Reva Institute of Technology

A day-long visit to a local university.

Today I visited the Reva Institute of Technology and Management, a new school on the outskirts of north Bangalore. Opened just five years ago, they offer undergraduate (and some graduate) programs in computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, as well as an MBA. Their brand-new campus is beautiful and architecturally interesting.

I was invited to open their day-long series of student research presentations with a keynote lecture.  The event was very formal and I was treated like a VIP.  The event was a day full of student research presentations, and I was the keynote speaker.

The event began with a school song, sung by one of the students. Then the event’s student MC introduced first a professor, then the department chair, then the principal, and then the chairman, who each made a few remarks.  Then they presented each of us with a bouquet of flowers, and presented me with a memento – a basket of fruit and an elegant Reva desk clock.

Finally, we inaugurated the day with the lighting of the lamp, an ornate brass oil lamp with five wicks and wrapped in fresh flowers.

As the hour was late, the day was hot and the acoustics in the room poor, I moved quickly through my talk so the students could get on with their program. I enjoyed the rest of my visit, meeting with faculty and graduate students who were involved in interesting research related to portable healthcare sensors. 


This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.

No pooja in the voting booth, please

It’s election season.

EVM machine

It is election season here in India – all of Parliament is up for re-election and the Congress-led government is hotly contested by the BJP.  India conducts its voting in phases, shifting security personnel and electronic voting machines from state to state and district to district over the course of two months. This phased approach provides security that has dramatically reduced the violence that used to occur, and the electronic voting machines have dramatically reduced the ballot-box-stuffing and other fraud that used to occur.

I was tickled by the following article in the newspaper this week, in which the election officials declared that candidates, when they come to vote, cannot perform a pooja (religious blessing) on the electronic voting machine (EVM). A pooja usually involves incense, a diya (small oil lamp), bells, chants, and colored powder used to mark the person or object being blessed.


This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.

mHealth workshop

We hosted a scientific workshop at IISc.

I have recently become very interested in mHealth, that is, the application of mobile computing and communications technology to healthcare.  Here in India, many believe that India’s pressing healthcare needs could benefit from judicious application of information technology. Mobile-computing technology may be particularly helpful, for example, by improving access to healthcare, by encouraging personal health management, and by enabling patient and provider mobility. Wearable medical devices are emerging, to measure pulse, respiration, ECG, blood glucose level, and patient mobility. Handheld devices support clinicians in urban hospitals, and portable diagnostic kits allow remote healthcare teams to more easily reach rural villages.  The widespread availability of mobile phones, and recent experiments with low-cost, long-range broadband wireless networks, bring connectivity to all these opportunities. Read on.

A panel discussion at the IISc mHealth workshop.
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Hijra

The third gender in India.

One of the most bizarre encounters I have had in India occurred while I was sitting in a car at a traffic light.  It’s not uncommon to have beggars or street vendors weave through the cars, two-wheelers, and autorickshaws stopped at a light.  The vendors sell fruit, newspapers, toys, cell-phone charger cables, even Q-tips.  This time, I watched a sari-clad woman approach one driver after another.  Each one seemed to give her money.  She came to our taxi… and the driver fished around for some change.  She smiled at me and brushed her hand along my cheek.  “Daahling,” she purred, as she moved to the next car. Um, ok. Read on…

This dancer in the Dasara parade in Mysore, who by facial structure and actions during her dance among the male musicians, I think is probably hijra.
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Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR)

MTR cannot be beat for fast, tasty, healthy pure veg food.

The famous Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR) is a restaurant in central Bangalore that cannot be beat for fast, tasty, healthy pure veg food.

Thali at MTR – an image borrowed from another blog.

Almost as soon as you enter on the ground floor you walk through the kitchen – don’t step on the guy who is rolling out chapattis on a wooden board, while sitting on the floor – and don’t tip over any of the bubbling vats (yes, vats) of curry and sambar and rasam – before you climb the stairs to the first floor.  Room after room of long tables, filled with hungry people.  Waiters, barefoot and wearing a striped red shirt and a white dhoti, scurry from table to table with buckets of food.  Yes, buckets.  Ok, they are stainless steel buckets, with stainless steel shovels, er, ladles.  No ordering here – just sit down and soon a stainless steel platter lands in front of you, followed quickly by waiters who slop out ladles-full of delicious South Indian pure veg food.  I’m being a bit dramatic about the service, but that’s the way it is – and don’t get me wrong, the food is great.  Curries, salads, rice dishes, sambar, rasam, pickles and as many dosas as you can eat.  I was having extra helpings until I realized that they kept bringing more and more new things… I can recall at least 10 courses, plus dosas and ice cream and, to finish it all off, fresh paan.  Customers come and go, and the waiters scurry about wiping tables as fast as they can.  They must serve many hundreds a day, very efficient and very healthy and very tasty food.

Here are two other reviews; the first one seems to be about a different MTR location, and the second one has great photos of the food.


This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.

Mangos!

Mango season is here!

I’ve been a fan of mangos for years, but the ones we get in NH are nothing like the fresh mangos we get here! Mango season has arrived, and they are sogood.  So ripe, so sweet, so tasty.  We eat several kilograms a week, and have tried several different varieties. At first, the kids turned up their nose, but one day Mara decided that she’d have a little taste.  Next thing you know, she devoured two and a half mangos.  John and Andy dug into some too – things got a little messy!

Mara discovers the wonders of fresh mangoes.

This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.

Happy Holi!

IISc celebrates Holi.

Today is the main day of Holi, a Hindu festival of spring.  Immensely popular in the north, but little known here in the south, it involves throwing a lot of colored powder and colored water at other people, and generally having a great time.  Here at IISc, there are grad students from all over India, and they put on a series of Holi events… a sandpainting competition, a wild color/water/music bash, and a bonfire. Read on!

Holi at IISc: a floral display.

everyone is welcomed enthusiastically.
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IISc Founder’s Day

Celebration of IISc centennial.

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), my host (and our home) during this sabbatical, was founded in 1909 by J. N. Tata. Every year, on the occasion of his birthday, the Institute celebrates “Founder’s Day”. This year, the 100th anniversary of IISc, is of particular importance.  We went to watch an early-morning ceremony at the main campus building, its courtyard decorated with several thousand flowering potted plants. Tata’s statue had earlier been decorated with a flower garland, and we arrived just in time to see various department heads delivering floral wreaths to the foot of the statue. Read on.

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