Uselessness of interviews

I recently attended an interview with an MNC. It was for senior software engineer profile. At a senior role you are involved in architecture, design, coding and other development tasks. However, in this interview, one of the interviewers stressed so much on coding by saying that everyone codes here! CEO, managers and all engineers.

I appreciated the statement but did not find it worth glorifying.

  • Is computer science is all about coding?
  • Do you really need to know how to code like a machine in an hour of interview?
  •  Are creativity, lateral thinking, experience amount to nothing?

I think, no. Anyone can code! It is just a matter of hands-on. You need a programmer for coding not a developer/designer. Computer science is about synthesizing great ideas across domains, creating better algorithms and learning the best for your product.

Coding is a small piece in this grand scheme. Computer science is also an art, where we need to value intangible attributes along with mechanical skills.

Crazy world

Among innumerable galaxies, in a galaxy of stars, we have a home called Earth. This place is home to humans and various kinds of life. Humans have many ideas to identify themselves: color, language, religion. This all sounds nice and lively. But the story is different with the only world we have.

  • People kill other people because they don’t like their religion.
  • People snatch other’s homeland because others are weaker.
  • Terrorists are killing humans like chickens because they both believe in a different God.
  • People don’t like other people having a different skin color. So they kill.
  • People don’t like other people because they have different ideals. So they kill.
  • People pollute natural resources without caring about other people. Why?
  • People kill other animals to satiate their taste buds. Why?
  • People use people. They rip them off, exploit them, physically, mentally, financially. Why?
  • Everyone knows that life is a limited journey still everyone acts as if it is eternal.
  • Why are we so self-centered, living in a careless world.

Dengue fever: My experience and learnings

Symptoms
  • High fever of 104F
  • Pain behind eyes
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
Treatment
  • Visit a good hospital immediately and get tested
  • I had got NS1 antigen positive for dengue
  • Keep drinking lots of fluid (5-6 liters of water, soups, juices)
  • I had taken Kiwi fruits (2 nos.) morning and evening.
  • Caripill tablets, three times a day
  • Papaya leaves extract (once a day)
  • Vitamin capsules (Polybion)
  • Giloy juice, twice daily

Bangalore to Coorg: 2 day trip plan

  • We went in the month of June, a rainy season. Rain has its own beauty with lush green and low clouds.
  • We started at 7:30 AM from  Bangalore.
  • Plan was to reach following places in order, followed by the ratings:
    • Golden Temple, Bylakuppe (Kushal Nagar) [6/10]
    • Abbi falls [9/10]
    • Madikeri fort [7/10]
    • Raja’s seat [6/10]
  • Accommodation
    •  Home stay near Madikeri bus stop
  • Next day, we visited Talu-kaveri. [10/10]
  • Return way, we visited Rasta Cafe, near Ram Nagar [5/10]

Precautions and tips

  • It is risky to travel in rainy season, for trees can fall and it is dangerous.
  • Carry woolen sweater, rain coat and umbrella.
  • Carry slippers.
  • Download offline maps (like HERE maps); many places in Coorg, there is no signal.

A proposal to encourage skilled labor and slum-free cities

In my country, we have resources and people. The problem is with the balance and distribution. I am proposing a scheme to curtail “useless” migration, a clear assessment of labor force and encourage states to implement skilled labor policies.

  • I have borrowed the idea from current system of visa and passport.
  • Each state issues a visa and passport to its citizens.
  • Each citizen must request for a limited period visa from the guest state.
  • A state reserves the right to grant visa to a person.
  • Visa duration depends on nature of work, skill set of person.
  • A visitor must stay for a stipulated duration and leave.

Benefits of state level visa/passport scheme

  • Useless migration will not happen.
  • A person stays in a place only if he adds a value to the economy or society.
  • States always know how many migrants are present.
  • A migration needs a person to acquire a valid reason. That requires skill acquisition, and a useful cause.
  • It prevents formation of slums. Slums are made of people who have no skill set and choose to do what comes in their way.

