Thursday, December 31, 2015

ABVYM Annual Camp 2015

It was about 9 AM of last Sunday, one of those end-Dec. days when Her Highness visits ancestral place to take care of certain other things there. Checked with Ma, she was feeling much better that day (nothing serious, old age has its ups and downs). I made a quick estimate. Yes, I can finish shopping, cooking etc. and push-off for the 2:25 PM EMU local, for a seven-hour round trip to a place called Panskura. It would be 50 minutes train journey from Kharagpur station towards Howrah.

Ma happily obliged. I was going to Panskura to attend the afternoon / evening session of 5-day long annual camp of Akhil Bharat Vivekananda Yuva Mahamandal (ABVYM). The word 'Mahamandal' itself brings joy, a glow in our family for the contribution it had on us and in our neighbourhood. The other day HH came from local market, excited. Has any Mahamandal member of Kharagpur unit joined a book shop in the market? I answered in negative, at least I was not aware of. Came the reply - but the young boy, could be a college student, had the look, and the way he presented himself!

Went to market. Bumped on Anjan, another Mahamandal product, a self-made man who runs two schools and has tremendous entrepreneurial spirit. He visited camp on 25th Dec. and was to go again on 29th because it would have Swami Balabhadranadaji's lecture in the evening session. But, as soon as he heard that I would be going that day, he thought that there was nothing wrong with 27th either :-).

Shopping, cooking, lunch, medicine to Ma - all done and there was Anjan with his bike at our quarter at 1:30 PM. Together we boarded that 2:25 PM train. When we got down at Panskura station, we found Prabodh-da and another young companion of him, all going to camp. Prabodh-da too is from Kharagpur unit. His son and seven other from Kharagpur, are attending this camp for all five days.

Took vacation leave from office for visiting the camp again on 29th Dec. This time Sujoy, Kanchan, Anuj - a different set of Kharagpur unit oldies accompanied and also eight other young persons. While it was pre-planned that myself and Sujoy would go together, Anuj and Kanchan's decision to join was sudden. Anuj rang in the morning thanking me for my facebook post on 27th Dec. camp visit and when he heard that we would be going that day, he was in. For Kanchan, there was celebration of birth anniversary of their diksha-guru, Swami Swarupananda - Babamoni. He freed himself, had early prasad and joined the team. For youngsters in the team, a proposal was made previous evening and the number swelled to eight. Gifted these young companions a small book on "Leadership: Its Concept and Qualities" written by Sri Nabaniharan Mukhopadhyaya from the camp site book stall. Had an interaction with the author in the camp who has been the main driving force of ABVYM since its inception in 1967.

At the end of the picture series below, there are videos that has two interesting lectures on "Vivekananda and Technical Education" by Swami Vedarupananda, Ramakrishna Mission Shilpamandir, Saradapith (Link) and "Vivekanada's Philosophy of Work" by Swami Balabhadrananda, Assistant Secretary, Belur Math (Link). In the first, among others, the theory of adoption of technological skill brings unemployment, is bunked. In the latter, it was explained how work efficiency improves without creating bondage / backlash through practice of non-attachment.

There are few other short duration videos that shows different aspects of this camp - the flag-down ceremony (1), the physical skill demonstration by children's wing (1), prayer (1), song (1), Q and A session (1, 2), camp kitchen / dining, book stall (1,2 ) and also typical camp announcements (1).

Camp Pictures:

Camp Videos:

An audio of evening lecture in Day 2 of camp on "Vivekananda and World Peace" in Bengali by Sri Birendra Kumar Chakraborty, Secretary, ABVYM: Link

Endnote: There was email, phone call, SMS. A discussion was to take place on certain official activity where a faculty from another IIT was to come here. It happened yesterday evening. While we could wrap up the official matters in 15 minutes, the next 30 minutes went in sharing ideas and experiences on certain common interests. The young faculty and his wife work for  rescued children through an NGO, teach yoga in juvenile home etc. They have a team of 10 members in that campus and every weekend, 5-6 members of that team engage some of their time for the social cause in rotation. He showed me some of the photographs of the children he worked with. I showed him some of the activities being carried out here and also nararted experience of this ABVYM Annual Camp and NSS, IIT Kharagpur Annual Camp.

