Friday, February 2, 2018

My Dear Appa (Dad)

This post was inspired by my dad's retirement speech which happened in Feb 2017. I try and narrate the story of my dad and why he is still my source of inspiration

My dad comes from a farming family in the dry and drought district (Ramanathapuram) of Tamil Nadu. The only hope of farming - depends on water from rain and its catchment areas. If there is no rain in a year, then there is no cultivation that year. He was the last among the 4 male siblings. Among all, he was the only one who showed some interest in studying/going to school. So, the rest all dropped out to work alongside my grandpa whereas my dad completed his schooling. 

Schooling: Mr K. Kamaraj the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, a prominent person who introduced Mid-day Meals Scheme in Govt schools. There used to be famine and the lack of rain in South Tamilnadu during the late 60s added to the woes. Many poverty-stricken families would send their children to school just to get mid-day meals so that their children get at least one proper meal a day. My dad is one of them. My dad who started schooling just for this mid-day meal ended up completing his schooling. But, the village that he was born (Perunali) had only till 10/11th STD. So, to study more he had to leave his village.  He joined Pudukottai H.H.Rajah's college for his PUC (the now 11/12th STD). That is, some 200 Km from his hometown village. That was the only nearest government college at that time. As the family cannot afford to put him in a private college, his only option is a government college.

College Life: Although he studied well, he had this inferiority complex of coming from a very low background. This was the main reason for his decline in grades. He did all his schooling in Tamil medium (native language) whereas in his college all courses were taught English. So, he had faced a lot of hurdles initially. He is very good at mathematics. But, he choose (or was made to choose) to take B.Sc. Chemistry -- someone had said one would get a job immediately if we take B.Sc. Chemistry. Believing that he took it without a second thought. Ideally, he should have taken B.Sc. Maths. Lack of proper career guidance as there were none in our neighbourhood (relatives or someone to guide) to help out.

Difficult times: In those days wearing a full pant or trousers was a luxurious thing. My dad (along with few others) would go to college in waisty (or White Dhoti) to college. He could not afford to buy pants at that time. He had to pay his hostel fees and tuition fees plus other college expenses. One of the person named Mr. G.Kannan who was the warden in some school nearby Pudukottai saw the poor condition of my dad got his first pant. It's from then on he started wearing pants to college. Mr Kannan is a role model for my dad.  Because he was the first person in my dad's village to get a govt job after studying. Everyone in the village wanted to be like him. He is a good human being who likes to help people in need. Dad would always call him Anna (brother in Tamil). He became our close relative thereafter.

Job in DOT: Dad completed his degree after some struggles. He applied through the employment office. After some time, he got a clerk job offer to join the Department of Telecommunication (DOT or the now BSNL) as a clerk. He said during his retirement day. He would have got retired as a clerk only if has not met a person called Mr. V.K.P/V.K.Paramasivam. It was only this person who made them (dad and few others ) aware of the Junior Accounts Officer (JAO) exam inside the department. He even took special tuition classes for them in the evening/weekend after office work. That was the main reason for their success in the exam. Without his efforts, my dad would not have been raised to this level. He joined as a clerk; But retired as a Chief Account Officer (top 3 levels).

Helping others: My dad went on to work in different places in the country. DoT is a central government. He worked at Viruthunagar, Bombay, Connor, Vellore, Bhuj. The one good thing about my dad is his helping tendency. After he got the job, he made many others from my relatives join college and supported them financially. This is truly a remarkable character I have hardly seen with anyone. In fact, I remember many of my cousins (my father's side as well as my mothers side) were supported by my parents. They used to go to school/college from our home. But not all were successful. He is known for his patience and clean paperwork. Anything done by him will be very systematic and properly documented claimed one of his friends and colleague during the function.

Reason for my successes: He is a very good human being. He had made both (my brother and me) study in an English medium school right from the beginning as he was aware of the nuisance later on. We were put into matriculation school which wasn't easy for their earning but they decided to go. He would buy anything for my studies. Without him, I can imagine myself in this situation. If my dad had not been stepped out of his village for his studies, I could only see myself working in some shops nearby in Perunali village. Maybe.

