Thursday, April 26, 2007

Malgudi Days

This one a set of short stories form R. K. Narayan. I love his style no doubt about it.

I had seen the serial - "Malgudi Days" that used to be aired on the DoorDarshan when young. I could recall the different episodes as I read through the book. I would commend the Director of the serial - Late Shankar Nag, for his fantastic picturisation of the stories. A applause is a must for him to get the narration that RK gives, realized.

This book is not a complete collection but a set of selected stories from the different short stories collection that RK has written. There is a hidden pun in some of them, in some there is nothing but a lucid narration of the events.... over all a very nice book to read... Each story different from the other and all narrated so well that it captivates the readers interest. A nice read to enjoy when you feel bored.

I have been motivated by RK and his short story collection, an plan to write some stories.... will put them up some times...

Friday, April 13, 2007


A lot of people of late have been asking me, how should you study? What are the different ways to study so that we remember? And so on. I am no expert to reply to this question, but yes, I think I can contribute a little bit so that the person who has these questions feels better.

I will be dealing with the questions as they strike me, and may be if we have some query we can clear them and discuss so that we get different opinions and may be even device new mechanisms to study!!!

I have concentrated more on the students who are studying for their graduation. May be some of the methods and queries that we see may be common to a lot of other students, in such a case just go ahead and pick up the technique, if you feel it’s worth it.

You may find me idealistic in some of the answers but, that's the way I have preferred doing things. I am open to criticism; I like people being critical about what they read or learn or anything.

AND LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST, there is bound to be difference of opinions, just post your views on the topics what you think is a good way forward? May be you have a better technique to remember or recall and things like that, just share it so that it’s of some use to other as well.

Let us begin with understanding what study is first?

Study is application of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge, as by reading, investigation, or reflection. This is a time consuming process, requiring a lot of patience and effort to attain knowledge.

The knowledge that you obtain would be in deep understanding of the subject of interest. It's only through study that we understand the minute details that are missed out when we just browse through the topic that we "intend to study". These minute details when understood completely, gives a competitive edge over those who have not "studied" the particular subject.

It is study of the subject that is the marking difference between the Master and a novice. A novice to start off with a lot of committed study of the subject develops into a master of the subject.

Study need not be always mental; it is a combination of mental and physical activities. The theory learnt would involve a majority of mental effort, but it's through the physical examination i.e., through practical experience that we understand this better, "to understand" is component of study. That is why we have "practical sessions in labs" during college days.

The scope of study essentially involves understanding of the subject, practical and theoretical parts just form a path to achieve better knowledge of the subject.

So the basic purpose of study turns out to be mastery of a particular field of interest.

Now the next question is why should I study something?

Well not every thing is to be studied in detail, you can just be happy by knowing what the topic means!!

But what interests us we have to study it in detail, else we are just like an encyclopedia reference (not detailed, just a glimpse of the topic), so can you tell some one how it actually works, what it actually is? Can you reply to any query in that regard based on just this minimal knowledge? This will lead us to a position where we are in a situation - "Jack of many, King of None!!!"

We seem to know a lot of things, but don't understand all of them. This is what generally happens when we go to an interview. Let me take up the example of a campus interview: Invariably we are asked the question - "Which is your favourite subject?" and then the interviewers start off asking questions on it. The Idea behind this is simple - if you like a subject, you would definitely learn the subject well (This is intern a reflection on the interest you have). They then evaluate you based on their understanding, how well you know the subject - this is just to know how thorough you are on the subject that you like - reason, if you have shown this interest and understood some subject really well then if you are given a handsome pay and incentives you would definitely learn what they want you to, and perform well in it. This is so simple isn't it?

So it’s important that we "study" at least one subject well, if we do learn more than one subject well, then it’s an added advantage.

If we study some subject thoroughly, it reflects on our understanding of other subjects as well. If we are a master of some subject, its easy to understand another just by mapping one to another, an example may be - understanding equations in algebra helps understand matrix related problems, this is with maths... but will definitely hold true with other subjects as well I am very sure. So, EASE OF REMEMBERING is another factor why was need to study.

What is it, which makes study different form a "go-through" or a "browse"?

Well as I see it, it’s the understanding of the subject. While a "go-through" or a "browse" will just keep things in memory for a short term and then forget it, without understanding the essence of what was read, heard or seen.

I know that its difficult to study, its so easy to get behind marks but always remember ... what is understood becomes ours for life, what is just kept in mind with say the intention of an exam, or something will not remain with us though out, and needs constant rehearsal.

To understand we have to spend time with the subject that we wish to master, to study. With time, the time spent to study a subject goes on reducing.

Time wise it can be said that "studying" in the long run is faster and more rewarding than just a "browse".

I attempt to study, but I can’t recall a thing when I am asked about it. What should I do?

