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itsMAKlife

by

Mohd. Asif Khan

Presenting your nice collection of blogs

Kush

My Arrival in Japan Language Problem anyone? My office number! A slight earthquake!! My first Salary from NIMS! First Experiment : BOOM!!! An evening with Indians! :) I found this quote quite humorous! :D Things I hated in my school Pillar Gulaal Testimonials on iitky5.ning Testimonials received by me on iitky5.ning IITK: First Year IITK: Second Year

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My Arrival in Japan
2007/5/28 Hi everyone, I thought about just penning down my experiences of my internship in Japan. I am Mohd Asif Khan. I have just completed second year of my Bachelors in Technology degree in the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. I am on an internship at National Institute for Materials (NIMS), Japan. NIMS is located in the beautiful city of Tsukuba, some 70 kms from Tokyo, the capital of Japan. I am working under Dr. Alok Singh and Dr. Toshiji Mukai. I have yet to meet Dr. Mukai. Tomorrow is my meeting with the group, then I will get a better idea about what I am supposed to do. It is definitely linked to Aluminium powders atleast! I reached Japan at Narita Airport from flight number AI306. What an experience!! Just packed there for eight hours, flying thousands of meters above the ground with no familiar faces! It was my first international flight and the second flight. In the first one from Mumbai to Delhi, atleast I has Shadab, so it was a pretty enjoyable one. NARITA AIRPORT The flight reached Narita airport at about 9 AM on 24th May,2007. Here I was alone in a new country. Yet it was not frightful, as I thought it might me. The pretty smiling face of the lady who gave gave me bus tickets for 2540 yens and the sparsely populated airport gave me great relief. While waiting for the Bus No 10, I 2

happened to meet Arif, an Indonesian student of University of Tsukuba. He was doing Masters in Agriculture. We just went on talking with each other and so the two hours of journey from Narita to Tsukuba center went fine. Besides, the rural areas of the region were also giving me a sense of pleasure and the temperature was providing a soothing feeling after I faced the harsh weather of Northern India! NIMS SENGEN SITE: My workplace

Hey ... btw... a good news.. Arif became a father and he was just returning from Indonesia after seeing his son! :) My bus reached Tsukuba Bus terminal at 12:15PM. I called Dr. Alok Singh from the public phone inside the Bus Station and had to pay 100 yens for that!! i still think there was some problem with the machine. A single local call of less than half minute duration can't cost 100 yens! Hearing Dr. Alok's voice was a balm for me. I had been communicating with this person for so past 2 months over the mail and still I wasn't able to guess about the personality of him. After hearing his voice, I got a feeling that he is atleast not a harsh person. Sir told me to wait at the tower which I was told later, was actually a lift for the underground railway station! He took me to lunch at a restaurant. It was there I saw for the first time, the Japanese hospitality. The waiter and waitress were always smiling and they remembered your preferences. I was a bit surprised over

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the bill of about 800 yens per person, when Sir told me that it was normal for one meal! Ninomiya House: My hostel

After the meal of sea food and veg pizzas, Sir took me to Ninomiya hostel which was ready to give me biggest shock! I had really never imagined the quality of room would be so good. There was ac, fridge, tv, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, iron and complete kitchen! But everything with cost of electricity to be paid by me!! So I better be careful while using all such facilities. I really don't need ac as the weather is itself like an ac to me after coming from the 40 degree furnace. I would operate washing machine once a week .... several of this type of thoughts went in my mind as how to lower the bills! It was good that NIMS left only the utility charges (electricity, water, etc) to me! There is a library also in the hostel and the best part of that is free Internet access :D . I am writing this piece from that place. These times would really go down as sparkling moments in the memory lane of my life. :)

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Language Problem anyone?
2007/5/29 To me everything looks great in Japan ... everything looks perfect and ordered ... expect the language! Its completely pictographic and difficult. Thankfully most people in the academics know English, so hopefully I wouldn`t face any language problem in NIMS. But the locals in Tsukuba really don`t know English. They are completely ignorant about this language. I wonder how can English be called Global Language when Japanese aren`t using it. It would be more proper to call it the Global Business Language! Well, about my experiences in Language Problem! The first incident took place just after I landed at Narita Airport. I was searching for the bus ticket counter. I asked the passport officer who told me some direction in his broken english which I couldn`t grasp. Then I did the mistake of asking a airport worker! I asked him two times and then he just laughed and moved his hand in peculiar gesture. I understood that I asked the wrong person. He was completely devoid of the gyan of English Language. I caught sight of an Indian and asked him about it. He directed me to a place which he said was Information Center of Airport. I thanked him and went to the information center. Three cute ladies were sitting there. They understood me but I wasn`t able to understand their Jepenglish! But through her hand gestures, she succeeded in telling me that it was the first counter after gate. Congrats on your success lady! I finally reached the bus ticket counter and instead of getting in more confusion, just said "Tsukuba". She got it! On a display, it showed 2540 yens. I gave 10000 yen note (the highest 5

denomination in Japanese currency) and got the ticket and change. On the ticket, just the time and the bus terminal were comprehensible to me. But it was enough! The counter lady directed me to the terminal through her hand gestures and I got to the right place. Finally!

Kasumi Supermarket

The other incident took place in Kasumi Supermarket. By the term supermarket connected with Japan, please don`t get an impression that it was a mall much bigger than the biggest in India. It was just a simple single-storey shop where we could everyday things at good price. I knew beforehand that I would just buy breads but it would not look good in such a beautiful market if I just took just two packets of breads on the cash counter. What would the beautiful lady on the cash counter think? So I took a pack of bananas too (five bananas for 198s) along with 2 packets of bread (252 s each). I went to the cash counter with these. Stood in line and kept admiring the beautiful market and a more beautiful girl standing in the next line ;) My turn came and I handed over my basket. The counter lady started blabbering something in Japanese. She was definitely speaking something meaningful in her language but to me it was just blabbering! She was trying to explain me something. She took 6

out the bread packets and kept them aside and was pointing somewhere. I just couldn`t understand her! Then I heard a familiar language.... ahhh... English! The person behind me in the line knew English and Japanese both. He said that the money for the bread are to be paid at other counter. I was so thankful to him! I just paid the money for bananas at the counter and for the bread at the counter directed by the gentleman. So those are the situations in which I have faced language problem till now. Now I don`t want to get in any other such situation so trying to learn some basic Japanese. Wish me Best of Luck!

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My office number!
2007/5/29 Hmm... Japan is throwing up quite a few shocks to me. Just look at the office number which NIMS gave me. Its 302!! In Hindi movies, this number has been used so many times for the capital punishment that it sounded quite awkward when I got that room. Well the room is pretty big and has the best facility which any institutes gives: FREE NET ACCESS!! I am just hooked to the net all day long in office till looking for some research papers, specifications of cameras and studying. You all know that I am not online all day on gmail and orkut :D Well, the infrastructure of my office is quite good. There are comfortable rotating chairs, metallic luster drawers, table lamp and a phone. I use the phone mostly to call my guide. The window of my office opens towards the entrance of NIMS. It really presents a beautiful view of Tsukuba City! Soon after getting a camera, I would put pics of my office too... so stay tuned!!

