Wednesday, September 30, 2009 1 comments

Future Posts.

Okay, everyone, this is not a general post. Am just writing the topics which I will discuss some time in future. Am really sorry, for not blogging for so long. Have been both busy and lazy.

Here goes:

1) Problems in the Education and Job sector: Related to wrong choices of students.

2) Favoritism and Nepotism

3) Psychology and Philosophy

4) Astronomy - Will be something specific.

5) The Mangekyou Sharingan- Don't ask what it is. Just wait, and watch.

6) More on Bleach and Naruto

7) Something related to politics and economics.

8) Few books/movie reviews.

Thats it for now. Keep reading.

Thanks again, folks.
Take care.
Thursday, September 24, 2009 3 comments

I love that Taste.

Well, its festive season. So wonder, everyone wants to enjoy and celebrate. So let us focus on a light topic for now. What about say, food? Oh, well, no need to start smacking your lips yet. Am not writing an article on food, but on a far more specific topic related to it. So let’s begin.

Ever asked yourself this question, some point of your life, ‘Why is it that oily and unhealthy food tastes so good, and healthy, nutritious food tastes like crap?’ I am sure, that many of you must have. I, personally keep wondering this almost every day. Now, please let us refrain from make a biological analysis, mainly because I dislike(okay I abhor, happy?) that subject. Who cares, if its related to hormones, cells, nerves, enzymes, platelets, or whatever the heck it is responsible for the sensation of taste. What I want is a layman explanation. If anybody of you reading my blog has a concrete answer, do leave a reply. I will be quite grateful.

Let us take a few examples, shall we? Imagine that you have entered a marriage party, and are about to take your dinner. Look at the items served. Most of them come under the junk food, or harmful food category. Almost definitely, majority of the items will be deep fried in gallons of oil. Maida is surely to be present. Whether it be in the form of puris, or the scrumptious naans, maida items are simply irresistible. Especially when they are deeply fried in oil. Say bhaturas. A doubly deadly combo of maida plus deeply fried. Enough to give a heart-attack. Yet, we hardly, if ever, bother about our health, whilst greedily devouring down such food items.Add to that some Chilli Chicken, Ice cream, fried rice, fried fish, and tons of sweets, and we get a perfect recipe for a health disaster. But why should we bother, as long as we get that awesome flavor of food in our mouth.

Take any good tasting food, and examine its nutrition value. Most of them will be loaded with unhealthy fat, and gargantuan amounts of calories. From simple Samosas, to Vadas, Bhajis, Pakoras, Dosas, and any other tasty desi dish you can take off. Go western, and you will find even more junk(I mean food of course). Pizzas, burgers, French fries, Red meat, honestly do you need any further reason as to why obesity is on such a roll in the developed countries? This is the prime reason. But all these food items have one thing in common. They taste real good. At least for majority of the people. That’s the reason people keep eating them incessantly. At the cost of their own health.

Now, do just the opposite. Take any healthy food, and comment on its taste. You’d rather not say? I don’t blame you. There are many people who do eat healthy food, and even like it, but most agree that the taste is nothing when compared to junk food. Take green leafy vegetables. What about gourd? Highly beneficial. But at the same time, highly bitter. Food when boiled, doesn’t even come close to the taste of fried food. Take a very simple example. A boiled potato versus a fried one. Most people know that a potato loses almost all its nutritional value when fried, yet its taste multiplies a 100 times. Is it magic? Or is it simply because our taste buds response more quickly and effectively towards fried food? Who knows.

Wouldn’t it be simply wonderful, if we could obtain food that was both healthy as well as delicious? That’s an ideal gourmet’s dream. There are certain food items like that, though. Like idlis. Both healthy and tasty(at least for me, I know many people don’t like them). Some amounts of dhoklas, chaat, and bhelpuris are also good, if made properly. But it’s quite unhygienic to buy them from roadside vendors. Best would be , to prepare them at home itself. Keep experimenting with food. But to stay fit, try to avoid oily stuff, and stuff which has maida in it. Go for whole wheat, and brown bread instead. After all, we can’t have the cake and eat it too(No, cake is NOT healthy. Especially the chocolate one). Health or taste? Your choice. Pick any one.

Adios amigos. And keep reading. Gracias.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009 5 comments

CSE- Truths and Myths

Okay guys, am sorry for the delay. Guess I got really indolent back there. Anyways, now its time to write about something which is closely related to me, my engineering stream, CSE.