Well, study can be done only if we work on any subject in our mind, so we have to retain and get the association right.

Retention of what we study is very important, without that it’s like we have no data to study when we have time. To retain data, we have to have the art of association (actually this is a study technique that we will look into some time later). This association is what gets the continuity of thought. This guides us how one of the topics is related to the next topic, how one sentence is linked to the next and so on.

The flow that is seen is what helps us retain the subject related information in our brain. When we associate a line of information with the next, we derive a sort of flow in the thought process that helps us recall. Just by thinking "how this sentence leads to the very next sentence?" we can associate and there by remember the topic. So all we have to do is just read, and then take some time to understand the particular sentence, and then read the next sentence, associate the two of them so as to form a chain, which can be pulled out by holding one end.

While trying to think of the various associations that are needed to get to the flow, you can actually use your own experiences so that you can remember them better. You can also think of the associations that are funny, or those which rake up a lot of emotions, these associations tend to stay with us for a longer time in memory.

How should I study? Is there any particular method?

Well to frankly say there is no particular method, I have used a few of them, I think this will help in studying a subject. I discuss in here two different techniques:

1. The first technique is what most of them can easily follow. It’s what is called "repetition". This is a very time consuming process, but very easy to follow. This can be done my even a dull head who doesn't even have a bit of imagination. All we have to have is abundant time at our disposal. Just sit in front of the material, and repeat what is to be learnt, after a lot of effort it automatically gives a flash of understanding and then we have to look at all things again with that as our torch light. This is one of the crude ways to study, but is very time consuming.

2. The second method needs nothing but a bit of imagination, i.e. I mean the capacity to visualize things. All we have to do is just read a sentence, and let the mind think freely on this particular sentence. Let it imagine and get as many Ideas as possible (In turn the mind gets happy because, we are giving it sufficient work that it like - imagining). Now read the second sentence and so the same imagination exercise. Once this is done, think about the two sentences in tandem; try associating the two sentences (again an imagination exercise.) Keep doing this exercise, from the first line of the paragraph to the last line of the paragraph. Once a paragraph is complete, go to the next, once 2 paragraphs are complete, associate one paragraph with another. This will give the flow of the content in the topic chosen. Try it out and see how long you remember what you have learnt (you are sure to be amazed at your capacity!!!)

Well this just did not end the study, now we have most of what we learnt in our brain and this is the most important part. Once we have all this data into brain, we have to keep thinking about it when we are free, this will help us understand better, and once we get that understanding we have studied the subject. The more you think, the more diverse the meaning of what we have studied is going to be; this makes us more studied... and eventually the masters of a subject.

Once we are masters of a subject, we can easily understand other subject just but drawing parallelism between the subjects in case we feel so, else we can use the above technique to study them.

Hey what do you think is the essence of the above method that you have told? If I know what I have to do it would be helpful as I can device my own method for it?

The basic essence of the methods that I mentioned above is "observation", through repeatedly letting the mind ponder over and think about some thing that it just read helps us observe the subtle and an hidden information that will not be available on just reading through. This is important in order to improve the understanding of the subject that is under study. Observe every single thing that you can, the more you observe, the more you understand what is being talked off - what is that that each of the author thinks is important, what does he emphasise, what is that which will give me a better analogy of what I learn. All this is possible only if we observe and then try looking at the subject of study.

Oh All that's fine, but I don't get time to do anything? how can I give so much of time to master a subject?

Well, friend I think 24 hours in a day is all each of us have to do all our activities. We have our own priorities in life no doubt, but as a student its our first priority to study and make a mark for our self. I personally think as a student study has to be our first priority, all other things can hold back (some 20 yrs down the line we should not feel sad for not having studied something which might be needed).

The basic reason why we always complain about shortage of time is our bad time management. All of us have the same 24 hrs but some can do much more than others in the same time frame.

Most of the time we waste our time because we don't know what the next job that we want to do is? We waste a lot of time thinking what to do next, this is to be avoided, and then we will be managing our time better.

How do I manage Time?

Managing time is simple as far as I think; we have to follow the following steps to manage time:

1. Identify what are those things in which you waste a lot of time.

2. Think if I have to do some work, what would be the shortest time that I can give to this, in case we fail to finish it on time what would be the longest time frame?

3. Now list down the things that are static (routine) for the day, and ones that are dynamic (ones which change day to day based on sudden priority works, we can at least make a guess rt!!)

4. Think which of these things can be clubbed to gather in one go? (Say once we go out of the house for getting some books just check to see if you need a pen as well). Avoid repetition of work.

5. Now to the most important part of time management, decide how much time we should give for each of the subject that you want to study? Say you decide to give 30 min to each subject and you have 5 subjects, so we have to find a slot to fit in this 2 and half hours. May not be in one continuous stretch, but may be with time gaps in between. But the basic point is you should do this regularly.

