Friday, November 27, 2015


What a great timing it was! My last end-sem exam ended at 12 at noon, and 2 hours later, I was watching Tamasha ~ 1st day, 2nd show. From the time, I guess 20 days ago or so, that I listened to the songs of the movie, especially "Agar Tum Saath Ho", and watched the movie trailer, I decided that I am going to watch this movie in theater. I was already addicted to a few songs by the time I went to watch the movie.

Although I missed first 2 minutes or so, thanks to the traffic, I enjoyed the movie. And I mean it. I really enjoyed the movie. By the time the movie ended, I guess it was asking its audience what do they want in their life, will they change a little bit after they step outside the hall, would they still continue in a race they don't know anything about, or would they now do what they want to do?

Asking all these questions myself made me uncomfortable for a moment, I should say, but they were worth asking. And no, it was more that a love story, and this statement of mine goes to all the morons who came out of the hall with the words on their lips like ~ "not that a bad was the love story". I wanted to take them back to the theater and make them watch it again.

The movie talks of some deep issues of life that we simply choose to ignore. One that I also mentioned above is our auto-pilot mode. We are just running, running to somewhere, for something, but just that. No idea of why, where, anything!!

Secondly, the movie talks of this ever-demanding society. Everyone wants you to work their way. Behave like they want. Talk like they want. Study like they want. But in this "like they want", we miss ourselves. We miss what we want.

And then as the years pass on, we lose ourselves at some point behind all the masks that we keep wearing. But what when someone comes, and touches the deeper you? You panic, you react in abnormal ways. Because after all, you have forgotten  yourself. Yeah, that's the base theme of the movie.

But after all this, this dialogue of Ranbir Kapoor is to the point ~ "Kahaani to apni hai na, badal dete hai" ( It's our story afterall, let's change it )

And yes, that's what we should do, and that's what the movie ends with. We are running wanting other people to tell our story. But why? Ask yourself what you want your story to be like, and then make that story come true!!

It was a great movie, I loved watching it, and would recommend it to people of all ages.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What's so exciting about "The Martian"?

Wait. I am not writing anything of the movie. I haven't watched yet. How can I? Stupid you. This post regarding the book, after facing all the stormy nights, may finally see the light of the day. No, seriously. I delayed it for a month. How more should I? Actually, I guess there is a reason how I ended up reading this book, though I warn you not to laugh.

I was watching the trailer of the movie "The Martian" before my last mid-semester exam. ( Yeah, I do these sort of things only before the exams, the result of which is then reflected in marks ) Anyways, I got so excited or obsessed with it, you can say whatever you want, that I searched all over the torrents for a good quality link of the movie. But couldn't find one. Fatefully, then I came to know that the novel on which this movie is based, is very popular and it has astronomically high ratings. There was no doubt that I was not going to read it.

So, I decided to study smart and hard for my last exam, and read the novel after that. Result? Well, I screwed up that exam in all possible ways. Maybe I didn't really go for the "hard" part. But then as always, I do what I want to. So, I gave myself the excuse that I need some time to relax after such hard times with the exams. Actually, I needed that!!

And guess what, I finished it in no time. I would say that even if you have watched the movie, you should definitely read this. I was laughing, I was kind of thinking of what would happen to me I ever be so alone, and I was putting my brain in all the science stuff in there. I really enjoyed that.

It was like that guy, Andy Weir, was making me laugh with his style of writing. All the puns and jokes of Mark Wattney, even in those difficult times, is something that I am going to relish forever.

This post is more of what I learned from that book, and here are those :

  1. "Things won't go as you plan them to". This is the one thing that happened throughout the novel. And that's what happens in real life too. Mark made a lot of plans on how to survive, NASA made a lot of plans to save Mark, but their plans failed; they failed when no one was expecting them to, they failed in ways that can make one hopeless.

    I think there is a lesson out here, that we will plan of things, that we will plan your life, but at many points in life, things fall apart when we won't be expecting them to. And those are moments that test our character, and define us.

    I won't say stop making plans; make them and implement them with all the energy that you have got but also be prepared if they fail. Don't lose hope, rather look out to find what can be done at the moment just like Mark Wattney did.
  2. The character of Mark Wattney, there is hell of a lot to learn from this guy. His words that make you laugh to death ( watch out for "Iron Man" when reading the book ) , his plan to proceed with things, his determination to be back on his planet, all his sol entries make you fall in love with the character.
  3. Rethinking education, again!!
    While reading this book, I realized that I had more interest reading of hydrazine here than back in my class. Which leads me to the other point, what if we get rid of those old boring useless ( you can fit many more adjectives here ) practicals, and better have things like in the book. I get it the "hydrazine" one was really dangerous, but there were many more examples there in the book, be it finding the direction of dust storm, or making different equipment work, or growing food "where nothing grows", or mathematically estimating things that his life depended on. On mistake here and there, and he was done.

