Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Summer Experience

May 13, 20011 – It was a slow Friday afternoon and I was in school when I got a call from Amy Moen informing me about the Internship that I had been offered by ServiceMaster for the Summer. I was super excited to learn that and celebrated the news with all my friends and colleagues. All my friends teased me for the fact that I was going to become a “city” girl now. Yes a “city” girl in Memphis. For those of you who think I am kidding, you got to visit the little bitty town of Starkville in Mississippi – the Bulldog Nation!

The next one week went by like a flash in looking for a place to live and getting all the paperwork through and I didn’t realize that it was time to leave - Time to leave friends, time to leave school, time to leave home, time to get some real “Summer Experience”. But, who knew it was also a time to have some real FUN!

What a kick off to the Internship program with the 3-day orientation. It was so wonderful to meet all the other interns in the program and learn about their diverse backgrounds. And, of course there was Amy with her ever smiling and caring persona and Doug with his ultimate wit and humor to welcome us all. There were introductions, presentations and something that can’t go without mention, the luncheons (hospitality ServiceMaster). The next two days were even more exhilarating with the ride-ons with Terminix representatives to the different pest infested locations and the visit to the call center. There were was more learning, more presentations, and more fun!

After the orientation, we all took our own separate paths and moved into our respective worlds. Once again, I was welcomed by another set of happy faces, very helpful and very smart people who were always willing to help and encourage. I was really nervous about the job till then as I had no freaking idea about information security. Now was the chance to climb the learning ladder. I was made so comfortable by my manager and co-workers that I didn’t feel the chills anymore. Slowly and steadily, I started to gain pace and began unfolding the intricacies of the IT world. Big terminology like Vulnerability Scanning, Ethical Hacking, Digital Certificates, all started to make sense. My manager Laury Garrett has been always so encouraging and goes out of his way to help me with everything. It’s been a great learning experience so far. I am trying to manage everything I have – all the resources, time and my work. Yes, I am training to be a good project manager one day. 

It’s almost seven weeks into this “awesome” 10-week program and I have seen it all – from project deadlines to Redbirds games, from conference meetings to Peabody roof top parties, from hard core IT projects to spraying spiders and roaches, from moments of fear about the future to words of encouragement from Jennifer (Jennifer Brereton – my mentor).
ServiceMaster has given it all - A truly overwhelming Summer Experience!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MARIO - Im sure u know what that is..!

MARIO - The game I owe my Keratokonous (Well that perhaps is another blog post altogether) to... :P But, Yup.. the game of my childhood. This time seeing it from the eye of a Game Designer who is playing it for the first time..!


Mario the legend in video games or if I may put it as Mario – a synonym for video games which every child or adult has at some point of time associated with the game whether figuratively by being glued to the monitor or passively seeing others play. A mention of the video games doesn’t go without the mention of Super Mario Bros. It’s been more than three decades since the creation of the character, but till today the legend lives in our hearts and minds.

Not being a game freak myself, Mario of course went unheard. It was the buzz word of the days of my childhood. Taking game design as a part of my course curriculum has given me an opportunity to analyze the game from various aspects - conceptual, design, and technical with a critical eye.


Mario and his younger brother Luigi, both plumbers from Italy live in the mushroom kingdom reigned by King Koopa - a dragon like figure. Mario’s aim is to save the beautiful Princess, Toadstool or Princess Peach, who is kidnapped by Koopa. He has to successfully cross eight worlds to finally reach the “damsel in distress.”

En route, each castle is protected by dragons (minions) with super powers like shooting fire balls. Mario gathers all energies and powers by eating various kinds of mushrooms while finding his way out of sewers and tunnels.

Mario collects coins which add up to an additional life with every 100 coins. To get rid of the enemies, i.e creatures coming out of the dirty sewers, Mario jumps on them smashes their head and keeps going. The journey of the little boy is very exciting with a different theme of each world like the water world, ice world and of course the fire world etc. and Mario strives through it all.

With nothing as sophisticated as the PS3 Dual shock, I was all geared up for a headstrong start of super Mario with my Logitech game pad…

Select : 1 player game

World: 1.1

“…..tdd tt dd…”

I had only three lives to begin with. How on earth was I supposed to cross 8 stages and save the beautiful Princess with those ugly creatures coming from every nook and corner of the kingdom?

