Evanescent Thoughts

Evanescent Thoughts

Archive for the ‘Ha Ha Ha’ Category

One month into the Grad Life !!

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Its been more than a month into the Graduate Life at Univ of Wisconsin Madison for me. The first thing I felt missing from my Indian life is Time.  Back in India, at times, I was pretty much jobless that I would stay up late in the night and discuss some arbit crap with friends on the garnet lawn or watch some TV Series. I actually ended up watching 18 TV series as a part of my Undergraduate Life :P. But once course work started, it was a round robin between Assignments, Cooking, doing groceries and getting used to America !!.

I am not sure if this applies to all other universities in US, but Wisc-Mad needs you to only enroll for 6 credits per semester if you are a TA. Hence my calendar initially was only filled on Tue and Thurs for a couple of hours. And once they let in TA allotments, it all turned out to be messy. I finally managed to squeeze all TA and classwork commitments to just Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  So the long weekend starts on the Friday and lasts till my alarm rings on the next Tuesday morning at 8.00am :P.  Needless to say, there are assignments to be done or some or the other thing that comes up.  Life here is awesome. You have people who are very sweet and polite to you. Doesn’t mean  they actually are in real life. Its just the thing that they have a sweet outer-cover. So you walk into the street full of people, you ll end up with a lots of face gestures wishing you  a good day. In particular, in one of the invited talks, a guy from west coast mentioned that people in Madison are super sweet.

Fall is beautiful. Just a pleasant thing to watch. I was usually this person in India who rarely manages to step outside the 5m invisible ring around a laptop. But out here, the best thing I like to do is go and sit in front of the lake. Madison has two beautiful lakes and since my university and Madison city are a part and parcel of each other,  I am in close proximity to these awesome buildings and places of Madison. The state capitol which looks like a replica of the White House is few minutes walk from my apartment and department. And hence each and every day I go to dept, I feel like I am actually going to work. Doesn’t give you this feeling of you walking inside a campus where every one you see is a student or a person with academic ties.

Couple of funny things I encountered here :

  1. Wanna meet a prof ??, No problem. Just  walk in … Wanna have your hair cut ??  get an appointment beforehand and be there on time. And beyond that, most of the saloons have women cutting your hair and they charge you anywhere between 10 to 20 dollars for a simple haircut. Taxes are also to be paid btw :P. And I had to pay 16 dollars (and ideally supposed to have followed the golden-20%-tipping rule) for just ending up in an Identity crisis at the hands of a woman in a span of just few minutes. The lady who cut my hair was actually perplexed when she heard that hair cut at India cost me like 75 cents.
  2. Cycling is a lot of fun. And you have a separate bike-lane here everywhere. The whole city is actually very scenic to cycle.
  3. Ever since I came to US, I have always carried only 5 dollars in my wallet as Cash. And to this date, I still haven’t used it at all.
  4. To all those who sit in India and act like this crazy calculator that converts  their friends/spouses/kid’s salary in dollars to INR, you wouldn’t be willing to even buy a small candy if you keep doing that over here before spending.
  5. Temperature plays a see-saw most of the time here. It might happen at times, that you see a clear and sunny sky out there and wanna go for a bike ride. You might still end up biking at 8 degree Celsius. Happened to me. So trust me :P.
  6. You gotta figure out clever ways to get your TV episode if you don’t wanna end up missing it or watching it in a tiny 400×300 pixel in your browser.
  7. People take your word for granted here. If you say you dunno who is responsible for this big chunk of data downloaded from your phone eating up your data plan, they just push you up to a bigger data plan free of cost :P.
  8. Beyond seven, anything is not funny at all. So I stop here 😛

Well there actually are many interesting things to put up here, but all that comes to my mind right now is this Lattice framework for compiler optimization which I cant get a hang of.


