Saturday, September 27, 2008


Probably it was my third day in ILP. We were called in Sesame, a small auditorium of almost 120, 3 batches. It was supposed to be a lecture on life skills by Sakina Hussain.

Yet another boring lecture, yet another bunch of slides on Microsoft PowerPoint, probably the most used software at the ILP, I had thought. But it turned out to be better than that. First of all, when Sakina came in, she was quite good at speaking, or talking, to be more precise. In a hall where people later communicated through microphones, she was audible to everyone without it. A genuine positive point if you have a good voice.

And after some talking, she gave us an exercise. She started numbering students 1-2-3-4-...15 and then repeated the same till the end. Then, all the 1s, 2s, 3s and so on were asked to come together. Thus, all of us were divided into 15 random groups of 8-9 each and each of us had to know the entire group as much as we could in 15-20 minutes. And when it was finished, she asked questions on group members. And once the introduction was done, she asked names of students across groups.

It was a great exercise and we got to know more people than we generally do in the same amount of time. But the exercise didn't give as good results as it was a combination of three batches while there is need of communication inside batches themselves.

Another thing I got confirmed about is that I can remember details of 8 people in such a short time. Yet another underestimation of one's own abilities.

Friday, September 26, 2008


It was my second day at TCS Trivandrum. The day assigned for ILP Pretest. I had hardly done any preparation except a few things which I had seen on the previous day evening. And I guess most of my 'colleagues' were equally well prepared.

The test was supposed to start at 9.30 and we had instructions to be present in the 'Clove' by 9 sharp. Clove is the lab where the test was held. We reached clove in time but what happened inside was not the least we had expected from the Tata Consultancy Services.

After we entered the lab, we found that some of the systems were not working for us for various reasons. And so, almost 20 students were standing without systems. Interestingly my college had a majority with 11 of them being from the same.

The problem didn't end there. When the invigilators came and told us how to log in and take the test, the database server started showing connection failure. Once, twice, thrice.. We soon became used to a new thing. We had to reload almost every page again and again to reach the servers. Yes, those twenty-something number of students were.. Sorry, colleagues, were sent to some other lab where they could find systems and finally, we were able to start the test at around 10.15 AM.

It was a test of 30 minutes duration with 19 questions. The interesting thing was that it wasn't questions that really troubled us. It was the test that did. The procedures, the systems, the hardware and the software were the troubles. Supposedly we had to finish the test before the half an hour was over once the test started. That was to be performed by clicking a button that said Submit and Finish Test, or something like that, followed by a confirmation, but when we started doing the same almost 5 minutes before the end of time, it was failures of connection that came our way once again.

I pressed the finish button with more than 3 minutes remaining and thankfully, I was able to get it done after reloading the page just once. Yay! And I got a score of 45 out of 100. A failure by TCS standards (they ask for 55% in tests after this. This one is just a pretest.) but I was pretty good by my standards and was happy that I was able to see my score. Those who lost their submissions to failed database connections were later consoled as they were told their marks could be found from the back end of the system. Though I don't know if that has really been done as most probably the students who didn't get the score that time didn't get it later also.

Now, the question on my mind is, why so? I know how good and credible are the TCS products for clients. Then why do database connections fail while employees are taking test?

I guess I can't answer that. Probably it's part of the ILP. Part of our Learning. And the answer is a TCS Top Secret which mortals like me will not be knowing easily!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sage, Saffron

Peepul Park TCS looks quite impressive from outside, but since I had seen quite big buildings in VIT, I didn't feel something odd. Before I got inside I came to know we couldn't bring in any cameras, laptops, or even pen drives. Thankfully nothing was written about a camera phone so I took it in. Though, later I came to know that camera phones, once banned, were allowed in the campus but photography was strictly prohibited.

Inside was a normal experience for the first time as there was quite a crowd of us and I am now used to crowd. But later I realized that the campus is really big as far as the structure was concerned.

But what was interesting about TCS was that they had called us there before 8 when we had our first class at 9. And this one hour was given for breakfast. Intelligent people - they know I always used to skip breakfast during all my engineering. Now I can't as the same schedule takes place everyday. The canteen @ TCS TVM gave milk (Horlicks/Bournvita/Boost/corn flakes) at Rs 10 and Dosa/Idly at Rs 12. It still does. Almost the same can be said about the prices of Lunch but it's not that good, especially salt is always, ALWAYS too less. Probably absent.

And then, we entered Sage. Sage was a lecture hall with a seating capacity of around 200 and 2 large screen. After enjoying Sage for some 20 minutes, we were told we had to be in Saffron, a mirror image of Sage, and not there in Sage itself. So, the few of us were shown the way to the nearby hall where a presentation had just started and we were quickly given a Reynolds 045 pen and a notepad carrying the TCS name.

Our first belongings from the TCS.

I don't really remember who it was who gave the presentation, as I wasn't there from the very start, but the most interesting lines I remember from that presentation were: "Worry about your cellphone, your purse, your valuables. Don't worry for your original certificates. These are of no use for others. You can leave them wherever you want."