Which washing machine to buy for 6KG capacity in Bangalore

  • You need to decide top loading or front loading machine.
  • Top loading machines are less expensive than front loading but consume more water (3-4 times more).
  • We wanted front loading machines for its lower water consumption and better wash quality.
  • Our options were the following:
    • LG, Samsung and Bosch
  • We eliminated IFB, Siemens and other brands for their less popularity.
  • I personally dislike LG, so it was at the end of the list.
  • Bosch is a strong and well engineered machine. If you have a contact in Bosch, you will get 10% employee discount also.
  • However, we kept Bosch on hold for two reasons:
    • It lower market penetration, hence fear of less availability of spare parts
    • Service quality
    • Little outdated technologies, less features
  • Samsung offered many features in the same price ranges (INR ~25K)
    • Diamond drum
    • Eco bubbles
    • Ceramic heater
    • Better sales and servicing
  • We bought Samsung machine for INR 26.5K from Pai, Bangalore.
  • It is a noise-free machine, does its job well with clean clothes and uses just 9 liter water for one round of operations. Total 36-45 liter water for 6KG clothes.

Marriage: My experiences – Part I

I recently got married. It was an arranged marriage and I had courtship period of six months. I had got lots of insightful experiences from my friends and I myself observed married life of a few of my friends. I stay with my wife and younger sister. After being in a married state for merely a more than three months, I have learned/ realized the following:

  • Your day-to-day life does not change much. My sleeping hours, waking up patterns remain mostly same.
  • You are closely monitored. Your behavior is scrutinized, even minute details. The worst or the best part is, that you can change others only by changing yourself. So if you want to make everyone wake-up early, you got to wake up first.
  • Even if you present the world’s best logic and sensibility, the spouse moves at her own will. The philosophy is that “No one can make me do anything”. You need to have a lot of patience to get your logic absorbed.
  • One of my friend had told me that when you are confused, always do the “right” thing. Your self-righteousness saves you from over-thinking and self-guilt. It is still one of the best advices I received in my life.
  • You do influence the behavior of your spouse by two things:
    • Flagging anything that does not align with your values and code of personal conduct
    • Practicing what you preach
  • Always try to be transparent in your conduct and speech. Truth and sincerity keep things simple. Telling lie should be the last option on your list.
  • Treat your in-laws with respect and politeness. This is a must. What you give is what you receive, remember.
  • Explain your value system well. If you don’t like dining out, tell so. And justify why you think that way. If you don’t like something, just tell it.
  • If you don’t want to do something e.g. drinking, don’t stop your spouse from doing that. Just don’t offer your company.
  • Never create artificial scarcity of any resource. That includes money, food, and time. Just trust everything will go fine.
  • Never fool, manipulate and humiliate your spouse. There is no difference between you and your spouse.
  • Love her no matter what. Care for her no matter what. We have a single life to live and enjoy. Do it the right and the best way.

How to open a bank locker in Bangalore

  • You need bank locker to keep valuables safe and easily accessible when needed.
  • There are two kind of banks that offer lockers:
    • Public sector bank (Corporation Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India)
    • Private sector bank (HDFC, ICICI, AXIS)
  • Private sector banks charge fee of INR 3000 per year for a small locker.
  • Public sector banks charge fee of INR 1000 per year for a small locker.
  • We inquired with three public banks for a locker:
    1. Corporation Bank: The bank manager said lockers were high in demand and not available easily. However, if we open an account and maintain a deposit of INR 500,000, he might arrange a locker for us! We said NO.
    2. Bank of India: We talked to a lady accountant and she said lockers were available. But, she won;t give them to us until we open a FD of INR 100,000 for minimum 03 years. After a lot of requests and negotiation, she agreed to allot a locker for INR 50,000 FD.
  • We started our application with Bank of India.
  • Application procedure
    • First, open a saving account. Get KYC documents (address proof, ID proof) and 2 pictures
    • We got the FD of INR 50K and then told now get an e-stamp of INR200. And also get KYC documents.
    • The above steps took almost two months and we had a bitter taste of government services 🙂

