.: H.A.T.E

Here is my hate don’t like list:
1. I hate don’t like people who pretend to be your friend, but stab you in the back every chance they get.
2. I hate don’t like people who sympathize with you, all the while feeling so overjoyed that you are shit loads of trouble.
3. I hate don’t like people who do not value time.
4. I hate don’t like people who don’t own up to their mistakes, and make it even worse by trying to blame someone else.
5. I hate don’t like people who take credit for someone’s work.
6. I hate don’t like people who give lame excuses.
7. I hate don’t like people that do a half-assed job.
8. I hate don’t like people that always figure out a way talk about themselves.

I hate don’t like people…………………….?????? No, I am a very amicable person. Don’t push my buttons though. I do not know to sugar-coat things.

.: I love you…..

…., CRICKET. The last cricket match that I distinctly remember watching was the mauling India received in 2003 at the hands of Australia in the finals of the 2003 World Cup. Shortly after that I left to Virginia Tech and have been here ever since. As p.i.g.s*, a TV in the apartment was not an option. The only form of entertainment was the trusted laptop. I did watch cricket matches on and off, like Sehwag’s 300 against Pakistan, India vs Pakistan in 2005 etc. But the constancy was not there.

Slowly your tastes change and you adapt to what’s available. That is just human nature. You longed cricket, but you could survive otherwise. I was never much of a fan watching cricket on streaming sites or following it ball-by-ball on Cricinfo. NFL and MLB provided me with water to quench the thirst left from Cricket. The more I stayed away from cricket, the lesser I wanted it.

This year was different. In May 2009, Anu and I moved to a place where we have access to Directv. I knew from that day that I would get the cricket package when the World Cup came around in 2011. And now the thirst is back again and I am not getting water, but madeira. Simply put, CRICKET ON HD just rocks.

I find myself waking up at 4 am on most days (other than the minnow’s games) and watching at least one innings before I have to drag myself to work. All the memories of staying late to watch Test matches of Ind v WI, or waking up early to watch Ind v Aus are coming back. Nothing beats the joy of having a cup of tea at 4.30 am watching the game I played, watched, criticized, loved, hated and missed.

Oh my dear love, where were you all these days?? I will never disconnect you………

* Poor Indian Graduate Student

.: E-receipt

I wish credit card companies and chain stores had a way to have the receipt for sales uploaded to your credit card transactions/statements. That way I would not have to save my bills and can look up what I paid for an item at the store instantaneously.

Any developers hear my woes?

.: Insecure people finish first?

I have a very convoluted (deviant??) theory to present. My mom always wondered why people who are mean, selfish, cunning end up doing okay. That is entirely contradictory to what we are taught as children – do good deeds if you need good things to happen to you.

So here goes the theory: Imagine a person that is doing well in life, yet very insecure. These people thrive on waking up every day and comparing their situation with others. As long as they are doing better than others (even in petty things), then they are fine. At times they go out of the way (step outside their social boundaries) to make their situations “comparably” better. I don’t want to give any examples but you all know what I am talking about. Insecurity is the sole cause for a person doing things (mean, selfish) that they would not do otherwise.

And why do they seemingly do better? It is because of **collective goodwill** that they get from people around them. Now you may wonder what I mean by this……………..

Most normal people like to lead their lives without too much drama. They do not wish to have surprises (or nightmares) in their lives. They want to lead an “under the radar” life. However, if you have friends that are insecure, then chances are that they will go out of their way to make you feel miserable, less wanted only to serve their greater good. The normal ones always wish that the insecure one does not have too many issues/comparisons against them and wish them the best all the time. All these collective blessings from others help the insecure person.

So next time if you know somebody that is doing well regardless of all their issues, then think of how every normal person around him/her is helping to overcome their insecurities. Insecure people by nature will remain insecure and will do well in life.

.: Web search syndrome

Did you “google” it is very common these days when it comes to trying to find information about a particular item. It is absolutely great in certain ways, but it creates a problem of only knowing the answer to a specific question.

Back in the early days of search engines or prior to easy access to the WWW, the results were not as refined as they are today. As a result, you ended up having to read through things to find answers as opposed to “it” being served on a platter with a silver spoon. The advantage of not being given a pin-point answer was that you ended up reading a lot more and improve your general knowledge on the subject. There were times when you would read things that you were not specifically looking for, but something that you would remember for future needs.

These days “GOOGLE” everything and you get exact answers without doing too much reading. We are becoming scarily dependent on searching for information………….something that I think will turn out to be a real problem 10-20 years from today.

