Monday, March 9, 2009

Kriya 09 - Robotics and my gratitude.

I was in charge for Robotics in Kriya (again). For people who don't know, Kriya is PSG Tech's national level techno-management fest. I was supposed to conduct two events - Robotics design challenge which was supposed to be a display of best robots selected from the abstracts sent to us (visit http://psgkriya.org/2009/robotics/generalrobotics) and the bot race which was an image processing event (http://psgkriya.org/2009/robotics/bot-race).

General Robotics was scheduled to be on the first day of Kriya 09 - 6th March, Bot race was supposed to be on the 7th. The final round of General robotics was scheduled for the 8th of march. The first day of general robotics went without much of a glitch - the only minus being the amount of exhaustion it brought upon me. After the event, we had to setup the arena for Bot race. It was supposed to be of size 4m x 4m. We needed volunteers. 10 first year guys, 2 3rd year guys and myself went to pick up the arena from a place that was roughly 2 kms from my college. We hired a tempo to carry the arena to college. With the help of my juniors, i was able to place the arena in the quadrangle and mount the webcam on the roof. Here I want to mention my special thanks to my junior M.G. Ramachandran - the secretary of PSG Tech's student's union. He mounted the webcam on top of the quadrangle. For the first time in 4 years, I saw an SU secretary climb a ladder and do menial jobs like these. We finished the work by 2 A.M and I left for home.

The next day began at 8.30. The day started off a disaster with a fluctuating power supply to the system that had the webcam feed, we could not install MATLAB (the software required to do image processing and send commands to the Robot in the arena). By the time we fixed it, the time was 11.30 A.M. Due to the lighting conditions, the webcam feed wasn't good enough. We were thinking about various alternatives. It was 2.30 P.M and we had to finish the event fast because open quiz was about to start in the quadrangle. It was then that Anush - the overall coordinator for Kriya suggested that we shift the arena to the IM yoga hall. Aishwarya of the event and resource management team was resourceful in arranging the hall in a matter of minutes. We shifted - again with the help of first year guys. Now we again had to fix the webcam and position the arena which took another hour and a half. We started at 5 P.M. The event which was to begin at 8.30 A.M finally began at 5 P.M. Just after a team finished its run, the webcam's position changed due to a tape falling apart. We had to mount the webcam and start all over again. There was complete unrest in the room. I couldn't handle it anymore. Fatigue started to set in, lack of proper food and sleep was taking its toll, add to it the amount of stress that a day full of disasters gives, I was feeling dead. I asked Srinivasan, Sathappan, Vignesh and Ramachandran of my class to take care of it. I went out, saw the open quiz, attended a meeting and came back near the main PR desk only to find out that Bot race and open quiz were the only two events that were yet to finish and that the staff advisor of SU who was incharge of prize money wanted to leave. I din't wanna put the participants through anymore hardships. I knew the winners and the participants would be extremely disappointed if I fail to give them the prize money in time. I was expecting a miracle and that was the small but sufficient delay in the ending of open quiz. The time taken for the prize distribution of open quiz was just enough. The moment the last team to win a prize came out, the bot race winners were there. They got their prize money in due time, all the participants were happy. I still had to apologise for the amount of screwing up I did. So I sent a note of apology to all the participants through SMS.

Next day was comparatively smooth, I finished the presentations in due time and the winners got their prize money and certificates without much of a mess. I really wanna thank Anush for having given the right idea at the right time, Aishwarya for having arranged the hall in such short notice, Srini, Sath, Vignesh and Rama for having spent their time in organizing bot race in spite of not being the event coords. They were there for me when I needed, I owe them a lot. A very very special thanks to all the first year guys who helped me with everything. Diwakar, Aravindh, Lokesh, Vishnu, Karna, Dino Karthick, Aravindh (there were two Aravindhs), Sathish and all others.

Above all this, I must not forget to thank the participants who stayed with a load of patience and did not force me to hurry up at all. I cannot express my gratitude in mere words. Thanks a million everyone.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

February wasn't as good as I wanted it to be!!!

Come February, love is in the air. The month which has the Valentine's day - which of late has been one amongst the most celebrated day. I neither support, nor oppose the celebration. I'm fairly neutral when it comes to it. Like I mentioned in my last post, a lot of things kept me occupied. This is just gonna be a look back through those "not so colourful" February days.

