We win together. We lose together.

“Football, bloody hell”.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s quote when Manchester United won the 1999 Champions League is perhaps the best embodiment of the beautiful game. The fans, players and everyone related with Chelsea Football Club might be going through a bloody hell-ish couple of weeks. As a fan, I certainly can say, it’s been a mixed month for us.

When Demba Ba slid down the centre of the goal to flick the oncoming low drive from * to win Chelsea the quarter-final on away goals, Stamford Bridge faithful didn’t have the slightest clue that Karma was in attendance on that fateful night. As the stadium erupted in joy, along with the millions of others watching on their TV screens, she made mental notes. One year later, the bitch that she is, served it on the platter to Jose Mourinho and millions of Chelsea fans around the world, as cold as it could possibly be. A million hearts were broken.

Twitter exploded, as expected. Chelsea, supposed to be carrying the flag for the most expensive and apparently, the “best league in the world” were dumped out. A myriad of reactions from journalists, rival fans, home fans and almost everyone related to football were on display. Chelsea had been tipped for the quadruple at the start of the season, even, tipped by some to go unbeaten and emulate the great Arsenal side, fondly remembered as “The Invincibles”.

It was a tepid, uninspiring and meek display from the Blues against the Parisians. Not taking any bit of credit away from PSG, who were absolutely brilliant from the whistle go; the performance from the home team was very un-Mourinho-istic. Jamie Carragher, a (okayish, Gary Neville’s way better) pundit on Sky, pointed out, very correctly, Jose’s team were bullied by the 10 men Paris visitors. Given the amount of time that Chelsea were afforded before the game, Chelsea were expected to cruise, more so, after the red card to Zlatan.

Perhaps, Chelsea players were be reeling from the “harder than the Lens game” practice session at Cobham. After the game, many expected Jose to blame the referee once again, protecting his side. His response was one that calmed my bursting nerves and anger. “We win together and we lose together. I played my best team and I lost. They (PSG) deserved to go through. I’ll sit down with my players and analyse this game tomorrow.”

Many Blues’ fans had started venting it out on Twitter regarding Jose’s approach to big games. Many were right. I, myself being a Chelsea fan, was frustrated at our more defensive approach to every big game. It is true that Mourinho likes his teams to be defensively secure before attacking. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. But, admittedly, it would be nice to play an attacking brand of football against bigger teams, impose our game on them, even at the cost of a few errors. The Everton game at the start of the season is a very good example to that approach.

However, we must remember, it is all a part of evolving. We’ve got the best manager on the planet and we must trust him. Indeed, we win together, and we lose together.

KEEP THE BLUE FLAG FLYING HIGH, my brothers.

The picture says it all.

Why Is Aamir Khan Such a Pretentious Prick

Wow! Amazingly written. A must read!

Heartranjan's Blog

Once upon a time in India, Lagaan released.

The film was a smash hit, was sent as our choice for the Oscars (but couldn’t win, as the jury grew old and died during the interval) and Aamir Khan suddenly became the thinking man’s conscience.

The guy who would never attend film awards because he didn’t believe in them, suddenly seemed to be jumping up and down the red carpet, promoting his film. But of course, he was doing it for the nation.

When Lagaan lost out to No Man’s Land, Aamir Khan told the press that the other film deserved to win. When I saw it, said Khan, I knew that it was better than ours.

From that moment on, Aamir Khan has somehow projected and marketed himself as the voice of the nation/youth/continent/solar system. And it’s fucking annoying.

*

Alright, so he chooses to do one movie at a time, reads his…

View original post 1,100 more words

Analysing prospective Chelsea transfers

January is around the corner and with that the comes the rumor season, I mean, the transfer speculation period! Twitter is going haywire again with all the latest rumors surrounding the big clubs in Europe. Among those rumours includes a “Marco Reus to Chelsea” one. Having announced a healthy profit and a record turnover recently, Jose Mourinho would be out again to strengthen his already strong squad backed by ample financial resources at the club’s disposal.

Speculation has been rife in the transfer market that Chelsea have made Marco Reus a top “priority” signing and that Jose Mourinho will be going all guns blazing for the BVB man. A potential swap deal including the out-of-form Andre Schurrle is being talked out loudly. I’m here to analyse not just the rumor but also how Chelsea could yet again do top business in the transfer market, build up on an already impressive squad and still remain in the black ink when it comes to complying with the Financial Fair Play rules.

