So after a long long time I am back here! Considering I was speaking of new years resolution in my previous post, there is some level of continuity here…
I tried not telling people my new years resolutions last year and that dint get me very far so I am going to try the opposite approach this time around. I know I am late in updating these on the blog but in my defense I was still working on the finer details…
Moving on, here are my resolutions for the year :
Explore restaurants : Let’s get started with one of my personal favourites. If you know me, you’d not be surprised to know this is about food. My friends & I have decided to go to one restaurant we haven’t been to before every week. The key here is it needs to be our first time to the restaurant! This was so we could discover NYC and the food places here (Yes, I moved from London to NYC earlier in the year)…
Gym : After all that yummy food, its not hard to guess that gymming would be next on the list. I’ve resolved to go to the gym at least thrice each week plus an extra time for each meal that I eat outside (other than the one covered by resolution 1, come on I need to make it sound do-able!). Target is to to be able to do a 5K under 30 mins by the end of the year.
Say sorry : This one is a bit tougher, its about saying the first sorry… Its about making a genuine attempt to break out of cold-war’s you get into with close people. By the end you don’t even remember whose fault it was just that the outcome isn’t what you want. So say that first sorry and make the effort to amend those important relationships.
Travel : After one serious one, time for something easy to digest… My biggest regret when I moved over from London was that I dint travel enough in and around the UK. I was certain I dint want to harbour the same regret even in this new continent. So I have decided to travel around and not wait until all the factors are perfect. Travel alone if that’s what it comes to but travel!
Invest time getting dressed for work : To understand the next one, you need to know a tad bit about how lazy a person I am that I even dress sloppy to work. While people at my workplace actually dress like the characters in the show Suits! So I clearly am an aberration there, I hope to fix this… This would be the hardest resolution I think, as I’d need to forego my sleep and spend that extra half hour blow drying my hair or finding the right shoes. Sigh! I am a bit skeptical this one would work but I think its worth putting in any way.
Learn how to dance: With my two left feet and 20-something years of moving like a robot I don’t think I can pull this off right away but I just wish I am no more that girl people can chuckle at when I ‘dance’ more like attempt to move when inebriated.
Read : I wish I had more time to read that I could commit to a book each week but I think it would be far from realistic. Sticking to at least one book a month is pretty much all I can with all my other commitments. Though I will do my best to read books outside of my comfort zone.
Connect with friends : Get in touch & meet up with friends and family in this part of the world. Something I decide to do ‘tomorrow’ for the past 6 months…
Update the blog regularly : The last and final one is to not ignore my blog! I must find the time to document each restaurant we visit weekly.
Now that it’s all in black and white, there is no escaping! Bring it on 2014!
Yayy! I met SHAHRUKH KHAN!!! Spoke to him!!!
Okay starting like sane people would, I attended my first world premiere for a film and that too a SHAHRUKH KHAN film! To be honest, I don’t think I would have taken the effort I did if it wasn’t a SRK film. I met the man spoke to him – a childhood dream come true.
Let me start from the beginning and give you the feel of exactly what happened. Two of my other SRK crazy friends and me decided to go to the red carpet event of Ra.One in London just to get a glimpse of SRK. We had no clue how these things worked or how crowded it is or anything of the sort. We just wanted to see SRK, get an autograph and if we got very very lucky a picture with the Raj and Rahul of our dreams. No one really can pull off the Kkkiran or the romantic scenes and gestures that he does. I bet if anyone else does it they would look like a jackass but when King Khan does it, its romantic its WOW and you just end up dreaming about a Raj or Rahul yet again.
On October the 25th, we friends snuck out of work early just to the venue before it gets too crowded. That morning I wanted to know exactly what SRK was tweeting to have a clue about when would be the best time to leave and where would it be most likely to get that little extra time for an autograph or a photograph. I had forgotten my twitter account details but just to feel connected to SRK reactivated them the same morning. Usually the process of going to work isn’t exactly exciting but that morning I was in the best possible state of mind humming only and only SRK songs (mainly chammak challo and dildara). Happily went to office waiting for end of day (or close to end of day) to leave and go to SRK! Man! even saying it now after a couple of weeks feels amazing!