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A slight earthquake!!
2007/6/2 Goodness.. just now I felt the earth shaking!! It was a minor earthquake... my first one in Japan. Earlier I had felt an earthquake more than six years ago at my home in Vishwas Khand, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow, India. I was sitting in the library of Ninomiya House and chatting on gmail. Just as I said bye to one of my friends, I felt the earth shaking and the sounds of door bangings!! I became a bit nervous. There was another person sitting just beside me. We just looked into each other's eyes. But he wasn't looking afraid. By face he looked Japanese, so earthquakes may not be new to him! Well it all lasted just 3-4 seconds... and then everything became all right...phew!!

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My first Salary from NIMS!
2007/6/2 I think I am among a few lucky ones as I got my salary even before starting the work! I got my first salary on Tuesday, 29th May,2007. It was an amount of 79360 yens (about 26000 Indian rupees) for a month! I was very excited on having my first salary. Dr. Alok Singh, my guide came in my room at about 3pm that day with a lady from International Affairs Office of NIMS that day. The lady asked for my passport for the salary. I didn't had it that time, but to get the salary as soon as possible... anyone would do anything :D I asked them to wait for half an hour. I rushed to my hostel and brought the passport even before half an hour. Then she paid my salary all in cash and also made me sign a "Statement of Attorney" that NIMS is authorized to pay my Ninomiya House bills. Well, after getting salary, I started to wonder what are the things I am going to do with the money.. how will I try to spend less and still enjoy Japan !!

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First Experiment : BOOM!!!
2007/6/2 Ah... my first experiment at NIMS was a disaster. We tried to get powder of 7XXX series of Aluminium on Friday,1st June, 2007 in 'Materials Preparation Laboratory' of NIMS. All the elements had been cut by me from Hack Saw Machine and then cleaned with Ultrasonic Vibrator Machine and then weighed out properly in correct proportions. i had been constantly working for one and a half days for the experiment. At about 1 pm, all the elements, viz. Aluminium, Zinc, Magnesium and Copper were put in the furnace of 'Centrifugal Powder Preparation Machine', which is a huge monster, atleast one storey high! The furnace was started and and Dr. Minagawa, the owner of the facility told me that it would take about an hour for the materials to melt and atomization to begin! So for an hour, I just worked in the laboratory preparing samples for another experiment. At about 2pm, I returned back to the facility. My guides Dr. Alok Singh and Dr. Mukai were also present there. Soon the melting process got over. We all were excited to see, through a glass window, the melted material flowing a tube. Everything was ok by this time. The centrifuge was started and slowly the hole was opened to let the powder come out. We were all seeing this on a telivision screen as everything was transmitted to the screen via a camcorder. But then it happened. The zinc in the melt vapourized as soon as the hole was opened and the contents started to fall on a disc. Everything inside the machine became dark .. all was smoky. Even the telivision screen became dark! So finally the experiment was a failure! Dr. Minagawa confirmed that the experiment was a failure 11

due to vapourization of zinc. It was really bad to see the all your hard work of a day being turned into smoke (literally)!! Well, now I am still thinking what would be next step of my guides! But after all that, I am still happy and excited to actually see and work on a facility like 'Centrifugal Powder Preparation Machine', which even IITs don't have!!

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An evening with Indians! :)
2007/6/3 Its feels so comforting when in a land thousand of miles away from your own land, you meet the people from your own place. I had this exciting opportunity due to Gautam Sheet, a researcher in NIMS. It was on the eve of 22nd june,2007 (Saturday). I found Gautam on orkut before coming over to Japan. I contacted him via scrapbook. He was more than happy to hear from me and told me to bring an umbrella. This advice was really of great value as it rained just the next day of my arrival. Well, on Friday Gautam scrapped me to come to room no 5801 at about 8pm which he later shifted to 9pm. I went to the room but it was locked. I waited there for about 5 minutes when Gautam came. he was also surprised to see that the people living in the room had not come till then. We decided to wait for them outside. But cold wind was blowing at that time of night. I was feeling very cold. Seeing me like this, Gautam took me in another room, where I met those wonderful people. There was Gautam's wife, Mr Mrs Kalol with their daughter (8 months old cutie :) ) and one more pair with their daughter. I forgot the name of the family. There was more person whose name I am forgetting, thanks to my excellent memory, but he became a quite good friend of mine. I would soon know his name. I have to be more careful to remember people's name !!! All of them were Bangla speaking people, so many times just shifted to that language. Then someone would say that we should talk in Hindi (as I was sitting there!). Well, still I was able to understand some of their conversation. They talked about reservations, films, Japanese and many other things. Mr Kallol gave a good solution for 13

our reservation policy. He suggested that Indian Government should make a policy that whosoever is born in India would be an SC! :D Well, they also talked about the Japanese women ... that they are so slim but their babies are so healthy! They also said that Japanese would like to tame any animal! Then came the best of all ... FOOD.. INDIAN FOOD!! I wasn't feeling comfortable being there because I thought that may be I was an uninvited guest! But the warmth of all the people gave me some confidence. I still ate very less because to avoid food earlier (when I was feeling really uninvited guest!!) I had already said that I had taken my dinner. But they insisted so much that I couldn't resist them. But the dinner was really delicious. There was daal, mixed Veg, chicken and rice. Daal was the dish I was missing for so long, so was grateful to have it there! After that we took leave from there and then along with my friend, came to my room as I was having some problem operating the washing machine for the first time. He started the washing machine for me and then also took back me to his room to give me more washing powder. He gave enough for next 6-7 washes. Some people are really selfless! I also learned from the people that having such informal meetings was their way to recreate themselves. After a week of working and being in such formal atmospheres of offices in a land where people don't speak your language nor understand your culture, it is really relaxing for them to meet on Saturdays and have dinner together and have chatting over a wide diaspora of things. This made me realized that these people are finding the meanings of their lives by bonding with each other, with the people who share common culture with them and understand their feelings. So meeting with such beautiful people on that eve, especially

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Indians was a wonderful experience for me. :)

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I found this quote quite humorous! :D
2007/6/7 When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed, I want they bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass! Bobby Knight (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/bobbyknigh359550.html)

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Things I hated in my school
2007/6/9 I have posted this in one of forums of community of my class. Re-posting it on blog.. Things I hated in my school are: 1) All periods except Zero period (and it sucked big time .. when they took Zero priod for completing their course!) 2) All the teachers who tried hard to make us cram the things we will never have to use. First of all, it took a long time to UNcram those 'faltoo' things ... an secondly..... I missed many opportunities to engage in personality developing pursuits. 3) The ever too vigilent Shobha Maam.... sometimes she couldn't even stand me talking to girls of our class!!!! ... what a narrow mindedness! 4) Our own Yoginder Sir (Swimming coach) ... for his gender biased approaches and for his 'trying to look cool' attitude. 5) The biasedness of some teachers (even if it was pro-ME ) ... Many a times ... we were not even informed about various competitions ... and just a selected few were sent to represent school. 6) The ever decreasing playground since I joined. The interior looked so jam packed. I wonder how it looks now when they have tried to cover all the alphabets of English to make the sections.

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Pillar
2009/3/5 A pillar is much more than just the supporting structure for buildings. It is the silent person who supports others while at the same time taking pressure on himself. When others are insecure, feel that something is missing or just can't keep their spirits up, they need a pillar... a human pillar. A person who can support them in the times when they are down, a person who absorbs their pain without them even knowing and tries in his own way to lighten their life. But pillars are silent, they don't speak what is hidden their heart and the burden of others which they are carrying. They are always there to support you .. to support me.

