Showing posts with label People. Show all posts
As luck would have it, we reached the monastery just when it started getting dark (after which usually the doors are closed to visitors), but chanced to get entry into the main gate. However, to my disappointment, the doors of the main temple were closed by the time we climbed up. We were about to turn back when my brother spotted a young lama, in his teens, looking down from his room in the premises of the monastery towards us. My brother quickly ran up to him and asked him if the temple could be opened.
I had started tying up my shoe laces again, expecting a nigh in reply - but to my surprise the young lama agreed, and came to open the temple door. We went inside, prayed and then when we were about to leave, the lama called up to come up to their rooms. The rooms were built exactly like the Mumbai Chawls - smallish and side by side; each room meant for one student lama. The small size also possibly helped to keep them warmer in the extreme cold weather of Ladakh.
When we went up, it was getting dark and as is usual in Ladakh, the temperature was dropping a degree every few minutes. The young lama called us in, and then started heating some tea for us - we were pleasantly surprised! We also saw another boy, with Caucasian features, sitting in the same room. On talking to him we discovered he was an Italian student and had come to Ladakh as a tourist. But he had become good friends with our host and had been living with him since past few months.
The young lama was a Ladakh resident, he studied Buddhism as it is preached in Ladakh - he was studying to become a priest and looking at the thickness of the books in his room, it looked like a uphill task requiring extreme discipline of mind and the soul - the physical hardships of living an ascetic's life being apart! I wondered if this young boy even knew about the world outside of Ladakh and more importantly the "joys of life" outside the monastery. If he knew what it meant to live in a city, what night life was, how much and what all he could learn if he logged on the internet, what was the fun in watching movies etc. Probably, for him ignorance was bliss - but I also wondered if he was lucky not to be exposed to all these distractions of the worldly life and to be without being exposed to them, pushed comfortably into an ascetic life; or was it unfortunate that he would become an ascetic without ever discovering what he was missing (or what he was not missing or what troubles he was escaping), by becoming an ascetic.
Philosophy aside, today when I reminisce back on that evening of a few hours, I figured that I learnt many things that day:
- Life gives you chances only if you dare to take them. We could have walked back that day without even entering the temple, leave alone have a unique experience of seeing a lama's little alcove from inside and having tea with him and his Italian friend - but for the chance that my brother took of running upto him for permission.
- When you ask, you often get more than what you ask for! We simply wanted to enter the temple and pray to Maitreya Buddha - the deity of Thiksey Gompa. But the lord blessed us with a bonus experience which none of us would forget for life.
- Life is all about odd experiences! Had we just gone to the Monastery once or during day time, we would have clicked a snap there, remembered the place as a beautiful building and forgotten. But with the unique experience we had - we will never forget the place and the unique hospitality.
- Rules are not always universal. Yes there was a rule that one doesn't enter the monastery after dark, yes there's a rule that the lamas do not usually interact with tourists - but both were broken that day. And it didn't feel unholy in any way. The world is composed of two kinds of rules - the ones made by nature - which if broken lead to disaster, but the second set of rules (which are far larger in number and pervade our lives more multifariously) are made by humans, and these rules can be broken. In fact, such rules also need to be broken once in a while to set into motion a new order of the world - that thought of course is worth a full blog post sometime else.
- Its not about how much money you have or who you are, its always about being in the right place at the right time. Here I let out a secret - part of the reason the lama was generous to us was because my brother was posted in Ladakh then, and he hence could relate to him in some manner. Yet, possibly even an Amitabh Bacchan could not have landed into this kind of an experience as we did. It was sheer stroke of luck! So in conclusion - life is all about taking your chances!
The fact that I am writing about this small incident after more than 18 months is testimony to how deeply it is now imprinted on my memories.
I read through this awesome interview with Steve Jobs taken way back in 1995 before he created the second revolution of his life (iPod et al). While each section of the interview is breathtakingly awesome, I wanted to reiterate some gems specifically, hence quoting them here. For the whole interview transcript go to this URL http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/comphist/sj1.html
...a lot of people come to me and say "I want to be an entrepreneur". And I go "Oh that's great, what's your idea?". And they say "I don't have one yet". And I say "I think you should go get a job as a busboy or something until you find something you're really passionate about because it's a lot of work". I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard. You put so much of your life into this thing. There are such rough moments in time that I think most people give up. I don't blame them. Its really tough and it consumes your life. If you've got a family and you're in the early days of a company, I can't imagine how one could do it. I'm sure its been done but its rough. Its pretty much an eighteen hour day job, seven days a week for awhile. Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you're not going to survive. You're going to give it up. So you've got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you're passionate about otherwise you're not going to have the perseverance to stick it through. I think that's half the battle right there.2.
Somebody once told me, "Live each day as if it would be your last and one day you'll certainly be right." I do that. You never know when you're going to go but you are going to go pretty soon. If you're going to leave anything behind its going to be your kids, a few friends and your work. So that's what I tend to worry about. ... I think you have a responsibility to do really good stuff and get it out there for people to use and let them build on the shoulders of it and keep making better stuff.
I think the work speaks for itself. I don't think that people have special responsibilities just because they've done something that other people like or don't like. I think the work speaks for itself. I think people could choose to do things if they want to but we're all going to be dead soon,3.
