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Little Sasi's Little Thoughts

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2/14/10 01:40 pm - Accessing LJ Posts...

I am unable to see 'friends page' beyond the recent 50 (25 at a time, two pages). Is this a new norm restricting access?

2/14/10 01:27 pm - A trip to Nasik...

On Friday went to Nasik on invitation to inaugurate the CSI Student Chapter of ABT College of Engg (?). Used the time to explore a bit of Nasik. The chapter inauguration was good - well organised and executed. I was chief guest for the occassion. Gave a chief guest address asking the chapter to look at doing usedul things, than just looking at a name-tag. Building practical skills, going beyond curriculum, addressing social requirements, building local language content, etc were some of the themes. In a detailed seminar, covered open source and cloud computing.

In the Nasik exploration, checked out Navshya Ganpati - beautiful location near a small river (name = ?). Lots of copper bells and coconuts - apparently this is known for granting your wishes - from devotees. Then had Siva darshan at Someshwar - a bit further on the same river bank.

Then we went to Panchvadi - known for its Ramayana connection. Had darshan at Kalaram mandir for Ram/Lakshman/Sit - nice architecture, built with stone slabs -- and Seetha gupha, the cave where Sita was staying during the vanvaas. At Tapovan, about 3 km from there, saw where Lakshman cut off Shurpanakha's nose -- the place where the nose was thrown to is nasik (nasika - nose). And also the caves where Hermits were staying, etc.

On the way back, saw Pandav Leni -- over a hill side, where Pandavas were staying during their vanvas. Did not climb up - since it was late.

1/3/10 11:00 am - Happy New Year....

Wishing you all a very happy new year, sharing this little poem. Written primarily for the students, but if you change, 'projects and quizzes' to whatever activities you have, then I guess it can work for all.

Look at the madness all around,
Ideas galore, sweet and smart,
Quizzes and projects shelved aside,
Hear only echoes of sports and art.

Creative elements spring from all
Words and pictures talk so loud,
Of pain, joy, courage and evil;
Mirroring the world with just no cloud.

Java, Web, OS and DB,
The market wants them all in rife.
In these little events, but, you learn
Lessons precious for your life.

A cloudy, polluted world we have;
Terror and hunger add to the mess.
Clean up or perish – choice is tough;
This time, we cant afford to miss.

A calmer world beckons us far
Greener, safer and full of peace.
To that world of respect and love,
Closer we should get with ease.

Come, let us join our hands;
We can change this world, so dear.
Wearing that lovely smile of hope;
Let us welcome this new year.

12/26/09 11:05 am - LJ is alive!

Accidentally bumped in to check if LJ is still alive. For a long time, I used to see no one writing much here. Friends page would have just one or two messages in a week or two. So, gave up on LJ.

Orkut seemed to be a good timepass and nothing more. So, gave up that too even before.

Checked out LinkedIn - I find that quite useful. It is a professional forum. Some of the groups are very active and relevant. Not too much of junk postings there. You can ask questions and people respond sensibly.

Then checked out Facebook. I did not like the user interface. Its utility is also doubtful - except as a time pass. I also hear a lot about Facebook people's tactics on 'freedom control', copyright, etc. So, became quite inactive on FB too.

Twiiter is the latest I am trying, what with all the bollywood and big people all there. It is hard to follow too many people. But there are useful information coming there. Some relevant stories, news, updates, and some timepass.

But on landing here accidentally today, there are some ancient civilisations still here, and some occassional movements too. So may check out once in a while.

4/14/09 12:06 pm - വിഷു ആശംസകള്‍...

എല്ലാ മലയാളി കുട്ടികള്‍ക്കും എന്റെ വിഷു ആശംസകള്‍. നിങ്ങളുടെ ഈ വര്ഷം സുഖസമൃദ്ധം ആവട്ടെ! ഓര്‍ക്കുക വല്ലപ്പോഴും.

