Monthly Archives: October 2012

Contents – September, 2012

Theme Based Contest – III

Cover Story: CUPA – Compassion Unlimited Plus Action

Editorial: Writing Humour is No Joke

Gymkhana Corner

An Introspective for Research Guides and Students

Help the Needy Collection:  A New Experiment

What’s in a Mess?

Namma Cycle Flag-Off Event

Contest I winner: St. George and the JARGON

In ‘His’ Society

Contest II Winner: Writing Humor…

Contest II Winner: The Pile

IISc in the News

NFI Essay Writing Competition Result

IISc in the News

On My Bookshelf 2 : Turning Points – A Journey through Challenges By Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam 

A Friend on Your Path

Coders for Dummies

The PDF of the September 2012 issue can be downloaded from here.



Theme Based Contest – III

Dear Readers,
The theme for the third installment of the Theme Based Contest is “Fashion in Grad School”. Given the huge disparity in the submissions we received for the previous installments of this contest, we have decided that this time around, we will not be imposing any limitation. You are welcome to submit either prose or poetry, or both. Each category will be judged independently.

Mail your submissions to
The deadline for submissions is November 20, 2012. So pick up your pens and get the creative juices flowing!


Voices Team

Gymkhana Corner

Gymkhana is one of the oldest Gymkhanas in Bangalore. An ideal place for relieving stresses associated with rigors of PhD life, it has 24 various clubs to cover most of recreational facilities ranging from hockey to billiards, swimming to dramatics etc.

There has been a change of affairs at the gymkhana management committee. The following students have been unanimously elected as Office Bearers of Gymkhana Management Committee for the year 2012-2013:

Chairman : Saurabh Dixit
Department of Materials Engg.

General Secretary : Olu Femi
Department of Materials Engg.

Treasurer : Achintya Kundu
Computer Science and automation,

Lady Member: Prachi Joshi
Aerospace Engg.


1. Amit K Patra, Aerospace Engg.

2. Gnvr Vikram, Mechanical Engg.

3. Shivanand Pudakalakatti, SSCU

We wish to express our commitment to the satisfaction of students and all gymkhana users. Please send your comments and suggestions to You can also reach us by liking our page on Facebook at and sending us comments there.

Gymkhana Management Committee

On My Bookshelf – 2

Turning Points – A Journey through Challenges By Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam 

I purchased a copy of Turning Points – A Journey through Challenges after reading a few of its excerpts that were published in the editorial of The Hindu. This book is a sequel to the popular  autobiography of Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the “Wings of Fire”. “Turning Points” consists of fourteen small chapters, each with a running theme and two appendices. In one of the chapters, Dr. Kalam shared the seven turning points that changed the course of his life. The first one was in 1962 when he was appointed as a rocket engineer at the newly formed ISRO while the latest one was his election as the President of India in 2002. Most of the other chapters consist of a first person account of different events, anecdotes and experiences of Dr. Kalam, primarily as the President of India. In these pages, he talked about how he transformed the Rashtrapathi Bhavan for better communication with the Prime Minister’s office, his favourite times in the Mughal Gardens, his visits to the foreign nations, the difficult (and allegedly controversial) decisions he had to take as the President and his reasons behind those decisions and finally about his life after the Presidency.

At first glance, the contents of the book appear to be somewhat fragmented with a lack of flow and continuity from one chapter to another. However an astute reader would soon realize that the common thread passing through all the pages of the book is Dr. Kalam’s vision to see a developed India by 2020 and how he used every opportunity that he had got to contribute towards this dream. The book is up-to-date in that it contains events that happened as late as May 2012. However, in a few places, I did feel that appropriate editorial intervention to rephrase some of the sentences would have made the book much more comfortable to read.

