Saturday, December 1, 2012

Something Else *yawn*


A lot of things have happened since the last time I’ve posted here. To name the ones that stand out –

-          The President of India walked within 5 metres of me. I could’ve tackled him or thrown my shoe at him and it’d have hit him point-blank.
-          Travelled to Delhi in a train alone.
-          My iPod is on its death-bed.
-          I got a new phone. A hTC Smart (originally called hTC Rome)
-          Got a 8/70 in a test at college.

That’s about everything I can remember right now.


Where do I begin? I’m gonna tell you all a story.

November 18th, 2012.
Infront of the Nampally railway station.
Hyderabad, India.

Walking towards the entrance, I looked back to notice how precariously my father had parked the car beside another car and sighed hoping that he’d be able to drive it out of that tight spot. Climbing up the stairs, I looked around myself and was greeted by the usual faces you’d see in any railway station. My father motioned me to wait for him as he went to buy a platform ticket. I nodded and my eyes followed him as he made his way to the line. It was serpentine. “It’s going to take quite some time.” I sighed and looked away at the screen which displayed the name, number and the platform number of the trains that were scheduled to arrive in the next 2 hours. It took me little less than 30 seconds to seek out the platform number that I was supposed to report to. I looked at my dad too see if he was any closer to buying a ticket. I sighed after observing no progress. I looked around myself and saw a group of people sitting on the ground. Possibly a big family going home after a trip somewhere I presumed. There was a security guard at the entrance and few people staring at the display screen just like I was a few seconds ago. As I was lost in thought, I heard a rumbling sound behind me and instinctively moved aside. A porter was transporting an empty trolley. I was well outside it’s range but another man wasn’t. He quickly moved aside and I looked at the trolley with a fascinated gaze because just a few months ago, I’d watched a video on a differential and how it helped cars turn.

A chirp broke my train of thought and I looked around surprised because a railway station was the last place I’d expect to hear a bird chirp. After turning a full 360 degrees but still unable to find the source of the chirp, I looked up to find 4-5 sparrows circling the dome above. 3 of them in one direction while the other 2 in another. I looked at them surprised because they kept flying in circles and broke into a smile which I quickly subdued because  I didn’t want people to think I was crazy so soon. Those sparrows circling around the dome reminded me of similar behavior by a flock of pigeons near my house. One day, I’d gone up to the terrace to find a flock of about 20 birds circling around my building as a single unit without any purpose. I immediately went and reported this incident to my grandma. She told me that they do it everyday and that piqued my curiosity even further. I even thought “Hey, this is so weird. I think I should report it online.” But that was as far as I went.

I noticed my dad coming after purchasing the platform ticket and stopped this train thought. We walked together into the entrance and the one thing I noticed immediately after entering was the imposing presence of a policeman with a rifle. I looked at it with a curious gaze trying to identify it but he turned away and I had to keep walking. As we made our way to the nearest foot-over-rail to get to the adjacent platform, I noticed that the  black night sky had turned into a deep tint of blue. “It’s dawning.” I thought as I accompanied my father to a nearby stall where our order for a cup of coffee was left dangling in the air owing to a shortage in stock of coffee powder.

        As we made our way over the rails, I noticed a train and asked my dad if that was the A.P express. He replied in the affirmative and I was glad to know that because that meant I could immediately go into the train and occupy my berth.

“S9 64” I kept thinking in my mind as we walked towards the bogie in which I was going to be travelling. “S13 S12 S11 S10…” I counted and ended with a “S9. There it is.”

It’s 802 words already and my journey hasn’t even begun. Lol.

It’s 10:58 Pm already and I think I should go to bed now. I’ve got to wake up early tomorrow because that’s the only way I’ll get to read “Agent 6” by Tom Rob Smith.

Hopefully, I’ll continue this some other day.

Until next time,
Adarsh.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Meltdown


I just read and reread a blog on the MIT admissions website. It was written by Lydia ’14 and titled Meltdown. http://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/meltdown

If you scroll to the end, you come across this line.

There’s this feeling that no matter how hard you work, you can always be better, and as long as you can be better, you’re not good enough. You’re a slacker..”

I’m not in MIT. I haven’t even finished High school but I feel like I can relate to that feeling. 


That's all.

Until next time,.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Some 'small' things


(You didn’t think I was going to let October go without a post, did you?)

This post is going to be about the ‘small things’ that have happened to me lately.

P.G. Wodehouse
When I was in school, during an English class, the teacher asked the class if anyone had read P.G. Wodehouse. She was surprised to learn that no one had even heard of him and then proceeded to tell us that he was a good author and that we should read some of his books. A few months ago, while I was browsing the fiction shelves, I saw 5 books of this author stacked against one another. However,  they were too ‘thin’ and I wasn’t in the mood for such light stories. I wanted something gruesome that gave me thrills so I passed and promised myself that I’d taken them the next time. The book that I had taken then proved to be a bummer and I realized that perhaps I should move on to something else from the suspense, mystery filled stories. Well, the next time I went to the library, I grabbed a P.G. Wodehouse book called “Summer lightning”. Usually, whenever I pick a Dan Brown or Jeffrey Archer, I find the transition from the real world to the book easy and smooth. This however wasn’t anything like that. I struggled at the beginning to get into the groove but I hung on. The reviewes at the beginning showered praise on the author and called him amazing. He had to be good. Well, I finished that book and forgot about Wodehouse for a while until a month ago when I picked up another book called “Ring for Jeeves.” I was finding it extremely hard to find the time for 600 page novels and thought that a smaller book would be easier to read.  This time, I was much more ‘open’ to the book and well, I found it to be amazing. Yes, I struggled a bit at the beginning but I caught on soon.

