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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The Golden Bird taking off….

This post elaborates the story, the motive and the hardships faced in starting my own Web Solutions Enterprise – The Golden Bird. Read more to check the story out.

“You’re not a professional. You’re a just a lad. I’ve good relations with you so I gave you the work. I thought ‘Apna hi baccha hai, thoda kama denge usko’ (He’s our lad, we’ll give him some bucks). But you cannot charge this much. You’re not a professional.”

These were the words of a lady who was the owner of a fairly big and old media communications company in Ahmedabad. This incident dates back to 30th June, 2011. I was to make a website for this generous lady’s company. They first consulted a Web Solutions company on C.G. Road, Ahmedabad who like most of the Web Solutions Company was developing in .NET framework. They gave an estimate of around 18000 bucks which the lady found overtly exorbitant. She called me back; I was working with them as a content writer then. She knew that I was a freelance web designer/developer too. She asked me if I could take up the assignment. Respecting the fairly good relations I had with her and her company, I agreed to do the job in lesser amount. They needed the website up soon. Hence, I didn’t rest a single hour in my vacation after the college’s 1st year and worked on their website relentlessly for 15 days. I showed them the website and they liked it from the core. In a few hours after that, I sent them a mail with the invoice for web development charging 8000 bucks for the work that was estimated to 18000 by another company. Now, this generous lady calls me back after reading the email and says, “You’re not professional. You can’t charge too much. I thought you will get it done in 2000-3000 bucks so I gave the work to you thinking you will be obliged.” I was so fumed hearing this that I cut the line instantly and I said to myself – “What the fuck! You work your ass off for people and they take you for granted. Just because I don’t have a visiting card or a company, people under-value my work, commitment and time? I need to reward my work with what it deserves, with what it is worth of. I am not remaining a freelancer any more. I need a company. My own company…”

It was 30th June, 2011 when this incident happened. It was a good day due to other reasons and hence I left this rancorous spat in abeyance. A few months passed and this idea was still hovering over my small brain. One fine night, in high spirits after watching a video of respected Mr. Ratan Tata, the entrepreneur in me was soaring and coming out. I felt like starting my own venture at that very moment. And what more does an impulsive guy like me need? I started thinking of all possible names for my venture. I then remembered being an RJ for a day at Radio City in 10th standard. There in the sequence my friend Rebecca who was the co-RJ in the same programme asked me as to what will I do in future. As a spontaneous reply to it, I said that I wanted to open an IT company named ‘Golden Bird’ which would be one of the biggest IT COs in the world. And thus came the name ‘Golden Bird’. I never thought it would be a tangible reality someday. I immediately checked for the domain’s availability and it showed available with .com, .in and lots of other popular extensions. I unfortunately didn’t have a debit/credit card with me at that hour to register it. Due to highly relaxed schedules of DDU, it took me two more days to get back on the domain-registration jive.

Thanks to so many domain vendors who save the domain searches in their data mining database, the domain goldenbird.something with all popular extensions was already taken by domain gamblers. Such domain gamblers buy domains which are searched often even if they don’t need. Then they put it for sale at higher rates. You won’t believe some domains are sold for millions of dollars. According to bigrock.com, the domain poker.org was sold for 1 million USD. Coming back to my grievance, goldenbird.something was unavailable and hence I tried modifying the name around the words ‘golden bird’. Finally I ended up in buying thegoldenbird.org and hence the name “The Golden Bird”.

It was somewhere in December 2011 that this happened. After that I took a month to develop the website, write each and every word of the content trying that it seemed utmost ‘professional’ helping me to fetch every single penny that my work deserved. The website was ready by February 2012. After that I got busy in structuring DDU Connect and since then till date DDU Connect has kept me busy round the clock. I developed 3 more websites since then for various entities and The Golden Bird took a back seat till 26th November, 2012.

Don’t know what happened that morning, I just made some final revisions to the website, made a Facebook page for it and let the word go viral. So far, the response has been great. I’ve received quite a few enquiries about Content Writing, SEO and Website Design. It will be on time to decide the fate of my startup.