By the way, one thing I forgot to tell is that there were a number of students from my college in this batch of TCS ILP too. As I later counted, I could identify 24 VITians of them in the auditorium of 202.

The day went in a few inductions followed by long HR verifications of original certificates. The verifications were over the first day itself but the inductions went on for almost a week except for that of Programming Concepts of which we have 3 sessions a day now. That is almost 6 hours. Thankfully it was not shown on our first day.

Well, in case you don't know, TCS expects you to do some reading in advance before you come for the ILP. And for that they have a test on the second day of the training, which is known as Pretest. Our pretest schedule was out up and we had to take our first test in TCS on the next day morning at 9.

The first day ended at around 6 and we left by our bus with a new series of songs. This time songs were almost a year or so old. Superb again. I had found something matching my tastes in Trivandrum. My bus.

First Experience (ILP @ TCS Trivandrum)

In the sky

Fortunately I have been on a lot of flights by now. But most of the times it used to be Deccan or Jetlite, or a few Spicejet ones recently. But this time things changed as I boarded on an Indigo and a Jet airways plane on the same day.

I was coming to Trivandrum from New Delhi and I had to change flights for that in Chennai. And the Chennai Trivandrum flight of Jet turned out to be a great experience. It was a small ATR plane I boarded and I got a window seat there. I don't know why I could see below all the time - was it the small size of the plane or the height it was flying at, or simply my first flight where I didn't sleep at all, but I could see below - on the ground, the cities, forests, roads, rivers, and clouds, lots of lots of them. Another thing I loved on Jet flight was food. Later I got to know it was Taj's food they served.

God's Own Country

As soon as the plane reached Trivandrum, I could see trees and trees on the ground. I could see the city and at the same time, lots of trees, a long sea shore, and a lot of trees again.

When I landed, I felt Kerala deserved to be called God's own country. It was trees all around, and people living in an environment covered by those coconut trees looked different from those living in any other capital in India I have been to.

Also, on my way to Hotel from airport, I could see lots of women, mostly girls in their teens. And there was a difference I could instantly see: They All looked educated. It showed on their faces. There were only a few uneducated looking faces of those selling fishes beside the road. Even the main city is quite good with trees wherever they got place.

And then there are the beaches. Well, by now I have seen only the not-that-popular beach of Trivandrum, called Sangamagam or something like that only and liked it a lot, more than any other I have seen in the past. Quite understandably, I want to see what will Kovalam be like, considering it is known as the best beach in Asia.

Pehli Nazar Mein...

I slept around 12 and got up at 6 for my first day of job, training to be more precise. 6 for me was quite early and I was feeling very sleepy when I got on to the bus at 7.30. But as the bus started, I couldn't believe my ears for a second. It was Atif's 'Pehli Nazar Mein' playing in high volume. I was no more sleepy. And by the time we reached Technopark, it was 3 songs of Rock On!!

Now I'm standing in front of my office at Technopark, Trivandrum.

Tata Consultancy Services. Peepul Park.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In God's own country

Right now i'm at trivandrum. In case u don't know, for my ilp, the initial learning program by the tata consultancy services. And for now, though i'm busy at the company all the day and badly in need for sound sleep all the time, i'm loving it. The city is great. I've already been to the kovalam and sangamagam beaches. The fact is that i've a lot to write but due to lack of time i'm unable to write and unable to post the written. Though now i hope to do the same soon as my net seems to be working today. After seven days, thanks to airtel, my internet is back.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dhoni Savvy Media

A few years earlier we used to have media savvy people. But now, we are having the opposite, people savvy media. Actually, it's not a people savvy media, but a celebrity savvy media. They make celebrities, they run programs on them, increase their TRPs, and then dump them with a few more programs and polls deciding should he/she do this/that in this way/at all etc.

I guess nowadays it's our one day Cricket captain Dhoni who is the apple of camera lenses for these TV channels, even newspapers. There are articles proving and reproving, assuring us all, that Dhoni has done something which was never done by anyone in India from Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar to Sachin or Sehwag. By now I have no idea what exactly this something is but if the media continues this way I guess in some I shall be sure that this something has a real existence.

The interesting thing is that this media thing is affecting even bigger things now. Or so I feel. I really have no Idea why Dhoni is the only other player than Sachin Tendulkar to get a Khel Ratna award. I do agree that he is the poster boy of Indian cricket, but if Dhoni deserves a Khel Ratna, what about the players with 950+ wickets or with 10k runs in ODIs as well as in tests?

I think we just need a hero, and now that some are saying it's Dhoni, we are happy to have him. Otherwise, there was never a need to clarify that a winner 'deserves' the Khel Ratna award. Isn't it?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

व्हाट एन आइडिया सरजी!

