Lalgudi Krishnan & Vijayalakshmi – Vishesha Fine Arts – July 2, 2016

Lalgudi has and will always have a special place in Carnatic Music, even after several generations. To me, with his unique style, Lalgudi Jayaraman Sir brought the life to Violin so it can sing, express and touch hearts. That style, popularly called the Lalgudi Bani, does the same through any instrument, may it be human body (Gaathra Veena), Saraswathi Veena or Violin.

Vishesha Fine Arts arranged a Violin duo concert by the Lalgudi siblings, Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi. In a jam-packed venue, they were accompanied by Bangalore V Praveen on Mridangam and Guruprasanna on Khanjira.

  1. ? – Sama
  2. ? – DeviManohari
  3. ? – Kannada
  4. Narayanaa – Suddha Dhanyasi
  5. Apparama Bhakti – Pantuvarali
  6. Ae naati nomu phalamu – Bhairavi
  7. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – BinduMalini
  8. Jagadodharana – Kapi
  9. Karpakame – Madhyamavathi
  10. Chinnanchiru Kiliye – Ragamalika
  11. Thillana – Mohanakalyani
  12. Pavamana Suthudu – Sourasthram

I had unfortunately reached about 30 minutes past scheduled time and by the time I was entering the packed hall, amazing swaras in Kannada are flowing from both Violins. So, missed first three compositions but noted the ragas from others in the hall. Narayanaa in Suddha Dhanyasi, a Purandaradasa’s composition was the first I heard this evening.

Soulful Pantuvarali has flown from Vijayalakshmi’s Violin. She did exhibit some wonderful patterns in raga aalapana before starting the all-time favorite Apparama Bhakti, a composition of Saint Thyagaraja. Kalpana Swaras, as is in case of Lalgudi style, included different patterns. Gentle playing even at moderately high speeds.

A heart-warming Bhairavi followed from Krishnan this time, he played it so gently that I was actually wondering how is the sound coming off the Violin. The bowing had silken touch. Perhaps Lalgudi Jayaraman Sir would have taught everyone in his school of music, to handle the Violin as carefully as you would handle an infant! A rare composition of Saint Thyagaraja followed, which also had a brief Niraval and ended with some pristine and mind-blowing swara patterns. Short and sweet Tani Avarthanam by Praveen and Guruprasanna added more flavor to the main piece.

As I heard BinduMalini, I thought they were playing the famous composition, Entha Muddo but it turned out to be a surprise choice for the Ragam Tanam Pallavi. A very pleasant, detailed aalapana and short Tanam by both was a treat to listen! The Pallavi was in Khanda jathi Jhampa Talam in Khanda gathi (oh well, it took me a while to understand the pattern). Different combinations of Pallavi followed and they did a Ragamalika in the end, alternating between both, in ragas Nalinakanthi, ReetiGowla, RasikaPriya and Hamsadhwani, with Krishnan summing all up in the end to finish a fabulous RTP.

Other small compositions followed and they ended the concert with the trademark Lalgudi Thillana in Mohanakalyani, followed by traditional Mangalam in Sourasthram.

I have been waiting to attend their concert for long time and it eventually materialized today!

Great people aided with Lalgudi Bani, that is rich in melody, pure in Bhava, innovative in laya, made a wonderful evening!

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My Intel interview experience

September 1, 2013 – IIIT Bangalore

I was shortlisted based on my profile (essentially because of projects and publications, thanks to Professors who I worked under) to the interviews by Intel, as it normally does. After waiting for a couple of hours, I was finally called for interview and here is how it broadly went (haven’t got chance to document my experience soon after interview because of other commitments).

I: Kausal, what are you currently working on?

M: I am currently working on a Machine Learning project and a project on extracting semantic associations (for Open Systems Lab)…..

(He was not perhaps interested in Machine Learning so he wanted me to explain the other project which I did in much details, as he started to ask too many questions on minute things and practical applications)

(I was waiting for him to ask about my OS project)

I: What is this Cake Cutting on a cloud (OS project)?

M: Again explained everything in great detail, with emphasis on practical implementation and issues faced in real-time.

(He is not a mathematics guy, so was probably not interested in algorithm and theory behind it but asked everything that he could, to test if the solution we proposed works. I believe he was impressed with the practical applications that our algorithm has in data centers)

I: Are you good in Operating Systems?