And, I had to email the young faculty twice at his request. The first time, I mailed him the weblink of that official activity. The second mail had link of this blog. I had the opportunity of reporting NSS, IIT Kharagpur 7-day long Annual Camp experiences in NSS, IIT Kharagpur blog (8 posts from Nov. 28 to Dec. 05, 2015). While I could attend ABVYM Annual Camp on 2 days, I visited NSS, IIT Kharagpur camp everyday except for one day as I had to be in the national launch of IMPRINT-India by Hon. President in presence of Hon. Prime Minister at Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Live for Thee

There was sufficient condition, perhaps not the necessary condition.  It is not that I was not writing in between. But in a different space, and in a different capacity. May be postponing this ‘chronicle of life’ for a post-retirement autobiography! Is that a good idea? Grand-father, Father, Me. Statistically speaking, I should have more than 10 years of me left for others to bear with! Enough for Jio, Ji bhar ke! Reminds me of a Chunky Pande dialogue in an Akshaykumar starrer, “I am jo-king”. Also, there is the 'live for thee' that gives purpose to a life when comes the question - Why? What for? Does it worth?

Yesterday afternoon. A discussion with theme coordinator in a national roadmap building exercise.  Healthcare should not position itself only as Sickcare. Caring health when we are healthy, adopting healthy life style, will reduce disease burden of the country. Well, could that be the necessary condition to deserve such an opening sentence? Doesn’t seem so. A routine activity can do anything but trigger.

When alone
Cut to a different scene. About 9 PM of yesterday evening. It was a Monday evening. Midsem. Exam. Started. Still in office. As usual. Had to complete and mail slides for an important video conference, scheduled today. Comes a phone. A UG student is on the other side.  Sir, I got admitted in hospital this morning with high fever. Appeared in today’s exam. from  hospital. Now, I am feeling somewhat better.  My next exam is day after tomorrow. Alone in student cabin wanted to talk to somebody. My friends must be preparing now for their exam., do not want to disturb them. Your thought came. Read in your blog that you as a student appeared in a semester exam. from this hospital.

And we talked a while. His father, in Indore, wanted to come here. Worried, since it is exam. time. The student asked him not to.  

Who is in whose family
As if it was not enough. The same yesterday. A PG student appeared at office door with a glowing face. I am getting better results now. How? It is same time-frequency features. But by doing feature selection with stricter p-value criterion. Number of features is reduced. But poorer features seem to get eliminated and the model is doing better. Very good! I am coming to the lab. shortly and shall examine. Sir, tables, plots are already sent to you and is in your inbox. You can see from here. She sat down. And her too was an exhaustive study, characteristic signature of our lab. students. The novelty, contribution part are for others to comment. I can vouch for the sincerity, effort, detailed analysis part of it. 

We were half way through our discussion on those analysis of EEG signals and interpreting functioning of brain. A knock at the door. Parents there. Both, specially the mother, are active social worker. She is part of CSR work taken up by members of a nearby Industry, from house of TATAs. Recently they conducted a program together with some of our UG students in a neighbourhood village. They came to IITKGP for some other work. Found that the light is on in my office. Wanted to discuss a new proposal with me, lighting up of approach road of one crematorium.

The research student, their daughter, gave a look at parents which I am not unfamiliar with. I get more of that from my daughter at home. Parents were kind of apologetic, embarrassed to enter in between a discussion. Made them feel comfortable. Told them that their daughter is now part of our IIT Kharagpur family and they have higher priority. We can continue the research discussion later. They have to travel some distance to return home. The picture in this post was whatsapp-ed by these parents earlier. They clicked this in a public gathering of Sathya Sai Seva Organization, held one week back.

The thread that connects
This again relates to a telephone call of yesterday. The student was calling from home. The father developed a heart related problem. Kolkata hospital told that holter test is required and possibly pacemaker after that. The hospital cannot conduct that test and told them to get it done from outside within certain date. The place where they stay has only one such centre in the district and that is booked till 12th of October. The student wanted to discuss what can be done.

