Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

“Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces.” – Charles Caleb Colton

I'm BackYou might be delighted when I acquaint you with the fact that Jinkchak is back from its very long lacuna (lacuna?? I came across this word recently and have been meaning to put it to some use. It does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?) and this blog will remain inactive no longer. You might be pondering over numerous reasons for its inactivity, but let me assure you that your doubts will be put to rest after you have perused this article, which happens to be none other than the penultimate episode of the “End-Of-Semester” series.

PenultimateDid I just say, “Penultimate”? I guess I did…That word has just evoked in me, a state of ambivalence. Strange as it may seem, I’m faced with a wave of nostalgia. How did the episodes…(oops! Sorry – Like loads of RV students, I’ve been influenced by TV Shows)…I meant articles/years fly by so quickly? Is there only one (end-of-)semester (article) left before my life at RVCE/Jinkchak actually comes to an end? Seems like only yesterday…but hey, wait a minute! I’m getting ahead of myself. I think I’ll allow this wave of nostalgia to overcome my senses when the word “Penultimate” transforms into “ultimate”, a little ways down the road, if you know what I mean…

moment“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when an age ends, and when the soul of a student, long suppressed, finds utterance.” For the final year students of RVCE CSE, that moment arrived at the stroke of the seventeenth hour of January 12th, 2013 AD, when they witnessed the grand finale of their Semester End Exams. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the students of some other semesters and branches, for, you see, they weren’t blessed with the good fortune of having five subjects this semester. Students of some semesters even had seven subjects.

gopalanTo save myself the trouble of constructing a new paragraph to explain what we did to celebrate this merry occasion, I’ll reuse a paragraph from a previous “End-Of-Semester” article: Continuing our unspoken tradition, to celebrate this memorable occasion, we made our way to McDonald’s at Gopalan Arcade. Alas! For the third time in the history of Jinkchak, we failed to catch a flick. Perhaps, we will, at the end of the next semester…

Everyone’s joy was short-lived, however, thanks to the breaking news they had received a few days earlier:

one week

Copyright (C) RV Memes

spongebob

Most Students reacted in this manner

Gee! I wonder when students will begin to feel like this:

Staying in tune with Jinkchak’s semester-ly tradition, let me share with you all the memorable events of the semester just gone by. However, this article has a number of short stories within it (Don’t worry – They are all related to RVCE). So, I’ve decided to allow you, reader, to select which stories you wish to read and the order in which you wish to read them, if you wish to read at all. I present to you Jinkchak’s very own ↓

Anthology of Short Stories:

  1. The Facebook Profile Market
  2. Oppa Gangnam Style
  3. The End of Jinkchak’s Survival Guide
  4. Elevated Fun (An anecdote about the CS Department’s elevator)
  5. Of Juice Centers, Pen Drives, Good Samaritans and Résumés
  6. Proverbs
  7. Of Attendance, Placements and Preparation
  8. Mini-Projects and Assignments

The Facebook Profile Market

facebookIf you thought that Facebook was completely saturated with profiles, pages and groups related to RVCE, then you thought wrong! The best page that came up this semester was the RV Memes page, with its objective of “Trolling RVCE; solely dedicated to ridicule every single aspect of RVCE. IF you’re one of those who cannot stand friendly banter about our college, then, lol!” And just a month after RV Memes was created, RVCE Memes was born, with the description: “A new page. A better idea of fun. P.S We update daily”. Due to the genesis of these two pages, most RVites’ news feeds were flooded with amusing memes trolling RVCE. These pages were also responsible for a number of mirth-filled moments throughout this semester!

Andrew Tenenbaum, the author of a Computer Networks textbook, decided that it was about time that he joined the Social Network to haunt RVCE students. Thus, he joined Facebook. TheFake RvceStudent released a story or two, on his/her blog. RVCE Updates continued providing  – yup, you guessed it – updates about RVCE to its students. As usual, Faking News @rvce continued providing really fake (or fakely real) news about RVCE. The Prism of Life blog enlisted a new member in their team and gave its readers opportunities to look through its prism during the first two months of this semester.

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Oppa Gangnam Style

gangnamAfter “Gangnam Style” had taken the world by storm, its influence could be ascertained within RVCE itself. It proved to be extremely useful as background music while writing data sheets and records in class. Those who carried laptops and phones to class had the added advantage of being able to feast their eyes on the video whenever they found it crucial to satisfy their whims. If you were lucky enough, you could find people practicing those dance moves in various parts of the campus.

gangnam3I would be committing a grave injustice if I didn’t mention a noteworthy incident that took place in a particular final-year class of the ECE department. A few students, including PSY (This is and isn’t a student’s real name – Go Figure! For clarity, I’ll refer to him as PSY Junior) were so invigorated by this Gangnam Style that they got it into their heads that they should experiment with it in class in the presence of a teacher, who was writing on the black-board. And this is exactly what they did. They were lucky to have a handy camera-person who uploaded the results of their endeavours on YouTube and Facebook with the appropriate music. Needless to say, this video became a favourite among RV students, and I daresay, had an infinitesimally miniscule chance of being noticed by the original PSY himself.

