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A Day Out With Students

Every year students of 4th semester are taken on an educational tour or power plant visit and picnic by the faculties of our department. Last year I had been unable to go. So this year I decided not to miss out on the fun and to go on the picnic & tour even if it was on a Sunday in hot season of March.

So on 7th March, three college buses taking 91 students, 14 staff members, 6 catering people and their pots and pans, left for CREDA Energy Park with all students hooting and cheering. :)

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Class Se Class Tak

Today was Teachers’ Day in India and I was on leave from college. So I have no inspiration to blog anything today :( But if I don’t post something today, my identity as a lecturer and a blogger will be tarnished!! Maybe I will come up with a better post on teachers and teaching job next time. At present I will leave you with some images.

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A Day At A Workshop

Shucks! I am late! The program starts at 10.30 am and its already 10.10. I haven’t left college yet. Oh God, let the railway crossing be open please!

(People on road – Is it a plane? Is it a bird? No its Reema on her scooty!)

Phew! reached with five minutes to spare.

Whaaattt! A State-level workshop and they are also running late. Unpunctuality runs in the veins of Indians be it at any level. Now they are bringing the stationery stuff and compiling the folders for the participants. We have better organization at workshops held in our college.

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Memories of Ragging

Ragging and its consequences are in the news again after the death of a 19 yr old medical student recently. Debates and discussions are going on the issue of prevention of ragging and enforcement of laws. My post, however, is not on that topic. My post is on the fond memories of ragging I have from my B.E. days and the effect it had on us.

On the first night in hostel, we had the huge task of memorizing all our hostel seniors’ names and hometowns and our introduction in Hindi. Thank god I had pretty good memorizing power and I was in Electrical Engineering branch which was easily translated into “Vidyut Abhiyantriki”. We pitied the girls of CSE or Electronics.I also chose Philately as my hobby to avoid any further questions and it was one of the cleverest decisions of my life :D [ You can check out samples of my stamp collection here] Only one 4th yr senior was smart enough to think of a question to ask me regarding Philately. She asked me what was the image on Rs 1 stamp and I answered correctly. She let me go :)

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Viva-voce Experiences and Anecdotes

Viva-voce is an essential and integral part of any professional curriculum. Its supposed to be just as scary as a theory examination and sometimes even more as its an oral examination. Though I had given viva voce at school level I don’t remember anything about it.  You can read Ishmeet’s experience of a school viva here. In a field like Engineering or Medical, practical knowledge is much more important than theory. Viva-voce tests just that.

I don’t know about all but in many private engineering colleges viva-voce serves as a source of entertainment and frustration for the external and the internal examiners respectively rather than an ordeal for the students . The increasing disregard in students for studying before practical exams and the decreasing sincerity and quality of students in engineering can be attributed to cropping up of engineering colleges like mushrooms and the trend of not failing anyone in viva in private engineering colleges.

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My First Stage Show

Being the faculty in charge of EETA, I’d organised Jhoom – 2008 along with students. Then the students wanted to conduct the yearly branch function of Electrical and Electronics department before the half year session ended. Last year I’d suggested the name Spark 2007 for the function. This year the students came up with Resonanzzz 2008. So I along with my colleagues and students organized the function on 4th Oct 2008. The function consisted of songs, dances (solo and group), drama, some interactive games, dandiya in open space and dinner for around 400 people. Our Head of Department had insisted on having some programs from the faculty side. So for the first time in history of our college, faculty participated in a branch function and showed their talents.

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Jhoom 2008 – A Video Feature

I recently became the faculty in charge of the departmental student body i.e. EETA – Electrical and Electronics Technocrats Association. It is basically of the students, by the students, and for the students. Some students are made office bearers by voting and hold the post of President, VP, Secretary, Jt.Sec, Treasurer and so on. The body’s objective is to organize different extra curricular events in an academic session. A teacher is made in charge for supervision and management of finance. So the first event organized by me and my team of EETA members was Jhoom 2008 – an inter branch group dance competition on 27th Sept. Sadly only 5 teams participated but it was quite successful without any major obstacles. As the budget was low for this sort of event we didn’t hire a professional videographer. I didn’t have my digital camera then. So the videos I share with you here were taken by a student on his handicam. Also he shot only the first round of the competition. There were 5 judges. 1st round was retro or folk round and 2nd was free style. Out of 5 teams, only 3 were to make it to the second round. In second round there was a first prize and a runner up prize. Who won? That you will be guessing in your comments and I’ll verify your guesses. :D Here are the videos (Let them load fully one after one and then enjoy!!) :-

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Duties Of A Good Teacher

Brahmaanandham Parama Sukhadam
Kevalam Jnaana Murthim
Dhvandhvaa Theetham Gagana Sadhrisham
Tathvam Asyaadi Lakshyam
Ekam Nithyam Vimalam Achalam
Sarvadhee Saakshi Bhutham
Bhavaatheetham Thriguna Rahitham
Sadhgurum Tham Namaami.