6. Once this much is decided, we can plan a time schedule that, which gives us the time for all that we want to do within the day. Now that we have the schedule we just have to follow it, that's all we have to do to manage our time.

If you have a calendar based reference to what you would like to do, what are your engagements for the next 6 months? And so on... it will help do the time management even better.

Well this should help us do off our problems with time management, but still I personally feel we can improve up on this, when we have scheduled a job to be done and that is postponed or is completed much before time we have to put some things else in the place so as to use that time and may be if we feel relax later on!!!.

I have studied as much as I can, but I get nervous when I get to the time I have to perform - Exams. What do you think is going wrong here?

I think this is a problem with the confidence of facing an examination. As the saying goes - "The proof of a pudding is in eating it." Any amount of information that is there in the mind will be evaluated only on the way its been presented.
1. First of all we have to isolate the reason(s) for the lack of confidence. For this we have to look at our-self and analyse where we might be missing the crux... that is making us feel lower in confidence?
2. To improve confidence it is important that we practise really well, practice facing the opposition that we might be exposed to, i.e. answer more question papers, and answer the questions which in the increasing order of difficulty as you may think to be.
3. Also self suggestion techniques, like speaking to your self about your strength will help a lot, suggesting your self by saying "I am confident of performing well" will also help.
4. Getting to revise very often will help out, the frequency of revision may keep on increasing. say initially you start of revising every alternate day then once in 3 days then once in 5 days and then 7 days, fortnight and so on...

Is there any suggestion that you would like to give while we are about to write exams?

Definitely there are some things to be kept in mind while writing an exam. The most common mistake that we do it - once we get the paper we just have a quick glance at the questions and immediately start writing it, this is a wrong thing to do. Once you are in the examination hall and you have received the paper, we have a few things to note:
1. Read through all the questions completely and realize which questions you would like to answer as you think they might be easy.
2. Once you select the questions you want to answer, read them again and look at what the paper expects you to write.
3. Once you know what is being requested for, note down the point in the corner of the answer sheet, else you may forget what is to be written, or you may realize a few points while writing the answers.
4. Once you have written the points, think of organizing them in a very presentable manner, point wise presentation is preferred over paragraph presentation. While presenting ensure you write down the points as much as possible in the order of importance that you would like to associate.

There are so many things to remember, can you suggest a few things to aid the process of remembering?

As already discussed while mentioning about how to study? I have made a mention of the link based system of studying. This alone should go a long way in helping remember things. To assist this method further:
1. you can make small set of notes, as summary of all the topics, the main points under each topic etc. This will help save a lot of time towards the end of the academic calendar.
2. If you have a lot of diagrams to refer to, then it will be better to make the diagram on a sheet of paper and stick it over the wall so that it keeps reminding u about the functionality.
3. Make comparative notes, this will help remember with much more ease... a typical example would be the comparison of the various hydrocarbons in organic chemistry... you can compare the method of generation, the chemical reactions and things like it. If you have a sheet ready like it, you can stick it out and keep comparing with it.
4. And try associating things that you want to remember with some thing out of proportion, something that is exaggerating something really funny, this will help you remember things for a long time.

Competition - Natural versus prepared!!!

Competition - Natural versus prepared!!!

Well this is just one thought that I got while I was walking back from the cafeteria after my lunch. Some of my friends were talking about writing exams like GRE, CAT, GMAT ans things like it. Even I had given CAT and got GDPI calls for 3 of them. But this thought which I got - naturalness versus competitive preparedness, is not one that i am used to.

This is a competitive world no doubt about that, we see competition right from school days till we find job, and even after that. We see children in pre-university colleges, going to tutions after theirs long hours of class through out the day. Especially when the students are in 12th I see that they don't have a break, the preparation starts some 2 months before the actual college classes begins, the students are made to go through a rigorous schedule and don't find time for anything else. Then there are the competitive exams which these students write. They are get to compete on much larger scale and those who will make it though these exams gets a graduation course of his/her choice.

In all this process of preparation for the exams, we are continuously strained by the time bound process. We have to say, wake up at 5:30am, then slog the whole day and then get back to bed at 12 mid night. We do this for one year and then we get into a graduation course that would later on guarantee us a job, and a profession. But in all this we find that we just prepare our-self for the competitive exam, and just get trained for the particular purpose. We don't follow this system further until we have another competition else where.

Well when I say "natural" in the above sentences, I only mean not being explicitly prepared for this purpose, but this naturalness might be a result of long term effort. What this means is, you work continuously, not concerned about the course of events/competition etc., you work to increase your skill set and there by just make it natural - liking what you do.