Well, the story doesn’t end there, folks. Rumour has it that, so popular did the video become that it was even viewed by a few RV teachers! Unfortunately, this was a bane in disguise for PSY Junior, for, you see, out of all the dancers’ countenances, only his visage could be discerned clearly in the low-resolution video. He was caught the following day and reprimanded for his deed, and, according to a few (un)reliable sources, he was thrown out of class and was prevented from gracing a lab or two with his presence. The videos were taken down from YouTube and Facebook to avert further harm. How everything returned to normal later is something I’ll leave to your vivid imagination, because, quite frankly, I haven’t a clue! However, I do know that this story about PSY Junior and his team’s daring deed will be passed down from generation to generation, immortalized in the sands of time, and I’m sure it would have made PSY extremely proud to know that his style has been put to good use in RVCE, had he got a chance to witness it with his own eyes.

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The End of Jinkchak’s Survival Guide

survivalIt would please you to note that, this semester, the college authorities decided to include the exam fees in the college fees which they took at the beginning of the year itself. Although the queue in front of the bank vanished and was replaced by multiple queues in front of Xerox shops, in and around the college, due to the fact that copies of the original college-fee challan were required to receive an exam form; the fact remains that the hassle wasn’t as much as that described in Jinkchak’s Survival Guide to paying examination fees in RV; well, you would have been in deep water if you had somehow misplaced your original challan, but this is neither the time nor the place for delving on such trivialities. Though I’m disappointed that the aforementioned article won’t be of any actual use in the future, I have consoled myself by convincing myself (however implausible it may seem) that the powers that be came to the decision mentioned above, after reading that very article!

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Elevated Fun

I guess most CS students would agree that the most useful, and hence, most used facility in their department was the elevator. Initially restricted to the college staff only, this beloved elevator was opened up to students after some patriot (who must have been a staunch believer in the philosophy – “Why climb up stairs when you can be lifted?”) protested against such discrimination by scratching away the notice that forbade students from using the lift. Even though a warning sign inside the lift elevator1stated that it could support a maximum of 600 kg or thereabouts, there were many who wished to verify this claim by gathering as many people as they could find and stuffing them into the elevator simultaneously. The elevator also had a way of protesting against such outlandishness by going out of order at least three times a week. I know of one nincompoop whose main aim in life was to demonstrate Doppler’s effect to others – so, whenever he got the opportunity of travelling in this contraption, he would scream his head off. If you were on the other side of the lift – in short, beside him inside the lift, then woe unto thee! Being called “shameless” by a teacher did nothing to wither his spirit one bit! Soon, the staff members preferred using the staircase rather than this contraption, allowing students to avail of its facilities more often.

elevatorThere were some troublemakers who were neither interested in using the lift themselves nor in the mood of permitting others to avail of this facility. Whenever they happened to catch a glimpse of any individuals attempting to use the lift, they would hurry over to the elevator from wherever they chanced to be, and would wait outside the lift until their prey – the innocent victims – had entered the elevator and pressed the appropriate button for the particular floor they wished to reach. Then, as the elevator doors closed shut, these good-for-nothing troublemakers would press the external call button to re-call the lift. Their actions were so perfectly timed that the elevator doors would open up a few seconds after, and the individuals inside the lift would find themselves on the same floor they had started from. A few troublemakers couldn’t be bothered to make the effort of even pressing the external call button – instead, as the elevator doors closed, they would pass one of their feet through the gap between the doors, and the doors would automatically slide open. This procedure would be repeated an indefinite number of times until the innocent victims, conceding defeat, escaped from the elevator and ran down a flight of stairs. It wouldn’t be foolhardy to guess that these troublemakers were partly responsible for the elevator going out-of-order so frequently.

On one fine morning in the month of November, six students were making their way to class. As usual, they were late and as usual, they decided to use the elevator which was already stationed on the ground floor, beckoning them with open doors. They entered the elevator and one of them pressed the button labeled “2”. No sooner had the doors closed than they opened again, and who should they see standing in front of them but Mr. Donald. And, believe it or not, they were still on the ground floor – What kind of sorcery was this?

elevator-cartoonAnyway, Mr. Donald, in a not-too-stern voice, said, “No…See…Why you want to go by lift when it is only for the staff memb.…” – the students didn’t hear the rest of that sentence because it was at that moment the lift doors sealed shut, and they lost sight (and sound) of Mr. Donald.. At first everyone thought that the elevator was blessed with magical powers, but their superstitions were soon laid to rest when they realized that one of them had pressed the button labeled “2” while the teacher was talking. Thanking the stars for such a close call, they breathed a sigh of relief. No sooner had they expelled the air from their lungs than the lift doors opened once again, and they found themselves face-to-face with Mr. Donald AGAIN!!! AND THEY WERE STILL ON THE FREAKING GROUND FLOOR!!! No one waited for Mr. Donald’s words of wisdom. They made a run for it, and used the staircase to reach their destination – It was every man for himself!

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Of Juice Centers, Pen Drives, Good Samaritans and Résumés

juiceIn other news, on a cold morning in December, 2012 AD, a final-year student of RVCE CSE, whom we’ll conveniently call Dexter, dropped his 4GB-pen drive, unknowingly, near a juice center opposite RV College. When the realization of his loss dawned upon him a few hours later, Dexter’s grief knew no bounds. He frantically rummaged through his belongings in search of this important entity. When he had given up hope of ever setting eyes on it again, he received a call from an unknown number. After sandiskhe answered, a voice, on the other end of the line, informed him that he (the person to whom the voice belonged) was in possession of Dexter’s pen drive and he would meet Dexter in front of the Cauvery Hostel, where he resided, on the morrow and return the pen drive to its rightful owner. Now, Dexter’s happiness knew no bounds! Apparently, this Good Samaritan, whom we’ll conveniently call Ben-Hur, was a first-year student of RVCE, who had chanced upon the pen drive near the juice center, when he went there to quench his thirst, resumea few minutes after Dexter had departed from there. He immediately inserted this pen drive into a computer nearby and went through its contents. For some bizarre reason, Dexter had chosen to store his own résumé in that pen drive. It was by reading this document that Ben-Hur discovered the identity and phone number of Dexter, whom he called a few minutes later, and the rest is history. What a legen-wait for it-dary fable, indeed! Moral of the story: Always store your résumé on your pendrive.