Written by Sathya Narayanan

October 4, 2010 at 10:06 am

F1 Visa Experience

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I finally got my F1 Visa for US approved today at Chennai Consulate 🙂 .. Actually been a while since I updated anything on my blog. So bear with the abrupt posting 😛 .. I am headed to Univ of Wisconsin Madison(wisc mad) for MS in CS with Aid .  I  had got all my docs into a harmonium folder and  reached the consulate office at around 7 . My interview appointment time was 8.00am .  It was raining heavily and just when I reached , they were beginning to let people in. Was surprised to see auto guys pulling out umbrellas from their autos and selling it to applicants who had not brought the umbrella when it rained ( I never expected they would let us carry umbrellas inside when they don’t even  allow electronic watches ).  After  the initial screening outside, they checked my file folder and stuff and let me inside the main counters where they verified the ds160 confirmation page and  collected all the necessary docs like sevis , hdfc receipt, i20 , admission letter , passport etc . I had a slight delay here because the guy said that I need to submit a Photograph without specs . The one I had submitted in my ds160 had specs on. But I remember reading on the VFS site that spectacles are allowed if they are for medical reasons.  So they made me wait in the photo queue over there. The photo guy comes only around 8. So I had to wait all the while. Also the guys in this docs counters were all Indians. So they were a bit pissed off and showing unhappy faces at ppl who didnt understand whts to be done( at least the guy in the counter where I went was like that ).

The photo guy turned up around 8.15am (yes !! he was an Indian given his punctuality 😛 ). Got my photos. Cost me 100 bucks and went back to the counter to get back the docs and submitted the finger prints. Now after this,  the counter guy gave me a folder with  my passport , DD for the change in visa fee, HDFC receipt, SEVIS receipt, I20,  Admission letters, Funding letter from College. I thought my course completion certi should also be added to this list and put it myself once I was well away from the counter.

After this I went on to this counter where I had to pay the extra amount due to change in the VISA fee from $131 to $140. Took a couple of mins and got the receipt. People who opted to  pay by cash were delayed. Also, once inside, the Interview time didnt matter as people stood in the line arbitrarily as and when their previous task was completed. I headed straight to the VO(Visa Officer) counter. They had 2 counters with VO, on the either side of the 12 counter array where docs were put into the folder. The VO guy was a middle aged American, a bit tanned, very calm and polite( unlike the Indians in the other counters :P). So I put up a big confident smile on my face and went ahead. And this is the conversation as I remember 😛

VO : Good Morning Sir.
ME : Good Morning Officer.
(The VO takes my blue folder and looks at the docs. Asks me to give my Individual mark sheets. I asked if he wanted the transcript and he insisted on seeing the Individual Mark sheets. And then he asked me to give me my GRE and TOEFL Score cards. Though he never looked into them. He went through carefully through my mark sheets and I was worried if he would give me  a  pink slip cos I had taken a course on Crypto and couple of TAL items 😛 )
VO : Please take back your mark sheets sir .
ME : Thank you.
(Now he looks into my i20 and enters into the SEVIS database and checks out my college and stuff
VO : So why did you choose this university sir ?
(At this point , I couldn hear him properly . So I signalled him to adjust the mike volume and he happily did )
Me : Its got a very reputed group of faculty and course structure and besides, its ranked in the top ten for my area sir.
VO : So whats your Area of Interest
( Bang !!  RED ALERT !! I begin to   get back my senses and  recollect the comfortable answer that I had in mind which would not  end me up in TAL )
Me : I am planning to work on Database Management Systems ( Well 😀 )
(  And this is when the interview got a bit Techy)
VO : So what all DB s are you familiar with.
Me : Mysql , SQL blah blah blah ..
VO : Good .. So you know Oracle ??
( This is when I realised he was not this computer guy :P)
Me: Yes sir… But oracle as such is a company and not a DB language. Though I  have worked on Oracle’s SQL .. and recently MySql came under Oracle as they purchased Sun Micro Systems.
VO : Yeah yeah !! I get it .. They are DB s related to Microsoft. So what  interests you in this.
Me : I am interested in how data could be efficiently and effectively stored and organized  sir.
( And there ends the tech part.. was running arnd for abt 40 secs.. )
VO : Good . And how  are you planning to cover your expenses?
Me : I have funding from the University Sir.
(By this time , I was a bit worried as he was questioning me more on what area  I am gonna work on.. So I thought I was gonna end up getting a pink slip .. Was almost prepared for it when he stretched his hands to pick up a white slip and pushed it towards me )
VO : We have an Orientation for Students headed to USA this evening ( and shows me the white slip that I misunderstood for a pink slip 😛 ). I am approving your VISA sir .. It ll be couriered to you in 2 days. Have a nice day 🙂
Me : Thank you sir 🙂

