Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lost in the House of Family Guy at South Park

I open my eyes. My hands wander over the deep gash on the side of my stomach squirting a thick red fluid. Tall palm trees sway with the sea breeze casting sunny patterns over the ground. I raise my hand to shade my eyes only to shudder at a scream calling "JACK!"... Sound of two feet running towards me and a familiar brush of brown curly hair over my face... "Kate, where am I?" Her blue eyes ooze concern & words escape her dimpled cheeks, "Jack, we got to move, we must reach the temple before sundown..." An arm round her, I try to stand up, searing pain rages in my insides... We try to walk, trundle, her warm body inspiring hope... 'Wait.. Is it getting brighter? Kate?? What's happening??' A white light pierces the sky, blinds us outright. We fall.

Hurried shuffle of feet. I am on a cart, on something white & soft, and a bandage round my waist. I try to focus on the people around. Thirteen's kohled eyes pierce my being, making me flush. 'He's awake.." she blurts. "Can you understand us, Mr... (refers the file) Shephard?", asks Dr. Chase. "Where is Kate?", I manage to whisper. Chase throws a cursive glance at Foreman who sighs, 'Lupus, just as we suspected...". "IT'S NOT LUPUS!", a sudden halt threatens to throw me overboard. A mahogany stick pecks me on the head. "Can't you see this purple patch on his scalp? It's a symptom of atrioventricular esometry." Foreman is undeterred, "How do you explain his irregular heart beats, and the brown urine?" House makes a face, "You're right about me being wrong, but wrong about you being right!" I feel a stab in my leg, " My leg, it hurts... Ahh, I can't stand it.. ARGHHHH..". House takes control, "Thirteen! 5 ml of antidopamine, Chase!! Get the MRI ready... Foreman, get Cuddy!" I pass out.

"Joe, JOE! You are my best friend, you can't leave me... Answer me now!!" I feel short of breath as I gasp for air. "PETER!! Get off my oxygen tube!!" Peter jumps down from the bed, and I heave a sigh of relief. I am in a sterile hospital room with beepers & displays. "He he... he he.. I almost farted in that tube" quips Peter. Lois snaps at her husband - "Now, that's not right Peter, we almost lost Joe, we are lucky to have him back..." SLAPP... Stewie barks "Mother! You are one weeny bitch! I studied the position of the island, geometry of stars and planned for Joe to get on the Oceanic 815 , to forever banish him from my world! How dare you bring him back!!" "Aww, Stewie, I think you need some milk, here.." She stuffs him with the bottle. "Let's get you back on the wheelchair Joe. They discharged you from Princeton-Plainsborough." They wheel me out of the room and I breathe in the fresh morning air.

The car screeches to a halt outside a two-storeyed house. Wishing me goodbye, Peter drives off to pick up Chris from the football game. I trudge along to the house and ring the bell. Stan opens the door looking aghast. "Kyle!! LOOK! Its Kenny!!" Kyle looks up from his PS3. "Whoa, man.. How are you here?? Didn't your family win a 4 day - 3 night trip to Australia or something??" I try to make sense of what they were saying just as Eric bumps in from behind. "Hey guys, hi Kenny... Guys, Kenny's mom called my mom. She says Kenny's suffering from poor-rotten-mad-cow disease and we must not play with him." Kyle yells " Up yours fat ass! Making up stories. Go find someone else to play with... Come in Kenny". Eric walks back to his tricycle, "Screw you guys! I am going home to munch on cheesy poops and play on the new PS4 that my mom got for me!!" Kyle & Stan stare agape. I join my best friends in the 'World of Warcraft' piling on points. We reach the final stage, standing under the castle. I ask Stan to lend me his enchanted sword & Kyle, half his health potion when suddenly a large dragon flies down & gulps me alive. Just before I am about to be swallowed, I hear Stewie laughing in the background, Kyle yelling "Oh my God! They killed Kenny!!" & Stan retorting "YOU BASTARDS!!"...

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When US beckoned me by Siddharth Wagh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Tea Brewing Algorithms at 22 B

Processes: A, B, C, D
1. A makes tea.
2. B, C drink tea.
3. D may or may not drink tea.
4. A, B or C drink leftover tea.
5. A washes the vessel.

Algorithm 2:
Processes: A, B, C, D, W
1. A makes tea.
2. W pours honey on bread.
3. B, C drink tea.
4. W talks; A, B, C listen.
5. D drinks coffee in Boston.
6. W eats bread and drinks tea.
7. A washes vessel.

Algorithm 3:
Processes: A, B, C, D, X
1. A makes tea.
2. B, C drink tea.
3. D drinks coffee in Boston.
4. If B drank last, B washes vessel
Else, C washes vessel.
5. X makes separate masala tea.