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Gulaal
2009/3/28 Recently I saw the movie Gulaal. It is a story of power struggle both at macro and micro level. At the macro level, the Rajputs are trying to grab their independence from the Indian state and at a micro level, the illegitimate son and daughter of a former king are trying to gain their own power and share of family name. I really liked the movie. Anurag Kashyap has once again showcased the darker side of humans after his DevD. He does it nearly perfectly. He has a mastery of development of his characters to their full, whether the character rises to glory or falls in the abyss of darkness. What impressed me most about the movie was Piyush Mishra- the lyricist, actor, singer and what not of the movie. HIs lyrics are a breath of fresh air in the stagnant industry which mainly uses the imageries being used for generations, or those newly imported from western world. Piyush's creation - Aarambh hai prachand, is more a poem than a song - its a Veer Ras poem. The author has put lot of energy in the song. The song challenges you to fight with all the strength you have got because their is glory in victory. The other songs like Duniya and Sarfaroshi ki tamanna are also great. They hit the society under the belt. I particularly liked the lines: "आज का लौंडा ये कहता की हम तो बिस्मिल थक गए, अपनी आजादी तो भइया लौंडिया के दिल में है |" These lines hit at the present generation for whom getting the attention of opposite sex is all that it needs in life, instead of setting 19

some hisgher goal for itself. The song Ranaji has also created a lot of stir because of its lyrics directed at the attack on WTC towers and US's attack on Afghanistan and Iraq. I congratulate Anurag and Piyush for such a contrarian movie.

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Testimonials on iitky5.ning
2009/4/10 Aman Bhatia: The only person in the wing who loves "chinkis" as much as me (may be more than me)! It was a dream come true for him when we visited Sikkim ;) There are many weird things about this guy: he proudly proclaims himself as geek, can sleep only while listening to hard metal, attacks vulnerable parts of others, publicly displays assets of others, sleeps during lectures still knows more than you... On other side, consideration for others, taking initiatives ,extreme intelligence, helpfulness, cheerfulness and "sexy" style are innate nature of Aman. He has a wonderfully charming personality. Whenever you are in any kind of problem, Bhatia has the solution for it. You can always count on Aman as he is one of the few people who are ready to help others. I am lucky to have met him and wish him best of luck for his future.

Kush Sharma: This person's room has been a constant source of research and discussion in our wing. Sometimes his jokes also leave the same taste (or rather smell :P). Well .. a great blogger and an avid reader. He has (read) many series of fantasies. He leverages his intellectual depth and one-liners to make himself a lady magnet. ;) I am just surprised at his skills to 21

engage so many girls into his talks! Kush has also been the Techie of the wing, apna local dabba wallah. His knowledge of programming is astonishing. He is a very helpful and friendly person. He has been instrumental in writing countless mails for internship replies for the wing. His services deserve Wing Ratna. One of his dreams is to write a novel someday. He also wants to do MBA in HR due to some obvious reasons. I wish him success in his journey and goals.

Ankur Saxena: Meet the ever cheerful and smiling Ankur aka Anks aka Guruji. In the wing, he known for his (lack of) sense of humour as he can tear apart your most jokes by counting logical fallacies in them. He is also "the victim" of our wing. Besides that, he is self proclaimed "magnet" and attracts all humans ;) On serious note, Ankur's determination and hard work are praiseworthy. I remember that he did not got expected result in first year even after hard work. But instead of giving up, he kept on his hard work and managed to get good results from next year. He is also a very helpful guy. You just need to him for his advice on resume and he will sit down with you and help you from scratch to final. Ankur - a great friend and a complete package for girls ;) 22

Shadab Anwer: Shadab- the person "jisne duniya dekhi hai", as he himself has proclaimed many times. This guy has been a great friend of mine in IITK. Our friendship has its highs and lows but I guess since we have stopped judging each other, a much better relationship has emerged. Shadab has a knack for critical analysis of situations. Though this testimonial isn't supposed to be a resume, still I would say that I admire the leadership qualities and initiative drive of Shadab. He is a very straightforward person. it is onto people how to take his criticisms. I got to know some of my weaknesses from his criticisms. Shadab has quite often not been properly understood by others, but who cares, I believe that he is always ready to help others. Shadab is a visionary and I wish him best of luck in all his endeavors.

Susheel Kumar Suman: Susheel is known by some such names in the wing which might be called insanely outrageous by civilized junta, hence i omit them. As Susheel puts it: *Beep*. He is a fun loving guy and also entertains the wing with his witty 23

sentences. He is proud of his "bonular" body and makes me envious as he eats much more than me and is still a third of me. This is sheer injustice! I will always remember the time when Susheel and me were the only people from our wing remaining in summers in IITK. We had some great time together and also faced the most rough storm we have seen! Susheel is quite secretive about his girlfriends. Yes, it seems he has more than one!! Susheel is a humble and soft spoken boy, the qualities which make him stand out of the crowd. I wish him best of luck!

Kritika Kashyap: Can't comprehend what to write about Kritika. Sometimes you want to say so many things that you lose words. Even if I meet her after 2-3 months, we just continue our chat as if that we talked yesterday. She is one of very few persons with whom I can go on talking without getting bored and without fear of being judged. I still cherish the days of our batti lab partnership. We complemented each other well, me doing theory part and she doing the circuit assembly (which I always messed up!). We have shared a lot with each other. I don't know if I can understand her fully, but from what I know, she is extremely intelligent and practical girl. She tries to understand herself and others. The best thing about her is that she don't judge people too early and instead takes time to know them. 24

Well, on other side, she thinks more than is required in some circumstances. And she needs to better her gtalk status message posting skills. I can't understand them! I am lucky to have known Kritika and wish her best of luck for her future.

Amit Chandra: The Bihari of our wing.... he is all that we can think of Bihar. When we went to Sikkim, we asked him to keep his mouth shut lest someone discovers we are "Hindi-bhashi" :P and that too Bihari. This guy is famous in our wing for the cruelty he shows in GPLs. Once he gave Alok aka Tommy such a beating that he couldn't take anymore and got verbally violent. And what did Chandra do? He just skipped from scene leaving the chappal in the hands of Kush. Typical Bihari :P Chandra first came to limelight in the wing with his brilliant experiments. Those are the sort of experiments we expect from a "in the making" Noble Prize winner. It is not for nothing that he is called the Scientist of our wing. Maybe he told KVPY committee of his experiments which forced them to confer scholarship to him. Chandra's love life is also marred in controversies. He doesn't like to talk about her and then inside campus, goes around with other girls from some other places. Kitni gfs banayega be! 25

Besides mostly negative aspects, he has few positive traits too. (Ab testimonial likh raha hun to kuch to tareef karni padegi!) ... He is ... aaaaa .. He is .... ummmm... chhodo kuch positive yaad nahi aa raha. :P Well, he is a helpful person. He helps you to reduce your account balance. Give him money and forget it that you are gonna get it back. He is a very sharp and intelligent person too.... and smart to hai hi. :P

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Testimonials received by me on iitky5.ning
2009/4/12 By Ankur Saxena: Asif is a born leader and one of the most eligible and optimistic bachelors. A close friend, a think-tank and my partner in a lot of our college activities. He has been showing us the silver lining of the cloud a lot of times through his enthusiasm and cheerfulness. A cool and open-minded guy who has all things figured out. He is very good at befriending people. He lives in the present and not in past (which has been glorious) or the future (which I am sure will be more glorious). He has introduced me to a lot of things- he is particlulary the Godfather of my interest and career in finance.

