ďInspiration doesnít last, determination does!Ē
1. What is your journey at BPHC?
I was excited right from the first day of college because I could build a new world here. There was no connection to my home and nobody knew me here. My first year was a complete waste. The only thing I gained were my friends who are still with me today. My second year was really productive. And my third year was reaping the results of second yearís efforts. Currently, my fourth year is all about future planning.
2. How did you get into Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics?
I got in through Practice School Ė 1 program, only. But I spent two more vacations in IUCAA after my PS-I. I got a really good professor there with the help of Rahul Nigam Sir, who is also an Associate Professor there. I got to work with one of the best and the youngest Cosmologists in the world. We kept in touch even after my PS-I. He even came to our campus for conducting a workshop. I was the lab assistant for his workshop. I visited IUCAA again this summer for eleven days. I will visit again the next summer. So, it is a recurring process.
3. What was your work experience at IUCAA?
I was working with Professor Aseem. He is very young but heís almost leading the Cosmology Research in the world with his team at ETH Zurich. During my PS-I, I learnt only a few simulation techniques and some basic Cosmology. By the time Aseem Sir came down to our campus, I was well prepared for it. I learnt a lot and I developed a lot from it. Last summer, Aseem Sir had written a research paper and I reproduced his work. My next goal is to take his research into more diverse fields.
4. What is Cosmology?
Cosmology is studying the Universe in very large scales. It is a part of Astrophysics. Astrophysics is very diverse. It ranges from making a simple map of the sky to sending telescopes into space. It even extends to very large scales where even galaxies look as a dot. With billions of galaxies you donít care what is within them. But at that scale, Physics takes different forms, you can find out different things. For example, questions like why does matter accumulate instead of staying uniform everywhere. Now you start to build as to what could have been the beginning that could have caused this today. Itís like solving a jigsaw puzzle back in time. This has fascinated me since childhood.
5. How are you going to apply your professorís work into different fields?
My professor has developed a technique to find a particular parameter. If you use a telescope and observe the space at Cosmological levels you can mathematically get this parameter which is really important. Till now we approximated things like formation of a galaxy depends only on the mass of the galaxy. But now we are taking into consideration more accessories like the history of a galaxy, the calm or violent conditions under which it was formed, the rotational velocity of particles inside and the concentration of mass in the galaxy. If you donít account for the concentration you will get wrong results in your theories. My professor used his technique to accommodate for concentration. But you can use this technique for many more things like the spin of a particle or the number of galaxies present when a particular galaxy was formed.
6. What was the reason for your interest in Cosmology?
I had a childhood crush to become an Astrophysicist. At school I was allowed access to a section of the library which was restricted even to teachers. There I used to read books like Resnick and Halliday. During my JEE preparation I used to score around 115 out of 120 in Physics and considerably low in other subjects. This was a hint that I should pursue Physics. I screwed up my BITSAT and ended up with Physics in my last iteration. I wouldnít have chosen Physics voluntarily but I ended up with it. Now I am not dropping Computer Science completely but Iím not sitting for placements. Instead I am completely going into Physics for higher studies.
7. What is Pixelscapes? What was your role there?
It is a start-up by my super seniors Harsh Bhaiya and Ritu Di. It is like the Uber of Photography. You get photographers for any budget and any occasion. It is a freelancing network of photographers across cities. We connect the needs of one customer to a photographer, the demand may vary from an Airtel Marathon to a low budget Birthday Photography. So thatís the idea. Our Photographers have covered hotels of three cities and earned a lot. So thatís when they thought of starting Pixelscapes.
Eventually another branch came to it that is Pixelscapes Academy, where a platform is provided for all new photographers to hone the photography skills they possess. I was the Hyderabad head for one event. And then we continued working harder. Later, I was offered the position of Co-Founder of Pixelscapes when we decided to go for funding but I donít think I could have done it on my own so I chose the position of Chief Operations Officer. Iím not an active member right now due to time constraints. But if Physics gives me a chance to stay in India I would be eager to work with them.
8. Why choose Frisbee above other sports?
I like Frisbee because of the fundamental rule of the game which is called Ďspirití. It is very subjective and does not have any rules for it. And moreover, Frisbee is a game without referees. How this works is, if you commit a foul you accept it even when no one accepts it. If someone points out your foul you accept it. But if you feel it is not a foul then you redo the part that led to it. At the end of every game both the teams sit together and discuss about the game. Each team chooses the most valuable player and the most spirited player from the other team. This is what I liked in Frisbee over other sports. You wonít find teams instead you will find something like ĎUltimate Frisbee Hyderabad Familyí. This is how it is. There is no rivalry and almost everyone exists, as in a family. Even if someone drops a pass no one jeers at them instead everyone only cheers them to play better.
No sport can offer the dynamics Frisbee offers. At most, balls can travel in curved projectiles but you can maneuver a Frisbee in any path. You can throw it to a person who can catch it in five seconds and in that five seconds it takes a completely crazy path. Even if five people stand in a line I can throw it to the fifth person. And there are no contacts in this game. If there is a contact it is a foul, you stop the game and redo that part.
9. What is the current scenario of Frisbee on campus?
Every 7-membered team should have a girl to boy ratio of 3:4. When the National Team came down to play with us, they said that we are building a really strong team. The guys who trained with us have mastered the game. But we donít have enough female players. So, we are on a recruitment spree this week. This is a temporary issue which I think can be subdued. Frisbee has given me hopes in random directions and thatís why I feel really confident.