Algorithm 4:
Processes: A, B, C, D, Y
1. A makes tea.
2. A assigns vessel washing task to either B, C or Y.
3. B, C, Y drink tea.
4. D drinks flavored herbal tea.
4. Assigned process may or may not wash vessel.

Algorithm 5 (Current):
Processes: A, B, C, D, Z
1. Z makes tea.
2. A, B, C drink tea.
3. D drinks tea only if ginger is added.
4. Z washes vessel.
5. Z also washes other vessels in the sink.

Process description:

A, B, C: prashu.exe, sid.exe, jay.exe (in no particular order)
D: inku.exe
W: chaitanya.exe
X: vaibhav.exe
Y: surya.exe
Z: riyaz.exe

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Meri chacheri behen ke maasi ka pota...

I can see all the desi ears prop up. Partly, because of the unusual title; and partly, because all of us have heard some version of this statement. May be at a family gathering, munching on Good Day biscuits and sipping on small cups of Taj Mahal tea. Or in a pre-nuptial-bride-skill-display ceremony on a fine Sunday morning. Or mostly when a chirpy neighbor dropped over at your house for a bowl of yogurt and began weaving tales of gossip.

At some point in time, we were always astounded by the fact that people had such strong memories of seemingly long connections. We dismissed the idea of relegating such facts to our memory, for the elusive belief that we had much more "practical" fodder for our braincells.

However sophisticated we may seem than our predecessors, our inherent human urge to gossip, or socialize for the jittery, remained unfulfilled and found its vent in the social networks which we so dearly use. "Meri chacheri behen ke maasi ka pota" simply got effaced by "Me>Chacha>beti>maasi>pota". News Feed replaced word-of-mouth gossip, and Wall Photos & Videos took over the effervescent, detailed descriptions of chewy acts. They may be besotted by the colorful life of fillum stars keeping accounts of which star remarried whom, who rejected whom, and who threw a fit on the sets. But so do we leech from Celebrity pages and websites dedicated for the single purpose of cashing in on the innate human desire to invade the private lives of others.

Technology brought edification, but we still remain the friendly neighborhood gossip-mongers at heart...

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When US beckoned me by Siddharth Wagh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Acrid flashes...

"Jay!! We cant eat only faral. Let's make some pohe." I start slicing the red onions and idaho potatoes. Thoughts drift...

A blast. Damn those next door hooligans. Rassi bombs puncture my sleep at 5 am. I see the kitchen light on. The heavy thud in the head is taken over by the sweet realization of the occasion. I brush up quick, to wait in line for my turn at the ceremonial oil massage from Aai. Gentle curves of rangoli encircle the baithak (seat) and the light from a silver sanai (lamp) embellishes the oil-laden torso of my chubby brother sitting on it. He moves out for the holy bath, and I beat my father for the hot seat. I toy with the idea of lighting the laxmi bomb in the fresh dung cake a cow left in our courtyard, while mom massages my eager limbs and accidentally pokes me in the eye bringing me back to senses.

"Neel, let us make a kandil out of the Kohl box cover!" Inku rummages through the cupboard, wreaks the closet and begins the lengthy design process in the typical Inku excitement. I run to lower the flame on the burning onions...

The bath smells of fresh sandalwood soap and the royal 'utna'. Layer upon layer of fragrant ointments pile on my skin as I scrape off the remnants of previous night's firework soot. I dress up in wrinkled garments, gather my beloved fire-crackers drying up in the balcony and run off to ring my colony kids to join in the fray. Squeals of delight, pitter-patter down the steps and with the ferocity of a bull let loose; we find the safest corner in the compound to pile our crackers and the most unsafe one to light them up. A violent war with aapti bombs, ultra-pollutionistic snakes, damp chakris whizzing under everyone's feet, bright anaars blinding one's eyes and shattering blasts of laxmi and rassi bombs light up the compound. Hanging sparkling fulbajis on branches to look like flowers, throwing a lavangi with naked hand and the ultimate act: lighting a bomb in the cowdung; creativity hits the high notes! The wick burns down as everyone runs to hide from the imminent splatter. A resounding blast and the dung finds its way in the nook and corner of neighboring walls leaving a crater in its wake. As the dawn hits the skies, all leftover over fireworks and boxes are arranged in a neat pile and set on fire...

Bell screeches. Friends pour in with regional delicacies ranging from Vattu Kollam to kande pohe. Greetings galore, silver foiled diyas adorn the ledges and stairways. Everyone gather for a traditional aarti to appease the God(s) so that one can hog on the food guilt-free. Rhythm sets in.