INS:

1) Marco Reus (20m)

The space is flooded with rumours of transfer of highly sought after BVB superstar. After seeing a the likes of Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski leave the Signal Iduna Park, Borrusia Dortmund are bound to see another one of their players leave. Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Chelsea are deemed to be possible destinations for the 25-year-old. Real Madrid are said to have a first refusal on any deal. However, his move to Real seems improbable as Ancelotti already has a plethora of attacking options available to him and they seem in no requirement of the BVB forward. Barcelona with the transfer ban can be safely ruled out for the transfer. While Bayern would love to have Reus in their ranks, the growing tensions between BVB and Bayern over player deals can see them opt out of the deal. That leaves Chelsea in the pole position to sign the talented forward.

Chelsea also hold an upper hand in the deal as it can involve a swap deal with BVB which could see Andre Schurrle move to Germany. If that happens, it would mean a fantastic business for all parties involved.

Marco Reus could be joining Chelsea this summer.

Total Ins: 20m

OUTS:

1) Ramires (30m)

The Brazilian has seen his chances limited to just 4 starts this season. His early campaign has not been helped by the injuries either. The energetic midfielder has attracted the eye of Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, who had made no effort to hide his praise for the capabilities of the Brazil international last summer. While Mourinho has made it clear that he won’t be selling Ramires, the Portuguese gaffer would certainly consider serious offers around the 30-32m mark. If Mourinho and Co. can get this sum for Brazil international, it would be a fantastic deal for Chelsea.

Ramires could reunite with Carlo Ancelotti

2) Andre Schurrle (20m)

Personally, I would hate to see the amiable German WC winning star leave Stamford Bridge. However, the winger has had an indifferent start to his second season at the Bridge. Having notched up a healthy 9 goals last season and making the world cup winning assist for Mario Gotze in Brazil this summer, huge things were expected of Schurrle this season.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the German as we would have expected. Andre has been largely disappointing and wasteful in front of goal trying too hard, and often going missing in games. This has drawn him public criticism from Jose Mourinho who has expressed his displeasure in light of German’s below par performances. Schurrle remains a fan favorite at the Bridge, but as we have seen, Mourinho has no hesitation to sell a player if he doesn’t feel convinced of his role in the side, as was evident with the sales of Juan Mata and David Luiz.

Schurrle’s future depends heavily on how he performs in the cramped month of December where he’ll be getting ample opportunities in FA Cup and CoC. If he finds his scoring boots, He may well have extended his stay at the Bridge. Otherwise, anywhere in the region of 20m would be enough for Mourinho to approve his departure.

Andre Schurrle needs to find his scoring boots soon.

3) Mohammed Salah (10m)

Snuffed from under the noses of Liverpool, the Egyptian has found it hard to establish himself into the Chelsea first team. He was primarily bought in to inject pace into Chelsea wings at the end of games, the former Basel man has had a string of unimpressive and frustrating displays that have attracted the agony of not only the manager but also the fans. He has been as wasteful as Schurrle and given utterly dismal performances in the limited opportunities that he has been afforded. His career seems to be following that of Kevin de Bruyne and it might not be a surprise if Chelsea decide to cash on the pacy wingman. Anything above 10m should be enough to see him leave the Bridge after just one and a half season.

Mo Salah has yet to turn up for Chelsea

4) John Obi Mikel (13m)

Mikel has had an on off relationship with the Chelsea midfield over the years. He has put in outstanding performances in some while going unnoticed in others. However, he has been a synonymous name in the DM part of Chelsea side since being signed as a 19-year-old under controversial circumstances. He has played more than 300 games for Chelsea and won several medals with the club including the Champions League.

The signing of Nemanja Matic has proved to be a telling blow to the Nigerian who now finds himself more often than not being on the bench and used as a substitute in last minutes of the game to close out opposition attacks. He is obviously no longer a first choice at the club and at the age of 27, it might be a good time to move elsewhere. If Mourinho is offered a fee around 13m for the midfielder, it would be good deal for both the parties.

Mikel could leave Chelsea this summer.

Total Outs: 73m

Net Spend

73m-20m = 53m

An outstanding piece of business this, if Chelsea are able to pull off these transfers in the summer. By the looks of transfer dealings since Mourinho’s return, this estimation wouldn’t be far-fetched. Chelsea could well field an even better starting XI next season with these dealings.

Chelsea Starting XI next season
Chelsea Starting XI next season (click to expand)

The bench with this team would be

Remy, Willian, Schwarzer, Filipe Luis, Zouma, van Ginkel (if he return), and any of the academy players like Ake, Solanke, Baker, Brown, Christensen, Kalas, Bamford.

Now, wouldn’t that be a treat to watch!? Good times ahead for the blues.

