દીક્ષાંત સમારોહ: એક અનંત પાનખરની પહોર

ખિલવા થી ખરવા ની સફર..

એક મેદાનમાં વાંસના લાકડા પર બનેલો વિશાળ પંડાલ, સવારના ૮ વાગ્યે લગભગ સાવ ખાલી. ખાલીપણું એની વિશાળતાને જાણે હજીય વધારી દે. જોતા જ જોતા ૯ વાગ્યા સુધી આ પંડાલમાં અઢી થી ત્રણ હજારનું માનવમેહરામણ એકઠું થઇ જાય. દીક્ષાંત સમારોહના પારંપરીક પહેરવેશમાં નવજાત એન્જીનીયરો તેમના વાલીયો સાથે આવી એક અનોખા કૌતુક સાથે સ્ટેજ તરફ આંખો ટકાવી બેસી જાય. ડીડીયુના વિદ્યાર્થી તરીકે નહિ પણ ચાર વર્ષ ઘણા એવા લોકોને જોનાર પ્રેક્ષકની દ્રષ્ટિએ જો પંડાલમાં બેઠેલા વિદ્યાર્થીમિત્રોના ચેહરા પરની લાગણીયોનું વર્ણન કરું તો ઘણી અસીમ વ્યાખ્યાઓ પણ ભોંઠી પડી જાય. સાહેબ, અતિશયોક્તિ જરાય નથી કરી રહ્યો. ચાર વર્ષમાં એકાએક જર્નલ-શબમિશન, ઇન્ટરનલ-એક્સટરનલ, વાયવા, નખરાળ પ્રોફેસરોનાં નખરાં અને નડિયાદ-ગામની અનેક પ્રતિકૂળતાઓથી વ્યથિત ચેહરાઓ પર આજે આખરે સંતોષ અને આનંદ છલકાતો દેખાય છે. ઉપરની બે લાઈનને જો સંક્ષિપ્તમાં કહું તો – “હાશ! છુટ્યા…”નો ભાવ! મોટા ભાગનાં લોકોના અંત:કરણમાં હજી એ લાગણીનો સાક્ષાત્કાર નથી થયો હોતો કે અત્યારે જેમની સાથે બેઠા છીએ, જેમની સાથે મસ્તી-ઠઠ્ઠા કરી રહ્યા છીએ, એ લોકો હવે ફરી ક્યારે જોવા મળશે એ તો નિયતિ સ્વયં પણ ખુબ ગણિત પછી જ કહી શકશે. પણ થોડાંક મારા જેવા પણ હોય જે આજુબાજુની દરેક બારીકીને પોતાની આંખ અને પોતાના દિલમાં સમાવી લેવા માંગતા હોય છે, કારણ કે કાલથી “લાઈફ” બદલાઈ જવાની છે.

ઘડિયાળ આશરે ૯.૩૦ બતાવે ત્યારે “એકેડેમિક પ્રોશેશન” પંડાલમાં પધારે. મોટાભાગનાં વિદ્યાર્થીઓ સમારોહની આ પરંપરાને પેહલી વખત જોઈ રહ્યા હોય છે અને આ વિધિની ભવ્યતાને જોઈ સ્તબ્ધ રહી જાય છે. (જે વાંચકમિત્રો અત્યારે ડીડીયુમાં અભ્યાસ કરી રહ્યા છે એ આ લાગણીને “ફર્સ્ટ પર્સન”માં અનુભવી શકે તે માટે “એકેડેમિક પ્રોશેશન” શું છે એ નથી લખી રહ્યો). વી.સી સાહેબનાં અભીભાષણથી સમારોહની શરૂઆત થાય છે. એમનાં આશિરવચન અને સલાહ સંભાળતી વખતે બે મિનીટ માટે એવું લાગે કે આ દીક્ષાંત પંડાલ નહિ પણ MMH છે અને અવસર દીક્ષાંત સમારોહ નહિ પણ ઓરીએન્ટેશન છે! ડીડીયુમાં તો જીંદગી પૂરો ગોળાકાર બનાવે છે! છેલ્લે, જ્યારે સાહેબ કહે “તમે સૌ આ યુનિવર્સીટીની બહાર પગ મૂકતા જીંદગીનાં અનેક રંગોને જોશો….” ત્યારે જાણે એક ચુંબક વર્તમાનમાં પાછું ખેંચી લાવે એવી ભ્રાંતિ થાય છે! પછી જેઓ શિદ્દતથી ૪ વર્ષ ભણતર વ્યવસ્થાને મહત્તમ માન આપ્યું (ટોપ્પર) હોય એ લોકોને થોડાંક સોનાથી (તાંબા પર સોનેરી રંગેલું ચક્ર – ગોલ્ડ મેડલ) વધાવામાં આવે છે. દરેક ડીપાર્ટમેન્ટનો ટોપ્પર સ્ટેજ પર મેડલ લેવા આવે ત્યારે સૌથી જોરથી હુરિયો (કાઠીયાવાડી શબ્દ) કયું ડીપાર્ટમેન્ટ પાડે એની હોડ લાગે છે! આ બધા વિધિ-વિધાનમાં મસ્તી-ઠઠ્ઠા તો ચાલ્યા જ રાખે. અને ભલે ને આજે છેલ્લો દિવસ હોય, પ્રોફેસરસાહેબો આજે પણ “માઈન્ડ” કરવાની ડયુટી પર! ખાલી આજે “વાયવામાં જોઈ લઈશ”ની ધમકીનો ડર નથી હોતો! જોતાં જ જોતાં બે-અઢી કલાક ક્યાં પસાર થઇ જાય એનું કઈ ભાન નથી રેહતું. ચાર વર્ષ સાથે રહેલા જોગીયો લાગણીથી સર્જાયલા વેક્યુંમમાં બહાર ફેકાઈ દુનિયાનું ગુરુત્વાકર્ષણ અનુભવે છે!

