Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm loving it

Introduction: This is a mail that I sent to almost all of my friends, it received rave reviews, at least by my standards. Hence it graduated to a blog. This post will also get the credit for making my blog public! A mile stone indeed. Till now, only one person in all those who know me, knew my blog. It was ok, because we used to rarely meet outside the cyberspace, and she kind of understood. It remains to be seen if this IPO will inhibit my blog.

Just a while ago, I attended my first class here. The subject is Linear Systems and Control. A subject most of us have or had in B. Tech. You could be wondering why of all the subjects. I am sure most of my classmates must be thinking, what is this wierdo doing, taking 'Control And Guidance' and all there?

Coming to the class, it was absolutely awesome coming back to the good old Laplace transform and all. (If you forgot, believe me we studied that in college). The teacher was a fairly young guy, in his early thirties. His introduction was something like "I took this subject in my undergrad, I thought this rocks, and so did PhD in controls....". And like the way we used to use, equation numbers as 1 with a circle around it etc. etc. This person uses the 'I love you symbol' and calls the equation a sweet heart ! I thought I missed transforms these two years. If you are wondering what kind of geek this teacher could be, he looks like a Swedish model. Reminds me of Kimi Raikonnen (though Finnish), and the sweet distribution we used to have at Ittiam when ever he won. So those guys must have enjoyed one such festival today, after all both Kimi and Montoya finished it on the podium in the Turkish Grandprix.

Anyway, I had a very good first class at 'tech' ( It is the tech for us). Liked it very much , I just hope that the other classes are as good. I have one now from 6 to 7:30 pm! The subjects I am taking are :
1) Object oriented system design ( a CS subject )
2) DSP Software system Design
3) Random Processes (a comm. subject )
4) Linear Systems and Control

Yeah, most of the stuff is familiar to me either from College or TCS or Ittiam, but then I thought that in the first semester I could kind of take it easy and also get back my interest in these stuff. Because I am interested in coming back to the industry (to some hi-tech company), I am taking Software development courses like the first two. My final field would be robotics from a control perspective, there are a CS perspective, a mechanical engg perspective among others.I am trying to switch my department back to ECE, for the obvious reason that I am much better at it, and the not so obvious reason that the course requirement there is a sixth lesser than the CS department. Yup, its still the '9 to 6' maniac :-)

I think MS is a good thing to do with the freedom to choose courses and the quality of the lecture. The only thing that this great institute offers more than most of our colleges that you can not blame the teacher. There are a lot of assignments, which we can not copy :-) Ofcourse, we in our B.Tech. class could have managed that way, but then blame anyone, we did not. It is easier than we would think, after all the average intellect of the student here is the same. I hope we will realise that there are no short cuts in life, Because the lesson or the fruit, both are in the journey and not in the destination.

Hope I will like this journey, more than I initially thought, may be less than I think now, (after all, my way of thinking is under-damped because of a very low time-constant, ha ha the control systems guy in me is back) ! After all I paid no mean price when I left all those finance department's liberal 'last Monday of the month' gifts and of course 'nammooru bengalooru'.

You guys will be asking the same old question, 'Are you back to dance?' Not yet, I wonder how dance-friendly situation I am in. I think I do have the time, but no bike. And this city which head quarters CocaCola, CNN, Bank of America etc. is quiet deficient when it comes to satisfying man's more basic needs like security. That's what makes Bangalore sweet. I do agree that a bike or car will makes things better. We have a very good gym here, the swimming pool used for the Olympics, and good tennis courts. That should do for the present.

- RakA

First Impressions.

Intro : This blog is my first long mail from the USA. It is named after Jane Austen's book Pride and Prejudice, which was initially named First Impressions. Though I would expect and hope this story's ending to be anything far less melodramic. My apologies for doing injustice to that great novel.

From : RA
To : RD, SO, PS, SM, MS, SV, RP

Hi guys,

I was just wondering if I pestered you with an unsolicited and gloomy update from my side. Then I realised that I did not, what I still did not write to those people to whom without revealing the sender's identity, you show this mesg, they would guess, this is our own typical raka.

So here it flows.