    This all, at least for me, points to one thing. That things taught to us should me more of situation based. It would have been more interesting if my teacher taught how to get hydrogen of hydrazine, and most importantly the risks involved, rather than writing a grand formula on the board with hydrogen as the "residual product".

    I wouldn't have survived there. But why would be I on Mars on the first place. I don't know. Maybe someday I just be there.
  4. Don't stop working on what you believe in. Period.
    When the character of Rich was introduced, I thought how careless this guy is. But who knew that 100 some pages forward, this guy would come as a savior and a few more pages forward, this guy would come as one of the heroes.

    This guy was doing a small side-project when the whole of NASA was working this hard with a single aim to complete the project in hand to save the other guy 140 million miles away.

    Often, we too get busy with the tasks given to us that we think that's the only thing what matters right now. Imagine what if Rich also thought that way. Mark would have been dead.

    I guess it will be against the conventional philosophy when I say that it's not a good idea to give 100 percent to a single thing. Save some 5 percent of yours which you can use to come up with alternatives, or work on the alternatives. Alternatives aren't that bad.

    And yeah, if you have the gut feeling for your solution, go for it. People around you might need it soon.

    But I am not telling you why I called this guy a hero; you better read the book or watch the movie for that, lazy guy!!
  5. An ocean of amazing, practical things yet to learn.
    Oh no, I can't count on my fingers how many of the things I have decided to learn or learnt after reading this novel. I know nothing, I must say and that's very bad when you happen to be a science student.

    But it's okay not to know something. It's far worse to not even try to learn after knowing this fact. One of the many examples would be this: Wattney was moving around Mars from place to place by just calculating the latitude and longitude along the way, and that too in a totally mechanical way, no electronic devices used. And here I am, forget about how would I go on to calculate all this with no device in hand, even my theoretical knowledge of these basic terms were blurry when I came across them reading the novel. And that's the reason learning this is at number one on my list.

    Do you know how to make a bomb? One addition. With a can and sugar and some electricity. I was dumbstruck when they did it, and I was like "seriously"!! Guess what, I am planning to do the same in my dorm room. Don't worry, I will do it in an unmanned way just like they did it in the novel.

    Or do you know how to make two systems that can communicate at a 1 cm distance. Okay, I am not saying that Mark Wattney built a system that can communicate from Mars to Earth. But can you make the system I told you to. I can't. And it's very hard, and kind of sucks to accept that when you happen to be an engineer. So, that makes it top the chart of things I have to learn!!
  6. Engineering hacks are cool.
    Every time I come across any engineering hack, and too related to computers, I am like "I am going to do that". There were many moments like that in the novel. Be it when an image was sent to the crew which was in reality had code embedded it in. Or when Johanssen decoded it by looking at assembly code of the file. Or when the guys at NASA configured a device on Mars (I am yet to get it completely). Guess what, I would be doing these things soon enough!!
  7. Before Mark made any contact with NASA, it felt how lonely it would be. But after he made the contact, and then suddenly lost it, it felt lonelier.

    People matter. I might brag that I am an introvert, that I don't like meeting too many people. But still they matter. A lot. It's with them that we enjoy our moments, learn things, and do things that impact all of us.
  8. People matter. Yeah again. But now I am talking of distributed genius. What all of humanity has built, it has been possible because there were so many enthusiastic people involved who cared about all this.

    Just think how many people at NASA were working day and night just to save one person, Mark Wattney. Countless. And same is the case with everything, every machine that we have built, or every voyage that we have taken in space or on earth for that matter, all the scientific innovations that we read of, all the creativity that entertain us, all of this has been built upon the works of countless number of people.

    So, next time when this thought creeps in your mind that what you are doing, or what you are building wouldn't matter in this world. Grin, and continue with your work. Because it matters now, and it will matter in the future. That's the power of distributed genius, my friend!!
  9. Finally, a point regarding the writer himself. How can someone write such a great, awesome and amazing novel? How?! He did communicate science in a very simple yet fingers-crossed way. And he has further strengthened my belief that it's possible to make science engaging, and he just provided a unique way. Thanks, Andy Weir.  
  10. Last point. Problems come. But so do the solutions if we have the patience and determination, the zeal to find them. 

    Wattney came across a lot, and I mean a hell lot of problems. So, did NASA, and the crew members of the spaceship. But they came up with a solution.

    And when that guy can live on Mars, where it's impossible to live; when that crew can face all adversities that might have left Wattney dead, and still save him; who am I to cry and shout that I can't solve my problems.

    Next time, when I think of something stupid like that, I am going to think of that. And I want you to think of that too!! 

Okay, bye. Finally, the long post has come to an end. Thankfully. Time to go on a new journey!!