(if you cant read this, this message is not meant for you!)

4/13/09 08:16 pm - Looking for Sponsorship!

Yes, we are looking for sponsorship for the NCOSS conference.

If you are working in a company that has significant open source activity, you could recommend to the Marketing/PR department to extend sponsorship to the conference. If interested, send me a mail or write to ncoss@cdacmumbai.in, and we will send you the details.

4/12/09 05:39 pm - Visit to Jivadani temple, Virar...

For a long time, I have been wanting to visit this temple at Virar - it seemed to be an interesting place, atop a fairly big hill. Finally, Manoj and I made the trip today morning. Left 7.00am from Kharghar, and returned by 4.30pm. Train to Virar, auto to the hill base, and then climb. There was no significant delay anywhere (but for the trains running with interruptions due to trackwork, etc being a Sunday).

We reached the base at about 10.00am. The climb is fairly steep with about 1200 steps (did some approx counting, on the way back).  Took about 30 minutes to climb up (with 2 rest periods in between). And then spent about 45 minutes in the queue. The rush was very bad - there were easily around 3000 people ahead of us in the queue when we joined the queue, and the rush was on even when we left around 12.30pm. But good rush management mechanism - with clearly separated queue path, though long winding - and fairly well maintained steps to climb and some roofing above the walk-way most of the distance, made the climb and queueing not bad. We could get good darsan, and then wandered around a bit on the top, and then we heard the arati chanting. Came back to be at the arati - surprised to have an arati at 12.00 noon; but was nice to be there at that time.

The view from the top is nice - the hill is quite high to provide a nice panoramic view of Virar and the hills beyond. Though there were not much in the skyline to see apart from empty land and concrete jungle, and of course, the eroding the hillbase as soil is taken for the construction.


[going to catch the bus; await an updated post sometime soon....]

4/5/09 03:52 pm - How much does education spoil you?

A while back, we had a campus visit from students of a nearby institute. The group consisted of students from first, second and third year MCA students - all at the end of the respective years. We did the usual programme of showing some of the projects we are working on with demos, etc.

I used this occassion to check out something too. I tried a couple of what I call the 20-20 programming problems on them. I took a short session, gave them two problems, and 10 minutes to solve them. The problems were 1) count the number of transitions in a array of 0s and 1s, and 2) find the length of the longest sequence of 1s in the same array. Only the core part of the program was expected - no reading/writing/initialising/etc. The first is about 3 lines of code, and the second may be 5-6. I took all the answer sheets, checked (not very detailed), and tabulated the results.

Here is what I found. Among the first years, about 30% solved the problem fairly well -- I would give a mark of 8/10 or more. Only the first problem though. Some attempted the second, but not much luck there. The story was same in second year, with roughly the same percentage. The third years presented another story altogether. Not a single person could produce a satisfactory solution! I had somehow feared that this may be the result; but was surprised that it turned out this way.

I did share the news with the class, and also told the Director of the institute and faculty members who accompanied the students. I hope they take this seriously and work on improving the standards.

3/29/09 01:40 pm - Airline stories...

This is not a compare and contrast post - but just two incidents relating to airlines.

1. Of late, Kingfisher has started operating KF-red flights in the Mumbai-Chennai sector. Not sure if the move is driven by politics. Mostly they do offer meals etc - that is service is of Kingfisher, and the aircraft is of KF-red [means, no music, no video, etc]. It also means no lounge access in Mumbai and Delhi, where the terminals are different for KF and KF-red. Last month, on the Holi-day, they made the flight into a pure KF-red flight without even meals [they gave snacks at dinner time!]

They also stopped providing cotton (for ear-plug) in the flight. A couple of times, when I asked the airhostess, she said "Sorry, not loaded". When the reply became common over 2-3 flights, I asked straight "not loaded, or stopped loading?". She said "yes, stopped loading".

