Play by the New Rules

For those of wondering what the title of the post is all about, “Play by the New Rules” is the slogan of Microsoft India Development Center, Hyderabad. It is a place I have deeply fallen in love with, in a short span of three weeks since I joined there as a summer intern.

Ever since coming to IIIT, we used to get news of seniors getting internships/jobs at Microsoft and I always aspired to do the same one day. Getting selected for an internship was indeed a cool thing to happen. Although the idea of an internship at Microsoft was always exciting, never did I imagine that the IDC campus and the work culture over there would be so be amazing. Coming to work culture, I did not have that the faintest idea that people were so cool and informal at Microsoft. There is an atmosphere of casualness and friendliness in every walk of life. Be it addressing others person by their first names (instead of the regular Sir and Ma’m for seniors), cracking jokes and doing non-stop BC with one’s teammates or the fun-filled team meetings, everyone likes to have a good time at the office. One more important aspect that I like about Microsoft is that every single developer and tester is given due importance in a team. I really enjoyed my first team meeting when I was asked by my team leader to introduce myself to the rest of the 80-strong team. It really made me feel a part of the team. Again, it’s cool to see your team leader (a person the age of my father) to come to you and say a “Hi!”

Coming to the work part of it, I never anticipated that I would be made responsible for end-to-end design and development of a Microsoft tool that is actually going to be shipped in the next 3 months. No one could have asked for something better than this in a summer internship. Making use-case and sequence diagrams for the tool in MS Visio was something I really enjoyed. I never expected to use Software Engineering concepts just after dong the course. But the more I see the entire development process in Microsoft, I have to admit that there’s SE in every little bit of professional Software Development. I never realized the potential and coolness of Visual Studio before joining. Writings any kind of programs becomes such an enjoyable and painless experience with VS. Another striking factor about Microsoft is the highly organized way in which the corporation functions. It really feels great to be developing software which is used by the majority of world’s individuals and businesses. Microsoft’s tagline says “Your Potential. Our Passion.” That is what everyone at Microsoft is truly up to.

The campus has all the constituents of what a nice college campus should be. Two big cafeterias sporting LCD TV sets all around and a big projection screen where we get to see most of the IPL matches. The menu has almost everything on offering: Pizzas, Burgers, Pasta, Biryani, Chaat, Fruit Juice, chocolate cakes and brownies, etc. With Barista, Subway and Smoking Joes also offering their delicacies, one can never run out of eating options. It’s such a cool break from the IIIT canteen that I generally have my entire day’s food there itself. This description would be incomplete without the mention of the free cold-drinks and Cappuccinos available everywhere on the campus. I don’t ever seem to have enough of them. 😛

When you got so much to eat, a gymnasium is a must to keep you in shape. The campus has got not one but two world-class gyms to take care of the fitness of the employees. What’s working without a little play? Coming to the sports facilities, the campus has got plenty of them. There’s a pool, foosball and TT table on every floor. Inspite of no prior experience of playing pool before joining, my day at Microsoft never ends without an hour of pool. I also had the chance of playing lawn tennis for the first time in my life. The campus also got facilities for all major outdoors like Football, Basketball, Cricket, etc.

Getting this internship at Microsoft is one of the best things to have happened to me after joining IIIT. And a lot of credit for getting selected goes to IIIT which has provided me fine teaching and experience. IIIT has given me whatever a CS undergraduate in India can achieve. Kudos to IIIT and Microsoft!

P.S.1: “The statements I offer today represent my own personal views. I am speaking for myself and not on behalf of my employer, Microsoft Corporation.”

P.S.2.: My first post after a span of more than 1 year. Will hopefully be following this with some more rock posts

P.S.3: Weekends have suddenly become so relevant these days. 😀

some divine guitar solos

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I am sure that many of you won’t conform to my use of the word “divine” for these masterpieces of guitaring…but i’ve always felt something very divine, something very mystic about solos in these songs. Each time I hear to these solos, I feel more attached to them.

