How Tamasha may help you free your mind

24 Sep

Came across the trailer for Tamasha yesterday. Like most Imtiaz Ali movies the characters/actors portray roles that connect with the youth.

Looking at the college grads these days and importantly, looking back, the typical Indian engineering experience has structure as a strong characteristic. While I appreciate the breadth of the subjects learned, one key ingredient missing was encouragement of . A strong characteristic for innovation is not accepting the status quo and constantly challenging commonly held beliefs. The structure or the system didn’t encourage that, in my experience. So, how does this relate to Tamasha? Well, my undergraduate years were like the first 20 seconds of the trailer.

 

For my graduate studies (MS and PhD), I moved to the US. In working with a fabulous advisor (Dr Adam Fontecchio), I learned to challenge existing research. He encouraged my ideas and thoroughly enabled pursuing them. We investigated and proved a new material set that could be used for opto-electric applications (thanks, Solvay Solexis for the materials). Besides me, there were so many others who discovered their inner s. Countless number of Indian students who went abroad have become successful in start-ups, in getting patents granted, in pushing technology, and are now leading tech giants.

 

The common denominator is that it’s the same student. Just here, he/she is exposed to a different surrounding and has a different mindset. Tamasha shows how the same actors become carefree, have fun, and make the most of life is a different country.

 

While it’s not realistic for everyone to leave the country to unlearn a few things, there are certain things you can do right at home:

  • Join start-up enthusiasts – you’ll find plenty on facebook. Join, observe, participate as these folks are challenging the status quo
  • Participate in technical contests – when you do, don’t merely implement an existing project. Instead, take what’s working now and figure out the flaws. Investigate how it could work 10x better and then jot a plan towards getting there. You may fail in this quest but you’ll learn much more
  • Approach your college projects with an aim to convert them into a journal publication – A good journal has novelty as a key criteria and involves peer-review. Working on a journal paper will help develop your technical insight and also boost your resume

 

Let me know if there are exercises/approaches that have helped discover the maverick in you. I’ll share it with the rest of the community here.

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