Monday, September 15, 2008

Those wonderful days.......

Oh man why did I do this? ...... this hiatus in updating the blogosphere with the adventures of a lifetime could cost me so many memories. The months ensuing my previous post have been the most wonderful of my life, in every sense. The very thought of loosing reminiscences of this past gaiety, is keeping me awake at night(quarter to 5 right now!).

One and a half months have passed since returning from Germany ..... yeah that's true, I was out of India, for the first time in my life, and now hankering to go back. The reason for an abstinence in filling these pages are mystifying to me, because I really wanted to. I remember telling myself everyday that today is the day I start blogging again, but alas I never did.

Over the next few days I will try to recollect and picturize each and every moment during those, the most astonishing days my life.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Arijit Das on "The Net"

Finally after months of excuses and delays, I uploaded my web-page last week. From now on Arijit Das has a new official home on "The Net".... Even though it is still being modified on a daily basis, hopefully by the end of the month it would be good enough to be shown to the world. In the meanwhile the relative obscurity of this blog will save from any embarrassment of any sort whatsoever.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The month gone by.......

March materialized to be one of the most fruitful months, in terms of extra-curricular adventures that I enrolled myself into. First of all, I got this internship opportunity under Prof Friedrich Leisch from The R project for Statistical Computing at Ludwig Maximilians Universität, Munich where the project is related to the use of Finite Mixture Modeling in marketing research to cluster consumers into market segments, for which I am extremely excited about.

Further I got another call to work under Prof Bimal Roy, the current dean of academic affairs at ISI Kolkata to work on Cryptography. These days I am also a reporter for Bulla Scientifique, a monthly science magazine supposed to start from next semester, covering the various research activities at our campus.....and supposed to write an article about the recently concluded Open House 08, so basically I have enough on my plate to gobble...for the next few months atleast.

In the meanwhile the end semester examinations are nearing and it seems I need to mask my love affair with Munich for a couple of weeks, as that is something, which is devouring most of my conscious thoughts.....

Monday, February 25, 2008

Some concurrent events.....

In concurrence to the vulgar race for survival and success, there were a few fun events in the offing over the passed month. Initially Techkriti'08 provided an opportunity to interact and listen to people like Dr Kevin Warwick, the first Human Cyborg and Dr Peter Grunberg, Nobel Prize winner in Physics 2007. The game super-pong was also pretty enjoyable during the event.

During the same weekend a lecture series on Cryptography started. It lasted over 20 hours spread over 8 days, covering basics of cryptologic protocols, most popular cryptographic schemes and some cryptanalytic methods. For the first 10 hours Professor P Sarkar, discussed stream ciphers, block ciphers, hash functions and the very definition of security relevant in the digital age. The second half of the series taken by Professor R Barua, was quite mathematical in nature covering introductory number theory, some algorithms in primality testing and factoring for large numbers. On the final day, that is today, the concept of elliptic curves were introduced and some of its uses were suggested in cryptographic schemes.

Thus ended a pretty absorbing week where I learned so much more applicable mathematics and got inspired by a some of the living greats........hopefully something good will come out of this!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The days that have passed.......

Thanks to my indolent nature i have again missed filling this space. In any case, the last few months have been rather busy for me.......initially for end semester exams and then busy wasting time in front of the TV during the winter break. Further a weird bacteria named Staphylococcus epidermis had made my index finger (right hand) its friendly abode for over a month, which meant I couldn't really participate in many fun activities which my friends were up to.

The new semester started with new hope and aspirations, on the last day of 2007. After messing up the end-sems I wanted to stay on track from beginning, but alas like all new year resolutions this lasted for not more than a week. In the meanwhile our Regression Analysis professor had announced an internship opportunity for those with experience in MatLab. I eagerly had raised my hand, and enthusiastically sent all my previous project work etc to her though she was rather reluctant at my application as I had completed messed up in her class in the last semester. I knew this was time for damage control!!

Over the next month I eagerly attended all her classes, showed my true inquisitive nature and did the data analysis assignment pretty well. During one such meetings I further got to know that the internship opportunity was moreover in University of Vienna, Austria!!! and this really turned me on...

The mid term results proved to be pretty decent and finally my professor was ready to recommend me...hurray!!! I tried to make my CV as attractive as possible, obviously without diluting any facts and submitted it to the respective site.

This was a fortnight back and hoping to receive a reply any time this week.....fingers crossed :-).......In my next blog I would talk more about other concurrently occurring events....

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Return of the King!!

After months of dawdling, I am finally back to re-populate this corner of the cyberspace periodically, which has been left unscathed for purely technical reasons in the recent past.

