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  • Kartik 3:53 PM on October 26, 2014 Permalink
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    Back to 

    reinit: #techglider #webhome :)

    Hopefully, this is my last post here on this blog and I will be take it down once I am finished migrating the content completely.

    Signing off

  • Kartik 11:23 PM on March 20, 2014 Permalink
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    Swaraj by Arvind Kejriwal – A Review 

    SwarajSwaraj by Arvind Kejriwal

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Ended up reading a Hindi book after many years, ‘कथेतर’ (non-fiction, new word learnt!) on that.

    Little Background

    I haven’t followed Kejriwal’s or Anna’s movement from the beginning. I first gave serious attention when AAP managed to win a substantial number of seats in Delhi last December. Since then, I have come to admire Kejriwal’s clarity of thought, his ideas and his mission, all of which can be ascertained in any of his recent interviews or QA’s with audience where neither the interviewer nor the public leave any stone unturned to grill him.

    In a couple of months since then, I realized, he and his team have managed to gather a good amount of support at least among the young educated middle class. But I could not imagine how his ideas appeal to the larger population of the country. I decided to find out by diving further.


    This book lets one understand what Kejriwal means when he uses words like Swaraj or when he says if we let the current status quo maintain, “ये देश नहीं बचेगा” (the country won’t survive).

    Most of us reading this review can’t claim to fathom the problems faced by people at the lowest level of social hierarchy. The author describes those problems, how they came to be in the present system and how things can radically change. Both the problems and their suggested solutions are backed by facts, examples (from other democracies) and experiments demonstrating years of research.

    We have all heard that definition of democracy by Abraham Lincoln – “government of the people, by the people, for the people” – but probably never gave a thought about how that could work out in reality. By real life examples, author manages to convince how participatory democracy at the grass root level could be a solution to many of the country’s basic problems, how empowered people are responsible people.

    You read the book with a critical eye and tend to raise doubts or find flaws in the presented ideas but don’t get too surprised when you get all your answers before you reach the last chapter. Just to cite one (spoilers ahead), I was skeptic when most of the book talked about gram sabhas and not how the idea of Swaraj would play in big cities. Come the last but one chapter, and I learn why – our constitution recognizes gram sabhas but doesn’t talk about any such general meetings at city level, but experiments done at Delhi in the form of muhalla sabhas illustrate how effective these meetings could be.

    Go, read the book to understand the positive ideas behind all the ‘negativity’ spread by Kejriwal. If not for that, then just for a small, thoroughly enjoyable and hard to come by non-fiction.

    View all my reviews


    • Deepak 12:15 AM on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      but what about the criticism that the book is overly repetitive?

      • Kartik 7:41 AM on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I didn’t think so. Why don’t you read and find out? The book does back reference itself once or twice, I don’t see how that’s wrong, rather that’s a way to not repeat the points mentioned earlier.

  • Kartik 9:18 PM on November 13, 2013 Permalink
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    You literally ought to be asking yourself all of the time – what’s the most important thing I could be working on in the world right now; and if you are not working on that, why aren’t you?

    Aaron Swartz, as quoted by @TarenSK in the upcoming documentary on Swartz (Source:
  • Kartik 3:31 PM on October 17, 2013 Permalink
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    Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

    Steve Jobs in his Stanford Commencement Speech, 2005 (Source:
  • Kartik 5:55 PM on October 4, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , dystopia   

    Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

    George Orwell, Animal Farm (Just finished reading this classic novella, couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of these last lines)
  • Kartik 8:23 PM on July 21, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Coursera, , , Goodreads, Oracle, , ,   

    Week 1 at Bangalore and Work 

    I landed at Bangalore airport last week flying on an indiGo for the first time; found the experience better than JetKonnect from my first flight.

    Next day (Sunday) started early with a walk to Oracle Tech Park and back to get myself familiarized with the area before first day at work. A much-needed haircut followed.

    Having caught cold with the change in weather, I had to miss the Goodreads meetup planned at Brigade Road during the day, which I was eagerly awaiting to attend with a friend. The day was instead spent hunting around for a pair of Oxfords in Jayanagar/JP Nagar markets. Apparently, it’s not easy to find those classic-shaped shoes anymore, with most shoes available in a strangely long front-part which I absolutely dislike. After spending over 40 minutes at the second store I tried, I settled for a passable pair. My friends had already warned me that there is no dress code at work place and I will discard them within few days. Shopping for myself without my mom has never been an easy experience.

    The first two days were spent on induction. First day could be summarized as the practice-your-signature-a-hundred-times day; I detest manually signing anything and prefer digital security for most applications. Dunno how long it will take to transition to a world when (hard copy) paperwork will be a thing of past. Second day was much less tiring with some interesting presentations about culture and how things work at Oracle. I was impressed, better than my expectations indeed. 🙂

    Next three days were devoted on a Campus to Corporate program for college grads (it, interestingly, also had an experienced person among us for some unknown reason). I liked the program overall for it made many things crystal clear for us to move to corporate world and more so because it involved close interaction among the new hires and I got to meet many interesting people.