One of my friends (lets call her A) managed to leave work extremely early so my other friend (lets call her D) and me left a little later and decided to catch up with A at North Greenwich (the place where the premiere was). Throughout our journey we kept refreshing our twitter feeds just to see if SRK had tweeted dropping any hits about his whereabouts but no luck. Halfway through the journey D and me realized we did not have a paper or a pen to get the autograph we had been dreaming about! We started fishing for paper and pens hoping on the way back we would have SRKs autograph on it. Yes, we plan for the best :))))
On reaching North Greenwich, D and me were hopping and jumping through the platforms and escalators to put in our best efforts to reach before SRK enters. Anyway, after all the hopping and jumping we called up A for a status update on the Red Carpet glitterati but it turned out to be the most depressing call of the day. We were told there is no point even going to the venue (which we had already arrived at) because there was too much security and only people with tickets were being permitted.
D and me decided to go ahead try our luck. At the venue, three of us spoke to the security tried every way of getting to the red carpet but all we came across was security, security and more security. After this ‘A’ decided it was a lost cause and headed home. A little later we discovered that the tickets were by invite only. We started wondering how non-filmy software engineers would ever get invites to premieres. We started thinking, if not this Don2 we mussst somehow get tickets. Disheartened and disappointed all of us tweeted to SRK telling him we were out and asking him how people got invites . Either ways, we decided to wait out in the cold JUST in case SRK had checked his twitter and decided to surprise us by coming out to the barricade and waving out to us.
We were almost 2hours in and had no luck whatsoever. We looked at the people with tickets who were entering and started taking wild guesses on how they would have got invites and tried calculating in our heads if we could do any of that just if it got us the passes. Soon we just gave up on coming up with absolutely flawed theories. Our hopes of meeting SRK were starting to seem slim.I put my hand in the pocket just to find the paper and pen I had kept in the most accessible place to not miss that splinter of an opportunity for an autograph. By the looks of it, I wasn’t going to need those after all. Sigh! That feeling of being sooo close yet so far just made matters worse for us. D and me kept wondering if leaving work sooner somehow would have helped us to get beyond the barricade.
We were those two disappointed girls at the barricade who were jealously eyeing anyone who came with a ticket and were discussing SRK movies to feel better at that moment. Just then a gentleman in a black satin suit walks up to us asking us if we wanted a ticket to the premiere. We were like ‘Duh! Yes’ who would have thought he was serious, at least we dint. And the next moment he takes and envelope out of his coat pocket. Seeing the envelope my happiness knew no bounds. <Background score: Dekha jo tujhe yaar dil mein baji guitar!!!>But we later saw that he only had ONE spare ticket. Aadmi do aur ticket ek?? Bahut nainsaafi hai <Gabbar style>
In an even more muddling situation we decided to ask the security if both of us could take turns to go inside so that only either of us is inside at once. But as expected they said NO! We dint want to waste the ticket but we couldn’t do this either. We both knew we both wanted it badly so whoever went in wouldn’t come out guilt-free. By now D was starting to lose it and started walking up and down hoping for the heavens to give us another pass or something. Meanwhile, I noticed a not-so-motivated white man standing with a bundle of tickets. I randomly walked up to him and asked, “Would you by any chance have a spare ticket?”. Now I had NEVER seen this coming, but the response was – “As a matter of chance I do”!!!!!!!!! YAYYYYYYYY. To be honest, I only walked upto the man so that I couldn’t look back at the whole thing and later say, what if I had asked someone. And that bit changed the whole thing for me.
At this point there were so many things along the same lines which were coming to me. Two of those were from Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret and Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist. I would like to quote The Alchemist here – “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”. It started to make so much more sense. I was starting to think about how many things I have wanted soooo badly. Couldn’t think of too many to be honest. What a pity! One thing I learnt that moment is start wanting things realll bad and do everything possible for it. It feels bloooody awesome when you get something after wanting it so badly. Anyway, getting back to the other thing that came to my mind. Being the filmy soul that I am I thought of the OSO dialogue:
” Itni shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai ki har zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki koshish ki hai,
Kehte hai agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho toh poori kaynath tumhein usse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai.”