The Study Abroad Case : Personal Experiences

Studying abroad is a huge responsibility. And if I may, its just the studying; the “abroad” part is fun actually. Anyways I wanted to do this blog to actually pen down my experiences while “studying” abroad so that prospective people might have some idea before they join the “graduate community”.

 

1. Its f**kin’ expensive

That might evoke a “duh!” from you but it’s quiet different when you actually end up paying a euro for 6 tomatoes. Oh yeah! “Bite me!” was my first reaction as well! The point I’m trying to get across here is that living anywhere but India is expensive, so you might want to keep tabs on your spending and download that “Splitwise” app.

There’s a positive note to that point though. You start understanding that money needs to be spent wisely. You understand that earning money is a tough job and how hard your parents have worked to get the money and send you abroad. Living frugally (make note, I say “living”, not “survive”!) brings out another dimension in you. Valuing the money, every cent, makes you relish every single piece of that tomato you’ve put in your Biryani. Trust me.

Many times, I’ve eaten some stuff I made, horribly cooked “mix veg” for example, just because I’d put in money to buy those veggies and then cook them. I think of the money (hard-earned!!) I’d be wasting if I just throw it away. This point may be a bit over the “frugal” line for many of you, but I’m as cheap as you get. :p

 

2. I’m Indian, I’m gonna ace that course!

The most wrong “duh!” you’d have ever thought! Many people start off the journey thinking of how they’re gonna take the university by storm because, “duh! We’re Indians. Nobody studies more than us. We know more than Americans/Europeans.”  Buying into this philosophy is the first mistake you make. You’d have been a 100% correct if those Americans/Europeans you’re referring to are the ones shown in the dumbass comic flicks that you watch during your undergrad. In most cases, you’ll find out, you’re probably on the lowest rung in your class! You need to work as hard as everyone.

 

3. It might be a “party school”, but you better get your ass on that assignment.

So, you’re going to that Party School? Oh, you’ve seen all the “I’mSchmacked” vids on YouTube? Oh, you’re excited? Wow! I’ve got some good news and some bad news for ya buddy.

Good news: It’s a fuckin’ awesome party place with all the booze and people! Those videos are true.

Bad news: It’s not for you!

No, that’s not racist. It’s just that there’s a reason why your course is a MASTERS course and not BACHELORS. Over the course of your masters, your idea of rocking Friday night will change, not like you had mind blowing weekend parties at your undergrad place, but you get what I’m trying to put here. You better get your ass on that assignment that’s due on Monday. And unlike your undergrad, it’s not something you can indefinitely postpone (How I miss my DCE days! *snobs*)

 

4. Balancing acts.

Studying abroad is a great opportunity to widen your horizons and your perspective, or atleast according to your Statement of Purpose, it is. While there’s no doubt that you have to slag your ass off during your course, you must remember that this IS your last time at a university (unless you want to pursue a PhD, in which case, you have all my best wishes, kindly get off this blog. Thanks.)

You have to make sure you divide your time in such a way that you make the most of your time. Yes, study, but also, take out time to do other things. Explore the country, meet new people, make friends, get Schmacked! This time isn’t gonna come back! Try out things you’ve always wanted to. This is your last chance possibly (hey, PhD people, get out!).

 

5.

I’m gonna leave that heading out blank since I’m not very sure about it. Feel free to fill in yours’. Anyways, I’m going to talk about making friends, both international and desi. It is important to have a good mix among your friends. It is as important to have friends from your own country as it is to have friends who are NOT from your country. I’ve seen many people, who wish to be in THAT group. However, in times of dire needs, in times of homesickness, it is your people who lend you a shoulder.

That being said, I am in no way questioning the commitment of your OTHER friends. They might me great people and sometimes even better than your countrymen. It’s just that, it feels much better to get drunk and shout “oh b******d!” with the buddy who speaks your language than to “Fuck You!” with internationals! I hope you get what I’m trying to say!

On the other side, you need to make friends from other countries as well. It is really really really important. Learn how they work, how they think, how they approach a problem. Sometimes, it would be entirely different to how you respond. It is fun, sometimes frustrating, but nonetheless, it is a much required learning experience. It is partly what you pay those gargantuan amounts of money for.

 

Should I write the heading conclusion as well? Meh!

CONCLUSION

Feels better now. So, in conclusion, I’d say.. It’s your last opportunity (you’re still here, aren’t you? Bloody PhD people). Your last chance to study, to have crazy fun, to explore, spend your dad’s money!! You’re abroad, in the US or the Europe, you’re at a place where many can only dream of going to. Make the moments count.

All the best!

The sadness of being happy

“Abe fail thodi karega bhai.. kyu tension le raha hai?”