At school, we sometimes had a 40 minute reading session at the library. I used to see my friends pick a book up and whenever they came across an unknown word, they’d go refer a dictionary to find the meaning. Sometimes, they used to ask me while I was engrossed in my own book. I’d tell them “Mate, not knowing that one word isn’t going to make the book unreadable or the story boring. Just leave it behind and pass on.” I wonder how I managed to learn the meaning of any word by that philosophy and coming to think of it, perhaps I don’t. Almost all the uncommon words I know, I only know their meaning with respect to the context that they’re used in. Of late however, I have found out that sometimes that isn’t possible.
Anyway, while reading “Ring for Jeeves”, I stumbled upon so many unknown words that I didn’t know the meaning to and nor could I make much out of the context they were used in. So, I kept my iPod beside me and opened a dictionary in that and proceeded to find out the meanings of the words that I didn’t know. That made the process of reading and understanding the book so much more easier and fun. Plus,  I got to learn a whole lot of new words (They’re mostly archaic though and I’m worried that my entire vocabulary will be replaced by archaic words that no one knows the meaning to). I picked up another book recently, “The inimitable Jeeves” and it was much more fun that the previous ones. I guess P.G. Wodehouse grows on you over time.

And yeah, if you haven’t read any of his books, I urge you to go find one and read it. I found his stories  very different (in a good way) from the dark thrillers that I usually read which contain at least one murder and one gunfight.

#Wow. I just wrote 665 words on that supposedly ‘small topic’ but I’m not done yet. Let’s finish what I’ve started.

Gamification
Remember that Coursera course that I was talking about in an earlier post, well, I successfully completed it and got a certificate signed by the instructor, Kevin Werbach. Yaay! All the work paid off!

Scoot Young’s learning technique
I like learning about how I can make myself more productive. How can I achieve more in the same time? I mean, I’m a student. I’d love to know how to be able to maximize my productivity during the time I study and ace tests. So uh, I read a lot of articles on the internet and follow some websites.
One such blog is run by an MIT Computer Science graduate who I believe wants to decode the process of achieving more. He’s not satisfied by simple phrases like ‘Follow your passion!’ but wants to know what lies behind them. Well, he writes at a website called ‘Calnewport.com’ I suggest you go check it out. It’s a nice website.

Anyway, the latest post on that website is titled “Mastering Linear Algebra in 10 days: Astounding experiments in Ultra-Learning”

Here’s the link that à

It’s about the ultra learning techniques that the author’s friend, Scott Young, developed over a period of 12 months in which he completed 4 years worth of classes required by an MIT Computer Science undergraduate. Amazing right?

Well, I read that post and was so impressed by it that I’ve decided to adopt it. It is logically sound, connected with MIT and Richard Feynman and ‘proven’.

I’m really looking forward to applying and sustaining that method over the next phase of my studies (however long that may be) and hope that it’ll be of some help as I’ve been finding college unmanageable of late.



8 one hour sessions doing Physics
One fine day during these holidays, I thought “Okay. Today, I’m going to do Physics and physics only.” I ended up spending almost 8 hours and finished solving around 3 chapters in an AIEEE exercise book. Was it fun or was it fun? At the end of the day, I looked at all the work that I had completed and was stunned. It simply didn’t feel like I could’ve done so much in just one day. I instantly assumed that I had received some super powers overnight and thought that I could do it any day and any time I want. Hmmph. It was not to be.

Played volleyball after what felt like decades
Yesterday, (Okay, it’s past 12 so, day before yesterday), my school friends arranged a volleyball match. It was fun playing with them after a gap of nearly four months. Actually, that was the only ‘outdoor’ physical activity that I’ve done in the past 4 and a half months. Lol! By the way, we won. 3-1. Again. Thanks to my serves, some nice saves by Ibrahim and good team-work from Vijay and Hussain.

9 hours of sleep
That’s a luxury I cannot afford on a normal day.

Dusted my guitar and retuned it…
Only to break the high E string and now it is back biting the dust as it is a tedious process to get the string replaced (not really. I just have to spend some time on it) and I simply cannot be bothered to do it as the profit of doing so at this point of time outweighs the marginal cost (just inserting some fancy economics terms here. I don’t know what they mean and whether I have used them correctly but hey, I was in a flow)

Dota2
I logged in 4 hours of Dota2 these holidays at a gaming centre called GameOn. I met someone who goes by the name of ‘Behemoth’ and is of the same grade as me who has logged in 120+ hours. I felt ‘120 hours! That’s a lot of time. I wish I had that much time in my hands to while away. (googled whether it was ‘wile’ or ‘while’ only to find that they are both used today but only one makes sense logically. http://grammarist.com/usage/while-away-wile-away/)  I played a game with him which didn’t go till completion because of a power cut.

One thousand three hundred and seventy eight words.
That is the length of this post until that last period. I think that I should be end this post, get my bag ready for tomorrow and then proceed to read ‘Why does E = mc^2’ until I feel sleepy.


These holidays were a welcome break from the routine and have refueled (I think it is very unfair that Word displays red squiggly lines underneath the word ‘refuelled’. It’s equally correct! ) me with hopefully enough energy until the next such holidays.


####### THIS POST goes completely haywire after this. I have no idea why I wrote, what I wrote ########
Let me give you an analogy (as I’m in the mood for one).