The Web is the missing piece of the puzzle which is really going to power that vision much farther forward. It's very exciting in that way. Secondly, it's very exciting because it is going to destroy vast layers of our economy and make available a presence in the marketplace for very small companies, one that is equal to very large companies. It is going radically change the way goods and services are discovered, sold and delivered, not only in this country but eventually all over the world. As you know, electrons travel at the speed of light and so it tends to bring the world much closer together in terms of providers and customers.4.
... the original vision [for Apple] --which was to make this thing [Computer] an appliance, to get this out there to as many people as possible
I actually think there's actually very little distinction between an artist and a scientist or engineer of the highest calibre. I've never had a distinction in my mind between those two types of people. They've just been to me people who pursue different paths but basically kind of headed to the same goal which is to express something of what they perceive to be the truth around them so that others can benefit by it.May God give mankind the collective strength to keep the flame created by Steve Jobs alive - may God ...
- prevent all of us from slipping into the complacence of having progressed enough in technology
- give at least some of us an insight like he had given Jobs to create art out of science
- keep giving us leaders and innovators like Steve ...
When I made the post last night, India was still in deep slumber; and when India woke up - I was in deep slumber. But while I was asleep, the Zapak team woke up to my blog post - they thereafter tracked me through various Social networks and by the time I woke up, I had a couple requests from their team to connect to me. [The earliest one was as early as 7.57 AM India time]
I was surprised (and impressed) about the speed with which they contacted me - so I sent out my contact details, and Lo! Within less than an hour I had them calling me explaining that the mail I received was because of some kind of spurious network activity and was a "security issue" which they were dealing with.
They requested me to remove the image which I had put up on my blog, because it revealed some internal statistics they were tracking. What impressed me though was their candidness in accepting their fault and their not requesting me to remove my post altogether.
I should say - the team might have made a mistake, but their pro-activeness in tracking blog posts about their service and their spirit - has impressed me. While today, its quite easy for any service to track information being written about them online (Thanks to Google alerts), but there are few companies who are proactive enough in using this information and acting on it.
[Later, I had a chat with Charles at Zapak and he told me about some other stats they were tracking - and also how aggressively they use some Analytic services. Guess he would not want me to reveal the details of the chat though.]
Well - being a close witness of the Web2.0 space, I quite know goof-ups happen! And I think this time I'd rather give it to the Zapak team - because their handling of the issue speaks more of the kind of company they are than yesterday's goof up. So - I have removed the screenshot from the previous post, and while the post remains, this one goes along with it as a sticky link in it.
Good work team Zapak - would love to be in touch with a team like you!
However, there are some aspects of the assassination which are different from Rajiv Gandhi's assassination which make it much more worrisome than the former.
1. Ubiquity of Terror Agents - and failure of Administration
The Pakistani Administration (namely the Army) claims that "[Benazir] herself contributed to the incident by standing [and] that none of the other occupants in the bullet/bomb proof car died." Which effectively means that the assassin was just waiting for Benazir to step out of her bullet proof vehicle.
It seems quite unlikely that he "knew" that she was indeed going to stand up - probably she herself made the decision to stand up at that moment. What is more probable is that the assasin either had been following Benazir in each and every town she went to or different assassins were 'appointed' by their organization to take chances and this one succeeded.
The possibility of the 'organization' planning this meticulously and trying at each instance is more likely given that Benazir was being attacked ever since she landed into Pakistan on October 18.
What is scary here is not that the administration was not able to prevent the assassination per se - but that in spite of the 'organizations' having a planned and ubiquitous presence around Benazir - the administration has not been able to uncover their movements. This also speaks of the poor level of intelligence Prez Musharraf is relying on for his own security and more so to run Pakistan.
2. Absense of a Organized Militia
Dhanu - the assassin of Rajiv Gandhi, was trained by a militia - the LTTE. As much as we might call LTTE a terrorist 'outfit', structurally it is an organized military. It has its commanders, it mission directors, its military plan - heck even a territory to guard. Most importantly, they follow a political (and not ethnic or religious) doctrine.
However, the Benazir's assassin belongs to one of the many small (and fragmented) wings which only loosely form the "Jehadi" or "Anti-west" terrorist brotherhood. Each one of them have similar but different political goals and inclinations. More importantly, they do not have a 'planned and coordinated' strategy [though specific operations might be planned]. They are like a startups if we were to term the LTTE as a SME.
So, failure of the our governments (Pakistani and Indian) against the LTTE (or the Taliban) sounds still acceptable still because as an organization they are far more mature than a terrorist outfit.
But what makes this assassination scarier is that the Pak-Administration is supposed to be far more 'matured' than these terrorist outfits (especially being an Army!).
3. Limited War - how prepared are we
An issue tangential to the point 2, but slightly different is that governments (and their military) across the world are increasingly being exposed as incapable to waging this new war. While IPKF could have strategized warring against LTTE was based on its previous experiences - armies can no more hope to do so against the new terrorists.
And there is hardly any previous battle which can help us with this learning - we need to write new rules, need to do new studies and need to develop newer strategic and operational methods to combat the new ways of waging 'limited wars' against civilization.