Perhaps, he was right. Our final exams in the final year. We knew the system, the system knew us. We wouldn’t fail, it was almost guaranteed. But I wanted to take it as just another exam, only that, it wasn’t. I wanted to have the fear of failing, only, there wasn’t any. I wanted to feel the joy of yet another exam passing, yet, sadness surrounded me. The ‘ulti ginti’ has already started.

I distinctly remember the first exam session for which I appeared here, one subject in particular, Applied Physics. We were being taught the “Theory of Relativity”. The night before the exam, our group, started a discussion on the same. Who broached it, why was it brought up was irrelevant. We listened, we argued, we discussed from 9PM until the sun started rising. It was then, when one of us shouted “Arre kutton, thodi der so jao, subah ho gai hai, 3 ghante me paper dene jana hai”, we came out of Einstein’s mess. The discussion was still wide open, no one ready to accept what other had to say.  Everyone was Einstein on his own. What we wrote in our sheets, well, no fuckin’ clue!

In another such instance, during the second semester, I was really freaked out about this exam, BME, possibly!

“Bhai, sab bhool gaya yaar. Jo pada tha sab bhool gaya. Kuch yaad nahi a raha” said one, while still furiously going through the pages of the notes. This freaked me out even more, as I started to feel that even I had reached my full capacity to mug up. Every word now was overflowing.

Stress was all around, when one says, “Let’s go”. What we did was weird, comical and made absolutely no sense. It was 3AM, we laid down on the road looking towards the night sky. “Bhai tension lene ki jaroorat hi nahi hai. Itne velle hai hum, paper se ek din pehle, raat me, SADAK pad lete hai, taare gin rahe hai”. All three of us burst out laughing, spent a good 15 minutes chatting and then went back. It relieved us of tension and stress, apparently. As a suggestion, I would definitely recommend you to try it, especially hostelers. There’s no feeling that parallels this. Another way of relieving your stress, is, take a good dump. Sounds gross, but really helps. :p

Numerous such incidents dot my 4 years of taking exams in this college. Trips to Maggi Baba, Nescafe during wee hours, night mess. The freedom of saying, “Bhai agle sem fod denge”. I’ve probably still haven’t come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be going to college when I wake up. I won’t be able to message and ask “Class ho ri h?” or get thrown out of the class for being 2 minutes late or not bolting the door. I won’t be roaming around carelessly in the campus joking and laughing around with friends. The semester is ending, as it always does. But now it all ends, as if, the college says “That’s all folks!”

An unforgettable journey it has been. I can ramble on the fantastic life that I have spent here, infinite stories, great camaraderie. How I’ll miss this college. I hope my next journey is as good as this has been! 😀

 

That’s it!

Windows 8.1 First Impressions

So, I just recently downloaded the Windows Phone 8.1 on my Lumia 925. I’ll be doing a quick review of the first impressions of this OS.

 

Image

What’s in?

A lot. It’s like completely overhauled in terms of features. Design wise too there have been some changes but the idiosyncrasy of the Windows Phone in Live Tiles has been kept the same. There are just minor tweaks here and there when design is concerned. The calling screen has got a design uplift. So has the Calendar, which now looks even more awesome! The camera has got a design overhaul, which, honestly, I did not like. For other major changes, I’ll start with the start screen.

Now you have the capability to turn on a third set of tiles on your home screen. Honestly speaking, this feature does not look great on smaller screen phones like mine. But then, it’s down to personal choices. You may want an extra column of information. It really is a personal choice as far as adding an extra column is concerned.

Next up is the BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL parallax. You can now setup an image of your own choice on the background as wallpaper instead of solid colors. This feature actually kind of redefines wallpapers. It looks amazing on the phone and surprisingly feels even better!

Next, the Action Center. One feature that puts this WP OS right up against the likes of Android and iOS. While I wouldn’t say it was direly needed feature, at least for people like me who have been using this platform for quiet some time. But the regular criticism of not having a centralized notification center always put some people off from migrating from other platforms to WP. Action center is very well thought of. There are 4 options on top for quick toggling which are customizable and are up to the user to chose.

For me, even if Microsoft had released an update containing just these features, I would have been blown away. For me, the cake is baked. Microsoft has been really kind and put a cherry on top of that. Yes, Cortana. I did not expect it to be here this soon. Surely the rumours were up and numerous leaks showed Cortana up and running, but I just did not believed it. And I am completely head over heels now with Cortana on my homescreen.