Life for me is like driving a motorcycle up a steep hill. Everybody gets different motorcycles. While one gets a sporty and awesome looking Kawasaki Ninja, another gets a sturdy Royal Enfield while yet another gets a plain looking Hero Splendor+ but with a high mileage. People don’t start with the same bike, some have - what people might call – an unfair advantage but that’s just the way it is. There’s nothing you can do about it. Stealing is strictly prohibited. There is no purpose to this.  There is no end-point. There’s nothing to tell you something along the lines of ‘Congratulations. You have reached the end of your journey. Please proceed through the gates to receive your prize.’ There is no end as such. Only an end as you perceive it.

#### From the point of view of a student #####

Everybody has a bike. Different bikes. Some have a Yamaha R15 while others have to make-do with a scooty or a Yamaha Rx100.

It is not the bike that matters but the distance travelled. The distance travelled determines whether you will ace all the subjects, just pass or fail them.

The class topper, the guy who comes first in all subjects without studying for them, he owns an R15. The guy who fails all his subjects, owns a Hero Splendor.

The idea is like this. The ‘supposed’ objective of the game is – Travel the farthest distance.

This can be done primarily in a single way – use your bike in the best way possible.

That in turn divides into several sub-categories listing ways in which you could use your bike in the best way possible.

-          Learn to drive properly
-          Take good care of your bike by regularly oiling
-          Change tires regularly
-          Stop at fuel stations to refuel
-          Upgrade your engine, chassis etc.
-          Learn to make friends with your fellow drivers who might pinch in with an extra tire in times of need
-          Listen to the radio station that broadcasts help for you to drive better
-          Experiment
-          Learn to work hard at covering the maximum distance
-          Don’t become stagnant because if you do, the bike will start rolling backwards.
-          Don’t burn yourself out by working too hard as it will reduce engine-life

I can connect every single one of those to something that a ‘student’ is supposed to do in real life. I will write them out one day, I promise, not today.

It surprises me as to how I can find analogies or make up stories that explain some situations perfectly. You know how some people find it difficult to follow some classes because they missed some or don’t work hard enough to cope up. I can give you an example in which you are doing another task, your goal is entirely different but everything that has happened to you can be co-related to something there.

This is definitely something that I’ll write about some day.

The word count reads 1,981 and the clock on the bottom right says “1:12 AM”. I think it’s time to say goodbye. Writing this was extremely fun, just like old times.

Until next time,
Adarsh.

(PS:Thewordcountnowis2012exactly.TheYearinwhichwearecurrentlyliving.Isthatsupposedtobeasignofsomething?OOOOOOEERIE)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Just something


Recently a friend of mine told me that she was missing school a lot. I replied “ You do? I’m sure others do as well… As far as I’m concerned, I’m plain surprised as to how I managed to completely wrench myself off that place and get stuck to something else. I do remember it now and then but it all feels a long time ago.”

She told me “It goes like this.. If you like your college life you won’t bother about it.. But if you don’t then you will miss the good old days.”

That made me wonder, “Do I like my college life?”
Oh yes, I do.

I’ve been trying in vain for the last 5 minutes writing and rewriting trying to phrase what is on my mind in the best way possible without sounding too patronizing or over exaggerating things.

I’m learning under some very smart people and I love it.
School was an interesting experience but I wanted to move on. I think that is why I don’t miss school as much as my classmates do.

I don’t know what else to say.

#Make that 45 minutes of writing and rewriting to make up those last two sentences

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tim Minchin

## Let's pretend I was never away. Okay?

While reading this what-if.xkcd, I found an amazing comedian-singer. The name's Tim Minchin.

Check that out would you?

And perhaps this as well -



That's it for now.

I'm afraid that if I write any further my deteriorating grammar will find it's way here :/

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What I've been upto - 1


It’s been a while since I last wrote something substantial here, 17 days to be precise. It’s Saturday night and I thought that today would a nice day to break that brief hiatus. What follows will be stuff that I’ve been up to since the last time I was here.


For those who don’t know what it is, it is basically an ‘online university’ that aims to give self-learners from around the world, a chance to improve their education and learn something from the best teachers. Their course offerings are currently are limited to - Computer Science, Statistics, Physics and Cryptography. I have fun learning so, I thought why not take some of these classes.

                The first Udacity class that I took was Physics 101 : Introduction to Physics. I finished that class with highest distinction in little over a week. It largely consisted of problems that I had already encountered previously and the ones  that I did not know, I watched the videos to learn what I was supposed to be doing. It wasn’t very challenging but I liked the way the course was structured and did learn some new things.

                I’m currently taking CS101: Introduction to Computer Science and CS253: Making Web Applications – How to build a blog. I’ve been stuck on the last problem of Unit 3 in CS101 for the past 1 and a half week. I’m hoping to complete it in a day or two. These courses aren’t what I would call ‘easy’. I’m having fun though. I’ve set myself a goal of completing CS101 and 75% of CS253 over the next one month. Let’s see how far I go.

                I’ve also registered for a Course in Gamification on Coursera. I hope it won’t be too hard trying to balance these courses and school!

College(I mean school)

While I’m not exactly flunking the tests, I’m not doing very great either. That’s going to change soon anyhow. I’ve got a Chem IIT test on atomic structure this Monday. Since it’ll be the first such test in Chemistry, might as well study and top the class :P #Challenge accepted.

By the way, I’ll be giving a presentation on the Pascal’s triangle this teacher’s day and perhaps one on Schrodinger’s cat.

Books

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of reading of late. However, I’ve just 4 books in the past 17 days. Okay, drop that ‘just’. Considering the fact that I’m preparing for IIT, 4 books in 17 days is a luxury. However, I don’t mind that luxury. It feeds my soul.

Anyway, since I was last here, I read the following books ->

How to destroy the Unvierse and 34 other really interesting uses of Physics : <something> Parsons

The Big Questions : Physics

Shall We Tell The President – Jeffrey Archer

Sean Covey’s The 7 habits of highly effective teenagers

And am in the process of reading The Quantum Story by Jim Baggot.