M: Yes

I: Which area of Operating Systems are you interested in?

M: Memory management

(I was thinking he should ask me on this, but he didn’t!)

I: Which other areas are you interested in?

M: Machine Learning

I: And?

M: Cloud computing

I: And?

(Are you serious?)

M: Software Architecture

I: OK, what work have you done in Software Architecture?

M: Explained our very favorite ATM based voting using RESTful web services

I: OK, what is Software architecture?

M: Answered

I: What are the considerations when you are architecting a system? Explain.

M: Answered with diagrams and stuff

I: How do you choose one architecture over other?

M: Explained what all I knew

I: How can you say one architecture is better than other?

M: Explained what all I knew

I: OK, given a requirement, how do you proceed to architect?

(He gave me a real-time vote(r) registration system with really strange requirements and asked me to architect it)

I did it using Web services

I: Why web services?

I: How do you deploy this system?

I: How can you prove that your architecture is better than any other architecture?

M: I talked about functional scalability because of REST

I: What is scalability? Functional scalability?

Answered everything well, but missed to mention re-use of existing software modules

I: Wouldn’t you want to reuse?

M: Yes we can, if only there is no tight coupling between that module and the software. Also told web services facilitate re-use.

I: OK, we’ll discuss Memory Management now. What is a memory manager?

I: What are the functions of a memory manager?

I: Why memory manager?

Discussion went into Logical addressing, physical addressing, etc. And some more questions on Memory management like what if logical address length and physical address length are same and stuff like that. I don’t remember them now though.

I: How good are you in C, C++ and Java?

I: Difference between C++ and Java? When do you prefer one over other?

(Many other questions on C++ and Java which I don’t remember well)

I: How do you ship an application developed in Java to a customer?

I: How do you do if it is developed in C++?

I: What is a DLL? Why? How?

I: How to handle DLLs while shipping application?

(And a few more questions on system calls, system programming, DLLs, etc., which I don’t remember well)

I: How good are you in C?

M: I am a good programmer

I: Any projects done in C?

M: Virtual File System, explained it

I: How did you architect the Virtual File System?

I: How do you search for a directory in a file system?

I: How do you implement an n-ary tree?

I: Can you write code for creating n-ary tree (Syntax not very much strict)?

(Some discussion on that)

I: Can you write code to traverse it?

(Some discussion on that)

I: What is the order of execution of recursive calls?

(I messed it up initially and finally explained him what my code does)

Thank you!

That was a 55 minute interview while my friends were getting done in 15-20 minutes. I was really exhausted and disappointed at the ending. I felt I must have done it much better in the end, especially explaining my code.

Waiting….

Suddenly I was called again (unexpected) for another interview.

I: Kausal, tell me about yourself

(I was prepared well for this)

I: What are you currently working on?

M: Explained Machine Learning project and its objective

I: What work has been done till now?

M: Nothing Sir, just literature survey

I: What literature survey?

M: We are reading some 100 page thesis and started recently, so not much done

I: If you are implementing some others’ thesis, how can you claim it to be your work?

M: Reading thesis is a part of addressing the problem we are working, but the actual objective is novel

I: How do you know that it is novel? How do you check if it was not used by someone?

M: Extensive Google search 😛

(Big laughs)

I: What will you do if you are using others’ work?

M: Acknowledge and cite them

I: What are your obligations if you use Open Source?

M: Talked about GPL and other licence terms but told I don’t have in-depth knowledge about them but I can learn soon

I: How do you handle IP (Intellectual Property) issues?

M: Told something that came into my mouth

I: If you are joining Intel, you would be given a laptop and your friend who is in urgent need of a laptop, what would you do?

M: I will gently tell him that even I don’t do my personal work on office laptop, so I can’t give him.

I: Are you sure?

M: Yes, why not. I always believe integrity is the one which keeps me live long in the industry in a better shape.

I: Any example of you maintaining integrity?

M: A couple of examples as a Placement Committee lead

I: I understand that you won’t be, but what would you do if your friend is being disloyal to his work?

M: I will tell him its not right

I: Any examples?

M: I related something to an incident in Infosys

I: Any other example?

M: I related something to an incident in college

I: Something that you would want to be changed in this college / anywhere?

M: Told some issues I faced as a Student Placement Coordinator in college

I: OK, Kausal too much of non-technical questions, which subject do you like the most?