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Proverbs

Now, before you begin cursing me for rambling on and on, let me move to the part you’ve, presumably, been waiting for. Repeating the words from the previous end-of-semester article, it is with utmost amusement that I present to you the section you’ve all been waiting for: This Semester’s Proverbs, compiled by yours truly, with assistance from the FIELD.

proverbs11

This semester, we had only five subjects to study, three of them being electives. I don’t know if it was just me or whether the subjects really had a behemoth of information to devour.

Even though most of us bunked loads of classes; or weren’t attentive in class even if we attended; even though we had 3 half days per week, it is commendable that a list of Proverbs was still maintained. Perhaps, collecting proverbs was the main incentive of attending or paying attention in class.

MultiMediaHeaderThose who opted for Multimedia Communications (fondly known as MMC) instead of Business Intelligence (fondly known as BI), will find it extremely hard to forget their MMC teacher (fondly known as Donald) for his trademark ludicrous gait – a teacher who used to laugh even when he was supposed to be furious. Apart from that, they will also remember how he taught, or tried really hard to teach, an extremely noisy class, the concepts of MMC with the aid of PowerPoint slides. Who can forget the amount of time it took for that silly projector, in our class, to come to life; and even after it did, displayed weird colours? Last, but not least, who can forget his proverbs that rarely failed to generate peals of laughter? Check out a few of the proverbs that were somehow collected for your perusal:

  • “No…See…” – A phrase used frequently, when he is about to explain to a student why that student’s approach to the problem at hand, is incorrect.
  •  “No…See…If you want to do good things, you must start from scratch” – said while explaining the merits of staying quiet in class.
  • “There is a dog in every house” – I fail to recall in what context this tall claim was made.
  • “Teachers will be teachers; students will be students” – Obviously! Who does he think we are?
  • “No…See…Why you want to talk like this?” – A non-rhetorical (for lack of a better term) question that failed to elicit any response from anyone in the class.
  •  “Always remain within the bandwidth” – said with regard to the frequencies of sound that originated from our classroom and propagated to other classrooms in all directions.
  • “No…See…If everyone keeps making small-small noise, then there will be a big noise” – His observation skills are commendable.
  • “Right?” – A rhetorical question, and one which was always uttered before he inhales air while speaking. Uttering this phrase was more important than completing a sentence. For instance, a shample sentence would go something like: “Multimedia is media and, right…” (pause, inhale) “…content that uses a combi…right…” (pause, inhale) “…nation of diff-different content forms…right?” Many classes were spent trying to count the number of times “Right” was said. However, this task of counting proved to be a Herculean task and was soon abandoned a few days after it began.
  • “Simp-simply” – A unique way of placing emphasis on the word, Simply. For instance: “No…See…Don’t talk simp-simply.”
  • “Diff-differently” – A unique way of placing emphasis on the word, Different.
  • “No…See…Once I say, you should follow, ya!!” – He tries to say this sternly, but always ends up laughing.
  • “No…See…Go to the market” – Pretty self-explanatory, I guess.
  • “No…See…Don’t you ashame, ya?” – Said when he is very disappointed with a student’s behavior.
  • “No…See…After you all got placed, you have been floating only. If you want to float, go to Jog Falls and float” – This philosophical statement was said very sternly, only once, after he was fed up of our noisy class. After making this statement, the entire class went crazy with laughter, and the best part was, he forgot all his anger and joined in the laughter.
  • “Block Shirt” – Whether he was referring to a shirt with blocks or a black shirt, I haven’t the faintest idea, but rumour has it that the student who wore the aforementioned block shirt was thrown out of the class by him.
  • “Shampling – Whenever he said this, everyone thought he was referring to a particular student in our class whose name happened to form a prefix of “Shampling”.

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opengl-4_0Computer Graphics was a compulsory subject in which we studied about OpenGL, which was affectionately called “OpenGL Style” as a tribute to “Oppa Gangnam Style”. Very few students bothered to listen in this class. However, many a time, their conversations would be interrupted by one of the following ‘proverbs’, and I’m willing to bet that these words of wisdom have a greater chance of being remembered by them than anything else related to Graphics that was taught in this class. :

  • “Keep Quiet” – a phrase uttered more than a million times. Kind of reminds one of the idle callback function, if you know what I mean.
  • “Upon that, if you want to do this, I will mark you absent.” – A threat, which was carried out a number of times. However, there seldom seemed to be any distinguishable change in the noise levels of the class. Maybe because there was always some ambiguity about the meanings of the terms ‘that’ and ‘this’.
  • “How many times should I tell you this?” – A question which gathered no response at all.
  • “Once in a week, you come to class…” – Usually said to a student who came to class once a week and considered it his/her duty to contribute to the noise.
  • “The last benches there.” – Makes one wonder whether the benches or the students were contributing to the noise in class.