I Would like to dedicate a song 'Ohne dich' (German) of his favourite rock band Ramstein to our friendship.

Vishwas karna hum dosti apni nibhayenge, Agar khuda bhi bulayega to kahe denge, Dost agar ijazat dega to hi aayenge.

By Shadab Anwer: Mentally balanced, physically misbalanced (that will be the first thing u will notice in him :) ), victim of most of our wing crimes, my 27

roomy for one year--- Mohd. Asif Khan. He wants me to write something about him (though I have a quiz tomorrow), so here I go.

All right lets get serious now. Always intelligent, concise, clear, logical, shy, sensitive, gentle and patient that’s Mr. Asif for you. I have not seen guy more focused than him in my entire life. He has clear vision for himself and I can never understand where he gets so much energy from to fulfill his dreams. He is perfect example of “God helps who help themselves”. He's a group man, and teamwork comes naturally to him, understands the fair play rules of sports as if he had invented them :) .

Recently, he has found his 28th true love :) but girls don’t worry applications for the designation of GF will again be invited very soon. Love you Asif, Always

By Ashank Mittal: The killing Pathani looks, the strength of a Samurai, the tipsy topsy curvy figure and the intellect comparable to Business Tycoons thats MAK (Mohammed Asif Khan) wrapped for you. Honored by a title 'JagatR____' he is really the playboy material for our wing. :)

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Asif has certainly been one of the most focussed person around me.. Always conscious of the surrounding opportunities, he is a living example of idiom “Learn to listen. Opportunity could be knocking at your door very softly.”

Good people's skills, straightforward attitude and a patient but optimistic outlook for life are few of the qualities which will make him a success in his future endeavours. His finger actions, mimicry of certain cries and few regular occuring 'P--' words are never gonna disappear from our memoirs. :)

Hope you get a lifestyle of your dreams and a promising future ahead. Best wishes

By Kritika Kashyap: I’ve promised Asif a controversial testimonial…so I’ll begin with a confession…

In the 1st year batti lab, I was looking for someone smart (ie able to understand batti), sincere (ie would make all lab reports) and fun-loving (ie. who could laugh at my stupidity) to become lab partners with… when I saw this chubby guy trying to study circuit 29

components as the ideal choice. Today, this guy has ended up being one my longest lasting friends at IITK, who’s mature, sensitive and straightforward nature makes it comfortable to discuss zindagi ke funde with him. I was amazed at how much he knew about the workings of the complex female psyche…(ofcourse I wouldn’t have been surprised had I known about the 28... liar!) I’ve had some great times with him…destroying circuits, going on long walks, but an incident that deserves mention is when I begged him to get sewaiyaan for me on Eid :D. I found out only recently that his wingies beat him black and blue when they realized that the sewaiyaan had gone somewhere else first. So, I want to tell you guys a little something..… he specially got me cake on his Birthday :P .

Asif is an inspiration, a guy with his head in the right place, he is clear about what he wants from life and is determined to get it. Humility personified, he never lets you congratulate him on his achievements.. he’ll say it was simply God’s will and that he had no role to play in it. I wish him success in all his endeavors and in the pursuit of true love : )   By Alok Tomar: Assalam valekum Assif Bhai . we are owe to this guy who has been entertaining us for the first day of IIT . He is extremely friendly and talented guy especially his mimicry is very popular in our wing. Ever green nature with full of traits for a good human being 30

belongs to him. He has been our teddy bear and we enjoyed very much during his b’day . He is goal oriented person who plans according to his goal and strictly follow it. Determination and sincerity to his work as well as his extracurricular activities are appreciable. Best of luck for ur bright future dear. We dual guys will miss u very much. Always keep smiling.

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IITK: First Year
2009/5/10   Decision of joining IITK I was totally bent of taking whatever branch I would get in IITB. At my rank of 2257, it would have been possible to get Civil Engg there. After that I preferred to go to Kharagpur. Kanpur was nowhere in my thoughts, though my family insisted me to go for it. The decision to fill IITK as preference was taken only after discussion with Nishant Singh. He was in second year at IITK in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering (MME). When I went IITK for counselling, I stayed with Nishant in the night. He convinced me to prefer MME at IITK. He told about several things IITK had to offer. I finally decided to fill that instead of Civil at IITK. As Nishant lived in Hall 2, so I stayed in Hall 2 for one night, watching ‘Samay’, even before joining IITK. At that time, the corridors seemed confusing in the night. Little did I realize that it was going to be my home for next 3 years!

The first day I entered Hall 2 with my parents. They were asked to wait at Hall 2 Quad and I was asked to go inside Hall Office for receiving Room Keys. And it was there I had my first brush with ‘informal interaction’. There was Abhinav Jain, looking me with deceptively reassuring eyes. He asked where was I from. “Lucknow”, said I and 32

smiled… and came the reply .. “Muski kyun maar rahe ho?”. I did not had to wait longer to know what muski means! I was allotted room number 119 of B-Bot, and as a free gift, a IITK Baap, Mayank Manik Pandey, a decent fellow with a charming smile. It was quite reassuring to see a person like him at a new place. My parents also felt the same way. He allayed the fears of my parents about ragging and asked me to meet him in the evening. After keeping luggage at my room, my family and me went to meet Khaleeq Bhai and his family. Well… I never again met his family which is disappointing me as I am writing this. They asked me to come anytime when I had problems. In the evening, I came back to hostel, and voila, IITK had not just given Baap, but also Bhais! That too 7 of them. Mayank took us outside our rooms, and we had our introductions. Then Mayank told us about IITK Fresher Dressing Code, about informal introductions and bit others and asked us to be ready after dinner to go to Computer Centre for login ids. As far as I remember, my parents left that evening itself. Well.. if IIT had its way, it wouldn’t have even allowed parents of freshers inside the campus. Me and the bhais had dinner at Hall 1 mess. I was happy to have good food, but as a river always flows downhill, so the mess also didn’t disappoint us. Mayank took us and registered our email IDs in CC. I chose a simple ‘asif’. Little did we know the importance to iitk-id at that time. In the way to CC and inside CC, we encountered some seniors who were quite excited to see us. I wonder where was it all taking 33

us!

