Friday, 19 July 2013

GoodBye Blogger , Hello Wordpress !

Well , I've been enjoying blogging and there's a small change in the scheme .

This was one step that was recommended to me by many and I've finally decided to act !

All my posts over here can also be found at The Enigma (Wordpress) .

Hope you continue to have a nice time reading my blogs , sorry for the inconvenience , but it's for the good , I belive .

With that I bid adieu to all you readers/bloggers and Blogspot too ! I guess I'll always owe Blogspot something :)

R.Harish Navnit
The Enigma

Saturday, 29 June 2013

A Noble Gesture-Giving back to the society

As I make my way past the narrow streets , skipping , hopping and in the process , driving away scores of flies hovering above feces lying on the footpath , I think to myself , how did it all come to this ?
Just minutes - literally minutes - less than 10 , or if you would like to gauge it in distance , hardly half a kilometer away lies one of the prime examples of urban development in any city .
The skyscrapers are in stark contrast to the shanty streets
just minutes away.

Over here however , in what is without a shadow of any doubt one of the most ugliest places - better still than so many others - to live in , it's an entirely different story . The very meaning of life seems to differ vastly . It's totally surreal to imagine of such vastly different faces to a city . A city that is considered one among the best and promises to leave behind many in it's trails . It is hard to comprehend that people call this place their home .
As soon as you enter these streets , you too are gripped by an inexplicable fear , especially if you are someone not affluent with Marathi and are brave enough to carry a wallet and a laptop in your backpack . Suddenly , all eyes seem to focus on you , as you move in , the streets get narrower and narrower . The accent used is synonymous to that used by hooligans , you wonder what you may encounter here . The uncertainty is enough to drive into phobia .
To live in these habitats , is by no means a piece of cake . There is the constant fear of something going wrong . Children here play on the roads and footpaths , the same area also functions as their lavatories . Women here seem to lead a miserable life , not knowing what their better half – often the sole earner of the family - is upto . Will he return for the night ? Will they manage the next week ? . However , there is no doubt that even these streets have gone substantial changes – changes for the good . But when the comparison is relative , they take a battering !
On one corner of the street , I see two drunken men fighting for some silly cause and I realize that I've to cross them in order to reach the destination . I walk as casually as possible , dripping sweat in the process , and as I near them , one of them starts running towards me ! My fears come true , thankfully , he asks me to hold his sweater , while he takes care of his counterpart . I somehow manage to escape the ordeal and make it to my destination – Hutatma Rajguru School and College .

I had an unrestricted entry to the school
As soon as I enter inside , or even before I enter , what strikes me is the ease with which I was able to break in . I for one , have never managed to enter even my own house with such ease . You will always find someone overlooking the proceedings. The security is non-existent , I see a sight which I once used to part of . Children running and screaming and playing in the open field . I never , not even in my wildest dreams , imagined that this sight would make me Nostalgic . As I came to terms with the reality that my childhood was well and truly over , I look beyond the playground and see a sight that gives me shivers – a shiver down my spine . Where the playground ends , starts a huge cliff , where , in my childhood days , had heard stories of how Leopards would stoop down and hunt both humans and livestock alike and here were the children playing carelessly . They were in their own world .It would need nothing short of a miracle to change this place , to bring it to level grounds with the city .

Shirish and Raju do the talking.

Enter three fine gentlemen - Praveen A , a software engineer and a graduate from the prestigious NIT Calicut and hailing from Pallakad , Kerala . Shirish Agarwal , working actively in the FOSS and Pune Linux User Groups and finally Raju Vindane , a local of Nagpur , currently pursuing his engineering degree in a college in the city . These geeks , if you will , have been doing their bit in helping the people of the slums realize their dreams . They are tackling one of the main problems in our county head on – education or the lack of it . The children here can't afford quality education due to numerous reasons . The women here are expected to the household work and nothing else . But all of that could change , thanks to this wonderful initiative .
Praveen keeps a watchful eye over the proceedings.
Well , all of this doesn't answer one question , not yet . What the hell am I doing in the middle of all this ?? . Well , without going into the details , I was being mentored by Praveen in my maiden opensource project . In the process , I got acquainted to Shirish , Raju and others . So , when myself and Praveen were conversing on the phone , he invited me to join them in this cause . Though I was a bit skeptic , I decided to give it a go and here I was trying to find my footing in the middle of all the hurly-burly ! I hope that answers the question .