બધા લાગણીથી ભાવવિભોર થઇ ખુરશીમાં જ બેઠા-બેઠા કે જગ્યા પર જ ઉભા રહી ભેટે છે. એક મિનીટ માટે એમ લાગે જાણે જો હું મારા ભાઈબંધને જોસથી વળગી રહીશ તો કદાચ સમય રોકાઈ જાય! કદાચ અમે ડીડીયુમાં ફરી થી રહી જઈએ! આખરે, વર્તમાનની સામે નમતું જોખતાં, લોકો ભાઈબંધ નહિ તો ભાઈબંધીની યાદોને અમર કરીને પોતાના કાળજાને સાંત્વના આપે છે. ફોટા પાડવાની તો જેમ હોડ લાગે, અને કેમ નહિ. કોલેજથી ડિગ્રી જેટલું જ કંઈક મહત્વનું લઇ જતાં હોઈએ (ઈનફેક્ટ વધારે) તો એ મિત્રો સાથેની અમુલ્ય યાદો. અને માણસની રચના જ એવી કરી છે ઈશ્વરે કે એને દુનિયામાં સૌથી પ્રિય જે હોય એને એ પોતાનામાં બંધ કરી લેવા માંગે છે, ભલે એ પૈસો હોય જે મુઠ્ઠીમાં બંધ કરે કે પછી અંગત સાથે ની યાદો જે એ કેમેરામાં કૈદ કરે. ફોટા પડાવ્યા પછી બધા મળતા રેહેવાના વાયદા કરે! (આ કદાચ “3 Idiots” નો સીન લાગે, પણ જ્યારે સ્વયં અનુભવો ત્યારે એ માહૌલની ઊર્મિનો અંદાજ આવે!) મારા કાઠીયાવાડી મિત્રોથી છાસની લત્ત અને ના ને બદલે “માં” બોલવા સિવાય કંઈક સારું શીખ્યો હોઉં તો એ છે – “ચલ ભાઈ મઈડા ત્યારે” બોલવાનું. આ વાક્યમાં એક અજબની સકારાત્મકતા લાગે છે. બોલનાર અને સાંભળનાર બન્નેને ખબર હોય કે આ ફક્ત મનને એક આશ્વાસન છે (મોટા અંશે ખોટું) તો પણ બોલનારો બોલવાનું ભૂલતો નથી અને સંભાળનારા “હા ભાઈ/ભૂરા/કાકા, ચોક્કસ” કહીને એને આવકારે છે.

ભેગું થયેલું હજારોનું માનવમેહેરામણ બપોરના બે વાગતા સુધીમાં અશ્રુઓ સાથે વહી જાય છે. વિચાર એ આવે છે કે નિયતિનો સંયોગ તો જુવો એક માંને એનો દીકરો ચાર વર્ષ પછી પાછો મળે છે અને ડીડીયુની ભૂમિ-રૂપિ બીજીમાં અપાર સંભારણા અને લાગણીથી પોશેલાં અનેક દીકરા-દીકરીઓને એક સાથે વિદા કરે છે. નડિયાદને ભલે કેટલીય ગાળ દઈએ, પણ આ ભૂમિની સહનશક્તિને તો સલામ આપવી પડે. પાનખર પછી તો વૃક્ષ પણ સુનું દેખાય છે, જાણે વિરહમાં ઓતપ્રોત થઇ ગયું હોય, પણ આપડા કોલેજની જમીન, એની પાનખર તો એક જ દિવસે ઉમટી પડે છે, એના તો હજારો પાંદડા એક જ દિવસે ખરી રહ્યા છે. એને તો આપણને શૂન્ય-દિવસ થી જોયેલા છે – MMHમાં બેસતા, લેબ-ક્લાસરૂમ શોધતા, પેહલી વખત કેન્ટીનમાં જતાં, થાકેલા હારેલા કૉલેજથી મેદાનમાં થઇ હોસ્ટેલ પહોંચતા, પેહલી વાર બંક મારી રાજહંસ જતાં, કરચરલ વીકમાં ગાર્ડનમાં બેસી ટોળામાં અનેક ઘોષ્ટિઓ કરતાં અને બીજી અનેક સંવેદનાઓમાં આ ભૂમિમાં બરાબરની ભાગીદાર રહી છે. એની સંવેદના વિશે આપણે કોઈ દિવસે વિચાર્યું? અને આ પાનખર તો અનંત છે, હજારો વિદા થયેલા પાછા ફરી ક્યારે આવશે કે કેમ? કે પછી અમદાવાદ-બરોડા-સુરતમાં બસ નડિયાદને ગાળ આપતા રહી જશે. પણ સાહેબ, છોરું કછોરું થાય પણ માવતર કમાવતર ક્યારેય નથી થતું.

હમણા જ ઓગસ્ટ મહિનામાં ગ્રેજ્યુએશન પછી પેહલી વાર હું કોલેજમાં ગયો. ચકડોળ જેવો નાનો અમસ્તો ગેટ ફરાવી અંદર ઘૂસતા જ જાણે કોલેજની જમીને એ મને એની બાથમાં લઇ લીધો હોય એમ લાગ્યું. એક ટીપું તો સાહેબ મેં પણ પાડ્યું! એક બાજુંથી સેન્ટર ફોયોર તો બીજી બાજુંથી કેન્ટીન રાડ પાડીને બોલાવતાં હોય એવો ભાસ થયો.