Here are a few things that curtails me and get me thinking as to why its better to make the thing natural than just be prepared for it is the effect this preparedness gets in. Assume you enter into a prestigious institute like IIT with a solid preparation that was overlooked & guided by a coaching class. When you enter into such an institute and find all the people coming in there with just some prepared course material and not naturally good in the subject (he has not understood the subject on his own and just come in with some knowledge about how to solve what is given), we cant find a lot people getting into to understand the subject of the course and the basis for innovation - science, takes a hard hit. We find today a lot of people who could not make it into the engineering colleges for their graduation go and join the pure science stream. The result being that we have very few innovations in the pure science related field of late. We have to emphasise on naturalness and ensure that this be the path that people follow, so as to benefit the long run objectives of improvement rather than immediate gains.

After all these though, i am slowly getting into being more bent towards the natural process. I don't want to be spontaneous for success alone, I feel like relishing what I do. I want to make my gamut of capabilities large enough to encompass the challenge of competition more easily. I believe in sharpening the axe even when I don't have to cut wood. Working toward making life and the challengers that I face be just a process of evaluation for the much larger concept of making things natural.

If I have to explain what I mean to say in the above paragraph, I would get it clear like this. I am generally work with words, solve crossword puzzles, and try all the games related to vocabulary, just because I like the language and want to know more about it. I work on this continuously. If some day choose to write GRE, the preparation for the vocabulary section of the exam would not need any extra effort. Its just natural for me to answer this. I would be in a much better mental state to answer the questions, than if I had prepared specifically for this purpose - in which case, the pressure of the exam can get me to mark a wrong answer even if I know the correct one. If you read regularly to improve you G.K and not for any competitive interview, you are definitely more better off.

Though the natural process of preparation, which takes time and effort, and doesn't seem to give immediate results, except that you do it for your own satisfaction. In the long run, this naturalness give lot more preparedness to face situations, a better understanding of the subject, making it more rewarding.

Well I don't mean to rule out that small term preparation is bad, or not useful at all. All I want to tell up is that, this short term is a good short cut to success but it will not carry a long way until we convert this short-term preparation to be more expanding and encompassing. We don't get to like all that we do, true, but we have to prepare our-self for the situation... in such cases we have to take to the short term preparation. But we can keep doing this short preparation but have to make it natural if the same situation recurs. The basic point is we have to strike the right balance between the two.

The most important way of converting this short term preparations into naturalness is by converting them into hobbies, this is the easiest of ways. Other than that we can start off continuing with the same routine that we would have developed in the days of intense preparation, and then blossom with the same routine to experiment and know the beauty of the each of the subjects that may be involved. These are the smoothest way to transform from the short term preparation to long term natural preparedness...

Well I see that for quick gains and results in the fast paced world of today, there is little that we can do to prevent short term preparedness towards competition. We are happy being able to perform on the particular day and not care about how well we understand and perform. But the only point that is repeatedly coming to my mind is, how long can you survive on something that is manipulated and not completely integrated and made your own feature? I don't disagree that there are people who follow the short-term progress but understand the subject as well but those are very rare cases.

Personally I still advocate being on a "natural" course rather than the gimmicks of a short term preparation... I have decided that I will adopt this system from now on.... may be the turning point of my life... cant say.... I still see sense in this method... What do you think?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

"Probabilities of the Quantum World" - Daniel Danin

This Mir publication book is one of the first books I read about Quantum Physics outside the curriculum. This book is exactly as I like it... a combination of history and quantum physics.
This book is about the Odyssey of the modern physics. The author starts off with an attempt to obtain as many resources as possible, at a time when most of the torchbearers of modern physics were leaving this each on their heavenly abode. He starts of with visiting archives, meeting the remaining war-lords (I mean those who were the fore runners in making the theory of the sub- atomic world.)
The author of the book has a very different narration style, he starts with the need for a documenting the experiences of the great people who had started this race, and why it was already late for them to start...
The book greets us with a lot of anecdotes from the lives of these great men, making the journey all the more interesting.... The various people who started off this journey, what their individual thoughts were, how the interacted with each other, the various situations that got them to think in the way they thought to make a theory and much more... all these keep the interest on the high throughout.
Its starts of slowly not revealing much in the beginning, but as it goes on the story of the quantum theory's birth keeps us engaged through out.
If you are a little patient to see through the first part of this book, its a wonderful book to read. Very informative... Go ahead and try out...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Mulliangiri - 2

