31 August 2006

State of Mind

You know what? It's been 5 months since I came here, more than 4 months since I applied for my "Nostrification" - the process that gets me the student status. Still my enrollment seems to be a distant dream! My health insurance, student dorm, concessions in trains, etc. all depend on that.

I do not have any clue about what these authorities are doing? How long a man can show his patience? I go to the downtown office, they tell me to go to Garching where the pointer is always to the downtown office. This is what is happening for almost 3 months. All this while I was trying to defend them when someone said "they are always like this". But, I feel irritated now.

The insurance story is completely different. I am of-course not an employee of any institute. I am a "promotionsstudium" (PhD student), which does not come in the normal student class. It boils down to this - I am neither a student nor an employee. These insurance companies don't have any option to have a policy for a person like this. So what am I supposed to do? I am the only non-German in the whole lot, that means I am the only one facing this problem. All others have their insurances from the beginning. Now the only option seems to be going to any of the private firms - which means, pay 3 times what I should really pay.

The best part is, nobody seems to know what I should be doing. Isn't that great?

I am normally a 'never-tempered' person. I generally don't complain too. I always try to defend the officials when these kinds of problems come. But the situation demands me to be the other way around. Let me see whether I can do?. By next weekend I should have my insurance ready.

Completely frustrated.

Signing off, Sands.

22 August 2006

Doha and Idli

Hey janam lethe jagah mein ek hi
Ek hi pauda unhem hei paaltha
Raath mein un-par chamktha chaand bhi
Ek hi si chaandni hei taaltha

I don't remember who is the author of this - Kabirdas or Surdas? It was there in my highschool Hindi syllabus. After a long time, today morning when I got up, this was there in my mind. Just thought of writing it down. (Comment the mistakes)

By the way, Munich has come back to its normal spirits. It's raining all the time and the atmosphere is dark always. But after the unbearable summer, this climate seems to be better than anything else.

Such a rainy day, 10 in the morning, I feel like having some idli and sambhar!!

Signing off, Sands.

17 August 2006

Dum Dum

Part I - Second law of Thermodynamics
According to the above named law, "Entropy" is ever increasing. The disorder of the universe keeps increasing. Some time back, this was my argument against anybody who commented about the kind of chaos used to be there in my room (at IIT and at Oly-park Munich). Later in Hyderabad, I found that entropy wasn't increasing as it used to do in my earlier rooms. Still the second law of thermodynamics came for my help whenever I found my room cluttered.
Lately, another law has become more important to me than this second law, and that is "The first law of sandeep" for the time being. - "Well-structuredness, order and organized-life-style should be ever increasing in a smart man's life". I found myself changing slightly. I became quite organised for some time, and gradually started falling back to the old pit. But, I was able to control and didn't fall back. I keep my room more or less clean; I have a not-so-bad book keeping, etc. Still I know I have far more to go. I had never found a role model to grow up-to. In terms of technical organization, I wanted to be like Knuth. Otherwise, in daily life who can impress me? May be I should go without any role-model and be my model myself. Possible and not a bad thing too.
Today, I went to Frau. Kalter, Secretary of Dean, Informatik. It's the fourth time I am going to her office. First time itself, I noticed the cleanliness in her room. But the cleanliness was not noticed as much as I noticed her. She is one of the sweetest women I've ever met. (Don't think the wrong way. She is an elderly lady). The way she asked about my problem, and the way she offered her help - were the best kind of treatment I've had in any office. No need to say, my problem was solved.
Today it was for another thing I went there. She again offered me the best solution she could, even though the problem didn't directly come in her section. I had a small conversation with her. That time I had the opportunity to look around the room, her table etc. Wow!! The order in which things were maintained there was unbelievable. If someone wants to keep a room clean and organised, it should be like that. I had to just mention what I wanted. The next moment she took the right file and the right paper from it. I am sure that, the problem with which I went there hasn't happened in Informatik department at least for the past 3 years. (Trust me. When I say at least 3 years, I have my reasons, not just blabbering)
After the small conversation, I could feel that she is one of the most well organised persons I've met. I wont meet her frequently - may be only once or twice more, that's all. But I've learned some new things from her. She is what you call "nimitham" in Malayalam. A "nimitham" which has affected me.
To conclude it - "Entropy is ever increasing; Effort is needed to control it. Those who are floating put no effort. If you want to be different and don't want just to flow with the current, put the effort to control it. Reduce the amount of entropy in your life."
Part II - God of Small Things
I think I was a little late in reading the book with above mentioned title. Beautiful work. I would say that the last 10 pages could have been avoided. But it would leave the book incomplete - without the *masala*. May be for the first time, I got tears by reading a book - when ammu died.
The copy which I have at home Nellayi has a small story to tell. I was in my journey to IIT, as usual a Sunday evening, Aleppy Express, Trichur station. On the opposite platform another train came and stopped. I saw an old bus-stop-friend of mine. As he saw me, he jumped down to the rails and came to my train and said "Hai". Talked for sometime and just before he went back to his train he gave me a copy of the book and told that he dealt with a book agency at that time. I still dont know his name.
The copy I just finished reading also has a small story to tell. It was given to 'her' by 'him'. That's all I can say about it. Because, the story is not mine.
Wanted the entry to be a long one. I accomplished it.
Signing off, Sands.

4 August 2006

PM's job is tough

Yes, going back to school is very difficult especially when there is no course which I should do, there are no assignments, no lab-work and nobody to question me. I am doing a project and I have to be my own PM. One needs lot of self-motivation for this.

I always had been in the creamy layer, i.e, I was always a member of the lucky lot. Forget school, Look from GEC onwards - I was a member of the lucky ones. IIT too the same, was the only one to come abroad with schol, was the only one to get to MS. Finally, now also I think, I am the only one to have full scholarship in my lehrstuhl(chair). No need to do any project in the department, no need to be a teaching assistant, literally nothing I have to do other than what I WISH to do. No constraints, No restrictions!!

I think that's great. That's the curse too. Haven't had any difficulties. It was always a bed of roses. But now being COMPLETELY free is a little difficutlt. Lot many distractions. In MS, I know how productive I was. Here I am productive, but not as much as I was there. Just because, there is no one to tell me "DON'T DO" when I am into something which is of less priority. I need to prioritize things, do them according to priority. I have to do it for myself. That is what a PM's job is. Prioritize the stuff needed for the project, make the developer do it, make sure it's done perfectly - through testers. Doing all of it single-handedly is really not simple. But, that's the only way to go and that's how I want to go.

The good news: I think I am doing it more or less okay. Still, have to improve my skills. Have to develop the ability of putting more appropriate deadlines. Have to develop the ability of doing things without waiting for the deadlines to come. The sooner I improve, the better.

- Sands.

PS: Now, I am able to appreciate what Rohit used to do. Thanks to him.