Rain or Shine – Electric Work in India Continues

Jul 26th, 2010
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Opportunity

Jul 15th, 2010
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Dhivahar, third year student of Mechanical Engineering at Amrita’s Bengaluru campus, shares his poetic side with us.
This article was first published in Sanchita, the campus magazine, in May 2010.
 
 


 

As I entered my classroom,
I saw him.
He wasn’t familiar to me.
I made a move towards my desk,
Kept on observing him.
He was simply captivating!
I found him interesting.
He called for a talent,
Which I knew I had.
I took a glance at my mates,
They never did mind him.
He was waiting there, still
Looking through my eyes!
I bowed down.
Wanted to go…
But something stopped me.
What was it?
Fear? No, not exactly.
Alone? No, never.
Competent enough? Yes, Of course.
Then why did I hesitate?
Finally,
I decided to take up the gauntlet,
Lifted up my head,
Stunned….
He was not there.
Where did he go?
I looked out for him everywhere.
Nowhere, I saw him.
A moment’s delay and hesitation,
Made me miss him.
It was years then;
I only was able to find his name.

‘Opportunity’
- Once missed, never returned….
 

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The Story of a Girl

Jul 5th, 2010
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Pushpendra S Solanki, second year student of Information Technology Engineering at Amrita’s Coimbatore campus, shares his views on parental care. This article was first published in Amritadhwani, the campus magazine, in May 2008.
 
 
 


 

Terrorism, corruption, poverty, unemployment, global warming, violence and religion are the so-called “hot topics” to discuss. Warning one’s own child against all these subjects does not seem to have much importance. By doing this, we are only threatening our future generation’s foundation. Today, most parents don’t have much time to spend with their children. They are busy with work and social obligations, yet they expect the world from their children, one of the reasons probably being social pressure. Most can’t seem to find time aside from dining, which, incidentally, is taken away by business dinners. Gradually, unknowingly, we have deprived our children of their childhood; most of us don’t even understand what our children seek from us. They deserve our time more than anything else, yet they are our last priority at the end of the day.
 

This is not my story, but of a person, who I believe, was very much like the main protagonist of this story. I’ll let my friend carry on from here…
 

I cannot carry myself properly to the bathroom. I’m suffering from an incurable disease, or rather an addiction to drugs that someone introduced to me. My relationship with drugs has become very strong with passing time; now even death can’t keep us apart. I know it’s costing me my life but however hard I try, I just can’t seem to leave this new-found friend behind. Doctors have given up all hope of my survival. My parents are still in shock. It doesn’t surprise me. My parents…
 

I remember very well the day they put me in boarding school. I was but in class two at the time. They didn’t want my childhood to be wasted; they wanted me to be ‘focused’…’focused’, just like they were – focused on their jobs, their work, their goals, their success. And when people focused on something, huge mountains and vast oceans seem so small, so insignificant. What position do a kid’s dreams stand against such huge determination towards achieving success? I cannot but help chuckle to myself. Who am I kidding? They just didn’t have enough time to spare for me. I was like an unwanted liability to them, an obstacle in their path to success, slowing them down, dragging them…
 

Today, suddenly, they have all the time in the world for me, so much so, that they’re actually willing to leave all their “work” just to be by my side. Today, I’m being showered with all the love I’ve always dreamt of. But why today, you ask. How is this day different from any other day of my life? It’s pretty simple ; they want me to feel loved before they lose me forever. What they don’t understand is that they lost their daughter a long time back, ten years back, when they plucked me from the bliss of family life, from the shade of their love, the love that I now crave for. They put me in a corner of the world far, far away from them. There I was, struggling with all the chaos in the world, trying to find out the purpose of my life and the only one I had to cling onto was me. I remember a time when I used to wait for Sundays eagerly because they did call. Those few minutes of conversation over the phone were like nectar that my ears were eternally waiting for.
 