आपने अभिषेक बच्चन का व्हाट एन आइडिया सर जी वाला विज्ञापन तो देखा ही होगा जिस में अभिषेक मोबाइल फ़ोन की सहायता से गाँव के बच्चों को पढ़ाने का काम कर दिखाते हैं। वैसे वास्तविक ज़िन्दगी में तो बच्चों को ऐसे पढ़ाना आसान नही है पर यदि हम यू जी सी की हालिया बातों पर ध्यान देन तो हम शायद समझ पाएंगे कि अभिषेक के इस आइडिये को कहाँ अमल में लाने की ज़रूरत है।

हाल ही में यू जी सी ने कहा था कि भारत में विश्वविद्यालयों की संख्या बहुत कम है। अंकों में कहें तो भारत में आज लगभग 400 विश्वविद्यालय हैं लेकिन हमें आने वाले 4 साल में लगभग 800 और विश्वविद्यालयों की आवश्यकता है।

निश्चय ही हम इतने विश्वविद्यालय इतने समय में नहीं बना सकते। लेकिन हम कुछ और कर सकते हैं। आज भारत दूरसंचार के क्षेत्र में निरंतर प्रगति कर रहा है। आज देश में इन्टरनेट की पकड़ भी दिन प्रतिदिन बढ़ रही है। ऐसे में हम इन्टरनेट के ज़रिये उच्च शिक्षा को विद्यार्थियों तक पंहुचा सकते हैं। हम भारत के सर्वश्रेष्ठ अध्यापकों, कहिये professors और researchers के lecture रिकॉर्ड कर के उन्हें इन्टरनेट के ज़रिये उन्हें विद्यार्थियों तक पंहुचा सकते हैं और बाद में परीक्षाएं करा सकते हैं। सच कहूँ तो मेरे विचार से इन्टरनेट पर वास्तविक जैसी, या फिर उस से भी बेहतर कक्षाएं करायी जा सकती हैं।

कुल मिला कर इन्टरनेट से हम घर बैठे शिक्षा को सफल बना सकते हैं, लेकिन इसके लिए सरकार को एक पहल करने की आवश्यकता है। आज जब इन्टरनेट हर गीत और फ़िल्म को जनता तक पहुँचाने में सक्षम है, तो फिर शिक्षा के क्षेत्र में हम पीछे क्यों हैं?

ज़रूरत है सिर्फ़ उस विचार की, उस आइडिये की। यदि हम इस आइडिये को सफल बना पाये, तो भारत में शिक्षा का स्तर उठाने में और सहायता मिल सकेगी, और हम गर्व से कह सकेंगे -- व्हाट एन आइडिया सर जी!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

पानी पानी रे

बिहार में पानी ने क्या कहर ढाया हुआ है ये तो हम सभी जानते हैं। लेकिन विडम्बना यह है कि इतने पानी के बाद भी हम कई लोगों के लिए पीने लायक पानी नहीं जुटा पाते। एक ओर सूखा तो दूसरी ओर बाढ़, ऐसा कितनी ही बार हमारे साथ होता है।

आज भी भारत की जनसँख्या का एक बड़ा हिस्से, यानि लगभग 10 प्रतिशत लोगों को पीने का साफ़ पानी नहीं मिल पाता। भूगर्भ से निकले पानी के कारण लगभग 7 करोड़ भारतीय अधिक फ्लोराइड्स मिला तथा 1 करोड़ आर्सेनिक मिला पानी पी रहे हैं, जो उनके स्वास्थ्य के लिए खतरनाक हो सकता है।

समुद्री तटीय इलाकों में एक और समस्या का सामना करना पड़ रहा है। भूगर्भी जल के अधिक उपभोग के कारण ज़मीन के नीचे समुद्री जल बढ़ रहा है जिससे ज़मीन के नीचे का पानी पीने योग्य नहीं रहता।

मुझे लगता है कि अब समय आ गया है कि हम इस समस्या को गंभीरता से लें और ख़ुद कुछ पहल करें। इस के लिए हम अपने घर बरसात से आने वाले पानी को बचा कर शुरुआत कर सकते हैं।

वर्षा से आए जल को कैसे बचाएं, इस के लिए यहाँ दिए गए लिंक को देखें।

यहाँ दिए गए चित्र, या कहिये चलचित्र की सहायता से आप आसानी से वर्षा के जल को बचाना सीख सकते हैं। और हमारी-अपनी प्रगति की दिशा में एक महत्त्वपूर्ण कदम उठा सकते हैं।

Microsoft??? Who are they?

Google recently launched its new browser Chrome. And tech savvies of the world are downloading it. But if you stop at the chrome download site, you may notice something interesting.

Google seems to be simply ignoring the existence of Microsoft and their browser Internet Explorer.

Take a look for yourself.

You can see the site mentioning download and install procedure for Firefox but Microsoft Internet Explorer, still the world's most used browser, finds no mention of its name on the page.

I guess Google makes a new thing, but even in competition they differentiate between friends and enemies. And of course, they know who their customers are. :)