Monthly Archives: February 2011

The hobby that makes an impact:

[In the picture: Sayak (top) and Sankarsan (bottom)]

Dear friends, as you know everybody in this institute is involved in his/her own research or work. However, everybody would have some hobby or other. Out of those, some might turn out to be quite beneficial for many people. Hostel committee has been lucky to get the help of some people who fall in this category and feels that they worth a note. Barring few blocks, you would be able to see small remote boxes in almost all TV rooms. This is the result of the interest and involvement of two people among us. Srinadha Reddy of EE department helped us in finding the proper remote models and brought the appropriate working remotes. The small boxes that you see around the remotes were architected by Sankarsan of HV lab, EE department. Similarly, when it was noticed that the 24X7 running hours of the aqua guards was causing frequent malfunctions in them, Sayak from Physics has come forward with a design that will make sure that the units are given enough rest. He has made a prototype, which cuts off the power to the mains of the aqua guard at a regular interval. It was found to be reliable after putting it under observation for more than two months and hence chairman, council of wardens has approved the implementation of this scheme for all water purifiers in all hostels. Hence you can see all purifiers connected to such machines in hostels saving energy and improving their longevity.
Isn’t it nice to see a person working with the electrical tools proves his skills in design (as a CPDM fellow)? Similarly, a physicist solves the minute electronic problems. That is what hobby can make you do and as seen in these cases they are able to make a mark due to their hobbies along with the professional work.
Hostel committee on behalf of all the students would like to thank them all and hope many such people join their hands to this to solve some of the problems we face around us.

Hostel Committee
Student’s Council
(hostel.iisc@gmail.com)

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SC Greeting message

Students’ Council wishes the students, faculty and staff of the institute, a productive and happy new year 2011

Editorial

India celebrated 61 years of being a Republic on January 26th this year. The institute also observed the Republic Day with the Director hoisting the National Flag. However, it is disheartening to see the dwindling numbers of faculty, staff and students who actually come to attend the flag hoisting.

Even if one assumes that it is pretty difficult to find a means of transportation early in the morning to be able to commute to the campus, only a small fraction of the institute community lives off the campus. A large portion of the institute community resides on campus, and by and large, should not have any trouble reaching the venue.
Has it become so difficult to make that extra effort to wake up early in the morning and devote a single hour of one’s time to come observe these days of national significance? Days which are but a reminder of and a tribute to the sweat, toil and sacrifice that went into giving us this freedom we now enjoy.

K. Vijayanth Reddy (ECE)

Noices News

Research student falls asleep during technical talk in JN Tata Auditorium. Spends entire night locked up in auditorium

A seemingly harmless technical talk at the JN Tata Auditorium took a tragic turn as Khoom B Karan, a research scholar in ECE (Encephalitis Cures Engineering) department fell asleep during the talk and did not wake up even as the speakers, entire audience and the support staff of the JN Tata Auditorium left at the end of the talk and the slumbering research scholar was locked up in the auditorium for the entire night.

The trapped scholar was discovered in the morning when Kanta Bai the cleaner opened the auditorium, allegedly for cleaning purposes. Asked about her reaction on finding the trapped research scholar, she said “In my 25 years of service, I have seen people carelessly leave behind all kinds of junk in the auditorium. People leave behind research papers, tea cups, brochures, text books. But this is the first time I have seen someone leave behind an entire research scholar”

Bahadur, the caretaker of JN Tata Auditorium was the last person to leave the auditorium. When questioned on why he neither saw nor heard the snoring researcher, he said “What saahib. Why are you blaming me? This place is so big, how can I alone take care of everything? In fact, so many students fall asleep in here because of the AC, soft cushions and the drawling voice of some speakers. But this guy was the only one stupid enough not to wake up at the end of the talk. I don’t understand why they hold such boring talks in such a cozy environment.” He then looked closely at The Noices Team, and said “In fact I think I have even seen couple of you sleeping in here”. Noices wisely decided not to push the matter any further with Bahadur.