Then one day all of it vanished. I didn’t wait for their call. The thought of talking to them after one whole week didn’t excite me as it used to…something deep down inside me was dead. I had become numb to emotion… tired, exhausted of the life I was living. Every hope, every dream, and every single little wish I had, I left behind in this haste of becoming someone whom Mom and Dad would love. I was confused, I was angry, I was mad…and I wanted to tell them that I was angry; they had no right to take decisions about my life once they had abandoned me in this place they call “boarding school”. For my ‘betterment’, they said, they had put me in this place. And they had tons of arguments to justify their views, their actions and their hopes for me. Where are my hopes? Couldn’t they see the pain etched in my eyes, having to be away from them? What kind of parents can forsake their own children like this?
 

‘Betterment’ they said, and ‘betterment’ I found, when I met my friend. My only friend who made me forget all of this, who made me happy, light-headed as if I didn’t belong to this world…and I couldn’t understand why people didn’t like our friendship. I kept it a secret since then, but I couldn’t keep it that way for long. The doctors eventually found out that I was on drugs. That’s how all good things end. Isn’t it?
 

Mom sometimes sits next to me; she cries her heart out when she thinks I am sleeping. She tells me about all the dreams she had for me, that she saw her childhood in me, that she wanted me to succeed in those places where she couldn’t succeed. She tells me how she wanted to be an engineer and how her parents thought it to be a waste as ultimately she had to marry and take care of her family. She didn’t want my life to be like hers. She wanted me to be in a position where I could take a right decision for myself. She never wanted me to be deprived of happiness even if it meant her leaving me alone at home and going to work. She tells me that Dad stayed away from us working hard so that they could afford the best for me, so that I could fulfill all my dreams.
 

I realized how much they loved me. If staying away from them was painful for me, it was equally painful for them to stay away from their own blood.
 

But this is now and that was then. Now I understand all this. But how does one tell this to a four-year old kid who was snatched from her parents and sent away from them? HOW? At this point when I look at my fate, I have just one question. Whose mistake was it? Was it because of me or the four-year old kid I was back then, or was it the desires and expectations of Mom and Dad? Or was it the pressure of our society where everyone has to be successful to be a part of it? Or was it nobody’s mistake? I do not know…the only thing that I know is that this is the end. It’s an end which nobody had ever wanted, which nobody saw coming, and yet it is inevitably here. I can see the light descending upon me…I do not know if it is from heaven or from hell. The medical alarms rigged to my body are screaming, but I can’t hear them. Everything is so quiet and peaceful. I can see myself lying on the bed with an expression of relief on my face. Mom has become traumatic; Dad is running towards my bed. Doctors are frantically instructing the nurse. And I smile as the light surrounds me…
 

Now she has left everybody, but her questions still remain. Whose fault is it? You might have your own answers, but what I believe is that parents should give enough love and time at least to their own children. Children need parents’ affection, their care, their warmth. And secondly, she thought of DRUGS as her companion. No friend takes away the life of his or her friend. Was that her friend? She should have faced the situation, but she ran away from it. This is the story of a girl that would’ve been drastically different, had she been saved at the right time.
 

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And There Was Light …

Jul 4th, 2010
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Minu Jacob, third-year B.Tech. student of Electronics and Electrical Engineering at Amrita’s Coimbatore campus, shares her thoughts. This article was first published in Amritadhwani, the campus magazine, in May 2008.
 


 

I am on a sunny playground, teaching my son the finer techniques of pitching. The sounds of our laughter, the sight of our dog running after the ball and the crisp morning air melt into a synthesis of sensations and emotions that is branded into my mind. I feel alive.
 

The alarm rings, hurtling me back into reality. The sounds of the city filtering into the room fight my attempts to hold on to the wonderful image. After a few moments, my mind goes blank. The murky sunlight in the dream fades into darkness, and I am reminded, yet again, that I am blind.
 

As I perform my morning ablutions, I debate whether I should feel grateful that I was lucky enough to glimpse the beauty of this world for the first six years of my life, or if I should feel betrayed for being given a taste of paradise before it was snatched away for eternity. As I ruminate, I get ready to go to Carlito’s for breakfast, as I have been doing for the past five years.
 