4. Its a Civil War - damn it! And we in India are vulnerable
The scariest part of the assassination is the risks it spells for India. While in Pakistan, the Jehadis might just hate the politicians, in India they hate the people too. And anyway, they don't care for civilian losses (as a military usually does) as long as their religious and operational goals are met.
The above fact coupled with the inability which governments across the world have demonstrated to understand and combat terror, is what makes Benazir's assassination an intimidating symbolic message from 'the brotherhood' to the world!!
As for Benazir, I agree with GB about her life and death - sympathies to the fellow brethren in Pakistan! You lost a leader, but so did we 17 years ago - with elections round the corner, the ball is in your court - make the best of the opportunity that you have.
[Q]... do you have a sense of how you would place it all historically?How very true - Tim Berners Lee put it quite aptly that an exponential curve could as well crash and end up looking like a 'blip' on the scale of centuries in history.
[Tim Berners Lee]I'll answer that one in a thousand years' time, if that's okay. [LAUGHTER]
I think trying to write the history, at the time I think it's very difficult. we didn't know whether we were going to be looking at history or not, because when you look at a curve like that, an exponential curve going up can often just tilt over and crash back down again. And there were a lot of other projects we've all had which have done that.
Many of us Millenials remember the craze that VCR's were in the 90's - some of today's most hyped innovations like the i-Pod or iPhone could as well end up similarly. It is too early to place any new technology or trend as a game changer - which is a mistake that many a tech enthusiasts (leading tech bloggers, self proclaimed web 2.0 gurus etc) commit as a matter of routine.
And it is the visionary humility displayed by people like Tim Berners Lee, what make them great. In fact, Lee is one academic whom I respect the most because in spite of innovating "World Wide Web [without which] we might not be talking about the flattening of the world right now" - he has hardly ever tried taking advantage of the same.
Read the complete transcript of his interview here. And read on this excerpt about the inspiration behind the concept of hypertext and WWW ...
Enquire was a program which allowed you to make random associations between different things.Wow!! Its so fascinating to know that the concept of the web arose from trying to develop a 'human-like' ability in machines ... almost like The Matrix ... sends shivers down my spine!!
I'd had a long term interest in the idea that the brain can store random associations between things. You can store a random association between a place, between what you're doing at the moment, for example, if somebody walks in with a particularly flavored cup of coffee, then later on when you remember that flavor you remember what you're doing just now, it will make association between flavors, and running your equipment and conducting a interview, totally otherwise unconnected things.
So computer systems couldn't do that. And so that was a general interest, which is, and that's related to the ability to make, link anything to anything, which is a fundamental part of I suppose of the Web architecture, and then now of the Semantic Web architecture.
Sabyasachi Ghosh a friend of ours accepted the award on our behalf ...
The award was given in the e-Entertainment category giving a major boost towards the need to develop a comical sense even when engrossed in our beloved work related pursuits. The award giving ceremony was held on September 22, 2007 at IICC, New Delhi and is given annually to promote usage of ICT at the grassroots level for innovation and ultimately e-Content development in the country.
“Arbit Choudhury” is a comic character which came into minds of two people while studying in a B-School. Fed up with the same routine for two long years, they saw the funny side of it and created a comic character on their lives at campus itself. With the corporate culture seriously upon us Indians, many of the people associated with B-Schools found an echo in the activities of Arbit Choudhury. It has become very much a part of B. School corporate culture so famous the spoof has become.
The project description : Arpit Choudhury is a typical 2nd Year MBA student of a leading B-school. His life revolves around all the daily chores of an MBA. Tests, assignments, presentations, competitions, case studies, net-surfing, chatting, ctrl+C, ctrl+V are as much part of his daily routine as food, drinks, friends are. He often finds himself juggling with the concepts of strategy, logistics, marketing, finance, etc. and tries (in vain) to apply these in real life situations. His wisecracks frequently have everyone rolling in mirth. Perturbed by his penchant for blurting business balderdash, his friends jokingly call him "ARBIT" Choudhury.
He is the first international icon representing the community of MBA students and the managers across the globe who easily identify with Arbit's humorous take on the idiosyncrasies of management world. He is an icon for all MBA aspirants, MBA students and all MBA pass-outs who 'experience' Management funda's and jargon day in and day out.
The creators realized that in today's internet age, the most effective way of reaching comic fans is through e-mail and web, rather than through print media. Hence, they decided to make Arbit Choudhury a full-fledged Web-Comic. The rise of Arbit Choudhury symbolizes the coming of age of Internet marketing. Arbit Choudhury belongs to the generation of new age comic characters, who reach his fans across the world through completely online and electronic means.
About Manthan Award
The Manthan Award is organized annually to scout and recognized some of the best practices in the field of e-Content based innovations. Launched in 2004, the award is organized by New Delhi based Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), in partnership with the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS).
The winners of the awards are selected based on their contributions to bridge the digital divide and address the issues of grassroots-level empowerment and development. DEF has volunteered to play its part in organizing Manthan Award annually to bring out open best ICT and e-Content practices across India, by recognizing and felicitating the innovations and take them to a higher level of excellence. The winners of Manthan Award are selected to compete for World Summit Award under the auspices of the UN ICT system.