Now , as we made our way in to the school and into the principal's office for a perfunctory meet , on our way , the excitement of the students on seeing their heroes was palpable . Now I too was living it and loving it . It was my first visit to a classroom in a school , since I last passed out of my school (Which was one tenth of a decade ago !) . We were told that we could use the e-learning class . Wow ! That sounds cool , I wasn't expecting such a setting in this school and it came in as a pleasant surprise , but soon all the initial excitement was put to bed when I came to know that the “e-learning classroom” didn't even have a projector screen but at least they had a working projector(The only reason why it must be working is because it stays away from the student's reach).
The guys poke fun at the state of the equipment

I then connected Raju's net-book to the projector and we were off and running . Raju was in charge of the class as he captured the attention of the students with his friendly and calm approach . Most importantly however , he was the one who could best communicate in Marathi . That made the student's feel a lot better and for the next hour they were shown a wonderful cartoon . They enjoyed every bit of it .

The Cartoon that went something like "The Big Buck Bunny"

Raju then emphasized the importance of computer to these students by citing their most favorite example – the cartoon ofcourse . While Raju went further , he was assisted by Sirish from time to time and myself and Praveen took turns to demonstrate Raju's commands . Throughout the hour students kept peeking in with curiosity and showed their interest in learning . An introduction to typing was also given , even I learnt something new , as I tried my luck in typing Marathi . 
Raju then tried to stretch their imagination to the next level as he showed them the various planets of the solar system and the students watched in awe . Raju put some of his knowledge gained during his visits to GMRT to good use as he stated a few interesting facts about different celestial bodies . In the end , it all bodes well for the future of these young minds and in turn the future of our country . Such activities should be promoted and supported , just as these people have no need as such to do all this . It has to come from within . Read how it all started [1].

Raju shows the students the world map and the solar system

We were teaching a class of VIIIth grade girls . The session for boys was to follow which would then be followed by a session to empower women at the Shramik Mahila Morcha office. Here women were taught the basics of computers and how it could come to their aid . The Women even had the chance to work with Raspberry Pi's[2] . This also takes care of another important topic , not just limited to our country - Women Empowerment .
Unfortunately , I couldn't stay back for the next two sessions and had to bid adieu to my inspirational friends and left them to continue this Noble Gesture ...

References :

Friday, 28 June 2013

The Year that was ...(Part-I) - The curtain call

Apologies . It's been three weeks since my last update , and all this while I was wondering what would my next post be based on ? I thought a lot , some interesting and weird topics crossed my mind. I even wrote lengthy articles on one of them . But then I felt it was just too technical and that the writer himself lacked a clear understanding of what he was posting ! So that one's found it's place in the archives . So , believe it or not I'm back to the same scheme , I'll be continuing with "The Year that was ...." series , something that I had so dearly hoped I wouldn't have to. Well , I guess it's destiny , isn't it ? So let's get the ball rolling .

You can always refer to the blog archives , if you feel you are missing a link and are that interested in following this ... I salute you !

Yup , I was now getting acquainted to life without an android smartphone . It's replacement , a Nokia 101 , a phone that quite surprisingly had the ability to playback mp3 and could support memory cards.

The Nokia 101 was fighting a lost battle trying to fill the shoes of the HTC Wildfire S

It's a known fact that all these smartphones are "Not so smart" without a working internet connection and I being the lazy bloke that I was , refused to provide internet service to mine , though I always wished I too had it , but it had to come by itself , perhaps magically because I was reluctant to spend on it . So as it stood , thanks to my reluctance and laziness I was effectively missing just the camera and the touch interface and the color interface and ... Okay , Nokia 101 quite simply can't match the HTC Wildfire S. This was a fact that dawned on me the moment I bought it , but life had to go on .
Life at the hostel seemed to be little mundane and then all of a sudden it gathered pace , the schedule was now hectic and I was unable to cope up . I neither completed my assignments nor did I study . I was often left consoling myself and making up a strategy to escape the eyes of the stern evaluator or in simple terms the teacher . As the submission dates narrowed in , my hopes were shattered and I resorted to prayers and good-wills . That seemed to have little effect on the inescapable situation that I found myself in . Then before I could realize , we were done , for the moment at least as the final working day was now a thing of the past and I could now heave a sigh of relief . I still don't realize how I came out of those dark days , I'm as puzzled as thief who doesn't get caught (not sure if that made any sense !!) . Then we embarked on our journey , or rather it was only me who embarked on journey to countdown the days . While others held the countdown to the number of days remaining for the end-semester examinations, I went a step ahead by doing the countdown to the end-semester vacations and I'm sure I wasn't alone , but just that I couldn't spot anyone doing that back then .