Just to let you know, I am as filmy as they come
After getting past the barricades, D and me we soo exhilarated that walking just dint seem enough. We actually RAN to the red carpet but on the way our very dear friends the security people stopped us there also and asked us to slow down! We thought we would be directed to the theatres or something but we did not realize until then that we would be walking on the same red carpet that king khan would be gracing shortly afterwards… Our excitement knew no bounds!!! Just then we both looked at each other and at the other people on the red carpet to realize we were the most under dressed souls around! We were in formal office wear (black pants and full sleeves white shirt) while people around us were in lovely gowns and all decked up.
After this yet again, we tried speaking to the security to somehow get permission to be around the red carpet we did not really want to watch the movie then and there. We could always do that later during the weekend but getting a glimpse of SRK wouldn’t be possible later. By now it would be no surprise to you that the security said a big NO yet again! And we were shooed away to the theatres. We were told that the team would be visiting each theatre where the movie was being premiered but I thought they were just plain exaggerating just to get us out of their hair.
In a hurry to leave office and get to SRK, we had not bought any snacks (which was an essential part of the initial plan). Starving I decided to buy the standard Nachos that you get in Cineworld. Just reached the lobby area to find a glass wall overlooking the red carpet. That instant, yet again in the day my hunger just disappeared! Tried to get a glimpse of SRK from there. Unfortunately for me, I am short sighted and had forgotten my glasses (which is nothing out of the ordinary). But the whole excitement of watching the gliterrati of the red carpet just roll by while I eat Nachos sounded too pathetic. So I stood there among the other excited fans who unlike me had proper vision and so they would do the spotting and identification of stars and I would TRY to see them with my lovely short-sighted vision
In this whole process, I realized Kareena Kapoor was the easiest to spot as she was wearing the shiniest silver sequin dress known to humankind. With all the lights and the flashes, it was wayyy to easy to spot her. But honestly I dint really care for anyone but SRK! From Kareena’s costume, it seemed to me that she had taken the whole video game theme wayyyy too seriously. I would have to mention that Arjun Rampal looked very dashing as well. I am not a Arjun Rampal fan but I think the whole tattooed Ra.One look was pretty awesome on him.
Anyway, after that yet again the Ra.One of this store the Security came again to shoo us into the theatre halls. We were promised that the team would be visiting. I had never seen or met SRK before so the whole thought of him being so close was amaziiinnng! And luckily for me I was in the 3rd row. I shouted out to him asking him to come back for Don2 and he even responded. Dont ask me what… I was too blanked out to understand <Background Score – Tujhe dekha toh yeh jaana > . Either ways, on his way out I asked him for an autograph and he said “A little later darling, in a hurry now” <Background Score – Aankhon mein teri ajab si ajab si>. I was already on cloud no.9 then I was addressed 1 on 1, so it dint feel too bad that I dint get an autograph. To be fair he said “little later” it would be interesting to see when that “little later” is but I am not worried because Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost.
PS: Sorry for the bad picture quality of the premiere pics. Those were taken from my phone and clicked by a hyper ventilating me.
Other pics of SRK that you see here are my all time favourites (which I got by taking the screenshots of the videos at JUST the right moment ) hope you like them too.
Trying to distinguish between those that aiyyo,aielee, amma, eesshh. Be it a chai party or kitty party or a high society gathering, regional stereotypes is very often the topic of discussion. Stereotyping isn’t great and is amusing when some people get offended with these… Please proceed only if you belong to those class of people who can laugh at themselves.
- Often pictured as the brainy serious person who excels at academics
- Loves his carnatic music and quizes his friends and family on the raga’s of a song on hearing it
- one who is asked to sing songs for any and every family gathering ‘oru paatu paadein’
- an ardent religion follower with photos of God staring down from every possible wall in the house
- Cannot get over idolizing Jayalalitha and Rajnikanth
- Hates Hindi
- Often look jaundiced. No they do not suffer from any health issues. They are just beauty concious and love to use their turmeric face pack in excess.