સેન્ટર ફોયોર: “અલ્યા યાદ છે અહિયાં તો ડેસ્ક મૂકી કેટલીય ઇવેન્ટનાં registration કર્યા છે, કેટલાય પોસ્ટર મારે થામ્બ્લે લગાડ્યા ‘તા”.

કેન્ટીન: “અલ્યા, પેહલાં અહિયાં જો. મારી અંદર બેસીને કેટલીય જર્નલ લખી છે, એક્ઝામ પેહલા અહિયાં જ તો બેસી વાંચતો ‘તો! કેટલાય મિત્રોની બર્થડે પર એમને અહિયાં જ તો કેકથી રંગ્યા ‘તા અને મારો ફ્લોર બગડ્યો તો, એ ભૂલી ગયો શું?”

આવી ઘણીય ભ્રાંતિમાં ખોવાયેલો હું ગુલાબી બિલ્ડીંગની વાયે આગળ વધ્યો. ડોકું ઝુકાવીને ચાલતો ‘તો, ક્યાંક રેતીમાં કસેક ચાર વર્ષમાં પડેલું મારું જ એકાદ પગલું દેખાઈ જાય! ના જડ્યું તો આજનાં તો જમીન પર છપાઈ જાય… એટલા માં વરસાદ તૂટી પડ્યો! સાહેબ, કુદરત પણ ખરી ચાર્ટર્ડ એકોઉંનટંટ છે, ખરો હિસાબ રાખે છે. આપડે ભૂલી જઈએ કે આપડો સમય આ ભૂમિ સાથે ચાર વર્ષનો જ છે, એ પછી નહિ આપડે કે આપડા પગલાં અહિયાં રહે છે. વરસાદે મારાં પગ-નિશાન ધોઈ ફરી યાદ અપાવી દીધું – “ચાર વર્ષ પૂરા! હવે તો ભાઈ ALUMNI કેહવાઓ!” ૯ મે, ૨૦૧૪ના રોજ શરૂ થયેલી પાનખર આજીવન રેહશે. હવે દુરથી બસ ડીડીયુમાં જુનિયરોની ઝાકળ જોઈ થોડોક આનંદ અનુભવું છું!

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I’ll be back…

This traces way back to Aug 2012.

In a conversation with Manish Sir and PC Sir at Endeavour.

“Beta, tumhare so far tests mein marks acche hai, book reviews likhte ho, editorials likhte ho, fir bhi kyun CAT preparations discontinue karna chahte ho?” (It was just 2 months since I had joined…)

“Sir, cope up nahi ho pa raha DDIT ke saath. Every month a sessional aur mere extra curricular affairs se time nahi mil paa raha. I will come back next year.”, I said with hopes.

“Seriously? Next year placements aa jayenge. Aur DDIT mein to TCS, Infosys wagera aati hai. Tu pakka placement mein baith ke job le lega.”, he said

“Sir, trust me. Main waapis aaunga!”, I said with shivering voice and a scantily wet eyes.

/* September 2013 */

Orientation Lecture of I23 Batch at Endeavour: “Sir, I am Anish Desai. I was in H07 last year. I couldn’t continue to due my schedule. Hence, I took a batch transfer. I told you I’ll be back and here I am.”

“Okay! Nice. So have placements begun in your college?”, he asked, a little intrigued.

“Yes Sir. TCS just recruited 59 people from our college. I didn’t sit for placement and I am not going to sit for other companies as well.”

“Commitment is good. Respect!”, he said with a smile.

/* Mid May 2014 */ (Introspection and discourse with my innerself)

I saw FB posts of my friends placed at various good companies who had just got their joining letters. Some going West, some in South. Some posting their pics in formals, some at their work desk. I felt nice.

Whenever people would ask me about my placement, I would just say “I didn’t sit for placements.” Every time I replied this, a sceptical me asked “Had I sat for placements, would I have made it?” – a question that reverberated within the ventricle of my heart almost every night and I slept unanswered to my conscience.

/* June 2014 */ (Endeavour Mock Placement Drill)

On a random Sunday in June, PC Sir addressed a seminar on Resume Building, GD and PI. That noon, I told myself, “Boss, if I make it here, I would no longer have to dodge WHAT IF question that haunts me every night.”

/*Sat – 21st June */ -> Aptitude Test and Group Discussion.

As usual, I barely managed to reach on time for the aptitude test. I hate “How many men will take how many days to shit out this much” type of tests – one of the reasons for not sitting for Tech placements. I reluctantly appeared for the test, almost sure of not making it to the Group Discussion. To my surprise, I did! Nice! 800+ people appeared for APTI, approx 400 moved to Group Discussion.

12 People in a group for Group Discussion. All 12 had tips from PC Sir’s seminar that we attended previous Sunday. A tough moderator as well. He seemed more serious than the most serious girl in my class (people in CE 2014 C Division know whom I am referring to). Moreover, the guy just next to me had taken PC Sir’s light advice too seriously. Dude draws an oval table on his paper, makes twelve dots around it and even before GD starts he starts marking a cross on the dots! (He crossed the one representing me too! Pretty encouraging) I initiated the GD unopposed (I was so surprised by not being pounced at simultaneously by others that I spoke introducing address at Vajpayee’s speed). Luck had favoured me as we had a topic from the political arena, that too on BJP! “Boss, faavi gaya”,I thought. But then, since BJP is Modi and Modi is BJP today, whole GD was driven off track. Tried hard to save it, but then people who knew less about internal matters and organizational structure of BJP thought it would be best to kill the GD and let the whole ship sink. I thought it did!