Meanwhile a lot has changed in my life, as mentioned then, I am now an IITian and finally feeling settled in. Initial days were kinda odd, for the first time i was staying away from my parents in a hostel. After all the years of news and first hand accounts on the happenings inside a college hostel, this was something i was not exactly looking forward to, though fortunately a new hostel was allocated to the new incoming batch. Hall 9, one of IIT's "innovations" in nomenclature of hostels, become my new abode for the next couple of years.

After the first few days, all apprehensions had evaporated and was finding the stay quite enjoyable. For the first couple of weeks all of us had to go to Hall 7 to fulfill our dietary engagements. The food was certainly more than palatable, and were occasionally served rather daintily. Periodically i made a visit to the local restaurant, mostly alone to satisfy my craving for non veg as that was the only thing disappointing about the mess food. Going by the banal conventions in nomenclature this place is called "Campus Restaurant".

The professors had a certain aura and charm about them which i had been longing for so long. Finally i got professors who can confidently answer all my questions without using all sorts of delaying tactics which i had become fed up of in DU. The studies were certainly a notch higher than what was being done with my friends at other colleges, and was enjoying it pretty much.

Even though our daily routines are filled with classes and test preparations, the college takes care of our fun and frolic bit too. We had this Antaragni, our college fest, wherein singer, Atif Aslam and the rock band, Poets of The Fall were invited to perform on different days. After serpentine queues and hours of waiting i got to hear both of them right from the first rows. Late night discos and chatting up with friends right until the sunrise were certainly firsts for me.

Though in the final analysis, i may have messed up my grades, i learned a lot more and really had a enjoyable experience, the iitian way of life!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Finally!! IIT Kanpur comes my way!!

From 28th of july i would formally become an "iitian" in the truest sense of the word. I am not just going to any iit but arguably the best one we have at present in India. I am joining the masters course in statistics and the course is supposed to be quite theoretical in nature and something I am quite excited for.

I hope i am able to make use of this opportunity to get a solid base for my dream of going to some good actually very good US university for my PhD.

I reach iit on the 26th and lets see what all awaits me, Hopefully a bright future!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Great going....

Recently some unknown alien life form has invaded my head and is giving my some cool intellectual powers!! I know it sounds like Koi Mil Gaya, but otherwise how could i explain the recent unexpected burst of some great results!!

I am being offered admission to an integrated PhD program in Mathematics from Houston University, then IIT for Masters in Statistics and finally the really big one IISc, Bangalore for integrated PhD in Mathematical Sciences.

The list could make even the best of students proud, i suppose, and more so for someone who is considered weak in studies, first by parents and more so by a few of the teachers in college (though i my self have similar impression about them, the teachers that is, hehe).

On a related issue, the long absence of posts from this blog also shows that I actually was busy studying at the least for the last few months.

I hope the alien resides in my head for a few more ...........

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

This is my first foray into poem writing so.... here it goes..

Falling in love isn't science to me,
which gravitation can explain fine to me,
for heart has reasons of its own designs,
a language to me which only shows signs,

love in your heart wasn't put their to stay,
for love isn't love till you give it away,
In the end i hope you wont throw the message away,
as I only wish you Happy Valentines Day

Arijit Das

Thursday, February 08, 2007

She Won, She Won!!

I had just woken up at around 6:30 on a foggy Monday morning and turned on to a news channel. "She won, she won! Can you believe it, she actually won," what read like an encrypted message, rolled past on the ticker at the bottom line of the TV screen.

Obviously, I had been too clued out over the extended weekend to understand that the world - at least the sizeable Indian chunk of it - had been waiting with bated breath to know the verdict on Shilpa Shetty on UK reality show “Celebrity” Big Brother!

Ha! So was I supposed to feel glad and a trifling more Indian at the big victory? After all, the "UP-Bihar" item babe had "gracefully" managed to oust her "tormentors" from the show and had successfully overcome "racial victimisation" on Prime Time television.

Wasn't she the perfect picture of a "good Indian girl" winning over an emotional audience who couldn't stand her being bullied around by UK's B-list celeb scum? For now, Shilpa seemed to be every waking man's centre of universe. As her joyous pleasure cries reverberated, and her red skimpy top shimmied across news channels, I wondered aloud - Whatever was the Big deal?

I have many remonstrations to the song-and-dance over Shilpa's victory dance. Shilpa Shetty ain't no "A-list movie star" as being claimed by many in the media and Ms Shetty herself (of course you could forgive her for that considering she was to share space on the show with the dirt of UK's celeb circle. Think am kidding? Run a Google Image search on Jade Goody and you would know!)