Here are some quotes from the chapter which enthused me:
“the only place to suitable to fly or land in Bombay were the mud-flats in Juhu, a fishing village and a beach resort….”
[Juhu? A village? … Mud Flats as am air strip for the country’s commercial capital?? ]
“Captain Newall was keen on a passenger service than a mail service… Newall wrote to Peterson: “We do not agree with you . . . at Rs 100 per seat (Karanchi - Bombay) we feel confident they will do so…”
[Rs 100!!!!!!! Gosh … sure I would love to board this flight!]
“London Airport was a wide stretch of area with hardly any development – a large number of rabbits and hare could be seen jumping around. The only person who had a right to shoot them was the Commandant of the airport”
[Is that why its called the Heathrow? Hare-Throw (PJ ..sorry) ]
Directorate of Civil Aviation in 1933: “As an example of how an airmail service should be run, we commend the efficiency of Tata Airlines who … completed a years working with 100% punctuality … our esteemed trans-continental might send their staff on deputation to Tatas to see how it is done.”
[Can Indian Airlines (which is what Tata Airlines was renamed as) still boast of this?]
The inaugural flight of an air service from Willingdon aerodrome in Delhi to Juhu aerodrome in Bombay was a grand occasion… The planes were to halt at three princely states – Gwalior, Bhopal, Indore …The report of the whole ceremony was broadcast.”
[Bhopal had an airport since those times! This is for those who call Bhopal a rural-city!]
JRD’s thoughts while creating Air India – “…expansion into external services and, if possible, all the way to England… if India were to at all to enter the field of long range international services she mist do so quickly as, once foreign airlines were entrenched on all the world’s best routes, India’s entry would become difficult and financially risky proposition. Apart from her own growing importance as a great trade and travel center, India had a commanding strategic position astride the only practical air route from Europe to Far East and Australia….”
J.R.D. to the Rotary Club in 1933: “We look forward confidently to the day when none of you will think of traveling or sending letters by any way other than air, and when this time comes, if we have done our bit in helping India to make up for the lost time, and to attain a position in aviation worthy of her, we shall have achieved our purpose and we shall be satisfied”
The times that JRD dreamt of are not there yet but – with the host of low cost airlines coming in, they seem just round the corner. JRD would have loved these times in the aviation industry. We must all salute the man for his vision which put India on the world’s aviation map so early on.
A few words from my father also form a part of the article in Bhaskar [http://www.bhaskar.com/defaults/bhopal_newshindi5.html]. Dad said he doesn't remember when the reporter asked him all that stuff !!
Even I had a similar experience the other day. I got a call from a college friend late night congratulating me for getting my name in the Advancedge magazine by IMS learning. I was dazed for a moment thinking when I had given an interview to IMS. It later dawned that our Press relations committee IMpress had once asked me for a quote on our placements - they had passed on this to IMS. If anyone is interested in reading those 2 lines by this mortal soul you can download the PDF of the magazine from here: [ http://www.advancedge.com/issues/PDF/instwatch_nitie.pdf ]
For the record here is a link of my previous post about my Press Presence :)) [ http://the-complete-man.blogspot.com/2004/09/archives-of-my-life.html ].
PS: I know self praise is sin - but somtimes I can't help indulging in it. After all I am human!!
Shubham is very practical - perhaps the most practical person I have met; but what bonds us together is that both of us are hardly ever affected or bothered about what 'others' are doing. An internal locus of control is integral to us. We have our hobbies, our passions and our secrets too and we do not believe in poking our nose in affairs that do not relate to us. Some more hygiene factors bonded us better - the fact that both of us wanted to get into IT, both enjoy old Hindi film songs and we both own two of the slowest comps in the campus :)
Similarities apart, the differences between us were a value add to me. During the past two years of my friendship with Shubham that I learnt how one can respect differences. We are different in many ways - Shubham scores better than me always, I can understand tech better than him; he is a ardent cricket fan and I am far from any form of sport; I am a veggie, he relishes non-veg . . . . but we have never had any fights or serious disagreements over any topic ever! I for once have learnt how to respect differences from him!
As much a practical person that Shubham is, he always works to a plan (very much unlike me). I have never seen him in a frenzy or haste. Everything is well planned and executed to perfection. He hardly ever gets excited and even as far as career is concerned he is a relaxed chap - working to a plan. On a negative side, he is a very lazy chap as well and has a very high 'appetite' for sleep. Whatever might be the case ... he is a typical 'cool' guy around ...
Practical, balanced, calm and always working in a regular fashion. If there is one irregularity I have observed in his life in the past 2 years - it is Arbit Choudhury. When he is thinking about Arbit and drawing for it that you see the 'over-excitement' in him. I usually am full of ideas and can spend nights awake getting excited about them. Arbit is something that brought about the same excited state in Shubham. He used to draw those strips day and night, sleep meager, wake up at all kind of odd hours thinking about arbit ideas and narrate them to me. In the last 3 weeks he spent at NITIE, he has worked day and night to increase the membership of the Arbit Yahoo Group and got around 400 new members.