Iskon Bangalore: The first aarti experience

  • The first aarti of a day happens at 4:15 AM at Iskon Bangalore.
  • We started at 3:00 AM on a Sunday, from our place and reached at 3:45 AM. The main door was chained and locked and we kept waiting for it opening.
  • However, no one came till 4:20 AM and then we saw a couple going through vehicle entry gate.
  • Then we came to know that for the first aarti, main gate is kept closed and devotees should use vehicle parking entry to reach temple.
  • It was dark, and no one was around. We found our way to the temple somehow. There was no security or any person to help navigate the way.
  • We left our footwear at midway to temple path and rushed to main temple.
  • The aarti was in progress; we joined and it lasted for 35 minutes, 4:50 AM.
  • There is no prasadam distribution till 6:30 AM.
  • Besides, no cafeteria, restaurant or any eatry is functional till 8 AM.
  • We chose not to wait and leave by 7 AM. This was the most disappointing part of our experience.

Trip Plan: Bangalore to Pondicherry

  • Traveled in the first week of Jan 2015
  • Mode of travel
    • Bangalore to Pondicherry: Train – Bangalore/Pondicherry Express. It departs at 9PM and reached Pondicherry next morning 8AM.
    • Although the total distance covered is ~400KM, the travel time is long due to engine change. It happens at Vriddhachalam station and takes almost two hours.
    • The railway station is very small and you would get only auto rickshaw from there. By the way, auto guys are same as usual and will tell you sky high fares.
    • Pondicherry to Bangalore: Bus – We travels in a KSRTC bus. It started at 10PM and reached Bangalore next morning 6:45 AM.
    • There are two bus stands in Pondicherry – New and Old. Bangalore buses ply from the New bus stand. It is about 2KM from railway station.
  • Accommodation
    • We stayed at The New Guest House, Aurobindo Ashram. It is just 10 minutes walk from the station. Ask anyone for direction. Don’t take auto. We paid INR 50 for that.
    • The New Guest House do not reserve rooms on phone and online reservation is not suitable.
    • Just walk down to guest house and ask for rooms. They had asked us to check rooms availability, in person, after reaching Pondicherry.
    • Room rent is affordable, ~INR 800 for a night.
    • Caution: You need to follow strict guidelines in Aurobindo Ashram rooms. Be back to your room before 10PM, else spend night somewhere else.
    • Outside food is not allowed. Canteen food is good but not cheap. A plate of plain Idli (3 nos.) is INR 25.
    • Check-in and checkout time is 12 PM to 12PM.
    • This guest house is very near to the Promenade, the beach side walk, railway station, bus stand, Aurobindo Ashram, MG Road and other major attractions in the city.
  • Local Commute
    • We got motor bikes on rent. Just walk down to Mission Street and ask for Bike Rental shop. It is ~2 KM from New Guest House.
    • We paid INR 400 for Pulsar 150CC for 24 hours. The return time of vehicle is 9:30PM.
    • Please carry an original valid ID proof
  • Places to see
    • A view of Bay of Bengal from Promenade is the best in Pondicherry. It is a two way road till evening and after 4 or 5 PM the road is closed for motor traffic. You can only walk. There are many road side eateries serving chats, and snacks.
    • Le Cafe: Best time to visit is after sunset, on a moon lit night. Having food by the sea and shining water is purely magical. Food quality is average and prices are also affordable.
    • Aurobindo Ashram
    • Paradise Beach: 7KM from New Guest House. Needs half a day. The beach is beautiful, don’t miss. The beach is accessible with a motor boat ride, it costs INR 1200 per speed boat and INR 200  per person on a shared motor boat that carries 20 people.
    • Auroville: It has the Matri Mandir. On the way, you can extend the trip and visit Auroville beach. It is ~3KM from there.
    • Pyramid Temple: A small but unique temple, further on the way to Auroville.
    • Try food at La Terrasse, near to New Guest House.