Finally, I wrote a complaint at flykingfisher.com and left it at that. Two days later, I got a call from their office referring to my complaint mails. I was pleasantly surprised at the quick response to a web-complaint. She apologised for the problems, clarified the situation and details, and promised to correct the cotton problem, and also look into the Chennai sector problem. The discussion appeared genuine; even if it does not get implemented. It was nice to see your comments getting some attention.

2. Last week I was on a short trip to Brussels. Jet flies direct to Brussels (taking it as their European hub), and hence opted for that. The check-in process was a horror. I was standing in line for nearly 1.5 hours in the check-in queue, though I reached the airport nearly 3 hours before departure. They can't open 1-2 more counters? It was disgusting. The return was even worse. Jet had flights to Chennai/Mumbai/Delhi leaving Brussels at the same time. And it was not a lean season. They kept just 4 counters for all these, with 3 kept for gold/silver/premier class. The latter three were largely empty most of the time. The queue for economy class was about a kilometer long, and I had only 1.5 hours to departure. 70 minutes, I was in the queue, and just hoped that they wont close the counter close enough to departure. They decided to delay the flight by 25 minutes (of course, no announcement!) to cater to this, and I was at the gate just 5 minutes before the scheduled boarding time, not stopping anywhere.

The seating etc in the flight is comfortable. Their entertainment collection is good - it even had Slumdog Millionnaire in its movie list. But I never understood their logic for serving food. It was neither as per the departure-city timing nor the arrival timing. I think they are cost cutting even on flights which are doing well.

3/29/09 12:32 pm - Indian e-books by non-Indians

One reason, I went for an iPOD was inspired by audio-learning. I am not much of a listening-to-film-songs person - though I dont mind a bit of it, and that too with "nice" songs. I found a lot of good 'reading material' on the net in audio format, and wondered about listening to such material when travelling, etc. Not that I was planning to optimally use my travel time that way - but when there is nothing else better to do, this could be worth a try. I picked up a few songs - mostly malayalam - for the song part. And then found some talks which I could download.

I dont feel this media is effective for "serious" stuff. So, I opted to pick up things of general interest. I got a copy of Helen Keller's autobiography (about 2-3 hours of audio time), the science of getting well, and the like. Recently got Rabindranath Tagore's Sadhana, and Gandhi's Bhagavat Gita. As I started listening to them, I found them hard to follow. Both were 'read' by non-Indians, and both had a lot of Sanskrit words, and the pronunciation was hard to follow - even though I was familiar with most of the words. Gyana (gjana) is read as Gayana, brahman becomes braaman, etc. Gita has lots of Sanskrit with Arjuna and Krishna themselves using many different names to denote each other during the discourse. Someone with a good Sanskrit pronunciation could produce a valuable audio-resource.

But, it is nice that, at least these people have understood the value of these material and have taken the trouble to produce an audio-book of them. Will the Indian community in India or abroad wake up to do such things? They are perhaps busy reading up the Western literature!

3/3/09 06:56 pm - Some food for thought....

In my wikidot home, (http://thelittlesasi.wikidot.com/writings)  I have put up some articles which I had written for various purposes. These are generally of, well, general interest. They relate to topics such as "FOSS and education" (an expanded version is coming up Linux for You soon), accessibility, e-learning, human computer interaction, etc. Do have a go, and let me know your comments/thoughts. These are not research papers; but more of "think aloud"/consolidation/etc.

3/3/09 12:35 pm - We are looking for you....

We are looking for some people who can referee some papers for the NCOSS conference (http://ncoss.cdacmumbai.in for more details of the conference). Areas of interest at the moment are software testing, web based software development, indian language processing, etc. Familiarity with open source systems in this area required. If you fit the bill or know of anyone who will fit, please let me know asap. You can either register at the site directly as a reviewer or post in response to this message or send me mail.

1/11/09 11:10 am - What is happening to the world?

Check this amazing clock...

http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf

And you get a feel of the world you are living in!


12/31/08 02:23 pm - Happy New Year...

