Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Re: Bloggers of the Campus, Unite!

Prof. Ramaswamy and our batch of Integrated Masters programme started off our journey together at the University of Hyderabad. We have not known any other vice chancellor. For four years that too. We would not have known any too. Not if he had not typed down on the keyboard from the vice chancellor's office, for the last time. 'The Last Post' came from the Vice Chancellor of our university who was the inspiration to me and many others to spread and write good thoughts(I write mostly about Rafael Nadal though). This would be his last article on a blog which like the author, constantly reminded us that the university always rocked!

HCU rocks!!

The words, 'blog' and 'university' together remind me of a post by Prof. Ramaswamy, "Bloggers of the Campus, Unite!." It did not happen as soon as he asked for it. Few bloggers on the list left the university too.I don't know who else on the list is left in the university to unite. But thanks to the world wide web, we all can always stay in the university group. We could still write to make a difference in the university. There are many issues to be addressed. Ones that the student's union cannot and will not think about. The duty of a student. As a group, we, students can question the wrong doings of the administration. But I am not sure if there is any group to check the walk and talk of us, the students!

Prof.Ramaswamy has been a keen supporter of student-run groups like the quizzing club and the Junior Science Club. I know that as a volunteer for JSC. I am quite sure the new vice chancellor does too. Because whichever talk or campus concert series, I go to, I see him, either listening to the songs with closed eyes or taking down notes. But it is upto us to make sure that all the nice student activities run well. VCs and students go and come but the groups must stay.The legacies must be passed on. Year after year, many students pass out of the university. Term after term, VCs go away. But the groups are immortal. What can be more wonderful than this?

Keeping the campus clean is upto us. By clean, I do not mean only dust or garbage. I meant clean from misuse. Clean from overuse and neglect. The workers in our mess complain that half of the students eating there are non university students. I heard that the same reason led to the downfall of Osmania university. We do not want that happening to our university, do we? We shall be united as a university and keep it to ourselves. Showing it off? Yes, we shall and we should but sheltering people is not necessary. That too at the cost of quality food and shelter.

The outgoing VC mentioned that he has so much unfinished work in his mind. I was told one of those works. He wanted to make the campus greener. Every student should adopt one plant in the university all through his/her term and take care of it. We can go ahead and do it. Find a plant, see that it is growing well. Keep an eye on it and let it flourish. Plain walls should be artistically painted, be it graffiti or showing off one's ideology! More than anything else, I feel the best we can do to our wonderful university is to not break beer bottles anywhere and everywhere in the campus. Keep the bottles in your rooms. Stack up your stock and sell them later. It could buy you another beer bottle.

Seriously, HCU rocks! and let us make sure it always does.
Thank you Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Science of Deduction!

Quizzing in its game form probably came into existence towards the end of the Eighteenth century. Quiz literally means "odd person." This is a word, which I think was not derived from Latin or Greek. There are some myths about how the word was invented but I did not hear any of them properly. So, no bother. Thanks to Neil O'Brien and family, Siddharth Basu and also Amitabh Bachchan, quizzing is quite popular in India. But unfortunately it is not that popular in Hyderabad. I hope I will be thankful to Akkineni Nagarjuna for making quizzing popular. A very Happy Birthday!

I have participated in a thousand quizzes and won some ten of them. I love quiz. I term it as, quest of knowledge. Quiz is the "Science of Deduction." In a quiz, the concentration should be more on the deciphering a question rather than on winning the quiz. There will be no fun otherwise. That is the reason why I do not look at general knowledge books or make points from the newspaper. That is the job of the quiz master or those preparing for the civil service examinations. Like the world's only consulting detective puts it, we have to observe everything, deduce things from what we observed and once the impossible is eliminated, whatever is left is the solution. This is how a question is to be deduced. That is fun. That is quiz. Thanks to the oldest quiz club of India, K-circle, it is possible for me to try and deduce answers for few questions on a weekly basis and the Society for QUizzers and Debaters in the University is to be thanked for frequent such quizzes.