I was  going back with the conversation in my mind to get assured that I didnt get a pink slip and definitely got my VISA approved 😛 .. And then headed to the exit after confirming it with a lady over there 🙂

All izz well !! 😀

USA check list :

Acco (Check)
Flight Tickets (Check)
Shopping (Errr ??? )
Now R.I.P 😀

Written by Sathya Narayanan

June 9, 2010 at 5:00 pm

A Memorable Senti Weekend

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If I had to recollect, say ten years later, a memorable week end I had, I would point out to this blog post :).  The plan started initially as a black thunder plan and owing to the usual  dropping out of people for “Busy” reasons, got transformed to the Power Lunch plan.  Normally  we would  shift to our usual back up plans of going to buhari or selvam for lunch and call it as an week end, but me and Archit were so frust with things going this way each and every time  and wanted to have a nice memorable week end :).

So Archit, me,  VI , Venki and Susan started it with the Power Lunch at Sangam 🙂 . Why we refer to it as the power lunch dates back to fifth semester incident when me and Bur and couple of others went to Sangam for the first time :P.  The usual sangam power lunch results in we cribbing to others that we are not gonna eat for another 2 days but this day, we talked so much that at the end of buffet, we felt like we haven even tried half of the dishes over there :P. By this time, Venki was shivering ( yes !!! in this hot trichy, this guy finds sitting in AC uncomfortable 😛 ) and we left :). And we had no clue what we were supposed to do till evening, so took an auto and headed straight to Kalaiarangam for “Paiya” movie.  Though the movie was a normal one, the analogies brought out by VI to incidents happening around, made us pinned to our seats till the end and have a nice time :).

Initial plan was to return after movie, but then, we still felt there was more to the evening and headed straight to the Reliance Food Court where Su was supposed to go for a treat :).  Happily sat there, watched the Mumbai match and surprised a couple of girls by having a good dinner even after coming back from sangam lunch :P. Was surprised by Mr Mage turning up with a girl company 😉 and we left at around 7 and got back to coll :).

VI was too enthu to go for a walk and hence we went on the BIG walk around the campus going beyond opal :D.  Went to the temple and this is when things got Wierd. Every damn thing archit tried to say inside the temple ended up happening:P . He says “Bloody Director” and he comes there in few minutes. He asks for Prasad and people come all the way to us and gfve us :P. We had no clue how but it was sort of fun to think things were like happening as and when Archit said something :P.  After the temple we kept walking and talking all the way back to Garnet. Tired from the walk, headed straight to Aavin and back to room. Thought I was done for the day and watched a movie and got up in betweent to fetch water from cooler and on the way see Archit and Nami sitting on the corridor near the GToL (Garnet Tree of Love) and talking :D. One look and u knw Nami was high. And then we started talking about things and people joined :D. We five of us ( Archit, Me , Venki , Vi and Nami) laughed our hearts out on various incidents and mainly when Nami blabbers something funny. Nami who was initially high, was almost clear by the time Archit told him all the incidents that he had no clue about :D. And then we kept talking and suddenly it was 4am in the morning. Took a Bike and off we were to Thiruverumbur for Refreshments( Tea + Bun) . Such a wonderful feeling to have done a night out, talking and then you get hot tea with bun at the end of it :D. Praveen joined now and now we were off to the first year times :). Finally some one reminded us that it was time to sleep and I go to bed.

To my surprise, the news paper was at my door steps at 5 in the morning .For the first time,  I was like reading the newspaper before going to bed :P. I wake up the next morning and Nami gives a pleasant surprise by  cooking us an awesome lunch 😀 ( 4Kgs of Chicken Curry). Had one of  the best ever lunches, sitting in a room and eating with friends.