- someone who doesn’t like women to be size 0 in fact, they like them a little (or a little more than) plump. Thunder Thigh Rambha would sure be an example of this. Most actors belonging to this industry would easily be XL or XXL. Apart from this the hero in their movies can single handedly fight 20 bad guys and still save the girl!
- with a dhol doing his signature ‘balle balle’
- over the top and excited
- the funny one and one who laughs the loudest
- drinking uncontrollably
- gauges how good a wedding party is by the amount and quality of alcohol being served ONLY
- love ghyo (a punju term for ghee ), lassi and pronthe (paranthas)
- have a lot of ‘teri toh …‘s in his dictionary
- screaming ‘chak de phatte’ out of ecstasy
- fierce and brave. Thus the unsurprising large number of Punjabi’s in the army
- extremely hard working and do not shun away from doing menial jobs
- the jaan and shaan of a gathering always
- food lovers and a large percentage of obese people in the country would belong to this category
- the kind who overdo make-up
- The kind who love to have some awesome shawsome type rhyming usages
- loves coconuts and has it on his plate, on his head, on the sink (to do vessels with the chagrin), in the fireplace and everywhere possible
- just cant do without rice and needs a mid day meal having rice. Due to its presence in every household at any given point in time, mallus (Malayali’s) have discovered alternate uses of rice. I have even seen it being used as glue! (You already have an answer to the standard interview question which says ‘Give me few non-conventional uses of blah. If the blah is rice, we have hit the jackpot!)
- doesn’t use shampoos very often. The common/healthy practice is to pluck certain leaves and flowers and use the soaked water to wash hair
- man is that typical mooch (moustache) man you have read about or seen
- can be found anywhere and everywhere.There is a popular saying, “You dont meet mallus they just happen to you”
- is one who shops for ONLY two things (esp. in mallu land) – sarees and gold
- is obsessed with fairness creams and powders
- loves his lungis for various reasons…1. when getting bored u can fold it, undo it, redo it and all in public… 2. makes scratching easy 3. facilitates unrestricted ventilation due to reason 1.
- When it comes to movies here, I think they are very similar to their Tamil counterparts with the difference being, the hero here would first fold his lungi ( while the bad guys stand and watch) and fight a whole battalion of bad guys alone and save the girl! The hero is in short a lungi clad superman!
Kerala fact-sheet: half or more than half malayali’s are NRIs settled in ‘DuFai‘ or ‘GElf‘. They louve to catch the ootoo (auto) by ccch-ccch‘ing it (a way of calling any and every random person and we thought call signals only existed in the animal world!). This state has 100% literacy but no they still don’t believe in working… They believe in strikes. Which turns out to be a blessing when you are in school or college. Who doesn’t like extra holidays?!
Gujrati: A Gujju bhai:
- is known to be stingy
- is the businessman of India
- is a vegetarian
- likes everything sweet including their dal (lentil soup) !
- has a taste for shiny/sparkly clothes
- is exaggerative
- calls every one baain (behn)
- loves to speak in english. Errrrm his version of it, where Pop is Pope, Hall is Hole. These variations of the language can at times result in ridiculously hilarious meanings. Try permutations with the above words and be creative. You would know what I mean!
- look for a reason to perform (sing/dance). This reminds me of that scene in Kal ho na ho… right before the song Mahi Ve. Can be fun (to the extent of being lame! ;P watch KHNH for further reference ) . Even the most obese oldie gujjus can put those fit gymming youngsters to shame with their garba and dandiya moves.
- love feesh (Fish) in a spicy jhol curry
- love their mustard in every form… you name it, they use it!
- uses mustard oil for cold, earache, cough, etc. It is the Bong panacea.
- have shrill voices and can be heard a couple of houses away owing to their habit to speak errm softly.
- obsess wearing bindi and the rule says, the bigger the better.
- like everything colourful from their houses to their clothes.
Bengali fact sheet: They are the true artists of India. Most of out actors, musicians, poets hail from there. They are known for their flawless beauty and beautiful skin. Other than this a rule that applies to the Bong English is that ’a’ and ‘o’ are equivalent. This means that Office is Affice, Mahima is Mohima, West Bengal is ‘Waste Bengal’ or ‘Bhaste Bengal’ and Veg is ‘Bhaej’.