I had other trek plans, but did not find company as all others quit at the last minute. I asked Rajesh if I could join them at the last minute. Fortunately I could get in with them. It would be my second trek to Mulliangiri.
I met up with Rajesh and co. for the trek at the KSRTC bus stand. We got a small intro about each other before we got into the bus. Once in the bus, we started interacting with each other and then went on to sleep. The bus was to ChickMagalore. We reached ChikMagalore at around 4:30am. I recalled that the first bus was at 7:00 a.m. (from the last experience) and told it would be better searching for an alternate mode. We had our coffee at the hotel in the Bus Stand and then finished our morning wash there.
We then set out in search of a mode of transport, some suggested taking auto's to the place... but all of us wanted to go together, so we searched for a Jeep or a Sumo. We finally got one, and after some discussion over the price, the driver agreed to drop us at the "SarpaHadi entrance."
We unloaded our luggage... just looked around and then after some 15 min started our trek from the Sarpahadi. This time over the climate was much better. We started some time after the sun rise and it was a nice time to begin with. Once on serpentile route to the peak… take most of the turns to the left than the right this will take you to the peak more easily. We did loose our route for some time but then we got back to the main foot trail that would take us to the peak. We climbed slowly but steadily.
As we trekked to higher altitudes, the view got panoramic; we could spot villages in the distance when clouds did not cover them up. Just a bit higher and we found the milk white clouds came in to speak with the mountains; it looked like a sea of milk. We were fortunate enough to be above the clouds so it was clearly visible for us. The sun was just above these clouds as well - it was like the sun had opened the door of the cloudy house and just come out to do his days duty. This view is sure to make anyone happy - a really good one.
As we continued our uphill trek we found the rain clouds gathering nearby. We reached the peak in about 1 hours climb. The rain clouds were making the winds chillier. Some of us were a bit quicker than other and so we reached a small shelter where we waited for the others behind.. All of us got together and then we continued again till we reached the "Nandi temple" We took some food there and then continued till we reached the caves - yes caves just below the temple at the peak.
The last time I had been to the peak I did not attempt entering deep into the cave, this time I had company and so decided to explore them. We split our self into 2 teams and went exploring with torches in our hand. One of the caves is deeper while the other one is not all that deep. We found bats in there. We picked up some snaps there. The caves had patterns of sediments that had gathered in over the years. They looked really beautiful. For a moment I felt I had seen then patterns of Jupiter there, they were so similar in look.
After the cave expedition we got out to have our breakfast. We find water in the temple premise so we can use this place to wash our selves... but its going to be very cold out here. One of our companions Raghavendra had brought chapattis with him, and we were busy eating them. We got our FM mobile hand set and we could here the FM channels from Bangalore... in fact more clearly than we can hear in Bangalore. We took some time off before we continued.
We resumed the trek after a break of about 1 hour. The clouds got denser now, but not yet like the last time I had been to this peak. The course was the same; we wanted to reach the road, as I had done this trek earlier... I could guide them on the correct path. I remembered the place where we had faltered the last time and so could easily trek the correct route. We got down from the peak and walked through the small flowery plants. There plants were purple in color and bloom once in twelve years, we were very happy to get a sight of the vast mountains in the surrounding all of whose peaks were covered with these flowers. We stood in between these flowers and picked up some real nice snaps and then continued on our trek.
We reached the Vivekananda Statue View point at around 12 noon. We took a brek here and looked at the awesome surrounding view. All of us decided to continue on to BabaBudangiri (DattaPeetha) form here.
Now comes the most exciting part of this trek for me, we had heavy luggage along so when we hat to get into the bus that was bound to the BabaBudan Peak, we had trouble getting in... We chose to get over the top of the bus and enjoy this ride. All of us got over the bus with the entire luggage. It was a first time for all of us and it was just so thrilling.
The winding roads, the view we could get of the valley, the far off peaks, and the people on the way, the turns the bus used to make on the winding roads all this increased the excitement of being on the top of the bus. We almost fell off the roof at some of the curves but it was still some excitement in all that.
Around 30 min of roof top journey from the bus and we reached BabaBudanGiri. BabaBudan was instrumental in getting the coffee seeds to this coffee land -> great work man!!! Well now this is a controversial place... This place is held sacred by both Hindus and Muslims so generally there is tension that prevails during the functions... When we reached this place there were some preparations for "Datta Male" functions.
We reached this pace some and had our lunch packed at a small hotel there, and carried on our trek futher. From this place we decided to go to a nearby falls - "Manikya Dhara". We decided to trek till the falls, and may be spend the night there and trek the next day to "Kemmangundi". Well but as God would have it, he decided to make the weather bad. It started raining really heavily and we decided to cancel the trek to "Kemmangundi" and get back home.
We had carried along the tents to pitch for the night as well and erected them, but then all that went a waste. We had to pack up. We had pitched the tent beside a tree, and a lake... The bad weather just made the look very beautiful; it’s been a memorable scene. I think the lake had some special significance, a lot of devotes used to come there and dropping something in to the lake and then leaving it... We had our lunch besides this lake and then some of us went further to look at the "ManikyaDhara Falls" from the lake. When we reached there we were struck by the changes that had been done to this Natural falls.
All the naturalness of this beautiful falls seems to have been lost, there are steps built to get to the base of the falls, some sort of reservoirs to hold the water that falls so that people can have a bath there - Another surprising custom I found there was that, the dress in which you wet yourself at the falls is thrown out into the deep abyss that is in front of the falls. I don’t get the point as to how these clothes get disposed? Are they burnt are they left as it is? I don’t know... I some what was not happy with this setting. We have a small view point on the way to the falls from were we can actually get a nice view, but unfortunately due to bad view we could not sight anything. The place has been commercialized a lot - a lot of shops, a lot of plastic all around.... don’t feel comfortable some how.
We got some water filled front he waterfalls and started on our way back, we reached the camp that we planned and then decided we would get back. We reached the BabaBudan stop in at around 5:15pm. The bus started at 5:30 pm and we reached ChikMagalore in about an hour and a quarter.
Surprisingly the climate of this town was normal, when compared to the bad weather of the BudaGiri Peak... Well it may be due to the altitude. We rested in ChikMagalore for our dinner and then set back to Bangalore....
This was a memorable trek for me considering the But roof ride, the climate change that occurs, the cloud and sun view that I got in the morning, The serene lake - beside which we camped for some time... really an everlasting memory.