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cryptographyThere’s a high probability that you’ve already read the “Play Fair” article posted on Jinkchak. If not, head here -> https://jinkchak.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/play-fair/ at once, to learn more about the antagonist (Loepo N) of that story who happened to teach Cryptography to us. This subject was initially an elective until it was converted into a compulsory subject for reasons I cannot fathom. The funny thing was that students didn’t dare make much noise in his class – after the Play Fair incident, anyway. What was missing in the “Play Fair” article was a list of his proverbs and memorable behavioural patterns which hadn’t been authenticated by then. So, here they are, after authentication:

  • “More than sufficient” – A partially misleading and repudiable statement.
  • “Recently, when I attended _______”, where _______ could be filled with any of the following:
  1. An Israeli Conference
  2. A conference at the College of Engineering, Pune
  3. A conference in Whitefield

When this statement was made by him, one could easily deduce that one would soon be listening to an account of his past experiences that he had already related a few classes earlier.

  • “When you can send mails, you can study also!” – Rumour has it that this phrase was said to the person who had written a letter with the subject: deliberate misinformation regarding test portions’, and addressed it to Loepo N. Apparently, when that person asked him why the 4th internal portions for Cryptography were so vast, Loepo N made the aforementioned statement. Oh. Did I forget to mention that the powers that be granted the victims, mentioned in the “Play Fair” article, 4th internals, less than a week after the 3rd internals ended? Well, I apologize for not mentioning it earlier.
  • “Relums” – To us it sounded like “Pre-lums”, but later, it was found to refer to “Realms” (of Kerberos fame)
  • He could be recognized even if he was miles away, thanks to his easily recognizable shirts. Someone even said that his shirts formed a portion of his digital signature. Another observed that the rule he used, to select which shirt to wear on any given day, was a periodic function that made use of the modulo operator (%).
  • After putting forth a question to the class, he had a tendency of performing one of the following actions:
  1. Rotating a chalk piece between his fingers
  2. Biting his upper lip
  3. All of the above
  4. None of the above

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Fuzzy_Logic_by_illadelphianFinally, who can forget our Fuzzy Logic teacher? A few of his proverbs was listed earlier, in a previous article – https://jinkchak.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/oblivion/. There are a few more to add. Fuzzy Logic was an elective in a group that also contained the subject, “Ad-Hoc Networks”. However, a proper source of Ad-Hoc proverbs couldn’t be found, so you’ll have to remain content with only the proverbs accumulated in the Fuzzy Logic class:

  • “Useless fellows” – A classic phrase, uttered frequently.
  • “Thejaaa” – A different way of calling a particular student in our class.
  • “Hmmmmm” – Used to draw the attention of all students when peace and quiet is necessary.
  • “That is all” – Used in order to signify the end of a question or answer or a class.

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caOur Computer Architecture class saw the return of a teacher, whom we had been taught by during previous years and about whom I had written a long long time ago. So, I will not venture to list her proverbs here. However, there is one incident worth mentioning, in which two notorious characters were caught throwing paper-rockets in her class. Everything would have been fine had one badly-designed rocket not decided to change its course by taking a 90-degree turn, swooped and landed in an area that was within the teacher’s field of vision. By way of punishment, the offenders were asked to give a seminar on Tournament Predictors on the morrow, which they did.

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Of Attendance, Placements and Preparation

attendanceThis semester, there were rarely any occasions on which the class strength was greater than 80%. Geez! Even the dog that resides near the CS department, and spends its free time attending classes, had a higher attendance percentage in our class than some students. Thanks to the Placement sessions that went on throughout this semester, final year students, who hadn’t got placed yet, had a valid excuse not to attend classes. The ones who attended had already gotten placed. Many times, the HOD would come to our class and shout at the students seated inside, coaxing them to attend interviews in the appropriate attire; the best part was the students who actually required that advice weren’t actually in class. Duh!

CAT & GRE, get it?

CAT & GRE, get it?

Another reason cited for not attending class, was GRE and CAT preparation (apparently, the person whose alias is Ghajinikanth Udayashankar Zuckerberg, emerged with flying colors in CAT after all this preparation) since not everyone was interested in going for a job after one’s tenure at RVCE came to an end. We also faced a royal ordeal when we mass-bunked numerous times. However, there’s no need for me to repeat – Head to jinkchak.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/play-fair/and read about our mass-bunking adventures. Due to the cancellation of the first internals, many students of our class became desperate during the next two internals, and desperate times call for desperate measures. Instead of devoting time to actually study, they concentrated on coming up with ingenious modes of copying, which included copying from smartphones that were covered by calculator buttons; from pencil boxes; from hands, legs and perhaps, even ears.

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Mini-Projects and Assignments

Projects 2We were all pretty occupied with our assignments and mini-projects. Those who cared enough, chose to do the entire mini-project themselves; others chose to steal or buy (preferably the former) ready-made projects and/or previous years’ projects (who knows – perhaps the preceding year’s project was also copied from a preceding year’s project, leading to indefinite levels of recursion);  or better still – steal projects from one of those 1000freeprojects websites! The most common dialogue used by teachers during the last few weeks of this semester, went something like this: “Have you finished your project (assignment)? Now, make a paper in IEEE format – you know that format, right? Just download it from the net, fill it up and give it to me. I’ll submit it to some International Journal that I have shortlisted.” (I’ve heard of journals shortlisting papers for publication, but never vice-versa. What a reversal of fortune!)

