Saturday, December 27, 2008

Year-end scribbles

As I start my last post for the year, inching closer to my (short) return home for a convocation that looks as uncertain as it was 2 months ago, several contrasting thoughts come to mind..

1. The @$#% going on in NITC over the convo goes beyond blog posts now! Wild rumours about the 'expected' dates and even 'official' information of it being held in the 'second week of Jan' dont look so official now. So as the number of days for the stipulated date nears single digits, all I can say is : "Screw the Convo !".. After all, I wanted to meet friends, and do that I will. However and whenever it be.

One of my friends chose to describe the situation as : "Maybe the college authorities want to give us a surprise". Talk about seeing a positive side to everything. And anyway they already have surprised us by doing whatever they have done so far. Which is, nothing. I think an anonymous prank mail blasting our authorities should be in order any moment now ;)

2. Thoughts of spending the New Year moment flying are looking attractive day by day. No, I dont mean 'high' and 'flying' on something else :), I meant flying, as in, on Tiger Airways flight TR638 on New years eve. Wonder if we'll 'have a blast' in the plane.. I should hope not.

3. Despite point no. 1, the thought of wanting to give a boost to our Alumni association is now something for us to think of in a strong way. Proper alumni support is something my college always lacked. Another 'success story' on the part of the authorities, I can say, but instead of pointing fingers at them, I think its time we took matters and responsibilities into our own hands.

Take any other college in India, IITs, IIMs, anything else, and you see alumni support visible in their events, their decisions, even on their college campus. Alumni support makes a statement. That we passouts are proud of our college, and want to contribute to that which made us what we are. At NITC , but, we remember and feel the need for seniors and alumni only when searching for contacts. Say, like when for marketing for Ragam or Tathva.

Its time to change our 'live, enjoy, passout and forget' attitude towards college now. Through 4 years we took pride in our college and tried our best to contribute to it in some way. And at the end we cannot forget it as another chapter of our life. The potential of alumni is something that can change a lot of things that are lacking in a college.

Short chat with some of my friends and I were realised that we were concurring on the possibilities already. Alumni are everywhere - in jobs all over India (or the world).. in higher technical education doing their masters or PhDs somewhere.. in IIM's battling it out to get an MBA.. they are the best contacts we can get any day. They can help you get contacts to obtain an internship or training in some company of your choice. Tell you about the possibilities. Get you sponsorship for some events if possible (thats one thing that goes into everyones head every year around Ragam time :) ). The ones doing higher studies can tell you how to go about it. Recommend on where to go. What formalities they went through, What openings and opporunities are there. The highly placed ones can occasionally give talks when visiting the alma mater. And yes, if we're rich and happy enough, we alumni might even think of contributing something in terms of money :).

I cant think of ideas right now, but atleast a list of contacts of your seniors would be a good place to start for an alumni movement. A decent website wouldnt matter too. Everyone would know where to look to get in touch. Instead of having to go through orkut each time to find someone. Later on, planning annual get-togethers wouldnt be a bad idea.

All this, ofcourse, requires a bit of cooperation from the currently running batch, the passed out ones, and the authorities too. Not at all easy. But this will be what we will be hoping to pull off anyway, hopefully at the convocation itself where we can get hold of everyone. I hope the '08 batch pulls this one off too, like many other things we have pulled off :).

So, hoping for a year of wonders.. signing out.. and a Happy New Year to all of you out there !..

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Star light, star bright..

An experience you would've had at some point in your life : Its night, late night... You're walking alone, tensed, worried about next weeks assignment, or perhaps next month's report. Having no clue on what to do, you look up at the sky. Its night, theres not much sound or light within much distance, and you look up and see something like the one on the left.

And then you just realize : Man, the Universe is much bigger than I thought. So.. why worry ?

Well, maybe not the exact one, but all of us have felt this wave of relief on looking at the sky at some point. Star-gazing.. or just sky-watching.. as Carl Sagan put it.. is a truly humbling experience. Not just fun as a hobby, to spot a Saturn here or an Orion constellation there, or to make up shapes in the stars imagining them to be something out of our imagination.

Its a very relieving one too. How many nights I have looked at that clear black expanse, peppered with infinitely many tiny pinpoints of stars, and felt.. The Universe is so daarn big man ! There are billions of galaxies out there, uncountably many worlds unexplored, forms and phenomenons yet undiscovered ! And we are just a small part of it ! So why worry about some small mistake we did yesterday.. or some deadline thats about to come tomorrow. Its just a small nothingness in the scheme of things of the universe we see out there. Why worry ?

I still recall frequent star-gazing sessions I had with a cousin. The topic would start from astronomy, go over a wide range of topics, and generally always fade into some vague topic about fate or the future or of that sort. We attach so much importance to what happens around us, worry in the smallest of things instead of delighting in them. While all I am, is a single organism among zillions, on a small pale blue dot called Earth.

Next time something insignificant seems to nag you, remember these words from a famous address by Carl Sagan, from 'The pale blue dot' that inspires this feeling. The address is in reference to the photo on the right, a pic of Earth taken by Voyager 1 from a large distance. See where we stand. Earth. A pale blue dot near the centre. (The 'pale blue dot' also carries an environmental message that I simply loved)

" Consider again that dot (Earth). That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, ... every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, .... every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. "

Monday, December 8, 2008

Canvas in the heavens

Walked out of my lab one day and saw this ...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

To all losers (esp the ones without girlfriends) -

Think there must be many of you out there who can relate to this one :)