So, is it any good? Does it stand amongst the likes of SIri and Google Now? Well, yes, sort of. Siri is a massively updated feature from Apple and is trillion times better than it was when it first released. Google Now, is, well, Google. Cortana is as good as anyone. Probably better than Siri, but definitely not better than Google Now. I say this, not based on the functionality, but on the basis of speech recognition. Siri and Cortana are primarily for users with an american or a british accent. Indian accent, not quiet accurate. Where Google takes all the points is it’s amazing accuracy to recognise the Indian accent (including names). Full points for that. Cortana is terrible at picking up Indian names. But that is excusable, since it is Microsoft’s first foray into voice based assistant on phones.

Cortana does an impresive job in almost every task given to it. It’s not 100% good, but it’s reasonably well. Probably almost on the same level as Siri. Setting up alarms, reminders, appointments, making calls, texts, emails, fooling around. It does it pretty well. The little animations too are very cool. And mind you, it’s just a beta version. So, I am hoping for a further improved performance once it comes out in full version. And since I am a Microsoft fanboy, Cortana gets the nod ahead of Siri in standings. So, it stands like:

1) Google NOW

2) Cortana

3) Siri

Lastly, the swipe feature on the keyboard. You’ll have to use it to believe it. It is astonishingly accurate and fast. God bless the people at Redmond for coding a tremendous piece of feature addon. I’ve used it for just three days and now I cant type on my phone. Just slide and get the job done.

So that’s about it. As far as notable features are concerned, this is it. Microsoft has done a tremendous tremendous job at overhauling the OS and made it stand among the clutter of Android devices. In terms of looks, Windows phone shines  (expect if you happen to have a M8, that piece is master art!). For all of you who have a windows phone but have not downloaded the Windows 8.1 update yet, I recommend you to do it. This is however a Developer’s preview, so you have to go through a couple of extra steps to get it on your phone. But believe me, its totally worth it.

Here is the link you need to follow to get the WP 8.1. Go on, enjoy!

 http://www.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-81-now-available

Whatever the F***!

After a prolonged hiatus from the blogging arena, I am finally back! The reason for this absence, if you seek one, is the missing inspiration to write anything. I did couldn’t find anything to write, which, put simply, means, my life was pretty boring lately. Recent events, however, have been very interesting and pushed me into thinking. Something that I would want to share with you guys and “hope” I am not yet alone on this.

Having a free flowing conversation with your friend(s), whatever rubbish it may be, is one of the most amazing joys of life. Its like shitting during diarrhea!! Talk about how one time you messed up that night, about how hot SHE/HE was, and more recently how Kejriwal drama is panning out. It all eats up time like the fresh spring air wafting through. Isn’t it?

During one such impromptu long discussion with a friend of mine, I realised what the fuck is up with my fellow mates. It scared me, to be honest. Here’s what happened. He and I were discussing our past crushes, what all crap that had ensued during that time laughing to our hearts content. It was good to go back to those parts of life, school days, where we were old enough, yet childish.

Discussing our recent conversations with our previous crushes over facebook (or whatever the damned medium was), there were a few similarities that left us both baffled. Well, baffled is a strong word, lets just say surprised. His’ was already in a relationship for quiet some long time and told him that she had planned to marry that guy. Mine too, again in a stable, long relationship was thinking along the same lines. And this was not exclusive to just these two, there were quiet a few of our common friends along the same lines. Also to mention, one of my schoolmate is already ‘happily married’.

“Aur yahan dekho, 22 saal ho gaye, abhi tak nalle baithe hai!” he said as we both burst out laughing. It had me thinking, what is happening? Am I really that grown up? Then it popped in my head, clearing a 20 mark mid semester exam is already a big headache for me, nobody got time for this shit! 😀

Relationships?
Relationships?

Whatever the case maybe, I respect people’s opinions and decisions. Afterall, its their life. Its good if they decide to get hitched. Apna kya hai? Shaadi me khaane ko mil jaega! Nachne ko mil jaega!

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 6.04.26 pm

 

Have a great evening!

MY GRE: PART 2

Okay lets get this finished.

 

6) When to Start Preparing?

That is one question that depends entirely on you. All you need is focussed study. Try and remember your good old JEE days. Its not about how much you study, its about studying smart. Some start preparing after 5th sem, some after 6th sem, some just before the exam. It depends really, on how you can prepare, how much do you actually prepare and certain other factors.

It is not a necessity really to start as early as possible. However, it is a definite advantage. Relieves you of so much pressure. I took up GRE classes at the start of my 3rd year, and to be speaking honestly, it really didn’t help much; rather it didn’t help me at all.