If playing second-fiddle in films like Baazigar or uninspiring forgettable performances in a slew of later films makes one an "A-list star", I am sure a Mamta Kulkarni is an equally deserving candidate. She was being paid - and oh boy, being paid BIG - to be on the show. The prospect of getting richer by a few crores doesn't hurt anyone, certainly not a star deprived of quality work.

Her "quotable quotes" in the diary room made one cringe and squirm. They sounded phoney and contrived more than anything else. Sample this, "I didn't even know what was going on outside. I mean we don't even have real grass in the Big Brother House. It's all plastic." Grass or not, you sure do sound plastic lady. Oscar winning show indeed!!

Her U-turn on the racism allegation came as the icing on the rotten cake. And all of it was served with a generous helping of UK Prime Minister, PM-in-waiting, India's Finance Minister et al commenting on the issue and her weepy mother rushing to UK to the rescue of her tormented daughter! Sob, sob and urgh!

I am sure most would take me for a compulsive cynic trying to undermine a hot actress' victory. Cynic I am, but not without a reason. I do not contest that racism is bad. It must be condemned in all forms and that our lass was subjected to unfair treatment.

And yes, I really am wondering, open-mouthed, at the sudden turn of fortunes for a woman who would have perhaps been best remembered for her bootylicious moves in "UP-Bihar" songs is getting to become an overnight sensation - for whatever reasons - is no mean feat.

But does it really call for celebrations? Does it really require us - the media and the public - to go gaga?

Whoever cares?

I would, if I were in Shilpa's shoes. Certainly not otherwise.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Every one's on Orkut!!

"Oh great I'll find you on orkut", i said and walked away. And two days later when i signed into my most favorite pass time, i had a new friend request on orkut.

Everyone is on orkut. And for any one who isn't, i cant help but think of that shady PSPO pankha ad... where the guy who didn't know about the local fad was met with a simple "Yeh PSPO nahi jaata!". And it was his cue to catch up with things.

Anyway, what i still find amusing is why so many people fuss over adding or not adding people on their friends list. I've friends who keep invitations pending for weeks before they decide to unwillingly click "accept". and then of course there are those who're part of the elite club where membership comes .. not very easily. My question of course... orkut has no perks for being or not being on the friends list! Either ways, your scraps, your photos your profile can be accessed.. so besides the "I'm on his' her friends list" novelty factor.. there's really nothing else to it..or is there?!

Of course orkut does great for your social life. You don't have to bother getting her number, you don't have to impress her in those 2 and a half minutes at the metro when you meet her.. so she thinks your a nice guy and gives you her number. All you need is the name.. and your good to go! a few scraps that gradually move to private messages, (clearly no longer fit to be in the scrap public domain) and you look back and pity ancient romeos who went to such lengths to get her to rattle out the first few digits of her number.. knowing fully well that there was a good chance that one out of those ten digits could be wrong. Enough to end that romance.. that never was!

All's great when you end up meeting old crushes, ex bosses, grand mother .. (who's managed to finally hold a mouse and not giggle!) and a half a million others who you'd have forgotten if it wasn't for orkut. what comes as the only liability perhaps is the fact that you also end up reviving contact with people who're best forgotten! Then again, what chance do our noble intentions stand in front of "expanding the circumference of your friend circle!"

All great, only for systems in almost every company that has tried so hard to block orkut. There's one word that makes the world go round.. PROXY! ;)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Closing Address

To be entrusted with the delivery of the closing address for a symposium like this one is not really an easy task. The person volunteering to do this could not be in his right mind, if he had witnessed the preparations and the vivid description of the same in the inaugural address. Fortunately, while I was beginning to think of the enormous responsibility and considering that I had probably been rather rash to accept it, realized that the first day ended as a BLUE (Boring Listless Uncharacteristically smooth Event).

The reason for the turnaround still remains to be examined, though may be attributed to the words of apprehension at the inaugural address, which initiated a markovian chain reaction leaving those involved, scrambling for the six sigma boundaries, to minimize outliers. Our symbiotic partner in the college, the mathematical counterpart, provided the much needed crowd for our fledgling event. Flanked activities, like sudoku (what?) and crossword witnessed far greater attendance than for which, it was really meant. Even though there was no lack of stutter in the speeches, the random walk was rather well controlled by the absorbing boundaries, of the editors. Punctuality of the invitees ironically, lead to random flutters, as their arrivals were normally estimated with huge biases.

