Thursday, September 1, 2016

Hard Work

I have always been fascinated by the tales of men who work hard…insanely hard, often on a counter belief in their work area and to an extent that everything else in their lives becomes a non-issue, while they toil in their singular quest to see their dreams come to fruition. I have many names to put here, but I don’t have much to tell about them that u already don’t know. So, allow me to narrate a personal experience.

I remember most things which affect me, often with scary details. And somehow,  when I think of hard work it is this incident that takes the most prominent space in my mind.

It was the night of 26th Nov. 2008. Yes, it was the same night that Mumbai was attacked but back at IISER Pune HR-1, it was the terror of end-sems that haunted the occupants . Many were preparing for the Complex Analysis (CA) exam due on 27th. I already had two exams on 26th and Microprocessors, in addition to CA was slated for 27th. I had not done any studies post mid-sems and it soon became clear that I would not be able to change my destiny basis that night. So, I made a strategy to cover the summary of chapters and memorize just the diagrams for the important topics in microprocessors. For CA, I couldn’t even plan to think much beyond solving the tutorial sheet once and hoping that exact questions would come in exam as well. Microprocessors took a lot of time and it was already dawn when I had finished it along with the easier problems on the CA sheet. I felt exhausted and hoped that the remaining problems, I will ask Mr. X during breakfast to finish them quickly, and should get some sleep.

I went to bed…realizing little how grossly I underestimated those problems. Mr. X who had a little less academic workload, but had otherwise been busy, had spent two full nights just to brace up the fundamentals to solve those problems. Still, he put an all-nighter on the exam eve to perfect himself for the variations. So, when he was teaching me the solutions, he hadn't been to bed for three nights, his eyes were red and they ached, his voice trembled and he could barely speak. Just after finishing the breakfast he took the college bus, placed his head on the window and closed his eyes. I vividly remember watching him in awe as the winds soothed his parched mind while I filled myself with guilt, understanding the solutions on his notebook sitting beside him.

Fast Forward to 2016, I work on consulting assignments for clients in outsourcing industry during the day and study computer science at night. Since, I have spent too much time idling here and there, these days I tend to devote myself just to these pursuits. Programming takes a lot of  time  and I do frequent all-nighters only to quench the guilt of wasting time. Nightouts are fancy things to hear about, but in practice,  they rob the mind of its peace  and hence it takes a while to get the requisite concentration . But somehow,  it comes steadily. Only if u can believe me, the work hours that tech titans in  the silicon valley rave about, is not that hard to clock. What I have found  hard is to effectively break the larger goals into night-long tasks so that u can tune ur mind to that task, night by night. Once that is efficiently done,  the weariness that u accumulate, gets superseded by the focus, which builds on practice. Nothing is more pleasing than the slow, crimson dawn when you are about to exhaust your tasklist and your command prompt works obediently on all the checks.  A modicum of dream-lashed sleep thereafter and the day starts again.

These days I ride Uber, but the winds are still reminiscent of that November morning. I only hope my toil reaches its consequence much the same way as did his, in that exam.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Occasionally, we come across strangers who interest us in first glance, without any attempt of communication being made. There is certain indescribable knack in the glance, which I do not know, if is bilateral prima facie, but is present one way atleast. The oddity commits u to extend the glance to a stare. Now this stare is exploratory, as the curiosity explores for the features that instilled it in. And, they are not just eyes that are engaged. A whole lot of “intending” organs tend to express themselves in ways that is unknown to any language formation. The eyes are mere forerunners which are made “scapegoats” for the activities, far more devised and machinated than the best practising organizations can think of!

With all these sequential programs running, the mainframe at times, hangs and hooh! our eyes get caught. Entire process gets in a reconciliatory mode. There is a certain rush of something in the back of our head. The whole of brain reneges on its compartmentalized responsibilities and gets into an emergency “guilt” situation. All our resources are spent on a single objective: search for any fragment of any idea that could regain our lost dignity. And see the irony of the situation, almost invariably they are again eyes, which are assigned to work our way out of this impossibly difficult predicament.

