Tathva and the Seniors - Part 1

OK, I agree, it’s been too late to post about Tathva. But I had this post in mind since the end of Tathva on October 25, 2009. This is the time, when I am quitting my procrastination and I am free from the daily schedule and writing this post.

First of all, let me talk about the Lecture Series at Tathva ‘09. It started with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam visiting the campus, and continued with talks by Dr. K. V. Jayakumar, Executive Director, CWRDM; Dr. Archana Sharma, Indian Physicist, CERN (via video conferencing); Dr. Subhasis Chaudhuri, Dean & Professor, EED, IITB; Dr. K. M. Abraham, Full Time Member, SEBI; Prof. Debashis Chatterjee, Director, IIMK; Mr. Suhas Gopinath, CEO, Globals ITeS Pvt Ltd. Bangalore. This lecture series continued for around a week (Oct 15 to Oct 22). These visits by eminent personalities and their lectures were a great source of information and inspiration for me and other students. I was particularly fascinated by the talks by Dr. Kalam, Dr. Subhasis, Prof. Debashis and Suhas Gopinath. I didn’t attend the talk by Dr. Abraham due to somewhat non-technical (it was about capital markets) nature of the talk and because one of my seniors had called me to meet him (that’s another interesting story, to be posted later). But each of the lectures I attended, left me motivated for something or other - particularly the story of Suhas Gopinath (told by himself) who became an entrepreneur at a young age of 14. I am really grateful to the managers of Tathva ‘09 for bringing about this fabulous lecture series (it was such a great experience in my first year).

On October 22, on the eve of beginning of Tathva, my senior from 3rd year Amarnath called me up to his room for discussing about setting up a FOSS stall - FOSSHut during Tathva. There were other first years’ already present there. I admired the dedication shown by Jinto (another 3rd year FOSS enthusiast) and Amarnath to prepare them for volunteering at the stall.

After the lecture series, Tathva initiated on October 23rd. Overall, during Tathva I was involved mainly with the FOSS events (which included Competitions: Tux of War, Open Software Submission; Workshops: BeagleBoard, User 2 Hacker; Others: FOSSHut, NITC Open Mapping Party) and other Computer Science events (viz. KoderKombat, Befunge).

Here are some pics I captured during Tathva ‘09:

So, I started with Tux of War on 23rd. Initially I had planned to participate alone, but thankfully, just before the starting of the prelims, Varun Rajan (Final year senior and FOSS/Linux enthusiast) introduced me to Ibomcha (another Compsci final year) and suggested me to pair up with him for the competition. I was more than happy to have got a team partner as I was not fully confident about my skills. And, we formed a team. The next one hour was full of fun with Ibomcha as we tried answering as many questions as possible. Although he was solving most of them, he kept cheering and praising me (in his unique & amusing style) whenever I answered any question.I liked the questions asked in the test although they were slightly on the tougher side for a prelims.

Just after Tux of War prelims, KoderKombat prelims was scheduled, but it was postponed to sometime after Befunge prelims. So, I proceeded for Befunge prelims. I was participating again as single and this time I gave the test myself with other teams. The paper was full of confusing questions in Befunge but had some simple questions too (even: Who is the creator of Befunge? I didn’t know the answer although I had read the Befunge wikipedia page again and again while preparing :( ).

By this time, Tux of War prelims result were out and we had been selected being third in the list. I informed Ibomcha and we congratulated each other. The final round was scheduled at 2:30 PM and I still had KoderKomabat prelims to write.

I was teamed up with Sanidhya (my friend and a first year compsci). The prelims was only a half-an-hour test with a big number of confusing C and C++ questions. We messed it up and weren’t able to even look at the last page of the question paper :(. I didn’t have much expectations from this competition.

Meanwhile, in the FOSSHut set up in one classroom of ELHC, GeoHackers had arrived and they were done by the initial presentation about Open Street Map and about what is a mapping party. I missed all of this as I was so busy in the competitions.

At 2:15 PM, I reached SSL (Software Systems Lab)  for the finals of Tux of War. We were presented with a question paper full of bash scripting questions and we were allowed to use only one system per team. So, Ibomcha took up the task of typing scripts from the beginning directly on the system while I pondered over the rest of the questions. I felt like I was doing nothing, it was only him doing all the scripts. After an hour had passed, we were supplied with another question paper which again had many scripting-based questions although at a more advanced level. To our great relief, the invigilators announced there was no restriction on carrying on with the first paper during this hour. It was during this time that we managed to finalize some scripts and to my solace, I wrote one script completely by myself (of course that was the simplest one, ;) ). At 4:30 PM, the finals were concluded.

I hurried to the FOSSHut after Tux of War to get a flow of what was happening there. I met there a lot of FOSS enthusiasts who had come for the NITC Open Mapping Party. Particularly, I was fascinated to meet Sajjad, Manu, Jemshid, Junise of fsug-calicut as I had been discussing with them on their mailing list for a lot of time. I also met Arky (visit his blog) who came all the way from Trivendrum to be a part of the mapping party. He guided me on how to start contributing in the community, particularly Ubuntu.

Well, even after all these events, this was not the end of Tathva Day 1 for me. That’s why, I have decided to split this post into 2 parts.


PS: I started to write this post on November 5, and could continue only today as I had practicals and exams in between. I felt the need of writing about Tathva so much that I am writing this although it’s almost a month past Tathva. Second part of the blog would be put up soon (but maybe only after my end sems get over on 30th).

Gotta go and prepare for Maths exam on Monday. See ya.


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