10. How did you bring Frisbee to its current level on campus?
We used to play Frisbee earlier in our hostel QTs but we did not play Ultimate. We basically made our own game and then we later realized that the rules of our game were almost same as those of Ultimate. So, when I discovered Ultimate Frisbee, I realized that in India, this game was growing a lot. Cities like Chennai, Surat, Mumbai, Delhi have a strong Frisbee culture. Also, many people are intermixing and the game is developing very beautifully. I did try once before last year but the response was not good. So, I had given it up then. We once again gave it a try with much more seriousness the next time. We started off with a humble post on Facebook asking people who were interested to come and witness the sport with us. Back then we used to play in the kabaddi ground. We, some 20-odd people used to stand in this one small circle and throw passes which never got completed. Soon most people felt that it wasnít working out and gradually the number of people reduced. But somehow some people stuck for a month or so. Then I realized that some people have actually stuck around for one month and now it had become my moral responsibility. Even though I was as clueless as all of those, I had people looking up to me. Their belief in me gave me hope. So, then we started training more frequently. We trained at random places. We have trained behind the medical center, in such bad field conditions. Many people even sustained some minor injuries during the trainings.
Most of our trainings have taken place at the A-block grounds which are not even proper leveled grounds. So, it turned from people dropping out of Frisbee to people eventually joining up for Frisbee. That was the first turning point for me. I had never imagined that people would approach me and ask me more about the sport and show such an enthusiasm. Inspiration is very short lived but what carries you forward is purely determination. Infusing the value of practicing everyday into the kids was something which was possible through the determination they saw in me. I have told this to the kids that I have taken 10 throws and you guys canít stop at 2 or 3 throws. They had to take two throws for my sake. No matter how tired I felt I always tried to show them that I was doing much more than them. This way even they started working harder. This way the co-dependency came in. I was highly dependent on my juniors and they too were dependent on me. We kept self-sustaining among us and made sure we kept training every day. We had no support from outside. Even then, when people from outside came to gauge our performances they were really surprised. We had no formal training. We trained ourselves completely. We got even more inspired when we realized we were pretty good at city and national levels. Now we are here, where we have hosted one of our all Hyderabad tournament on our campus. There were many national players and many people came down to our campus from cities like Bangalore.
11. How did you balance your academics and other co-curricular activities?
I will admit that I havenít been a good balancer throughout. I have seen many people who have balanced their academics and other activities pretty well. I admire many people who are capable of saying no. When they are busy and canít complete a task, they will honestly admit and say no. I think this is a really good skill to have, the art of saying ďNoĒ. This incapability of myself has found me in many crazy situations. I had taken up so many things because of this. I used to think that an opportunity is approaching so I should grab it. So, I grabbed everything I possibly could. The only time I have studied is before the exams without sleeping for even an hour. So honestly, I did not balance my academics, I winged it. I have this compulsive thing with studies that I cannot leave even a single word unread. I have to read everything or else I will not be satisfied. If I leave one slide, during the exam I would be very unsure and unconfident. Because of this I literally enter into a whole new different mode and read too quick to cover up the complete syllabus. I have winged my academics a lot but now, in my fourth year I finally think that I have learnt prioritizing things. Now I can also confidently say no to something which I canít do or wonít be willing to take up. I am still in a self-developmental stage in balancing stuff.
12. During your entire journey you must have made some mistakes, so how did you tackle and learn from them?
I did commit mistakes. More than mistakes I learned from things that did not happen the way I expected them to. I was always of a very idealistic view so I used to think that this is the perfect path and no other path exists. So, if I was conducting an event I used to think that I will conduct the event this way and I will have this amount of crowd. I thought that I have put in many efforts and all of this will be true. Eventually it wonít turn out the way I thought or expected it to be. But through the years I have come to realize that there is a fair gap between idealism and realism. That gap should be considered because many a times ideal ideas can backfire badly. The campus has taught me to be true to myself. I was that kind of a person who would do something just because the society preferred. Most of the people donít know that they have to peek inside and realize what they actually like or want to do. Just because such things are not taught nor are there any situations which make you introspect, doesnít mean you shouldnít. Many people end up doing things because an external factor is forcing them to do that. When you are true to yourself you are internally satisfied. When you are internally satisfied you are ready to take up any challenge you want to. Also, do remember that inspiration doesnít last, determination does. It is easier said than actually achieved.
13. Would you like to impart any words of wisdom to your juniors?
Open your perspectives beyond college. Donít think that being part of a club or department and performing extremely well over there is the ultimate goal. People have to start thinking in a broader perspective. The campus is a very utopian society. We have really good and broad-minded people out here. When you step out in the real world you wonít find such people around you. When you give eight hours of a week to some work of a club or a department, always do think that are you gaining anything which will help you tackle situations and problems in your real life.
Another advice to the juniors would be to use the freedom they get more efficiently. Give results to yourselves at least. When you say you were unsure of yourself in the first year and then at the end of the third year, you say you are pretty much sure about yourself, then you can call it a self-achievement. Freedom is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you can become one of the most brilliant people in this world using this freedom and on the other hand, you could end up as the stupidest person on this planet by completely procrastinating on this freedom. The choice is yours.
So that was it for this edition of Campus Whizkids. It was great having Mr. Aditya Vidhate sharing his experience with all of us. We hope you all get to learn a lot from this interview.
The SWD Nucleus would also like to take interviews of students who you want to hear about. For your suggestions, kindly fill this Google Form: https://goo.gl/forms/5MA3J2v63krCflAs2