1. For the Love of God (Steve Vai) – this is one solo that i have truly fallen in love with… vai’s fuckin amazing!!!
2. November Rain (Slash) – the 2 solos in the song touch ur heart
3. Stairway To Heaven (Jimmy Page) – a classic in every sense
4. Comfortably Numb (David Gilmour) – this solo is one of the best psychedelic pieces i’ve ever heard
5. Blaze Of Glory (Jon Bon Jovi) – got an acoustic feel to it
6. Alive (Mike McCready) – a masterpiece
7. Black Star (Yngwie Malmsteen) – one of my favourites
8. Since I’ve been loving you (Jimmy Page) – Page has delivered it very nicely
9. Hotel California (Joe Walsh, Don Felder) – classic piece of twin lead guitaring
10. Floods (Dimebag Darrell) – very intense, dark and heavy…gud show of Darrell’s diversity
11. Knockin on Heaven’s Door (Slash) – melodious and soothing
12. Time (David Gilmor) – One of Gilmor’s bests
13. The Unforgiven (Kirk Hammett) – a touching piece
14. Wanted Alive Or Alive (Richie Sambora) – sambora makes an impact
15. Top Gun Theme (Joe Satriani) – probably one of the most identifiable solos… Satriani is the best!!

try hearing to the solos in these songs and fall in love with them….

P.S.: 1. this is not the list of my most favourite guitar solos. it would have been different.
2. havent been checking on the blogosphere activity for quite sometime… 😦
3. written two posts in succession for the first time 🙂

A tag post…

Having been tagged by Karan, I am hitting the blogosphere after a gap of nearly two months.

A living person whom i would like to meet : Slash – i am simply enthralled by his guitaring
A dead person whom i would like to meet :- its gotta be Alan Turing…for the genius it takes to invent the computation theory even before computer was invented
An event in the history I would like to change:- The result of World War II… i would certainly have seen Germany emerging as the winners
An event in the history i would like to witness:- atom bombing of hiroshima (obviously from a far aerial point 😀 )
A movie I would like to witness in real: The Sixth Sense (wonder what it ll be like to witness something as novel as that)
A literary character I would like to meet: mark antony (remember his funeral speech in shakespeare’s julius ceaser and his affair with the nymphatic Cleopatra) having read hardly ne literature, to make a choice for this question was actually easy.. 😀

 

The Road Ahead

All the past 6-7 years, I had only one thing in my mind. To get admitted in a good engineering institute and to secure a handsome job from there. The first feat has been achieved and in fair chance, the second will so be after 2 years. What next? This is the big question which has been intriguing me for quite sometime.

Before joining IIIT, I had never thought of doing anything else apart from getting a fancy job and earning a buck. Its probably the first thing which generally comes to anyone’s mind before going for undergraduation. Earning money is the primary objective behind getting educated in good colleges and universities. Same was the case with me.

But after coming here, I began to feel that doing a job straightaway after graduation might not be the best option for my career. People say that working in the technical stream can’t take one beyond a certain limit. So high one may get, one will still have to work under some managers. In the best possibility, one might be promoted to a manager’s post after a period of around 10 years. So, if a management position is what I will get after working for those many years, then getting into the management field directly seems a better alternative. Doing an MBA from IIMs, XLRI, FMS, etc. is surely gonna earn you a mind-boggling pay package and a chance to thrive and compete amongst the best in the corporate world. In the 2nd semester, I gave the option of doing an MBA after passing out from IIIT, a serious thought. It also happened to the placement season in the B-Schools at that time. Every second day, there was news of MBA grads raking in pay-packages upwards of 10-15 lakhs. The foreign offers were even higher and better. The lure of earning a big buck fascinated me. To add to the tale, 7 4th years of my institute got through the IIMs. All these factors were lucrative enough. Although I felt that I might not fit in the management stream, I believed that I can always mould myself according to the need of the time.

The 2nd semester was gone and so was the fascination of doing an MBA directly after graduation. During the 3rd semester, I had decided that I would opting for a job after graduating from IIIT. In the case of being unsatisfied afer spending a couple of years there, I would consider going for an MBA. This seemed quite justified as they say that it is better to have some work experience before doing an MBA.

Pursuing an MS programme was never on my mind. But comes the 4th semester, and my mind began searching into the possiblility of doing an MS abroad in any good university abroad. A interesting curriculum and good professors revived my interest in studies for the first time after coming here. I’ve really become interested in algorithms, database systems and theory of computation. This interest has begun transalating into the wish of pursuing research in any of these areas. To do research, there is nothing better than joining an MS programme in a good university abroad. Doing a job hardly gives the freedom to pursure your interests. But the biggest problem with thinking on these lines is that getting admission in any of the top 20 universities in the US is immensely tough. I was reading some blogs and I came to know that only one among six 9 pointers of the passout batch who had given GRE got calls from the top 20 univerisities. And this sole person had a strong recomendation of a Dartmouth College professor (who happens to be a visiting faculty member at IIIT) to strengthen his case and a GPA upwards of 9.5. Struggling around 9 does not put me in a very favourable position. It is also said that having a couple of publications in your name is almost a must to get through.