Some crazy chaps got it into their heads that they could have some entertainment by adding crazy stuff to their reports, since no teacher ever bothered to actually read any report critically, most of the time assuming that everyone had copied it. For instance, they added the following lines to their Graphics Mini-Project: “We would like to give back to this world a Graphical editor. With great power comes great responsibility. This will be free and will be used in schools, colleges, universities, Government and Private Institutions, Secret Service, Mafia, etc. We wish to release this product by Christmas eve, December 2012 AD so that students can enjoy it during the holiday season.”

For the report of their Football Assignment, they included the following picture on the front page:

what we did

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Believe it or not, after this writing spree of mine, I still have a lot more left to write – so much happened during this semester. However, this article has taken up a lot of your time, so I’ll bring it to a conclusion. Go ahead…Breathe a sigh of relief!

It was the last semester in which we were inseparable from data sheets and lab records, and there’s another article solely dedicated to this topic. You might be wondering why the NBA committee wasn’t mentioned in this humungous article – well, all I can say is, another article is in the works. So, Stay Tuned! If I may say so myself, my 7th semester at RVCE, with all the good, the bad and the ugly incidents, was one of the most memorable semesters ever!

I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope that our very last semester in RVCE will be even more memorable. Here’s to a Jinkchak Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Ultimate 8th Semester!!! Cheers! 🙂

Date: 10:05 AM, Thursday, October 4, 2012 AD
Location: 2nd floor of the CS Department (New Building)

“Useless fellow!”

No sooner had I heard this phrase uttered than a light tap on the back of my head roused me from my reverie with a jolt. I opened my eyes and observed my surroundings. I found myself sitting in my classroom, with my FL teacher frowning at me with a glint of humour in his eyes. The first question that sprang into my mind was, “What am I doing here?”

Before I had the chance to acquire an explanation for this rather strange question, another fact took me completely by surprise. For the past one month, the class strength (of the 7th Semester CS class) had barely managed to cross 40-50 % of the actual strength. However, to my astonishment, the strength had surpassed even 90%. How was this even possible? I asked myself, “Am I still dreaming?”

I looked at my wristwatch. Wait a minute!! 10:06 AM!! What was this craziness?!! Wasn’t I supposed to write my Computer Architecture test today? Why didn’t I have a white answer booklet open in front of me? Did I miss it? Why were WE ALL “listening” to a lecture on FL?? And then, the lights flashed and realization dawned on me. It was true. I wasn’t dreaming…

Now, I know that you, reader, must be extremely puzzled with what you have just perused. However, I can quite assure you that things will fall into place if you would be so kind as to allow me to tell you a tale like none you have ever heard before. Mark my words, reader! I assure you that your effort will not be in vain. Know that when I use the terms “we” and “our”, I refer to all the students of a particularly notorious section of the 7th Semester class of RVCE CSE.

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First, let us rewind to the beginning of this semester – 7th semester, to be precise. With most students attending the placement sessions coupled with the fact that the prospect of spending our last year at RVCE cooped up in a classroom listening to (some) dull lectures didn’t seem particularly enticing, it would be perfectly alright to guess that our classroom remained nearly half-empty most of the time (during working hours). Surprisingly, three half-days per week didn’t aid the situation at all!

So, to aid us in our quest for inner peace, the Art of Mass Bunking came to our rescue. In our three years at RVCE CSE, we had practised the art (and I do not use that term lightly) of mass bunking to perfection, or so we thought. Little did we know that we were all in for a big surprise…

If my memory serves me, it was in the very first week of the 7th semester that we began mass-bunking. To our great delight, no faculty member took any action against us. By the following week we were so certain of ourselves that we were mass-bunking left, right and centre without a second thought. Talk about craziness! Why did we even bother to come to college?

Fast-forwarding to Wednesday, September 12, 2012 AD:

It was a half day and we all mass-bunked after attending the first class. That was the time when the news of our deeds was brought to the HOD’s notice by one of the teachers (Loepo N) whose class we had bunked. In the evening, the following mail, written by the aforementioned teacher,  was found in our email inboxes:

Dear All,

All the seventh semester ‘B’ section students are required to assemble in HOD-CSE without fail at 9 AM tomorrow morning (Sept 13, 2012).  This is regarding serious note of students missing the classes on Sept 12, 2012.

Regards,
Loepo N                                 (Name Encrypted)

Note that the Playfair cipher technique was used for encryption with the key “playfairexample”.

Thursday, September 13, 2012 AD:

As luck would have it, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (or BMTC, as it is fondly called) chose to organize a strike on September 13, 2012…Yes!! The exact date mentioned in the e-mail above! They couldn’t have selected a more appropriate date – perhaps the only occasion when their timing was perfect! (http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_bmtc-strike-wait-may-be-indefinite-this-time_1740314) . RVCE declared a holiday due to lack of transportation. We did have to pay the price of attending classes on Saturdays for the next two weeks, but I’ll get to that part later.

Due to the sudden turn of events, the aforementioned mail was forwarded again by Loepo N to everyone that evening, stating that we had to meet the HOD at 9 AM on September 14, 2012 AD.

Friday, September 14, 2012 AD:

Fate was kind to us, and the BMTC strike continued. However, RVCE, being the way it has always been, didn’t declare a holiday. Old habits die hard! Thus, those who weren’t dependent on the BMTC, went to college as usual. Rumour has it that no one from our class assembled in the HOD’s office. However, I can declare one thing for certain. After 11:00 AM IST, all the students of 7th semester B section mass-bunked AGAIN.