The period of Informal Interaction: Nobody forgets their initial days at their college… neither did I. As per as the freshers’ code, we were supposed to wear full-shirt, trousers (no jeans) and shoes in that hot summer. This torture went for 2 weeks. I was frustrated at this as I have never liked to wear shoes unless it absolutely necessary. But the ‘informal interaction period’ of 2 weeks had certain joys of its own. We had the first General Body Meeting (GBM) of our Hall with warden and the hostel students representatives. It was there we saw Satti, Saud, Makkar, Gupank and other seniors. The Warden told us that we can always contact him if we had any problems. The ‘problems’ started the next day itself. After spending the whole day at the boring orientations, we came to our rooms, only to be evacuated from our rooms for gathering at Central Quad, where we had the official interaction sessions with seniors. In the next GBM itself, we were told that everybody should be present at the central quad at dinner time till 10 pm, the time when the official interaction session was to end. Initially, I was bit afraid and disgusted that why should we wear this stupid dress in hot summers and why should the seniors shout at us. They really howled and shouted sometimes. In the GBMs, everyone would remember two people distinctly: Makkar and Saud. Makkar was the one who tried to instil Hall feeling in us with his bold speeches and Saud was there with his witty comments, one of which was: “Agar saamne Hall 3 ka koi friend khada ho saath mein 34

Hall 2 ka kutta khada ho, tab bhi tum Hall 2 ke kutte ke paas  hi jaaoge”. They told us about the glorious Galaxy days. Somehow, I never got attached to this hall feeling. But I think, it is better to have divisions on the lines of halls, instead of the regional divisions that exist in so many campuses across India. One myth about IITians broke very soon: They are not the gentle geeks always. IITians do use abusive words a lot. But they have their own relations to abuse. You already know that what is Baap in IITK, so it is easy to guess the Maa: the girlfriend or just friend of Baap. And the behens? Well.. your batchmates of fairer sex. (Hmmm.. that was some sexist crap!) I enjoyed the interaction sessions most of the times. I was nearly always smiling, so I had to always do the “muski saaf karo” act. Soon I became master of it, and was teaching the other students how to do it! I also did several role-plays, interesting debates, abusing fan so that it switches off and so much absurd stuff. There was some fun in also those, and in the fun, sometimes fear, which materialized soon. One senior made me shed tears this only time during the 2 week period before fresher party. I cried not because of what he said, but because of his character; his sadistic joy in tormenting others. Later I came to know that he was famous as this kind of person in his batchmates and well, was even a 9-pointer. What has point to do with character? Nothing at all. Well.. most of the time, I enjoyed myself, even did a small play in front of Sumeet Kale and Sudhanshu. I was not selected finally for the dramatics team, but I was happy to perform above my 35

expectations. I also came to know that Nishant was the Dramatics Coordinator. During those days, Mayank would come to us, his bachhas, nearly every night to talk to us and to know nobody is feeling too stressed. Sometimes I had chats with him about the necessity of these ‘informal interactions’. We would then sit and discuss about the funny or serious incidents which might have happened to us. Those were good days! I think it were these kind of sessions which brought us bhais and the wing together. Soon we all blended together as if we had known each other from many years. Soon.. the Freshers’ Day came. It was wonderful to get our ‘freedom’ from the seniors, as well as from stupid dress code. We had Freshers’ Night which was filled with shouts ‘Ek do teen chaar … band karo ye atyachaar’. IITK’s audience is brutally honest. You get those shouts if you are ‘hagg-ing’ on the stage; and if you are ‘chaap-ing’, you get bows.. like the Japanese! From that day, seniors became friends and we got rid of the stupid dress code. I got no formal ‘intros’, but came to know many seniors and also knew that if I ever need something from anyone, I could approach them. This belief always turned out to be true in all these four years. Just drop at any senior’s room, even if you have never met him, and you will always get help in whatever field the senior is good! Club Fever Sometimes we did all sorts of things to get away from the interaction sessions. Going to the club presentations was one of 36

them. Usually the presentations were held after the dinner, at the time of interaction, hence it provided a good way to skip the sessions. For me, I went just because I wanted to know some more things and see where my interests lie. I am thankful to Mayank for stressing the importance of clubs in IITK life. They provide us activity which interests us and sometimes help us to vent out our frustrations. You can feel that you are good at something. You can find atleast one person in IITK excellent in any field you name. Maybe this is the most important aspect of IITK life… people excelling in so many varied fields. It humbles you and also makes you work hard to strive for excellence in the field of your choice. I decided to try various clubs. I tried Dramatics Club, but failed to get into the team. I had never danced, so Dance Club was ruled out. I attended the introductory lectures of Robotics Club, Electronics Club and Business Club. Strangely enough, I found Business Club dearest to my heart. The lectures by Avik Bhandari and Yashodhan Shevade aroused my interest in the area of Finance. Once I met them after lecture to ask some doubt. Seeing my enthusiasm, they asked me to visit meeting of FINEIIT (FINance Enthusiasts of IIT). I attended some meetings and got to learn some other things about macroeconomics, etc. I also made acquaintances with some MBA students of IITK. It was nice to interact with them. Due to this interaction with MBAs, I was also among the very few  B.Tech. guys to volunteer for Megabucks. At that time, it was an MBA event. It was quite small in scale, but that was just the beginning! I also met Nikhil in one of the FINEIIT meetings. I was amazed to see his energy level. I got to 37

learn a lot from him. Avik even wanted Nikhil and me to be the coordinators of Business Club for next two years, but it was not to be. A person whom we had never seen in any of Business Club meetings was made the coordinator from B.Tech. side. Well… so much so for our dreams of being coordinators. I kept on increasing my knowledge in area of finance out of my love for the field. Besides Business Club, I also got involved in the Hall 2 Web Team. We were to maintain the site of Hall 2. Cherian Verkey Mathew, a brilliant humble guy was our mentor for the same. I learned php and html. By the second semester, I was making websites for some clubs like Astronomy Club and Photography Club. I had found some niche in IITK. But maybe that was not what I was meant to be doing for all of my four years. I devoted more and more time to other activities after pursuing website designing for one year. Wing Culture:  Your family of IITK – your wing. There is no better way to describe the wing culture. They are the friends who have been chosen by fate. If they are good, you are lucky … and I really was. I have met some of the best people of my life in my wing. I have written about some of them in my earlier post about testimonials. It started budding with GBMs during pre-freshers’ party period, it blossomed in mess and ripened with time. Kush and Aman’s room was declared wing’s common room due to the laptop which Kush brought very soon. Everyone checked their mails and watched movies in their room. We had most of our bulla sessions in that room or in front of it. 38

Most incidents of my wing are confidential, hence I prefer to disclose them on another wing blog or orkut community.

Understanding the academic system:  Initially, I was inclined to get a branch change from MME. It was one of the reasons that I studied hard in first semester. Other reason was that well… your habit of studying a lot for JEE has its effect for sometime when you come to IIT! The whole academic system of lectures and tutorials was completely new. The large lecture halls, punctual professors, independent note taking, understanding with help of others and books. The world of spoon-feeding was over. It was said by seniors that there are two kinds of people in IITK: library people and CC people. Those who were maggus could be found in library while those who seek enjoyment were to be found in CC. I was a library person for about a year and then shifted to CC! We soon had our first quiz. There was so much excitement for it! I do not remember how much I got in the first quiz. Maybe 5 or 6 out of 10. The first mid-sem of IITK was at doors without any warnings. People were preparing for it very hard. Library was always filled of students. It was opened for all 24 hours! I liked to sleep between the racks of thick books. The first mid-sem exam results came. We got a feel that what relative grading is. Everybody seemed to be concerned about whether he was above average or not. We discussed and debated of 39

the necessity of a relative grading system. We still do.  