GD results were out, 12 out of 60 (and a total of 76 out of 400 who appeared for GD) were selected and I was elated contributing to the 4th multiple of 3.

/* Sunday – 22nd June */ Personal Interview.

Experienced a Personal Interview in front of a panel for the first time in life.

My interview started without a “Tell us about yourself” question. I was devastated as this question was the best opportunity to guide the interview in your comfortable zones. A series of questions about WordPress, its updates, SEO, Google’s updates, etc. constituted the first phase of the interview. Tech had been my forte and working for 5 years with all these jazz  had sort of fortified me to answer any questions.

The second phase had questions on Media, Politics and Journalism- the three things I had mentioned as my hobbies. I was more than overjoyed to take questions on these. I talked about Rajdeep, Arnab, Shekhar Gupta – famous EICs whom I follow quite closely. I also had an opportunity to curse shit  like TOI, Hindustan Times what people call newspapers! I gave highly opinionated replies garnered by facts and incidents dated accurately. What more do you need to take the interviewers by an awe? 😉

After a 20 minute interview, Technical and Non-Tech combined I got a really good feedback which pointed at some flaws in my answers as well. I was again unsure if I would make it.

/* Monday, 23rd June 10.30 PM */

A friend informs me “You got selected!”

When I read this sentence on my phone, I lost a part of myself. One that bothered me with a WHAT IF question every night. I now know, if I can GET SELECTED in a process comprising an Aptitude Test with a reasonably good difficulty level, a group discussion with a strict moderator and a Personal Interview taken by a distinguished panel, then I would have definitely made it for any damn company had I sat for placement the previous year!

I am in my senses, I am not overconfident. I know it was just a PLAY. The real battle begins in October – November 2014 and there’s still a lot to work on to make it to a good B-School. And I shall! God forbid if I don’t, Main Waapis Aaunga!

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Taming TAFL

“TAFL – Theory of Automata & Formal Languages, also known as Theory of Computation. This is an important subject. The Head of our Department himself teaches the other part of the subject hence you can gauge it seriousness. Pay attention in the class, understand it here itself and you’ll not need to study for it. Miss one lecture and you won’t understand anything in the succeeding ones. So pay attention in this subject. Maximum people get REMs in this subject and it hampers them in 7th semester during placement and stuff. Moreover, people fail to score in 3rd sessional due to the extra-curricular activities in that period. At times the highest is 12 on 36 in 3rd sessional. So, try to pay attention and score the maximum you can in the first two sessionals.” – The professor cautioned us for the subject as dreaded, infamous and jinxed as EG (Engineering Graphics) in Engineering. I elaborate my stint with TAFL,a dreaded subject in Computer Engineering. Read more to explore the fun!

TAFL – Theory of Automata & Formal Languages, also known as Theory of Computation. This is an important subject. The Head of our Department himself teaches the other part of the subject hence you can gauge it seriousness. Pay attention in the class, understand it here itself and you’ll not need to study for it. Miss one lecture and you won’t understand anything in the succeeding ones. So pay attention in this subject. Maximum people get REMs in this subject and it hampers them in 7th semester during placement and stuff. Moreover, people fail to score in 3rd sessional due to the extra-curricular activities in that period. At times the highest is 12 on 36 in 3rd sessional. So, try to pay attention and score the maximum you can in the first two sessionals.– The professor cautioned us for the subject as dreaded, infamous and jinxed as EG (Engineering Graphics) in Engineering.

As far as academics are concerned, seniors cry wolf for two subjects which are the most difficult (after ofcourse managing a girl) – EG (Engineering Graphics) and TAFL (Theory of Automata & Formal Languages). My seniors too had warned me of this subject, but I didn’t pay much heed to it till it became a mammoth jeopardy in my life. It was 8th, December, 2012 – just when the much anticipated last even semester ON CAMPUS commenced – the 6th semester of B.TECH CE, which had TAFL as a feather in its circlet. 1st January, 2013 – the 1st Celebration of University Foundation Day for DDU was approaching us at a galloping pace. We were gearing up for crushing a World Record. Team Connect was in high spirits and we’d ample of work along with not ONE but TWO issues to make before 25th December – the English issue supplemented by a special Gujarati issue. With this animus, academics was something too beyond the boundaries of the radar to enchant our second mind even! I missed the introductory 2-3 lectures of the subject and that was enough to derail me… Beginning from PMI (Principle of Mathematic Induction) till Regular Expressions and Finite Automata everything went above my head in the class. I just went jotting down the stuff, scribbling little in the notebooks in the classroom (just because I had to) and looked at the PowerPoint slides perplexedly.