We run back to get dressed in the finest of garments and visit the temple. Hair neatly oiled and parted, little powder-puffed faces set out to the nearest temple to seek blessings and good marks in the Unit Tests. A prayer, a pradakshina and a prasad later, we run back to soothe our rumbling tummies with tasty faral. I enter the house half-floating to the smell of fresh pohe and shankarpale, chaklis, besan ladoo, karanji and chivda. Happy faces beam at me urging me to eat my fill but I fail miserably at the task at hand. A loving hand caresses my hair and pulls my cheek and I brush it aside as I crunch on the karanjis...

The potluck paltan pounces on the food as hounds on a kill. All well-fed entities sit round in a amoebic circle to play a game or two of Mafia. The house soon turns into a fish market, with everyone testing their decibel limits on fellow villagers. Occasional punches of "Sshhh" and intermittent gasps at Rutgers' football match puncture the otherwise vibrant atmosphere. 12 am strikes and the folks decide to retire for the day. I wave and I smile as I feel a familiar wisp of air ruffle my hair and plant a good night kiss on my cheek...

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When US beckoned me by Siddharth Wagh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Birthday Season at Rutgers...

Birthdays grew a lot more interesting this season, with creativity hitting the high notes in the form of poems, menu cards, research papers and a video presentation. Here is an aggregation of the items produced in the honor of the birthday boys (Click on the links to view)...

July 24 : Indraneel Kulkarni (InKu)
Gift item: Poem

August 18: Ankit Sarda
Gift item: Menu Card

September 14: Prashant Jadhav
Gift item: Research Paper

September 19: Jay Takle
Gift item: Video Presentation (GMD)

Who's next? :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Social Virtualization anyone?

You know her name, her age, her profession and her relationship status.

You have participated virtually in every single activity she does; her frequent visits to the friendly neighborhood coffee house, her family get-togethers and her cheek-on-cheek outings at brightly lit pubs.

You probably have an opinion on what dress looks good on her and what does not, what she loves eating and what she hates vehemently.

You might even know her pet peeves, might have argued and agreed with her in "comment" discussions on your common friend's updates, liked and unliked her various links and postings.

Yet, she is a stranger, in the strictest sense of the word. You have never spoken to her in person. You avoid her gaze in public. You fidget with your not-so-cool-gadget when she is around. You glance occasionally at her when she shares an anecdote with her friends in the food court, trying to correlate her online and offline persona. You know she gave birth to a baby last Sunday, or is celebrating her birthday today or has an important interview tomorrow, but you pass by her with a vague sense of urgency and discomfiture bursting to hide and share your knowledge at the same time.

There is a pretty good chance that you are as much familiar to her, as she is to you. Yet she employs the same passive semblance as you do in person.

One might be tempted to think that you have a huge crush on her, but it may not be so. These same set of actions could be attributed to a person of the same sex for that matter, and nothing would change. Who are they? Acquaintances? Well, you never got acquainted in the first place. Colleagues? You may not be sharing the same workplace. Friend? Well, you do not share your personal life details voluntarily to qualify as a friend.

The age of paper brought pen-pals and the age of instant chats brought chat buddies. And so has the age of tweets and scraps given birth to a new breed of social structure that needs a name. A tag. And I leave that task to you.

Here is an awesome strip that mirrors my sentiments precisely...
Link to Doghouse diaries

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When US beckoned me by Siddharth Wagh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reminiscing his cubhood...

The Ant Circus:

It was a seasonal affair, organized with much gusto. The first rain always managed to flood the tiny homes of the black ants and they came out from all crevices in the courtyard with swift agility. There were always these half-an-inch deep puddles which made an ideal base to set up the circus. All he needed were construction materials: bricks, stones and bridges. Four or five thick crumbling red bricks formed the stead posts with smaller stones forming intermidiate landings. These were connected by thin greenish brown tender branches which could be twisted to archways or just laid on the two platforms. Some had one of their ends dipped in water for the lucky few swimmers. He took the bigger branches and went in search of his performers: Ants and centipedes. Paper helped a lot. Scrapping a few slow ones, he dropped them off on a brick or plainly in water till they swam to the nearest brick post and joined the fray. Up a stick, around an arch, down the slope they went trying to find a way out of this small island. Some swinging branches made pretty sights when wind blew them and the ant managed to hold it for its dear tiny life. But there were some bold ones that jumped in the water, and swam to the shore. They were left alone. Winners deserve their share of success, dont they? Losers, well, they were stuck in this illusory world till the water around them dried up to make way or worse, were washed out with the next spate of heavy rain.

The Dog Naming ceremony:

Strays are an integral part of Indian streets, be it dogs or humans. But the former always found refuge in some child’s arms if it played its “cute-puppy-wags-his-tail” role well enough. He and his gang had adopted 4 such strays. And it was time to name them. So they gathered in a small park and sat in a circle. He picked up the first puppy and held it in his two outstretched arms. The poor creature rolled and licked with anticipation. He kept it on the next child’s palms and so it went on. Three rounds down, the pup was named “Pinku”. Pitoosh, Blackie, Rocky followed suit.