I walk down the street, and my heightened perceptions conjure up surreal images formed by the sounds of people talking, cars honking, children crying….thirty-six years of blindness can sharpen the other senses of a man, but it dulls his soul. Fear of rejection and ridicule in the initial years of my blindness had tuned my daily routines into actions of timed, military precision, making me an automation, too numb to even blot my life out. I feel like I am caught in a time warp, while the world ebbs and flows past me.
 

Life has become an obligation.
 

I reach Carlito’s, and I order my usual breakfast. As I wait, I feel someone slide into the opposite seat. From the sound of the cheerful “Good Morning”, I realize it’s a little girl. She starts talking about what a wonderful morning it is, and about how she is looking forward to a good time at the park. She continues, blissfully oblivious to the fact that I have no inclination to listen. My mind picks up disjointed phrases like ‘charity picnic’, ‘St. John’s Hospital’ and ‘volunteers needed’. Finally she bursts out, “Will you please help us in distributing food at the picnic?” Her insensitivity angers me and I snap at her, “Can’t you see that I am blind?”
 

After a few moments of silence, a small voice says, “But so am I! Well, we are healthy enough to walk, and I thought it would be a nice thing to make those dying children happy for at least a day.”
 

Her words seem to penetrate into my soul. I am being taught about life by a girl who has barely started living. I slowly realize I am the only impediment to my happiness.
 

As I leave for the park, I feel a sense of purpose, something I haven’t felt in years.
 

I was blind, but now I see.
 

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A Memorable Experience

Jul 2nd, 2010
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Deepthi Devaki, a recent B.Tech graduate in Computer Science from Amritapuri, participated in IFIH’s internship at Coimbatore campus.  See News »

As an undergraduate engineering student, Deepthi availed the Erasmus Mundus scholarship to spend a semester abroad.  See News »

During her internship with IFIH, Deepthi worked on a module of ancient Indian astronomy. She describes her experiences, especially the concluding two-day education tour, below.
 


 

I had never thought that I would learn about ancient Indian heritage. This internship was a totally different experience where I traveled in the world of ancient Indian astronomy. Though I cannot say that I now know everything in depth, the discussions with Michelji and other friends gave me a broad overview of ancient India’s achievements in many areas including mathematics, textiles and military techniques.
 


 
I really enjoyed the small outings like the visit to Coimbatore Ayurveda Pharmacy which provided new insights into the healing techniques used in Ayurveda. The visits to Perur Temple and the water filtration center in Siruvani Forest were also interesting.
 

The main trip at the conclusion of the tour to Tanjavoor and Trichy was the highlight of the internship. The city of Tanjavoor still has many remnants of ancient India. The museum, now in the old palace building, preserves a lot of old manuscripts and books. It was a pleasant experience, listening to the conservator of the museum, who explained about how the ancient manuscripts are preserved.
 

Usually when one goes to museums, one never really learns everything of importance because of the lack of good guides. We were fortunate enough to talk to the conservator himself, who is very much experienced and passionate about ancient Indian heritage.
 

The Brihadeeshwara Temple, built during the Chola Period, showcases the architectural and engineering skill of ancient India. I was amazed to see advanced engineering techniques implemented in the structure. Our guide explained to us how the weight of the entire building is balanced on two walls. The most amazing thing was that the entire structure was built of stone.
 


 

After visiting the magnificent Brihadeeshwara Temple, we met the Prince of Tanjavoor who was a very educated person. He shared his knowledge about the history of Tanjavoor, and it was apparent that he was most interested in preserving our culture and heritage.
 

Dharasuram Temple, standing out for its beauty and architectural marvel, has a very large shivalinga. Most temples here are of Shiva. At both Tanjavoor and Dharasuram, there were many beautiful sculptures on all temple walls, forming a sequence similar to film strips, narrating stories from the Puranas.
 

I hadn’t realized there was a place known as Swamimalai, famous for bronze casting. The sthapathis there work very hard all day. They explained how they make the bronze idols. A mould once made, cannot be reused, so the entire cycle consists of making wax for the mould, making the mould, casting the bronze and then further polishing. Each of these steps is repeated for every idol. There are many families who are dedicated to doing this work. It was a wonderful experience to go and see their endeavors.
 