With loads of things happening, it was a nice time to sit and talk with friends,  with cherished memories :). None of us could forget this nightout for all the stuff we talked about and all the truths that people ended up knowing :D.  I never thought I would get senti and write a post about it by the end of the coll :).

Written by Sathya Narayanan

April 21, 2010 at 1:36 am

Crazy Dreams…

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I dont remember my dreams. Never could I recollect what I had dreamt about  in the last night. A few exceptions are this and the one that woke me up this morning. They would rather come under the category of nightmares.  For the past few days, I have been trying really hard to read this big book (Barrons) of hundreds of words that even makes a month a small time for an exam. I dont reckon preparing for any exam like this in a very long long time.

So here goes the dream and I was so terrified that I totally remember the details. It was a sandy beach. In fact lots of sand … and then there were couple of  my friends and we were all happily playing and chit chatting. And suddenly this guy starts talking about GRE and  he gave me the following shocking news

1. GRE from now on is for a score of 2200

2. No math in GRE and its only  the verbal section completely

3. And a new edition of barrons with 103 word lists is newly released .

And then he went on to tell me that some guy wrote it in a jiffy and got some 2188 .. I have no idea how I remember so much from a dream ..  I just got up with a shock, messaged two ppl who were giving GRE today and then slept  back.  May be all these happened because I was trying to do 4 word lists yesterday  to compensate for my slow pace of current preps.

In all, I just wanna be done with it and move on to other things. I have been battered since the day, I had planned to give GRE. First it was with getting a passport which almost took me 2  visits to chennai passport office and finally one visit to trichy pass port office and now I get awkward dreams of the examination. On one side, I am having an awesome summer, on the other side, I am really getting abused by these GRE preps. The only thing that I am sharpening in this process is the pencil that I use to keep track of the words 😀

Written by Sathya Narayanan

June 15, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Now I am Sleep Lifting !!!

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Things in my house are as old as me . Things like TV , refridgerator , cot etc . There was this refridgerator which my  parents were planning to get replaced with a new one . It was a Voltas one .. been used for 19 yrs and I actually remember breaking the door handle couple of times.

Suddenly I get up this morning and I was surprised to see a brand new refridgerator in place. So I felt a bit nostalgic and enquired where the old fridge was . My mom was like freaked out ..

I hadnt slept properly for the past few days and I was off  to bed early ( I mean around 10.30 in the night )  . And the new refridgerator had come at around 11 in the night . And my mom tells me that it was I who helped the delivery guy bring the new refridgerator into the house and take the old one  out 😛 . And she also told me I almost missed dropping the fridge and the delivery guy shouted at me for a moment . I helped them move the things and went and slept off again   🙂 .

Yeah guess that was my first sleep lifting job 😛 . Thank  God I didnt drop  anything . May be I shouldnt go to bed that early 😛

Written by Sathya Narayanan

April 11, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Posted in College life, Ha Ha Ha

The Private Magic Show at Sun Lab

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Today was one of my lucky days . I was in sun lab with my laptop , and had gone out for dinner . When I came back , was  surprised to see abhilash with a set of cards and AJ sitting in front of him . I went shouting “Hey me too , for the magic trick ” . And hence the private magic show of AJ began in the sun lab , with abhilash ,me and srinivas watching him do amazing things with cards .

I was a bit late , had missed a trick . So i  pulled a chair and sat down and the next half an hour was breath-taking . I have watched  lots of videos of David  Blaine’s Street magic . I was amazed at those tricks at first but was convinced at times that they were all fake . But this one by AJ totally blew my minds off. I happened to see abt 7-8 of his card tricks and i was really amazed to see how a couple of hands , a mouth and a pack of cards could take you out for an awesome entertaining journey. And then finally , he made me do all the magic. I am gonna explain this .

AJ  : So you wanna do some magic ?

Me :  Ofcourse yeah .

He then gave me a deck of cards and then,

AJ : Now you are the magician . As a magician what would you want me to do ?