But Thank God! There were at least some things in my favor too. Yes….the gold coins among the brick walls and the mushrooms. Yes, they made Mario bigger and equipped him with firing abilities. I was enjoying every jump, every smash but…. there came a pit and I fell into it. L

Left with just two more lives. I started all over again. But this time was better. I accidently bumped into a brick wall and there came out a slightly different mushroom. Eating that up gave me another life…Wow! That was cool stuff. I was beginning to unfold the mysteries of the mushroom kingdom…J

But there came a pit again and I couldn’t manage to jump over it

“…doop….” I fell again! L

Giving it yet another try, this time with extra level concentration and adrenaline flow, I managed to master the moves and crossed the small pits on my way. Did that mean that it made my life easier? Naah… there came bigger pits and uglier creatures. ”…Doop…” I was doomed again and this time for a Sunday breakfast to one of the ugliest turtles that came out of the tunnel Land there it went…



Huh…. did that mean I gave up? No way… I was finally living my childhood and Mario was undoubtedly addictive. I didn’t think even once before starting the game again and this time with a lot more enthusiasm. Also, being totally engrossed in the game I had forgotten that I was playing for an assignment and needed to look at the game from a game designer’s point of view.

The controls of the game are simple with forward, backward, jump, fire and speed buttons on the game. With such easy controls of the game, the challenge lies in the adept of moves and timings and finding the mysterious shortcuts and way outs from various stages.

The second session was equally intriguing as the first one. The manner in which the mysteries of sewers and tunnels or the hidden “One up” mushrooms and coins were unfolding at each accidental step was amazing. The absence of a map in the game created the ambiguity and added another level of fun to the gaming experience. The originality and unfamiliarity of the new enemy characters made the game special. The goofy looking characters like turtles, ducks and frogs added to the comical background.

I had finally crossed the first world, when I experienced something totally unexpected. Treading through the wonderland, happily eating mushrooms, collecting coins and shooing away all the ugly enemies, I entered a tunnel which led me to the water world. Mario was now swimming instead of jumping around. That was so cool! I was excited to see the all fresh background and creatures. They were getting better and prettier. Turtles and ducks were replaced by jelly fishes and flying fishes. The music score changed too and it was an altogether new experience.

The innovative ways of defeating the enemies by climbing on their backs or eggs than actually killing them as it would be in other stereotype game plays, adds to the fun.

Even though the game sticks to 2D, the design team has done a great job in making it lively and vibrant. The background is simple and flat with a play shadow and gradient at some places like tunnels and sewers, to give it a 3 dimensional or rather 2.5 D effect. Seeing the gaming scenario of today’s times, the graphical effect of Mario can be improved upon even though remaining 2D is not a problem. We can enhance the backgrounds perhaps with a more glossy look to keep the legend alive for the generations to come.

The animation of the figures accentuated by the sound effects for every jump, bounce, spin or power up, is very basic yet powerful. This is another arena for improvement with the latest and high tech animation software’s and techniques.


Nintendo Wii recently produced the New Super Mario Bros. that too in 2D. Contrary to the massive 3D development in the gaming and film industry these days, 2D won the rounds in this case with the launch the game which won the best game title recently.

During the two gaming sessions, I found that I was playing the same levels over and over again, but I continued to find them equally interesting, difficult and as fun as they were in the first round. There aren’t many games that provide the level of fun or replay value of the Super Mario Bros.

Playing Mario for the course has given me an assignment for submission and a favorite past time for after school hours and weekends. J If the New Super Mario Bros on Wii is a testament to the lifespan of our favorite Italian plumber, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see him living for another 25 years!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Time doesn't wait..!

Here's a video which epitomizes reality and virtue of which is TIME... as.. one of my friend says.. life is short.. and im running outta time...! here's something that says....
"time really doesn't wait"...!

This is a part of the graduate course story telling...

Hues of life...!

Life is a puzzle of different phases... some happy... some not so happy...!
There are times of cheer with friends around... n there also times of solitude with none around...!
the punch line is.... "life still goes on"...!

This is a video conceptualized, directed and video graphed by me for a graduate course called Story-telling..!

Away from home...

Time zones change... places change... people change....
From "Ma ka aalu ka parantha to kellogs ka cereal bowl"...From Atlanta to "Alanaaa"....
Heyyyy.... How u doin todayyyyyy?
sounds familiar...????
yes..... we all experience it when we r so many miles... AWAY FROM HOME....!!!
Words really cant explain the feeling... just watch it n experience an all together new n different phase or "hue" of my life.. n of many others...!
A documentary on international students in the US....!
This was conceptualized, directed, videographed and produced by me for my storytelling class in the graduate program.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Architectural spaces silently communicate to people. Spaces can be liked as being beautiful not only by the visual impact they leave on the observer, but also the challenging imaginations rendered through words can actually contribute to the enjoyment of space by the people. To enjoy a piece of architecture, one must feel the spaces, and the best way to do this is through a pictorial sequence accompanied with words. It makes the reader's imagination walk through the entire space.