Monday, April 2, 2007

"Ignited Minds"-APJ Abdul Kalam

This is one of the inspirational books by our president.. APJAK. I have read this book some time back and was impressed by the vision he shares with the younger generation.
He has dedicated this book to a girl - Snehal Thakkar... He has shared his vision so that many more people can share it and work towards achieving it. He gives clear messages to the people though his assertion on Dreams and the message it has. He highlights the importance of having a role model, the effect that teachers have on the students the way they give the initial casting to the life of the students during their initial.
He give something to pic for every individual in this book. If you like reading APJ don't miss it...

"Its My Life" - Sangeetha Shenoy

This is a very different book I have read, different in the sense the way the real life experiences have been presented. All the articles make me feel so close to what I have seen in the life of people in real life, which made this more interesting.
The style of writing make reading all the more fun as you feel - that’s the way I like to speak.
Some of the suggestions made to take care about elders made a lot of sense to me.. felt that would have made a lot of difference in case it was followed. I liked the pun that was intended in the last topic... I made the guess right at the beginning, as there was a mention of "yep he is a doctor".
The narration has been exceptional and captivating in these articles. The lessons about financial management, self-independence are worth taking note of.
Thanks Sangeethaji for this wonderful collection.

I would suggest every one read it at least once... they will make no mistakes. (some of the pages were not printed thanks to some goof up by the publisher... well still a lot to worth reading.)


Arsinagundi Falls - In kannada Arsina means "Turmeric" Gundi means "Ditch". I came to realize why this falls is called "ArsinaGundi" or rather "The ditch of Turmeric (a color that is a mix of orange and yellow)" only after reaching the falls. The water falls from a height of nearly 50 ft and make a small pond there. This is a west facing falls, so when the sun gets past the afternoon mark, we can definitely expect the rays to spilt and form rainbows all around the pond. Every different angle will make the view look different, the colors that are seen will vary, but the most prominent of the colors that we can find there is in the "YOR - Yellow, Orange, Red” region of the spectrum that's the reason for the name... Nice isn't it?
Well I was on this trek as a plan for the next trek that I was organizing to Kodachadri in Jan. My cousin and I were the only two people on the trek. We set out from our native place... some 10km from Udupi at 645 a.m. We reached Udupi and then caught a bus that would take us to Kundaapura. We reached Kundaapura at 8:15 and waited for a bus to the famous temple town of Kollur. The journey to Kollur was around an hour (a bit more) from Kundaapura. Once in Kollur we decided to catch a bus to - "Kodachadri cross" from Kollur. This is around 10 km from Kollur.
Kodachadri cross is an entry point of a trekking route - to the Kodachadri Peak. We got down at the Kodachadri cross and then started the trek towards the "Mallu" hotel (hotel Santosh) on the way to the peak. It took around 45 minutes for us to reach the Hotel. We had some coffee and "Puttu" at the hotel and asked the route to "ArsinagunDi." He gave us directions but not everything registered in my brain so asked him if we could get a guide... He asked to enquire with one of the people assisting him there and then go ahead.
We spoke with the two people working there and one of them agreed to come along with us. He took us into the forest, I am sure that if just has taken the directions and moved on my own I would have got lost. He guided us for some 45 min into the forest and told us.. not to take any deviation and then you will get a route that will take you to the falls. We thanked him and paid a small amount to him and then continued on.
We trekked for another 1 hr on the route he directed us and then we got a small board indicating a route to the "ArsinaGundi falls". We took that route and some 20 minutes on the route and into the forest we reached the falls. Both of us were just too pleased to see the falls, our fatigue disappeared immediately. We were tired but the very sight of the falls was enough for us to forget all that... I went about taking some snaps while my cousin stood there enjoying the beauty of the falls.
We had brought some food from our home, we sat bu the falls, washed our hand and then continued on.. to the route that takes us to Kodachadri. We set out on this route and an hours trek though the forest we reached the asphalted road connecting Shimoga and Kodachadri.
This point is some 1.5 kms from Kollur temple. We reached Kollur at around 5:00pm. The last bus to Udupi was at 5:30-5:45pm.
We took that bus to Udupi and reached at 8:45. It was a nice trek; both of us had seen one of the best falls in our life. Every time I recall about this trek it fills my heart with happiness.
The falls is worth a visit, please keep the place free of plastic and non-degradable covers; this will keep the place worth a visit.... for a long time to come.