The Three Eye:

He and his two friends, formed the ‘Three Eye’ Investigator Agency. They had their headquarters, set up on the terrace: SAP1, the water tank: SAP2; SAP being the initials of the trio. They had a small pouch with all the emergency stuff packed in. Lemon Juice in Eardrop bottle, for invisible ink. Chilli powder in a Vicks bottle, for attackers. Small pieces of paper. Pen. They also devised a new secret language. Mirror image numerals. They wrote letters to each other, smirking furiously when some outsider tried to decipher it. They followed strange men on street to their houses, till they were sure that the person had no evil intention in his mind. Yes, it was always “his”. They learnt some smart moves too, like pinching the offender on his softest spot on the body with fingernails, kicking him in the shins. They learnt to cry out “Fire” instead of “Help” when in trouble. They read somewhere that it sounds more believable and urgent. If only the RAW found out about the budding agents in their tow, the engineering community wouldn’t have had to sufferfrom the burden, would it?

Ganesh Chaturthi celebration:

The mandap: 3 pieces of cardboards torn out of old notebooks arranged against the wall in the corner. The floor wearing the carpet of small green gulmohar tree leaves. A soapcase for the pandal/stage. A small lamp at the side with a grandma-made cotton wick wet with oil. A small halad/kunku kundi with rice grains for the ritual.

The idol: A small black stoned, intricately carved Ganesh idol with a self-made bead garland around the neck.

The procession: A small chariot emptied of its tea lids, and holding the Ganesh idol, making its way from the bedroom to the hall patio. Revelers, he and his brother, prancing and dancing around the chariot, much to the amusement of his folks, and nudging it ahead after every song.

The ritual: Prayers offered with much gusto with traditional kunku tilak on forehead of Ganesha. Coarse grained sugar in a small bowl as prasad. Rice grains sprinkled on the idol as akshada. Small white and red flowers adorning the idol and stage. The lamp lighting up the small mandap and oiled everyday for 10 days in a row.

The immersion: A small bucket filled with water, or better, a 1 X 1 feet blue colored square to act as the pond. The same procession carrying the idol to the ‘pond’ and immersed 3 times with shouts of ‘Jai Ganesha’. The idol safely washed and rubbed and kept in the showcase, to be taken out once again, the following year.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

No use crying over the "spoilt" milk...

And so it happened that 4 gallon cans of milk in our refrigerator went bad at the same time. We were like, what the hell?? Milk cans bought from Indian stores at cheaper rates already had a bad reputation, and this catastrophe just confirmed it. While we toyed around with the ideas of throwing it away to throwing it in the face of the Patel C&C, I recalled a recipe my mom used to make when milk turned not-so-palatable. We called it the Chai-Moi.

1. Spoilt milk (half a gallon, may be)
2. Jaggery
3. Cardamom powder
4. Coconut (scrapped)

1. Heat the milk to a boil.
2. Add about 3-4 teaspoons of lemon juice in hot milk, in case it doesnt separate into curd and whey on its own.
3. Add lots of jaggery to the milk and keep stirring, till it gets a brownish complexion.
4. Add scrapped coconut (about half a cup) and cardamom powder and stir.
5. Take it off the heat and serve warm.

When I was in India, even the simple act of making tea seemed so difficult. As I smelt my super-quick newest creation, I smiled at the ironical situation that life put forth before me.

Google gave me two more simple recipes to finish off the remaining 3 gallons...


Dont know bout the spilled milk, but there's definitely no use crying over the spoilt milk... so says my happy tummy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

American Loo-natics...

Disclaimer: Not for the faint-hearted... i mean faint-humored.. in fact, faint-tummied.

The ultra-liberal, shiny, open-aired, sparkling clean loo at the US Consulate Library at Mumbai enchanted me the minute I entered the restroom. By loo, I mean those set of cubicles with bare minimum walls and spacious pots with the 24 hour water and tissue supply. It served as a microcosm of the American society... open, liberal and sophisticated. After coming over to the "real" USA, my first "brush" with the shamelessly luxurious American loos got me thinking of all the creative things one could do sitting at the pot, except the obvious. Those 10 minutes in that enclosed space were never ever boring. Here are some samples of my wishful thinking...