Meaning/Translation: This sloka tries to describe the qualities of a true Guru. A real Guru experiences the supreme Bliss of Brahmaananda (transcedental divine bliss). He enjoys and confers changeless supreme happiness. He is beyond space and time (there is nothing higher than him). He is the embodiment of wisdom which is the basis for all types of knowledge. He transcends the pair of opposites (such as happiness and sorrow, gain and loss). He is more Omnipresent than space itself. He is the very embodiment of the Divine principle, which is the inner meaning of the four great pronouncements Prajnaanam Brahma, Aham Brahmasmi, Thath Thvam Asi and Ayam Aathma Brahma. He is One without a second (ekam). He never changes under any circumstances (nithyam). He is without any type of impurity (vimalam). He is steady and motionless(achalam). He is the witness of everything. He transcends mental comprehension and verbal explanation. He is beyond the three gunas (sathva, rajas and thamas). I offer my humble salutations to such a Guru who possesses all these qualities.

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Vishwakarma Puja – Photo and Video Feature

Yesterday Vishwakarma Puja was celebrated in my Department of Electrical Engineering. Lord Vishwakarma is a Hindu deity known as the divine engineer and architect in Hinduism.

Hindu mythology is full of Vishwakarma’s many architectural wonders. Through the four ‘yugas’, he had built several towns and palaces for the gods. In “Satya yuga”, he built the Swarg Loke, or heaven, the abode of the gods and demigods where Lord Indra rules. Vishwakarma then built the ‘Sone ki Lanka’ in “Treta yuga”, the city of Dwarka in “Dwapar yuga”, and Hastinapur and Indraprastha in the “Kali yuga”.

Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated on Kanya Sankranti day which comes after Ganeshotsav. All engineering and architectural community celebrate this day and worship Him. Craftsmen worship their tools in His name. He is supposed to provide excellence and quality in work and blessing for proper working of machinery and tools. Though the festival is mainly celebrated in factories and industries with much grandeur, we have the tradition of celebrating it in our engineering college’s laboratories and workshop also. Here is a photo feature of the whole event. Place the mouse on the photos to read the captions.

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My Dual Life

Its been two months since I again became a student to do my second Master of Engineering in my core branch i.e. Electrical Engineering. The first day of M.E. (Power Systems Engineering) was a portent of what lay ahead. Getting up at an unholy time (6.45 am), bathing so early in morning, attending class from 8 to 11 and taking classes after that till evening are totally draining me out mentally and physically. For those who remember my earlier post on categories of students and those who were curious to know my classification, nowadays I can be classified as

# The First Bencher :- One of my Professors in M.E. writes on the board in such a small cursive handwriting that it is not resolvable or readable from the first bench even with a pair of binoculars. Though I admit I haven’t tried using a binoculars yet. Maybe I would one day. When I was the class monitor in school, then only I’d learnt that one has to write for the audience not for oneself on board. Another speaks in low voice and another’s subject is so boring that I have to sit there to avoid sleep. :P

# The Yawner :- Just as the Professor turns his back to us, I yawn and stretch. 6.45 am is like dawn to me. :(

# The Stimulator :- In all the 5 subjects, there are only two which really interest me and I’m active in that class. Whether I’m fun to teach or not , that only my professors can tell. :D

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Classification of Students

Children emulate many people in their growing years, often those who leave a strong impression on their minds. I was quite impressed by my teachers and used to play teacher-student at home with my sister. Another profession I was impressed with was that of vegetable sellers (sabziwalis). After my Dad had brought weekly groceries, I used to pretend to be a vegetable seller and go to each family member to sell my vegetables. :D Thankfully after doing my B.E. I chose to be a teacher or rather a lecturer as they call in technical field. After more than 3 years, I’m still loving it!! I’ve seen lecturers shake head to toe before their first class ever. But since the day I stepped in to take the first class of my life and to teach a subject like Network Analysis which was one of the scariest subjects during my student life, I felt totally at ease. And after leading a dual life i.e. a student as well as a teacher for a while now, I have been able to observe both sides closely. I have already written about students from teachers’ point of view and the professional hazards of being a lecturer. Time to pass on some more pearls of my wisdom based on my experience. Now I have classified students of a class in some categories. I may have missed one or two categories. A student at a given time may belong to one or more category.

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