a pseudo-photoblog


Story of a PhD

My PhD in book titles…

7 book titles & a cartoon face = summary of a PhD

7 book titles & a cartoon face = summary of a PhD

From top to bottom :

  • Freakish economics
  • At times : eating, being droopy faced from over-eating, but loving it
  • Born Free – to be as eccentric as you wish
  • Becoming a delhi walla. . esply wrt food
  • No explanation needed – the book title says it all
  • Your life seems like a great golden sacrifice.. with as many side-tracks & masala stories as the Mahabharata
  • At the end of it all, the whole thing feels worthy of being labeled ‘history’ & penning it down!

(Not so) Dear Watchman-at-Purana-Qila,

This is to suggest that you abstain from underestimating people henceforth, for your own good.

I can tolerate being typecast into the wide-eyed NRI mould by your type, though I still am clueless why you do that. I am in fact, quite used to it (“You are basically from Chennai. . but you live in Europe na?” (!!!)).

But I shall not tolerate what you did.

How dare you ask me “so, which class do you study in?”.

That too on a morning when I was smugly celebrating silver jubilee!

Blasphemy! Moron! Go get your eyes checked!

See how tall I’ve grown!

Tall & Strong => Old & Wise

And, if time permits, get your brain checked too.

Have you seen any school kid who appears at your gate at sunrise? Alone? 15 minutes before your ticket counter opens? And spend two hours as the lone privileged tourist with exclusive access to the Old Fort grounds doing this?

Shots of a silver morning

I thus warn you : Never ever make the mistake of underestimating one’s age & hence his/her ‘wisdom’ 😛

Angrily (not) yours,

Student who studies ‘college’ at IIT

8 Myths about PhD & Research in CS

Warning : This is one hell of an arrogant & obnoxious post. If you feel like feeling offended, stop reading right now! (Did you notice that I did not even say ‘Please’ or ‘Kindly’?)

Myth#1 : A PhD is extended school “studies” – extended beyond  tolerable limits!

Truth : I am NOT cramming books, writing suicide provoking answers in exams or submitting half-baked assignments every week here! And please, post-doc is NOT undergraduate courses extended to the limit! Anyone asking “For just how many more years do you intend to keep studying??” in spite of me politely explaining a dozen times that “I am not studying in the school sense, rather researching”,  is asking to be pushed under the wheels of an auto-rickshaw at the very next opportune moment!

Myth#2 : Research is boring!

Truth : If it was, none of the researchers from Galileo to ‘Venki’ Ramakrishnan would have done what they did. Can you imagine life without electricity? Medicine? Aircrafts? Cars? Satellite TV? Computers? That beloved iPad? Or that inseparable mobile phone? If not, you better dare not call research boring!

Myth#3 : CS researchers sit at a dark corner of an attic/basement/garage 24×7 typing away to a computer that has a blinking screen with black background & green font.

Truth : We do sit typing away to a computer for long periods of time. But so do you. After all, YOU are the one at the other end of the chat session on google chat! 😛

Myth#4 : CS researchers write scary C++/Java code every waking minute. If you print the amount of code all CS researchers in this world churn out, you’d need to borrow cupboard space from Jupiter.

Truth : I don’t remember the last time I wrote 3000 lines of code. Actually, I do – it was an assignment that I did wrong. CS researchers – most of them, most often – think more, code less! And they do NOT remember every bit of syntax of every programming language and can NOT debug your code in less than 5 minutes!

Myth#5 : Feel the urge to hack into that frienemy’s GMail/Orkut account? Call that CS researcher (yes, the one swimming in caffeine in that dark corner of that attic)

Truth : Too late. You should have asked a teenage me – that was when I lost interest in hacking. Or please ask one of those “techies” around who blog only about how to get a piece of software to do what it was not designed to do! No offense to “techies”. . but please spare me these hacking requests. Hacking no longer arouses me!

Myth#6 : Need an antivirus software? Or need to purge your laptop of the zillion viruses that you have managed to attract? Call that jobless CS PhD student.

Truth : That jobless CS PhD student might just be so outdated with anything that concerns Microsoft Windows that she now fumbles to navigate the Office 2007 interface! Shocking, but true. Sad, but true. Come to terms with it. Or delete my contact details from your phone. Please. Right away.

Myth#7 : Researchers read loads of books. All these books have complicated scary formulae printed 5 per page.  Or it could be huge diagrams or graphs or rows and rows of numbers with 8 digits after the decimal point. Apart from hundreds of pages of text that sounds swahili, that is.

Truth : Neither Ashok Banker’s Ramayana nor “How To Rule The World: A Handbook For The Aspiring Dictator” has any of those. Sorry to disappoint you.

Myth#8 : That PhD student is busy at all times of the day because she is busy attending classes. After all, there would be more course work for higher ‘degree’s.

Truth : Actually, please continue believing that. Saves me a lot of pointless talk which generally involves countering the questions “When would you finish that PhD?”, “When would you come over to meet us?” and “When do you plan to get married?” with subtly sarcastic replies which you wouldn’t get most of the time!

Questions better not asked..

To a Computer Engineer by qualification :

Qn : “You type so fast. . Did you attend typing classes?”

How I wish I could say : Yes.. I did not waste the months I spent inside my mom’s womb.

Qn : “Come on. . You are doing a Ph.D in Computer Science. . What good are you if you can’t repair my laptop’s broken ethernet port?”

How I wish I could say : You are right. I am never going to graduate this way. I am a useless arse. Let me go hang myself.

To a (sadly) not-so-stereotypical south indian in north india :

Qn : “You are south-indian. . Why are you eating rotis instead of rice?”

How I wish I could say : Genetic Mutation. But I’m sorry. . I  never knew that south-indians are not allowed to eat rotis for lunch. When did they make that amendment to the Indian constitution?

Continued Qn : “You don’t eat idlis also. . How come?”

How I wish I could say : Unfortunately, I don’t eat weapons of mass destruction.

Qn : “You are south-indian. . How come you don’t speak the “Ek Chatur Naar” way – Mehmood-style?”

How I wish I could say : Gosh Ayyo Ayyo. . That hindi teacher be damned .. She never told me that I have to develop an exaggerated stupid accent to prove my linguistic identity.

To a bibliophile..

Qn : “How do you read so many books without falling asleep?”

How I wish I could say : Sigh.. What to do? Insomnia.

Qn : “You even eat with a book in hand and headphones on. . You don’t talk much right?”

How I wish I could say : Kudos to your powers of observation. Yes. I try as much as possible to avoid being asked/hearing/answering such questions. . Today is one of my bad days.

To  an amateur photographer :

Qn : “You clicked that photograph?…….. I mean, YOU clicked that photograph?”

How I wish I could say : Well.. I know it is difficult to believe.. I may LOOK mentally & visually challenged. . But the situation is not too bad you know..

Qn : “Did you click that photo using a mobile phone camera?”

How I wish I could say : God, take me NOW! I can’t stand such cruelty.

BEWARE : If the mildest side-effect of being asked such questions is such a blog post, how tragic and frightening more serious side-effects could be? For your own good, please think before asking such questions!