Just keep this one thing in mind though, DO NOT TAKE THIS EXAM LIGHTLY. That is the worst mistake you can make going into the battlefield. You may hear many people say “Arre 10th class ki maths aati hai yaar, ye kon padega..” or “Abe simple english hai bhai.. pehle se hi padhte aaye hai ye to ho jaega..” Please DONT do that. This is not your end semester or mid semester exam for which you can start preparing one week in advance. This does require some meticulous study, specially for the ones who THINK they are good at Ingliss. 

 

7) Which Institute?

Jamboree, Mahavir Jain Academy, Time or whatever institutes there are.. all are absolutely useless, money laundering businesses. DO NOT go there. There are ample resources available on the internet for FREE and which are much better than those classes. The only advantage of signing up for those classes is that you would be regular (for a few weeks). Everything falls flat after initial alacrity.

I tell you this because I have seen many, including myself falling victim to this. You just cant get your lazy asses up and travel for around and hour just to learn a few new english words. It just doesnt happen. So, serious advice, DO NOT TAKE THOSE CLASSES. Instead, get yourself enrolled at some online course for some INR 5-7k and save yourself a good 20k. Your dad will never be more proud of you 😉

 

7) What to study?

Okay there are three parts on the GRE. AWA, VERBAL and QUANTS. You must be familiar with them. Each section worth 170 each except for AWA which is rated on a scale of 6.0. Remember one thing, each section is important. QUANTS is as important as VERBAL. Practice it as much as you have practiced VERBAL.

VERBAL

The most difficult part, ostensibly! There are two parts for which you will have to prepare. First is to build up your vocab. And if you ask me, DO THIS FIRST. Do not simply jump into solving questions. Build up your vocab first. This is a relatively easy task made to look extremely difficult by some. There are many ways to build your vocab. Although I am not an expert on vocab and neither my vocab is out of this world sorts, I am content with the words I know and in general, I can easily comprehend a foreign author novel without having to refer to my dictionary. So thats good for me. Many of you might claim you already have that level. Well, good for you! Take up a novel and start reading. Be honest with you and see for yourself how many times you need to look up the dictionary.

Firstly, start reading newspapers. They are excellent source of new and unknown words. NO, not HT CITY, pick up Hindu or Statesman, or even TOI, but start reading that, editorials basically. Secondly if you have an android or iOS phone, there are plethora of apps available. I personally suggest Magoosh FlashCards (Also on WP8 and desktop). They are excellent. Very very good!

One piece of serious advice, please do not read any word list that starts with “abase, abash, abate…” You will end up nowhere! That is why I personally recommend you guys Magoosh FlashCards. Many words come up from those on the actual GRE. Building up your vocab should require you around a month or two with serious dedication, its not something that you can just store, its a never ending process. The more you know, the more you need to know!

After the vocab, comes the implementation. There are three types of questions on the GRE. RC, SE and TC. I wont go into redundant details of these sections, you can find them anywhere on the internet or perhaps you might know what they are! I would, on the other hand, recommend you guys to sign up for GROCKIT lessons. Yeah, google that. The guy explains everything so clearly and is so articulate, everything just embeds on in you brain. After the MJA debacle, I turned to these online resources and cursed myself to having paid 25k for learning abase, abash, abate.. You really would not want to do that, except, of course, if you really dont care about your money!

Another very important part is to increase your reading speed. In general, we have a reading speed of around 110-120 words per minute. You need to triple this rate. Many people tend to read consciously, some do it sub-consciously. What are those? Conscious reading is when you mouth the words as you read. Sub-conscious reading is reading it in your mind. This is how we have been taught to read. Changing this habit wont be easy.

How to do this then? It is simple. It requires serious effort not for long, just a few days (3-4 in my case). To read, you just need your eyes to skim through. Repeating the words you study slows you down. So you just need to eliminate your mouthing of words. To do this, plug in your headphones play a nice songs whose lyrics you are familiar with, and start singing as you read. Just skim through what’s written, hovering your eyes over each sentence.

Sing out the song loud. And at the same time, keep reading. You will not understand a word of what you are reading initially for a day or two. That’s okay! Keep doing it. You just need an overview of what’s written. Also, make notes. You do not need to know the exact details. After a day or two, you will start understanding some part of it as your brain accustoms itself to this technique. Within a week you should be perfect with it. What’s more, it is so advantageous during your last minute revisions (although it didn’t help me fetch any extra marks, but the satisfaction of having read everything is good! :p)

Speaking of reading, please read lots of boring novels. Boring to the point that they may kill you. The idea is to accustom yourself to the extremely long and boring passages that appear on the test. If you get a science based section, you will read it without a fuss. However, the GRE is also for students from humanities, arts and literature side. So, there are a lot of passages from typical literature stuff. Stuff that you would fear more than your coursework. So, practice that too!! Start with “The Fountainhead”. That is on the lowest rung of boredom! :p

QUANTS

For Maths, revise the formulas. I assume you are pretty much familiar with the very basics of mathematics like the Pythagorus theorem, linear equations and all, but do revise them once. It wont harm you, I promise! My first mistake was to not revise anything in quants. I ended up scoring 160/170. That is really not good when you claim that the questions on your GRE quants are from your 10th standard book. So revise all the formulas once, especially the statistics.

