Archive for the 'chennai' Category

10
Apr
08

My reservations on the reservations.

The supreme court has finally ruled on the issue of the OBC quota for Central education institutes. The issue of having 49.5% reservation is iconic and national institutes like IITs and IIMs truly has a lot of us angered and divided. Personally I’m in favor of the reservations, but I think the reservation makes sense in the short-term but isn’t solving any issues for the long-term.

SCs/STs and OBCs are an under-represented lot in most higher education institutes. They form a major chunk of the lower economic classes and today it’s just impossible to get into a good higher education institute without spending a lot of money on getting coached for the exams. Of course if the reservations were in terms of economic classifications, it would make a lot more sense. But the government has its own selfish reasons of favoring castes which form the major portion of the Indian population. At least the ‘creamy layer’ of OBCs is not going to be favored in these reservations.

I believe these reservations will affect the medical stream students the most negatively. They already have such few seats and now there are even lesser. I hope the government does something about increasing the seats. In the engineering and management streams, I’m a little amused to see that most people are incensed about the reservation policies being applicable to IITs and IIMs. Out of some 5 lakh aspiring engineers, 4000 will make it to IITs. Why is everybody so concerned about the fate 4000 of brightest minds? The bright guys will almost certainly do well anywhere. Now with the reservation, a few hundred out of the lakhs of OBC/SC/ST(and impoverished) students will be benefited from an IIT education. And the IITs must increase their intake of students. Already most of them are spread over such huge sprawling campuses, which is frankly a big waste of space for purely technical colleges. I mean 500 acres for just 5000 students is a little too much. Compare that to American elite universities which have tens of thousands of students on similar or smaller land sizes.

These reservations will benefit more people than not, but its a classic case of ‘Too little, too late.’ Higher education is going the private way quickly. What with so few govt seats available, it had to happen. The reservations can’t affect the private institutes, which are barely meritocratic and bastions of the well-off kids. So the problem of poor kids not getting quality education comes back again. And if the benefits are to be increased, more govt institutes must upgrade the quality of education they provide.

On a personal level though I’m a little pained. I studied in a IIT-JEE coaching institute and I know the hard work it takes to sacrifice two(or even more) years of a teenage life on the JEE altar and then be crushed because you didn’t make it and somebody else who scored much lesser makes it. And with my sister giving the JEE in three days, this is undue and unfair pressure on her.

Times like these, when I’m feel proud and lucky to be a BITSian. Merit rules here and always will. And probably thats why there are very very few SCs/STs here(my personal observation). I though sometimes wish there was a quota for girls. Frankly its unhealthy.

PS: I’m disabling comments for this post. From what I’ve seen on other blogs such posts always turn into places for useless rhetoric on either IIT/IIM bashing or IIT/IIM glorifying. Certainly NOT going to happen on my blog. If you absolutely have to vent, go to YouthCurry, you’ll find something for your taste ;).

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16
Jun
07

Recently consumed.

 

I’m a voracious reader. Whenever I’m doing nothing, I’m reading. So the past three weeks in Chennai cut off from the world without internet connection, I’ve consumed six books.

1. Ludmila’s Broken English by DBC Pierre
Quite funny. The kind of fiction I wish I could write. The story is about mixing of two cultures.
2. It Happened in India, the story of Pantaloons, Big bazaar, Central and the Great Indian consumer by Kishore Biyani
Just has to be read! Kishore Biyani is like Sam Walton of NA. The book has a very distinctive style, written as a cocktail of interviews from colleagues and friends of Kishore Biyani and words from Kishore Biyani.
3. iWoz, Steve Wozniak
No questions about this book, has to be read again and again! The amazing thing is Steve Jobs is mentioned not more than 5-6 times. I had always thought of Woz as a sidekick to Jobs more than anything. Now I realize, he’s the guy created Apple computers.
4. iCon, Steve Jobs- The greatest second act in the history of business, by Jeffery Young and William Simon
Not very well written. But I think this is the only neutrally written book on the life of Steve Jobs, so read it just for the sake of his history. I now know why people think Steve Jobs invented the PC and not Wozniak. It was a PR strategy!
5. Genome, The autobiography of a species in 23 chapters by Matt Ridley
Gifted to me by my cousin. Ridley makes a whole story out of our genes. Definitely not a scientific read! I hated it.
6. The Dilbert Principle, by Scott Adams
The most hilarious book ever! What sarcasm. The subtle humor of Scott Adams is just unbeatable.

Next I’m going to read some Indian fiction. Possibly the ‘Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri’ or ‘ A Fine balance by Rohinton Mistry’. Somebody suggest more books.

Because I’m on a 468Kbps(Kilobits!) line, I couldn’t upload pictures. Check out http://abhishek.tumblr.com for images.

12
Jun
07

Nightmare at Chennai

While filling my options for places to intern at, I had decided it had to be Chennai or Bangalore. I would have then preferred Chennai, because I’ve heard tales about Bangalore traffic. Chennai was supposed to be much tamer. The past few weeks I’ve spent here have completely put me off.