A brand new year has arrived,
never seen this one before.
The old year has withered away,
leaving memories galore.

New resolutions, new diaries
New calendars, and same old life.
Changing times wear away minds,
Leaving the heart without life.

Let us usher a love-filled year;
Extend our hands filled with care.
Destroy the virus of hatred and pride,
Jealousy and anger, do not spare.

Let our minds be filled with love,
And respect others as they are;
So that we face the world together,
With bold steps and a smiling face.

Obstacles are in every path,
Carefully planted to test our strength;
Closer and tighter they make our bonds
When we dare to trust their strength.

Come, let us join our hands;
Smile with our mind and heart;
As the Sun rises in the morning,
Promising a year of love and care.

Less polluting gases, less use of oil;
Cleaner air, water and earth;
Healthier in body, mind and spirit;
Closer to meeting all our dreams.

Let the day open with these thoughts,
And stay all through the year and more.

Have a great new year....Our Kharghar campus is gearing up for the new year celebration. Students and staff together are making the show with songs, competitions (sports, arts, cultural, etc), dances, skits, etc. The campus is well decorated, and a festive mood is in the air.

12/27/08 11:59 am - National Conference on Open Source Software (NCOSS-09)

After a long break, we are planning a conference, this time on open source software. It will be an academic conference, that is, no marketing talks by invitation.The conference will be primarily presentation of papers reporting original work in application of open source softwares in specific domains like e-learning, e-commerce, etc. And a few invited talks, tutorials, etc as per the standard conference recipe. We expect to bring out a published proceedings of the conference. To make the conference focussed, we are excluding topics usually covered by events like Linux Asia or Foss.in. So no kernel enhancements or utility tools or general evangelism. For more information, check out http://ncoss.cdacmumbai.in

Call for papers is now on, and will close on 15th Feb. Details of participation formalities will be announced later on. So, put on your thinking cap, and think of any work you have been doing that is worth a paper for the conference, and write the paper. And if you know of other people who are into open source, please do tell them. All papers will be refereed and selection will be based on referee evaluation. If you are a open source person, you can also register as a referee for the conference, and help us select quality papers for presentation.

Any comments/suggestions you have for the conference is also welcome. Send to the conferene secretariat, or post it here.

12/18/08 09:14 pm - Technology for solving practical problems...

Another high pitch message was the need to focus our research and development to solving the problems of the poor. Most of the work including those in IT are aimed at solving the problems of the rich. Sam Pitroda gave the following action points:
  • human development to be the focus of science
  • increase investment in social science, in understanding people [remember 1% of US citizens is in their prison!]
  • focus on big ideas [small ideas also take the same amount of time, anyway!]
  • take science to people [how about a chief scientist per district!]
  • revive/review traditional knowledge
  • build new educational institutions
  • create a new science [old measures dont make any sense now, bring Gandhi back to science -- simplicity, concern for poor, absolute truth, etc]
"Indian science will change the world destiny!"

Nandan Nilekani's agenda:
  • primary education
  • infrastructure
  • single market
  • urbanisation - recognise the importance of cities
seeing, the following changes in India over the last few decades
  • recognising the population not as a burden, but as an asset
  • large pool of enterpreneurs
  • English language seen as a language of aspiration
  • we are a young country in an aging world
  • democracy is strong
  • see technology as empowering

12/18/08 08:55 pm - It is the time for India, and you cant copy!

Yes, that was the message in most of the invited talks at the IISc conference (continuing from my previous post). The conference got over on Tuesday. I attended talks on Information technology (almost!), cosmos/astronomy, innovation, engineering science research, economics (trading mechanisms), Gnome reading, and one general one. Three of the speakers were Nobel prize winners. The rest big shots in India.