AWA

Writing section. Two parts: Analyse an issue and analyse an argument. There is nothing I can say really about these, just go to GROCKIT or some other youtube video that explicitly explains everything about this. Practice is the key to this section. Write as much as you can. Get it reviewed by someone. There are sample essays on the internet that tell you how a 6 pointer essay looks like, how a 5 pointer essay looks like. SO get the idea there and practice.

 

8) Some Extra freebies:

Join the group MS-in-US on facebook. It is full of all kinds of people. Literally, all kinds. There is another site, stupidsid.com; extremely helpful in terms of college selections. It has detailed information about almost every college that you might apply to in terms of faculty and pedagogy, placements, campus, life, girls(mentioned as eye-candies there :p) It includes every information you might need. Although it does seem a bit outdated to me. Nevertheless, it is a good guide.

 

9) Finally, what’s a good score?

Ooh! That is a toughie, boy! You might think of 310 as a good score (many at MSinUS FB group do!), you might think of 325 as a bad score and might want to take a re-test. It depends on you, your ambitions, your aim. There is one thing thats an absolute surety: You’ll get a score that you deserve. There are many test series available on the internet, but I find official GRE one the best. Its the most accurate too. The score you get there (provided you have taken the test with the same sincerity that you’ll have when taking the actual test) will be more or less the same (+-3) on the actual GRE with the same preparation you have now.

So, thats it! Good luck with the GRE! It is really as simple as you make it! If you need any further help, you can always contact me!

MY GRE : Part 1

Okay, I did not get a 330+ score, neither do I have an admit from any university, nor do I have a stupendous academic record, I just want to share my experience with you guys if you are planning to apply for a MS degree after your 4th year.

First of all, are you really serious about this? MS seems cool to talk about, but it certainly isn’t easy when you get into it. It is a hell of a process, a journey that is exhausting, confusing, and irritating. Sure, the rewards will be cool, but the process will make you feel like giving it up many times. It is arduous, I repeat, yet again, so be prepared mentally about this.

I have gone through this and I do not want you all to be making the same mistake as I did. I want to share my experience with you guys, so you are in a slightly better position. No one was there to help me through this process, except for a few consultancy agencies, which I really wasn’t keen on! So, this is a guide, if you take it that way, to help you out, especially the people moving onto the 6th semester.

 

1) First things first, be clear about it.

This is one thing that is the most important and integral to your application process. decide beforehand, whether or not you are going for that Master’s degree. Be very very clear about it. Once you have made this decision, stick to it. Many times during the application process you will feel the urge to just give it up. To just go with the MBA or campus placement. DO NOT DO THAT. 

 

2) The course.

Yet another thing to be clear of. You might have figured out by now your area of interest. If not, it is still not late. Master’s degree, if you are unaware of it, is a specialisation. An area where you want to focus within your field. You still have time to figure out that, given you are in 6th semester. Once you are sure on your area of interest, try and get your minor project, training and possibly your major project on that area so you have that to mention on your SOP.

 

3) The universities.

This, urrgghh, is the most difficult part in my opinion; SELECTING THE UNIVERSITIES. There are tons of ranking systems available, tons of review sites available and enough matter that will confuse you endlessly. A never ending puzzle, this is one thing you have to get on with right from the moment you have completed step number 1 and 2.

There are basically 2-3 rankings available on the net, often with contrasting data. Times Higher Education Rankings (THE), QS World Universities Rankings, the ARWU rankings, and of course, US NEWS and RANKINGS are some of these. My advice to you all would be to ignore these rankings. They do almost no good except to confuse you. There are differences in these ranking systems which I’ll tell you now.

THE rankings are made by Times, no one gives a damn about their rankings now, or at least I don’t! QS rankings are majorly based on peer review. This means that it takes into account what other people from academia and industry think about the university. So, if you are looking out for a job after your MS, these are probably good enough rankings to follow. ARWU rankings or the Academic Ranking of World Universities are compiled by Shanghai based university and is primarily based on the number of publications, research, citations etc. In layman’s terms, look into these rankings if you are interested in research.