I would like to mention some of my observations from the book which struck the right chords of inspiration for me. Dr. Kalam did not think of the Presidency as an honour given to him in recognition of the services he had rendered to the country.  He rather thought of it as another opportunity given to him to serve the country. As soon as he occupied the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, he asked himself the question – how he could contribute to the country as its President. He travelled widely within the country to see the people from different parts of the country and to understand their culture, strengths and needs. He used his office and power as the President to gather information, about anything he needed to know, from the appropriate ministries. He then made mission statements and development plans keeping in mind the core competencies of the states. He presented these plans to the legislative assemblies and governors of the respective states urging them to work towards their implementation. He thought of the cabinet as his team and being a part of the team, he could not and did not want his team to go wrong. For every decision he had to take or approve, he tried to understand the situation, constitution and the consequences with the help of experts in the field. He then tried to take the most informed and unbiased decision  keeping in mind the best interests of the country. He worked hard and more importantly, he seemed to have enjoyed working hard as the President of India. Every speech he delivered had a theme, a great amount of research and a realistic mission for the future. To quote an example, the speech titled “Dynamics of Unity of Nations” which he delivered at the European Parliament in 2007, had gone through 31 drafts of perusal and improvement!

To reiterate, throughout the book, we see one common theme, which is “How to work towards making India a developed nation by 2020?”. Dr. Kalam being an engineer, defined an objective function NPI (National Prosperity Index) which needs to be maximized to achieve this goal of “Vision 2020”. He aptly defined NPI to be a function of not only the GDP growth rate, but also the quality of life and values and harmony in the society. He also pointed out that implementation of plans to realize “Vision 2020” necessitates effective communication, cooperation and synergistic action from different ministries of the government. To achieve this, he proposed structural and functional re-organization of the cabinet and the ministries, the details of which are elaborated in the final appendix titled “Mission Mode Implementation”.

We find Dr. Kalam, an engineer and a visionary, in the guise of the President, working relentlessly and motivating others towards achieving a developed and harmonious India.

“Turning Points” is undeniably an inspirational account. As we read the book, we can not only bask in the comfortable warmth of the childlike enthusiasm and optimism radiating from Dr. Kalam’s words, but also arise and warm-up for the long run that we need to undertake to achieve our common goals.

K. Aswani Kumar (MBU)

IISc in the News

Cambridge varsity, IISc join hands: In a bid to strengthen the ties between the best researchers at IISc and University of Cambridge, the Bangalore-Cambridge Innovation Network was launched at the IISc. The initiative, led by the British Deputy High Commission (DHC), Bangalore, will not only act as a link between the IISc and Cambridge, but also with the institutes based in the city such as Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, National Centre for Biological Sciences and more. According to the DHC, the network aims to bring together academics, businesses, researchers and entrepreneurs from both the cities, leveraging each other’s ecosystem for mutual benefit. The event was attended by the vice chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Prof Leszek Borysiewicz. He voiced his hope of working on problems plaguing the society through the network. “There is something that is referred to as the Cambridge phenomenon, where we looked at the various companies that have been set up as the direct result of the University. Today, due to this phenomenon, there are 40,000 jobs. The idea that universities should not get involved in the industry is fallacious. I hope through this network, we are able to work on various fields such as drug discovery, water problems, food security, energy security and more. During my meeting with the Indian prime minister, I voiced just as much,” he said. British deputy high commissioner, Bangalore, Ian Felton, spoke about the ideal match between Bangalore and Cambridge. “According to a recent study that was conducted by us, we saw that the IISc has produced about 1,000 most impactful paper published in the last 10 years. That is 300 more than the next best institute. And the UK is the best place to set up new business. We have the fewest barriers and especially in research, we want to encourage more collaboration,” he said.

Prof P. Balram, director of IISc, said that to foster entrepreneurial spirit in the institute, there would be plenty of incentives in store. “We already have an entrepreneurial cell for the students but are interested in doing more. We hope to transform the IISc in the coming years,” he said.

Land grant in Challakere challenged: A division bench headed by Chief    Justice   Vikramajit     Sen    ordered   notice   to    the    state government, DRDO,  IISc, Isro,  Barc (Mysore), KSSIDC and KHB with regard to a PIL challenging the government’s grant of 8,932 acres of land to these institutions at various villages in Challakere taluk of Chitradurga district. The bench also asked the government advocate to inform the court whether any land is left for cattle grazing.

The petitioners, All India Kisan Sabha, Karnataka state committee, claimed these lands are essentially gomaal (pasture) lands used for grazing of cattle/sheep, a major occupation in an arid area where the average annual rainfall is only 573 mm.