Regular snacks were offered, including ‘samosa’, sandwich, tea and ‘gulab jamun’. During the course of the event, the presence of a ‘samosa’ eating monster was proven at 99% significance with the ‘S’ test statistic at 135 and 205 for the two days respectively. I must though mention the fact, that the ‘samosa’ was rather fresh and tasty, while the sandwich was its exact antithesis.

I thereby end by congratulating all those involved, who have been able to pull up a miraculous escape from being chagrined. I must preen the hardworking members who have been able to control, a highly uncorrelated group of stochastic events, which have undoubtedly left a mark, advertising the presence of our highly insignificant department.

God Bless You All!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Inaugural Address


Dear dumbfounded duds, on this momentous occasion, I present before you set of pathetic, unplanned and near random events which in no way are related to the stupid seminar. This tragedy of emotional desperation began with a cat fight among well respected people of high standing. Egoistic clashes and fight for supreme power led to bickering and other childish audacities which nearly put the preparations out of track (not sure whether we are still on it?).

Defecting sponsors and invitees have been common place over the past week with embarrassing regularity. The polarization of the society into a few centers of power, followed up with the usual eclectic mix politics, has been of rather interest to the onlookers. The sedate posters embellish all unimportant corners of the university to minimize chances of damage to those few intellectuals who have been held captive by rising cutoffs. Banners with umpteen mistakes decorate the filthy auditorium within which the two day extravaganza of street fights brawls and a pandemonium of mindless hoodlums is about to take place.

I hope that at least a few of you will live through, to tell the story, which I am sure is going to be a spicy mix of tragedy, suspense and a few fight sequences. Now I leave you to your miseries and would pray to see you all again at the end of two days.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Red Indian on Google Earth!!

" Here's a weird finding on Google Earth. Somewhere in Alberta in Canada you can spot mountains or large hills that look like the face of an Indian.

It looks pretty real, even a lot more realistic than the face on Mars in my opinion. It's also pretty big, I used the measure tool in Google Earth to measure the size of the Native American's forehead and its about 225 meters (0.14 miles) long.

You can check it out in Google Maps or just enter 50° 0'38.20"N 110° 6'48.32"W in Google Earth. And like someone in our comment section said, with a bit of imagination you can see he has an earbud in his ear (maybe he's listening to his iPod?)

Dont You Dare Step Across This Line!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Happy Diwali!!

Diwali is the festival of lights and the celebration of good winning over evil. Celebrated with much fervor in India, the Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi is welcomed into our homes by performing various Pujas and rituals. Lots of sweets and fireworks around the country. One of the side effects being high sound levels during the evening and night and a thick layer of smog next morning, though to which me and my family take a full part in!!

Diwali had always been a rambunctious affair for us, my grandfather and his brothers have always been firecracker enthusiasts and have participated all their lives in the community competitions which were an yearly affair, even till a few years ago. Anars were their “specialty” and had even perfected the flying variety. Though these days we are happy with a couple of packets of rockets, a half a dozen bombs (each packet has ten!!) and a few of those seemingly insane, whirring concentric circles of light, the charkas.

My brother, cousin and myself had started with usual fanfare but we soon realized that this time round diwali in Delhi was seemingly uncharacteristic with the pollution levels (including sound) rather abated. Mid-way through we were actually getting embarrased to the extent we called it off. Maybe the "Say No to Firecrackers" campaign, had started to show its effect. Though the unending flow of sweets and a series of delicacies being dished out to us the whole evening kept our spirits high. It seems by the next year not much of fireckrackers would remain in Delhi though I hope someone doesnt start with a "Say No to Sweets" campaign in future!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dancing On the Edge Of Time

Well I am in the middle of my exams and my situation is something like the image of the skeleton on the workings of a watch!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bloody Indian Youth

India's hopes reside in its youth”, might be a cliché needing revision, especially after the events which unfolded in the past few weeks.

The hoodlumism on display in Ujjain took the life of a professor who was opposing holding student body elections. The intimidation and eventual assault on the professors was covered by the media and one got to see first hand the ugly side of student politics.

The furious hysterical faces of ABVP activists threatening to wipe the floor with their teachers, wagging fingers and spewing abuse was captured in full close up by television cameras. A policeman standing next to the students shockingly failed to realize that criminal intimidation is a punishable offence and simply looked on.

In another part of India, in Chandigarh, irate young women demanded an apology from and suspension of a teacher who punished a girl for speaking on her mobile phone in class. And in Meerut, girls from a local college vandalized the vice chancellor's home and damaged his vehicle simply because he failed to give them an appointment.