Khoom B Karan’s brother B B Shaan was understandably aggrieved. He said, “This is very dangerous. I demand that the administration take some immediate action to prevent such unfortunate incidents in the future. How could they be so careless and lock up the auditorium while a research scholar is blissfully asleep inside? Khoom bhaiyya woke up around half an hour after the sedative voice of the speaker stopped impinging on his ears. He could not even use the mobile to call for help since there is no network available within the auditorium. He tried to shout for help. He had to run half a kilometre from his seat up the stairs towards the exit to knock on the doors only to realise that the doors are padded. How is anyone supposed to attract attention for help?”

Khoom was equally agitated about the mishap. He said, “Do you have any idea of the horrible, mind numbing experiences I had to withstand in there? All the ghosts of past speakers haunted me and kept lecturing me throughout the night. I had no choice but to listen to the technical talks, conferences and seminars of the past. I was too frightened to even yawn in front of those ghosts of past speakers” and he showed how stiff his jaw had become from endless hours of controlling his yawn.

He is currently recuperating at the IISc Health Centre. His duty doctor Dr Quack said “EEG did not show much activity when he was brought here. His mind was quite blank. The pulse and brain activity was alarmingly low. This might be due to being trapped in that ghastly place for over 14 hours. 2 hours of a technical talk and over 12 hours of being trapped in there while the echoes of the past talks kept reverberating. There is a limit to what the human brain can endure”.

Asked about Khoom’s recovery progress, Dr Quack said, “We had to give regular doses of the recorded voice of his advisor reprimanding him in order to raise his brain activity to acceptable levels. Fortunately, we have lot of experience in treating such cases at IISc. As you can see, he has responded very well to treatment”.

Asked for his feelings on surviving this mishap, Khoom said, “After this near brain death experience, I have begun to appreciate life. I have decided to start exercising my brain regularly. We tend to take everything we have for granted. Using brain only just before deadlines and examinations and ignoring it altogether at other times. I have realised that it is wrong” and he nodded in self-acknowledgement.

The Noices Team was asked not to aggravate the patient too much and we were requested to wind up quickly since it was almost time for his next dose of medicine. When asked for his final comments, “You only get one brain. Use it well!” was Khoom B Karan’s parting shot.

Arjun Shetty (ECE)
Illustration: Jithin K.S. (ECE)

Limit

I wrote this poem after I had an interesting discussion with my friends the other day. The poem was written keeping many people in mind. It is a summary of my beliefs about the causes of melancholy and the solution to that problem (as of now).

Limit

If we crown a single achievement as our greatest success,

We will be stuck at it, as time and the world progress

If, in a discussion, we pick a side fanatically,

When push comes to shove, we will argue blindly

If we get depressed over failure to conform to our standards or ethics,

We will, unfortunately, just be too scared to try any new tricks

If we believe in a cause and live our life for it,

When we find out we are wrong, we can only die for that shit!

If we pick up a style and let it define us,

When the trends change, it will only confine us

In simple words, success favors only those who strive to be free,

And anything that defines me, will only limit me!

————————————————————————————————–

A few words about the poem: The aim of the poem is to bring about a simple rule that deals with bouts of depression people might have experienced. It is an amusing exercise to analyze different anecdotes and see what common feature has caused drastic episodes of depression among people. I was left wondering why as children we do not succumb to depression. Is it because we are completely honest? Or is it because we cry our hearts out? I realized that something more fundamental is at work here. So the poem is my answer. I believe the purest of desires is to be free. And most of our expectations and self image serves to cripple us. Success has often followed those who do not chase it and if we choose to be free, after the long walk of life, when we look back we will see her trying to catch up with us 🙂

– Srikanth Pai (ECE)