IISc in the News

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar prize announced. 3 IISc professors among the 11 selected: Eleven young scientists have been selected for Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize-2012, India’s premier awards in the field of science and technology. Shantanu Chowdhury of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology and Suman Kumar Dhar of the Special Centre for Molecular Medicine at the Jawaharlal Nehru University bagged the prize in the field of biological sciences. In the area of chemical sciences, the prizes went to Govindsamy Mugesh of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc) and Gangadhar J Sanjayan of the CSIR National Chemical Laboratory, Pune. Ravishankar Narayanan of IISc and Y Shanthi Pavan of Indian Institute of Technology-Madras won the prizes in the engineering sciences category. In the area of mathematical sciences, Siva Ramachandran Athreya and Debashish Goswami of the Indian Statistical Institute won the prestigious prize. Sandip Basu of the Radiation Medicine Centre at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre bagged the prize in the medical sciences category. In the area of physical sciences, Arindam Ghosh of IISc and Krishnendu Sengupta of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science won the prize.

The winners were announced by Samir K Brahmachari, Director General of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, at a function to mark the 70th foundation day of Council. The prize is named after the founder-Director General of CSIR and carries a cash component of Rs 5 lakh. It is given annually to young scientists below the age of 45 who have made outstanding contributions in any field of science and technology.

Contest II Winner: The Pile

In my room there is a bed

And on that bed there is a pile

A pile that’s over-flowing with clothes

A pile that’s a testament to my style!!!

Clothes from today, from yesterday

Clothes from God knows when!!!

A pile that’s been there for so long

I think it was there when I moved in!!

Wash and wash till my hands go numb

Wash till my palms go dry!

The pile never seems to diminish a whit

No matter how hard I try!!! 😦

It sits like a king in the middle of my room

Occupying more space than I do!

The pile: an ode to my tawdriness

My room wouldn’t feel the same without you!!! 🙂

Namrata Iyer (MCBL)

Contest II Winner: Writing Humor…

Writing humor

is not my cuppa chai.

But when editor insists,

I say not ‘no’,

and let the mind’s thoughts

take a morning plough.

Though madness

is my regular fare;

Jokes never could I

narrate with flair,

Wit in my bag

I handle with care.

Ogden Nash

is my hero..

Wodehouse..where are thou?

Gags of laughter,

Stand up comedy,

Music and flowing parody..

Humor finds a place in all..

A smile, a word, a face, a mall…

While my quest

for the funny bone..

is serious and not just jest..

One thing I know for sure

Learn to laugh at thyself..

then proclaim to the world

your humor trophy on the shelf.

Madhurima Das (MGMT)

Contest I Winner : St. George and the JARGON

Confuse-If-You-Cannot-Convince [CIYCC] Pvt Ltd has come out with a new product – Jazzy Application of Resplendent words that God Only kNows [shortened to JARGON]. This product is said to solve the troubles of people world wide, by helping them replace brief and lucid language with incomprehensible, hence, important sounding terms. At the day long launch of JARGON, titled “Bada hai toh behtar hai – the benefits of implementation of large hyphenated words over direct terminology”; the Chairperson of CIYCC announced that they would be having a one-plus-one introductory offer, where, upon running JARGON, each word in your input sentence would get replaced by two complex terms.

The initial reviews of the product have been favourable. St. George, whose negative reviews had slain the previous product DRAGON [DiRect Approach and Outright kNowledge], was all praises for JARGON. Said he – “now I can go forth with courage and speak with confidence on issues I know not of”. Yes, indeed, when a man speaks of “Pulmonary embolism” or “Collateralised debt obligations (CDOs)” in a matter-of-fact voice, the other people can only stand around and nod their heads knowledgeably, daring not to ask the speaker what these apparently commonplace terms mean.

JARGON has found a good market in academia. The language in seminars has now become ostentatious, in negative correlation with the understanding of the listeners. International journals are accepting papers written in Greek and Latin, as they are virtually indistinguishable from the ones on which JARGON has been implemented. Research has shown that when people are subjected to a steady stream of JARGONated sentences, at the rate of ten pompous words a minute, they start losing the capacity to distinguish one word from the next, let alone comprehend their meaning. This gives rise to a sense of awe, albeit mislaid, towards the speaker, making him appear scholarly.

After the enthusiastic reception in academia, JARGON has been released world wide, and has been selling like hot cakes in media, finance and political sectors. Bolstered by this demand, CIYCC is planning to release JARGON ver 2.0, new and improved. Watch this page for more information!

Chetana Baliga Nabar  (MBU)