Next time, I would say my mother story which is more interesting than this. Till then, Tata :-)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Trek to Tada falls or Ubbalamadugu falls..!

1. Reaching via Chennai on road NH5 till tada (two tolls)
2. Reaching to Varadaiahpalem on road in narrow two way road.
3. Reaching to forest check post on small road.
4. Reaching to tada parking on red soil road.
Basecamp 1 - Iron Bridge & Dressing room.

5. Reach check dam after long walk on a flat path.

6. Reach Shiva temple after long walk.
Basecamp 2!
7. Behind temple walk through rough rocky path (without crossing the stream)
8. After some long rough rocky ways (crossing 2 small ponds) 30 mins
Basecamp 3 - Small fall 1 (SM1) !


File photos(we didn't see this much water)

Caution - Danger zone ahead!
9a. On the left of SM1 one has to climb on high single rock (risky!)
9b. On the right of SM1 there are two big rocks one has to climb move ahead.
10. Now on only small walking trail will be seen follow it. (uphill very steep) 5-10 mins
11. One might hit a dead end but take left and walk on the trail..!
12. Now it will lead to climb down to see Small fall 2 (SM2)

13. Beside the rock on left, one would see the fall. There is a tall tree right of it.
Main fall 1[MF1]! (if it is season one would see water)

Basecamp 4! (there is no BC4 but i am calling it ;-)

We don't know how to proceed from here! Because there was no water..we missed the below things. (see videos)

14. Main fall 2 - Water falling from high attitude (we missed it!!)

file photo- source

Level 5 - (long video...right away go to 16th min)

Level 6

Moreover we missed this place(file photo) as well..! It was told, it's  a very deep place in other blogs..!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saving the flora and fauna.

          If you have ever been to IIT Madras, as you walk into the campus you would feel it light. You would get a feel that as if the temperature had dropped few degrees. You might also get a feel that you are walking into a forest. You could see a lot of spotted deer's, black bucks, white bucks, monkeys, mongoose, pangolin, bats, jackal and various birds including pigeons, and several species of insects, etc. All are jumping around and playing happily. :-)

Institute has done as tremendous job in maintaining the natural ambiance by various measures. Few are banning the use of motor/ fossil fueled vehicles inside the campus for students/staff/profs. Having multiple speed breakers or barricade on the roads. Cracker's free Deepavali celebrations. There is zone for deer/bucks wherein humans are not allowed to walk through it. Cleanup drive for litter free campus, etc.

One thing I don't like here is the dogs. You can see many sleeping sleeping sleeping. I forgot to add eating part pre and post of it. Some sleeps on the middle of the road. Dogs are known for their watchfulness, energetic, protective and loyal. However, I've only seen here that they can be this lazy doing nothing. I was told that stray/wild dogs attacked the endangered white buck. There were at least two. Due to recent attack(last month) one is killed and other is severely injured. It had killed a black buck several years ago as well. Dogs are everywhere in the country whereas deers and bucks are not. Here are few of my suggestions. (S is my suggestion)

S1. Why not we move out all the dogs from campus as a protective measures (or anything that kills endangered species ) ?
S2. There seems to be lot of destruction to trees for construction. There are trees uprooted due heavy rains. There are trees that became old, dried and about to die. Why don't we plant some more trees to match up this loss?
S3. It is heart breaking to see deers eating paper cup and plastics around the dustbins. Might be mischievous monkey but ya we should throw it into the bins NOT near the bins.
S4. There can be place setup where in  mess food preparation vegetables/fruits left over after cutting may be given to monkey/Deers.
S5. Similarly if we build a place where deers/bucks/monkeys get freshwater and shade at few locations. It might help them during intense heat and heavy rain.

Friday, February 26, 2016

My Favorite Teachers!

I was born in Madurai. I studied under some great teachers whom I will list them one by one! Till then, teachers are one who reads the book and repeats the same at the students. My opinions changed after seen below personalities..