For those of you who do not know, CSE stands for Computer Science and Engineering. Till last year, it was one of the most popular engineering streams in India, easily the cynosure of all eyes. Only after the recession, and the fall of IT markets, have people started avoiding it, opting for Core engineering branches(Mechanical, Electrical, etc) instead. However the demand for CSE and IT graduates will never go down, since IT has become ubiquitous in every arena. Still now the trend of most engineering graduates, irrespective of their streams, getting into IT jobs continues. Since the early 90’s, the IT sector in India has seen an astronomical growth, and an inflationary boom. It employs lakhs of people every year. Companies like Infosys, TCS, Wipro, etc have all made tremendous growth and profit. And I don’t even need to mention the number of IT coaching centers which have popped up in recent times, offering anything from classes on C++, to Networking. NIIT is a prominent company which has hugely bolstered the IT sector by training thousands of students and professionals.

But enough talk about the market and companies. I would rather like to focus on CSE in particular, ie its course contents, curriculum and scope. CSE was introduced as an engineering branch in 1980’s in a selected colleges, though it made itself known only in the late 90’s when many colleges started this branch as a part of an engineering course. Apart from CSE, we have BCA, MCA, etc, which focus more on Computers and Programming, rather than the scientific/engineering aspect of computers. Very soon CSE became the first choice for most high school students who opted for engineering. I too, wanted to get into CSE. But unfortunately I did not get it. However, I did not give up hope and ultimately managed to change my stream in second year, and got into the branch of my dreams. So, did CSE live up to my expectations? Not really. Let me try to explain this in detail.

First of all, one must remember that the ultimate aim of almost every student is to get a lucrative job. So understanding the industry environment prior hand is quite essential. We should know what the company wants and expects from a Computer Science Engineer. Ie apart from basic knowledge on both Hardware and Software, a CSE student should have apt programming skills, he/she should know how a Computer operates and what is the function of each peripheral. He should also keep himself updated with the rapid technological progress, in areas such as Networking, Microprocessors, Algorithms, Data Structures, etc. This is to say in short. But unfortunately, the designers of the CSE curriculum fail to notice these facts, rather they remain forcefully oblivious of it. They design the syllabus in such a way, that not only does it fail to arouse a student’s curiosity in the subject, but it almost totally neglects the programming aspect, and rather features tons of redundant theoretical stuff which the student will never require. As a result, yet again the student has only bookish knowledge, and finds himself at a total loss when he enters an industry. I have even seen students going to the extent of memorizing programs and algorithms just to get good marks in their exams. They are least interested in sharpening their acumen, or developing a program cum project on their own. This nonchalant nature of the students, leads to a sort of travesty.

Add to that the immense dearth of good faculty across the nation. Most people do not prefer to work as a lecturer in a college, mainly due to the abysmal salary given. As a result we have teachers, who themselves do not know anything about the subject, teaching whatever fallacious things that comes into their minds. This only encourages the lack of creativity. I carried out a mini survey, and found out that most students do not like their subjects. Just a handful of them are genuinely interested. In fact, many of them took CSE, just because they thought it will get them a good job. Now if the desire itself is not present, there is no way that the student can actually progress in any sphere.

Another negative factor is the poor selection of subjects. I still cannot comprehend why do CSE graduates (at least around where I stay) need to study Circuit Theory or Control System? Or even Analog Communication Electronics. What use will be that to them? Some people blatantly answer for knowledge. Okay, if I required knowledge, I would have taken Electrical or ECE, right? If I have taken CSE, I should get to study more computer related subjects, isn’t it? Unfortunately, the syllabus setters do not agree. Their logic is that, since we are about to become engineers, we should have basic concept of all engineering streams, including but not limited to Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics, etc, since they are all related to computers in some way. Okay, lets see, a Computer requires electricity to function. So EE is essential. It generates lots of heat, which causes thermodynamic changes. So Mech is required as well. Apart from the various chips and instruments installed in the motherboard. So Instrumentation becomes a pre-requisite. And of course, we have thousands of capacitors, resistors, microprocessors and what not. So electronics is of prime importance. That means, barring computers, we should try to learn everything else, as much as possible. Nice idea, but doesn’t that alter the meaning of the word, ‘Specialization’ ? Aren’t we supposed to focus and narrow down our study area over selective topics, rather than learning nugatory subjects which we will never require? I wish people would pay more attention to this, rather than cramming things which they will forget the next sem.

Now to the final and most important part- Programming. CSE students are expected to have decent programming skills. At least they should be capable of working efficiently in a Java/Dot net/others Environment used in industries. But it is seen, that apart from the top colleges, programming is given a back seat in CSE. Whereas useless theoretical stuff is given prime importance. Oh come on, for God’s sake. We are not going to recite such stuff in offices are we? We have to perform programming by writing codes. Which is exactly the thing omitted in colleges. In fact, we do not even have separate papers/subjects on JAVA or C++. But they just constitute a miniscule amount of the syllabus. And shockingly languages such as Visual Basic, HTML, XML, etc, are not even included in the CSE syllabus. Not to mention about the DOT NET package, which most teachers and students consider to be a nefarious alien not deserving enough to be included in the syllabus, lest the students develop interest in programming even by mistake. And yet, we are expected to have adequate programming skills. Now unless a student takes tuitions/classes outside(which are quite expensive), there is little chance that he can develop good programming skills. Moreover, most teachers are more concerned about finishing the syllabus in whatever way possible, than trying to make the student genuinely interested in the subject. They limit themselves to whatever is given in the syllabus and focus only on theory. Hardly, if ever they relate the subject to the real world and its practical aspects. No wonder so many students have only bookish and no practical knowledge about the subject.