  1. Origami with tissues: Last seen, I had a swan and a sail-boat gushing down the hole.
  2. Two-player games on the cellphone: Take your turn, make your score and pass the cell to your neighboring opponent under the veil.
  3. Missile launch: Whenever someone enters the restroom for a quick pee, say aloud, "The missile is ready for take-off... 10... 9 ... 8... 7 ... " Chances are, the pee will be done quicker than your countdown.
  4. Phone-a-friend: Call someone (preferably a girl, only they could 'appreciate' the humor better), talk to them for 5 minutes and end the call saying "I am on the pot right now, talk to you later". A few daredevils could try farting at the end, but it needs to cross a certain decibel limit.
  5. Zoo-zoo-sham: Play zoo-zoo ringtones on your cell in presence of a nearby human entity.
  6. Volley-ball with tissues: Needs ample space and an obliging partner.
  7. Fart-a-thon: Again needs a compulsively obliging partner with chronic constipation on his medical records.
  8. Prose/Poetry/Caricatures on the "Wall": All-time favorite loo-time activity with the aesthetically inclined.
  9. Grooming: No comments.
  10. Drumming: The steel walls serve as an excellent percussion instrument, combined with your ring laden fingers.
  11. Coding: If you are a geek, no other place provides better solace for the busy mind.
  12. Blogging: ""Excuse me..""
  13. Shoe-lace-fiasco: If your neighbor is busy reading a newspaper (magazines might not work), reach out to tie his shoe-laces together.
  14. Tissue-smear: Smear the next round of tissue ends with chalk, white pepper or the like. If you are smart enough, you should do that 'after' you are finished.
  15. The-Ultimate-Boo: Stick a sheet of paper on the door saying in bright red letters "I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER!"

Notice: The writer reserves copyrights for this material and no copies are to be produced unless you are highly 'constipated' for creative thoughts...

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When US beckoned me by Siddharth Wagh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Revisiting "Rutgers Fall 2007 Orkut Community"

Some hilarious snippets from our Orkut community discussions. LMAO...


Tripti: Do any one has any info regarding placements at rutgers in wireless/communications/DSP?? or any field in ECE ????
Madhura: well the placement scenario in the field of vlsi is quite good..n the companies that come for placements...the info is there on the website..
Me: placements are very good at rutgers... especially, Wireless, solid state, computer graphics, distributed computing... fundings are also very well here... from wat i hv heard from seniors... rutgers is the place to be...!!
Prem: i don't think in US u have it like here tat companies coming for interview on every university placements r through job fairs only

Indraneel: hey guys the duration on I20 is 36 months so we need to show finances for 24 months or 36 months. because according to univ 9 credits are compulsory for full time student, taking this into account the course should take maximum of 24 months. so how much duration should we put on visa ?
Ateet: U`ll get a 3 year visa...The univ gives an extra year just in case u lag behind due to any reason !!Dude if u get a two year visa..then u`ll have to fly back to mother INDIA pretty soon!!
Indraneel: thanks...dude........but how to convince about this to the visa officer...
Me:There is the policy specific to US that after studying there for 2 yrs you have the option of working there for an year to retrieve all that you spent on ur education. Most other countries dont provide such option to students. This period is called OPT that is Optional Practical Training. I assume this span of 36 months includes this period of OPT along with 2 years of our normal course.

Sneha: Is our tuition fees a functn of number of credits? few univs have their tuition as a functio of no. of credits.. n in the i20 he figure is considering the worst case scenario.
Mohnish: What is min no. of credits?
Its 30 credits.. and how fast we complete the degree is in our hands.. from 9-15 credits, same fee applies... usually 15 is not possible with job and other things... so ppl opt for 9 or 12 depending on load... fees are to be paid per sem, not per credit... so if you complete MS in 3 sems instead of 4, u save some money...
disclaimer: i am not responsible for the information provided above. the people who told me are...
Sneha: R u absolutely sure about this?
Me:i had attended a seminar by GEEBEE, churchgate, where they had mentioned that the fee is same for 9 to 15 credits... so one can complete MS earlier by a semester and save money...
you could ask a few seniors to confirm... i will do that too...
Tripti: I guess you should recheck!! cos as far as i know tuition fees is a function of no of credits
until or unless the no of credits to be taken in a sem are fixed.
Ram: if tution fees is a func of number of credits why wud they ask u for 36000$ for every year of study? thy wud hav probably asked for 30 credits spread over 2 years..
Mohnish:The $36000 is anyway an excess. The tution fee (without the per sem or per credit dispute) is around $19000 and the living expense is abt $8000. So in effect u will need only around $27000 per year. They jst want u to show an excess amount for the I20.
Me:i am sorry guys... my info was half correct... its fees per credit alright... but its true you can complete the degree earlier by loading yourself with more than 3 courses...but its tough life with 3 courses... at least for 1st sem... one can think of increasing next sem...
Sneha: i am still confused...
Ateet: Please reply..people !!
Tripti: your tuition fees for entire two years will be (30* tuition fees per credit hr) irrespective u complete it in 1 year,one and half years or 2 yrs. and abt the living expenses, i asked one senior he told me that it will come to about 500$ per month
Ateet:But from what I have heard from a senior is that the on campus job scene is quite tricky. And are u sure that $500 would be the monthly expense...I think it has to be a higher figure.
Tripti: Look ateet... It may vary.. i mean 100$ on upper or lower side...or may be more..
Ronak D:i just tried readin ever post nd make sense of it...but i seem to be even more confused...bottom line------what is a realistic amnt for tution+living fr one year????????
Ananth:the figures as shown in the rutgers website are like this...the basic tuition fees per credit is 606$ and per sem a minimum of 9 credits shud be taken being a full time student(generally each course is 3 creditsand some might be 4 as well). Other fees like the registration,computer fees inclusive of the 9 credits and all are summing to 5732$ which we need to pay just to the school per semester and insurance and others extra.