Chitra  Mam - Physics - St.Joseph School, Koodal Nagar, Madurai.
    She was first teacher who taught us different way of writing the exam.  She told us, how is the preparation to an exam matter even when you have failed to study on the day before exam. She probably had experience in correcting the board exam papers. She gave us more tips of how should you present the answer in exam. e.g Keywords matter, highlighting it, Definition and theorems must be as such. She made us really get good marks in physics. She was one among the teacher who would directly walk into the class and start teaching without any preparation(notes/books) yet she will never get struck anywhere. 

Geography - St.Joseph School, Koodal Nagar, Madurai.
    She was Good teacher as she was taught us the subject very good. She gave all the nack & tricks for scoring the marking. She told get bunch of India outline maps and asked us to practice these maps regularly. She used to ask us to draw map using it for 10 mark question. She is a teacher who can inspire the students to learn.

Kirubavathi Mam - Physics - SBOA School, Madurai.
    She teaches so well. She makes you understand everything she teaches. She make the equation and comes up with her own derivation and explanation. It is so well organised you need not remember just sit in the class you will get everything. She is so dedicated and teaches everything and completes the portion and Practicals also she used to explain everything in detail. She is a very friendly teacher. However I have seen her beating student and breaking wooden rulers.

Anitha Mam - Botany - SBOA School, Madurai.
    She is so strict. She will never look at the student while teaching in class. She just see and talks to last bencher's ;-) . She get very angry at student who sleeps in class. Maeshak always gets caught. However when it comes to teaching, she is the best Botany teacher. She correlates everything she teach. So that it is very understandably good to remember the concepts she teach and reason out. If you pay attention then one could learn, correlate and understand everything she says.

R. Rajaram  TCE
He is the perfect teacher according to me. He comes to the class on time. No even a single day he had excuse. He strictly follows his agenda in the class. He asks question such that it test the person understanding capability than memorizing capability. He gives us problem set after his lectures so that we will get a fair understanding of how the questions will be in exams and how is our understanding on the subject. However, he scolds people. But he used names like dogs, donkey, etc.(it will be fun for others while he scolds someone).  

Devarajan Maths HOD from Madura college
He was teaching us maths for us in Aspire. He teaches the subject very nicely that you will understand each math concept relating to some real world phenomenon. He says lot abour usa/nasa/discovery mission and their effects. He inspires students. I still remember oneday he even said we have equation for the path taken by bees to sit on the flower(to take nectar). He explained us the boolean formulas very nicely. He gave the idea of dimensions in science. :-)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Why an aspiring inventor wants to teach after PhD?

When I was in high school I got to know how my teachers started their profession teaching. I learnt that the teachers who were teaching us did not choose to become a teacher. In fact, I was shocked to hear them say when there was NO option left for getting a job they ended up teaching. It is painful though. But one has to analyse this situation carefully.
Why would such a noble profession be treated this way. All bright students are interested in getting a fat pay check after they graduate and settle peacefully. Because people are forgetting the ladders they are using. One day we will be left with no good ladders to hep us out. 

We (especially Indians) would be very happy to work as employee in Google than creating one in India (Even though we have more talent and ability to create one). During my course of life I have seen teachers of various calibre. Right from a single teacher who teaches the whole day for a particular class students(who would sit on a floor under thatched roof) to teacher who teaches flawlessly in a air conditioned class with projector, mic, laser pen, etc. 

As Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam remarked in one of his statement in vision 2020. We need very good task force (Youth) so that they will build the nation as stronger power. Those youth force are possibly school students now. To build such a youth force we need good teachers to train them. In order to develop good teachers we must have good teaching institutes. Especially elementary or high school level and more specifically teachers in primary schools. 