1st Amongst the Equals:

A month passed, the first internal exam lashed its attack on 7th Jan, 2013 with TAFL on 11th Jan. I was too drained in the first four papers to retain my reluctant zest for academics in the fifth one. Then I wasn’t even subconsciously conscious of villainous nature of TAFL. I didn’t study the previous night at all and submitted myself to goddess of slumber as early as 11pm (my usual sleeping time is 3-4am). Next day morning I got up and realized I was still virgin (and that was good ofcourse) and TAFL was going to fuck me soon! (Yes, I know that’s a nice way to say ‘I was unprepared’). I boarded the bus. Soon I learnt Gokhale too was sailing in the same boat. He offered me to accompany him at Ghoghari’s room where the latter was going to deliver a CRASH COURSE for TAFL. I agreed for consensual sex with TAFL rather than getting raped by the detested subject (Again, I know that’s a nice way to say I agreed to learn TAFL reluctantly). In some 2 hours from 8.30 to 10.30, I gobbled up a lot of TAFL served by Goghari and the repercussion was indigestion. I wrote some nonsense in paper (except the Pigeonhole principle, which fetched me ONE FULL MARK without any hitch). The nonsense fetched me a deplorable 12 on 36. With this I realized, the 3 internals with TAFL are going to be the worst one’s ever and the 12 on 36 was just the 1st amongst the equals.

Crying Wolf:

I’d fetched a skimpy 12 on 36 in TAFL in the first sessional which was lower than the scores in other subjects which usually a 7.someone like me gets. This has raised an alarm for me, I reckoned that TAFL was definitely EG’s kin and I shall begin lamenting for the unwanted blood relation between the two. I started telling everyone about my prejudice for TAFL, how bad it was and how I was struggling with it when I wasn’t actually. I made no efforts to rise from ashes (How heroic a sentence could be, you see!). I created all sort of zilch hype about TAFL and I wanted everyone to abuse the subject just because I didn’t like it. Everyone else in the class seemed comfortable mugging the circles of automata and those a’s, b’s, 0’s and 1’s inside their circumference but I couldn’t do the popular engineering ritual and hence I sinned in the exams. My FB and WhatsApp status would be “I Hate TAFL” and of the kind. Within a month’s time TAFL’s terror reached some hundreds in my contacts to cite the minimum effect of my propaganda to defame TAFL. I cried wolf for a month till 2nd sessionals – the time when most people in my list wished me luck for TAFL’s 2nd sessional.

2nd installment of misery:

After a bad blow from TAFL, I was apparently sincere during the 2nd sessional. I attended ALL the lectures and paid attention in the classroom too (I hope you’ve read the ALL in caps with sufficient emphasis). Not only that, I also practiced a sum or two before the exam week. And I relentlessly went on to fill a longbook just practicing minimizing Finite Automata, converting NFA to DFA and the Pumping Lemma (which I never understood). To show my utter reverence towards the hostility of TAFL, I shifted to Nadiad for a Night – the one before TAFL’s exam so that I don’t waste time in commuting from Nadiad to Ahmedabad. Raichura’s room was auspicious for me as I’d cracked CO (Computer Organization) in 5th semester in a similar fashion.  I practiced and practiced and I looked poised before the exam, but little did I know about loss of tranquility that was just counting 1 hour and 15 minutes. 2nd sessional- easiest paper ever all said, I too felt when the supervisor handed it over. But then, I messed up badly. The post-exam expert discussions that happen outside the class in which laureates of DDU participate with great gusto validating how correct their answers were, declared that I had goofed up badly in an EASY PAPER. The marks were out and I got an even disgraceful 9 on 36 in the 2nd sessional… Now, all the tension REALLY mounted up, the ball was completely my court. I now faced a do or die situation for making up to the SAFE mark in just one last sessional left to avoid REM (backlog/KT as popularly known amongst the engineering ‘afflicted’).

The upsurge:

I was in sheer melancholy then (yeah, an overstatement… just to create the effect). In the first lecture that followed the disaster, I asked MSB Sir, “Sir, I’ve just messed up in the first 2, how easy or difficult is the 3rd one?” He replied, “Well, if you know, we teach simple things like counting, addition, subtraction first and then difficult things like multiplication and division. So, whatever we’ve learnt so far was just basic, third sessional is definitely not easy. See if you can pay attention and work hard.” I understood! Things were not going to be easy! It was a do or die situation, I didn’t have much to lose. I started going to college early. My schedule would start at 10.45, but I would reach the college at 8.30 and read the text. (Astounding, but true!). I also asked some of my friends in IT to help me out with a topic or two. They did! I would study at home too, about the not so easy topics – Turing Machines, Stacks/Pushdown Automata and stuff. I’d lost hope, but I had always been taught to continue swimming even at the lowest depths in the expanse of deepest waters. I did!

I again lodged at Raichura’s room a day before TAFL’s 3rd sessional. My total so far was 21. I need to surge it up to 36- the safe mark (people in college however rumored a 45, but as I was a ‘well-informed’ prisoner of DDU Central Jail, I knew the correct rules and regulations). 15 in the 3rd sessional is what I needed. However, looking at my haunting past (a 12 and a 9), the task seemed pretty daunting. However, I practiced a lot (which implies mugging for the engineering ‘afflicted’). I draw each Turing Machine in the text as many as 8 to 10 times. I practiced each Pushdown Automata equally. By the 10th time, I felt I was actually understanding and could manage making a custom one if dared by the paper setter. And it was 2nd April, 2013 – TAFL’s 3rd sessional, a day before my birthday! I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday eve! I took it positively and poured all my mettle in the paper. And what resulted was a 20 on 36! Yes! I had crossed the safe mark, God signaled “Yes, I want you to pass” and I’d got it then…

Last nail in TAFL’s coffin:

If you’re famished and you’ve to dream, then why dream of salt and dry bread? Why not imagine a soft, buttered bread with a hundred year old wine? I’d crossed the safe mark in sessional exams. My total counted a 41. We’ve a 60 mark paper in external exam, you evade a dual with the subject on a 24. We’d reading parole of 15 days before the FINAL EXAMS. The destiny had favored me by putting a holiday in the timetable before TAFL’s exam. Abiding by each year’s traits I made a lot of plans to study in these 15 days and again abiding by the traits I studied NOTHING. All I did in these 15 days was – practicing to convert a NFA to DFA (just a small part of 9-chapters long TAFL syllabus). Once again, owing to my blatancy towards academics, I appeared in exams condomless (unprepared sounds too clichéd to use it here…). I appeared for the first 4 exams (which included a horrible paper of Computer Networks) with great gusto. Then came TAFL! I’d decided, I would not leave any stone unturned. I followed the buttered bread and wine analogy too religiously and aimed for a 60 on 60. Prepared with similar zest. I wrote everything in the notebook and practiced. I went on and on for 2 days. I did all the things I had evaded in the sessional exams. I went on writing stuff again and again in those 2 days before TAFL’s exam. I was frustrated, but I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to remove my frustration out! I didn’t want the frustration to reflect in the paper as it would harm my ownself. Instead I decided to settle scores with TAFL while practicing only. During the 3rd or 4th revision in the book, I started writing “Last Nail in TAFL’s Coffin” on each page before starting the topic. Below is are a few pics: (I had preserved the notebook for this very day, when I would want to shout to the world that I’d tamed TAFL)

TAFL1

TAFL2

TAFL3

Raichura drove me to Santram Deri a day before the exam. I’d a lot of faith in that place tracing back to my experience with CO where the shrine had worked miracle for me. I prayed again to help me swim the pacific. The D-Day finally arrived- 21st April, 2013 – TAFL’s external exam. My heart pumped a lot before appearing for the exam. The supervisor handed over the question paper. My eyes scanned it for some familiar and favorable things. Before beginning I calculated if I could manage to pass and the initial calculation returned POSITIVE. I started scribbling. And there I saw a question of converting a NFA to DFA in the end of Section-1. It seemed quite simple apparently, seemed to be one which found a place in the paper so that morons like me could sail through easily. I guided it to the end and proceeded with Section-2 which seemed tougher. I attempted the max I could. If bluffing can fetch you marks, why shy away?

I finished the paper in about 2 hours and 15 minutes. I started parsing it again for searching any marks which I had left unpicked. Every time I parsed, the NFA-DFA question was inviting unusual attention from me. I checked it multiple times but found no errors in what I had already written. It was 2 hours 50 minutes, just 10 minutes before paper collection and I was again with the NFA-DFA question and I realized that I had left a common state ungrouped which was so evident from the question itself! I immediately redrew it! I had passed the acid test, upon confirmation from a professor I found that the question was purposely tricked and what I did was correct! I jumped in joy then! All what I was waiting then for was RESULTS!

Yay! I finally TAMED TAFL

24th May, 2013 – the Result Day. All around me knew I was dreading TAFL the most! But the unexpected happened! The result showed the highest in my score in TAFL – A 43 on 60! I shouted a loud – “Yes TAFL! I did it! A subject in which I managed to score a bare 41 in 3 sessional exams, was now MINE with a 43 on 60 in just one single exam for which I had to prepare full curriculum. I couldn’t have asked for more. It was a happy ending. I felt like a hero who had defeated the villain in the end! Hardwork is secondary, I’d a lot of prayers from my parents, the high court, my friends and just so many living and non-living entities that did the impossible for me. I had finally overcome TAFL’s Terror (Purvil had suggested this as the title of blog post. I’d have been glad to put it had I flunked. But no, I fucked TAFL!)

TAFL is no more a trepidation to me today! Yes, I hate it as much as I did before. I’m in 7th semester of engineering today. We’ve a subject – Language Processor with not few but many elements of TAFL in it. But no, I am not scared. I’ve swum in the floods, dark clouds don’t petrify me any more.

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Attaining Poise

“Bhaiya, what is the difference between 911MS and 911ES? Which one do we buy?” I asked a guy two years senior to me in a compartment presumably oscillating in Simple Harmonic Motion on a rail-track of western line. “Get a 911ES. Though Profs can’t stand it, but it’s programmable. Maths mein 45 karne mein kaam aayega” he said. “45? Sounds like a special number, eh?” I asked, surprised and inquisitive. “Boy, you’re a DDIT guy now. The numbers 24, 36 and 45 now should mean more than just the figure specifications of girls. These are the numbers you’ll always look for, not just pertaining to girls but pertaining to exam.” he scoffed. “I’ve heard, these people detain if your attendance goes below 75%. Really?” “Bacche, first year mein notice board par fatwa nahi lagate yeh log… Jalse maar le…” he scuffed my back in confidence. “Fatwa?” I questioned. “Yes! Soon you’ll realize faculties here are big fans of each and every student. If they see your autograph less often in the attendance sheet, you’re reported at the high. However, they choose to inform you of their dissent publicly on notice board each month.” he said and we descended the train.

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“Bhaiya, what is the difference between 911MS and 911ES? Which one do we buy?” I asked a guy two years senior to me in a compartment presumably oscillating in simple harmonic motion on a rail-track of western line. “Get a 911ES. Though Profs can’t stand it, but it’s programmable. Maths mein 45 karne mein kaam aayega” he said. “45? Sounds like a special number, eh?” I asked, surprised and inquisitive. “Boy, you’re a DDIT guy now. The numbers 24, 36 and 45 now should mean more than just the figure specifications of girls. These are the numbers you’ll always look for, not just pertaining to girls but pertaining to exam.” he scoffed. “I’ve heard, these people detain if your attendance goes below 70%. Really?” I continued interrogating him. “Bacche, first year mein notice board par fatwa nahi lagate yeh log… Jalse maar le…” he scuffed my back in confidence. “Fatwa?” I questioned. “Yes! Soon you’ll realize faculties here are big fans of each and every student. If they see your autograph less often in the attendance sheet, you’re reported at the high. However, they choose to inform you of their dissent publicly on notice board each month.” he said and we descended down the train at Nadiad.