Shubham's stupendous talent for pun is rightly utilized in Arbit Choudhury Strips and I am sure Arbit is going to grow big some day ... And Shubham will grow bigger !!!
Finally, the campus is again getting empty. Most of G7 is gone and once for all Shubham has left NITIE. Shubham - a character who has been with me almost day-and-night since the last 2 years. I feel compelled to write a few words about him today.
Shubham and I belong to the same engineering college - BIT. Yet, had anyone asked me or him about each other just a month before leaving BIT and we would have asked - Shubham/Nikhil?? Who?? Oh he's in Comp Sc/Elex?? Hoga koi! When I made it to NITIE, I was the sole person from BIT to get in. I had known that one Shubham Choudhury - 'the geek topper of Comp Sc' was in the NITIE waiting list and had cleared XLRI. Everyone said he would join XLRI - and I never cared anyway!! Then one day while I was reading the newspaper in the library, a thin guy came round and said – 'Hi!'. I felt as if this was a face I had seen many times in the campus but did not know who it was. He told me he was Shubham and had cleared the NITIE waiting list; we had a brief chat and exchanged phone numbers. To be frank, the first 'Hi' Shubham said impressed me - I had never expected the person who had topped the charts of his branch all through his college days to be so friendly to a guy who was known for little in acads and a bit for 'netagiri' in the batch! But still, I had almost thought that this geek (as I still felt him to be) would be a useless chap. As we went forward planning for NITIE admission and adjusting our (due) final year exams with them, I realized that Shubham was far from a geek and well deserved his admission to a Top 10 B-school.
When we came to NITIE, we got rooms nearby. Shubham had a comp which we wanted to set it up asap for using the NET facilites in NITIE but it was getting difficult due to many problems we had with the OS and software in the comp. I had a lot of experience of playing with hardware and we soon had opened the comp at least 10 times trying to make the HDD a secondary in someone else’s comp and transferring required files to it. I guess that was a point we both hit-off together as great partners in almost anything we did. Later when I got my comp we did the same exercise again and we have been together in almost anything we did since. We have done too many things in the past 2 years – starting with Acumen poster design and ending with MastishK, Arbit, BIT Alumni . . . .
The history of our friendship is interesting but the nature of it is more interesting to describe – that would be the next post!
The day has ended with news – an MLA in Allahabad (U.P.) was killed in broad daylight and his body was cremated in secrecy without even informing the family members. This was done because the police feared law and order problems if the body was handed over to the family. What was SHOCKING was that I could relate this incident to the freedom fighter Bhagat Singh’s life. Even the bodies of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were cremated in secrecy for the same reasons. This exposes a burning question of today – are we really independent? What is the difference between the British Raj and the Mulayam-Raj that exists in U.P. today?
In the movie – ‘Legend of Bhagat Singh’ – Bhagat Singh exclaims – “Agar isi tarah jaat-paat par desh ki politics chali aur azaadi ki ladai ladhi gai to Gore-saab to chale jayenge par unki jagah Bhure-saab ki sarkaar aaegi jo waisi hi hogi aur ye desh ek din Dharm aur Jaat ki aag mein jal kar raakh ho jayega”. Suddenly I feel that his worst nightmares have come true in some parts of the nation like U.P. and Bihar where injustice and evil have risen to unforeseen levels.
Those areas or pockets which are saved of these perils are mostly those which have higher literacy rates. Those sections of society who harbour communal feelings are mostly those who are uneducated while those free from such thoughts are those who are educated. We need to resurrect the ideals of the likes of Bhagat Singh and Mahatma Gandhi. We need to bring a silent but decisive revolution in this country – we need to strive again for Poorna Swaraj. Swaraj – independence; independence from illiteracy, poverty, communalism, regionalism, mafia, power politics and infiltration(in that order).
As a young student I always thought that I will participate in bringing about this silent revolution. But in the past few years I was too busy building my own career to think about these thoughts of mine. But today these thoughts have come back to me with a force (visiting school has been instrumental in building up this emotional force). I hope I will be able to live up to the challenges of life while fulfilling these dreams of mine. Amen!
I had been an antagonist of Gandhian ideas of non-violence in my teens. But as I grew older I realised that principled differences apart, none could overlook the fact that Gandhi was probably the only man who could lead 1 million people without exceptions. No other leader has ever had such a widespread and unchallenged appeal among the masses. How much did non-violence contribute to his appeal is questionable but one thing which I believe contributed heavily to Gandhi's popularity is his ability to led by example. I cannot imagine what grit a man might have to travel to sub-zero temperatures of London wrapped in a shawl and a loin-cloth, with a bamboo stick in his hands.
When you read his autobiography, you realise that Gandhi was not born great. He was just like all of us, all pumped up with his ego of being a barrister. But as slowly he realised the need for fighting for truth he started changing himself. He also realised soon that people wouldn't follow him and make sacrifices till he himself proved it; he started adopting the righteous way of life himself. He was totally unlike other leaders of those and even present times who would spend lavishly on their own self while they asked for sacrifice as great as life from the poor. I respect the man today for what he stood for and lived for all his life. His way of life is what we can still try to emulate. Even if his way of life seems out of place today, I think we at the least can adopt one priciple from his life - the leader must himself act as he expects his followers to act.