Retrieving some courage and anticipating that the “subject” might also share the same, the eyelids elevate themselves with caution. They reach up to the point from where they were "dishonorably discharged" and find the other pair of “forerunners” waiting, often with hope. Bingo, instantly they drop down! This time with a zeal as if they have hit a jackpot. The spasms which characterized the mournful loss of respect till now, give way to a certain sense of delight exuding a feeling of acceptance. The self confidence levels reach astronomical heights.

The real game starts now. Both parties intend to “embark” on this newly found interest. But all they manage is essentially a “one step forward, two step backward” process. They continue to look in other’s direction, only till the moment they r not caught. If this session is prolonged further, these are characterized by isolated and restricted smiles. Even these smiles are inducive! If u understand or have experienced what I m talking u w’d know how powerful u have to be in order to curtail the imminent reciprocation. These smiles are pretty vulnerable as well, its very probable that while downhilling the slopes of one of these smiles, the braver of the two w’d say: “Hi, I m Abhijeet”!

N exactly at that moment he w’d break a relationship that they shared all these years..... yeah, they were “Strangers”!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I, me n yet another transposition

Now that u know me, I am unrestrained to say that I have had yet another change of address. This time it’s because some erudite scholar, obsessed with the idea of anonymity in our mythological epics thought that “why not the takers of his newly-fangled course in a newly fangled institute should follow the heroes in those epics n spend their last year of education enduring the rigours of an obscure habitat ? ”

Well, as part of that rummy scheme I was shipped to IISER kolkata from pune. To add to your enlightened conviction, I already have a fair amount of transfer certificates in my kitty, given the air of indecision that I carried in my teenage years. So, this new move didn’t evoke much emotion in my already lingered heart as much as it did upset my parents who had put their weights in favour of me, joining IISER Kolkata, if anyway I chose to shun engineering, four years ago. But, Pune sprung far too glamorous, replete with amenities, that a teen of my thoughts could imagine.

First statute that u will notice about IISER Kolkata is it’s remoteness, both physical and incorporeal. It incarnates all the communist ideologies, in their entirety, in the metaphysical sense. On it’s physical alienation, I would say that it won’t be too long before China actually makes a stake for it, along with other regions in north-east.

My existence here has been slightly bumpy, if not loathsome. I do not intend to complain but there is something seriously wrong with the sense of humour that people possess around here. I mean one can live with the restraints on food or water but with people who don’t respond to ur pokes could at times, be bothersome. At this point, I sincerely miss my plump roommate, whose sight itself incited the laughing hormones, notwithstanding the numerous interludes of “no-talk” mandates that we signed together.

Added to my woes, I am being taken as a “reference” here to compare the academic standards of these two institutes. Faculty possesses a keen interest in what courses was I taught there, especially in what was I not taught n somehow it transpires to them, that those were the only important thing in those courses. I have an invitation from almost all the faculty who have been acquainted with me to attend the courses, they are offering. Students, on the other hand show an aquiline interest in my GPA. But, what has exacerbated my plight here, is one damn funny thing that happened to these guys when they visited pune in 2008.

It turns out that a bunch of highly enthusiastic students under some sober faculty visited IISER pune for participating in latter’s cultural fest. The students with an overflowing zeal, but lacking in substance had strenuously prepared for their performances, which when delivered on stage fetched them “ek do, teen, char, karo ye attyachayar......”. The mild mannered Bengali faculty, disconcerted, concluded that this denigration is characteristic of an unruly mob particularly found in Bihar and eastern UP. So, as soon as I told him the details of my nativity, he was taken aback. All he could ask me was why did we inflict such a pain on our supposed to be batchmates. All I did, in answer was to wait for him to pay for my refreshments.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Probity of Mathematics

What image do u construct when the word “Mathematics” gets laid on ur sensory organs?