I do believe a lot in team work and not at all in solo work. After all, this is no board exam or a Golf match. Deducing is quite boring if it is done alone (yeah, well, even Sherlock has Watson and I am "Sherlocked", hence I need a Watson too!) Having a team mate should not be to answer well or come first. The purpose of a team is to enjoy the quiz. Enjoy the bond of team mates. I could have answered several of the questions which we answered and did not answer as a team. But that would have been devastating for me. If the "resonance" of team mates match, what I found then is that even guess work is enjoyable. I learnt that team work is not only about individual performance alone. In fact, it is not at all about individual performance. It is all about group cooperation. If one comes up with an answer, others should analyse why it would be right or even wrong. One need not necessarily answer. Hem can be able to justify the answers given by others in the team. Then the team will be one.

It is never about winning. It should not be. It is all about learning and learning is fun when it is done together, by like minded people. Especially during quizzes like the K-Circle's Quizcast, those like me with not so knowledge or in short, unprofessional quizzers like me have to guess answers at times and if the partner is the right one, beautiful answers come out of even guesses!!  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

An RTI to be filed!

Thank you Aruna Roy. The Right To Information (RTI) is really such a powerful tool. I am looking forward to using it, especially looking at the way the Indian cricket team has been selected. I know. I am aware that there are hundred other important things where the RTI could be and should be filed. But among those hundred, I chose this because like crores other Indians, I am a crazy cricket fan!

It is very sad that Yuvraj Singh has not been selected to the world cup playing team. This marks the end of his world cup appearances, obviously. The hero of the 2011 world cup victory, he along with Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir, two other heroes of the last world cup, could have been considered at least. Anyway, the final team was decided much before. There would have been no harm in announcing their names in probables atleast.

Now the playing fifteen. Stuart Binny? Seriously? Who endorsed him? He is not a dynamic young player. He is as old as Yuvraj, fatter than him, not a great fielder and I doubt if he, a medium pacer, can bowl faster than Yuvraj! RTI for that. Who endorsed Ravindra Jadeja? He has not played that well this year for the country except that fifty when he swung his bat like a sword. RTI 2. A young team might be on the minds of the selectors, but at least a thought for the old heroes would have been decent.

No matter what I feel or many others feel about the team being sent to Australia and New Zealand to play the world cup, we are going to support team India. We might bring back the defending trophy, but the void of Yuvraj, Gambhir, Harbhajan, Zaheer and Sehwag would remain! Let us hope they would return with a decent result unlike the 2007 world cup.
Play well, team India! Remember, you playing on the tax payers money. Do some justice to that!

New Year 2015

Late by a week or so, but its okay. I had a lot to think about what and how special 2014 was for me. Not so great year academically, but found new friends, grabbed new achievements, a girl friend and lessons learned left my 2014 with mixed feelings. It was like any other year, a great one and a wasted one obviously. I have become desperate to go out into the world and do something for the society, country and mother Earth. But the education system is pulling me back apart the society itself.

I am a physics graduate and I doubt if I hardly learned any physics. Let me see. I have written more exams than my blog posts. As a result, all of them went bad. I have not seen any movies this year. In fact, I saw only two movies in the entire year. Yes, two! And I am twenty! Yuck!! I will not repeat the mistake this year. But there were not many great movies too. Let's see. The best thing that happened to me in 2014 was that I got a chance to present my research work at an international conference. Looking at the 'best' thing, one might wonder what the worst thing would have been. Don't!! That is all about me.

Many good things happened around me though. The country moving towards acche din, Mangalyaan and the Mark III success, the Nobel prize coming to work in the field of optics are examples. Though sad things in the field of air travel did happen, I am sure those do not deter people from using it. Terrorist attacks, natural calamities, border conflicts did take place, these are expected from human beings. But as a science student and as a intern in the field of materials science, I am extremely happy that 2014 was the International Year of Crystallography. It is brilliant field of research.

On the whole, I would say, the year could be dedicated to dedicated Doctors! Great job people. Be it the Amytrophic Lateral Schlerosis or the Ebola virus, the doctors around the world have been doing a wonderful job. I raise toast to the doctors across the globe.