Saturday, 13 October 2007

Murphy's Law

Swami Gulagulaananda believes in:

"MunDe maduvegey noorenTu viGnagaLu"

For those who don't know the language Kannada, it literally translates to "There are 108 obstacles for the marriage of a widow" Now people, don't go directly into the meaning of what the quote says. It only means that when you are doing something, you come across problems. Sure, it is but natural. But have you ever done something where the problems never stopped coming and have been present all through the journey? Sure you would have, at least at some point of time.

The one that I remember most is the most recent of them all, and that is our robotics project for Shaastra, the IIT Madras fest. We had problems right from the start till the end, and the array of problems is really random and miscellaneous. Unbelievable - And the number of things we learn in the process was also quite decent, and so we didn't mind it (well, now I can say it - the ordeal is over )

When I had to write a program, the compiler softwares given to me by our teacher refused to open for installation. Gave some random error, and that was a trivial error alright, because I could download it later... The Shaastra site wouldn't open in college library where all of our team mates were present. My computer got a dozen viruses from my team mates computer which had a dozen viruses (Also his neighbour and our classmates computers - So virtually all our computers had viruses; the same viruses) And this virus was very annoying, because it hit only the DOS mode, and that was where our C compilers worked... The Windows mode C compilers worked fine, but those compilers didn't have the things we needed.

We all got virus attacks (ok, here I mean flu, but it definitely makes it more dramatic hehe) and worked with our noses blocked or leaking; The micro-controller that we were using was unknown to the entire faculty of our college (Surprisingly... not a single one knew) and what was interesting was that was the same micro-controller used by our seniors and theirs... So, we had them to guide, but to a certain extent. They had also forgotten the exact procedure.

The modules that were being created by my team mates was rather behaving erratically. When one worked another didn't. And then mysteriously worked again. God knows why - They had meticulously done everything. In Chennai we didn't get proper accommodation and 6 of us slept in the same room [meant for ONE IITian]

Then we faced the biggest of all our problems - Our code for the robot was ready, we only had to transfer it... And my computer didn't recognize the micro-controller and was unable to transfer it. Neither did my friends, nor did the college labs or my teachers.... And we were working day in and day out trying to figure out the fault; We looked up the internet, and asked people who specialized in micro-controllers. None of them was able to help us out successfully, although we got many suggestions, we had done the exact right thing that needed to be done. Then we were introduced to another senior in our college who was rather an expert in micro-controllers, and he said that he used a different one from the one that we used. We again went to the shop to buy it, returned and went to his house. He followed the same procedure that we had followed, and Lo! He transferred it, just like that... We were surprised (definitely not pleasantly, I had tried for five days and nights with the same procedure) We thanked him and came back...

It's a different thing, that when we tried the same procedure again at my friends place, once again it was not recognized. It was hectic that day, two of them packing stuff to leave for Chennai, my friend and I carrying my luggage went to his house again, got the code transferred, and then went to the railway station - things were happening so fast. In Chennai, when we had to revise the code, the IIT computers were administrator controlled and I couldn't do it. I then went all the way to my cousin's house. His friend's computer was there for use. However it was not properly earthed, and I was 'shocked' many times and then when I was done with all the connections - *BOOM* again, not recognized. Frustration man, because this was on the day of the competition. However, the existing one worked somehow... When we were supposed to leave for Bangalore, there's no means of transport for us to get out of the large IIT campus to the city from where we were to go to the railway station. Then finally managed to get some taxis. We were just on time at the railway station and what do you know? The ordeal still isn't over. Our seats were still not reserved and was on waiting list.

Somehow we are back, and am now peacefully sitting on my chair (all mine, needn't wait) the robot worked and we are happy. However when things start getting jinxed, there's no stopping till either you quit, or successfully finish it... Life's like that, and people who don't believe in fate, explain this to me

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