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A Master Without a Masters

A couple of years ago, I was interning with a startup called Cookifi. Three mornings a week, I'd board a bus bound for HSR Layout to go to the office. One day, the bus simply failed to turn up, and I ended up sharing a cab with one of my stranded co-passengers. His name was Ravitej, and he worked in a software company. He didn't have a Ph.D. in anything, but he taught me more during a one-hour cab ride than some of my computer science teachers have taught me during entire semesters.

A few years before that, I played video games online with a guy named Luke. Luke was 20 years old at the time, and he worked in a hardware store. He didn't have an MIT education or even, come to that, a masters degree. What he did have, however, was an incredible understanding of vector calculus - incredible enough that his explanations even made sense to me at the age of 14. My "highly qualified" 10th-grade math teacher, on the other hand, couldn't suitably teach me basic trigono…
Recent posts

5K:) - Done!

We're done! Nearly 5000 kids, 5 lakh rupees and 143 donors later, I figured I ought to give you guys an update about what actually happened on the big day.

My day began at 6:50 a.m, considerably earlier than my usual waking time on a holiday. My phone's ringtone cut into my slumber. One of the volunteers was calling me to ask for details about their orphanage. Seeing as it was nearly seven, I figured I might as well get dressed and prepare for the day ahead of me.

The deliveries really began around 8:30. I was standing in a spirit-sapping drizzle at our neighbourhood Independence Day celebration, trying, like all the other attendees, to look like I wouldn't prefer to be inside with a hot cup of tea and something satisfyingly deep-fried. As the flag was being hoisted, my phone vibrated in my pocket, and I picked it up. Farooq from McDonald's was calling to let me know that the first delivery was on time. One short, hushed conversation later, I got back to looking suitab…

5K:) - The Process

Well, here we are. The eve of the delivery. We've raised over ₹5, 00, 000 from people around the world, and by the end of this week, we'll have delivered meals to 5,264 kids. We've placed phone calls to nearly 80 orphanages and racked up positively astounding cell phone bills. Before the delivery, though, I wanted to talk about the actual process behind the initiative.
Like last year, we decided to do this altogether too close to D-day: we wanted to do the deliveries on the 15th of August, and we began work on the 1st of August, only 15 days before. The first thing we had to do was get in touch with McDonald's. We called their head office in Mumbai, where we navigated an electronic answering system that was, apparently, designed to make life as difficult for callers as possible. Several minutes and an angry outburst and later, I was speaking to the operator at McDonald's, who connected me with someone else, who connected me, via a third intermediary, with their ope…

5K:) - The Pledge Drive

It's 8:11am on a Saturday morning and like most people my age, I'd much rather be asleep right now, but fortunately, duty calls. I wanted to give you people an update of sorts about the project. So far, we've raised around 2,40,000 (our donation page shows 3,10,000 because of an error). We're nearing the halfway mark, and I figured I ought to let everyone know what this project actually entails.

There's three big components to this project - children, volunteers and funding. So far, we have around 3,200 meals which need to be delivered. I know our goal was 5,000, and we have enough orphanages to reach that number, but the problem is, as of right now, we have neither the funds nor the volunteers to cover that.

In terms of volunteers, we were hoping to have one at each orphanage. According to our estimates, it'll take around 60 orphanages for us to reach 5000 kids, and we have exactly 15 volunteers. The last date for signing up as a volunteer is the 14th of Augus…

5K:) - 2017

If you've been following my blog for a while - since the end of 2015-beginning of 2016 - you'll probably remember a post I did last year about the Thousand Smiling Faces project (I also wrote another post about it immediately after). For those of you who are too lazy to click through those links, the Thousand Smiling Faces project was a bunch of us teenagers getting McDonald's Happy Meals for 1000 kids in orphanages.

I was planning to this again on New Year's Day 2017, but couldn't get it to work out. However, Independence Day is coming up, and we're going to do it again, but this time, we've gone a little crazy - instead of working with 1000 kids, we're aiming to deliver 5000 meals! That's roughly  ₹5,00,000's worth of Happy Meals, a lot of burgers by anyone's standards.

We've also got another twist to the thing this year. Seeing as we're doing it on the 15th of August, which is India's Independence Day, and seeing as how McDon…

The New Socializers

Note: This post was actually my essay for my English exam this morning. All credit for the topic (How my generation socializes differently from my parents') and the title of this post go to my teacher, Mrs. Shobha K.



Millennial introduction: Hello, fellow millennial! How is your suffering?
Baby boomer introduction: Greetings, O almighty reader!
I know, sounds weird, right? Not least because people don't actually greet each other that way. They never have. It does, however, highlight something that I really want to talk about: that millennials and baby boomers socialize in very different ways.

Myself, I'm a millennial. For those of you that don't know, that means that I invest poorly and can't buy property because I spend all my money on avocado toast. At least, that's what the Gen X millionaires would have you believe. A lot of Gen X-ers would also have you believe that Gen Y does not know how to socialize, does not know how to converse. I'd like to respond…

Marketing Tactics

I like to think I've had a moderately non-sheltered upbringing. I may not know how to get to anywhere that's more than, say, 2km from my house, but that's mainly because I rely on Google Maps rather than putting in the effort to figure out my city. I've seen people sleeping at bus stations, I've travailed on second-class non-AC trains, I've dealt firsthand with goat droppings. Until my last NCC camp, though, I had never been to a Bangalorean mandi.

This post is one I've been meaning to write for a while, so needless to say, I haven't even tried until nearly a month after. Needless to say, I now find myself unable to recall the precise details of the outing. What I do remember, though, is being roused from my slumber at 4:00am, a full half-hour before the NCC usually expects cadets to wake up, and being told to go downstairs because we had to go to the market. I got dressed and went downstairs to wait in the chilly darkness with nine other cadets for an …