There was one major message in all of them. India is clearly progressing fast on the economics and technology side. But there is danger ahead. Environmental problems are putting all the nations on a leash - with threats of a 2-5 degree rise in temperature. But economic growth has been so far (history of man-kind) directly proportional to gas emission. We are today sending in about 2 tonnes gas per person per year. US is at something like 14! As India's economic index rises, we will rise in this also. The world average is now not too bad, thanks to the vast number of countries at a low economic growth including India and China. As we move up, the world average will shoot to alarming proportions. And UN agreements are going to restrict countries from raising gas emissions. This means, India has to find way to prosper without increasing gas emission - new/different modes of transportation, and other technological innovations have to be found. They are all saying "think out of the box" and bring out drastically new solutions - the rest of the world is looking upto us! On the other side, our mindset is to copy the US - in lifestyle, in technology, and social life!

The cosmos fellow said, there is no planet or star in the near vicinity that is fit for human inhabitation. So, we have no option but to stay here!

Pitroda: "we are living with 21st century need, 20th century processes, and 19th century mindset"

12/14/08 09:26 pm - IISc centennnary celebrations...

 IISc, established in 1909, is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and they have a star-studded 3-day conference currently taking place in Bangalore, their campus. I had no idea about it, till my super boss, ie, boss of boss, called me up on Friday afternoon and told me to go and attend. He knows me and my interest and values, and so he gave me no options. So, hurriedly booked tickets, etc and made the trip on Saturday evening.

The programme started on Saturday with inauguration by former President of India, Dr Abdul Kalam and Prof CNR Rao, scientific advisor to PM. I missed this, since I reached only on Sat night. Attended the Sunday programme fully and hence this blog. You can get more details from the IISC website (http:/www.iisc.ernet.in).

Delegate arrangements were a little confusing, with no sign boards or directions except for some general banners. But without much problem managed to get to venue. The day started with two keynote addresses, one by TCS MD Mr Ramadorai and the second by Prof Suresh, Dean of Engg, MIT, USA.

Read more...Collapse )

The second talk was simply amazing. Read more...Collapse )
This was followed by a panel discussion on India as a knowledge power. I found this pretty boring. Afternoon, attended a workshop on intelligent transportation, followed by two more invited talks: one on cosmos by Martin Rees, a leading astrophysicist and president of Royal society, and the second by Nandan Nilekani, Infosys. More on this later.

I had not listened to any of these directly so far. Nandan Nilekani spoke extempore and with conviction and vision, reflecting on his book "Imagining India". Good speaker, hardly any hesitation on attacking or criticising systems or any point. Ramadorai, on the other side, was very controlled, sticking to the prepared speech. It was a nice contrast. Whereas Nilekani rarely referred to Infosys (that he founded along with others), Ramadorai talk was almost fully about Tata's work.

Most companies in Bangalore were there, most of them were sponsors, given that it is IISc! All the big names in academia - across disciplines - were there. Given the variety of disciplines, there was hardly anyone who I know directly. About 5000 people are attending the programme, though, it appears that about half are from IISc itself, going by the sample I saw.

11/23/08 12:39 pm - Workshop on Machine Learning...

Following the expert system workshop held a couple of months back, is the next one coming up - this time on "machine learning". For details refer to the http://www.cdacmumbai.in and click on the machine learning workshop event link on the right, or visit http://thelittlesasi.wikidot.com/ml-workshop

We will cover a set of popular machine learning approaches including neural networks, SVM, clustering, inductive learning, etc and illustrate these with a nice ML tool (open source) called weka.

PS: Looking at the number of comments that posts in my blog are receiving of late, it looks like my usual readers have given up on my poor blog. While workshop announcements, etc do not, often, receive much comments, posting general stuff (including poems -- stretching the definition a lot to accommodate them!) used to receive at least a few comments. Perhaps most of our LJ friends are too busy and hence has no time to post comments, perhaps even to read the posts. :-(

11/17/08 07:32 pm - Why I am not doing research... :-)

Today we had a long walk and a long talk. The walk was the usual evening walk around the campus, and for the last few days we have had a significant increase in the group size - actually about 600% increase (ie, from one person to 6 persons!). The walk is now a mix of fun and exercise. Today we also had a long talk on research, stemming from the question why no Indians are among the Nobel winners or such high recognitions. The discussion wandered to state of education, research centres, politics, evaluation measures for faculty and students, etc. And it culminated in the dinner table with the question as to why winners dont continue their productive run in the rest of the life.