Anyways, I am going to stop here, as I want to shorten my articles from now on. I am proud to be in CSE, but at the same time I wish the course contents were changed, and the subjects taught in such a way, that would make a student fall in love with it. Okay the last line was an exaggeration.

Take care folks. And thanks for reading.
Thursday, September 10, 2009 1 comments

My Favourite Quotes


1. (Truly) If there is Evil in this World, it Lies Within the Heart of Mankind. - Edward D. Morrison, Tales of Phantasia.

2. You cannot change your fate. No man can. - Blind Man, Prince of Persia- WW.

And some other classic ones.

1. No good deed ever goes unpunished.

2. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.

Friday, September 4, 2009 1 comments

Tuitions - For and Against

All right, time for yet another serious topic. This time, it’s going to be tuitions. By tuitions, I mean basically the craze for attending private tutor’s classes, during one’s school life. There may be other type of tuitions, which I won’t be focusing on.

During the past decade, in India, the demand for private tuitions has shot up astronomically. People are now willing to shed gregarious sums of money, to invest in their child’s studies, by forcing him/her to attend scores of tuitions, so that he/she can improve his/her score and attain more marks in exams. Many new coaching institutes have opened up, all around the country. Most of them focus on cracking competitive exams like IITJEE, AIEEE, CBSE-PMT and others. And thousands of people have entered the private coaching vocation by offering classes related to Mathematics, Sciences, English, etc. Ie, the subjects in high demand (for coaching) by the students. Why this sudden rise in demand? Did not people study the same things in the past, say in the 70’s and 80’s? And they certainly did not need any special extra coaching or tuitions for cracking IITJEE, or even scoring high in their board exams. There are many factors for this. I won’t delve into them in this post. But in short, some of them are Rise in Population of youngsters making the competition reach an insane limit, improvement in communication, rise of IT sector, more awareness as a result, and rising hunger for marks, so that people will do anything to get a few marks more.

So are tuitions good or bad? And do we really need them? Do they actually ameliorate our adroitness or are they just another set of nefarious tools, utilized by the rapacious businessmen. Well, the answer, as in most cases, is both yes and no. We shall check out both its advantages and disadvantages. First, the good side. If the tutor is genuinely good, and interested in imparting knowledge towards others, then a child will almost certainly benefit under his guidance. For weak students, it will be a munificent boon. I have seen that many students are hesitant in asking doubts, while in the school classroom. They are afraid that they will be ridiculed by others, or will get a feeling of inferiority complex that while all of my classmates understood, I did not. So if I ask something, I will just be showing others that I am a fool. What they fail to realize is that ‘The one who asks a question, is a fool for 5 minutes. The one who does not remains a fool for his entire life.’ (okay, I borrowed that quote) But such students feel more comfortable in their tuition class, where they get their particular doubts cleared.

But I have seen, even many good students taking tuitions. Such students usually do so, in order to practice as many numerous problems and exercises related to their curriculum, so that they can maintain their rank and continue doing well in class. They generally do not need any extra help as such, and I personally feel they can manage quite fine on their own. If we take the case of private coaching institutes for competitive examinations, such as FIITJEE, RESONANCE, AAKASH, etc, we find lots of brilliant students opting for their classes, even though they are already quite good in their concepts. But it’s a fact, that such training does ameliorate their strengths, and make them get a possible better score. Study material and practice material is also a pre-requisite. I don’t believe that such institutes can make anybody crack a competitive exam. After all, it depends on that individual student, and his desire to win, and work hard. Such institutions will always focus on their success rate, and will widely endorse their achievements. For example, many will say these many thousand students got into such and such. Not a single one will mention that fate of over lakhs of students, who take coaching and tuitions, and yet fail to deliver.

One such factor amounting to failure, is the lack of interest from the students side. It is often seen that parents force their wards to take multiple tuitions, against their will. They feel that they are doing a favor for their children, not realizing that its doing them more harm than good. Such students often skip tuitions, for a cricket match, or if they do attend, all they do is sit somewhere out of the tutor’s sight, and indulge in asinine talk with their friends, or dabble with their mobiles. Such levity or flippancy only deteriorates the student’s performance even further. No wonder the parents are shocked after receiving a call from the school, saying that their child has performed miserably. They believe that they have performed their dharma or duty by sending a child for tuitions. As if ‘tuitions’ is a magical wand which can make their child top his class. Here is a real incident which happened during a parent-teacher meeting:

Teacher: Mr. A, I am sorry to inform you that your son has not performed well this time. In fact, he just managed to pass, procuring 40% marks.

