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Thursday, January 9, 2020

2019 in review.

Indiahikes Brahmatal Trek

There wasn't much of a purpose or expectation with this trip, I just wanted to have a great time. And I did. :-)

Day 1
The day began with my journey from Delhi to Rishikesh which was lot more colder than I had anticipated. The bus was shivering and the engine making crude noises from time to time. All of the road journeys made the vehicles dance to the tune of nature, as if trying to tell us that here nature rules and not the automobile technology. When I reached Rishikesh it was already dark and I had nothing to do except to have dinner and sleep in the comfort of my blanket.

Day 2
The second day was our journey from Rishikesh to Lohajung. I made that journey in a tempo traveller which had a seating capacity of 12 folks. The driver of the tempo traveller was a person who had 33 years of driving experience and a temper of 2 year old. He made sure to tell anyone on the road who dare cut him his choicest cuss words with a sheer innocence that could make an ice cube melt. He was an epilogue to the famous gormint aunty. Midway through our ride, the tempo traveller decided to catch a cold and refused to budge (coupler shaft axle mumbo jumbo, but I don't get it and you really don't care) but with some dcold total from the mechanic, it was ready to go. It was already dark when we reached lohajung and the cold was right up at our hotel alley. A tasty dinner of paneer and daal awaited us at lohajung. After a small pep talk by our trek leader on death and small injuries such as losing a hand we were on our way to Brahmatal top. Or were we?

Day 3
The only thing you will hate more than washing your hands in winter of Himalayas is waking up in the morning. Do I really need to wake up? Why can't they just use helicopter to transfer us to Brahmatal top. None of the pep talk by our trek leader had anything about the waking up in the morning while explaining the dangers involved in this journey which I honestly think is a little unfair. After a quick breakfast we started for bekatlal, our second campsite. The journey from lohajung to bekatlal was 5 kms and a memorable one. We caught glimpses of some homes and saw women carrying 10kgs of some plant as if it's a piece of cake while we were busy making inquiries about the khacchar wala who could carry our luggage so that we can drowse ourselves in nature. I wondered what sort of credit cards do they have? Survival had a simpler meaning for them :- staying alive, getting food for the next day and taking care of the loved ones. Quite a contrast to where all of us were coming from, a world of dopamine inducing mobile applications which can induce stress and anxiety anytime, anyplace and anywhere. The same way farming was a lie to human civilization, internet is a lie to human connection. Musing through some of these random thoughts of mine, we reached bekatlal and the campsite was beautiful with tents to take a shit in and a proper kitchen. We had lunch, played games, sang old songs, sang some new songs and some regional songs as well. One thing about the mountains is that it gets dark before you know it. And dark means good food and cool breeze. Although the place was cold the people were warm with emotions and we all became a group of friends very quickly.

Day 4
Well, after a rugged sleep we all woke up to ankle deep snow at our campsite. All of us rejoiced and did an action pack performance of snowfight which can put any Salman Khan movie to shame. The fun did not last for long as we heard the news that the snowfall is expected to continue in coming days and we won't be able to make it to telundi if that's the case. We made a quick journey to bekatlal lake during which we saw heavy snowfall and a decision was made by our guides and trek leader that we should head back to the basecamp. The sheer excitement of snow turned to a frail expression to accept the reality of nature and move on the basecamp.

Day 5
We started back to Rishikesh thinking that the trek is over but in mountains the experiences are infinite and we had an amazing time during our journey, rejoicing our new found freindships. Everything about Rishikesh is scenic. The people friendly and everyone is a yaatri trying to find God, peace, Beatles Ashram, a cheap mode of transport or tasty ramfal. The iconic duo ramjhula and lakshman jhula are what you will traverse through multiple times during your stay at this beautiful place and somehow the narrow stones of cobblestone will become a cherished memory. We all went to the beatles ashram (a place where beatles have written many of the iconic songs including let it be ) and did some crazy videograaphy and photography.

It's long time coming anyways. So heree we goooo, The problem with today's society is that the fact that we have been trying to live under a big rock trying to hide our emotions. The access to laser fast communications has made us numb any emotion we want and demand an instant sense of gratification to our needs. Even a small hope makes us feel a beat and then leads us to being afraid of ourselves, our actions and mistakes. So it makes sense to take your dreams and run away with them.It's great to be smart, to be disciplined but it's far more important to have fun. It's important to take away relationships from our experiences, to let ourselves emotionally vulnerable and learn little about the world. The trek made me extremely grateful of the fact that I am alive, the fact that I have what I have and last two days have been nothing but rundown fever from the hangover of such a great experience. If you made it this far, thank youuu... :-) 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

VendingCook: Update November 20 (Vessel, Falling Mechanism Done)

I was hoping for faster execution of things, unfortunately, things have not been so as I planned.  I have created the multiple modules of the machine such as the spring coil (which allows falling of the Maggi packets into the Vessel), controlling the electric kettle with Arduino and welding the vessel and attaching couplers to the motor.