Unanimously Unique …… a travelogue

“Jibono Moroner Simana Chharaye …”(“Beyond the bounds of life and death, There thou stand, Oh! my friend …”) — the Tagore song, busy in painting on the silence of my soul ….. ; an abrupt jerk – a Gau-mata in the front makes the bus stand for a while. Then again as usual motion prevails. We just cross the BSF training centre and minister rest house. Hilly road amidst jungle area, huge trench on the other side, clouds forming dazzling new contours in the freshly doodled winter sky, that is the situation, suddenly K. C. Group College of Engg. and Technology, the very chronic example of academic industry boom in Indian Suburbs. Little later a sign board shows “Barkhambi check post”. “Twenty kilometres of the same road and very soon to be followed by another by a river,” says Gurbachan Singh, our bus driver, from whom we are constantly securing information on our way from Hoshiarpur to a border town of Himachal. We are heading towards Una, a town situated by the side of Swan river, which has a strong mythological presence in Ramayana and Rigveda as “Som-bhadra” and “Swastu” respectively. It is Vaikunth Ekadashi as well as Muhharram, the day of communal harmony by-chance, the day when Hindus and Muslims atone for their sins, and we ask each other about the expiry dates that astrologers have declared on our horoscopes. I think of all the boys in school whose love letters I’ve made fun of and the number of mosquitoes I’ve slapped to death in this lifetime. This is penance – giving up control of one’s life and limbs to the Great Driver.

The travel through the riverside road, namely Purana Hoshiarpur Road makes us forget the jam, and din-and-bustle of typical Bangalore roads, and absolve each other for our indecisive denunciations of you-should-have known and I-should-have-known. In between the road and the river harvest fields of cucumber, bitter-melon, watermelon, pumpkin are also the ones who do not follow us, there’s hardly a moment. The main cultivation here is done by Muslim community residing in nearby hamlets. On the roadside we notice the mandir of Baba Botla Shah and come to know about its august fame for langar, jhanda ritual, kheer and dangal (an yearly kushti competition accommodating competitors almost from all neighbouring states).

Our four wheeled animal leaves us at Una bus station and we eat our breakfast at Suvidha Palace followed by a trip by motorcycle arranged by the in-charge Mr. Sachin. Una had been mentioned as a state of Jalandhar Doab in “Aainey Akbari”, a historical treatise of Mughal period having in its fold eight revenue mohals out of the 60 recorded in the said book. We start for Nangal Dam. Just near the Sherawali mata ka mandir in Purana Bus stand chowk we assume that our breakfast is not enough. The famous aloo-tikki of Ganty wala chat centre followed by Besan, a signature sweet of Una at saini sweet shop make our day. We are to fuel our bike and there comes Captain Anmol Kaliya Petrol Pump. We may term this as a war memorial in the honor of Captain Anmol Kaliya whose martyrdom in the Kargil war has been canonized into godliness here. Leaving behind the remembrance of a true hero from Shivalik Colony, Nangal we proceed towards our destination believing in the fact that we may not change our destination overnight, but we do possess the ability to change our direction overnight.

We have our lunch program done in Karishma Hotel in Badala area equipped with typical himachali khana i.e Sidu, Aktori and Dham. Disproving the common belief that Bengalies can only cherish non-veg items we really take delight in that vegetarian mid-day meal cooked by Boti Brahmins. We arrive at Mehtapur Chowk, the last station of Una, where there is a small wine yard. And now its all about the highest dam in India, Bhakra-Nangal, the ‘New Temple of Resurgent India’ as once said by Jawaharlal Nehru while dedicating it to the nation. For the natural beauty of surroundings of Nangal, my friend Rohit discovers to a photographer’s delight, the beauty of reflecting surfaces — of water, always in installments, of a sky that becomes a mood-mirror, or of petals of just bloomed flowers. This dam is having total sixteen gates and a tourist spot for the tourists during later years because of its huge size and uniqueness. There are two museums one inside, one outside that show how this dam has been built with the unrelenting toil of man for the benefit of mankind and therefore it is worthy of worship. May you call it a Temple or a Gurdwara or a Mosque, it inspires our admiration and reverence. Just near the statue of Nehru there is a garden resembling a bed covered with a multicolored floral shroud. We enshrine the eye-feasting glimpse of Govind Sagar Lake, basically a reservoir on the river Sutlej, formed after the hydel dam at Bhakra was constructed and has been named in honour of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru. Plenty of birds we see maintaining their cut-and-dried routine. It hosts water sports like ferry-rides and speed boat races making it paradise for extreme sports lovers though a diminished version. Fishing is commonly practiced here. It has about fifty one species and sub species. Labeo dero, Tor pitutrata, Mystus seenghala and Mirror carp are some of the common species found here. We miss our friends from IISc, Ecological Sciences who can explore the extra lives from that mise en scène staged by the characters from the nature.