I have arrived in the US on the 9th of Aug, it has been one week exactly, and here are my experiences. This place stinks, I am yet to find our why? Here everything is planned/processed from the trees to the food to the air ! Hence it either smells of the pesticides they use on their lawns, which we seem to miss so much in India or it smells of the air-fresheners that they use indoors. It deprives you of the natural fresh air and I start getting a slight headache, and in one week this smell has moved in to my throat making everything I eat taste like again a pesticide. 'But then none of those who went to the US were complaining like this?' . Now you know what makes my mails typical.

I stayed for the first three days in my uncle's house, in a suburb of Chicago. The house was huge and nice, now I moved to the city of Atlanta and am trying to find houses. The thing we used to do in Bangalore on weekends. Ofcourse, I am disappointed. Again the heart of the city, why does this happen to me? I got admission from Universities that are all in the heart of various cities and I chose the smallest city. Phew!

When I was coming to the US, to the omni-put question 'Are you returning, or staying back there?', ( a question people asked, inspite of the fact that they 'knew' that I am going to stay back ), I answered simply, I am not going to let my children grow up in the US. My opion on this front has only been consolidated by the images here. I will be staying here until I earn howmuch ever I put into my MS with interest ofcourse and also after I regain my loss of pay owing to an absence from my dear Bangalore. It should not take much owing to the exchange rate of the dollar. After the recovery and till the children part, I have to make my jump, that will be some six years period or so. I am trying not think about the Harvard MBA part.

Right now, I am on the lookout for a house, which as I mentioned earlier, in unparlimentary terms, sucks. In the worst case, I will stay in the campus hostel, which is a very good option, at least you need not fear returning home after working late in a lab and all. Back in India only women feel insecure, but in dreamland, the eqality of the genders is more pronounced at least in this regard. Returning to the campus option thing, no Indian opts for it because it is expensive, kind of fifty percent costlier, indian students without aid less so. I should be able to find a person willing to share it also.

I think I will be able to start enjoying life here, once I settle down and start going to the Gym , playing soccer and tennis. Tennis is quiet cheap here, can say cheaper that Bangalore! Gym is said to be very good esp. for the fee you pay for it. And they have an active soccer group here. Reminds me that I did not see any ground anywhere here. But then after all, I did not see even half of the campus. One can enjoy even more , once a professor starts paying your tution fee and once he starts giving you money for living. But then depends on how much time you will have to spend in the lab. Reminds me, I have to sell myself to some of the prof.s and try to get some coding job, after all that debugging in Bangalore better pay-off.

There are a couple of good things. For example, I did not spend a single cent in the last week. I would say the 'lull before the storm'. Just the thought of the tution fee I have to pay next week kind of scares me off. But some how dad always manges to give enough money and enough buffer. Only if everybody has been blessed with one such ATM which gives at least a fifth more than what you asked for, the world would have been a much better place. Seriously speaking, it has been a lot of load on him. It also leaves me with a feeling of guilt that I am consuming so much hard earned money. Hope this entire Gatech thing pays off in the end. I mean it better pay literally off in the end. This entire computer science jimmik, the sacrifice of an potensial ITPL (so finally here the inevitable four letters are) job and a nice Indiaranagar pent-house with a tree by its side, my bike, dance classes, a bottomless ATM card, a known face on every street, a lot of friends, a lot of movies, ... a lot of things things life has got to pay me back for.

Paro, you will not believe it, the TV here is apthetic! There is nothing like a combination of your SUN network channel, MTV India, Star World and HBO. There is nothing like that in the US. We get the best American sitcoms only as they are filtered for us, even though they arrive late. The ads here are so so pathetic, you will not believe it, they are like a desperate salesboy trying to sell you something. It goes on like, this thing has blah.. blah.., with out blah.. blah.. It will male you balh blah, Place your order now, or call now at balh blah. Creativity naam ka koi cheez hi nahi. In India advertising is supposed to be very creative and hence were attractive.

A good time pass these days has been reading 'The Davinci Code', a mosntrous good book. Every aspect of it is good, the drama, the backdrop, the appeal, the plea, the research etc. Dan Brown should have visited India it would have given a lot of food for symbology thought and a great pleasure in knowing that there is a lot of worship of the Female Godesses, the Sacred Feminine as he calls it. I will soon have to get back to PGW, a good sip of good idyllic comedy is always good.

Thats is for now, I am tired of writing, so you guys if at all you read it till here would have been exhauseted .