Archive for October, 2008

transcripts.

Oct 22, 2008

bhOndOO was happy — since there was no reason to get sad. He came to the lab, checked Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, replied; checked his Orkut scrapbook, replied; checked Shami’s Orkut scrapbook; and then started chatting with his old classmates.

After half an hour, when the chatting got over, bhOndOO was in a dilemma what to do. He was thinking of starting his project work when he realized that he had not yet checked the CSA mails. The thought pleased him — since he had found another reason to postpone the work.

bhOndOO typed pine -i and saw a new mail. He and other research students were sent an email by the CSA office to collect their transcripts (mark sheets). Suddenly, the joyous mood changed to that of gloominess. bhOndOO remembered his extraordinarily consistent track record: grade C in all the courses. “I have created a mess out of the courses and they have created an official certificate out of the mess!”, he thought.

Since the transcripts would be required after finishing PhD (if he does), bhOndOO went to the office. As he entered the office, he turned and came back to the lab: Prof Krishnamurthy, bhOndOO’s advisor, was present in the office and bhOndOO did not want to receive the ‘scholarly’ certificate in his presence.

bhOndOO waited in the lab for 10 min, doing nothing. He kept thinking about the courses, exams, and assignments. He remembered how he finished assignments, how he submitted them, and how assignments got deleted. “I should have done the assignments sincerely. I would have at least received a B grade. Had I done some more studies, I could have secured an A in at least one of the courses! But now all I have is a pile of C grades. C is a grade of Cowards, C is a grade of Catastrophe, C is a grade of Criminals!”.

Marking C as the grade of criminals dreaded bhOndOO. He shrugged and brought himself back to the senses. He came out of the lab and started walking cautiously towards the office. He did not notice that the security guard was suspiciously looking at him. When he reached beside the office, he raised himself on his toes and looked inside the office from the window. He could not see his advisor. Then, like a thief, he held his breathe and peeped inside the office from the door. He saw the office madam in her cube, another staff member printing xerox, and nobody else. Seems Sir has left, bhOndOO relaxed and started breathing. Exactly at that moment, he received a pat on his shoulder. bhOndOO almost got a shock. He lost his breathe and turned around to see his advisor standing behind looking angrily at him. bhOndOO was frozen to death.

After a second, when he came back to life, he realized that Prof Krishnamurthy had grown a big moustache. After bhOndOO spent another second in thinking about the sudden occurrence of the moustache, he realized that it was not his advisor, but was actually the security guard. He started breathing again, when the guard asked, “Kya hai?”.

“Kuch nahi.”, bhOndOO replied, relieved himself from the man of moustache, and rushed in.

bhOndOO was managing his breathing rate, when the madam in the office asked, “Kya hai?”.

“Madam, transcript?”.

The madam started checking in the pile of transcripts one by one. Although bhOndOO knew his grades, he was curious to see his name in print. He kept looking at the pile. As the madam reached towards the end of the pile, bhOndOO got suspicious: Is my transcript not available? Is my transcript put on hold? Is it stolen?

Finally, the madam found the certificate at the end of the pile. bhOndOO felt happy that the transcript was not stolen, but felt sad that it was kept at the end: Seems I have managed to score the least.

With a heavy heart, he signed a sheet acknowledging that he received the transcript — as if he was signing his will. Looking down, feeling gloomy, he left the office and came to the lab. He made sure that the academic section had not made any mistake in printing his grades (like printing A instead of C). The column of grades was a monotonic sequence of C’s. The sentence kept coming back to bhOndOO’s mind: C is a grade of Cowards, C is a grade of Catastrophe, C is a grade of Criminals.

bhOndOO felt bad and almost threw the transcript on table. The transcript whirled in air, turned, and fell with its face down. bhOndOO noticed that the back side of the transcript had a table. At least after the midsem, I should check the back side of every paper, he cursed himself and started reading the table.

On reading the table, bhOndOO got puzzled, then surprised, then pleasantly surprised, and finally overjoyed. He started dancing in the lab while kissing the certificate.

The table contained the qualitative assessment for grades. It read as below.

Marks Grade Meaning
8 S Outstanding
7 A Excellent
6 B Very Good
5 C Good
4 D Satisfactory
0 F Fail

bhOndOO changed his mind: C is a grade of Champions!

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traces of success.

Oct 20, 2008

I have a few lines on the about page:

I have a predefined notion suggesting a possible success of this blog. The number of visits is of course an indication. But I would want that I should receive a link to this blog via a forward or in my orkut scrapbook, without the sender knowing that he/she is communicating with the owner of the blog! Let’s see. Will let you know, if this happens.

I did not receive a link to the blog, I received contents of phd resolutions. It was really nice (Thanks Deepti, and all of you who are advertising this blog in some form or the other). I did not really expect that this small success would come in the first 400 days of the blog, but nevertheless.

We still have a long way to go.

Best Wishes.

student reactions.

Oct 20, 2008

In Aug 2008, the CSA network was completely down for 7 days and was intermittent for around 15 days. The reason was more manual than technical — but let’s not go into it. Currently, over the weekend, the network was intermittent, i.e. it used to work for 4.5 min and then used to go down for 5 min. Yes, it was well timed and consistent. Therefore, bhOndOO’s work on the machine was divided into the chunks of 4.5 min distributed over the time-line separated by 5 min. bhOndOO remembered the old days of punched cards when programmers used to get one-hour slot in a week to execute their programmes on mainframes.

While bhOndOO was seated in front of his non-functional machine in Computing Lab, thinking what to do, students came to the lab and tried logging in. bhOndOO, out of the helpful thought of reducing their efforts, told a few of them that the logins were not working. Here are some typical reactions:

  • S1 listens to bhOndOO, sighs, “Oh!” and leaves the lab.
  • S2 listens to bhOndOO, sighs, “Damn it! I had to write an important mail.”, curses IISc in general, CSA in particular, and leaves.
  • S3 ignores bhOndOO and tries logging in to 2 machines twice each, confirms that it is not working, and leaves the lab.
  • S4 ignores bhOndOO, tries logging in to a machine, and it fails. He then types his password carefully and it fails again. He then speedily types some random characters and presses enter, the login fails again. He then bangs the keyboard twice and leaves the lab.
  • S5 complains, “How will I finish my assignment? I will miss the deadline. This is ridiculous!”, looks hopelessly at bhOndOO, as if he is the culprit, and leaves.
  • S6 shouts, “But why is it not working? This is the most crappy thing I have ever seen in IISc. No wonder India is lagging behind.” (bhOndOO raises eyebrows and keeps silent).
  • S7 shouts, “Then why don’t you do something?”. bhOndOO makes a face suggesting what could a poor soul like him do in this situation. S7 continues, “Has anyone complained to the Chairman? Is anyone at least looking into it? We don’t even know when it will be fixed. This is so insane!”, bangs his fist on a CPU, utters some bad words, and leaves.
  • S8 thinks for a while, and then calmly says, “We should start a signature campaign.”.
  • S9 suggests, “Shall we complain to the Director about it?”. bhOndOO turns to him. S9 continues, “If that also doesn’t work, we will inform the HRD ministry. They are above Director.”. bhOndOO doesn’t know how to react, he keeps looking at him. “If nothing is done even then, then we will go for press!”. bhOndOO utters, “Please go ahead.”.
  • S10 exclaims, “Oh! Cool!”, and leaves the lab.

bhOndOO stopped telling junta of the non-working machines after this.