We climb up to Jalpha Mata mandir which being in such a height empowers you to have a bird’s eye view of the entire Himachal. Driven by the now-or-never energy of a traveler we come to know that this place is fifteen km from naya nangal and twenty km from Naina Devi.

On our return we happen to meet Mr. Mukesh Agnihotri, the local MLA, and he makes us aware of the unfortunate fact of missing the December Una Mahotsov what’s not happening this time due to the forthcoming elections in Himachal. But soon that grief gets partly compensated by the two free passes for the himachali dance ensemble at Model Town Auditorium, the cultural hub of the town. Three back-to-back sumptuous dance performances win our hearts. I would not talk about Bhangra that has already been made popular to all Indians by Bollywood. In Keekali indefatigable performance by young pretty girls holding each others hand crosswise and rotating swiftly on their toes, drives away all our exhaustion for that moment. Then it is the time for the tribal dancers to perform Shan, generally danced at the Buddhist Gompas after the completion of harvesting of crops.

After the period of Gujjar agitation this is the second time I encounter the Surname, but this time it is a sweet cognizance. The absolutely delicious Gajrela of Sunil Gujjar Kulfiwala we get the chance to taste after waiting in a long line but we are told the wait is worth it, and it is so. That night after the X-Y-Z stuffs are done, we do the next best thing to do to realize further that fatigue is the best pillow.

Una is a small place, with much to be discovered beyond the barefaced points. So next morning we are on our way to explore the town of temples and Gurdwaras. We are confused and stuck into an optimization problem. Where to start and where to end!! Our state is nothing better than the “Travelling Salesman” who makes his life more troublesome by engaging into deductions of protein folding algorithms while searching for the potential shortest path covering all the sights. It is a little cold and a grey coloured Canis lupus familiaris seaching for warmth from the sun triggers into our gray matters the direction that we should take. The Big Boss makes us perceive the sacred and the profane — religion and commerce — commingling in the reverence of shopkeepers for their livelihood and in the ubiquitous juxtaposition of shops and shrines. The clamorous, cobbled Takka road has a thread of old and relatively new generation Gurudwaras. To name but a few Baba Bedi Killa, Saheed Dada near Sheetla Mata Mandir, Baradari – the undergrounded one are the illustrious ones. Heavily decorated by pigeon droppings Baba Bedi Killa is an ancestral home to the descendants of the first guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak. From here we make our way in the direction of the old Una fort. In village Kutlehrdi we witness the gigantic fort situated on Solha Singi hill at a height 2000-2200 ft, one-fourth of the height of Machu-Pichhu. The sun is at the zenith and there are no shadows of the architectures as if the past has became the present now. Though the fort has been converted into a wreckage now, but still we envision how stone speaks the truth, how it dictates the glories of the past. We reach our last destination i.e temple of Mata Chintpurni. The temple is a single storeyed building made of stones. Its base is square and a dome provides the center of its roof. The main entrance to the temple faces north. An old banyan tree, with a raised platform at its feet, stands in front of the entrance as the perennial guardian. The temple-tour of Una along with the amazements out of the associated folklores, we keep incomplete, as we do not visit the other legendary shrines like Dharamshala Mahnta, Shiv Bari, Dera Baba Rudru, Dhyunsar Mahadev, the fantastic-five shiv-lings having mythological connections with Pandavas, to let them be crystallized in memory in the next sojourn.

At the end of the day however, it is the hole-in-the-dome Pir Nigaha near Raipur Maidan that holds us in thrall. As we stand surrounded by crumbling masonry and collapsing stairwells, we find it an appropriate symbol for the town of Una: decaying in historical values yet defiant, gaining industrial inertia yet lively in perpetual myths, bowed but not without pride. All around us, the air seems heavy with the sighs of its once and future makers.