QS generally tends to favor UK based universities which is evident by the number of UK universities in their list as compared to others. SO, thats that.

US NEWS is basically a local US based. This ranking is particularly useful if you are looking for a masters program from the US. US NEWS takes into account everything, from citations to research to peer review to reputation. It is quiet comprehensive in other words. Having said that, please refrain yourself from buying their $25 package or whatever its cost is, serves no purpose at all.

If you are looking for MS from a country other than US, it is probably better to not look into university rankings at all. I mean, dont completely ignore them, but then, dont be stringent about these at the same time. 

I had a rather very very different approach to select my universities (which later turned out to be an absolute waste of time). I advice you all to not do it this way. What I did was, I looked at the university by its YOUTUBE channel. Yeah, that lame! I, with my fellow masters hopefuls, were busy searching terms like “XYZ University party”, “ABC university life” and others similar search terms. DO NOT DO THIS. We used to do this when we were in our 5th semester, so there was a room for a little slack.

What I recommend to you all is, after taking an initial view from different rankings and reviews, go to each university’s site and do the individual search for your course structure and other relevant information. All my third year, all I did was rake through different universities websites, the unknowns (Hanze,Groninghen, Utrecht, Mastricht etc) , the lesser knowns (TU Delft, TU Munich, Leeds, Denmark Technical etc), the good ones, bad ones. I have personally searched all of them for a relevant course structure. It helps. IT HELPS A LOT.

When it was down to final decision on universities, I knew which universities were offering good courses, what was their ranking, student life, fees, admission criterias etc. You have an entire semester to you for this, don’t loosen, start searching for your universities now.

 

4) Percentage

Maintain that. Whosoever told you 65% was good enough, find that person and punch him/her hard. It is not, I know how major deterrent it is since I am a 65 percenter. Maintain that percentage above 70%. It is not hard, there is still some time. Try and avoid a back (I have that too!) It’s hard to explain that on your SOP, I have no excuse for it, dont be caught up in that situation. DONT EVER BE IN THE DELUSION “Third year me back nahi aatiJab aati hai na, toh fatt ke 4 ho jaati hai! So avoid that. Having said that, it is not the end of the world if you get one. It’s okay to fail.

 

5) GRE

The Graduate Record Exam. Test of your english and 10th standard mathematics. There’s not much I can tell you that you already dont know about. You can look up on the ETS website for any information on GRE. Not the most important, but yes, it holds significant value on your profile. There are different ways to prepare for it. I’ll be taking that up next time. I’ll be continuing with many different aspects of this hectic process. So keep tabs if you want!

Ravanayana

Ramayana was a battle whose upshot was the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. This is how we know it and have been taught over a series of bedtime stories. What if I was to say otherwise? What if I told you that all we know is just the one side of the coin? Baffling, right? Have a read and let me know!

Ravana was a learned man. He was wise, shrewd and smart. Ravana was also a great devout of Lord Shiva. He had many havans and ceremonies to impress his lord. Lord Shiva was mightily impressed and decided to grace his presence and offer Ravana one wish. He asked for immortality. No living creature or natural process could not destroy him. His wish was granted.

It is said that he soon grew bored with this boon. He now wanted MOKSHA. But the problem lied in the boon he had been bestowed. Immortality. As long as he was alive, he couldn’t have attained Moksha. He needed to die. And since no living creature or natural process could have killed him, he needed to be finished off by a GOD.

Toughie, eh? The smartass that Ravana was, he devised a plan that would have a god kill him. Yes, he abducted Sita, wife of Lord Ram, to lure him to his Lanka. Ravana’s only aim to abduct Sita, was to rile Ram and allure him to Lanka and then get slained by him. Even the Valmiki’s Ramayana states that Ravana never misbehaved with her, never touched her. And whats the point to abduct someone’s wife, not misbehave with her, I mean, I do not mean any disrespect or impertinence towards the godly characters, but thinking radically, it seriously is of no use to just abduct her and then keep her in a luxurious garden. That’s plain lame.

Once Ram landed in Lanka and the war started, he realised that Ram himself couldnt figure out a way to kill Ravana. He then sent Vibhishana to Ram. Yes, to let Ram know where exactly to aim so that Ravana can be killed. Smart!

So, if one is to see this way, Ramayana can easily be seen as victory of Ravana over Ram. Not necessarily the win of evil over good, who are we to decide who’s the evil here.

The thoughts of this article are entirely derived from a HT editorial I read the other day. I am not polarising any opinions here, neither meaning any disrespect to anyone.