See pics/video attached!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

VendingCook : Update! Dt: Oct 27 (Created Design, Built the website)

It has been an amazing week. I finally decided to take up this project after a lot of brainstorming. I am well aware that this is not even close to my domain of expertise or something that I have tried before but nothing ventured is nothing gained. It involves a huge amount of mechanical / electronics aspect. I am hoping to complete the project before Nov. 30, which would be quite a feat if accomplished. The design in SolidWorks was made by Yash Faldu.

As the motor rotates the coil it would convert rotational motion into linear motion, thus anything kept between the 2 consecutive coil rotations would fall in container. The container would be connected to Induction Cooktop which would heat the Maggi based on the signals from the microprocessor(Arduino/pi). The container would rotate delivering the cooked Maggi in a bowl.

The website is taken from a template I had used earlier. It had a purplish theme which I changed to dark black. I would try to come up with new ways to make this project as interactive as possible with an audience with the help of this website.

I think I am going to have a blast while working on this project as there are so many new things to explore! Adios for now and do not forget to subscribe to the newsletter.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Purists, Makers and Managers

this article is inspired by the book Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham


Whenever I hear the word Purists, I imagine John Nash working hard on his dorm room window sill or Ramanujan relentlessly scribbling on his notepad outside his scabby hut in Erode. I study in a pure science branch and the majority of interested folks tend to have a huge admiration towards the intellectual capital. Often academia and pure science seem to be filled with folks who enjoy making interrogative intonation in declarative sentences. (Usually more associated with pride rather than brutish objectivity.)

These self-acclaimed purists are often called upon by the world to solve the most difficult problems of humanity, mostly of the order of magnitude of "Cure Cancer" or "Solve the Energy Crisis" which is extremely hard to accomplish. Even to measure a significant increment of any sort of metric that has been implemented to measure growth, it takes weeks.

This is why all the programs that have been created to cater to purists are in the magnitude of >=4 years or forever. The ambiguity in the career charts is often high and most likely everyone who is purist is pursuing one or other derivative of in-depth problem-solving. The skewed timeline and sheer ambiguity are because of the fact that struggles are internal and thus the conflict is that person's own obtuseness rather than external.


This is the group of people I feel I natively belong to. They are scrappy folks who are able to mess around enough to put things together. And build beautiful things. These people mostly learn by examples (natively known as demos). I have learned how to code from online youtube videos, and from other people's open-source code (this is nothing exclusive, <90% hackers learn like this). A maker/hacker schedule often is measured in days instead of weeks.

They have to be relentlessly resourceful in order to accomplish the tasks that they intend to. A majority of hackers I know want to fit into the narrative of purists, and this is often reflected in how they describe their work. Often at hackathons, I have heard people say that they are working on “AI text to the speech-based neurological transmitter for blind people using haptic interventions” when what they mean is “Navigation Guidance Assistant for the Blind”. It seems there is an outcry to talk about their problem in a much more complex form, (I call this problem project work insecurity). They want to prove that what they are doing is really complex and a difficult task to accomplish when most of the time it is not. Also, any maker/hacker project would make for a really bad research paper/dissertation. There is zero correlation between a good research paper and a useful product (or at least should be so). A much better environment of makers/hackers is startup co-working spaces and hacker houses.


We are all managers in some aspects of our lives. We are managers for the worker that comes to clean our room, the mess worker that serves us food, laundry person that washes our clothes or just anyone that we directly/indirectly hire to do our jobs for us. A purists/hacker hates communication but a manager loves it. Most of the work of a Manager can be divided into hour slots (work gets completed in minutes) and growth trajectory is much more gamified as compared to that of the other two. Managers are basically the power of command. For someone who is purists/maker, to shift to being a manager would often mean that they have ruined their slot of work. This is the reason why some of the best scientists and innovators are absent-minded about many of the regular things that go around them. They do not want to be managers. Any purists or makers trying to manage things often break the continuity streak that is much needed for growth in above and in a world that is filled up with huge amounts of distraction it is very easy to kill off morale. In order to be a better manager, you simply need to manage less and less and do more of any of the above.