Antaragni- fire unleashed! Nobody from IITK can forget the charm of their first Antaragni. Seniors would talk about it in GBMs. As Antaragni approached, everything of students seem to be directed towards Antaragni. I also couldn’t help but to go with the flow. I don’t remember how, but I was working in the Dramatics Events Organizing Team as a volunteer. I liked my work as volunteer. There was so much to learn and do. As far as I remember, I had my first night-out of IITK life while preparing the Dramatics Registration Desk. We did everything: cutting cardboards, painting, cutting out alphabets! Our desk was complete, but it was the Ramzan (Month of fasting in Islam), so I was feeling weak. Still, I loved that time, working and working... playing a part, although small, to make Antaragni a success. Once I even had to manage the stage lights in L-7. It was a new experience, and a decent one. While in L-7, I found myself attracted to a girl from Miranda House. I told her that her college's play was the best. I just got a thanks in return and having nothing to talk about, the chat ended. And Miranda House did get the first prize in the play, they were fantastic. We also got to hear KK. it was like a dream. The beautiful voice inside IITK. Besides that, I also enjoyed disc for all three days! Worked during the day and went to disc in the night. It was just amazing time!

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Antaragni is not called ‘chaar din ki chandni’ of IITK without any reason! The girls:boys ratio improves a lot! Unfortunately or fortunately, I was not able to benefit from that upswing. I am happy for those who did.

First Endsems; First Suicide ”Bye Antaragni, Hi End-sems”: This has been the worst part of IITK life. Before we can forget the pleasures of Antaragni, End-sems are there. We can do nothing but just study a lot (atleast that is what I did in my first end-sem). My endsems were going fine, but then a thing happened, nobody could have thought about. A student of second year from my hall committed suicide because he could not perform well in some exam. I felt sad for him and his parents and thought about the futility of giving one’s life for the sake of one exam. Well, everyone was aghast and sad on this unfortunate incident.  Little did we know that we had to see one suicide per semester for next 6 semesters.

SG Interviews One organization which has tried to help students is Counselling Service. It has not been successful in stopping 7 suicides in 4 years, but the cases in which it has been effective, will never come into public knowledge. I was impressed by what our Baap, or technically, Student Guide (SG), Mayank had done for us. I thought of doing the same for the next batch of students. Hence I applied for the post of Student Guide. It was considered to be prestigious work too and many 41

applied to get this prestige. My interview did not went good. Infact I do not even remember now what did they ask. But finally I was not selected, which disappointed me a lot. Soon my disappointment turned to disgrace when I saw many much more suitable students like Aman being turned down. One of my bhai, Aditya was selected as SG. We bhais were happy that there was someone to continue our khandaan.  Well, there was still some suspense hidden from me! Aditya had to let go the SG position due to academic reasons and the first person on the list of rejected candidates seem to be me. So I was called for the job. Still our khandaan prospered! We has a training session for SGs, in which I was the student to win most number of chocolates during the session. It was pure fun!

The MME Connection:  God works in mysterious ways. My meeting with Salil Bapat, department’s two year senior was also that kind of ‘way’. i was studying in the library and saw a copy with ‘MME’ written on it. I was curious to know about my department and just said “Excuse me”. I went on with my curious questions and probably Salil was the best person to answer those queries as he had genuine interest in the department. Moreover I found him to be a very helpful and mild mannered person. Finally he went to pursue his MS in USA. Salil soon introduced me to Shivam Srivastava, the next MME Secretary. Salil and Shivam are among the best seniors I have met. Shivam showed his poster presentations and work he was doing 42

under Anish Sir. I found that quite interesting and decided to mail Anish Sir asking him about some books which I could study in summer vacations to increase my knowledge in Materials Science. He suggested me some books, particularly Callister. I actually studied some chapters of the book. When I became SG, I had to search for a faculty guide for my bachhas. The first person I approached was none other than Anish Sir. He remembered me due to my email and said that me visited my website from the signature of my email. He asked me if I knew anyone from his lab. I told about Shivam. Thankfully he agreed to be faculty guide of my bachhas. Later he was to be my BTP guide too! A Search for Summer Work Alumni Association (AA) organized a lecture by an Alumni. I do not exactly recall the content of the lecture, but at that time I liked it so much that I mailed the then AA secretary, Dr. Vinayak Eshwaran, thanking him for the lecture and asking if there was something I could do in AA. I got a reply that the AA organises Alumni Reunions in which I could act as volunteer. I was searching to do something in summer vacations, so that I may learn new things instead of wasting away my time. I am thankful to Rahul Singh, my friend from Lucknow Coaching for instilling this attitude in me. I thought of age old idea of project under prof. I already knew from Shivam that it was highly unlikely that Anish Sir would give project to a first year student. So I went to Sangal Sir requesting for project. He asked me my CPI. As soon as I said “”8.9”, he burst into laughter and replied, “Tum to department change 43

kar loge!!”. Of all the answers, I wasn’t ready for this one. He further told that as I had just completed my first year and had not done any departmental courses, so I will not be of much use to his projects. maybe he was correct. I dropped the idea of asking professors for projects. I did not know what to do in summers. Again, God worked in mysterious way. I got an email from Dr. Eshwaran that the Dean of Resource Planning and Generation (DRPG), Dr. Sudhir Kumar Jain is interested in starting some new project and is looking forward for some interested students. I should meet him. Having nothing else to go for, I went to meet Jain Sir, the person who has had the most influence on me in IITK. The Alumni Solicitation Programme (ASP) My first meeting with Jain Sir was very stimulating. I went to his room in Civil Department, there was a smiling chap with the most bright eyes I had seen, eyes which were glittering with energy. He told me about the project: that he wants to reconnect the alumni of IITK to their alma-mater with help of students. He explained that he has tried from his side, but the alumni would be much more responsive if they hear from one of them, a student. The idea seemed great. Jain Sir’s enthusiasm was contagious. The best part was yet to come, I was to be paid for working in summers. What else could a student want! I was all in. Jain Sir told me about other people who would be working with me: Nidhi, an immediate pass-out, Saud and two others. The two others soon dropped out. Sir told me to meet Nidhi. After the meeting, I mailed Nidhi and went to Girls’ Hostel to meet her. That is the only time I have been inside a room in GH. Nidhi explained 44

whatever she knew we were to do and put forward a date to begin work: May 5th, 2006. Well, we started the work on the date. Together we had a meeting to get a grasp of what we were going to do and how we were going to do it. We had to contact the alumni over phone, update them about the happenings in the institute and request them to donate for institute, no matter how small the amount was. As per Sir, this was the strength of the program, to increase the number of donors and search for the potential big donors. I loved the idea. We were given the conference room next to Deputy-Director’s room, equipped with phones with STD and ISD, with computers and air-conditions. It was my first office! We started calling. Initially I was bit afraid to talk on phone and stammered a lot. Also, I was new to blatantly asking for others’ money. But soon I gained confidence and was able to engage with the alumni. I also told myself that it was for the institute that I was seeking donations from the people who were made by this institute. In early morning, we called people in USA, in the evening we called people from India. In the morning shifts, sometimes we brought pakodi and chai from MT. It was difficult to get up early in the morning, but I was incharge for the same. I woke up Saud and other boys. Sometimes when we had worked night shift and also had a morning shift the next day, we would just sleep in the conference room itself. It was also a relief from the cruel hot weather! I had all kinds of experience talking with the alumni. Some were very friendly and other were quite hostile to calling. With few alumni, I talked for 40-45 mins at a stretch. They were quite eager to 45