Sure enough, the answer would vary much more than the definition of variety can afford. A layman would recapitulate multiplication or division, a more educated one can strike a later chapter in the order of his education. A Physicist would try as hard as he can but he would invariably stumble on differential equations while a chemist would land on molar concentrations or other volumetric features, that too while taking an evasive action. Biologists live in an orthogonal world, so no point asking them this!
Mathematicians on the other hand, might get a deeper or sacrosanct depiction depending on the “sub-field” they practise.

Sadly, I don’t get any of these when I try to comprehend the realms that this word suffices. Instead, what I get is a blurred, hazy picture of a hermit who lives a reclusive life outside the domains of society. Every component of society thrives upon exercising a selfish and exploitative doctrine to reap maximum welfare out of this guy and when used up, turns on to ostracize him. This guy gets banished in a crowd of individuals each of whom have been on its “pay-roll” and are going to have an indispensable interest in forseeable future as well. And why? because he has his own set of rules, in nonconformity with those of the rest of them. Wait! the irony does not cease there. This guy has a sworn rectitude that he would serve whoever calls it, regardless of the treatment reciprocated!

And what about the people who practise it ?

Well, Grigori Perelman is a Russian math whizz. He proved a century-old “Poincare’s conjecture”, a theorem about the multidimensional space. Now, the enormity of this work is from zenith to nadir, not only for mathematical fields, but for an always opportunistic physics n it’s cousins. Much to laud his work, he was conferred the “Millennium Prize” of the Clay Mathematical Institute. To add to his hotshot resume, he was also bestowed with the elusive “Field’s-medal” way back in 2006 itself.

He went on to refuse both the awards saying that a certain U.S Mathematician Richard Hamilton, contributed equally to the proof since he used his technique to solve the aforesaid conjecture, and hence the decision to give him the prize was unfair.
Can u believe it in this world! I mean I live in a space full of guys rapaciously dying to get their names on paper, when all they do is “latex-typing”. And one morning, I see this scrupulous character epitomising all the moral virtues that I can imagine. It gets me to ponder whether it’s the subject itself that imparts this inviolable probity to remain intact with one’s astute rationales. Or is it because unlike others, it devaluates expediency over principles. I would intelligibly need my lifetime to understand this riddle, but one thing is absolutely clear to me that

More than a kicking brain this subject requires a tender heart!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Of muses n musings

Daydreaming has its own advantages: it lets u off ur realities and places u in a world where u are the monarch of all that is surveyed. This might be a dandy pastime for distasteful lectures or other similar circumstances but if done in surrealistic conditions or for times protracted, this presents u with the most grievous redoubt to confront: u urself !!

Sometimes, a reverie is so self-imposed that awakening seems to be injurious, not for the injury it may incur, but because we are so engrossed in it that we refuse to accept our existence without this being a part of us or we being a part of it, whichever may suffice.

The pensiveness in words would say u that I am not as genial as I used to be. True, and by all odds I would emphatically declare that I don’t deserve to be. Anyway, what’s the point in carrying a jovial face when the fact is that ur heart lingers or even at times gets squeezed up to relish the tiniest fraction of the same joviality. Isn’t it hypocritical to revel in the joy of something likely to happen, when deep inside u know for sure, that the very foundations are too wispy for even the smallest of perturbations. Moments of stupidity or moments of abject failure are not what I regret most in my life but moments where I lacked courage to face or moments when I acted with indecision.

I came back early today, anyway my supervisor is out of town and in his absence the whole place is too reclining to allow any serious work. I have been numb for somedays, it’s a bit hot n humid here with disjointed spells of rain and was staring outside my window when I saw something. A flower from a well-blossomed tree fell down. It was complete calm outside .The surroundings lacked any agitation from wind or other sources. Neither did a bird perch nor one departed. To make my wonder even more intense, the flowers of this tree grew upwards with a strong trunk. Still, the flower “parted” !! The spontaneity struck me and I read (hopefully) what was written so vividly on this event. May be it’s time! May be it’s time to say goodbye! May be it’s time to tread alone! May be it’s time to awaken!