Seetha Falls, Agumbe, Barakan View Point

I am always on the look out for falls. The last time I visited Seetha falls, I had seen a narrow stream making a falls far off. I wished I could know more about it. I went back to hostel and did a small research to find out that the small falls was called Barkana fall.
As usual we set out from college in 3 bikes; we set out early aroung 6:00 A.M. from the college and reached Karkala, then we took a route from Karkala that would take us to Hebri. We reached Hebri at around 7:30 am. We had out breakfast in a hotel near the bus stand and then packed some food to be taken up for the trek.
We set out from Hebri toward Someshwara, on the way we get a place called SeethaNadi - (The place is named after the river (Nadi in kannada means River) - Seetha that flows past this place). We see an Arch on the right side, thatz the route that you have to take... It’s around 10kms from here and we reach a bridge, you can cross the bridge in a 2 wheeler but not a four wheeler. We crossed this one and then reached the falls.
The falls was as usual at its best, dropping from a height of some 60 feet and making a very nice falls. It has a large lake in front of it, nice cold water in it, and a nice place to rest and have a chilling bath. You can swim here, but make sure you are good at swimming....
I took a small break from the group and wandered into the wilderness nearby... to look if I can find the origin of the falls... I only found a level above the falls and then came back.
We set out from the falls at around 12 noon, had our lunch at a bus stand that had a borewell nearby. After having our lunch we decide to go to the Agumbe and then to Barkana. We reached Agumbe and got the permission from the police station to enter into the forest - There is a naxal problem in these areas and its needed that we inform the police about any activity that we find in the forest.
Having acquired the permission we set out on the bikes towards the Barkan, around 3 Km into the forest and we reach the Barkana View Point... I cherish the memories of this view point - the view of the lush greenary, the wild vegetation, the sea far way, the surrounding mountains, the barkana falls at a distance... All this makes it more special than the Agumbe View Point. I wish I make the Narsimha Parvatha Trek some time that will take me through the barkana falls... Am waiting... let me see if I can do it some time.
We spent nearly an hour at the view point and then got back to Agumbe. We had our tiffin there and then went to the view point to wait for the sunset. We had a splendid sunset - one of the memorable ones in my life... We got down Agumbe and then back to College via Hebri, Karkala, Padubidre... We had our dinner at the very famous "Sonu Dhaba" and then got back to hostel.
Personally I feel not all that exciting trip except for the time spent at - Barkana, Seetha Falls, and the Agumbe Sunset....

Sabeer Bhatia

Sabeer Bhatia


I am sure - if you have been listening to the news with apt attention during the late 1997 or early 1998, you would not have missed the news of Microsoft taking over HoTMaiL. In this article I give a brief introduction of the co-founder of the HoTMaiL. The co-founder of the now famous HoTMaiL is none other than our very own Bangalore lad - Sabeer Bhatia.

Sabeer was born in 1969 at Chandigarh to Balev Bhatia & Daman Bhatia. Balev Bhatia served the Indian Ministry of Defence while his mother Daman Bhatia worked as a senior official at a State Bank.


His parents placed great value on education. Sabeer grew up in Bangalore and had his early education at Bishops Cotton's School in Pune, and then at St. Joseph's Boy's High School in Bangalore. He did his Pre-University in St. Joseph's College Bangalore.

Some of the memorable incidents during his school life are here - "On parent-teacher days they would just say 'Sir, why did you come? You don't have to come! We tell Sabeer to solve the questions on the blackboard for us,'" says Bhatia senior. Once, Sabeer came home crying after an exam. He had not done badly; he just hadn't had time to write down everything he knew.

He started his undergraduate education at the Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani. In 1988 Sabeer won a full scholarship to the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech), in Pasadena. After graduating from Caltech, Sabeer went to Stanford to pursue his MS in Electrical Engineering. At Stanford, he worked on Ultra Low Power VLSI Design.


At Stanford, he was inspired by entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs and Scott McNealy eventually deciding to become one himself. Instead pursuing a PhD after his Masters, he decided to join Apple computers.

Sabeer briefly worked for Apple Computers as a hardware engineer -he lasted nine months there, after that he joined a start up company called Firepower Systems Inc, where he spent two years.