And finally the day of reckoning arrived , the end-semester examinations question paper was in front of our very eyes and it lived up to it's cruel description given by the seniors . The hours spent in the exam hall were something else , they could transform you into one of the greatest philosophers of all time but still they wouldn't get you to the answer about the question asked . It all lead the way to quiet introspection and as time-which seemed to be frozen-passed by , the grave concern on the faces turned into resemblance of a warrior doing his clan proud ! There were cheers for every face that bared that look . And then there were the public enemies who brought shame to their clan and were looked upon with disgust and anger . Thankfully , I was by default a warrior who did his clan proud . The exams followed an almost identical routine with the same warriors failing to disappoint and others just piling on the misery on their clan . At the end of it all I was just too overwhelmed by all the happenings that all I just wanted was to be back home , and I would soon get my wish. I would fly home the very next day the exams finished and I was back in familiar territory . I was now with my parents who obviously mean a world to me , but I was also united with most of my long time buddies , we all seemed to have changed a little with our exploits into the unknown . It was a change that I hope would be for the good .     

Saturday, 8 June 2013

An Outing to Regret

Hello everyone !
Back to blogging after a considerably long break. Hopefully , I'll grow punctual in writing blogs .
So , Let me start off from where I signed off in my last post .(Check the blog archive for the previous posts).
In this post , I'll be focusing on just one single event , that I still hope never took place, it could have so easily been prevented if I had just been a little bold and brave enough to have followed my heart.Now when I look back at those days I'm only left with regret and remorse.
If I went any further with this post(and there is a long way to go before I can call it curtains to the "The Year that was ..."), I'm sure I would have written one of the best lullaby's ever . So I'm being cautious not to stretch the limits. I would like to introduce a customary warning as I had done in the previous post.

Please be Warned : This could still make for lengthy reading . 

So , I had just begun making visits to Azheekal beach , and despite a plethora of warnings to be cautious during our visits , the only thing that really remained on reaching the spot would be to indulge in unlimited fun , those visits with my friends will always remain the memories that I'll cherish for a long long time.
Back then , I too was a smartphone user , I was the owner of the HTC Wildfire S , a beautifully built android smartphone replete with all the most important features that a user would really require.

The beautifully crafted HTC Wildfire S was a pleasure to
Then one fine day , which I remember very well , I returned from college very tired and drained and as soon as I entered the room I fell down on my bed and wanted to doze off . But my buddies ofcourse, had other ideas , they absolutely hounded me to make the trip despite my resistance , and for irony , even those who normally wouldn't turn up for such a trip were all ready in waiting , so I felt a moral obligation to accompany them.  But then again there was this inexplicable force that had gripped me and I remained firmly in the clutches of my bed and I too felt really comfortable and just forgot everything that was happening around me.
Then suddenly out of the blue , one of my roommate said , " You don't wanna come ? , Fine , but give us your phone , we'll take some photographs " . His words shook me out of my sleep and I said "Okay, let's go" . I , for some reason didn't feel good about this trip , I never really wanted it , but I was doing it for my friends and that brought in me a sense of pride . (Truth be told I made that trip only because of my unwillingness to part with my phone for a couple of hours).
My previous visits to the beach yielded me some stunning pictures as well , courtesy my dear phone and for me it had slowly but surely become more than just a phone .

The Azheekal beach has this unique walk-way that takes you
right into the action.

Finally , we reached our destination , as always , it was breath-taking , and for the first timers, coming along with me , it must have been like a paradise. We planned that we would first go see the dolphins in the Arabian sea before the sun set. Well , as it had always been , things never went according to plan in my life , and this was no exception . We all ran the race of our life to dive into the sea , and before I could realize , I had three phones in my pocket , one of them mine , and I was the one leading the way . We were all wet and so were our phone , and suddenly realization struck and those poor devices(our phones) were sent flying in the air from half a metre inside the sea to the sea shore.I thought how stupid ! Who does that ? Certainly not me . I knew that phones would get damaged when exposed to water ,but I was in two minds as to whether mine was water resistant or not , because my phone had survived it's previous trysts with water , though none of them were anywhere near being immersed in a vast ocean . The extra insulation that I had provided my phone with , also spelt optimism . I then decided on that fateful day that my phone had to be water resistant , It was blind faith .
The Azheekal Beach was also a photographer's paradise
even an amateur like me was able click some impressive
snaps.My Phone was proving to be an ideal companion
in such visits.
That paved the way for me to enjoy the next hour or so in the sea water . Then , when it was all over , we were making our way out of the water and the very roommate who spoke those words that spurred me on to make the trip informed that the phones were not working , but luckily enough his phone was working . I asked him how could he say that ? He replied casually , "I tried switching them on , they don't work".(Remember , when your phone is wet , that too in salt water , the last thing you want to be doing is try to switch it on ... that 's the equivalent of saying R.I.P over and over again).So my buddy had essentially done the last rites and then I took over , I tried switching it on till my fingers didn't ache , so I think I must have done the cremation then :p . So we embarked on the return journey to the hostel , we had to slither our way through , stealth was of utmost importance , and I very nearly had everyone trapped , we reached our rooms , but then when we looked back , all we could see was trails of beach sand that had come from my track-pants , I then rushed again with my weapon (a broomstick) and I did the sweepers a big favor that evening .Now the hostel warden would be in rooms anytime from now , and here we were drenched in sea water , wearing clothes that were dripping water . As if things couldn't get any worse , we realized that all of us had bid adieu to our locker keys in the mighty Arabian sea , now we had to go see the warden to collect the hacksaw blade , and we somehow escaped that episode thanks to a kind friend . The next few days were comical , I must have looked like this utter fool who was drying his phone in the place where people were supposed to dry their clothes. I even fought for the best place to dry my phone . At the start I couldn't have been more optimistic , but as the hours passed by , I knew I was fighting a lost battle , It was gone , my phone which had been such a highlight of my childhood life , given to me as a birthday present , had departed on it's heavenly abode. Now I was left with the daunting task of letting out the truth to my parents and gather the courage to ask for a new phone. I eventually got a new phone which had THAT unbelievable feature of flashing a torch-light . I was left to rue of what might have been .
This was one of those occasions where I didn't follow my heart, when I so easily could have . Sometimes we know what is right for ourselves but we just lack the courage or confidence to follow our intuition and that makes all the difference.
Through this episode , I just want to convey that no matter what the circumstance , always follow your heart.