Years of inertial endeavour underlying infantile thoughts and puerile dreams are not that easy to be replaced with one stroke of a stark realization. Truth being told, no amount of wisdom can pacify the conflict that hovers inside u, let alone guide a resolve to ease u off it. Minutes, hours n days pass without having an effect on this “so called agile” emotions. It may take a long time ,might even be this lifetime to sustain this “avulsion”. But, I would begin- not because I possess the requisite courage or am so iron-willed but because I don’t have a choice!

It’s well past midnight and I am woken up by the raindrops hitting the windowpanes. I see the same tree. It’s leaves and flowers washed up and glistened in dim-lit streetlights. Something inside me wanted to go out and as it has been a long time since I did anything to please it, I followed the desire. I looked up from where the flower fell. A raindrop hiding in the leaves came down and filled my right eye. I shivered; for once, I couldn’t discriminate between my tears and the rain.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Random Thoughts

Honestly, it has been quite a long time since I sat with an empty head to see things the way they are....feels like I had always had a biased view, at times overly inclined in tune with my own pursuits.

Ah, sounds like I am in some redemption mode, the one where u say "yeah, it learnt me a lot despite the consequences ". Not to mention, this kind of mood is something very common whenever a semester ends, and fortunately, this being the last semester, it strikes gently with a healing touch: Bye-bye everything that I didn't prefer to do.... It is then only that u see a sudden void and with a deep breath there comes a sigh saying there were certain things that I will surely miss .

It really has been a long time since I did things which I liked or at least said that I liked .To start with, the very word "blog" proved to be a "personal nemesis" after an earlier post tweaked the aversion of society (the one I live in) with what is known as the "Right of free expression"

Then there were other instances unfortunately quite abundant this semester which tasted every virtue that I could relate to endurance which I possessed. These rampant hooh-hahs finally seem settling down and hopefully I can start on my exams slated next month onwards.

Meanwhile, I missed lots of action in the recent past: IPL proved far more than just a cricket tournament with a solid storyline for a bollywood flick where a minister,a CEO and a special someone, all very powerful acts in their own league had a common grudge in the end: all had to vacate their posts. Then, out of nowhere, certain group of couples have attracted the interest of whole nation with the national judiciary standing up against the local caste panchayats for their issue of barbaric diktats in Haryana.

Hooh, the power has gone and this turns me to notice that Pune is getting hotter with each passing day...Plant more trees!!!

Yeah, the last issue of National Geographic (Apr 2010) has tremendously influenced me on water related matters mostly because of it's rich photographic content nicely pitched with a coherent penwork. I would rather urge u to have a look at it, if it is not too much of a trouble.
see with no power, I am stumbling on the more essential or rather objective things in life.

well with an empty head only Random thoughts can spring on a lad. Bear with this till I am back with something significant.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Semester gone by

I had the last exam of my seventh semester today and this almost marks the end of my endeavours on the academic front for this calendar year-if there have been any!

Well, anyway exams at IISER have never been very enthusiastic for me. But, this is the only day when I look to them often with gloom to see nearly all my hopeful A's getting degraded into those realistic, stubborn B's. There is nothing harder than to console oneself to settle for something as menial as this.

More than anything I would remember this semester for something it did on the personal grounds. This shouldn't be discussed in spaces as open as this but I tell u .."Nearly all of my endeavors to reach where I once dreamt of are giving me those 'plane faces' ..everything seems to be gushing past me...and still there is not much that I can do about it. Tough times ahead..I think I need a break!

Tomorrow, we are being taken to Bangalore...It's an educational trip on the cover but I look forward to have a nice 'paid' outing with my friends.

See u next sem....