Arjun: Cant i take a lona for more than 30% of the total amnt.. bt there are education loans that cover the entire expense??
Me: it wud b stupid 2 take loan for entire amount... how will you explain that to VO?? can you imagine the amount of interest you would have to shell out for a loan amount for say 16 lakhs??
Ram: Iam takin a loan for 15lacs! well that makes me stupid doesnt it ?? well i dont think the VO shud have problems in explainin loans to VO..
Me:sorry about the word stupid... go ahead with your scheme and do post in your experience at VISA office.. we would all like to hear about it... all the best!
Ram:thanx!!! well may be you are right in a way...personally i hav 3 years of exp with a pay that can justify such loans! may be there might be more questions to ppl with weak financials n no work exp wat so ever

Vishal:I am seeking friends who eat vegetarian food to share an apartment with me. If i can be accomodated somewhere ... or if someone is interested for the same please message me..
Shahil, Ashrith, Mohit, Ananth: I am a veggie
me a veggie too.. a marwadi staying in mumbai...
Vishal:join my community specially for for : Rutgers NB-Veggie Accomodations

Saurabh(in another post): I am lookin for ppl who eat non-vegetarian food or those veggies who dnt have a prob with non -veg to share an apartment with me. If i can be accomodated somewhere ... or if someone is interested for the same please message me.. thnks vishal...

Welcome to the shopping information portal..
Here we discuss our daily shopping trips with respect to the stuff bought, prices, the place where it was purchased etc. Basically we help each other to get the best deals at the best stores which are offering discounts and sales.
Basic things to be included:
1. What was bought?
2. where is the place?
3. what is the price?
4. How long are the sales on? etc.
Lets make our shopping experience more fun, less excruciating...
dude.. thats weird...!!
tomorrow u gonna put up how many undies u got n from where... i get the idea, but put down things tat are important... like a must buy sort of thing... say pull overs or thermals..!!
don go on discussin ur wardrobe for god sake..!!!
i m NOT giving out my list here or asking for one... all of us are gonna have the same list but it would make a big difference if we could share with each other where great sales and good bargains are going on, so that we SAVE some money... Anyways, if others feel the same way too, i guess i should keep my outings to myself... happy shopping!


Hello friends, time's now to pack your luggage and get ready for one of "the" ultimate experience of your life.... Staring from 4th august or maybe 27th july... all of us one by one are going to land or touch down to the US of A.... So do all of us a favor by sharing your experience, how the flight was.. what you went through, what problems or moments you had in your crucial voyage, share it with us so that we'll be beware and prepared for it in advance... many of us will be picked up by seniors and will be accommodated temporarily how was it, wher are you staying now, how do u like the city and many more experiences you gone thru,, tell us....
Arastu:well this could help everybody mention as well ...if anyone of u have excess weight and u were allowed with that.......or any bad experience with airlines......
Me:if any one of u has excess weight? hehe...
Indraneel:any 1 leaving before 4th august......????
Me: hey dude... its the first date to fly.. u r not allowed before!! hey swena, homemade masalas not allowed?? sure abt tht? not even in cargo??
Pandey:If you wanta take masala's or some stuffs you thing is worthy of taking and afraid they will catch ya ther is a tip:- put it inside ur Cooker or inside any steel utensil . THIS IS ONLY A TIP, BUT EVERY THING DEPENDS ON UR LUCK... One more thing do not even think of taking unauthentic software with you.. many of us would have pirated OS copy wit us... dont take it with you, it is a serious crime..