know what is going on in the institute. Others just said that we should never call them back. Sometimes things became frustrating, but Jain Sir was always there to cheer us up.  Once while talking to Sir, I also came to know that about 15-20% of IITK alumni have settled in US. That is a significant number for any Indian institute. It was great to see the alumni doing well both outside and inside India. I could feel a connection between them and myself. I could feel being an IITK-ian! We continued our calling work till end of summer vacations. Jain Sir was satisfied with our progress and so were we. He told us that IITK was getting good response from the alumni and so he wanted to expand the team and extend the Alumni Calling Programme during the semester too. Also, till then we were working as a group without any organization. Shadab Anwer had also joined us mid way and Nidhi was leaving. But then Sir decided that we should have an organization, which was perfectly reasonable. Sir chose Saud as the leader of DRPG student activities. If the work done by any single person during the summer vacations would have been the criteria for selection of student leader, then I believe, I should have been the obvious choice after Nidhi. But I guess, seniority came in my way. Saud was one year senior to me. Besides the monthly stipend, the cause of working for the institute and the experience of working with Jain Sir were the prime reasons for me to continue with the team for another year. Later if anytime I was asked that what is one thing which has made you proud? My answer was simple, working with DRPG to bring donations for my institute. I learned so much from the work and Jain Sir. And thus concluded my first year at IITK. 46

IITK: Second Year
2009/5/30 DRPG Work The plan to extend the Alumni Solicitation Program beyond summer vacation by expanding the team required selection of new students. Sir called for an interview for the same. Sitting on the other side of interview table was a totally different experience. We were basically judging whether people were sincere enough to work. Personally, I have never understood interviews even after taking many others for job now. Well, finally our new team was about 40 students strong. Shadab and I were some sort of Assistant Coordinators. We trained the students on how to talk to the alumni. I even prepared a Calling Manual for students inspired by CalTech’s calling manual. It helped students to handle various situations when they called the alumni. Things seemed fine at the beginning, but soon the real side emerged. We had increased the strength, but were faced with the problems of absenteeism and loss of morale. Sir tried to implement some things like keeping a fridge with drinks and chips for the students in the conference room. But the problem was not there. Actually the work itself sometimes became boring. During the summer vacation, we were to keep our morale up as we were a good team and blended together well. But as things become institutionalized, the personal touch vanished. We worked because it was our work. Now people worked because it provided money. Very few students actually liked the work of talking to alumni. This was the drawback of having a big team. Well… so people came and 47

went, attrition rate remained high. I was made the coordinator for Winter Term that year for a month as Saud was not in campus and Shadab was busy with with his Opportunity College. It was then Mr. Sutwala, a Kanpur businessman, came and talked with our team. His talk motivated students to actually extract an amount of donation pledge from alumni. Combined with that, I guess, my effort to give team leaders more freedom gave good results in just one month. For me, I was a successful coordinator. Fourth semester started and a fresh set of students also joined the program as attrition rate remained high. Besides other reasons for it, the methods of management of teams being followed by Jain Sir and Saud were also quite opposite. While Jain Sir tried to empower everyone who worked with him, Saud on the other hand was more interested in centralizing everything under him. Both approaches have their merit. But I believe that the approach of centralization might not be suited for people who can think independently. It definitely didn’t suit me. In some months, my enthusiasm to work also waned. Jain Sir perhaps sensed that and so asked me to head another effort called Alumni Finder. I tinkered here and there in Alumni Finder program, but success rate was not satisfactory. My enthusiasm level was very low but somehow I completed the semester. Well, besides the work, the people in the DRPG office became good acquaintances of mine. Shakeel Sir was very helpful to us in many ways. Sometimes he even invited us for a party at his house. Besides him, Ms. Sumedha Tagare, Sunita Ma’am, Sandhya Ma’am, Neha, Latha, Bapat ji, Bhola ji and Saini ji helped us a lot 48

in our work. PAN-IIT Mumbai ‘06:  The feeling of belonging to one big IIT family cannot be cherished anywhere more than the PAN-IIT meets. PAN-IIT is held every year alternately in US and India. In December’06, it was India’s turn. And it was my turn to be a part of it. Shadab and me were to represent IITK at IITK stall in PAN-IIT, where the alumni of IITK would be visiting in large numbers. We had to do all the preparations for the same. It was the same time I was the coordinator of Alumni Solicitation Program and Shadab left for some work in his home. I was under a heavy work load in the winter vacations. I went to many departments asking for various posters and display materials, coordinating with Sunita ma’am to get the posters made, roaming around the campus to meet professors to get the latest updates on their projects and what not! Shakeel Sir helped me a lot in this endeavour. After much of work done at last minute, we left for Mumbai one institute’s expense. In Mumbai, we set up the IITK stall with lot of help and ideas from Mainak, Riddhi and Ameya, all of them extremely cheeful fellows from M.Des. Program of IITK. Finally our stall looked beautiful and alumni started visiting it. Our work was also to be there at the stall explaining about the upcoming activities in campus to the alumni, ask them to update their contact details and then gift them some souvenirs from IITK. It was interesting to talk to a lot of alumni. Sometimes we even asked for donations. Jain Sir at his best even announced that IITK T-Shirts, which were originally priced around 150-300 rupees would be given free to any person who donates even a small amount of Rs. 100. It was a great marketing strategy. 49

Only a very miserly would give Rs. 100 for a T-Shirt of more value, on the other hand, it also showed the seriousness on the part of IITK for attracting alumni to donate. The plan worked well! During the day, we used to work at the stall, attend seminars of luminaries like the then President Dr. A. P. J. Abul Kalam and Shashi Tharoor, talk to alumni about their experiences, have great food and watch other stalls. During the evening also, life was fun as we roamed around Mumbai in our cab. We went to beaches and strolled there. A beach is beautiful even at night time. You cannot see the waves, but hear their roaring and splashing on the shores.  Shadab is great with people… he has always been. He got to know many alumni. I on the other hand, am not very comfortable speaking to people. It is an art, either you know it or you don’t. It was there that I took my this weakness rather too seriously. I started thinking that if Shadab can do it, why can’t I. I forgot that everyone has his own capabilities, his own charm and his own personality. Well… in so much realizations and merry making, one incident certainly stands out: my first flight, that too totally unexpected! Mr. Rakesh Pandey, an IITK alumnus and now in BOSE Corporation, USA, came to IITK stall and Shadab and me had a good chat with him. He asked us to attend his session in IITK on December 27th, 2006. But there was no way we could attend that as we were reaching with train on December 28th. And what did he do? He said to us to book flight tickets from Mumbai to Delhi! It was just totally unexpected. We thanked him and booked tickets through Shakeel Sir’s credit card. We were to fly back.

