupta aka Murgi. Murgi is such an awesome dude that even Chuck Norris and Rajnikanth can’t hold a candle to him. Below are Some facts that are indeed facts When Murgi was an infant he changed his own diapers Murgi was born toilet trained Murgi is actually the eldest in his house. He let the others enter this world before him When Murgi was born he got his own birth certificate from the doctor’s office Murgi never sits idle. He is just pretending to be like us Murgi never listens to excuses on the phone. He simply tells you what to do and disconnects. When Murgi will finally take a vacation the world will stop spinning While Chuck Norris counted to infinity twice, Murgi had already finished counting thrice and was solving everyone else's problems. Natural selection does not apply to Murgi. (Courtesy Ikka) Murgi caught an electron at rest.(Courtesy Ikka) When Arthur Eddington was asked if he really believed there were just three peop

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

What is about the holocaust that makes whatever is set in them usually a masterpiece. It may be the fact that these most extreme circumstances bring out both the best and worst in people or is it the fact that the characters are usually on the precipice of a moral quandary at all times. Is it because of the fact that  no piece of imagination could conjure up death on such a horrific scale. Maybe its because we know that the story is truth and the fiction is just a layer on top of it. Whatever be the case, stories in the holocaust are usually profoundly moving(with the notable exception of The Reader which was just plain rubbish). The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is another book set in the holocaust. Death is the narrator, and one might even say the one with the most work in Nazi era Germany. The book tells us the tale of a young girl named Liesel through the eyes of Death. She discovers a book at the scene of her brother’s death. Her foster father teaches her to read and soon she

Places to eat in Kanpur

Our real exploration of Kanpur began in our 5th year when we had our stipend to spend so hopefully this article will prove helpful to all the foodies out there. Surprisingly(and I really mean this) there are a number of terrific places to eat in Kanpur. Hopefully this article will prove helpful to many who are looking forward to spend their stipends. By far the best way to reach places to eat in Kanpur is to catch the bus that the institute provides. The bus runs everyday(except Sunday) at 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm. The bus returns at around 10:15 pm. Murgi(Our food and snacks Coordinator, every wing should have one) always takes the phone number of the conductor so that he can stay updated about where the bus is and so that the return is convenient. The bus service is really a life saver and unless you have a bike should be the first option. It is also better to roam during weekdays than weekends simply because there is lesser ruckus everywhere. Going to a restaurant on a weekend is an ab

A Dual Monitor Setup.

Been in the lab for the last week or so. That’s far lesser than others. Now the lab has 22 inch monitors. The best thing about this is that you connect your laptop to it and set it up so that its as if you have multiple monitors rather than just as a projector. Windows 7 and ubuntu make this ridiculously simple but unfortunately XP doesn’t. Windows 7 makes it so simple that you actually have to check the instructions to make sure that what you did was right. In layman terms what this means is that I can watch From Dusk till dawn while I write this post and its great.(For Siddiqui this means that he can compile Latex on one screen while watching it being rendered on another. I suppose this will be of some use later on for me as well). I will definitely make it a point to buy two monitors (even three perhaps) once I get out of this place(which is soon I hope, have to get done with this thesis business). A huge monitor also makes it a total pleasure to read comics. All the art and the

Samit Basu-The Gameworld Trilogy

So this goes out to Samit Basu one of the finest writers of this generation. (Notice that I didn’t add Indian to the phrase) I remember picking up the first part of Samit Basu’s Gameworld trilogy The Simoqin Prophecies at a book store which has now sadly been closed(It was one of those book cafes that open along with CCDs and Nirulas). The book was languishing amongst the other scifi/fantasy titles in a corner and surprisingly the book had received little marketing but nonetheless the book piqued my curiosity. Reading the back cover I decided to give the book a shot. (Besides the title seemed really cool) Little did I know what was in store. The book turned out to be a  gem, plain and simple, written with such playfulness, such wit that one struggles to comprehend how something like this even saw the light of day. The trilogy can be read on many levels and enjoyed on each one of them. Kind of like Asterix and Obelix which have these goofy physical gags but also abound with r

Sister Week

This post comes about because my sister put up a status on facebook stating that if your sister makes life interesting and fun copy this so I decided to go one up and write something about my sisters considering the fact that I have three of them along with numerous cousins and they definitely do make life interesting. Only Sisters could come up with a concept of a Sister week rather than a sister day or no sister day at all. Well if God were to make sisters this is what he would say. “Ok Kronos and Quartet, first and foremost make them a little dumb. Oh and they should be phobic to maths. Now do this next step extremely carefully. Make them unable to understand technology of any kind, but they should use facebook in copious amounts each day though. In fact make them addicted to facebook.(See God knows everything that is about to happen so he knows that facebook is bound to exist sometime). Oh yes and they should also have a irrevocable belief in my existence which their brothers dis

Clint Mansell

You know most of the time surfing on the net is pointless. Finding good stuff is hard. Its very rare to have these what I would like to call as WTF moments where you are totally blown away. So yesterday like all nights I was surfing merrily away checking out the wiki page of Iron Maiden which I do many times a day. I saw a live album that I had not heard titled Death on the Road. Upon searching for death on the road a track called Death is the road to awe showed up and I opened up the video. It started up slow. “This isn’t that great” I thought. Movie soundtracks are hard to get right but then the violins came in and by the end I was hooked. I had one of those WTF moments. I found that this scored by a guy named Clint Mansell and thought to myself “Who the fuck is he?”. Of course Wikipedia is a friend when you need information. After this I proceeded to listen to more of Clint Mansell’s stuff and was totally blown away to say the least. This guy is an absolute genius. In fact