I liked all of them but the Jeffrey Archer novel took the cherry. It had been quite a while since I’d read Archer and he was at his best yet again. Also, I found the Sean Covey’s book to be pretty interesting. I’m going to read it once again.

Other random stuff
It’s exactly one year since I stumbled upon MIT. I haven’t done much in the past one year but it doesn’t seem to matter a lot to me now. I don’t know. I feel nothing. That deep desire to get into MIT has kind of faded with the passage of time. I still want to go to MIT but just not as bad as I did then. Maybe not getting into MUWCI has taught me something. MIT is no longer the reason I do stuff and that, I think, is a good thing. Anyway, I’ve recently drawn out a rough outline of what I’ll be doing over the next 1 and a half years. Deep down, I know it might not be enough but, I feel surprisingly good. It’s an eerie feeling.

Wow, it took me close to 30 minutes to type down just 650+ words. I used to be able to write a lot faster. I guess that’s the side effect of taking a hiatus from writing.

And did you know that – “A frog when put into boiling water jumps out immediately. But if the frog is kept in a bowl with lukewarm water and the bowl is heated. It will get cooked to death.”

Until next time,
Adarsh.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Completed my first Udacity Course!

For the record, I just completed my first Udacity Course in --  Introduction to Physics : Landmarks in Physics (PH100). Took me little over a week to do it because I knew most of it and it wasn't really challenging.

Now, all I have to do is complete CS101 before 6.002x starts...

Monday, August 13, 2012

When I wrote the last post I was exasperated..


# This is a 1100+ word post and might get extremely boring at times. Proceed with caution.
When I wrote the last post I was feeling exasperated. Why, you ask? For a variety of reasons that came one after the another until the lid just blew off the kettle and flew into outer space.

I was watching TED videos when I stumbled onto this one which was about ‘Coursera.com’, a place where professors from some of the best universities in the world conduct online courses that anyone with an internet connection can take. I knew about it already but I decided to watch the video anyway. While watching the video, I opened their website in another tab and was surprised by what I saw. It looked so much more refined than the last time I saw it. I spent the next 15 minutes trying to listen to the video and scroll through the courses offered on the website. I saw some really interesting ones. I thought ‘Why don’t I take one of them?’ and AM (my subconscious, I like personifying things) instantly hit back at me saying ‘Are you kidding me Adarsh? You say you don’t have the time to study all the subjects at college and yet you want to spend time on THIS?’ And I thought “Yeah, AM has a point here. I don’t have the time.”

                I still scrolled through them all searching for interesting courses that some Adarsh in a parallel universe – who had time – would be taking. It felt as though I was looking at a chocolate cake behind a bullet-proof mirror. While going through them, I remembered “EdX”. I was curious to know what courses they were offering now. I was a part of their pilot course – for a very brief period – 6.002x Circuits and Electronics. I saw that they were now offering 6 different courses along with 6.002x. And considering the learning freak that I am, I instantly felt like jumping on the bandwagon and signing up for a course. I clicked on 3.091x Introduction to Solid State Chemistry and read the description. It was all good until my eyes read the approximate hours per week that I’d have to spend. It said 10-12 hours. That amounts to more than 2 hours a day. ‘Heck’ I thought, ‘I don’t even spend that much time studying for college. There’s no way I can afford to spend time on that.’ Then my eyes moved on to the duration of the course which said ’10 weeks’. It kind of eased the pain because I had to spend so much time only for a short duration of time but AM was adamant.
                The only thing that I’m doing of late is studying. I don’t seem to find time for anything and even if I do, it feels as though I’m spending time doing something productive and a feeling of guilt creeps up my spine. I’ve given up reading fiction because I cannot – for the love of god – find big chunks of time to read. I only manage to set about 30 minutes a day for reading for pleasure and if you read fiction, you know how irritating it feels to keep the book down every 30 minutes. It takes some time to get into the story, for me, it ranges from about 5-15 minutes. Reading for 30 minutes a day just put me off entirely. I tried reading ‘The Secret Pilgrim’ by John Le Carre like that and it ended up being a disaster. Not only did I despise that book but I lost my taste for fiction entirely.

                Nowadays, I’ve shifted to non-fiction. Unlike fiction, non-fiction can be read in small chunks of time and still make sense. The last book that I read was “The Edge of Physics” by Anil Ananthaswamy and am currently reading “The Big Questions – Physics” by Michael Brooks and next on my list are “How to destroy the Universe and 34 other really interesting uses of Physics” and “The Quantum Story : 40 moments”. Yeah, I know all of them relate to ‘Physics’ but I still read them for pleasure.

                Anyway, I reluctantly closed the ‘EdX’ tab and continued to do what I was doing before, aimlessly browsing. That was when I read the following line in a forum for preparation for IIT-JEE

“ Try H.C Verma for Physics.
DON’T EVER TRY RESNICK AND HALLIDAY. YOU MIGHT HAVE FUN SOLVING ITS PROBLEMS BUT DON’T USE IT AS IT IS NOT IIT-JEE RELATED.”

(It’s not verbatim but it was similar.)
All this time, the pressure was building but this one just increased the pressure by so much that my mind couldn’t just handle it. It exploded.

I was having immense fun solving problems in Resnick and Halliday. All the concepts were making so much sense and then this guy comes along telling me that it isn’t useful and that I shouldn’t even try solving them. I was having FUN.

It was at this moment, that I ‘realized’ that preparing for the IIT-JEE was making me let go of things that I actually enjoyed doing. Things that were worth doing (not something like watching my favorite sitcom)
In a split second my mind just… and I wrote that blog post.