Basicalli I am left with four alternatives:

1) Get a job. Get going!!!

2) Supplement B.Tech with an honours program. Do some good projects. Prepare for GRE. Try to get admitted into MS directly after B.Tech.

3) Pretty much the same as 2nd. The difference being going for a job first and then applying for admission in the universities.

4) Get a job. Go for an MBA after working for an year or two.

After some introspection, I came to the conclusion that somhow I won’t fit into the management field. The technical stream is what suites me the most. Therefore, the fourth alternative is completely ruled out. All my life I’ve been thinking of what all I could do once I have self-earned money. But as far as going with first option is concerned, it might not lead to satisfaction somtime down the lane. Going for an MS directy would put my earning intentions on a 2 years hold. Wouldn’t that be tough? The 3rd option would give me a chance to have a bank balance before going for any future ventures. 🙂 But going back to studies after starting to earn would be yet another tough decision to make. 😐 The lure of money might prove to be stronger than the yearn to do research. Morover getting admission into a good US university is definitely an uphill task. This leaves me in a severe dilemma over which path to choose.

10 Best Rock Songs Ever

Always had a tough time figuring out the best rock songs? Here is my list of the 10 best rock songs which have ever been there. Check it out!!!

1. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
2. Freebird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
3. Hotel California – Eagles
4. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
5. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
6. Wont Get Fooled Again – The Who
7. One – Metallica
8. Sympathy for The Devil – The Rolling Stones
9. Purple Haze – Jimmy Hendrix
10. Paranoid – Black Sabbath

Wanna differ??? 😀

Those who missed it (in no particular order)

Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin
Walk This Way – Aerosmith
Iron Man – Black Sabbath
Back in Black – AC/DC
Layla – Derek and the Dominos
Smoke on The Water – Deep Purple
Sweet Child of Mine – Guns N’ Roses
We Will Rock You/We are The Champions – Queen
Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits

P.S. Although considerable reasoning has gone behind preparing this list, chances of personal influence can’t be totally overruled.

Spiky Baba in IIIT

In one of the latest developments in IIIT, the innocent yet cunning Abhijeet Pagare (a.k.a Paggu) was bequeathed the title of “Baba Pagare nath”…Though the concept of this celeb figure transforming into a baba may sound hilarious and even weird to most of you, it has gone down very well with my batch-mates and the popularity of “baba” has been touching new heights since the naming…lots of followers are coming to him to pay homage and seek his blessings….

It all started with the display of OS midsem 1 marks…living up to the expectations, pagare secured a whopping 32 out of 45 which saw his name being placed amongst the top of the class…achieving this was really a monumental feat…it was indeed a glorious and merry moment for him…if such be splendour of the occasion how could have we been left behind in celebrating it…he had his share of bumps in the night itself…this was just was a start and more was yet to come…and it came from none other than our very own entertainer, Himank…it happened that pagare was sitting beside himank and the “former baba” kapil bajaj…I and karan were just in front of them….in a true himank style, his innovative mind yet again came up with an idea which was gonna find profound following…he took the honourable title of ‘baba’ from bajaj and conferred it upon pagare…thence baba pagare nath came into existence…what a hell of a transformation it was!!! from a dude sporting spiked-hair to a baba….after the creation, it was the turn for some publicity…thanks 2 free sms service, baba became batch-famous in just a matter of minutes…the roars of “pagare baba ki jai ho” started appearing in the coming minutes…responses started coming from all around with mathur and harshita doing a symbolic feet-touching act….:P…as ever, baba’s trademark smile was still visible….and why should it not have been…after all, he was being bestowed with so much honour and respect…

there was still a lot left in store for baba…on the way back to his hostel room in NBH (sorry, I should rather say his ashrama-ghar), himank and vipul lifted the baba on their hands as a mark of respect…this shobha yatra of baba was no less by any means than any religious procession …baba’s followers were all pretty much excited and eager to do all possible acts of respect to baba…their enthusiasm which was evident in the roars and comments, was commendable…this journey eventually ended on reaching NBH…while we decided to meet again for lunch time at 12:30, baba’s roommate, chirag was asked to sincerely perform every possible service to baba in the meanwhile…