Thats a lot on gandhi. ... ...While Gandhi gave India the power of non-violence to fight injustice, Kalam bolstered the nation with his missiles. It is this military strength which has enabled us to be worthy of preaching non-violence in world arena. The world listens to us because we also are capable of nuclear strikes and command the respect to be heard on issues of peace. Expect a lot on Kalam, his life and Project management tips from him in my next post!!
The specific credits are as follows (order is random, no preferences)
To start with, Suraj, our central upload manager – a very efficient chap, hard working and dedicated. He was a major resource to us during the website coding. The homepage, the Registration and login areas and all other daily games were made by him. Without him we wouldn’t have completed most of the crucial stuff. And creditably, he even worked during his summers-placement process, and has always been the person whom we could rely on during constrained times.
Arti – another dedicated worker! If you want to know what process ownership means, give a job to her and you’ll understand. The MastishK creative whiz, all MastishK wallpapers are her handwork. She also made sure that the Quiz runs everyday, making pages on and in time, coordinating with VAK for them.
Coming to teams, the Media team consisted of Jagandeep, Karan Sadhwani, Ayan, Arpit and Mandar. They were the most methodical team. And I should commend them for their hard and efficient work. They created a lot of code which was later used by other teams as well. They also discovered tools like FirstPage, which was again am asset. More importantly, this was a team which hardly bothered me ever with any coding challenges. I can remember just a singular instance when I had to sit with them to sort out the code. A great performance I would say, these guys can tell you what - "Operational Excellnce" means!
The Entreplayer team, the smallest of all, but I should say the closest to me, consisted of Kumar Hemendra, Nikhil Patil and G Aswin. These guys are real hard workers. Their game was pretty complex and their skills (even all 3 put together) were pretty limited, but their passion was unlimited – and it is this that drove them. As complex as their game was, even they debated policy issues with Milind and Ashita to make the game near-perfect. I was into the picture with this team all the time, partly because of my own affinity to the concept of Entreplayer (this was the first seed I conceptualised for MastishK), and partly to help these guys bridge their coding skills. I have spent many sleepless nights with these guys everyday, when we compiled the latest results for the day. All said and done, “Well done!” is the best compliment for them.
The Law’gistics team divided themselves into two sub-teams to develop each stage of their game. Piyush has to be credited for discovering ‘Wamp’, the PHP-MySql combined engine which was extremely useful during the development process. He is a very talented person and fast learner. Coming to Nikhil Relan and Sudhanshu – hard work is their area. Both of them worked very hard to create the second stage. Kudos to them!
The CrossRoads design team though limited in their role, but very competent. We have received immense appreciation for the quality of crosswords they created, Kudos to Saurabh, Prasanna and Anirban!
And now the one-member team – Parag who handled the Khoj section. He was responsible for generating the URL’s (with Sharad) and making pages. Parag is another dedicated worker we have had.
Last but not the least, Nidhi, who was the sole member who worked on an offline game from the MastishK portfolio. This was 'Street', the game that was played as a part of Red Herrings during Prerana. The amount of Excel/coding involved in this was pretty large, so that Nidhi had to work full-time on it. Again, we have a hard worker here - who is very responsible. After handing over the work to her, I never had to check upon the progress, rather it was she who regularly updated me on the development and clarified doubts.
To conclude, I am very happy about the performance of this team, and I am sure they will all make sure that MastishK 2005 will be bigger, better and exponentially exciting!!
For those interested in reading more on MastishK, read the next posts and visit the MastishK Blog
Go to IM10 Credits
MastishK has finally come to an end. The journey that started way back in February, through the months to October has finally reached a conclusion. This post is a thanks giving note from my side. Fully online games – the dream concept that I proposed to begin with has come out to be great success and has been appreciated across the nation today – thanks to all of you who helped me out make it a success.
My first thanks goes to the Prerana Management Group for supporting the concept even at a time when it didn’t seem feasible. The support thereafter has been a big booster for us, and helped us concentrated on the quality of the event than other issues. Irrespective of the contentions that aroused time and again PMG stood by us during the tribulations. I once again thank them for the support.
Next my gratitude goes to all my friends and team mates who made MastishK possible. To mention the names – ShoOOonya, Shubham, Kartik, Milind, Payal, Ashita, Sourjyendu and VAK worked as much or probably more than me. We were also later joined by Alex, Neelesh and Sharad. It was never possible for me to make it happen alone. It is these people who have lived MastishK with me for the past 3 months or more. And some are even more passionate about it than me. Well, MastishK 2004 belongs to all of them as much as me.
Talking specifically . . . . .
Ashita and Milind created and administered Entreplayer, one of the most complicated games in MastishK. Apart from that Milind also helped out in write-ups at times.
Payal and Medda (Sourjyendu) created and administered the Media Moguls game. This was deemed the toughest game by the participants. I should especially commend them for the organised and structured manner in which they worked – they were the most prudent team among all. Payal also handled the complete publicity responsibility and coordinated with Impress.
Kartik has a special place in this event. He was the first person to pledge himself to this event. In fact had there been no MastishK, we would at least have floated Kartik’s game in an online/web-based mode. But after I became busy with the complete event, he managed ‘Law’gistics’ all alone without any help from any IM10er.