Monday, September 17, 2012 AD:

At around 10:00 AM IST, the HOD entered our classroom and after conducting the usual formalities of checking for ID cards, listening to lame excuses about why some students weren’t wearing ID cards, and ensuring that the backbenchers occupied the front benches, he got down to brass tacks. He reprimanded us for our conduct and asked us to mend our ways immediately. He told us that we wouldn’t get any attendance if we mass-bunked again. Alas! All his words went in one ear and out the other!

For the next three days, we didn’t attend college. No! We didn’t mass bunk. We didn’t have to. After all, RVCE had declared holidays on September 18th, 19th (for the Ganesha Festival) and 20th(due to the Bharat Bandh).

Friday, September 21, 2012 AD:

At 11:00 AM, there was a failed attempt to mass-bunk due to lack of unity.

During the following week, we all attended classes as usual (till Friday, September 28, 2012). Thanks to the placements that were going on, there was even a time when there were only around 10 students listening to a lecture in our class!

Saturday, September 29, 2012 AD:

(Now we are coming close to the time of revelation). Remember, we were attending classes on this day since this was the price we had to pay for all the bandhs and strikes that had occurred earlier. We attended class as usual till 11:30 AM IST. Then, the mischief began. Everyone was convincing everyone else to mass-bunk. The students who voluntarily initiated the process and tried to convince everyone to mass-bunk undoubtedly drew inspiration from this person:

Anyway, no one wanted to sit for two continuous hours listening to Loepo N. Besides, most students were attending placements. So, we mass-bunked again… This was the last straw…

Later that evening, Loepo N sent the following mail to all of us and all the teachers of RVCE CSE:

To all the students of 7th Semester B Section,

In light of the students missing the CNS classes on Sept 29,2012 from 11:30 to 1:30 PM, a disciplinary action has been instigated against the students of this section. The internal test and further classes for this section will be indefinitely suspended. This behavior of the students are reported to respective counselor and thereby information is passed on to Parents.

Regards,
Loepo N

Note the word “all”. No discrimination was being made. The funny thing was even those students, who had perfectly legitimate reasons for bunking, were being punished. I’ll leave you to judge the fairness of this decision…
For some bizarre reason, this mail wasn’t received by a few of its intended recipients. FYI, it wasn’t even in the spam folder. Was this an omen?

Monday, October 1, 2012 AD:

After enjoying the relatively short weekend, we returned to college filled with some misgivings. To our surprise, there was no official notice about our suspension, on our department notice board. We breathed a sigh of relief at 9:10 AM when our classes resumed as usual. We came to the conclusion that Loepo N had learned nothing from the story about the boy who cried wolf. Anyhow, we didn’t try to push our luck by mass-bunking again after that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 AD:

Loepo N informed us that our internals had certainly been cancelled. The few people who did attend classes were apprehensive and went to speak to the HOD, who affirmed that Loepo N spoke the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The HOD wanted to know the names of the initiators of the mass-bunk, but no one was willing to spill the beans. Our fate was sealed…  But doubt still lingered in the air. The foremost question on everyone’s minds was:

Copyleft Agent Super Mario

Was the HOD a man of his word? Well, only time would tell…

Thursday, October 4, 2012 AD

Some of us had studied for the internals, believing that the HOD was just kidding, while some of us hadn’t bothered to touch our textbooks, guessing that the HOD would stand by his decision. At 8:45 AM, the latter group’s assumptions were proved right by the fact that no classrooms had been allocated for the students of our class to write the test. On gaining this piece of knowledge, the ones who had studied late into the previous night, were cursing under their breath while the ones who hadn’t studied were overfilled with joy and wanted to dance in Gangnam Style, and someone even suggested that they present the HOD with ladoos to celebrate the occasion.

However, everyone’s joy was short-lived for, you see, we had to attend classes. No freaking holiday had been granted to us! We had to sit in class, and bizarrely enough, almost 90% of us attended. Our first class was FL, and the teacher joked about our situation and shared the following words of wisdom with us: “You just mass-bunked the wrong class – Loepo N’s class! Useless fellows! If you had mass-bunked my class, I wouldn’t have instigated such serious action.”

And guess what. After that, we had to attend Loepo N’s class for two consecutive hours – yes! The very same class we had mass-bunked on Saturday; the very same classes that were responsible for the state we were in; the very same Loepo N  who was now having the last laugh, enjoying his vengeance! The effect of our mass-bunk had been nullified!

Oh well. We all looked on the bright side – while all the other students of RVCE studied earnestly for their first internals, at least we didn’t have to study for two tests per day. Our torture had been postponed…Now coming to the real icing on the cake – thanks to the Karnataka Bandh on Saturday, October 6, 2012, RVCE postponed the tests that were supposed to be held on this day, to Sunday, October 7, 2012. Sunday!! Can you believe it?!! Only the students of 7th semester CSE B section can enjoy their Sunday. Some enthusiastic souls of our class have even planned a class trip on Sunday…

Rumour has it that the portions for our second internals will also include the portions of our first internals (the one we missed). Rumour also has it that a letter, requesting a change of faculty for a certain subject due to differences of opinion, will find its way to the suggestion box in the CS department in the not too distant future.