To ‘Cricketfreak’ who asked me : “Does this mean that you are not going to try for the IIT’s anymore?”
No, that is not what I meant.

I remember telling myself that day that “This isn’t going to change much but it is going to change a lot.” A seeming paradox.

If I decide to do a math worksheet today, it is because I want to do it. It’s because I don’t have anything better to do with that time than spending it on exercising my brain to think like a mathematician. Before, I felt reluctant to do it. Even if I ever picked it up, I felt lethargic and thoughts like “Why am I even doing this?” cropped up in my mind. They no longer do. At least not now. If I’m doing something, it’s because my mind can’t think of anything else that would be a valid substitute.

                I’m still going to try and do my best at college and the frequent tests that we have to write. I haven’t given up on that. I’m going to put an equal amount of effort as I did before except, this time, there is a valid(logical) reason as to why I’m doing what I’m doing  and I’m not going to let studying for it come in between stuff that I want to do.
“Duh”, you might think. Heck, even I’m thinking as to why I didn’t think of it before, but the fact is I didn’t. Now I do. And now that I do, it feels stupid. ‘Isn’t all that obvious?’ you might ask. I have no real answer to that except “It wasn’t for me.”.

The counter on the bottom left of my screen reads “Words : 1,162”
I was beginning to think that I was losing my ability to string together two sentences cohesively. Guess it’s hard-wired into me and removing it isn’t easy.

Anyway, it’s 59 minutes past 10 and I’ve spent an hour and 21 minutes on the computer already.

Until next time,
Adarsh.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


It just isn't possible to keep your entire heart into something that you just don't believe in. The IITs are one such thing for me. I know I'm making a bold statement but it isn't one that came off on a whim. For 3 and a half years I knew that this moment would come. It is what my subconscious believes in and I believe my subconscious. It is the culmination of a mentally tiring talk that I've just had with myself.  My mouth is aching right this moment as though pleading for me to say something but no, it doesn't get a say in it. It has spoken long enough. There is no going back. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Finally a Sunday when I did something interesting





The above  pictures are self-explanatory, aren't they? 






Teenagers despise it when people enter their rooms and don't close the door completely while going!

Well, my room has a curtain as a substitute for the door since eternity.  (Technically, it does have a door but I've barricaded it with an almirah full of books).

I don't like it one bit when my parents or my brother enter my room and then exit it without closing it properly. It just simply bugs me. Every time someone leaves my room, I give out a shout "Close it!" It worked all right for some while. I thought that if I said it enough times, they'd get used to it automatically. But after an year of doing that, I feel like they won't get used to it even if another 100 years pass. Also, of late, my brother has become... Even when I yell 'CLOSE IT!!' He closes it like 95%and the other 5% bugs me.

This morning, when the power-cut was in effect, I was on my desk with Resnick and Halliday in front of me. Then I looked to my right and saw that the curtain was 7% open. I thought "OKAY. That's it. I'm going to do something about it, right now!" (It was a valid reason for postponing studying as well :P )

Of late, an idea was forming in my mind where I'd install something that would pull back the curtain whenever it was open. I pondered for a while and the idea of using an elastic rubber-band came into my mind. One thing led to another and 15 minutes later, I'd finished it.




Sorry about the blur, the lighting wasn't enough  I guess.  Anyway, what that photo shows is my solution to curtail the curtain problem. I tied a piece of rope onto the string which supported the curtain and added a rubber band into it. That's what is there on the right. I then bored a hole into the curtain using the kitchen knife. I was surprised as to how easy it was. I was expecting more resistance. Then, I found a cut lan cable. I sent it through the hole and then attached the string to it. I repeated the same thing on the left side of the curtain and et voila! It was over. It's been on since morning and I haven't had to get up to correct it even once. I think it'll need some maintenance down the road but it's ok.


If you are wondering, no this wasn't the first time that I tried to solve this problem. I had a few tries before which include - Sticking the entire thing using transparent duct-tape to the wall. It was a failed try, the tape wasn't strong enough to hold the weight of the curtain and it looked ugly. You can see the remnants of that try in the second picture. And another try included me trying to tape the curtain to the string that supported it. The tape wasn't strong enough.

After looking at the finished product, I wondered as to why I hadn't thought of it before. I simply had no answer. However, I think that the idea of using a rubber-band coming to me now has something to do with the fact that we're learning 'tension in a string' at college. o.O

Ah whatever, I've accompanied this post with enough text already so...

Until next time,

Adarsh.


(PS : Yeah, this was  the most eventful Sunday in a long time.)



Thursday, July 26, 2012


What happened that made me post something in the middle of the week, you ask? (Is that even a proper question/sentence?)

I flunked two tests.

Both in Chemistry, the subject that I was finally beginning to like.  (Word tells me that the sentence isn’t properly structured. Can’t find anything wrong in it, can you?)

That’s all I wanted to say…. This is my shortest blog entry in quite some time.

Anyway, until next time.
Adarsh.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Random ramblings - 6


Usually, when I don’t have anything specific to write on, I spend 10-15 minutes aimlessly staring at my keyboard going through the things that have recently happened to see if there’s anything worth writing about. I open chrome and go through my own old posts, desperately hunting for something to write on. But now, I don’t have 15 minutes to spare for aimlessly wondering, so I just decided to start.

                This past week was largely uneventful. Okay, that isn’t true. It is only on rare occasions that I go through 7 days without having some sort of an adventure or a memorable day. The previous week was no different. However, I’m afraid of the future repercussions if I write what I was up to, so I’ll just pass. No, you know what, I’ll write it in a code so that the future me can decipher it, lest I forget. (Ebubbubf ldrwe rlub xierwat id fglbu, bwzr slt alnw rgubf vyr rgua runw xierwat id geuslt.)