Shubham was the creator of Arbit Choudhury and the coordinator for Informalzz section. He also helped manage the doubts/query mails during the event. And of course being my “middle-door” neighbour, he has been a very efficient punching bag for all ideas that MastishK has been a cradle to.
VAK was the one we chose to create and coordinate the quiz. But he delivered much beyond my expectations. Right from creating a theme for Cerebral knights (name conception included), to preparing a separate console for it and of course mastering the Quizzez, Vak has been a committed member of Team MastishK.
Alex and Neelesh helped us in creative designing. Without them the site wouldn’t have got as much applause as it has got. Lots of credit for the look-and-feel of the website goes to them.
Sharad joined us only after he saw his area of interest Googling as a part of our game portfolio. Nevertheless he has been instrumental in shaping and running Khoj since then.
ShoOOonya was as much into this event as me, being the co-coordinator along with me, he has put his heart and soul(literally) into it. I don’t think any number of words is sufficient to elaborate on his contribution to Mastishk, so I would abstain from using any.
The next thanks go to the team from IM11. If I have a quality event today in my hands, the credit goes fully to the IM11 team. We in IM10 could never have managed this quality alone. 20 members from IM11 have worked day and night and made it possible for the world to appreciate the mettle of NITIE. I will detail in the next post about the work done by IM11 teams.
Special thanks are also due to Vivek Gaurav a.k.a. Patiala our culsecy whose contacts were the initial source of publicity for us. And of course I must thank IMpress for the publicity in websites. A special Thanks to Atul Bhasin for providing us the Scanner, without which Arbit Choudhury could never have been. Special thanks are also due to Jatin Grover for the coding consultancy he provided time and again to our teams.
Credits are due all those who helped us in any way in popularisation of MastishK, from Yahoo Messenger to email forwards and even phone calls.
Finally my thanks go to all of you who have visited this blog. It is supporters and helpers like you who have kept me going.
Emotions apart, MastishK has been a great experience of my life. I have learnt a lot from it and it has given me a lot.
Take for example my understanding of SEI-CMM levels. I had read it in the course on Software Management, but I came to realise it lately, when we launched MastishK. As many times we struggled, as many times I remembered the definition of an SEI-CMM level 1 company. Chaos prevails, no processes are defined, success depends on heroic efforts of individual team members . . . and what not; each characteristic matches !
Talking of heroic efforts, I must whole heartedly thank my team mates from PGDIM XI (the junior batch). Without them this event wouldn’t have been big enough. Of late I have been sitting with almost all teams for little times, clearing some minor code-glitches etc. It is during these sessions that I realised the amount of code that was written for the event. Lines and lines of code – My God !!… it sends shivers through my spine. . Had I been doing all this alone it would never have happened at all. Even today, they are all burning midnight oil and sitting up late (and in effect bunking classes, and sleeping in them) as much as me – to make the event a success. There are people who have been working even during exams.
As much is also due to our senior teams, even they are up with the juniors whenever the game logic needs rework. For the past few days I have been regularly spending time with the Entreplayer team. Me, Milind, Ashita are sitting up everyday till 5 or 6 AM with Nikhil (Patil), G Aswin, and Hemendra – solving queries, removing bugs and correcting logical errors. The game itself is so near to real life that making it has turned out to be a challenge.
I have also improved a lot in my people handling skills. I have learnt how to get the team(s) working in spite of problems with individual members. Many dependencies have to be handled, and the show must go on. More so what is important is handling egos and moods of different people. You yourself have to be very calm and think in a balanced manner. For a person like me, it’s a difficult job to keep my calm; but I believe I have improved over the past three months. Have stopped reacting immediately to events and have started taking some time before I decide.
Needless to day I haven’t myself played any games; haven’t got the time to. Nevertheless creating this event is a game for me, a real life game – and this being an Entrepreneurial venture (now this isn’t me, its others who call it this way) – I believe I can call myself an Entreplayer!
Last post I wrote on passion of life, I wrote that we work mostly because we enjoy our work rather than because the work is important. Since then everyday I have been visiting the NITIE Pond in the evening and have witnessed and appreciated a special passion – the passion for an evening jog!
Even I was once a regular jogger round the pond – but that was before Mastishk. Ever since I came back from my summer break, no runs no play - just working for Mastishk . . . . but that’s another story. I was writing about the passion for a jog. Everyday, since probably the past 6-8 months Amit Atri comes to the pond around 6.00PM and starts his jog. If he doesn’t get time at 6.00, you’ll find him at 7.00 or probably the next morning. But there are few days when Amit would miss his routine. Over the months I have seen him increase the number of continuous rounds from 1 to 4.
Notably I haven’t seen Amit growing any thinner due to his regular workout. Even if he has grown thinner, nothing is visible. BUT the above fact has not dampened his spirit. He is there, everyday – whether others join him or not – he always does his rounds, least bothered by who is standing, who is jogging and who is watching him. I somehow guess that Amit has come to enjoy his evening jog – it has become a passion with him.
I can’t help but get impressed by him – many (including me) have started workouts around the pond but none except him has been regular. Endurance, will power, character . . . .there are many qualities that can be attributed to him.