To end the blog-post, I would like to justify my motive behind starting The Golden Bird. I’ve not started it so that I can charge exorbitantly from my clients in the name of professionalism or company. No! If you follow The Golden Bird’s FB Page, my Web Design service starts from as low as INR 1999 with domain and hosting costs waived off for a year! I’ve started it to give my work its deserved worth and recognition. And also, I feel I can provide fairly better services in area of Web Design (specially WordPress), Graphics Design (I’ve experienced Graphic Designers in my team), Content Writing (I myself am into writing, plus I’ve got writers with me who’ve prepared manifestos and newsletters of MNCs) and SEO and Social Media Marketing (I’ve been into Search Engine Optimization since 4 years and have delivered seminars on the same in some computer training/coaching institutes). God willing I shall be able to extend The Golden Bird’s services to sophisticated Business Process Consulting and Outsourcing on .NET and Java platforms in the years to come.

Thanking one and all who’ve conveyed their good wishes for The Golden Bird and also have encouraged me to execute this step of courage. And let me also thank the generous lady, had she not called me “just a lad”, I might not have started The Golden Bird this early.

If you’ve not checked my Golden Bird, check it here: http://thegoldenbird.org and bless it.

Thanks & Regards,

Anish.

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Thackerayism: My perspective

The death of Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray has now become one of the most talked-about chapters in the history of 21st century India. Balasaheb, I believe was not a personality but a phenomena in himself. Not every day you see such greats on whose call multitude go into a frenzy. In a city like Mumbai which is as unrelenting as a nuclear chain reaction was rendered to an astounding halt by death of the patriarch of the Thackeray family. The occurrence itself enlightens the fact that persona of Balasaheb was mightier than the nuclear power too. In this post, I elaborate the times of Mumbai with Balasaheb’s advent and how Balasaheb emerged as the Godfather of the financial capital of India.

The death of Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray has now become one of the most talked-about chapters in the history of 21st century India. Balasaheb, I believe was not a personality but a phenomena in himself. Not every day you see such greats on whose call (mind you, I’ve used the word “call”, paid-media uses “dictate”) multitude go into a frenzy. In a city like Mumbai which is as unrelenting as a nuclear chain reaction was rendered to an astounding halt by death of the patriarch of the Thackeray family. The occurrence itself enlightens the fact that persona of Balasaheb was mightier than the nuclear power too. In my post ahead, I elaborate the times of Mumbai with Balasaheb’s advent and how Balasaheb emerged as the Godfather of the financial capital of India.

                It was on 1st May, 1960 that two separate states – Gujarat and Maharashtra were formed. The constitution makers didn’t address the linguistic sentiments of the Indian heart and hence the public of these states faced untoward repercussions. Post the formation of Maharashtra, the people there still didn’t enjoy the formation of state. It was just Congress then in Indian Politics. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had passed away in 1964 and there was no responsible successor to him for at least 5 years then. Indira Gandhi did take over the reins of Congress in her hands in 1965 but she was yet to make a place in people’s heart and revive congress from the terrible pandemonium it was in. Given these circumstances, it is needless to cite that Maharashtra was under poor governance then.

                On the other hand, Maharashtrians and in particularly Mumbaikars faced dire crises of jobs. There were qualified youths who were famished of government jobs as they were taken by South Indians who had encroached into the state and its resources. Maharashtra was losing its cultural identity. Marathi cinema, literature and food seemed to be escaping from a Maharashtrian layman’s surrounding. The Maharashtrians and the Mumbaikars were conscious about it and grieved too. But they needed a person who could voice their sentiments. And there came Balasaheb! Balasaheb who initially started his career as a political cartoonist now made cartoon voicing the woes of Marathi Maanoos. And this is what the public wanted then. They wanted somebody who could help them get their right over the jobs in Maharashtra. Balasaheb did that! In his initial speeches at Shivaji Park he told that the people of Maharashtra would have to fight if they wanted jobs. And the public joined the movement. Balasaheb’s strength was the common man. Today when people talk of him as a fascist or a dictator, they forget he had no army in true sense. The only power he had was the common man. He never had any financial aid to hire goons like the big political parties do today. It was just the laymen. They were laymen who marched to the government buildings for vandalism. They were laymen who would go to shut the city when Balasaheb called for a bandh.