In our society/education they suppress the free thinking of an individual to try out new things or think innovative. This always happens. Most of the time in most of the board/school exams pupil are being tested on their ability to remember(and recollect/write) rather than understand that apply the knowledge learnt. This experience taught me few important things that are lacking/happening in most of the boards across state.
  • Lack of (or minimal) class room interaction(teacher-student interaction).
  • Lack of Non-Direct or Thinking questions in Exams / Quizzes
  • Incomplete or Inadequate or Incorrect knowledge transfer.
Most of my pre-IIT class rooms were sort of above things. I exactly know what is missing in other Institutes. Although I can not change the mentality of other teachers across other institutes. I can impart this culture in other schools / colleges students by encouraging  them to ask Question and think creatively. 

Similarly, there are two kind of students.
  • Students who evolve through book or with any teacher are in need of guidance.
  • Exceptional students with not so extraordinary teachers are being suppressed.
We must not let down these kinds of students. A Good teacher can guide them in the right path.  So whom do we call as a Good Teacher?
  • is not the one who teaches everything in the book.
  • Who inspires the student to learn, understand and think,
  • who need not teach everything. But whatever they teach must be clear to students.
Why should I be teaching? 

I can not do something that I don't like to do. And I can not do something that I am not happy doing it. However I get the sense of accomplishment and satisfactory feeling when I am sharing my knowledge with others. And I am really happy to doing(teach) it. I can be a better teacher. I can teach them in a way that I wanted things to have taught that way for me. I can make students who can be a better knowledgeable persons. I can inspire them to do research/invent stuffs. I can even inspire them to become teachers. Therefore this goes as a drop into APJ's vision. By doing a PhD I can prove to the world that I am patient enough and capable of doing research. And it also tells people that I can invent/discover new things on my own and also teach grad students.
Anyone can do anything. However, 
 If I do not do it, who else can do it better.​​

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Aliens - random thoughts

One day in dream I had these crazy thoughts. What if aliens are living among us and we can't see them thorough our eyes just like GOD(There is another post where we will debate on this). Take for example bacteria or virus or any microscopic organisms we can't see with our naked eye nor can we feel their presence in our environment. So spacecrafts or missions to check presence of water and life on mars or other planets, are they doing something else apart from taking photographs with various kind of cameras? Are they checking for Microscopic organisms in other planet ? Do they conclude NO life just by seeing the images taken from satellites. Do microscopic organisms have life? May be our definition of LIFE needs to be modified. According to me everything in nature has life. Including the mountains, plants, rivers, rain, etc.

So what if aliens (so called creatures that assumed to coming outside from Earth). We know that we(humans) can live on land. What if they(aliens) can live only on or above water/Ocean. Say they if they have to come to land they have to use flying saucers(Assumption).  It could be very well possible. ;-)
          All our understanding of the earth universe, how life originated, etc are not true. I mean to say we have only theories NO proof till now(LHCollider?). We are inside the box(Earth). We can not think anything outside of it. As of now we can't even say  how life has originated on Earth.
         One simple example. Let's take a tree. The cow sees the tree in different shape, size, of different dimension However human perceive the tree in a different manner.  So why Does the earth that is looking(actually for us) like a spherical to should be in spherical shape for others too.  
So why the hell I am crapping all the one above..Ya there may be aliens on other planet also microscopic / Nanoscopic / Picoscopic ;-) but we are only checking for existence of humanlike or human known (animal/plants) in the planetary missions.   There are few things only GOD knows it. Even if we humans try to know or understand we won't get it. That's it!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Why search for aliens?

        As I said earlier the quest for knowing the unknown always drives us. That might also be the reason for our technological developments is some(all) sense. However few people are trying things like, Send a rocket to planet Mars or Jupiter to know if there is an existence for life. If not try and get some sand so that they do research on what minerals it contains or otherwise get a picture from that you identify the presence of water. Sometimes they even say the water would have been present some 10203 years ago (just made those numbers while typing). That must have got dried up now[WTF :-| ]. Send a robot and try doing a bore well to know if there is underwater. oh boy!!

Does it really go to help us solve the existing problems that we currently?

Let's grow up. Let's do some constructive research and improve or solve our current day problems.