I was all set in going to Rutgers till yesterday, but i then talked with a senior from my college (DJ) who was in ECE department there and what he told me completely changed my perspective. A complete shocker for me
1. Rutgers ECE department doesn't have good funding.
2. The reasons why he went to rutgers, hearing that its wireless (with Winlab) is ranked 4th in USA and all were undone when he realised that only PhD students are allowed to use that lab and the professors are involved only with PhD students
3. The department has a stupid rule that in case you want to do an internship, you have to write a thesis, which is time consuming and doesnt really count that much for jobs
4. the placement scene is horrible for ece. all the companies coming are coding oriented who pick CS and FE students and the jobs in picture are coding related only. He said that this year stevens college had better companies coming than rutgers ece

Basically, Rutgers ECE for PhD is excellent, if you do thesis then the prof can get you funding also, but research is all that they are involved in. Job scene good for CS and FE but no EE related work. I thought everyone should know this info, so i posted it. final decisions everyone has to take oneself. If anyone wants that senior's contact you can ask me.

vlsi is very much hardwork. apparently bushnell makes you work a lot. job scene same: coding even i am thinking EE vlsi only, but i didnt know it was in CS! are you sure?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Two legs, soggy shoes and a green trail...

The May Day race is a 25-mile relay race, run annually in early May. The primary teams competing are the mathematics departments of Rutgers and Princeton University. Begun in 1976 as the "Mathematicians May Day Relay", the name was changed in 1997 to the "Fred Almgren Memorial Relay Race," honoring one of the event's most active participants, Fred Almgren. A trophy, with the winners' names engraved, is located in the lounge of Fine Hall at Princeton University...

Check out Team ASHA results...

The day dawned with little hope in the damp air and more dew in the dark clouds. The faithful weather service announced a non-stop drizzle, and our sources said that no May Day Race has seen an overcast sky since past 10 years. But the ASHA team had 'hope' against hope and we set off to the beat of pitter-patter and swooshing wipers. Dropping our harbinger Prashant off at the Landing Lane, we shot off to the Spillway with Google Maps as our guide.

I joined the second-leg runners waiting for that traditional clap from our precursors. With the raging Raritan waters on one side and the dark spooky canal on the other, there was not much to do except warm up a bit. The clocked ticked away after 10 am, and soon the runners showed up on the horizon. A clap, a two, a third and I spotted a familiar sweaty red face in the distance. The cheers prepped me up and I set off at a comfy pace with the stopwatch in my hand.

Distance covered: 3.7 miles
Time: 10-30 am
Rank: 5

I whizzed past a black figure in front and crossed over a stony bund, with the creaky gravel scratching with the chirps and occasional rain patter. I soon realized that I hadnt had water for past 2 hours and suddenly my throat parched with desire. I gave up on my nose, and took deep gushes of breath with my mouth trying not to overdo the rhythm. The landscape changed around, with tall architectures popping once a while and cars racing past the canal. Soon the gravel gave way to slushy muddy trail that splashed with every fall of my feet. After some intricate designs that adorned my shoes, I was glad to see a crowd cheering in the distance. A stitch had built up in the meantime and I was in half mind to trickle down to a walk, but the cheers nudged me ahead. A figure overtook me and I took my time to clap Chitra near the NJ Water Supply Authority. Swathi picked up my remnants and sweeped me up to the car to offer generous doses of water.

Distance covered: 7.8 miles
Time: 11-03 am
Rank: 5

We sped up to the East Millstone on Amwell Road to drop Rashmeet and pick up Chitra. A few phone calls down, we left Rashmeet to herself and hit a nearby gas station of a quick refill and a quicker re-pee. We were about to hit the gas pedal, when an amused Chitra called us up to narrate a huge miscalculation. By the look of it, Rashmeet had naively set off in the wrong direction and had a fast runner let loose behind her to talk sense into her. The clock was ticking away and we made some quick decisions. Not wanting Deb to run two legs at a stretch, my replenished self set off to cover another 2.1 mile patch under dripping trees and a gravelly path.

Distance covered: 11.2 miles
Time: 11-45 am
Rank: 11

My insides ached with pleasure with the rush of fresh air in my lungs and it seemed so natural now. At every spasm, I reminded myself that I had just covered a mile and one more lies ahead. But the path ended too soon, and I bumped into Deb at the Blackwell Mill's crossing.

Distance covered: 13.3 miles
Time: 12-00 pm
Rank: 11

A gatorade laden Deb set off for the next leg and I awaited my merry Asha carsevaks. They found me and zoomed to the next stop with the pinks, whites and greens masking the window. There we stood under two giant colorful umbrellas for Deb to come and deliver the clap to Amit. The enthusiasm was low now with winning teams clearly in sight and after 10 whole runners, a tired Deb arrived with gusto and set Amit off at Griggstown Locks.

Distance covered: 17.5 miles
Time: 12-33 pm
Rank: 11

I couldnt believe how soggy I was, and shivering to death, all in the hope of a hot sumptous barbeque waiting at the finish line. The rain had no intention of pausing and Amit had no intention of stopping. Our wait with Ankit at the next leg was cut short by a smiling Amit signing in to tell us that he had outrun a guy. More than Amit's arrival,we were in awe of an 80 year old runner from the Math Dept coming in with a bigger smile in leaf green boxers and setting off his runner. Ankit began his final run towards the finish line from Kingston Locks and our steel grey and red blurs sped off to receive him.