If I do serious research, someday the Nobel prize committee and the likes of them, have to recognise my work and give me the prize at least once. This means someone is going to lose the chance to fame. And to me, I will become too famous, and will need to attend inaugurations and the like -- including national and international summits on poverty alleviation, leadership development, etc and even Miss India/World contests -- talking the same thing over and over again. And the rest of the time, I will be sitting in high-level committees doing nothing useful. This does not appear to be a good way to spend life. And if you get a big award, one cannot get away from it. And if one does serious research, the awards will find you. So, it is best not to do good research.

There is more problems. If you do good work, you have to publish papers. Writing good papers is not easy; it takes time and effort. And getting others to write is often harder, given the number of times you need to revise the paper. And if you dont write papers or apply for patent (another painful journey), I must talk about it so that others know and benefit from my work. And this means the big companies will seal all that with their patents, based on what they hear from me in these talks. And they will sell technologies to me based on this work, and charge me high including recovery of the money they spent on patenting. And my hard-earned money goes to buy technologies that I developed! So, it is best not to do good research.

The next best thing to do is to encourage others to do good research. This I keep doing wherever possible.

[The first para was reality, and the second onwards virtual reality, except this para!]

If you can find more reasons for not doing research, post....

- Sasi

11/14/08 07:35 pm - Happy Children's day...

Today is Children's day. But so far, no one has wished me!! After all, I am the only little Sasi! So, I have decided to extend my best wishes to
  • all those who are children at heart, though look older
  • all those who look like children, but has grown quite old at heart
  • all those who can grow up without growing old
  • all those who can grow old without growing up
  • and to all those who refuse to grow in anyway....
Have a great children's day - or atleast the night - full of big powerful dreams.

Let us always be children at heart
Let not the body spoil the sport
Daring to be frank, with no fear of the world
Smiling from the heart shining like gold
Daring to tell the king he is nude
So innocently that none sees it rude
Asking questions, puzzled by nature
Seeking answers, learning to mature
Smiling when happy, crying when hurt
Did it matter what the world would feel?
Let us always be children at heart
Let not the body spoil the sport.


- Sasi

11/2/08 04:00 pm - The Web world...

I have been slowly building a little home on the net again, after the bad experience with 5gbfree.com. You can find me at thelittlesasi.wikidot.com; (wrongly written as wikiworld.com earlier) it is under construction, but slowly using that as a Web-presence to keep and share useful stuffs. Being a wiki-based tool, moving stuff to the site is difficult, since there is no file upload! Your comments are welcome.

I have been talking about content development for long. Last week decided to contribute a little to the Gutenberg project of putting books on line. Anyone can register (www.pgdp.net) as a proof reader, and pick up scanned pages to proof read. They have a very elaborate editing process - quite impressive. Two levels of proof reading, then a format editing, proof checking, verification, etc. Every page goes through 4-5 people before getting it finally released - perhaps explains the quality of the content they bring out. There are quite clear guidelines on what one should do, at each stage. And the task is not difficult, and often helpful to build an eye for details.

I discovered that I have sent an average of 4 mails per day during the last 4 years [4300 mails in by sent-folder, during the last 4 years]. This is counting every day of the year. I thought the number must be much higher; but perhaps it is getting evened out covering days when I am not on the net.

10/26/08 02:01 pm - Wish you a very happy Diwali...

The floods, the draughts, the explosions
not caused by crackers of children,
The economy on the down for a while,
The inflation climbing up with the prices

There is so much darkness all around
Awaiting a thousand Diwalis in our mind
Dispel the darkness with the light of love
Care, compassion and some concern.