UP waala’s :
A UP waale bhaiya is extremely hard to spot and classify. They come in different packages. One variety would be the paan eating ‘Kya kahat hain babua?’ types while another contrasting variety would be those ‘pehle aap‘ Lucknow Nawabs. The UP waalas are found all over India and claim to be the hindustani’s which is what makes them hard to distinguish. Cant decide which part of India a person belongs to? Must be a UP waale bhaiya.
On a personal note, I can relate to 3-4 of the categories mentioned above as my family has representations from the different states in India.
Okay this post comes after a very very looong time. There has been so much on my mind and so much happening. Somehow just never got to it. Getting back to the observations of a desi in videsh.
Pursuing studies in a country which is not your home is a new experiences which both scares and fascinates you. I have been going through a similar experience myself. It is very often that what we read and expect is in fact very different from the reality.
In the east, a developed country is pictured as utopia which of course is far from the truth. They have many fallacies of their own. These countries may promise transport, health and other facilities around the clock but the quality suffers. Of course, when I talk about the quality I do not refer to the top-notch private health or transport services but those provided by the government.
The importance the British people give to issues relating to Health and Safety is commendable. Every building (at least those I visited) have clear instructions and safety equipment installed and well maintained. Apart from the health and safety issues, the way historic buildings are maintained is something we need to learn. Another thing that took me by surprise was the number of people who read. It would be common to expect people indulging more in some games on their iGadgets which is clearly not the case.
Listing some of the first things I noticed:
People have a great taste in shoes. From boots to high heels everything is plain AWESOME!
Women wear makeup in excess! I was taken aback to see the amount of makeup women here wear on a daily basis. What a colossal waste of time and money. No, I am not anti-makeup but tonnes of it everyday is surely going overboard.
The number of RATS!!! : The London Underground is a living example of how well they treat their dear little friend.
The number of sorry’s and please’s people use : Append or prepend any sentence with Sorry and/or Please
Curry: It is actually a little amusing when you ask British people about their traditional food. After Fish and Chips you hear Curry… Curry? Really?? Makes me smile. To be fair, the curries here taste nothing like the real stuff back in the east. In fact, on several occasions I have noticed that most (if not all) curries may be called different but they taste the same. The only few things that differ are the amount and type of colouring used; the salad it is served with; and the veggies in the curry. Considering how popular curries are, London is rightly called the curry capital of the world.
To order a regular burger or sandwich can seem more like an interview. As soon as you are done with one question the next one comes straight at you. Would you like brown bread or white bread? What sauce? What salad? What meat? I think having some standard configurations would make the whole process of getting a burger much quicker. After answering all those questions you might just want to get a drink! Coming to think of it now, may be that is what the intention is…
Graceful Ageing doesn’t seem to be very popular. This is a guess I am making by the number of botox’ed faces I see.
Hopefully the next post wouldn’t be too long from now.
Hostel life is a completely different world. You have substitutes for everything! Here is a list… Read and enjoy
Anyone has an exam or appointment which needs you to wake up early then it is Meena-’the alarm’ to work!
If anyone wants to know about some cricket matches or sports related event then Miss Parat comes to the rescue… Right from how much Ganguly scored to which over n what went wrong, a complete game analysis report would be given to us…
Anyone who needs to know the current affairs could run to Miss Hudson who was our newspaper. She will read anything that comes her way and I mean ANYTHING! From old lays packets to newspapers dating back to 2000 to old notebooks, this lady can read anything she can lay her hands upon!
The next is our movie reviews, we dont need sites like imbd.com or anything cause we have our own walking talking movie database and review center… None other than Divi…
Next is our To-Do list… It is about the stuff we need to do for college- assignments,seminars,tests,submissions,etc etc. For this Miss Vava came to the rescue! She knew exactly what we have to do for when etc etc.
The next thing you need is Jokes for recreation. We had a joke book (of extremely low standards ) in hostel. Yes, I am talking about Ansu! Quantity assured… sadly not the quality! (Dont kill me for this! )
Next being the cook book. How to cook this n that… Someone who takes all the questions about cooking in our hostel Miss Gayathridevi…
Next coming to Nami- ‘the installer and uninstaller’… 24×7 Ma’am is either installing or uninstalling something… The funny part is that within hours she will uninstall the same softwares she took ages to get her hands on… One DIFFERENT person for sure!