Distance covered: 21.9 miles
Time: 1-11 pm
Rank: 10

We entered Princeton and were mesmerized by its grandeur. Beautiful tall architectures spawned the streets with spring blooms adorning them. I could see familiar sights and sounds, for I had been to the Princeton University before. Our guides failed us and eventually we had a long pause at Alexander Road to decide where the finish line was. Swathi got an organizer on call and went to pick up Ankit who had completed the race with no resounding cheers in the background.

Distance covered: 25.1 miles
Time: 1-46 pm
Rank: 10

Samreen and me followed her endlessly to find the picnic area with the never say die attitude and blazing hope that food will find its way to our stomachs. But fate had us on a hold today, for there was no food left at the 'Butler' Ave. Few quick leftovers were grabbed and we turned around to make for our dear University where food was abundant for the hungry travellers.

The wet clothes, the pricking blisters on feet, the muddy expensive shoes, a beautiful green trail and pure air rushing through the insides... What more could one ask for, i wonder...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Middle Class Instincts...

I see the train approaching Vile Parle at a modest speed, from the overhead bridge. "Paach saintaalis ki dheemi Borivali local, platform kramank ek par aa rahi hai" goes the announcement. I break into a run. 30 Steps to the platform, skipping one at a time. I see the hefty students of neighboring Mithibai, NM and Dahanu college mixing with Sathaye's skinny aspirants. Damn! Why do all colleges have to let go off the students at the same time?? Getting in the 6 pm local coming from Churchgate is next to impossible. I cannot miss this one. The train swooshes past me, as I am dodging past humans and sleeping dogs on platform 2. I have to reach the First Class dabba anyhow. I sprint ahead of "Late Smt Gaitonde Pyaau" and join the waiting crowd. Pulses racing. Hands sweating. The train is slowing down. We make way for the men jumping out of coaches. They know better than to get jammed in permanantly by the incoming crowd. All my attention is now focussed on the first class compartment. I pose as a runner, ready to shoot at the sound of the whistle. One wrong move can block me from entering the train. Or worse. My instincts push me forward. I jump in the moving train, grab the pole at the center of the door and pull myself in. At the same time, few other hands grope for the pole and the door, fumble, slip. I push myself inside, rubbing against sweaty, smelly first class bodies. Others follow suit. Mission accomplished, I say to myself.

6 years later...

The L bus turns round the corner and I see B bus waiting at the Quads. A similar pulse starts beating. This will be a toughie. L moves ahead, and I sigh to see it slow down at Quads alight stop. I look behind from the glass window. B has made it around the corner and is picking speed. I focus all my energies on making L shoot to Beck Hall. I pull the chain harder in excitement. "Ting". L makes a turn and slows down which feels like eternity. I stand against the closed back doors. The driver forgets to open them, and I shout "Xcuse me?" in exasperation. He obliges and jump out to see B floating past the Beck Hall turn. Run... Run like the wind! I climb the mound, slip in the wet mud, and sprint on the parking lot. B slows down to a crawl. "What if there are no students at Health Center stop?" Luckily there is one. He gets in as I am climbing the mound. "What if the driver hasnt seen me in the mirror??" He hasn't. The doors start closing in and I put my hand in the gap just in time. A bang, a shout and the doors open. A relieved yell of 'Thank you" and I take my seat puffing beside the pretty girl on the back seat.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

It strikes 8-30 pm in the laptop clock.

I switch off all the lights and put the laptop on battery mode.

I can hear the sound of the refrigerator. It gives me the feeling of being airborne in an aeroplane.

I look outside and see half a dozen lighted houses and I sigh.

Jay wakes up and wonders why the house is plunged in darkness. I tell him. He cant say No.

I plan to evaluate the meaning of my life in this dark solitude. I open a blog post to write, close it the next second. Ideas never strike at an opportune moment.

Jay is talking on his cellphone. Money matters.

Shivangi calls up to check if we are home. The gang is roaming the streets preaching the significance of earth hour to insignificant others.

We peek at the drama queens'. Lights run out one by one. The gang has done it.

Shivangi and her merry men land at 22 B. We escort them in careful not to bang them into the multitude of chairs.

Ram offers Cheetos, we take the bag. We offer shrikhand, they lick the bowl.

I get a torch and study its effect on the iris of my hapless victims.

Shivangi bids goodbye, opens the door and shrieks. Soumya laughs heartily.

The gang leaves in search of more victims.

We take out the bottle and cans. Jay cant see the base. I turn on the lights. Its 9-32 pm.