The above para was an excerpt from one of the few conversations I’d with a guy two years senior to me when I was an infant in the DDU realm. Coming from a school which was too particular about attendance and discipline, I quibbled less about DDU than the other freshly detained prisoners of academics (the term scribbled on one of the desks in MMH- bestowed upon the newly enrolled by the veterans of DDU CONCENTRATION CAMP – again a term scribbled on MMH DESK.) It just took me the first internal of 1st semester to hop from ‘pro-DDU’ to ‘anti-DDU’ clan amongst the students. Centuries ago, as it feels today – I used to be nervous due an exam every month. Not only girls, but even exams in DDU brought claustrophobia to me. Bunking a lecture, I thought would not suit my image of a ‘Mumma’s boy’ and hence I glued my bums over the perforated MMH seats with restrain. I worked not for a total of 36 on three but a 36 on 36 in one! I then, also cared as to who mugged up the max and managed to get his/her marks printed in bold in the mark-sheet displayed on the notice board. Then I would get pretty amused to see my fellow prisoners in the cellular jail in Nadiad METRO CITY getting magnetized to the notice-board quicker than the coins would magnetize to the player running in Temple Run when the Magnet power-up would activate. However, today I infer that the power-up in Temple Run was probably inspired from DDUians! Writing journals (and record books too – I belonged to the IT CELL in the prison earlier) was as important as drafting a law and getting it signed without a flaw by the Prof was as difficult as getting a bill signed by Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal. Owing to my highly proactive tongue, I would get into rampant verbal brawls with professors when they’d ask us – the 1st semers that- how overwhelmed we were by DDU. I would naively elaborate on how DDU was giving us an awesome time then! Though I would reach from the canteen to MMH and back without a stumble, I felt my feet were trembling then.

3 years later, I seemed to have improved my vocabulary of life and updated it as well. I walk-off blatantly to bunk lectures regardless of dampening the “Mumma’s Boy” image within me. I’ve shed off the claustrophobic shade of mine in context of exams and today I deal like a stud with them, taking them on a ride each month they come. (Though exams are no joy, but as one of my friends puts it “You experience orgasm only once you’re fucked.”) I’ve now comprehended that ‘happy endings’ matter more than ‘dhamakedar entry’ and hence I’ve learnt finding peace in a 36 in 3 exams rather than a solo 36. Journals to me are a metaphor to ACCOUNT BOOKS which on being found inaccurate and un-updated with the latest plagiarized data would lead to RAID.  I’ve drilled it to my taste-buds that Payal Puff and ChaarBhuja are Dominos and Subway and I’ve told the Amdavadi within me that Nadiad was soon going to have an International Terminal.

I don’t crib about anything in the college or about the town in which my college is located in now, for two reasons – Either i) the thing I had a problem with has already changed to what I’d wanted it to. OR ii) I realized I’d have to comply with it if I wanted to finish my graduation in four years. Today I walk comfortably all over the campus and there remains no path untraversed. The soil now grips my feet well. Has the soil changed? Or have the paths become hurdle-less?  Probably what has changed over 3 years is – I’ve learnt walking. I feel my feet have finally attained poise.

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Living life the processor way!

In this post, I try to explain some processing concepts (pertaining to Microprocessor and its Architecture) in context to our everyday life. Ones who currently have their feet balanced on the grounds of Computers, IT and Electronics and Communications might find this blog-post might be a little amusing and to the ROW (rest of the world) this is to educate you about the processors.

                With a semester having curriculum dispelled around embedded system concepts and specifically the “Micro‘processor’”, it’s hard to refrain from establishing an analogy between the processor and humans. To be more precise, any person with a philosophical tinge would at some point of time halt while reading Douglas V Hall and think – “This is what happens with life too…” While the philosophical minded believe that nature is again at its best conjure, the logical and non-creative ones think it’s time for yet another crappy stuff which was just induced and not natural. In this post, I try to explain some processing concepts (pertaining to Microprocessor and its Architecture) in context to our everyday life. Ones who currently have their feet balanced on the grounds of Computers, IT and Electronics and Communications might find this blog-post might be a little amusing (Yes, here I begin boasting) and to the ROW (rest of the world) this is to educate you about the processors. Here I begin:

1)      Pipelining:

Our computing experience would have been damn demure and as slow as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s scripts had the concept of pipelining not been floated. Pipelining is simple words means doing two or more tasks in such a way that while the first one is being process you fetch the second one and being processing it. This efficiently keeps your “Fast” processor busy enough and saves your time. I believe the concept is no “Eureka” material for the floater of this concept has just copied the lifestyle of some of the busiest guys around. With life keeping me on my toes with DDU Connect, websites, large circle of friends, family and (word not to be typed here), it’s pipelining that helps me save some bucks which otherwise I would have used to hire a secretary to “manage” my time.