                Also, I’m finding myself getting addicted to Sudoku and I’m getting people around me addicted to it. I play it in breaks, while waiting for the train in the station and my friends also play along. I think the day’s not far when I’ll get so addicted that I won’t be able to sleep because my mind will be so active from trying to decipher the puzzle that it won’t let me rest. It has happened before and I fear it will happen again. As for the SAT essays that I was writing last week, well, after the horrendous first try, the rest were not so bad. I haven’t been practicing them though :/ I am in need of practice!

                Also, I’ve kinda grown a liking to finance. I’m watching a video on finance/economics on the Khan Academy every day while having my dinner and it’s definitely interesting! Learning a lot of new stuff.

                 This feels odd, writing sentences which have no visible relation between them. I usually write sentences that lead from one to another but I guess today’s not one of those days.

                I’m currently reading “The Edge of Physics” by Anil Ananthaswamy and “The Secret Pilgrim” by John Le Carre parallely(is that the correct word or should ‘simultaneously’ have come there?). I’m finding the former pretty interesting but the latter isn’t really my cup of tea. I mean, I like novels which have a single story and are inter-related. In that novel, there is this spy called George Smiley (and some other guy called Ned) who recollect some stories. It did say that on the gist at the back but I wasn’t paying much heed when I took it from the library. If you’re on Good reads, do add me ->

                I recently bought Resnick and Halliday, 6th edition. Damn, it’s fat. It does have some interesting problems but I’m finding it hard to manage all of my subjects at once. It’s like I’m spending all of my time on Physics, a subject that I’m technically already ‘good’ at leaving ‘chem’ and ‘math’, which I’m not particularly fond of, behind. Ah, I know I’m doing it wrong but I just can’t get myself to change. Also, lol, I got the highest mark, 23 on 30 in math, in a test that was conducted a few weeks back. I totally wasn’t expecting it :P

Anyway, it’s 9 minutes to 9 now and I think I’ve made this post boring enough already.

Until next time,
Adarsh.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Practising for the SAT essay...


“What did I get myself into?” – That question repeated itself in my head, over and over again, as I sat down to practice writing essays for the SAT.

If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you’ll know that I’m interested in doing my under graduation at MIT. Well, I’ve to write the SAT for that. I always thought that it would be a piece of cake for me. I guess I both under estimated the level of the test and over estimated my ability. I had thought that a score of 2400 would come with minimal work, after getting a 1930 on my first try (in my favor, it was a casual try. Did it as fast as I could without rechecking my work. Also, I didn’t use a pen for the Math section.) I realized I couldn’t be more wrong about the test or my ability. I gained some respect for the SAT then.

                While I write a lot on this blog, most of this is just casual writing. Over the years, I’ve come to realize, bit by bit, that essays don’t come naturally to me like these posts come. This was confirmed during the practice SAT where I struggled to gather my thoughts and write them in a limited time frame. I got a score of 4 out of 6 from a single reader (software). That isn’t what I was aiming at. A full six was what I was aiming at and instead, I got a full two points less. Ah, that sure did wake me up then but I soon fell back asleep. Until today.

Yesterday, I was asked to write around 10 essays and ‘show’ them to someone(on Tuesday) (err…Sir/Counsellor-ish?) at college who knows a bit about the SATs and the nitty-gritties of applying to US universities.

I sat down in the morning today to write the first of those ten essays and… It turned out to be terrible. I wrote the worst essay that I could have. If I were the reader, I’d give it a maximum score of 2. While it was not grammatically incorrect and contained no spelling errors or anything of the sort, it showed a pathetic level of critical thinking. I totally misunderstood the topic and the essay wasn’t very cohesive. Ah, I fell into a mild state of ‘shock’(?) as I read the essays that others had written for the very same question.
 
                That was when the question ‘What did I get myself into?’ popped up in my mind. I wasn’t expecting this. Most things come easy to me, this was of a different breed. Damn.

                However, reading the sample answers did give me some idea of how I was supposed to write the essay.The next essay that I wrote again in a few hours more was - I’m glad to say – a lot better, at leat in my opinion. It gave me some hope that it could be done. All was not gone. (Not that I thought it was.)

                It’ll be interesting to see how I’ll learn and improve my essay writing skills from the ground-up over the next few days.

                That’s not just it. I also have to complete math assignments that I’d left for a rainy day over the past month. Sigh, all the procrastination is weighing me down but, isn’t that how one gets accustomed to carrying heavier weights?

Until next time,

Adarsh.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Some observations after sitting in the last bench at college

Note : This was originally a facebook status that I had updated on June 11th. And yeah, my status updates are sometimes humongous like this.


""
Sat in the last bench at college today. (More like 'I had to' because I'd come late.)

Some observations...

#1 - The board is very much visible and I don't have to squint unless an extremely stingy teacher comes and writes in small on all available space on the board. The voice of the teacher is pretty audible and not as low as I thought it would be.

#2 - Nothings better than having a full wall to rest your back on

#3 - It feels annoying to have the teachers keep telling "Backbenchers, do you follow?" every now and then. I mean, it's like they are lecturing only to the front benches.

#4 - I also presume that the lecturers think that the last benchers are 'disrespective' to them. And I hate how they presume that. I lifted my hand to ask a question and the lecturer saw it but didn't say anything. I presume that he thought I was stretching my hand. It wasn't until I stood up and yelled "Siir." that he gave me attention.