As scheduled, around ten of us assembled in time for baba’s yatra till OBH mess…the idea of getting his blessings in form of prasada was simply irrestible…ours was probably the most joyous lot going to the OBH mess…the mess was no exception as far the worship and the following of baba was concerned…every passer-by made it a point to stop and bow before baba in the desire for to seek his coveted blessings…as planned before, baba was lifted once again in the mess and the slogans “pagare baba ki jaya ho” and “pagare baba amar rahe” were shouted in full force by each one of us to care of people who hadn’t noticed baba yet…after baba’s bhojana was over, we led him back to his room because it was the time for baba to rest…bhajans and hymns in the name of baba have already been planned for the evening…in case anyone of you want to seek his blessings or advice, you are welcome to his room no. 47 in NBH…

Long live “Baba PagareNath”!!!!!

Terrorism redefined…

Yet again, this date of 11th September brings the terrifying images of blood and destruction to our minds…The date has been a witness to the most horrifying act of terrorism till date….This time it was the turn of the mighty US to be struck by the monstrous face of terrorism…What a blow to a nation as powerful as the US which almost considered itself invincible!!! The terror act revived the fact that no power is impregnable….

The history says it all….Be it the reduction of indomitable pre WW2 Germany to ruins by the combined forces of the Allies or the humiliation of the USA at the hands of a humble but committed Vietnam in the Vietnam war of the seventies, time has shown at regular intervals that no state or empire should commit the mistake of considering itself invulnerable….Although there is a hell lot of difference between the objective and the plan of action between those wars and this act of terror but there is an underlying similarity between the two which generally goes on unnoticed…Any kind of power of power which starts growing out of bounds will be challenged and curbed…Perceive the above two seemingly different modes of action in this light and you can easily notice the similarity….

Terrorism is condemned across all sections and regions…There is absolutely nothing wrong in doing so but we have to be more thoughtful while deciding upon what should all should qualify as terrorism….Should we define terrorism as our governments and politicians ask us to??? Is terrorism a rage against certain nations and ethnic sections or is against the whole humanity as a whole??? After giving a little thought to the above questions, it is not hard to agree upon the fact that our pre-conceived notions regarding terrorism are not fully justified…We are spoon fed with these notions by the likes of the powerful nations like the US and the UK…If terrorism is hailed as a war against humanity, the inhuman deeds of the US which came out in open during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq make it appropriate to call it a global terrorist….who can ever forget the massive bombings in Afghanistan and Iraq which led to a thousand innocent lives being sacrificed and the atrocities bestowed by the US military personnel upon the war prisoners in the Abu Gharib prison??? Placing the above nations under its military rule and establishing puppet governments there and giving open support to Pakistan which is undisputedly the largest supporter of terrorist outfits like LeT and JeM vindicates the referral of the US as a political terrorist….

It is ironic to note that the US is also regarded as the most liberal nation in the world… It turns out that the US gives all kinds of liberties to its citizens while putting constraints on the rest of the world at the same time…. Such hypocrisy lies at the heart of the policy-making of the US… Putting sanctions and forcing NPT on developing countries like ours only goes out to confirm the above statement… Americans are big paranoids about security and don’t bother stooping so low as to discriminating people based on their religion and ethnicity….There have been numerous incidences of people sporting a turban being suspected as terrorists…Won’t you call all this ‘terrorism’??? They are cunning enough to hold people belonging to a certain religion responsible for all major terrorist acts, overshadowing their acts of terror in the process….Ironically, they always find an excuse for their deeds in the phrase “The war against terrorism”…(the person who came out with the term must be a genius at diplomacy)

Terrorism affects each of us in some way or the other…And with this problem of terrorism getting more complex by the day, it is a must to identify the causes of all kinds of terrorism and devise measures to counter it in an effective manner…it’s both our individual and collective responsibility to do so…So, from the next time you hear the word terrorism, just spend a moment thinking about what it really means…

PS: This post reflects the personal view of the author and by no means refer to the official view of any organisation whatsoever. No offence is intended to any person or community.