Sunday, December 26, 2010

Masters: In Retrospect

After I started off with my masters, I couldn't find much time to pour in my thoughts and the happenings around, but the last one and half years have been replete with so many happenings and I would like to etch it here before it gets disappeared in the sands of time. I made so many friends here and I am sure most of them are a bond for the whole of the lifetime.

Fall'09: Who am I? Where am I?

  • The Bangalore gang's midnight walk to the HSC and back to Chapin soon after we came to SUNY-SB.
  • The first trip to New York City and calculated spending on each and everything. Trip to Richmond.
  • The trip in the college bus to buy groceries @ Pathmark & Walmart, followed by the visit to Smith Haven Mall to do window shopping. The trips to Desi store which provides the pick-up and drop service.
  • The daily cooking with Rajesh in the evenings.
  • The consecutive and consistent night-outs for OS projects has inculcated the insomniacal practice and now its really tough to sleep anytime before 3:00AM. Listening to Prof.Erez Zadok's Operating System lectures. Probably after my schooling this is the first time I listened carefully to all the classes with ultimate concentration.
  • The part-time web-designing job and with that I opened some kind of an money inflow in Dollars here in US.
  • The Pot-Luck Lunch & birthday parties filled with josh, dance and gameplaying.
  • The IGSA get-together/parties on festival days (esp the Ganpathi festival)
  • The Gyan sessions @ J2146 with the tamil-gumbal
  • The tightly packed days with no free time even on weekends really made one to think how much time we had wasted earlier in life.
  • Watched the snowfall for the first time and played in it. Also watched the mercury dip 18 degrees below zero
  • And so the semester ends with the back to back OS & Algos final exams on the same day and the horrible preparation I did in that regard.
  • Understood it is prudent to take courses which one can handle than stuff oneself with complex courses and try to learn something out of it. Also learnt that the best place to study is the HSC library after the end of the finals!!

Spring'10: The New Hope!!

  • Waded through the severe winter winds to the lab during the winter holidays and got appointed as the Research Assistant in Seclab.
  • Trip to Montauk Point & Washington DC.
  • Courses weren't tough this semester but internship hunting was!! Got calls every now and then and had tension filled phone interviews. Relieved by Ides of March, when I got the internship offer from Akamai, CA

Summer'10: Unforgettable California

  • Landed in California for the internship and had the best time with the roommates. Preparing different cuisines everyday. Yummy vangibath by Shayan, crispy hummus sandwiches by Sandeep Cholae by Harit and saumitra
  • Ate outside almost all the weekends and covered almost all North/South Indian restaurants in Bay Area. routine weekend visit to Castro street in Mountain view for eatery. We finished the sunday night with a footlong at the subway, in san antonio shopping mall!!
  • Visited Google Multiplex, Shoreline Blvd Lake, Marin headlands, Lake Tahoe, Stanford University, Napa & Sonoma valley, Half Moon bay to name a few.
  • Extensive trip to SFO and covered the important must-see places like Golden Gate, Baker's beach, 4 KM coastal walk along the beach and cliff, Fisherman's wharf, Pier 39, Crooked street Westfield Mall et all
  • Meetups with Stony Brook gang in the Bay Area
  • Started back to Stony Brook with cherished memories to remember for a lifetime

Fall'10: All Well that Ends Well

  • The inflow of Fall'10 new faces into the department
  • Trip to Niagara Falls!!
  • Everyday chitchats at Rajesh/Sharath's & Aaliya's place
  • The gruelling days with the search for full-time job and added to that the Network Programming projects and Comp bio assignments and project. Trips to places across US for job interviews, and secured the job with LSI.
  • The last kick-ass birthday party with everyone getting their Ass-kicked is something which everyone would remember
  • Hurray!! Completed the last exam of the Master's program.
  • Trip to Atlantic City and lost money in Casino!!
  • New Year's eve with SBU group in New York City. Dinner at Hotel Saravana Bhavan. Jan 1st 00:00 2011 at Brooklyn Bridge!!
  • Visit to the infamous American Museum of Natural History, NY and Rockefeller Center.
  • Trip to New Jersey with Subbu and meetup with Kumaran. Stunning views of NY skyline from Newport.
  • Successfully completed the work at Seclab and bid adieu to SB and NY.
It might be just a timespan of just one and half years but lot has happened within that time. With my head held high, I would say proudly that I am an Alumni of State University of New York, Stony Brook.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Kaapi, You ROCK!!