Architectural journalism is a branch of mass communication. Mass communication, from the name itself infers a mode of communication with the masses, through the print or electronic media. Thus a common man with no technical knowledge better experiences a built form through pictorial and linguistic documentation rather than peeping into the architectural drawings.

A linguistic expression of the architectural vocabulary for a built form always proves to be a better mode of presentation than the crude, conventional blueprints, for at least the non professionals.

An architectural journalist while documenting a built form must explain the entire building giving the minutest of details as desired, in the actual architectural vocabulary. The data given should be authentic and give a clear picture of the architectural work. These facts can always be supplemented with pictures and drawings. The extent of architectural journalism does not end at documenting built forms. It has a much wider scope ... All latest movies released, are awaited for their reviews, every breaking news becomes the talk of the city or country within no time, through nothing but... journalism. Then ... why ignore architecture? It is architectural journalism which brings to the masses the realities of architecture in a very simplified and interesting manner. Like any other event, seminar, exhibition, etc is recorded and then reported by the journalists, the events related to architecture are recorded by reporters specializing in the field of architectural journalism.

An architectural journal not only include architectural projects, reports on architectural seminars or events but also make the masses aware of the history, the evolution and also gives the latest update in architectural styles, materials, and techniques. Architectural journalism also has the scope of bringing in, the voice of the common people ... what they feel about various architectural spaces or perhaps even cities ... ?? It also provides a platform for the critical analysis. It incorporates the problems faced by the users of the architectural spaces and aims at providing necessary solution or remedies.

Thus architectural journalism is a door towards making the field of architecture more easily accessible and understood by the masses, and not just by a specified class of people.

Metropolis Now (by: Ramesh Kumar Biswas)


METROPOLIS NOW - A critical, interdisciplinary look at life in metropolitan centres.

The portraits of fifteen cities on four different continents serve to comment upon and analyse both their economic and social realities as well as their identity, recent history, immediate future and the radical transformation in their physical form.
The author visualises a city as a state of mind. More than a mere collection of buildings and streets, it embodies the ideas of progress, of betterment, of success, of construction, but as a matter of course, also their Siamese-twin mirror companions-failure disappointment tragedy, hopelessness and destruction.

Provided here is a rare synthesis of information and specialist knowledge. Urban analysts from the fields of architecture, sociology, contemporary history, cultural studies, geography and journalism have contributed the essays, giving the reader not only an insight into the important features of each metropolis but also into what makes it the city it is today.
The portraits of cities here explore the deeper nature of cities, the milestones in their past that make them the way they are. They look at people, how they use and change the city; at urban cultures that are not just cultural but economic and social. Each city is also used to exemplify at least one of the great themes of our time..globalisation, migration, civil society, the limits of planning and government, creativity, human relationships.

The book is a reflection of the shift in emphasis that the social sciences have undergone, away from a ‘scientific’ listing of dates, individuals or ideologies, towards an intimate nearing to people, their private spheres and tendencies. The book aims at a contemporary history of the metropolis ; a subcutaneous analysis by academics who have not lost the capacity for awe, admiration and excitement.

The fifteen cities being illustrated in the book are Shanghai, Tokyo, Bombay, London, Hongkong, Las Vegas, Marseille, Kuala Lampur, Istanbul, Soweto, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Moscow, Singapore, Vienna.
What do these cities have in common?? WALLS and GATES
Berlin is by no means the only polis to have been divided by a wall. Soweto, Shanghai, Marseille or Bombay all have walls of different materialities, separating people within the same space from each other. The cities also have gates that let in fresh breezes, new groups, ethnicities, ideas and cultural products, all of which undergo an unbelievable process of naturalization and transformation.

Why were these cities chosen??
London and Tokyo were obvious choices, but why Soweto?? Because it represents a new image of emerging cities that is going to replace our traditional picture of high rise skylines, and starkly emphasizing the role of politics in shaping urban form. Why Marseille?? Because it exemplifies an old meeting place of cultures with very contemporary difficulties in dealing with multi-culturality.

The metropolis is a state of mind- each portrait tells you as much about the author as about the city itself.