In hostel we had substitutes on whom we relied wholly and solely upon to get through our college life. Looking back now I completely miss my substitutes. I am starting to loathe the normal way of being… I hate setting alarm clocks to wake up or having to go to a particular site for some reviews. So this post is in fond memory of my substitutes!
My my! The questions that have been stalking me all twenty one years of my life are “Whats your name again?”,” Isn’t that a guys name?”…. This post just displays an individual frustrated with the same questions over and over again! I am hoping this tells people that GUNJAN IS A GIRLS NAME!
The whole wide world is okay when both girls and guys have names like Krishna, Surya or Kiran. But when they hear GUNJAN sabke paet mein dard kyon hoti hai?!?! Aaaaarrrrrgggghhh! This is the something that has been annoying me all my life! Even as a kid I got fed up of people calling me weird variations of my name Kunjan, Kunchan, JUNJAN (that was the worst! ). It is totally annoying when people ask your name 10 times and then say ‘isn’t it a guys name?’. My first instinct is “BUZZ OFF!!!”. These people who say all this talk like they are masters in the language and know which word is feminine and which is masculine.
So for the information of all those people who are still not convinced… Gunjan is a feminine word!
Just for evidence sake I am citing this Hindi song “Bhawaron KI Gunjan” starring Randhir Kapoor and his wife Babita. Please pay attention it is ‘Bhawron KI Gunjan’ not ‘Bhwaron Ka Gunjan’…
As a kid I was frustrated that my family had to give me a name which came along with soo much explanation and confusion.As is a known fact that you tend to enjoy hard earned things more than what you take for granted! So fighting for my name actually got me more attached to it. And today I totally absolutely LOVE my name! (No I am not acting like the Kareena Kapoor of Jab we met but I LOVE it!!!! )…
I found another similar article and it is for a name Shrinidhi and here is the link to it…
I am hoping that the readers will think twice before asking questions anyone like “Isnt that a guys name again?”….
This post is here to question the credibility of the placement procedure. The common belief is that the last bunch of people to get recruited into a company are the ones who are least intelligent or least deserving or the scum of the class. But is it truely so?
I too had this notion in my head until I witnessed the whole placement procedure unfold in front of my eyes!
One of the brightest brains got placed in the 10th company!!! I can now say for sure that the first nine were truely unlucky to not have him! He is one of the best logical thinkers we have around.
Another girl from my batch who has it all from sports to logic to all the credentials to get a job but somehow she got through her 11th company!What I do not understand is why everything is so unfair right from getting an admission in college to getting a job! I wish that no one is put through the kind of trauma these guys were put through. Doing everything right yet something going wrong. That something was LUCK! Not getting through the first bunch of companies cannot be attributed to lack of preparation, lack of logic or lack of soft skills. If these guys don’t have it then who does? This is my frustration and my happiness that makes me write this. Frustration that these guys were put through all this and happiness that this company got lucky by recruiting them! (Yes I do think that this company is lucky to get them and not vice versa! )
The placement procedure is really a gamble. It depends on a LOT of factors like whether your having a good or a bad day, whether you go into the rejection panel, whether your interviewer sees what other people see, what kind of a mood your interviewer is in etc etc. We have witnessed all these factors play a role one after another. The sad part of the story was that it always happened to the same people. Like I said earlier, these people had everything to grab that job except the luck which sadly never went their way! But like they ‘kahani baaki hai mere dost!’…. Finally a company came which got lucky to get them! A happy ending finally!
Note: I have not mentioned another bright n lovely girl above. This mention is for her (the share2 of my visual cryptography scheme! )
For all those times you held yourself from breaking down
For all those times there were unanswered questions swarming around
There are times like these that make you realize
That after every dusk there is a dawn
Here is something me and a friend of mine implemented. It is called Visual Cryptography.
Okay, now what is VC all about. Consider you have an image which you wish to have as a SECRET! The condition is you and your friend should have a part or ‘share’ of the image which individually will not make any sense but when the 2 shares overlap, you can discover your secret. This is an implementation of Shamir’s Secret Sharing techniques (Yes the same Shamir from the RSA algorithm).