We are back to the main bus station. HP20 – A5543 hits the road echoing the fare-well tune. Our bus for Chandigarh is about to leave. Its time to bid adieu to Una, a place nestled in the lap of nature, a place that makes us lost in its pristine forests, rugged terrain and picturesque views, a place depicting the resplendent past through its forts, a place that inspires us by its communal harmony and cultural vibrance, a place whose Gurdwaras, temples and shrines indoctrinate us on the verge of new year into the philosophy of “Unnati” (Progress), the term which the name of this UNAnimously unique place is derived from.
Happy new Year 2010 🙂

Prasenjit Biswas (SERC/CEDT)

Seeing triviality non-trivially..

The other day, when the professor skipped a proof mentioning that it is trivial, i felt the most ashamed in the class for not being able to see the triviality in the proof. My worries were compounded by the nodding heads of my fellow classmates who instantly accepted the professor’s claim of triviality as true. I thought to myself that triviality depends on age and experience. Probably my classmates would have seen similar proofs which have so much triviality in them that they were nodding their heads in a synchronized fashion. Needless to tell about the professor, every non-trivial proof would be trivial for him. I even had a belief that triviality varies with time. Otherwise what seems to be a trivial problem just before and just after the exam could not be so non-trivial during the exam. More interestingly, triviality has a racial dimension to it, i thought. That was why the trivial pencil which solved the problems for Russian cosmonauts was elusively non-trivial for the !
American astronauts who went in search of a new ink for spaceships. Early indians trivially used zero which was a distant non trivial aspect for the rest of the world. I also strongly believed that triviality is entirely a human business until i saw a video in which the mighty elephants were swimming across a river “trivially”, which reminded me of those childhood nightmares i had when i started learning swimming, having dreams of drowning inside a deep ocean and crying for help to save me and with none around to save me, i finally attained lasting peace in my dreams. How non-trivial swimming was for me!! That would have extended the idea of triviality to mammals, but was cut short by other recent stories of how “trivially” intelligent crows are and how “trivially” prophetic octupuses are. Thus triviality is not even a mammalian phenomenon, i concluded. It fits very well with every living creature on this planet. I dont know if i could see it in non-living substances. When !
i was discussing about triviality with one of my colleagues, w!
e settle
d on the fact that triviality is essentially subjective. Agreed. But does triviality end with that ? Is it so uninteresting that we leave triviality behind seeking answers to the more non-trivial questions facing us? Most English dictionaries define the word “trivial” as something which is common and ordinary and something which is very unimportant. How rude and merciless these definitions are !! I have started realising that triviality is not at all common and not the least important, instead it must be a very rare and a very important asset that we could(or should) be in search of. Until we see it, triviality remains the most non-trivial of all. True, triviality has lost its sheen due to the growing interest in non-trivial aims and ambitions among humans. The next time someone points me to a trivial proof or problem, i would not have to pity myself for being so ignorant about triviality. I think i now have the courage to see triviality non-trivially..

P.Balamurugan
CSA

Rambling wit

Today in my lab I saw a bunch of exquisitely beautiful, fresh flowers in a vase. I picked a rose and brought it close, expecting to get intoxicated by its fine wine like fragrance. Under one of its petals, I found a tag that said “Made in China”

Arjun Shetty (ECE)
Illustration: Madhurima (Mgmt)

A meeting at sunset

When I saw you that day in the distance,
I couldn’t help stopping to watch you for an instant.
Your slender form silhouetted against the horizon,
A certain sadness in the way you held yourself
And then my heart plunged out of some shared emotion.

The sea-breeze heavy with your sorrow was blowing in my face,
Your hair  was flowing in the wind in an epitome of careless grace.
The redness of the setting sun was slowly giving way to the devouring darkness,
And you stood swaying  in the wind unperturbed, as if unaware of my presence
But somehow I knew  the reason behind your stillness.

Letting me get close to you in that vulnerable moment,
Was probably acknowledgment  enough of your feelings
And we stood there for  sometime,
Like two souls in a far away land; away from the uncaring, unstopping world
We saw the sun set,
We saw  the crows perch,
We saw the  surveilling kites leave.
And we forgot ourselves and  kept standing there until
We too became part of that still dusk and the snoring  beach.
Arun K(EE)

Random Observation

Apparently, they were asked to paint Kaveri!

Srikanth B. Pai (ECE)