#5 - Last benchers are actually pretty cool people (Not that I didn't know it before. I myself sat in the last bench in school. But that was in a row of 3 so, I guess that doesn't count) and so much more talk takes place in between lectures.

#6 - Most of the questions get asked to the students in the front. That means less questions to us.

#7 - Whenever the teacher enters the class, he notices the people on the front because the last benches are kind of back and that means that he's more likely to 'scold' them(the first benchers and the middle benchers) for making noise.

#8 - The white of our eyes isn't explicitly visible to the lecturer and that means we can scan the entire room with our eyes moving but head towards the lecturer and he won't even notice our eyeballs moving.

#9 - The attendance sheet kind of comes to us after one full row. So, if I notice in which order they wrote their names, I can spend a few extra seconds at the attendance sheet trying to figure out the names of people without even asking them.

#10 - This is probably getting too looooong...TG that facebook doesn't have a word limit for status updates....

Ah well, some pretty interesting observations right there. I probably could get used to the last benches but I'll go back to my original position in the 5th bench beside the window. I love natural light too much to be away from it for too long :P I'll keep coming back to the last benches though..



""

By the way, my steam account received a Dota2 beta key. Can't wait until I play it!

This is what happens when you're exhausted but refuse to sleep

As I felt a searing pain on my left foot, I blinked my eyes open and got up. I was on my bed. The tube-light was switched on. I looked outside the window and saw that it was dark outside. I had no recollection of where I had been before I fell asleep and why was the light open? I presumed that my brother had woken up and switched on the light. But I saw no signs of him. It wasn't like him to leave the light switched on. I extended my right hand and clutched my iPod. I pressed the home button and the screen lit open. It read "4:32 AM" and I thought "It's morning all right but why is the light open and why am I not covered in my blanket?" My blanket was not on me. That was unusual. I always slept with the blanket over me.  That's when the light bulb inside my head lit itself. It wasn't my brother who had switched the light open nor was I in some parallel universe. But I had to be sure. I looked to the right of my bed and saw what I was looking for. A novel named "Child 44" It was lying on the ground in a disheveled state. I thought "Crap. Crap." and instantly lifted it up and kept it on the desk beside my bed. That's when I realized what really happened. I fell asleep from exhaustion the previous night. The last thing that I was doing was reading that novel. My mind protested but I didn't listen to it. Then my mind put it's foot down and initiated a hard shutdown. I fell asleep without even keeping the book aside and forgot to switch the light off and didn't even cover myself with a blanket. 

"Mystery solved", I thought but my mind wouldn't have any of it. I fell back on my bed, this time I covered myself with a blanket, switched off the light and kept the book on the table and sleep engulfed me within seconds.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My observations after 2 days into college


2 days into college (more like 1½ days), here are a few of my observations –

-          My college isn’t a run-of-the-mill product. It’s partly why I chose it so it doesn’t come as a surprise. The teachers here encourage us to ask questions, participate in discussions, try to lighten the mood by inserting a few jokes here and there. And I like it. They have their own ideology, their own solid frame-work as to how they are going to prepare us for the IITs. They're own idea of how teaching should be like. It definitely is a break from the regular corporate colleges.

-          They’re unorthodox.  For example, our Chemistry IPE teacher comes into the class and tells us what chapters are in our intermediate text-book. I did try to concentrate at the start but I soon lost my focus. Oh come on. I could always look into the textbook when I wanted to, to see what chapters were there. He finished telling us the names of all the chapters and then tells us “Studies show that people inbetween the ages of 15 and 21, remember most of the stuff that they are told.” Gives a pause and continues “Is anyone here below 15 or above 21?” Scans the room and finds no opposers and says “Didn’t think so.” Then points to someone at the back and says “You, stand up and tell me all the chapters in the same order.” I was dumbstruck. My mind suddenly raced through the past 7 minutes trying to recall what were the names that he had spoken out. I realized I remembered only scattered bits and parts of it. After a few more seconds of frantic searching I realized that I couldn’t remember them. All I could do was just sit and stare directly at his face trying to mask the ‘lost’ feeling and kind of pretend that my face showed that I knew and just sit back and hope that I don’t get called out. 8 minutes later, the last of the contents was read and I didn’t get a chance. Phew, I thought. Lucky save. I think that this ‘experiment’ by him was much more than just getting us to learn the names of the chapters. I think that the reason behind him doing that was to make us more attentive in his class. I don’t know about others but I doubt if I’ll be slacking off/thinking about other stuff in his class anytime soon.

-          The number of students is way too much. In our school, my class had a strength of 15 with almost 50% of each gender. Here, the strength of my classroom nears 56 and the gender ratio is skewed 70-30 in favour of boys. Hey, that’s a valid observation :P 

-          We can go out of the building to have our lunch. This came as a surprise. I realized that we were actually allowed to go out of the building and have lunch. Not sure if this will be continued in the coming days though. I did go out and have noodles for lunch in a nearby fast-food centre.

-          In my last post, I mentioned about how the classroom was 100% artificial light. In our new classroom, it’s 90-10 in favor of artificial. I’m sitting near the window. Just beside it actually so, I get a large percentage of the 10%. Here’s a funny thing. The wall just opposite the window is yellow in color. Sunlight doesn’t enter my class directly. It reflects off that wall and then enters the window beside me. That gives it an amusing yellowish color.

-          It’s going to take some work from me if I plan on doing well here. In the first class itself, our math sir told us to brace ourselves up for marks which resembled 20 out of 100 or even -20 out of 100. He also told us that getting 95+ was next to impossible. Well, I’ve had first hand experience of this in Evens’ so it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

It’s eight minutes past eleven now and I have to wake up at around 5:45 tomorrow so I better stop this post right here and go sleep. Tomorrow is our first full day and I’m looking forward to it. I want to know how much time I’ll have to study once I get home and do all my side activities.