M: Operating Systems

I: I know you like it based on your previous interview. OK, which area are you not good at?

M: Working on Big data

I: What did you do to come out of it?

M: Took a course last semester and am still doing some project related to it, so improving gradually

I: Kausal, your Resume looks great but why do you think your CGPA is low?

(I was not prepared for this question but somehow managed)

M: I am kind of practical guy, not that good at theory and remembering things. So messed up a few theory papers and hence low CGPA

I: What would you want to be in life?

(I was prepared for this)

M: Stereotype answer like keeping updated with latest trends in technology and stuff

I: I didn’t understand anything!

M: Then I related to something he talked in Pre-Placement Talk about the role of a Principal Engineer, whose role is not just limited to Intel but helping the technologists across companies

I: Kausal, do you have any questions for me?

M: I asked about Intel’s new project of single core cloud computing processor. He told he doesn’t have any information on it. There are a few things which they don’t know and there are a few things which they know but can’t say. I agreed to it saying, that’s what even I believe in, to not talk about something which we are not supposed to talk.

I: Do you have any other questions?

M: Nothing much, most of them were clear in your PPT about how the life would be at Intel

I: OK Kausal, thank you, all the best!

M: Thank you!

I was, in my inner senses hopeful of an internship position but my name was announced for the position of a College Graduate plus intern at Intel! This was one of “my days” and yes, I am lucky, I am lucky, I am lucky.

My overall take on getting into Intel:

You must relate your work/project experience to their work, talk practically, have practical use of every project done, be good in Operating Systems, System programming and C, C++ and Java. Overall, practical applicability is what they see.

I thank my parents because of whom I am on this earth, god and nature for everything he has given me on this earth to learn from, teachers because of whom I am what I am, sister for all her best wishes, family, friends and everyone who helped me directly/indirectly.

Is IPL a clean world?

While I started to write this post, Rahul Dravid was speaking at a Press Conference in most bizarre situations he would have imagined himself to be in. “Face is the index of mind,” yes.. it read he is distressed! Not only Dravid, the news of 3 players who were arrested on charges of spot fixing came as a shocker for all the true cricket fans. It was not just this incident alone that prompted me to write this post, but I have been thinking for several days about the IPL and the contribution (or lack) of it to the cricket. This just came as a right time to plug it in a midst huge uproar in India and the cricket playing nations on the integrity of IPL.

IPL has made the fans loyal to their local clubs and rightly so, because of several reasons. But how good is it contributing to cricket? Are we seeing a clean world?

We have already seen the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, unarguably the right representatives of the gentleman game losing their cool, shouting and bragging. Its tough to imagine the greats who have always controlled their emotions on and off the fields behave such way. I believe there is some added pressure from the franchises apart from the pressure of billion hopes on them, that is leading them to this kind of surprising behavior.

We have seen the players sledging in the international cricket but not this kind of absurd behavior not only from the three I mentioned above but also from almost everyone. A wicket taken by a bowler, even after getting hammered for lots of runs by a batsman leads to a rather meaningless bragging by the former. Giving send offs to the batsmen has become the daily business of watching on the TV. I have never seen such kind of emotions running in the players at any level of cricket except for in IPL. What’s the reason for this? Is it because the players are feeling “belonged” to franchises more than they belong to country? Sad part of this story is that the very next year the same player may be playing with the guy who he has given a nice meaningless send off, thanks to the transfers and auctions.

And then came the Spot fixing which the ICC and other cricket boards have been insisting on to have a check on the proceedings of the IPL for many years. The credit of the good of IPL if any, will be happily taken by the BCCI while it runs away from these kind of issues very smartly. Where will the BCCI hide its face now after this shame on Indian cricket? IPL, since the time of initiation, has been surrounded by a monster called “dollars” which is the primary reason for the players to lose their track. Who would have expected Dravid to come to a press conference as a captain of a team that had players who betrayed the Cricket and its fans?!

I am not trying to say that IPL is useless. Yes, it is certainly useful and successful in getting the emotions out of the best gentlemen of cricket in the current arena. It is also successful in bringing the dark shades of Indian players and Indian cricket out. More importantly, it has succeeded in getting the international players understand the Indian conditions so that they play well in their bilateral and other series at international level.

Above all, IPL is a huge market which if handled by able administrators can lead to a wonderful world. Else, the current start of the dreadful scenario can eat away the roots of its parent, the Cricket!