The image we used was black and white or in other words only 0′s and 1′s. This means if you want to see a point when the 2 images overlap light should be blocked. There are three possibilities for that (1,1), (0,1) and (1,0). These can be chosen on the basis of the input image or the secret image(here sayCHEESE.bmp). The file uploaded is in jpg format as bmp format is not a supported file format for upload here.
Okay, now getting on to how to actually split the image into 2 shares. When we have a binary image we can be sure that each pixel is 1 or 0. One decision you need to make is when it is a foreground pixel do you want to see it as white or black. We chose it to be black and the code written is keeping that in mind. Traverse each and every pixel in the image. If it is a foreground pixel then light should be blocked ie, the corresponding pixels so created should be (1,1) or (0,1) or (1,0). Remember to achieve this each pixel is split into 2 pixels. Yes, size is doubled but thats the price you need to pay for secret sharing! (Thats the EXACT same line my project guide said! ). This can be easily done using MATLAB as there are read image functions defined. Reading the bmp file through C and creating 2 new images would definitely be a mammoth task if I were to stick to C.
The code is available for download on the box.net on the right.
Once you obtain the shares, take a printout on transparency sheets and witness Visual cryptography in action! It will look something like this:
For those of you who want to know more about this, I have uploaded a ppt on the right. Hoping you like it!
As my earlier posts would give you an idea (assuming you follow my posts! ) about my GRE and TOEFL experiences. The next on the list definitely had to be the application procedure. As an international student, the application procedure is even more complex than the usual. A lot of hidden costs, tiresome procedures await you. These are things I have discovered down the lane and don’t want it to come as a shock to the rest of you.
Lets begin with the application package. Your application package would consist of your Gradesheets, 3 Recommendation Letters, SoP (Statement of purpose), Financial Document (For most US universities), GRE score and your TOEFL score.Lets look at each of them closely.
First in the list are your Gradesheets or Transcripts. These have to be ORIGINAL copies issued by the controller of examinations of the university. Attested photocopies are NOT considered to be valid.
Coming to the Letters of Recommendation or LoR. You will need three LoR’s from your college professors or someone working in the industry whom you have worked with as in done an internship with or something similar. While asking your professor ensure it is soemone who has taught you so that he knows more about you as it will be weighed more than a LoR issued by a faculty who has not taught you or guided you for any of your projects. Another thing you can keep in mind is that it is preferable to ask professors with a doctorate. Again it is NOT mandatory but surely will be an added advantage. Also, you need to get each copy signed and sealed in an envelope. (Again no photocopies!)
The next document is your Financial document. This is the one document that did not fall in place for me this year so I guess I will have to wait another year to apply. Anyway about the financial document, this has to be a letter from the bank stating that you (or your sponsor) have certain amount of “READILY AVAILABLE FUNDS” for your education. The amount will cover your first years tuition fee and living expenses. Most of us think that property &/or salary slips would suffice but sadly that is not how it works. There are FEW universities in US which do not require the Financial document at the application time.
As for GRE and TOEFL, ets.org is what you should be looking up. You can book your exam dates and everything through that site. It is more like the bible for GRE and TOEFL! Regarding the preparation and GRE experience here is a link. For TOEFL experience and exam details click here.
Next is your statement of purpose. This might seem like a cake walk but you actually realize that this is one of the most time consuming processes. To come up with the final draft you need to come up with atleast 10-15 versions of it! And sometimes in the process of writing one you realize how little you know about yourself! Funny as it may seem but some questions like ‘Tell me about yourself’ or ‘whats your motivation to study’ etc become extremely tough to answer. The challenge is to make your SoP unique. There are a lot of samples available on the internet. I would suggest you DONT read any of them before you do your SoP. Just get some guidelines. I think this link can be of some help. After you have come up with a draft probably you can read some other SoPs and compare and rethink. But make it a point to NOT copy paste any lines as that may lead to a direct rejection. I dont think my SoP is all that great but in sometime I shall surely upload it IF that can be of help to anyone.