At this juncture I think it would be fitting to quote from perhaps the greatest entrepreneur of our generation .

"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition , they somehow already know what you truly want to become " - Steve Jobs

 Steve Jobs , I couldn't agree more .  

Till the next time , sayonara
Happy Blogging

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Year that was ...(PART I)

Hello everyone !
The following is my first ever article on a blog. I am new to the world of blogging and I have decided ,that to start off things , a recall of the year that just passed by would be apt. The year which passed by also happens to be the first year of my college life.So I am writing an almost detailed description of the events that took place.For the sake of readability, I'm splitting the storyline into multiple parts.If things go well , I could term it as a masterpiece , which helped in creating suspense throughout the posts. :)

Please be warned : This one could make for a lengthy reading  :p

Let's wind back the clocks a year and half , shall we ? So, what was i upto ?

Such sights had become common in class XII-sci of K.V Ganeshkhind,Pune
Ha ha , I guess that tells the whole story. I was effectively killing time , doing anything that came to mind , but nothing that was worth calling useful. I had the best time of my life from my 8th to 12th grade. After achieving unexpected heights in the 10th grade , 11th and 12th were Déjà vu .
After the 12th grade public examinations , I more or less followed pack , wrote multiple entrance examinations . To my surprise , I had also enrolled for the amrita university entrance examinations, and as it turned out , it wasn't just a mere formality. Fate had it , and within the next three months i would be a hosteller at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham , Amritapuri Campus.

The magnificent college building of the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham,Amritapuri Campus

So, all of a sudden , I'm in an all new surrounding, tasting hostel life for the first time in my rather uneventful life. It all happened in a blur. We reached the college a day before the reopening of the college, rushed here and there to pay the college fees and confirm the admission. It was all done just in time. Phew ! . Now I had to step into the hostel. Before arriving here , I was well versed with Hindi,Tamil & could understand Malayalam but speak very few of it. So of all the languages that were spoken in the hostel , it was Telugu where I was found lacking. Fate had it , I was grouped in a room which had all Telugu speaking individuals, and I thought to myself , "What a start ! " . I must have resided in that particular room for maybe a week or two , before I moved on to another room where people spoke a language I was more familiar to.
The next few weeks passed on quite uneventfully. Then we were alerted that the first periodical internal exams would be held immediately after the Onam holidays.We were warned not to go home for the holidays , but I still gathered courage to pay my first visit as an engineering student to my home.I enjoyed every moment of my stay in the relative comforts and luxuries of my home sweet home. Time passed by and was time for me to depart. I was concerned , not because I was being separated from my parents and the luxuries of home, but more so because I now had less than 48 hours to write my first exam of engineering life.I knew that as always , I had messed it up again . I was immersed in all too familiar feeling. I was losing hope.... and I lost it. Then I felt better, once you are beyond melancholy , you feel an automatic upliftment. Things take less and less importance and it's a nice feeling to have :) .
On my first visit to the Azheekal Beach
A few days later , the results were out , I wasn't too surprised or shocked , it went as expected . Then normalcy settled in. We were back to enjoying our self. We now started to explore the city and my word ! ,what a supremely scenic place it is. Soon , news spread in the first years Boy's hostel about the "Azheekal beach"(not sure if I spelt it right !) located in the vicinity of the campus. On my first visit , I was so enthralled by the beauty and the ambiance , that I knew right away that this wouldn't be my last visit to this place. Little did I know that I would end up heavily regretting one of those future visits.

To be continued ...

Adios readers and bloggers ,
Happy Blogging