After all this, a lot of unanswered questions still seem to linger in our minds. What if there hadn’t been a BMTC strike on September 13, 2012? What if we hadn’t been made to attend college on September 29, 2012? What if we hadn’t mass bunked on that day? Too many what ifs…It’s no use crying over spilt milk, is it? Did Loepo N play fair(ly)? Was such serious action justified to teach us a lesson? Have we learned our lesson? Will we ever mass-bunk again? Will you, reader, ever participate in mass-bunks after reading about our ordeal? Well, all I can say is, Only Time will Tell…or perhaps, you could tell me by commenting on this post. 🙂

Lyo esfd dsp nwzespo spc ylvpo gtwwltyj htes zoo pyod dezwpy qzces qczx szwj hcte lyo dppxpo l dltye, hspy xzde dsp awljpo esp opgtw. Tai U iuet kag tmpz'f nqfdmkqp yq!

Every year, a significant number of students participate in Campus Placements. According to Wikipedia, Campus placement or campus interview is the program conducted within educational institutes or in a common place to provide jobs to students pursuing or in the stage of completing the program.

Have you ever wondered what actually goes on during placements? If you have, then you’ve come to right place. Please read further…

The Prezi that was used to create this video can be found here: http://prezi.com/ahig7-fmagcn/super-mario/ . Feel free to copy and modify it as you see fit!

Disclaimer: This film was made with the intent of entertaining its viewers. It was, in no way whatsoever, created to offend anyone. If it did, I apologize! All characters appearing in this work are fictitious, unless you wish to believe otherwise.

Written by

Me…yeah ME!

Time: 2300 hours IST
Location: Imaginary
 

“Will you cut that out?” screamed Stack. “I’m going to overflow here.”

(Meet Stack. He is the one who stores information about the active subroutines of a computer program and carries a huge burden of data on his shoulders, while strictly conforming to the last-in-first-out principle. There are many similar stacks for other programs in Memory.)

“Hey! There ain’t nothing I can do about it. Compiler gave me some code and I’m executing it,” replied Interpreter.

(Say Hello to Interpreter. She executes stored precompiled code created by her brother, Compiler)

“Listen up, Compiler! If you don’t do something fast, I will overflow!” screamed Stack.

“So?? What can I do?” answered Compiler, rudely. “Don’t look at me. It ain’t my fault. It’s that idiotic programmer, Jack’s fault. His program contains a method that keeps calling itself. He must have forgotten to type out a base case for termination. I don’t have the ability to warn him about that….”

(Say Hello to Compiler. He transforms source code written into bytecode that can be interpreted by his sister.)

“Ok. That’s it! I can’t take it anymore. Whoever’s responsible, catch this!” and Stack stopped accepting any more data. Instead, Stack threw an error. The programmer, who was the creator of that buggy program, saw the following message on his monitor:

“Phew! That was close! After throwing up, I’m relieved! I’m feeling much better now,” said Stack, looking around, expecting to see everyone smiling. Instead, he could perceive only depressed beings.

“What’s with the gloomy faces?” asked Stack.

Compiler looked at Stack and replied, “Let’s just hope that that idiot of a programmer spots that bug before he runs that program again. It’s really stressful in here.”

“By the way, what exactly is that programmer trying to accomplish?” asked Interpreter, who had suddenly woken up from her reverie.

“I have no clue, but Editor might know. Hey Editor!” shouted out Compiler. “Can ya spare a few moments?”

Editor turned around and shouted back, “I’m kinda busy here. What d’ya want?”

(Say Hello to Editor, who is, in fact, a source code editor designed specifically for editing source code of computer programs by programmers. He is extremely proud of his syntax highlighting, autocomplete and bracket matching functionalities.)

“We just wanted to know the nature of the program that idiot is trying to code.”

“Wait…Let me check my buffers. Aha! Here’s something that might help. There’s a function called permute and it contains the following code:

private static void permute(String str)
{
	permute("", str);
}

private static void permute(String prefix, String rest)
{
	if(rest.length() == 0)
		System.out.println(prefix);
	else
	{
		for(int i=0; i<rest.length(); i++)
		{
			String newPrefix = prefix + rest.charAt(i);
			String newRest = rest.substring(0, i) + rest.substring(i+1);
			permute(newPrefix, rest);
		}
	}
}

“Hope this helps!” shouted Editor, and without waiting for any acknowledgement, turned back and resumed his work.

“Wish we were intelligent enough to figure out what this piece of code does,” said Interpreter.

“That programmer didn’t forget to write the base case. So, there ain’t no problem with that. Must be some logical error! I hate logica…” Before Compiler could complete, he received an instruction to begin compiling. “Ok. Time to get to work! Here it comes again. Let’s just hope the bug has been removed!” and the whole process began again.

However, a few microseconds later, the same StackOverflowError message appeared. This process was repeated four more times, until VLC Player suddenly woke up from his slumber.

(Say hello to VLC Player. He is a highly portable free and open-source media player and supports many audio and video compression methods and file formats.)

“Hey, people! You can relax for awhile. Jack is taking a break and listening to some music!” exclaimed VLC.

“Oh…That’s wonderful. We all need rest. Perhaps Jack will find the bug after the break,” guessed Stack.

And all the other processes shouted out “Thank you, VLC!” together and fell asleep…well, almost.

________________________________________________________________________

Out of the blue, all the sleeping processes were awakened by a young, energetic voice saying, “Sorry to wake you up, guys, but I just had to…I couldn’t help overhearing your little conversation.”

“Well, what about it, Firefox?” asked Interpreter, partly annoyed.

(Say hello to Firefox, the youngest member of the gang. She is a web browser responsible for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web.)