The fourth one from yesterday, connected to this thread, is something that almost made me jump in joy. There was the elder brother, a senior research student, who appeared in my office. His father had a fall in toilet few days back. Since he had other health problems the family went for a Kolkata specialty hospital 200 KM from their village. Fellow students pooled money to meet the emergency and one of them accompanied him. After successful operation, the father is now back home.

The student gave this report of his father’s health. Then there was a pause. He smiled. And then said, Sir, brother has got a job. A Govt. job, contractual in the beginning. Both of us had broad smiles in our face. How much we (me and the elder brother) shared among ourselves, both worries and possible opportunities, and how to push the younger brother to deliver his best. The younger brother worked hard and full credit to him. The family even in a distressed situation like this when the father is ill, feel relieved cannot conceal joy.

Shared space
Students are at the centre in a campus environment with whom both parents and teachers connect to. The environment has inherent in it making of a bigger family out of its residents. Of my 700+ FB friends, 600+ would be students from here, mostly UG, many of them are now settled in their respective professional lives. All such student friends have one thing in common. The requests came from them. It is their greatness to consider people from another generation as ‘Friend’ and share their space with us. It was nice to learn that both the generations will be present together in Rashtrapati Bhavan for national launch of something significant. Would-be winners of a student essay competition (Link) will be invited there and it will be a joy to share space with them.

Let me end this by copy-pasting FB comment of one of my friend from our generation, a Professor at University of London, our collaborator in brain research related activity. The context was an earlier posting of this blog. The post reappeared in reference to a student led discussion held last week on - Unselfishness is more paying, but one does not have the patience to practise it.

An interesting post. It reminds me of a story I have read. A senior monk was speaking to a group of young monks and to make a point, showed a large jar and put it on the table, He produced a few fist sized rocks and placed them one by one into the jar. When no more rocks could be fit, he asked "is the jar ful?" Everyone replied in chorus, "yes". He then pulled out a bucket of gravel, dumped some in the jar, shook and dumped more. It quickly filled the spaces between the rocks. Again he asked, "is this jar full?" The monks hesitated, and one replied, "probably not." He replied, "good" and then brought some sand and dumped the sand into jar until it filled all the crevices. Again he asked, "is the jar full?" The monks were catching up, so shouted, "No." The senior then grabbed a pitcher of water and poured it until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he asked "what is the point of this demonstration?"
One young monk responded, "the point is no matter how full your day is, you can always fit more things in."
"No" replied the wise monk, "the point is if you don't put the big rocks in first, you will never get them in at all. So set the life's priorities and lead your life accordingly."
One young monk responded, "the point is no matter how full your day is, you can always fit more things in.""No" replied the wise monk, "the point is if you don't put the big rocks in first, you will never get them in at all. So set the life's priorities and lead your life accordingly."

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Prof. B. N. Das Passes Away

Prof. B. N. Das (Link), one of the pillar on which Dept. of Electronics & ECE, IIT Kharagpur stands tall today, has left his mortal frame on 7th Aug., 2015, early morning. In yesterday's condolence meeting, Director, IIT Kharagpur was telling that it is not just this Dept., he was one of those persons for whom the institute is known for excellence today, and all of us should emulate his path. Prof. Das' love of integrals, maths., analytical approach on one side and determination, grit, passion for quality on the other side, were in the making of him and his awe-inspiring personality. His students are spread far and wide and doing their organizations proud for the important roles they play there. Prof. Das adorned simplicity till the end of his life. We are told that he avoided being administrative Heads not to miss his time with research.

He was my B.Tech. project guide. Had the opportunity to interact with him during my research scholar days here and later as a faculty. Many memories.

We miss Prof. B. N. Das and Prof. G. S. Sanyal (Link) of that era who led from the front R & D activities in microwave and antenna engineering.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Wings of Fire

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam at ICCCD 2010 Inauguration on 10-12-2010; and full text of his very inspiring speech on "Life: Progress, Challenges and Growth" delivered to students at Dept. of Electronics and ECE, IIT Kharagpur after the inauguration function.