Me : Pick a card ( I couldnt think of anything else )

AJ Picked a card randomly , I was holding the deck all the time . And then he asked me to shuffle the cards . Now I did all possible shuffling to make sure he was not cheating . And then he asked me do deal  a set of cards  of my own choice . So i arbitly cut a  few of cards . While he still had the card which he originally chose , I divided the cards I dealt into two sets .

AJ : Now the first deck gives me the  value and the second card gives me the suit.

And then voila !! He opened the first card of first deck . Turned out to be  Queen of Spades. Opened the first card of the other deck , which turned out to be Six Dice . And then he opened the card that he had initally taken . Believe me or not , it was a Queen of dice 🙂 . I was like OMG . He had not touched the entire deck of cards except for choosing the first card. I dealt all the cards, shuffled them all up myself. And still this guy pulls off a beautiful trick and amazes me ( and still says I ‘am the magician 😛 ) .

I feel really lucky to have been the one of very few to get his private magic show . I have seen some of my friends do magic tricks , but this one just blew me off. Totally entertaining.

Hats off AJ . You totally rock !!! .

PS : AJ you are “deeeeee”  magician  😛

Written by Sathya Narayanan

March 16, 2009 at 10:25 pm

New Year at Theoretical Comp-Sci Lab

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2008 ended  with a bang for me . With results declared on new year eve , i was delighted to see a 9.64 GPA with all the efforts i put in ( refer this ) .Lots of guys were actually not happy with results coming out on new year eve .The next thing i was happy was succesfully downloading  the Ubuntu 8.10 repository using deb mirror  from the IIT M Mirror . I had downloaded some 24.8 GB of data in some 2 hours . I am planning to set up the repository back at coll so that we have a local mirror (seperate post on using debmirror coming up ) . With this the new year eve ended on  a high and i had made some working solutions for the research problem at hand. It  was  a overwhleming  farewell gift of 2008 🙂 .img_2010




2009 had a great beginning too.It was much of a surprise . After wishing everybody a happy new year , i was off to lab . I hadnt been doing much of work this winter , so i thought of not wasting the new year day. Also there was supposed to be a class on randomised algorithms by Prof C. Pandurangan which i didnt want to miss . So I reached lab around 10 in the morning . And then I  discussed my solution for Private Matching with Prof and Phd students and finally i had some meaningful outcome for my brief winter stay at Theoretical Comp Sci Lab ( i think i have been to lab only for some  10 days in total ).So I finally got a  green signal to write my kutti results  and i should soon be sending it for a journal publication soon 🙂 . Hope it goes on well . I was exited with the new year beginning on a good note .


More fun came when the guys here  at lab decided to cut a cake and celebrate new year. So they got 2 cakes ( eggless becos prof is strictly vegetarian)  , some snacks and two big bottles of Cool Drinks to lab and soon prof joined us for the celebrations , giving his wishes .We put the camera to a good use  and also took pics group wise  ( perfect security , provable security , graph theory , game theory )  with professor. It was all fun. The atmosphere was unbeleivable .Something i cant get back in my coll and i enjoyed it completely here . Suddenly people started asking prof for his birthday treat. The guys here actually celebrate 4 birthdays of prof . One his actual birthday , his star birthday , the one in his pass port, and the one in his official records 🙂 . And apart from this they also celebrate all transitive closure events of each other’s birthday 😛 . (Looks like its more fun doing research 🙂 ) .img_2035

Soon we were headed to Cafe Coffee Day (yeah CCD 🙂 ) here, with prof and we were around 20 people . Formed a big circle over there in CCD and the rest is all wht usually happens in any treat 😀 . After the treat we again took pics . In all it was a memorable new year . It was followed by a lecture on Randomised algorithms ( which i am planning to blog on soon ) . No one who sits in Pandurangan sir’s class leaves without getting inspired by the subject that he takes. And so was I.

In all this new year was entirely opposite previous one. On the eve of the 2008 new year , me and my dad met with an accident and we were in CMC Hospital . My dad had a minor fracture in his right shoulder and we came back home only on Jan 1st morning after spending the whole night at hospital .So i am really thrilled with this new year beginning on a high . 🙂 🙂

Written by Sathya Narayanan

January 1, 2009 at 5:55 pm