Pray for those caught in darkness
Losing lives or their life-givers
Dark, sure, will their Diwali be
not just now, but for long ahead.

Let the Diwali bring in some light
into our troubled hearts and worried minds
Let the lights be of happiness or a veg oil;
Powercuts are already unbearable

Let there be no crackers, big or small;
Pollution is already hurting our lives
Let your laughter loud and clear
replace the harmful crackers from now.

Happy and Safe Diwali/Deepavali to all of you....

10/11/08 08:09 pm - Some publicity....

Last 2-3 months saw some visibility through magazines of a semi-formal nature.

1. I e-mailed the "moodling your way to e-learning" article which I wrote for our Moodle workshop, to Linux For You. They liked it and were keen to publish it immediately. They chose it for the then current issue itself - namely the September 2008 issue. It is available only in hardcopy form for one month, after that they will host it online for public access. It is my first 'magazine' writing, and first contribution to Linux For You. A couple of unknown readers sent me e-mail saying that the article was nice - so that is a bit of icing on the cake.

2. We (Aparna, me and Santosh) had submitted a research paper on localisation to the e-gov 2008 conference. Since localisation was not a listed topic in the conference, it did not make it there. But the e-gov magazine was planning a special issue on localisation, and they asked for permission to publish it. That article made it in the September 2008 issue - available online and hardcopy. It even got featured as the cover story.

3. The e-gov magazine folks asked for a writeup for the special issue, and I prepared a hurried note on NLP and localisation. I was not very happy with it. But the magazine folks were. That also made it into the same September 2008 issue, and got featured on the magazine cover. These two were the only articles to be featured on the cover.

4. We (Archana, me and Sunny) had submitted a paper on Marathi tutor to digital learning conference. Apart from being presented in the conference, it also made it to the digital learning magazine in the July 2008 issue.

Most of the time, my writings used to be just web-hosted or ignored after the purpose for which it was made (like a workshop). I used to wonder about submitting it somewhere - but never got around to do that till this time.

- Sasi

9/29/08 06:39 pm - Back to the past!

Last weekend was on a trip to Goa - as usual on work! Went to BITS Pilani's Goa campus - never been there before. It is on the other side of the airport compared to Goa Univ -- my usual visit place in Goa. The visit was for their 'software freedom day' celebration. An event fully organised by the students; and by that yardstick, the program was organised well.

As promised there was someone to receive me at airport - a good start. Then he told me while in the vehicle, that they were unable to get the guest house they said they have arranged. They have a good hostel room, would that do? Not having much of a choice, I said OK, "hope it is clean". Within 20 min, we reached the campus - a lovely vast campus right on the sea side. Nicely maintained (perhaps due to being just 4 years or so old). There were more hostel buildings than institute buildings. Apparently they can host over 2000 students in the hostel, and they do get students from all over India - met some from Kanpur and Kerala (for a contrast).

The escort student took me to the hostel room and then I realised I am back in my IIT-Chennai days. A small single room, with a bed and a table. Bathrooms, etc are all shared at one end of the corridor. After my IIT days, never had to do that so far. The room is clean enough to stay. No usual support material - no blanket, no towel, no soap, no washbasin, .... It was just 7am (I had taken an early morning flight). Took some rest and then decided to go for breakfast. Got some idli from the campus cafeteria - tolerable. At lunch time, found that only the hostel mess is available. Again, no choice. After many years, got a taste of mess food. Altogether, a walk back to the old hostel days!

The campus does not allow students to use any vehicle including cycle! A way to make students healthy, since it is about half a km from the hostel to the campus buildings on average. And the lack of students on cycle also ensures you can walk along without much fear on the campus road - but for the occassional cars (of institute, faculty, etc). Attendence in the program was very poor, and the conduct very informal.

Altogether a forgettable visit!
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