Just now Benida rang and told that Kounish's father has returned from Chaitanyapur Eye Hospital and the eye is saved. We were all worried. We saw 'Kaku' working in a coal shop in our younger days, struggling hard to cope up with life. Both the sons, Koushik and Kounish were some years junior to me but we played together in BNR ground. Koushik joined Ramakrishna Mission. Kounish now works under a distributor of consumer goods. Several occasions we met in Tech. market. Few days back Kounish rang, was at a loss what to do. The doctor has referred to Disha Eye Hospital and they have asked to arrange a large sum. Benida knew about Chaitanyapur Eye Hospital near Haldia run by Vivekananda Mission Ashram and they do such a wonderful job. And they did it again. Heartfelt thanks!
Oh! It's a holiday.
This had been one of the most hectic day of recent times. In the morning, one ex-student, now with TCS came in chat. I answered that today is a sudden holiday under NI act. And we get to work more on holidays when the distractions are less. Completed setting up of two exam. papers. One in the morning and the other in the evening. Scheduled a 3 PM meeting with research students which ended at 7:45 PM. This accomplished a much needed review of our various strategic initiatives and take a stock of tens of leads we are pursuing.
Staff vs. Student
Work in a research lab. is not an office job. Pushing the reporting time from 9 AM to 9:30 AM, then 10 AM and so on, leaving campus in the weekend (without permission) compulsively, extending the weekend, not following reporting structure etc. do not help one to stay focused on research problem or derive the most from IIT infrastructure and research environment. We try our best to remind our those students who think themselves more as staffs than students of these pitfalls and how important it is to maintain focus.
Man is a social animal
People in this part of the country perhaps are more social than others, which of course is good when society is getting fragmented, families are becoming nuclear. But it comes with its own problem for those who are supposed to be in 'student mode'. There comes a social pressure to attend every single birthday, marriage function, first-rice-ceremony, this and that of all the people I know or and share a cord. The emotional self gets better of us. We find it difficult to say, "No", not to hurt feelings of others. I myself have experienced this and still experience it because of my very large social network. But somehow I have been able to communicate well and make my community feel that they have a stake, a share in whatever work I do at IIT and how important these are. I talk to them about our research, work in a language they can appreciate. It is their kindness, magnanimity that not only the bond is strong and healthy but also they inquire time to time how the work is going on here.
Abhyas (striving) and Vairagya (detachment)
Urge research students to make your community a stake holders in whatever you do and they will try to create a congenial atmosphere for you and ask you not to get defocused. Please act before it is too late. It is your career. These 2-4 years are very crucial. This is the most productive phase of the young and intelligent. Yesterday, we had a snacks break in between our research meeting. One new faculty joined us in Tikka. He was discussing the difference between a research student of China and that of US. And one can see the difference how these two nations have come up in recent times. The research students in India need not follow a 7 days a week culture but definitely do more than what they are doing now. The story says that God was not happy creating all forms of life till man was created, as the formers did not have the ability to realize the creator. When one realizes God becomes God himself. The power is there but latent. One has to strive. The scripture talks about twin principles, 'Abhyas' (striving) and 'Bairagya' (Detachment). If we remain too much attached with surroundings, we shall not be able to concentrate. Unless we strive and focus our energy, the nature will not reveal its secret.
Choose your ideal
We try our best to recruit the right kind of people for the lab. ... the ones who have passion for research, ones who are trainable, ones who are hard working, ones who want to dive deep and immerse fully. None of us are super talented. It is the combination of whatever talent we have and hard work that make us deliver. New comers to the lab. should take note of this. Please draw inspiration from performers in the lab. Please see their track record, their effort, their devotion, their sincerity.
Welcoming fresh blood
Yes, we are gearing up to welcome three new students (not staffs, please!) in our lab. We are filling up all the three positions that we advertized recently. We are keeping one in waiting list, in case somebody does not join. One thing was noticeable in this round of recruitment. It appeared that a good number of these candidates have genuine desire for a research career. This is a welcome change. Some of these candidates are from industries and little bit out of touch. Some are willing to sacrifice their faculty job and be a part of our team. One candidate appreciates that the performance should have been better and wants to prepare for the next selection and seeks guidance.
I must say that I am overwhelmed and humbled by this keenness. Wish all of you who are really interested get an opportunity to fulfill your research dream. Usually, we are asked to submit projects but we do not do as there is a scarcity of committed manpower to service when projects are granted. I think, we can explore new projects now.
To those who are looking for guidance may refer to NPTEL (Link) resources. Please brush up the fundamentals of core subjects. If you are to be called an engineer in a particular field, the basics of core subjects should be known. One may forget minute details if one remains out f touch for long. But if the fundamentals are clear (what this chapter says and why is it useful - basic equations / graph / table and their significances) then one knows where to start if a problem is given. Be it a drawing of CMOS inverter, transistor characteristics curve, getting a non-inverting amplifier from OP-AMP, definition of Discrete Fourier Transform, Truth Table / Excitation Table of Flip-Flops, Design steps of filters, Difference between Synchronous / Asynchronous counter, Difference between C and C++, writing simple codes for basic mathematical manipulation or reading / writing files ......... we often find candidates appear clueless. Also one should be comfortable with detailing of projects done or proficiencies claimed in biodata.
We often tell people interested to work with us to brush up Digital Signal Processing (Link1 and Link2), gather some idea on Pattern Recognition (Link1 and Link2 : Low cost Indian Edition is available for the book "Pattern Classification" by Duda and Hart : May not have been exposed as this subject is a PG core or UG elective ... basic understanding will do, details can be learnt in course of time.) and have familiarity with MATLAB (If one has MATLAB loaded in own machine then can play with codes of this Link or other stuffs available on web). MATLAB is gently and systematically introduced in this Analog and Digital Communication Text (Link) and the companion website's student centre (Link) provides downloadable MATLAB mini-projects and codes. Similar feature is offered for Verilog HDL language in this text (Link) and the downloadable stuffs in student centre (Link).
Talked to Jugal Babu, a devoted High School teacher this evening on a new free coaching centre our NSS volunteers have planned. It is on course. Just now the student volunteer pinged. Their team had been very very responsible and are showing a matured approach. If IITians come forward like these and help the community it will truly be leading from the front. Proud of these young volunteers.
Shubho Poila Baisakh (Happy Bengali New Year)
Time to say good night. It is 1:30 AM. Have an 8:30 AM class. Shubho Poila Baisakh (Happy Bengali New Year) to all. While typing this post was going through some of the PPTs 2nd Year UG students are sending by mail for their mini-projects. Some of the ideas (not implemented) like Moving PPT slides by voice command during presentation, Lie Detection, Communication with Extra Terrestrial Intelligence appear interesting. Let's see how they present.
You have earned one more tomorrow
Sure that earned one more tomorrow for what I have done today :-) ..... pasting one poem that is my favourite for long.
Is anybody happier because you passed this way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to them today?
The day is almost over, and its toiling time is through.
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?
Can you say tonight in parting with the day that's slipping fast,
That you helped a single person of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?
Does the one whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?
Did you waste the day or use it? Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say:
"You have earned one more tomorrow by what you did today?"