But the best I can relate to him is Coeur Palpitez. If you remember my post on IP messenger, you might remember that Coeur Palpitez is the IP name of Amit Atri. It means Heartthrob but translated word-by-word it would mean ‘pulsating heart’ – well that’s a reference to a healthy heart in a healthy body.
Quite Apt, isn’t it ??
2 months. It started when I borrowed the book “My experiments with truth” from Aurko during my holidays. And it reached a high when I visited the Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati on 30th June. I also had a chance to watch a video of the play ‘Mi Nathuraam Godse Boltoye’ based on the assassination of Gandhi while I was in the first few pages of the book. The sharp contrast to Gandhi’s personality and their philosophy was very interesting to observe.
Even Nathuram Godse was a freedom fighter but he was against partition of the nation – and considered Gandhi responsible for it. His philosophy was that if creation of Pakistan is not opposed, many new factions might emerge in the nation later. A dialogue of the play goes like this- “Today Muslim’s have asked for a new state, tomorrow Sikhs might ask for one, and imagine if each of the Hindu factions ask for a state; this nation will be fragmented to every inch.” What comes out is the fact that Nathuram was not a Hindu fanatic but a person who recognized the malice of partition. One of Gandhi’s post partition remarks (which I copied from a plaque at the Gandhi Ashram) might be relevant here – “The partition has come in spite of me. It has hurt me. But it is the way in which the partition has come has hurt me even more. I have pledged myself to do or die in an attempt to put down the present conflagration. I love all mankind as I love my own countrymen, because God dwells in the heart of every human being, and I aspire to realize the highest in life through service of humanity. It is true that non-violence that we practiced was the non-violence of the weak, i.e. no non-violence at all. But I maintain that this was not what I presented to my countrymen. Nor did I present to them the weapon of non-violence because they were weak or disarmed or without military training, but because my study of history has taught me that hatred and violence used however noble a cause only breed their kind and instead of bringing peace only jeopardize it.”
Some of you might think that I am trying to ridicule Gandhi; no way! Though I have been a antagonist of Gandhian principles at a point of time, I do consider Gandhi as one of the greatest leaders of India.
In fact while reading the book – “My experiments with truth” we realize that Gandhi unlike other leaders of that time was not born with a great ideology. He was a moderate lawyer and an ordinary human being till he transformed himself; a feat that few people can manage. At the same time one also realizes that ‘self-proclaimed-guilt’ is the very root of Gandhian philosophy. Few of his ideas have emerged from the sense of pride in oneself and his country. There are repeated mentions about how unclean and uncivilized life Indians live. Some chapters of the book are named as “….my double shame”. There are 2 conclusions that I have drawn from the above:
It was his self-imposed-guilt which made Gandhi a great man. In the words of Louis Fischer –“Gandhi’s idea of a democracy was that he took the misdeeds and faults of others as a reproach to himself; he had not done enough to improve them.”
Though Gandhian principles were most apt and suited to lead a nation under an oppressive rule and mired in poverty; they cannot be suitable for a modern India. The new Indians ought to take pride in their existence; their culture and heritage.
Anyway, these are just my personal views and even I am pondering over my actual standpoint on them - I might change them in future.....but all said and done .... Gandhi was great leader..and a man of a great character.... He deserves the respect of the whole world and so be it ....
I was planning to post this entry since a long time. In fact it has stayed on my desktop in an unformed state for about 15 days now. Finally, today when I picked up the book to continue reading it after a long break, I felt lost. So I have decided to pause ‘my’ experiments with truth for the time being and pick it up at a later date. Thus this posts marks the end of a sopaan.
There are few of my friends whom I can rely upon without thinking twice...they are those whom I never need to think before reacting..and I know I will find them always beside me when I need them.....I can be assured that happen what may...even if i dont talk to them for years, still they will never be angry of me...Aurko from school days, Nimish in college days and I believe now my relationship with Shubham (in 'MBA' days) is also transforming into such a friendship.....Adhish though a bit far away in the US now, is also a dear friend..
Aurko is the oldest of such freinds and I am fortunate to have him around even today....we complement each other too well and hence probably we will be together in future...lets see.. I have stopped expecting things...
Adhish is dear, we have a lot in common....even our academic and professional interests (software and IT)...but I have a feeling that he is US for good...little chance that he'll b back..but agian..expect the unexpected....
Nimish as always is hapy-go-lucky.. i am happy to see him in a good job with MBT....he is a gr8 company and very enthu....he is one person from whom I have learnt how to remain happy in life..and never crib
Shubham is also a happy-go-lucky chap, always smiling and enjoying life...but shubham has a clarity of thought,contrasting with Nimish..while Nimish would never think about metaphysics, shubham has views, thoughts and is quite interested in all this ...no doubt he is my 'MBA' pal...higher thing in life usually interest him as much as myself...
I cannot end this post without mentioning Abhishek, my younger brother...we are gr8 partners.. though our relationship is that of a typical elderBro-yourngerBro, but he is one whom I have relied always in my life...a gr8 asset in my life.. am anxious about his future..but am very much sure that he's gonna be damn succesfull in life ... amen