So now we are done with the details of the application package. Next thing we need to deal with is the shortlisting of universities. For those of you who do not have much of an idea regarding the good universities or how to come up with your wishlist, you can begin by using some ranking sites like usnews.com for reference. But do not follow these rankings blindly! Go through the universities homepage, department homepage find out about the GRE score required and the financial document details. I would suggest you maintain an excel containing these details (something I forgot to do and was in great trouble! ). This is again a time consuming procedure. You should come up with a list of universities to which you should send your GRE score depending on your score. For those of you who are not aware that as soon as your GRE exam ends you have to enter the college details of FOUR colleges to which your scores can be sent free of cost. So depending on your performance you need to enter your choice of universities. Have around 6 (minimum) universities in different score ranges. The choice has to be wise. Do NOT go for all ambitious universities. 2 in the high range, 2 medium and 2 sure shot universities. To come up with the final list a lot of effort needs to go in.
Application to US universities is not only time intensive but also cost intensive. When the process begins you will not realize that the cost of applying to say 6 universities approximately comes around 1Lakh Indian rupees. This is an approximate amount and is on the upper side but includes your GRE , TOEFL registration fee, score card fee, university application fee (varies from one univ to another), your courier service charges and also other miscellaneous expenses like issuing of the consolidated gradesheets, coaching (if any),etc.
So you need to think real hard before you make any decisions. Apart from the monetary aspect do consider your reasons to study further. Doing an MS because your friends are doing it is definitely not a good enough reason.
Next assuming you have prepared all the documents. You need to visit the webpage of each of the universities you wish to apply to. There will be an online application form that you will need to fill.For Fall the deadlines for international students start from december mid. Make sure you start the online application also well in advance as you will need to grant your recommender s ample time to submit the recommendation electronically also. After your application is complete you need to pay the application fee and send in the hard copy of your documents to the university. Within 2-3 months you will hear from the university. Cross your fingers and hope for the best!
If you have any questions you can feel free to ask. I’ll try and answer to the best of my knowledge! And I am hoping this post is helpful to you guys!
After I wrote the previous post I thought I should also publish one having about my TOEFL experience for those who will be taking up their TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language). Well, I think for those of you who can speak english it should be a cake-walk! This test is aimed to test all four parts of a language which are namely reading, writing, speaking and listening.
On the day of the test, make sure you carry your identity proof. Here in India, ONLY passport is considered as a valid ID proof. So do NOT forget to carry it.
As soon as you enter your examination center, you will be required to read, write and sign a confidentiality statement. Once that is done you will have to keep all your belongings including your pen, pencils etc in a locker. After which you will have your photograph taken by a webcam. Probably I wouldn’t recognize myself in that photograph! It came out THAT bad!!! After being handed a few sheets and 2 pencils I was directed to my seat.
My test center wasn’t the best of places. The seating was just not comfortable and too congested. After an attempt to settle down the reading section began and I before I could realize it was done. But yes, I did find I had to make a conscious effort towards managing my time as the passages were very lengthy.
After that came the listening section. Most people think it is very difficult to follow the American accent. I realized it wasn’t true at least when it came to the test as the speed of their speech was moderate and thus easily understandable. But I think for this section it is very important we take notes especially when listening to a lecture on art, psychology, literature etc of which we have no prior knowledge. I remember using 5sides of paper for this section.
Anyway after this there was a break. Walked around a little and was back for the speaking section. This is the one section you should NOT be nervous else you might stammer and stutter which obviously is killer for the speaking section! There are 6 questions in this section. Anyway, easy stuff I am sure everyone can sail through this.
The last section was writing. Just 2 questions and more than enough time even for those who do not have great typing speed. One of the questions is to express your views on a topic while the other is write about a topic after reading a paragraph on it and also listening to a lecture. All of this is easy and I am sure that no one would find this exam challenging IF you consider your english skills average. This cannot be compared with the GRE test which is a nightmare!
Your score’s will be available after 2 weeks and when they say two weeks they mean EXACTLY 2weeks!
For those who will be taking the test I would suggest you go through the sample questions, here is a link to it. Also, try speaking and recording your responses to judge yourself before you go in for the test.