Coffee alias Kaapi is a good thing, infact the best of things. Though the transition from 80:20 chicory blend coffee in a stainless steel tumbler to Starbucks french roast coffee in a microwavable cup has taken place, it still amuses me.

When I was told that coffee found its way into India from Arabia, through the sufi saint Baba Budangiri only in the 1600s, I couldn't digest that fact, who could have? Coffee and Tamil Brahmins are inseparable and I grew up for around 20 years drinking the Madras style Filter Coffee. And I could not think of a lifestyle without coffee, prior to 1600s. Similar to the English style Tavern, The Coffee Houses sprung across India in the late 1700s. The Iconic Indian Coffee House setup in the early 1900s is still patronized by many. True to the phrase "Old wine in a new bottle" Cafe Coffee day et all sprang up recently adding more hip to it.

When I used to getup early to prepare for exams, and with a coffee cup in hand I used to think that someday, I should wake up early and enjoy this coffee seeing the sunrise, without the tension of exams or hurry-burry. Also having hot coffee on a dark rainy day afternoon sitting in the portico had been on my wishlist for long too. Someday... Someday.

Some times, even if the coffee is bad, it is the company of people and the environment which makes it heavenly. The cherished ones in my life include the coffee time chats with Vineet, Bharat and Amber @ HP, the 2 hour pattrais @ Annan Kadai in Madurai with Sens, Sri, Subbi, Musi & vanni. the all-alone coffee times in CCD, madurai and bangalore. The best coffee include the Madras style tumbler coffee @ my home and the one in Murali Kaapi Kadai, Srirangam.

On the lighter side, Coffee gets a pat on its back, for it helps a bachelor to take the first step with the words "How about a cup of Coffee?" Someday... Someday :)

PS: While I had just spent time for a blogspot about Coffee, Mark Pendergrast had written a whole book on coffee "Uncommon Grounds: The History Of Coffee And How It Transformed Our World"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

And So I Move On

I seriously don't like change, especially when it comes to leaving behind a job and the people whom I was associated with. I was working as a web designer in the department and it was real fun to be with those people who used to work there. From now on, I am going to pursue as a Research Assistant in the Secure Systems Lab under the guidance of Prof.Sekar, I am really excited for securing that position, for I was dreaming to get this position from the last semester and thinking about the challenging tasks that are going to come down my way, a Master's student can't ask for anything better than this.

But, it again boils down to saying good-bye to my friends in that web design & tech support team. Thats the problem with me, I get attached to people and the place really fast. Bye - Bye guys (Andrew, Richard, Pratik, Akshay & Ilya) It was my pleasure to work with you people and Thanks JAG for everything. And so I move on from one to another uncertain where my destiny lies, but with an optimistic confidence that everything happens for a good reason.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Aayirathil Oruvan (Tamil Movie)

Aayirathil Oruvan, an adventure fantasy film thinly touching along the lines of Indiana Jones, King Solomon Mines has broken the monotonous, boring and judgeable storyline in the Tamil Industry. A real bold step by director Selvaraghavan and I expect and wish success for this film. Nobody would have expected a historical adventure film from selvaraghavan who is well known for his masterpieces like 7G Rainbow colony, Kaadhal Kondaen which are more related to love and relationships.

The film has been receiving either very good positive reviews or very bad negative reviews, because the director has stepped out of the stereotypes and has given something different. But I would recommend people to watch this film and then come to a conclusion on their own. What appeals more is the inclusion of our own history ie chola dynasty in the story with some imagination added to it. The first half is too good, where they cross the obstacles to reach the place where the lost civilization is expected to reside. The next half isn't that very spine chilling but much better than "Yet Another Movie in the Industry"

The director could have avoided the usage of black magic, sacrifices et all associated with the chola dynasty which I really doubt if it existed then. I am still wondering why the people were shown in rags and with a very dark skin. probably to make a difference that they were away and lost for a long time. The usage of gross language could have been avoided too. Leaving behind these, I acknowledge that it is a bold attempt and the way to go. Kudos to the lead cast and the crew who has made this film. I am waiting for the film's DVD to be released soon.