He knew what a layman wanted. He knew that the layman then wanted jobs. He knew the layman then wanted to preserve the cultural identity of Maharashtra. And he assured the people for the same. And that is why Balasaheb become a true “public” figure. He “acquired” the trust of the Marathi Maanoos and then reigned over Maharashtra without any constitutional powers. He required no emblems with tigers, for he himself was a tiger in true sense and his words were the most supreme laws in Maharashtra then…

                Balasaheb then proceeded towards the formation and strengthening of the Shiv Sena. It was built by him single-handedly brick-by-brick. In his first public address at Shivaji Park, there were no posters, banners or any material spreading the word. It was just the charisma of Balasaheb due to which the masses flocked in huge numbers at Shivaji Park. The Indian politics which was full of sophistry delivering, diplomatic and hypocritical personalities then (just like it is right now too!) had now a face as Balasaheb who was straightforward, brazen and blatant in what he said regardless its political correctness. This probably was one of the reasons which compounded to Balasaheb’s rule over the city. His pumping oratory would majestically compel the youths to join him and make them feel like true warriors of the Maratha land. I can say that because, I have spent several nights in this reading vacation watching videos of Balasaheb’s speech right from early 80’s till 2010 and trust me they’re magnetic.

                Shiv Sena was now a big stakeholder in Maharashtra politics. It was almost like Shiv Sena was another category of government in Maharashtra other from the constitutional one with its ruling capital as Mumbai. It would not be an overstatement to say that not even a leaf could move in Mumbai without Balasaheb’s nod. Be it film stars, industrialists, foreign diplomats or politicians from other parties – everybody would stop at a new shrine called ‘Matoshree’ for the blessings of new deity in Maharashtra named Balasaheb. It was definitely not out of fear, but it was out of faith and reverence. Faith because they knew, it is definitely not the government or the constitutional law but this man who will stand beside me at the twelfth hour. And reverence because, he just didn’t SPEAK, he DID for everybody. Till a month before he passed away Balasaheb used to meet people every day post 12 noon and address their grievances. The public has so much faith in this real “chosen” leader of the people and by the people that they would knock the doors of Matoshree rather than turning to the doors of constitutional law.  And the layman had always preferred Balasaheb in power and that has been the reason why Shiv Sena has been winning the Bombay Municipal Corporation elections since the time it was formed. And all this turned Balasaheb into a ‘larger than life’ figure.

                Balasaheb is often stamped as a figure who exercised ‘divisive’ politics by the media. The fact is totally contradicting. It was everybody else other than Balasaheb who played divisive politics. It was BJP who started the Hindutva mania. You can find speeches by senior BJP leaders like Advani during the Ayodhya Mandir times where he has taken over the minority in India. It is Congress always who tries to divide the public instigating them in the lollipop of religion based reservation. Agreed that Balasaheb too took over targets like the South-Indians, the Muslims and then the Biharis and UP’ites. But let us contemplate over the stand which Balasaheb took. Taking the latest example – he has disliked the Biharis and UP’ites in Mumbai. Article 19 (1) (e) of the constitution states: “All citizens shall have the right — to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India.” Balasaheb never refuted this fact stated in the constitution. No doubt, the Biharis and UP’ites had the right to settle in any part of India. But what happened in Mumbai has been just astonishing. The famished and starved population in Bihar, UP and Chhattisgarh comes to Mumbai. They stay down and use up the resources of the state. This is still to an extent acceptable. But there’s an indirect attempt to destroy the cultural identity of Maharashtra. I remember we had a lesson in Hindi in 8th or 9th standard titled “Varn Badha” on Gandhiji in which Gandhiji coins the phrase “Jaisa Desh Waise Bhes” (Adopt the mannerisms of the land on which you live). But what happened in Mumbai? “Bhau” changed to “Bhaiya”, Sev Usal changed to “Sev Puri and Bhel Puri”, Shivaji Jayanti started losing charm compared to “Chhatth Puja” and “Bhojpuri” cinema had more banners than “Marathi” cinema. And this entire scenario where? On a land which had a Maharashtrian majority! The constitution has entitled citizen to settle at a place but not to destroy the cultural identity of the place, not to exhaust the resources of the place. And this is what Balasaheb stood for. As a 3rd person you might feel like “talking as an Indian” but for a minute put your feet in the shoes of a Marathi Maanoos.