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First flight is totally a different experience. You sit there anxiously, just then the engine starts in full speed. Before you can know whats happening, you are in air! Sometimes the aeroplane vibrated due to the passing clouds; that sent a chill down the spine. We thanked God on reaching safely to Delhi. There Shadab and me stayed with Brahma Dutt Awasthi, a 2004 passout with his own company: Whirlybird. He took us to stay with his friends during the night and we came back to Kanpur without tickets in Shatabdi Express! And we did attend the lecture of Mr. Rakesh Pandey! Standing for Senator:  Nominations were called for the senate. I don’t know what struck me, but I thought that I should also see for myself how this politics functions. I applied for the post of Senator of Y5 batch. 5 senators are chosen from each batch of undergraduate students. Well, even before the polling, I got a taste of loads of politics. Three students stood from Hall 2 and we expected that 3 would also contest from Hall 3, thereby one will lose and 5 would become senators. Now to ensure win of all Hall 2 candidates, we three got together and started dividing the blocks and wings of Hall 2, as in which wing should vote in whose favour. It was blatant compromise strategy. I guess that is what politics is all about. Well, on the last day of filing the nominations, we came to know that no one had filed nomination from Hall 3, so 2 more students applied for the post of Senator from Hall 2, and we won uncontested. It would have been more exciting if actual voting had taken place, though it would have taken a lot of time for campaigning. 51

Business Club interview: After being far away from Business Club activities, I saw the nominations being called our for the coordinators of the club. I thought that since I have been not involved in the activities now, so maybe my chances stood slim. But one day during a class, Nikhil sat with me and asked if I was interested in coordinatorship. I definitely was. It was the club which gave me my interest and also had great potential for improvement. I made up my mind to give it a shot. Even for the application, I prepared hard, writing a document about what I propose to do if I became the coordinator. I remember giving 5 hard hours to prepare the application. The application was submitted and the day of interview came. While I was waiting outside the conference room of Students’ Activity Centre (SAC) for my turn, I met Chirag Mittal, the convenor-elect of students’ senate. He inquired the purpose of presence there, and wished me good luck on knowing it. I was a bit shocked to see Siddharth for the interview as Nikhil had told that Siddharth would not be applying. Well, it was good to have some competition. My interview went fine. I believe that I satisfied the interviewers. But still, with good competition ahead, I couldn’t be sure. Till last year, there had been a tradition of one UG coordinator and one MBA coordinator in Business Club. 2-3 days after the interview, while returning from a class, I ran into Chirag. He asked me about the result. I told that it was still not out, but there could be stiff competition between Siddharth and me. But 52

God worked in a mysterious way here too. Chirag said, that if both are good, why shouldn’t both be made coordinators from UG side! After few days, I got an email declaring that we both had been made the coordinators. The Chance of intern: Anish Sir called a group meeting of PM Lab students. A group meeting was called nearly twice every semester. Shobhit Krishna Misra and I met Shivam before Sir came. Shivam told that there was something special for us. We might get a chance for internship in Korea or Japan. Soon Anish Sir came, and his question was very straightforward, “”Asif, do you want to go to Korea or Japan for intern?. Hesitantly I chose Japan. Then Sir asked if I had a passport. Thankfully, I did had it from class 11th as I might have got a chance to go for Singapore Airlines Scholarship, but did not. Before I knew it, Sir had sent an email to Dr. Alok Singh of National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Japan. And Alok Sir applied for my internship to NIMS on my behalf. Once again, God was working in mysterious way! There was a long period of waiting and one day when I was in Computer Centre, I get a mail from Alok Sir that I had been selected for the internship. My happiness knew no bounds! Some of my wingmates were in CC itself, so I told them knowing little what the consequences might be. Unexpectedly, I was GPLed in the CC itself! After a good bashing, I had to treat them in CC Canteen. Japan: I reached Narita Airport on May 24th or 25th, 2007 and it just struck me. The place was so clean, the weather was so good. I had to walk and walk before I could come out of airport. Infact not so much 53

walk, as there were horizontal escalators, which did the walking! Welcome to the land of technology, also know as the land of rising sun, Japan! I approached two people to ask for bus to Tsukuba, both smile pleasantly, but made some signs, thereby conveying that they do not know English. I could see what I to undergo for next 2 months! Well, coming outside the airport, I saw some buses, so I aksed a person who seemed to be bus conductor about the bus to Tsukuba. He also didn’t understand English, but knew Tsukuba and said “one hour” and took me to the bus stand from where the bus would be departing. I sat there with my luggage. It was there I met Arif, an Indonesian citizen, doing postgraduate at Tsukuba University. He knew bit of English, so we talked our way till Tsukuba Bus Stop. There we said good-bye, but we soon met once again at Tsukuba mosque for Friday prayer. From Bus Stop, I called Alok Sir and then waited at the tower he told me to wait. He was there in his car. He then took me to a restaurant. I was really happy to see his considerate nature. We had some pizzas. I told sir regarding me eating only vegetarian pizzas as per the Halal/haram concept. After the lunch, we went to my hostel, Ninomiya House and did the formalities. Then later that day, I had my dinner at Kallol’s place in the same hostel. It was nice to meet some Indians on the very first day of arrival. During that trip, I wrote some blogs, their links are given below: http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/05/my-arrival-in-japan.html (http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/05/my-arrival-in-japan.html)

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http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/05/language-problem-anyone.html (http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/05/language-problem-anyone.html) http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/05/my-office-number.html (http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/05/my-office-number.html) http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/06/slight-earthquake.html (http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/06/slight-earthquake.html) http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/06/my-first-salary-from-nims.html (http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/06/my-first-salary-from-nims.html) http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/06/first-experiment-boom.html (http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/06/first-experiment-boom.html) http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/06/evening-with-indians.html (http://itsmaklife.blogspot.com/2007/06/evening-with-indians.html) During my internship, I met with many people. Dr. Rajakumar, a faculty from IIT-M and my companion to Tokyo, Shohael, Laxmidhar Besra, Raja, Anirban, Nikhil, _____ and Tanya. But few people really became very close like Kallol, Ajay and Laurie. Kallol and Ajay stayed in the same hostel. We made food together many times. Kallol’s family was living with him. I found his small daughter very cute. Bhabhi was also very considerate. Ajay was living alone. One day Ajay and me went to Ushiku-Daibutsu, the tall statue of Buddha, with a lift inside it. It was there that we lost the last return bus and then finally got a taxi to return back from Canon office. I really had some of my best time with Kallol and Ajay. Sometimes we also visited to some Indian restaurants. An Indian Get-together 55

Laurie was from USA. We met on the day of Orientation (June 19th, 2007) for new people in NIMS. She seemed to be only intern of around my age to NIMS. Most people there were post-docs. So Laurie and me soon became friends. We went hiking to Mount Tsukuba and later cycled to Tschuchira City and enjoyed boating. On the work front, initially, I did not had any idea what was to be done. Dr. Toshi-ji Mukai, my guide along with Alok Sir stumped me in our first meeting. But I guess Japanese don’t shy away from giving people other chances. Later, with help of Zhang-san and Somekawa-san, I was able to do decent amount of work. Before coming back, I also had my presentation in front of Lighweight Alloys Group, Structural Metal Centre, NIMS. (Well, that is the name of my research group!). Mukai-san asked me if I had any goals from my project. With honestly, I replied in negative. I said that it was a very good learning experience. Mukai-san seemed satisfied with me. He said that I could come to NIMS anytime, be it PhD or beyond. Alok Sir also said that he was happy with me. My group gave me a farewell in a traditional Japanese restaurant. I do admit I did not like all the Japanese food, still I had to say that I liked it! But I really appreciate the affection and help of my group. It was really a trip of a lifetime!

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