    I also managed to watch Bhaag Milkha Bhaag on Wednesday at an INOX for a relatively cheap ticket price (I am totally surprised over the difference in prices over here compared to other cities like Chennai), thanks to new friends Naman and Ratan who knew about a weekly offer and pre-booked the tickets before they got over. Movie had its own class and I never felt bored or found it dragging given it’s being criticized for being too lengthy (naysayers always manage to find something or other to criticize even things of perfection).

    This weekend was spent on catching up on more sleep and looking for a home to stay at a few places. Had to give up on a great deal today for just one reason – tiny size of bathroom, which could definitely induce claustrophobia in, for an otherwise perfectly sane, me. (For those living in Bangalore, I am still looking for a 1BHK OR 2/3 BHK (and flatmates) within max 4 Kms radius of my work location – IBC Knowledge Park near Dairy Circle, Bannerghatta Road, any help is definitely appreciated. Please contact me at kartiksinghal [AT] gmail and I will try to get back asap.)

    One thing that bothers me after a week of work is how less time I could spend on things I wanted to do in the beginning of the week. Although the first week involved no real work, sitting at office itself and traveling to and fro could be tiring. It led me to miss homework deadlines of multiple courses on Coursera and hence deciding to drop most of them (except two). I believe it’s more of the initial hassles of settling down in a new environment than my inability to keep up. Also, I had to really think what courses were really important for me to keep doing with a shift in priorities and amount of free time available. Think, I will learn to manage time more effectively as I get used to the new life.

    Tomorrow might be a great day as we, new hires, apparently get to interact with a top executive of the company. Excitement level is high, indeed.

    NOTE: I am aware now being an employee of a company, I might not be fully open in sharing my experiences. I will keep sharing things which do not affect my employer in any way. Of course, it’s to be noted, any opinions shared from now onwards represent my personal views and do not pertain to my employer at any level (Time to update the About section of my blog as well).


  • Kartik 6:02 AM on May 14, 2013 Permalink
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    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

    Calvin Coolidge (Discovered this as my MITian friend Ankur’s gmail chat status)
  • Kartik 5:46 PM on April 20, 2013 Permalink
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    It feels so relieving to get your lost data back!

    After trying multiple file recovery tools like TestDisk/PhotoRec, Recuva, etc. I had ran chkdsk (of course, from Windows) as a last resort on that particular partition last night. Since, Windows doesn’t show protected system files easily I couldn’t see the content of found.000 directory that got created in the said partition. I made a mental note of checking this directory out later from Linux.

    As most of my mental notes go, I forgot about this as well. Just now accidentally visited that partition from Linux and browsed through the dir0000.chk directory inside, and voilà, there it was – my complete home directory backup! 😀

  • Kartik 8:25 PM on April 19, 2013 Permalink
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    Another strange thing and a big lesson learned today was regarding disk handling by Windows and Linux. I had been observing missing files from my hard disk for a few weeks now, always suspected it was due to bad sectors but tests didn’t turn up anything positive. When I took the backup of my old Ubuntu home directory to an NTFS partition, installed Linux Mint and then tried to access the backup I was left with a shock – the whole backup was gone!

    I investigated a bit and found the possible reason at and quickly recalled that indeed I had booted up Windows after taking the backup. I felt idiotic not knowing this simple fact before that Windows, when booting to a hibernated system, considers any file system change as data corruption and fixes it. In my case, it was deleting all those files, I thought I was saving for opening in Windows. I immediately turned off the default behaviour of Windows which is to hibernate instead of shutdown, so that now no hiber file is generated. I am left wondering how could such a harmful behavior be default!

    Well, huge lesson learned. And I have no idea apart from my home directory backup how much more data I lost all this time.

    • Ankur 9:11 PM on April 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      You can now try Recuva or Hiren Boot CD to recover your deleted files if its not been overwritten yet.

      • Kartik 9:16 PM on April 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, I will try them out. I was able to recover a few using TestDisk & PhotoRec.

    • Jay Aurabind 9:38 PM on April 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      So I think you learned a lesson – Keep Windows Away 😛 My laptop is windows free. So I`m tension free 🙂

  • Kartik 8:09 PM on April 19, 2013 Permalink
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    Found the culprit for a long standing problem with Linux install disk booting on my Dell Studio XPS 1645 today at – it was my wireless card. Was facing this problem at least since last October when I tried to install latest editions of Fedora and ArchLinux but couldn’t. On Linux Mint 14 Cinnamon now.

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