Assuming that most of the Gujaratis are reading this, this thing is already happening in Gujarat also. Go out to eat Gujarati thali at any popular place, what items you have in a “Gujarati” thaali. Mini Uttapam, Mini Dosa, Daal-baati – Gujarati items? Go to non-Gujarati shops like Gwalia, no Gujarati sweets like Penda available. But go to famous Gujju shops like Shreeji Dairy; you get Mathura ka Pedha, Rajasthani Ghewar, Bengali sweets along with Gujarati Penda. At times you wonder if you’re living in Gujarat. Gujarati cinema is probably going through its weakest phase, but you hear rickshawwalas playing “Jiyo ho bihar ka lala”. Someday soon you will hear garba being played on “Main to ayi hoon UP Bihar lootne”. Nobody cares of Manhar Udhas’ Gujarati gazals, but people don’t fail to hear Mehendi Hasan’s and Ghulam Ali’s Gazals. These might appear small things, but they’re bound to take a big shape in future. Unfortunately Gujarat doesn’t have a Balasaheb Thackeray and I guess will never have one. Gujjus are just interested in minting money though be it at the cost of losing the ‘Gujarati Asmita’.

Returning to my point, what crime did Balasaheb commit when he voiced the grievances of a Marathi Maanoos? The fact has been Balasaheb has always stood up and spoke for public opinion. In fact I believe Balasaheb was more democratic than then Sovereign and Republic of India. Balasaheb had also noted his strong opposition against our lame and tamed ties with Pakistan. A country with an establishment which has been so brutal to India needed to be dealt strictly. This is what an Indian believed and this is what Balasaheb said. Indian government (to be specific Congress Govt.) has believed in writing “love letters” to Pakistan and US when terror struck the country. Was it wrong to oppose this brainlessness of Indian government?

It was just a media-trend to first corner Balasaheb alone and then call him a fascist, communist, linguistic fanatic and whatever. But it didn’t hamper the real Sarkar. The tiger did mellow down with time, but never got silent, not even after his death. The proof is the arrest of two girls for writing against Balasaheb (That’s a debatable issue in its own). And this will continue to happen. Balasaheb will continue to stand for what the Marathi Maanoos wants! Media stamped Balasaheb as a political demagogue who left behind legacy of divisive and identity politics. I believe Balasaheb in first place hasn’t left behind anything for he will still be with and in Mumbai for years to come. And secondly, if Balasaheb has left some legacy, then it is the fearless defense for common-man and straightforwardness and brazen articulation in Indian politics. The plethora of tributes Saheb got on his demise and the myriad crowd that followed the corpse till the pyre was a witness that the public needs more of Balasaheb! Country like India needs a ruler who can deal things with an iron hand and Balasaheb definitely was one!

          Balasaheb was a phenomenon too intricate to analyze. I chose not to do it and just jot down the accolades. Others might not. But I don’t care. In Balasaheb’s words, “What I’ve to say, I will say. My words are like a bullet. They will fire and penetrate the target. I don’t regret for it”. Ending the blog-post by quoting Rajdeep Surdesai’s words – “Love him or hate him but you can’t ignore him”.

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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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