Until next time,
Adarsh.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

College starts tomorrow.


For all those of you living outside India, college over here is 11th and 12th grade.

I’m going to college. But I’m like “Really? Am I that old? I definitely don’t feel it.”

Anyway, the name of my college is ‘Delta’. It’s near nallakunta. (There you go, FBI, you now know exactly where my college is. Don’t bother googling it). I’m enrolled in their IIT program and also their junior college. (i.e 11th and 12th).

I chose it over a few other options and well, I’m pretty happy with my choice. Only time will tell whether I made the right choice or not. It’s not like I had better options on my plate. MUWCI looked cooler but I didn’t make it (damn. I still do think about it sometimes but as the old adage goes, ‘things were meant to be this way’)

 “You are now undergoing a transition. After the next few years, you will no longer be a school student anymore. You’ll be going to college. College isn’t anything like school. There will be no one to tell you what to do. The teachers won’t really be interested in you, they won’t keep telling you to do your homework nor will they punish you for not doing it. Hence, you need to start working on your own. There will be no one to tell you to do your work. Unless you do it by yourself, you’re doomed.” That was what I, the whole class actually, was told by a teacher at the IIT foundation institute I attended a few years ago. They aren’t his exact words but pretty much what I remember him telling us.

I’m looking forward to the ‘freedom’ that I’ll get in college. Other than that, I have no idea what to expect. I just hope I can learn something, meet some interesting people and make a few friends and just live basically. I do not want college to be something I labored through and loathe.

 Did I mention that I attended a 10 day course in reasoning a month back?

I got a good vibe from the college then. The teachers were pretty cool and knew how to teach. My class mates were pretty interesting people (other than the usual hwej :P ).

There’s one thing that I’m not a big fan of though. The classrooms are lit with 100% artificial light. It might be better but it’s not natural light. In my school, it was 100% natural light. We had tube-lights but never used them because the windows were so huge. The ventilation was great. Ah. I’m kind of missing it already.

Until next time,

Adarsh.

PS : I also got a look at their high school. I absolutely loathed it. No, seriously. That isn’t what a school is supposed to be like. No matter how good the teachers are, a school is a school. Not look like some prison cell with dull lighting, stuffy rooms, fans that are so high up that you don’t even feel the force of the air. I’d go crazy within a week. I’m amazed that children even go there.

And yeah, I forgot to mention one thing. While walking through the corridor to my room, I felt like I was a criminal walking towards the interrogation room. The interrogation room wasn’t that bad though :P

Monday, June 4, 2012

Adobe Flash.

While I wait for Adobe Flash CS 5.5 to install on my laptop,  I thought why not make a post on my blog about what's been up with me recently.

Before I start, you might have noticed that I haven't been posting a lot on this blog. That doesn't mean I haven't been writing. I have written so many unpublished blog posts over the past 3 months. It's just that, once I finish writing it, either I'm too lazy to post it on my blog or, I forget about it and by the time I remember it, what I've written is way too old.

As a kid, I used to love animation. That's an understatement. Animation defined me back then. I've appeared so many times in newspapers, once or twice on the T.V. All because of one thing. Animation. Not many people know about that. A few of my friends probably know but that's it. I try not to talk a lot about that phase of my life because that is what I thought it to be, a phase.

Of late, I've been trying a lot of different things. Cliche'd things. Programming, drawing, writing, math/science stuff. Trying to find out what I'm really passionate about. To find the one thing that I'd love doing. None of those really fit the profile to be honest. Yesterday, while browsing my facebook newsfeed, I came upon something that looked like an animated parody of counter strike. Here's the video that I saw.




I thought it was awesome. So, I looked through the channels and viewed some more videos. This coupled with the Duolingo intro video (which was also made in flash) piqued my interest in the software.



It's too early to say anything but maybe, animation is what interests me. I didn't really 'despise' animating as a kid. If anything, I loved spending time on the computer trying to animate stuff. I never really got off to a rocket start though.

Maybe, maybe now, after so many years, I'll regrow(is that even a word?) a liking to animation.

As I said, it's too early to say and I'd rather not go out making false promises. I've got some tutorials that I'm planning to do over the next few days and then, I'll update you all on whether I think this is it, or not.

Oh. Look the installation has finished. It tells me to close all open applications.

Until next time.

Adarsh.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Best of 'About Everything and Nothing'

Here's an all-time list of my favorite blog posts from this blog -

#1 101 things to do before I die : No surprises there eh?

#2 Caught red handed, left unscathed : This was one memorable post

#3 Story of the trapped Chilean Miners : This was where it all started. I actually went through 3-4 articles from different newspapers in order to compile that blog post. Do give it a read!

#4 Kevin O' Brien shares my blog : What could be more awesomer than this?

#5 Memories of my childhood: I'm still amazed at how succinctly I managed to write about my childhood.

Those that almost made it :

Reading - The one thing I love : This is worth a read.

Would I care if the world ended(Part 2)? : Me getting a bit philosophical.

Diverging Ways - A poem I'm not really into poems but I wrote this one and it was wonderful experience.


Getting punishedA post which is a great example of me making a horrendously small thingy into a huge significant one.

List of Teenage blogs : If you're looking for other 'interesting' blogs to read, you should give this a read.


31-29. Boy. What a match : I describe a memorable volleyball match that I'd played with my classmates.


Landmark quiz '11:  My experience at the Landmark Hyderabad Quiz of 2011


A ghost story that I'd written: The title says it all.

My try at making a comic:   I obviously have no career in trying to displace xkcd, but here's my try anyway.