.: Pressure = Force / Area

I promise this is not a Mechanics of Materials or Structural Engineering related post, but a concept that I will use to explain my thoughts on women wearing heels.

It’s too bad , but you just have to suck it up if you were born 4′-11 ¾” tall. Although, adding a 4¾” stilletoincreases your height by almost 8%, I cannot begin to describe what that does to a person’s gait.

Nature is wonderful in its ways. You may wonder why there is so much contact area underneath a person. A person’s feet size is roughly proportional to that person’s height and built (and no, this is not by accident). It is to help distribute the persons weight over a larger contact area that reduces the contact stress.

When I am sitting down waiting for board an airplane or sitting down at the mall (while the wife is shopping), I look at woman’s shoes and their gait. You can stop with the Ooohs!! and the aaaahs!!! now..

A stilleto with a contact area of about 1 in2 at the ground and maybe 4 in2 at the point the stilleto meets your foot increases the contact stress by a few times. All you men (and women): Look real south next time you stare down an opposite sex and you will see how much stress is put on the calf muscles and heels.

Is it really worth being 10% taller and limp?

.: The lack of “THINKING” – Indian Education system

The ability to “THINK INDEPENDENTLY” is vital. 28 years into existence and having studied in India, I tend to reflect back on my journey. I have lived here in the US for over seven years and interacted with many kids and their parents.

A senior engineer from a reputed structural engineering firm was once giving us a guest lecture and at the end of it, posed a simple question. “Why should I hire you and pay you the salary you ask?” The answer was pretty simple. “TO THINK”

Life is all about having a solid foundation on basic principles, but at the end of the day, there are not many textbook problems in everyday life. The Indian system of education is very highly regarded in the world. After having been through the system, I find a few things that leave a sour taste.

In India, if you are one in a million, then there are a 1000 other people like you. The level of competition is ridiculous (I could not find another superlative). I know of parents waiting overnight in lines, that looped around the block two times, in order to get applications for enrollment into the top notch elementary schools. Every parent in India dreams of putting their child through the best education system that they can afford.

However, the system is ridden with problems. There is a very strong emphasis on Math and Science, not so much on art, literature etc. I come from a family of engineers and doctors (like most middle and upper middle class families in India). You would think that in a country with so many engineers/doctors/scientists, having the ability to think independently would be a given. In India you are not taught “to think”. I am not sure if you can really be taught to think, but you are not even encouraged to step “outside the box”.

The goal always is to score a better grade than everyone else. What this amounts to is rote learning. No one cares how much you actually know about a subject, rather how much you can regurgitate in a closed book examination.

I cannot think of any class (other than a solitary history class in Sixth grade) where I had an open book exam. It was all about memorization. You were taught what your teacher was taught when he/she was a child. There were never any discussions in class about current technology or new emerging trends. We always talked about pre-historic stuff. I understand the importance of knowing the past in order to understand the future, but many of my Indian friends will agree with me here on how dated our education is right from elementary school all the way through undergraduate programs. Few will argue that the IIT’s are comparable to any other school in the world, but IIT’s are not for the mainstream.

I am sure many of us Indians would have had exams with questions that read “Explain in your own words……” and I am willing to bet that 95% of the answers were the same (maybe with a few sentences changed). I did not ever see the point of “Explain in your own words” in a Science exam where everything is based on facts. Scientific principles don’t change based whether it is being said in your own words or Newton’s words. It all came down to rote learning.

A physics, mechanical engineering, statics/dynamics class should not be about memorizing the formula, but about how to apply the formula in a real world situation. Sadly, none almost none of my Engineering classes had that as a core principle.

A sample physics exam would have an option of choosing between working out a problem or regurgitating how a Van de Graaff generator works. Again 90% of the students would take the safe bet of writing a long winded answer about the generator rather than take a chance working out the problem. Therein lies the problem with our system. The system always provided kids with an easy way out and given the competition, it was always prudent to get a better grade by answering the easier option.

I won’t even get to how many local university systems work with their question banks. That’s for another day.

The other big difference I found between India and the US is in relation to Magnet schools and gifted programs. In India, a smart kid was never given much attention because he would figure it out somehow. A lot of attention was given to kids that needed help. I am not saying that it is necessarily bad. In the US, if you are really good at something, there are more avenues for you to improve your already top-notch skills and make you the best at what you do.

I strongly feel that Indian system produces a lot of average Joes and a far fewer great minds than what it is really capable of. We are probably a lot better off making the above-average person into a really talented person, rather than make the below average into mediocre.

There I said it. Those were my $0.02. Always willing to have an open discussion. Feel free to comment.