Lone Wolf and Cub

This piece of writing goes out to Lone wolf and cub which is hands down the finest piece of work that has ever been rendered on paper. Nothing else comes close to it. It is a piece of work beyond compare. The kinetic visuals, the fantastic dialogue, the amazing characters of Ogami Itto, his son Daigoro, Retsudo the villain who comes into his own at the end. So much so that you end up feeling sorry for him by the time he dies. No piece of work is as complete as Lone Wolf and Cub. The story starts simple as all good stories do. Ogami Itto is the executioner for the Yagyu Clan. He is framed for treachery by Retsudo the chief of the Yagyu Clan and his wife is killed. He escapes with his son Daigoro and his trusty Dotanuki. He then becomes an assassin for hire with the destruction of the Yagyu clan as his objective. It sounds clichéd but it is anything but.  The attention to detail is unbelievable. The era of feudal Japan is recreated to perfection. Kazuo Koike and Gozeki Kojima ough

Douglas Adams

Read a lot of Douglas Adams today. Two novels and a salmon of doubt to be precise. (I had read the previous three the day before). One word of advice, if you haven't read them, stop reading this and read them at the earliest. You don't what you are missing. Sparkling imagination and a wit for the ages that man had. Perhaps the one writer who shouldn't have met with an early death. Salmon of Doubt is a particularly engaging read. I didn't envision it to be so and had just ordered it for the sake of completeness because I wanted to read everything that I could of Douglas Adams. Salmon of Doubt sees Adams at his most personal talking about things that he admired most starting with his admiration of Beatles when he was 12. His reverence towards Bach, Richard Dawkins is plain for all to see and he puts it across in such a wonderful way. I could find myself googling away whatever piece of music he referenced, and telling myself (over and over again) to read The Blind Watchm

On the best writers

The stuff that writers come up with is insane. These guys can take a character and do what they please with it. They make characters so real, so well realized that real life seems pale by comparison. The best writers all have this quality. They have this quality of prose, the way they write, they compel you to read, to invest yourself in the characters, the story. The pages become more than a picture can show, more than the best movie can capture, indeed each page takes on a life of its own. Robert Kirkman does this as well as anyone, develops characters but keeps them ambiguous as well so they can do anything at any point of time. Margaret Atwood could write about someone eating shit and it'd still come out like poetry. Douglas Adams and Wodehouse have such a profound sense of humour, you could read a page of theirs and think about how they wrote it and nobody could figure out how they did it. I mean it took ages for people to realize that Wodehouse was a great writer. What do you

Sachin’s Double

If there is a true national hero, then he is Sachin Tendulkar. Shahrukh and Aamir may not be as popular down South. Up north no one has heard of Kollywood but everyone worships Sachin. In fact Sachin’s knocks could up for discussion anywhere and every cross-section of Indian Society would know about it which is remarkable really in a society as diverse and varied as India’s. The double ton by Sachin was the perfect knock. There was no false shot, no chance offered to South Africa whatsoever. He didn’t mistime a single drive, didn’t play and miss a single ball. He was in complete command right from the get go. It never looked like he was taking any risks yet he got to his 100 of 90 balls, 150 of 118 and finally the double of 147. He would have got there soon had he not slowed down at the end (after all he was on 190 of 137). He also hit 25 boundaries which would just goes to show how well he was placing the ball. He also did his fair share of running 56 singles and 13 twos. This was

The best movies of 2009

Since everybody seems to having a stab at writing one of these. I thought I’d have a go at it as well. Here is my list of course in no particular order 1) District 9: A sci fi flick that contained many thought provoking questions. Shows conditions in apartheid ridden South Africa albeit in a most unexpected way. Brilliantly shot in docudrama style and the action’s great as well.   2) The Informant: A fantastic flick. A dark comedy about an extremely serious subject. Gives meaning to the phrase “The truest words are often spoken in jest”. Matt Damon excels. Can’t believe he played Jason Bourne once.   3) Avatar: The same old hackneyed story yet what a way to tell it. The special effects were extraordinary and unlike an. Saw it in Imax 3D. A movie to be experienced on the big screen. The level of detail is astounding to say the least. It seems every nut bolt of the machinery was planned out. God himself would be proud after creating a world like Pandora.   4)Fantast

An ode to Hall 1

This goes out to Hall 1, the hostel where all the 4th year students of IIT Kanpur live. Indeed this hostel serves as a meeting ground between familiar foes some of who go on to become friends. A lot of factors make Hall 1 what it is. It acquires a mythic quality right from the first year when juniors are often threatened with “Aaj raat hall 1 main chal”. The seniors who live in Hall 1 seem to have a totally different existence as compared to the rest of the campus. On a visit to the hostel in the first year all one hears is the constant swearing, and sees everyone in shorts or in suits. Legends surround Hall 1 and in our first year the stories we hear are of Hall 1 and none other. Indeed Hall 1 residents perpetuate this myth as well acting as if they are the scariest beings on the campus. Indeed the fear is such that if a fresher goes to Hall 1 they are not expected to come back. There is something about Hall 1 that separates it from the rest of the Halls. For starters, Hall 1 has

Sachin Tendulkar

This piece of writing goes out to arguably the finest sportsman that India(and perhaps the world) has ever produced Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. As a kid I remember thinking “What is the hype about, after all he is just a player” and was in general cynical as something so hyped up rarely lived up to the promise but Sachin was different, he was the real deal and the hype for once seemed justified. For Indians he is a demi god who can do no wrong (he’s actually repaid the faith in full). Ironically, the first time Sachin really had a impression on me was with the ball. It was a match against Australia, opponents against whom he has prospered and often performed at his best. Unfortunately on that occasion Sachin was dismissed by Kasporwicz for 8 runs. India however set Australia a target of 310 to chase. With Australia cantering home at 203/3 after 31 overs Sachin turned the match around claiming his career best figures of 5 for 32. This was a cricketer willing to give it all every single t