On the last day, we went to Rock Temple at Trichy. This Shiva temple is built on top of a rock. A Ganapathi temple, which has a cave with some pillars and sculptures nearby, was carved out from a single rock. These places are worth seeing; the entire experience transports one to a different world.

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The Best Experiences Ever

Jul 1st, 2010
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Riyana is a third year student of engineering at Amrita’s Bengaluru campus. Below, she shares her best experiences with readers. First published in Sanchita, the campus magazine in May 2010, the article is reproduced in this blog site.
 


 

They say life is an experience and I could not agree more. Life teaches more than just a lesson. It teaches you who you are. One of the best experiences in my life was my trip to the eastern part of the country. But before I begin, let me tell you what took me there.
 

My dad is a Colonel in the Army. After three years of serving in Bangalore, which is a peace station, he was posted in Tezpur, Assam.
 

After my twelfth board exams were over, my mom, my brother and I left the very next day to join my father. The few destinations in our itinerary were Shillong, Dimapur and Kohima which are cities that personify in miniature, the immense beauty of our country. Our final destination was Tawang, a small town in Arunachal Pradesh, that is located at the foot of the Himalayas and shares a border with China. The altitude we planned to climb was about 14000 feet but then we decided to halt along the way and head back the next day. So we stopped to camp at a place called Selah Pass. We were so tired that all we could think of was food and a warm bed.
 

While I was lying in bed, I thought to myself, that just spending a night here has been so difficult and yet there are soldiers in our country who spend months together in worse conditions, to protect us. When all of us sleep at night, we never think about those hundreds of men who give up the luxury of sleep, food and shelter to ensure that our sleep at night is protected. One needs to experience it, to understand the conditions which the jawans and officers of this country endure.
 

It then struck me that the world has become so materialistic that the words “I”, “me” and “mine” are used more often than the word “ours”. It is for us to learn from the soldiers of the country that it’s only when you serve others, that you become who you are. If you feel that no matter what you do, it is still not enough or if you feel that you are unable to affect the world in any way, this defines you.
 

Maybe we find it silly to think but remember – there may be a man right now, who has given up his life so that you could sit peacefully at home, tension free, reading this article. Is that one life that was sacrificed worth the life that you are leading?
 

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The Unabated Banter …

Jun 23rd, 2010
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Krishnan, final year student of engineering at Amrita’s Bengaluru campus looks back on his journey through time as he gets ready to graduate.

This article was first published in Sanchita, the campus magazine in May 2010.
 
 
 


 

There comes a time in every person’s life when the world around him or her seems to become noisy and confusing. It makes no sense; the constant chatter and the sheer amount of nonsense emanating from the surroundings becomes incomprehensible. I guess these first three lines did the same to you.
 


 

I don’t know why but once you enter the final year, the campus becomes different. We start counting backwards, our last test, our last class, our last campus hangout, our last morsel of food in campus, our last step out of campus. We think of every memory we have of every nook. I have had my own share of memories in each corridor.
 

I remember the time I whipped out the cell-phone in front of the library only for it to be taken away by the librarian (that was in my first year). The tree plantation program we had during our first Kalanjali.
 

The amazing Nagapattinam trip (the Tsunami Relief Initiative). We did actual construction work there, right from loading trucks with stones, to mixing of cement, the flooring to the roofing. The early morning beachfront walks with Kapil and Sriram Sirs. The overpowering Brihadeshwara temple at Thanjavur, we saw on the way back. Every Indian needs to visit that temple to appreciate the Indian genius in architecture. The symmetry of the temple and the silence in it (even if the temple is full) can make even the most mundane among us turn to soul-searching.
 

Also there was the time when I ran like mad (yes RAN!!) on seeing what I term a bee-storm. Only to be told that they had been there for 10 minutes, by two giggly girls. Then there was the time when we went to Amritapuri in our second year for Amma’s birthday. The drippy buses, The Transformers and Fantastic Four movies, the truck loads of sand we spread across the pandal (you had to see it to believe it!) and the unbelievably good western café there and also the late night Pathiri treat by Rajesh Sir, unforgettable.
 