This is ridiculous, Mr. X. How can my son do that badly? It must be the mistake of all of you teachers. They must have targeted my child, and given him low marks on purpose.

Teacher: I assure you, Mr. A, that is not the case. There is no reason for any teacher to target your child. Your son is a poor student, and he scarcely pays any attention in class. I think you need to have a proper talk with him.

Parent (after reading the report card) : But this is nonsense , I tell you. My son has got only 37 marks in Mathematics, and 41 in Science. I made him take 3 tuitions for Maths, and 4 for Science. How then is it possible that he gets such low marks?

Teacher: I think, I now understand the problem, Mr. A. Your son has been taking too many unnecessary tuitions. I think he will benefit more, if instead of taking multiple tuitions, he starts taking genuine interest in his subjects.

This is but a small part of a large story. In today’s scenario, it is estimated that more than 90% of the children going to school, amongst the middle and high class, take some form of tuition. And unfortunately, in majority of the cases, the child is being over-burdened by them. He detests them, and ends up abhorring his subject, becoming totally nonchalant towards it. Rarely, is the child asked whether he actually wants to join a supplement tuition class, or even if he Actually needs one. I believe that unless a child is a very weak student, that too in an exceptional case, he/she can easily manage his/her subjects on his/her own. After all, the subjects are common for everyone. It’s not that one student is doing algebra, and the other has to do rocket science, in the same class. Students should make groups amongst themselves, and solve any problems they find difficult. They should also take help from their school teachers, as and when required. I do not believe that just by taking tuitions, one can bolster his performance in an astonishing way.

The situation is gradually going from bad to worse. Earlier, only those studying in high school, would prefer tuitions, especially for Physics and Mathematics. Now the situation has become so that, even KG and Standard 1 students are being forced to take tuitions. Why don’t parents realize that they are just destroying their child’s career and life by overloading him with tuitions, at an age, when he should be playing and learning basic things of life. And the even sadder part is that parents don’t seem to realize that they are doing something wrong. All they desire is a report card stamped with 90% marks in all subjects. But in today’s competitive world, no one can blame them. After all, students scoring 92-93% marks in their boards are not getting admission in good colleges. This is because of our inane education system which favors only the absolute toppers. But in a highly over-populated country like ours, we just can’t let this happen, if we want to avoid disastrous consequences, like unequal distribution of wealth and resources.

The situation in high school has become such that, one feels as if he MUST take tuitions in order to survive in this brutal world. Most average students have lost all faith in their own ability. They feel that in order to match up to the toppers, they have to take tuitions, else they won’t get admission in any good college. I have seen many students, who don’t even know the basic concepts of calculus, or mechanics, taking IIT tuitions, hoping to make it big, without making any significant effort of their own. Some of them get the remiss feeling that the institute will get them into an IIT. ‘My job(of taking admission) is over. Let the institute do its work now’. And when they fail, they curse their tutor, or the institute, little realizing that they were just a part of those lakhs of undeserving people, who believe that their world is centered around the IITs and IIMs. Roughly, around 2+ lakh people who give the IIT exam are totally unprepared for it, and have no inclination towards engineering whatsoever. Same is the case for the CAT, and other competitive exams. Such people are mere gamblers, trying to push their luck, uttering flippant quotes, such as ‘Arrey bhai, exam dena main kya harz hai. Jab baki sabhi de rahe hain, to hum bhi de dete hai. Mil gaya to accha hai. Nahi mila to bhi theek hai.’ Some are even more tepid. They remark, ‘Lagta to nahi ki mera kuch hoga, jab itne saare exam de rahe hai. Hamara to dosh nahi hai, bhai seats hi bahut kam hai. ‘

Anyways, I know that I deviated from the main topic of tuitions. Nevertheless, I personally have never supported tuitions, and never will. I firmly believe that they are just a waste of time, effort and money. Most tutors are just itinerant people, who only try to hoodwink others and earn more money. In any case, if you feel that you simply HAVE to take tuitions, try to minimize the number. In any case, taking more than one tuition for a single subject is nothing but mere folly. As I advise everyone, do a proper self analysis first, to find out where exactly you lag, and whether taking tuitions will actually solve your problem, and whether you are 100% sure that you can’t manage it on your own.

Okay guys, I know I wrote a lot on this one. Almost 2000 words. Anyways, thanks once more, for sparing your precious time, to read my articles. Take care. Ta ta.