  • Language problem. Possibly less than one percent of the city knows english and much less than that knows hindi. Such a thing has happened because of the government’s attitude towards all languages not tamil. I find it communicating absolutely impossible. My sparse knowledge of Tamil is helping a little bit, but not much.
    Some people actually seem to despise people who speak in anything else other than Tamil. Just yesterday, while traveling on the bus, a middle aged guy just starts talking angrily in Tamil to me. I of course was dumb founded and responded first in Telugu, then English and finally Hindi. Absolutely no avail. I just kept staring at him, while he kept looking around to other passengers and kept repeating the words ‘ English’ and ‘Hindi’. I had no damn clue. To my rescue comes this lady, who tells me in broken English, that I had stamped his feet and then he was telling others how I was showing off by speaking in English and Hindi. And not even signs are written in English. Very few signboards have English on them.
  • Transportation Problem. The bus journeys every morning are the scariest parts of my day. The bus gets absolutely packed. I’ve almost never sat in a bus. Always stood sandwiched between two smelly and sweaty people. It is absolutely impossible to have a single moment of comfort in Chennai buses. And to imagine I spend a whole hour everyday in them. I just wonder, why on earth can’t they increase frequencies of buses? There was this one time when I just couldn’t get down at my stop, because i couldn’t manage to cross the one metre in the bus to reach the exit. There were some five people between me and the exit. And then there was day before yesterday, when I got a dressing down in Tamil for standing two close to a lady. I mean the bus was absolutely crowded and there was no way i could avoid standing close to the woman. Add to that, people were pushing me from behind. I still don’t know what the woman was saying, but I remember the look in the eyes on the other women in the bus. I felt like a common criminal.
  • Unscrupulous autorickshaw drivers. All the vehicles for hire are ‘ autos’ . The drivers will absolutely rip you off. They are monsters just waiting to empty your pockets. I’ve got ripped so many times. It just drives me crazy to think about it. The drivers are supposed to use calibrated meters to charge their passengers, but nobody follows the law. You will be charged atleast double the amount. I once paid 50rs, for just a distance of one minute. All because I did not know how close I was to my destination. If you look even remotely fair and rich. You can be sure nobody is going to take you for less than triple the normal fare. And if you are fair and speak a foreign language, you are completely at their mercy. Scoundrels all of them are.
  • My landlord. My landlord is hoping to eat me up. The place where I’m going to live for the next whole month has the worst landlord ever. He’s just continuously thinking up of ways to charge me for every possible thing. I get my computer, 100 rs etc. I get a friend, 100rs more. I arrive late at night, 100rs more. Firstly he’s charging us more than what was promised initially and to top it the room is the worst room possible. Only thing that stops me from focusing on the sick room is the bright light from my computer monitor.
  • I nearly got arrested.This one tops my bitch-list. A nice and sunny morning, some of us decide to attend a geek unconference called Podworks.¬† Perfect, joyous way to spend a Sunday. While returning, we decide to take the local train instead of the bus. We wait at the empty ticketing counter for about 15 minutes, before we hear the train coming. What the heck, one journey without ticket doesn’t matter, nobody checks anyways. Wrong, so wrong. Two of us are surprised by the ticket checker. We say, we are not paying up the 500bucks fine, cause there was nobody at the counter. He directly takes us to the police station and suggests convincing the magistrate next morning. What! Spend the night at a police station for no mistake of ours? The idealist resistance in us to fight injustice, lasted about 15minutes, before we decided sharing a cell with crooks wasn’t really what we are looking for. So we pay up ūüė¶ .

I truly hate Chennai. I’m just waiting to get out of this place.

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Now playing: Red Hot Chili Peppers – [Greatest Hits CD1 #06] Otherside [foobar2000 v0.9.4]
via FoxyTunes

31
May
07

Histopathology

I’m currently in Chennai for my 8 weeks internship at Cancer Institute, Adyar. I was initially not very pleased about interning at¬†a hospital, cause I just imagined sick patients with gloom painted on the walls. Yes, what happens on Scrubs or Grey’s anatomy is staged and mostly ridiculous. I’m luckily intelligent enough for such TV shows and din’t end up being a doctor because I love Biology. Anyways, the part about sick patients and gloom on the walls is quite true. But luckily there’s more. The labs are the place where the real action takes place and not in the operation theatre, surely not in the doctor’s chamber. My current week is in the pathology, rather histopathology department. That is the place where they take a look at you tissue and report wether the tissue is cancerous or not and the grade of cancer. This place is relly crucial, because depending on the pathologist’s report, the doctor prescribes treatment, surgery etc. If a non-malignant tumour(non-cancerous) is reported wrongly as malignant, then the surgeon cuts up a lot of tissue. Which means, if you’ve got breast cancer, your whole breast is gone, if you finger has a cancerous bone, then you whole palm is removed. Of course it is done to prevent all possibilities of cancer in the future.

I’ve just learnt how to identify tumerous parts and make sections for the pathologists to examine. The pathologists are the elite group, everybody looks up to them and though all they do is stare down a microscope all-day. Of course detecting cancer in early stage is their biggest challenge, cause though in the last stages cancerous cells look as evil as cells possibly can, the early stage cells are innocent looking and not-differentiable from original cells. Upto the pathologist to detect cancer and save somebody’e life/body part.

The pathology lab in cancer institue is a nice(sterilized) place. friendly people, one hot pathologist, three ancient women and two guys to cut up amputated parts.

More to come when i get my computer here and internet access through firefox.

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Now playing: Finger Eleven – [Scrubs Season 3 #39] One Thing [foobar2000 v0.9.4]
via FoxyTunes




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