The August 15th Independence Day celebrations; my first shot at organizing. That was one unforgettable day. Patriotism brimming, I don’t think there has been a better play like the one I saw that day.
 

This was the year that somehow brought renewed meaning to my purpose in college. I figured that if I wanted then I could exist without leaving a trace or impression, but what was the point? If there was a time to distinguish myself, then it was now. This was the best time to prove to everyone that, one could adapt to any situation however uncomfortable, could lead any group and achieve any targets, to be able to look at a problem from different perspectives and listen to various ideas.
 

The third year was a rush in college. Every day was an uphill climb but the days whizzed past. The pattern was more or less the same. A Wednesday event followed by planning for next week on Thursday and posters by Monday or Tuesday and this cycle continued relentlessly marred only by the T’s, holidays and major events. I never read more than four books in the whole year. There was no downtime. Every class was a blur.
 

Life is never like a straight road across the plains; it has its own peaks and drops. The only way is forward and never linger on the spent mile. This was my mantra for the year.
 

I was blessed to have one of the best workers as my co-secretary. Starting off ‘Dhvani’, the wall magazine on 8/8/8 (date for the Beijing Olympics), I still haven’t treated a lot of people for that.
 

The world has come a long way since 2006. We have seen an economic boom, a late bubble burst and then a gradual recovery in progress. I guess we too have come a long way. We are not the same people who entered these corridors, unfocused, immature and ignorant. We have somehow crossed barriers and boundaries and gained more than we actually thought possible.
 

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An Opportunity to Serve

Jun 23rd, 2010
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Ten MBA students from the Amrita School of Business (MBA 09-11), Amritapuri, adopted a family in a nearby village. The family has a physically disabled, widowed mother, two sons and a daughter; the elder of the sons is mentally handicapped …
 

MBA Students
 

The students have committed to supporting the educational expenses of the younger boy and the girl. They are in regular touch with them and trying to motivate them. Maheshwar Pratap provides an account of how it all happened.
 


 

It was any other day at the hostel, when a friend called us over to watch a TV program about a distressed family. Upon watching the program, we felt deeply moved by what we saw.
 

The family has a younger son Manikandan and a daughter Revathi, who study in the 9th and 4th Standards respectively. Since they had to help with the day-to-day running of the family, they begged for alms in Oachira, a small town, 8 km from Amritapuri. As a result, they rarely went to school.
 

We decided to visit the family right away. There we found out that after the father had passed away due to heart problems, leaving debts behind, the mother was supporting the family by doing house-hold jobs in the neighbourhood. Then she fell sick with spinal problems.
 

The elder brother had to be looked after as he was physically and mentally retarded. Hence, the burden of taking care of the family fell upon the younger son and daughter. Their neighbours also told us that the daughter was arrested once by the police for begging.
 

We spoke to the mother urging her not to send her children to beg, explaining the hazards involved as well as the importance of providing proper education to the children.
 

We took care of their electricity bill. A devotee of Amma had already supplied the family with provisions and stationery, that were required for the month.
 

This was indeed a wonderful experience that helped us understand the responsibility that every human being ought to have towards the society.
 

We are happy that the children will be able to continue their studies and not go for begging. We would like to thank all the people who were instrumental in helping us get this opportunity to serve.
 

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Caught Snapping

Feb 17th, 2010
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Binoy Sivadasan is a Media Instructor at the Amrita School of Communication in Coimbatore. The School offers a BA in Mass Communication, an MA in Communication and a PG Diploma in Journalism.

Binoy clicked this winning entry of a beggar reading a newspaper while traveling in Hyderabad. It was featured in The Hindu newspaper. Below is another photo, he clicked.
 

 

 

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And Life Goes On …

Feb 17th, 2010
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When Bihar was ravaged by floods last year, Amrita sent a team of doctors to help. Amrita’s hi-tech telemedicine van traveled several thousands of kilometers to bring specialized healthcare to the devastated areas.

Prashanth, a tele-medicine technician at Amrita, and also an amateur photographer took these telling shots of life in Bihar.

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