The first week, I was down with a minor fracture due to falling down in a game of basketball. It wasn't very serious. I was not supposed to strain my left hand, I did as I was asked to and I was alright soon. It also coincided with the Indefinite closing of all colleges because the government thought leaving the students as they are can create a law and order problem. So I did not have to bunk college. The same week, I was also supposed to go on a Pilgrimage to Sabarimala - a famous temple atop a mountain in Kerala. Though I'm agnostic, I respect people's sentiments and especially my mother's, so ended up going there. The next week, we really started sincerely working on our project. The whole of that week went in researching and working. That also happened to be the Valentine's week (its no longer valentine's day alone, its celebrated for a week) and as expected there wasn't much to it in my life. I did not propose to anyone, nor did I get proposed to. Spent a quiet Valentine's day at home. The week after that, I had to settle a serious issue between two of my close friends. The whole of that week took a toll on my mental well being. I was becoming someone that I was not. I was becoming increasingly irritable and the reason was a combination of lot of things. The tussle between my friends, my inability to concentrate on my project because of genuine lack of interest, my inability to sit down and prepare for GRE because of my laziness and above all my inability to get rid of my lack of interest and laziness. I thought it was time I took a break from all this and spend some time hanging out with friends.

Thats when came a plan made by my friends, we all decided to go to cochin on the 23rd of feb, stay there for two days and spend the last day in Veega land - an amusement park in cochin. We were having a great time, Rahman's oscar victory made us celebrate all the more - even though we had no part to play in his victory, we all belonged to the generation of people who grew up listening to Rahman, so we felt proud and happy. I personally don't see it as India's victory, its only Rahman's victory, and he won it for a work of hollywood which according to me wasn't Rahman's best. His music in more than a dozen Indian films have been far superior to that of Slumdog Millionaire. It just happened to be Rahman's first Hollywood score and they recognised it. Coming back to my life from Rahman's, we were half way through the first day when a call from my mom came with a shocking news attached - my dad was hospitalized. He had severe stomach ache, doctors suspect something wrong with the pancreas. Scan reports showed nothing like stones so my thoughts raced. I feared the worst. I thought it was gonna be pancreatic cancer. Mom asked me to leave immediately. My friends there were of great help. They decided dat I leave at once and that they'll carry my luggage. It was a very good plan, because wasting time going back to the room and packing up wasn't my idea too. My friends gave me a few encouraging words too. That meant a lot to me. Its in times such as these that one really knows the value of having true friends. And the ones I had were the best I could ever get. Thanks to all of them. I left immediately to the Bus stand and took the first bus to Coimbatore and so started the 6 longest hours of my life. Even with a very pretty girl by my side in the bus (that was not deliberate :D, that was the only seat available in the bus), I was not happy. I wanted to know what was wrong with dad. I called up mom, she said it isn't very serious. But I still feared the worst because it's my mother's character to make sure that I don't worry too much about it. I did not know what to do. I wanted to talk to someone. I din't wanna spoil the party mood of my friends back in Cochin. A very recent friend of mine came to my rescue, I'm very indebted to her for what she did that day. Then I reached coimbatore and found out that the condition that my dad is having was called acute pancreatitis. It was some form of an infection of the pancreas. Strictly no food orally for 3 days, all the nutrition he got was through intra-venous fluids. After that, doc said my dad has to follow a strict diet regimen and he was discharged on the 27th februray(friday) after 5 long, gruelling days at the hospital. I was with him most of the days and bunked college on all 5 days. After a really long time, I visited college yesterday, now things seem fine. I feel fine. But February really was HORRIBLE, HORRENDOUS, HORRIFIC - they all mean the same anyway :D

P.S: Blogger's editor tells me that my spelling of colourful is wrong, but I prefer to stick to that spelling rather than the American version.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Really Dumb Questions!!!

Been a long time since I blogged. A lot of things kept me busy the last two weeks. Will describe my past two to three weeks in my next post. For a starter, a conversation I had with my friend Sundar came into my mind. The really dumb questions that can be asked in an SMS because these questions only have one answer.

1) Are you asleep?

This can never be answered in the affirmative because you do not text when you are asleep. Period.

2) Are you awake?

This one, had only a "Yes" for an answer. Reason is the same as the one above.

3) Can you message now?

This one is kinda confusing. If it means "can we have a conversation through SMS" - the question seems sensible. Otherwise, it is just as dumb as the first two. You can never give a "No" for an answer because the fact that you have replied means you can message now.

4) You there?

I can never be in a place other than "here". So the answer is an obvious yes, no matter when and where it is asked.

These are just the few that I remember now. Will keep updating it as and when I remember the other dumb questions. And readers of this blog (if there are any left), let your comments carry such DUMB question.