                Nothing goes ON forever (The sentence has deeper implications, but not meant to be elaborated here). Everything halts (not stops) at some instance time. Hence by the time something is taking its time to be processed, why not switch over to other tasks. Talking about my personal life breathing in a college with bromidic atmosphere, 3 sessionals and DDU Connect do take up some hours out of those odd 24. We work month round for DDU Connect as we need to let out an issue every month. An exam every month is certainly not what every person fasting asks god for in his wish. As soon as the monthly torture gets over, it’s time to rub your butts hard enough in order to send DDU Connect’s Nth issue to printing press. Where’s life? Life is where you give it place. We (I’m referring to Editors and Designers in DDU Connect) find our little or more life while the newspaper is being printed at the press. Our family, our girlfriends/boyfriends and our hobbies receive our courtesy while the copies are being minted at the press. After that is again time for DDU and DDU Connect.

                My motive to narrate this is that “I” believe we’re (People in DDU Connect) efficient processors with good pipelining mechanism for neither does DDU Connect suffer and nor do people around us quibble too much for our attention. Hence, while there is one thing being executed take up the other, life is easier. Multi-tasking is never possible, but who says you can‘t illusion it?

2)      Overclocking

Intel Core i5 3.30GHz. Essential to clock the processor at 3.30 GHz? Nah!! To unleash your processor’s real processing mettle, unlock it and clock it at a higher rate to give it a ride in heaven. Overclocking is the process of making a computer or component operate faster than the clock frequency specified by the manufacturer by modifying system parameters. (Most commonly the clock frequency is modified; alternatively changing the operating voltage too is termed as overclocking). The purpose of overclocking is to increase the operating speed of given hardware. Many people overclock or ‘rightclock’ their hardware to improve its performance. This is practiced more by enthusiasts than professional users seeking an increase in the performance of their computers.

If techies can overclock their processors to improve its performance, why can’t we overclock ourselves to mitigate our own performance? By using the term “overclocking” in conjunction with humans I intend to convey the cliché message of “walking the extra mile”. It’s imperative to walk that extra mile if you want to excel at “ALL” fronts in life.

Talking about personal life, the concept of pipelining does pose up a number of challenges for you. You take you multiple instructions simultaneously, but how do you cope up? There are times you’ve got to skip meals; you don’t get sleep for days together, no movies for month, no outing and a lot of no’s. But all this pertains to us, our own mindset, doesn’t it? It’s all about tricking your mind to “overclock yourself”. Make your mind believe you’re not hungry, tell it repeatedly that you don’t need sleep, tell it that movies and entertainment are just a waste of time and overclocking yourself, crossing your own boundaries will be much more easier.

Technically overclocking does have tradeoffs like heating up the processor. But the gain is mightier than the tradeoff. Similarly, overclocking yourself has a higher gain of professional and personal accomplishments (better academics, extra-curriculars etc. OR personal stuff like giving an hour to parents or better half @ night, they will be really happy) compared of tradeoff like giving away your sleep for nights together.

It’s up to you. You can overclock yourself to make the most of your mettle or be an under-achiever on somebody’s TIME magazine.

When things don’t fit in given limits, just change the limits

3)      Out of order execution

Have taken up engineering, studying, slogging, mugging, awaiting the degree, degree not in hands till 4 years. Degree not in hands, hence nobody allows me in job-interviews. Ah, I can’t work! Girlfriend ka kharcha nahi nikalta… Parents se zyada maang nahi sakte… Caught in the order of – FIRST STUDIES and THEN WORK? Then what you need to do is “Go out of the order”.

Out-of-the-order execution is a paradigm in the processing world which states that if the CPU doesn’t have operands for a particular operation available it can go out of the order of a typical instruction cycle (like Inst Fetch, Decode, Fetch Op, Execute Inst and Store Result) and go to another instruction to execute it.

Somehow I find crowd in my college too tamed. People love sticking to pre-established principles one of them being “Studies first”. I’ve so many people around with exceptional talents and skills, but it’s the order, the sequence which has prisoned them and has not allowed them to come out of their cocoons.

For today’s youth, it requires that some pre-established notions need to be broken. If you want to achieve something you’ll have to go out of the order. Do something ‘out-of-the-order’. Learn something before it’s taught in college (doesn’t imply mugging a text-book chapter a day before it’s taught by the prof), earn before you’re placed in 7th semester or teach before you become a professor… These are some things that help you stand out from the crowd. If you don’t want to be jealous seeing somebody in the limelight, then the best way is you yourself become the limelight. To do this, I don’t mean to adopt unfair or manipulative means. I am just asking you to do something unconventional as per your standards. Always remember, extend your own line rather than erasing others’ line.

Nobody till date has ever got name, fame or success by doing conventional things. They’ve defied pre-existing notions, they’ve gone ‘out-of-order’ and achieved.

So, if we can program a processor to go out-of-order then I believe we definitely can adopt the same.

4)      Caching

The last in my list – caching, is I believe the simplest and most fundamental of all. In computing jargon, caching refers to predicting which data is needed often and keeping it ready before hand in a way that it can be accessed faster than usual.

Even humans can cache certain things. For things I coin a “Predict & Prepare” principle. F*** the astrologers, we laymen are better predictors of events in OUR OWN life. Trust yourself and your instinct to know what is in store for you in the immediate future. The best case in this situation is making your future yourself. Computer has a limitation because it has a user and it has to predict the behavior of that user for caching data. But you, you are your own user. Either predict things for yourself or make things for yourself. Once done, prepare yourself well in advance so that when the data request comes, you don’t “miss” it but “hit” it.

 

Above four mentioned techniques are a few paradigms that boost up a processor’s performance. Applied to our life, they can boost ours. This was no sophistry, it was sheer logic worth application in real-time. I am no oracle to preach such things. I thought sharing it would coin a new perspective and your response will judge if it was worth the effort.

Love & Regards,

Anish.

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