“When I heard you mention the word “permute”, I recalled that Jack had been searching for information about that earlier today. I checked my cache to confirm, and apparently, he’s been reading a lot about recursive functions to compute permutations.”

“Well, that explains why there’s a method that keeps on calling itself,” added Compiler, as though he knew it all along.

“Did he manage to find a program for that?” asked Stack.

“Apparently, no! There isn’t any source code in my cache. I would have searched online myself, if I was allowed to. But thanks to Antivirus there, I won’t be able to do so,” explained Firefox, pointing to a stiff figure far away, “We wouldn’t even have to look at him if we all lived in Ubuntu. But here we are. In Windows. The only good point is he allows us to talk amongst ourselves.”

All the other processes turned to look at Antivirus, who never spoke to them, but always took any opportunity to pounce on anyone who exhibited suspicious behavior. True, he did a good job catching viruses 80% of the time, but he seemed too paranoid to everyone except himself.

“Anyway,” continued Firefox. “I do possess in my cache, a document containing an algorithm that Jack might be using. Here it is,” and she displayed the following:

If you are limited to iterative control structures, finding a general solution that works for strings of any length is difficult. Thinking about the problem recursively, on the other hand, leads to a relatively straightforward solution.The key to solving the permutation problem recursively is recognizing that the permutations of the (for instance) four-character string “ABCD” consist of the following strings:

  • The character ‘A’ followed by every possible permutation of “BCD”
  • The character ‘B’ followed by every possible permutation of “ACD”
  • The character ‘C’ followed by every possible permutation of “ABD”
  • The character ‘D’ followed by every possible permutation of “ABC”
void permute(string str)
{
     permute("", str);
}

The Recursive Permute procedure follows the outline of the recursive permutation

algorithm and has the following pseudocode form:

void permute(string prefix, string rest)
{
   if (rest is empty)
   {
      Display the prefix string.
   }
   else
   {
      For each character in rest
      {
         Add the character to the end of prefix.
         Remove character from rest.
         Use recursion to generate permutations with the updated values for prefix and rest.
      }
   }
}

The prefix starts empty and all the original letters still remain to be examined, which gives you the original problem. As the prefix grows and there are fewer characters remaining, the problem becomes simpler. When there are no characters remaining to be permuted, all characters have been placed in the prefix, and it can be displayed exactly as it appears.

The following video demonstrates how permutations are generated using recursion. Seems magical at first, but then, you’ll find it’s extremely logical. Watch it once, twice or how many ever times you like until you understand. It’s important!

Go ahead. Try it out!

After reading the entire document, Compiler commented, “Wow! Recursion seems to be magical. I wonder what all can be accomplished with recursion.”

Stack, who was more skeptical, said, “If it’s so good, then why ain’t it working? I don’t believe it. Why is it making me overflow?”

“Let’s find out by comparing the algorithm and code together,” suggested Firefox. And so, they did.

void permute(string prefix, string rest)
{
if (rest is empty)
{
Display the prefix string.
}
else
{
For each character in rest
{
   Add the character to the end of prefix.
   Remove character from rest.
   Use recursion to generate permutations with the updated values for prefix and rest.
}
}
}
static void permute(String prefix, String rest)
{
	if(rest.length() == 0)
    {
		System.out.println(prefix);
    }
	else
	{
		for(int i=0; i<rest.length(); i++)
		{
			String newPrefix = prefix + rest.charAt(i);
			String newRest = rest.substring(0, i) + rest.substring(i+1);
			permute(newPrefix, rest);
		}
	}
}

After a few microseconds had passed, Interpreter shouted out, “I’ve found it!”

“Where’s the bug?” asked Stack.

“If you observe the 13th line carefully (Is that unlucky or what?), the algorithm says, ‘Use recursion to generate permutations with the updated values for prefix and rest’…Notice the word, updated…Now, look at the last line of the source code which says, ‘permute(newPrefix, rest)’ and…” Interpreter was interrupted.

“…and instead of newRest, which is the updated version of rest, the unmodified version of rest is passed as the second argument!” continued Firefox after the light dawned on her.

“Precisely! That’s why control never reaches the base case because rest.length() never ever returns zero.”

“That was an awesome discovery, Interpreter…Too bad we still have to hope that Jack discovers this bug himself,” said Stack in a disappointed tone.

“Not necessarily,” declared Editor, who had been listening passively. “I can aid Jack in discovering the bug.” Saying that, Editor immediately constructed a red-line underneath the words ‘permute(newPrefix, rest)’. At the same time, VLC informed them that Jack had finished listening to music and was resuming his work.

Jack had fallen asleep while listening to music and had had some weird dreams. However, after this break, he was feeling somewhat refreshed, albeit a little drowsy. When Jack maximized the editor window, he noticed something that hadn’t caught his attention earlier. He spotted the underlined words, and after wondering how that had come into existence, his eye caught sight of the parameter ‘rest’. Then it hit him. He immediately placed his hands on the keyboard and inserted ‘new’ as a prefix to rest. He ran the program to generate all permutations of the string “abc” and the following output appeared:

Satisfied that he had finally accomplished what he had set out to do, Jack shut down his computer and prepared to go to sleep considering that it was almost midnight. At the moment when he was just about to fall asleep, he wondered how that red line had appeared out of the blue. He whispered to himself, “I must get some sleep. I’m imagining all sorts of things…”

The END

Note: The program and algorithm discussed in this story were obtained from the book: Programming Abstractions in C++ – Eric S. Roberts and Julie Zelenski