The new dawn:

In his cubicle, he read about young men starting up for peanuts and selling out for millions. Sabeer pondered what the Net could do for him, and what he could do for the Net. Then he had an idea.

It was called Javasoft - a way of using the Web to create a personal database where surfers could keep schedules, to-do lists, family photos and so on. Bhatia showed the plan to Jack Smith, an Apple colleague and they got started. One evening Smith called Bhatia with an intriguing notion. Why not add e-mail to Javasoft? It was a small leap with revolutionary consequences: access to e-mail from any computer, anywhere on the planet. This was that rare thing, an idea so simple, so obvious; it was hard to believe no one had thought of it before. Bhatia saw the potential and panicked that someone would steal the idea. He sat up all night writing the business plan. "Then we wrote down all variations of mail - Speedmail, Hypermail, Supermail." HoTMaiL made perfect sense: it included the letters "HTML" - the programming language used to write Web pages. A brand name was born.

In order to attract attention, the e-mail service was provided for free and revenue was obtained through the advertising on the website. Bhatia had $6,000 to his name. It was time to find investors. By the time he reached the offices of venture capitalists Draper Fisher Jurvetson, 19 doors had slammed behind him. Steve Jurvetson and his colleagues quickly saw the potential and put up $300,000. Bhatia and Smith stretched the money all the way to launch day, July 4, 1996. By year-end they were greeting their millionth customer. When Microsoft came knocking, 12 months later, they'd signed up nearly 10 million users.

Selling HoTMaiL to MS (Microsoft):

But what were 10 million subscribers worth? Was it $160 million as Microsoft said? More? Less? Sabeer polled his investors. Doug Carlisle, whose firm Menlo Ventures had pumped $1 million into Hotmail, guessed $200 million. Sabeer chided him for giving the lowest estimate and joked that he might hold out for a billion. Carlisle promised that if Sabeer made $200 million he would erect a life-size, bronze statue of him in Menlo Ventures' foyer.

Sabeer didn't know how to sell a company. But he did know how to buy onions. "In India you've got to negotiate for everything," he says. "Even buying vegetables, you've got to negotiate." When the bargaining started, Sabeer felt right at home. "They came in low with $160 million, so I came in at $700 million! And when they said: 'That's ridiculous! Are you out of your mind,' I knew it was just a ploy."

Sabeer wouldn't budge, and Microsoft's representatives kept walking out, or rather storming. And shouting and swearing and hurling insults. But the Hotmail team had been warned of Microsoft's tactics. "It was like a record being played," says Jurvetson, "which we thought was pretty funny. It gave us a real sense of strength." During the negotiations, he had bumped into a British backpacker in Prague. Sabeer asked him how he kept in touch with family and friends - Hotmail, of course. Sabeer went back and told Microsoft: "If that is the brand we have built in one and a half years, imagine what it will be in 20 years. Hotmail will easily be bigger than McDonald's."

At $200 million, Doug Carlisle started looking for a sculptor. At $350 million, Hotmail's investors agreed: Sell. Sabeer returned to the table, alone, and once more said: "No." The contract was inked on Dec. 30, 1997, Sabeer’s 29th birthday. The price: some three million Microsoft shares - worth $400 million at the time and twice that now. Today Hotmail users are signing up at the rate of 250,000 a day, and the firm is valued at some $6 billion. "I'm pretty sure Sabeer and Jack regret selling," says Jurvetson. "Who knows what might have been?" Sabeer shrugs: "When we sold, it was considered an outrageous amount. In hindsight, yes, we sold too low. But I don't regret it because at that time it was considered a great deal."

After the Sale (New day!!!):

After selling Hotmail, Sabeer worked at Microsoft for about a year and in April 1999, he left the company to start another website, Arzoo Inc, which was shut down when the dot-com bubble burst. In 2006, he re-launched Arzoo as a travel portal.

He started a new website trying to capitalise on the emerging blogosphere - BlogEverywhere with co-founders Shiraz Kanga and Viraf Zack.

He also pushed for a project enabling access to the internet through cable television in Indian homes. However, due to bureaucratic problems it is very unlikely that this will reach completion.

Further future plans of his include the development of a new city in India by the name of Nano city. The aim of Nanocity is to replicate the vibrance and eco-system of innovation found in the Silicon Valley.


Sabeer’s success has earned him widespread acclaim;

1. The venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson named him 'Entrepreneur of the Year 1997',

2. MIT chose him as one of 100 young innovators who are expected to have the greatest impact on technology and awarded 'TR100',

3. San Jose Mercury News and POV magazine selected him as one of the ten most successful entrepreneurs of 1998 and

4. Upside magazine's list of top trendsetters in the New Economy named him 'Elite 100'.

5. Named by TIME as one of the "People to Watch" in International Business (2002)