The anti-reservation stir this year was no doubt an example of a powerful youth movement where concerns about the future were certainly legitimate and many sincere young people participated in the debates. Yet alas, here too there seemed to be a sort of tunnel vision on the part of the protestors, a refusal to engage with the realities of social justice, to understand what caste discrimination really means. Instead there was an almost hysterical obsession about "oh god-what’s-going-to-happen-to-me; I'm-going-to-America."

Rang De Basanti is a cult film for today's youth. A film that preaches disrespect, hedonism, and historical forgetfulness and valorizes murder is seen as the great protest film of our time. Glance at any workplace today and you'll find the majority of the workforce made up of feverishly ambitious mercenary young people myopically focused on upward mobility, with empty minds that are also as narrow as their trousers.

Our great hope is that sixty five per cent of our population is under the age of 35, but has India's youth inherited the worst traits of their elders and tossed out the best? Is the Rang De Basanti generation manically reciting the bizarre mantra "the system sucks" by repeatedly demonstrating its contempt for the law?

Scan the blogosphere and you'll find several vicious armchair twentysomethings vomiting out defamatory and bloodthirsty sentiments about strangers who they would, ostensibly like to murder.

India's youth may be our greatest resource, but parts of the youth are, alas, sunk in such awful decadence and aggressive normlessness that they make the Naxalites of the sixties look like nawabi intellectuals.

Organizations like the Youth Congress, NSUI or the ABVP are in decline and comprise mainly of lumpenproletariat jostling for petty local fiefdoms. Lumpen and rogue elements are taking over campuses and turning youth politics into factories creating even larger numbers of villains. The national parties are using student politics as laboratories to extend their influence and also delve into a young vote bank for electoral gains. They have also in the process inculcated the sterling qualities of politicians – voter intimidation, violent confrontations, booth capturing, and horse trading and of course corruption and the use money power.

A case in point is the Delhi University elections, which have been reduced to a farce with candidates each year proclaiming to do the exact same thing in their manifestos year after year. While many may argue that the one year tenure is too little to achieve anything concrete, the question arises that all these years could the student leaders not concentrate on this single issue and get a more workable time frame rather than fight over petty issues? Also, would it not be better if students raised issues on say the right to access the Internet or introducing newer courses etc. rather than indulge in arm-twisting and false promises?

The utter degradation of student politics was not exactly a hidden truth, but recent farcical election campaigns and violence has given it the necessary scrutiny. Student bodies are meant to represent student’s rights; at least that is what they claim. But when issues of student welfare and the very future of students is in question, all student parties are found wanting. During the recent reservation demonstrations, not one student political outfit came out in open support of the movement. It was left for umbrella groups to raise the concerns and demonstrate their angst.

Despite the fact that one may be critical of student bodies one cannot deny their role in a democracy and especially in a democracy involving young people. So one can also argue that the politics of today is now being reflected in the student version of the same as well. What student leaders see on television screens, with mud slinging and chair throwing, they feel that is what politics stands for!! So in an ironical sense the student leader’s behavior is a creation of the politicians themselves.

One would be happy to see mature and reason based student politics but at the same time it is the job of the ‘big’ politicians to show them the way. Surely, one cannot be critical of students and not of the politicians who are pumping money and absurd notions about politics into these leaders. But with the tragic death of Prof. Sabbarwal there is a clarion call for reforming student politics, who does this – the government, the students, or college administration is debatable, but the time has come to rid ourselves of manufacturing goons and criminals in the name of student empowerment.

This is a generation that outwardly looks more modern than their parents but whose thinking is much more backward. In short they believe in caste, patriarchal family values, do not support women's rights and are overwhelmingly concerned with money and success. When the desire to hit the arc lights outstrips all sense of morality, decency and values then India’s future it seems is not really in very safe hands.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Journey Begins

After much cogitation, followed by months of dawdling, I have finally decided to maintain a blog. So from now on, will feature the latest concoctions, events and incidents betide in Arijit Das’ life. Finally my decision to maintain a blog are unusual and I shall ratiocinate my motives, lest they be questioned.

The first internals are about to start in another couple of weeks, and the major entrance exams are just around the corner. In other words, it's finally study time, and life has become boring. No more outings with friends, no more bunking classes, and no more acts of random insanity that I usually indulge in (like walking all the way to my home; 20kms or so, taking a round trip on the outer mudrika to get my bus pass’ worth, which takes around 4hrs). So, I thought, the best way to spend this time would be to sit at home (or college), and write about my dull and boring life, so that somebody else, with an evidently as dreary life, can sit at home (or college), and read all about it.

Though comments, encouragements, and suggestions are not expected, though all those who are indolent enough to be reading this, the same would be acknowledged, and in some cases appreciated.

With all that cleared, it is time to begin.