Monday, June 20, 2016

An Indian Software Techie's (My) Material and Spiritual Journey So Far

Last modified on 20th July 2016

In an autobiographical kind of document I have given some kind of account of my life from boyhood till I took retirement from commercial work and got on the train from Kalyan (near Mumbai/Bombay) to come to Puttaparthi in end Sept./early Oct. 2002 (and then settle down in Puttaparthi). I don’t know when and if I will add to these accounts in this document to capture Oct. 2002 onwards part of my life.

The emphasis of this account is on sharing my journey through life so far and not so much on great English language or very good expression. I have tried to bring some structure and flow but have not spent too much time on it. The document is composed from a set of email conversations that I had with a leading Indian computer scientist, Mathai Joseph, whose memoir I was reading then. I have put in some effort to convert the set of emails into one document but may have slipped here & there, revealing the stitched emails history of this document. Readers will have to please bear with it.

For those interested in reading this account, the autobiographical document file is named, "June 2016 Net Release - An Indian Software Techie's Material and Spiritual Journey So Far" and is publicly shared at the following links:

Pdf document (64 pages, 787 KB): View - https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3Pcd4RD_n8LQTZ1dkMxNENRYlk; Download - https://drive.google.com/uc?export=download&id=0B3Pcd4RD_n8LQTZ1dkMxNENRYlk

Word document (64 pages, 145 KB): View - https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3Pcd4RD_n8LSUVTSVUwaXpaelE; Download - https://drive.google.com/uc?export=download&id=0B3Pcd4RD_n8LSUVTSVUwaXpaelE

I felt it appropriate to share the Licensing terms of the above document below:

Licensing

The contents of this document are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. This license is described here: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, where it clearly states that it allows for free sharing as well as free adaptation/modification provided credit is given to this work and if changes are made to it, then that is stated. So please feel free to share and/or re-use this document (with the minimal conditions mentioned earlier).
--- end Licensing extract from above mentioned document ---

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Note that the autobiographical document above stops the account at Sept. 2002. What about the period after that? I don't know when I will do that. Meanwhile readers may want to see my blog post, List of posts of this Spiritual blog with autobiographical content, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/list-of-posts-of-this-blog-with.html, dated July 11th 2016. It has a list of my blog posts of this Ravi S. Iyer's Spiritual Blog having autobiographical content till mid 2016 including the period before Sept. 2002.

On similar lines here's my post from my miscellaneous blog, List of posts of this Misc blog with autobiographical content, http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2016/07/list-of-posts-of-this-misc-blog-with.html, dated July 13, 2016

And here's my post from another blog of mine, List of posts of this Indian CS & IT Academic Reform Activism blog with autobiographical content, http://eklavyasai.blogspot.in/2016/07/list-of-posts-of-this-indian-cs-it.html, dated July 14th 2016

My software industry and software teaching career biodata, dated March 2012, is available here: https://ravisiyer.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/ravisiyerbiodata.pdf

My software industry work experience (Mar. 1984 to Aug. 2002) is available here: https://ravisiyer.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/raviiyerindustryworkexperience.pdf

Some info. about some other blogs of mine

* I am I, https://iami1.wordpress.com/, dated around Sept. 2011 [This Home page of the blog encapsulates in a short article, my core spiritual understanding of my existential truth as expressed in a spiritually intense period for me (most part of the years 2010 and 2011 were spiritually very intense for me).]

This blog, https://iami1.wordpress.com/, as a whole, is a humble exploration of and views on the God & Science conversation (done after August 2011), and little more. When teachings of religions or miracles mentioned in Holy Scripture are referred, as far as I recall, no mention is made of any contemporary or near-contemporary religious leader/founder – the attempt is to emphasize spiritual teachings/paths/philosophy/knowledge which may be viewed as universal though the Hindu way of expressing them is used. It must also be mentioned that a few posts are specific to Hinduism.
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The blog, https://raviiyerteaches.wordpress.com/, was created to offer the content of software lab. courses taught by me (Ravi S. Iyer, Software Consultant, Puttaparthi, India), while I was offering free service as Honorary Staff/Honorary Faculty/Visiting Faculty to a Mathematics & Computer Science department in a deemed university in Andhra Pradesh, India, from 2003 to 2011.

The course contents in this blog/site typically include:
  • Course structure
  • Course book(s); Most courses are based on a primary course book
  • Reference books and other resources, if any
  • Teaching material (could be prepared by me and/or be a re-use of (reference to) external publicly available material usually from US university websites)
  • Assignments
Given below is the list of course contents on this blog for regular courses:
  1. C++ Programming
  2. Advanced Unix Programming
  3. Unix Network (socket) Programming including pthread Programming
  4. Minix Kernel Internals
  5. Linux Kernel Customization – Mini Course
  6. Java Web Programming (including HTML) – 2005 Course Report
  7. Migration from C++ to C# – Mini Course
  8. ASP.Net Web Programming in C# – Course Report
Given below are the miscellaneous topics covered on this blog:
  1. Advice to Fresh CS Graduates & Post-Graduates on Industry Jobs; Prototype vs. production programming
  2. Software development mini-project lab. courses – a report
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The blog, https://ravisiyer.wordpress.com/, was started around Sept. 2011 with the following intent expressed in the home page:
Readers & Visitors are welcome to explore participation in a stress-free and happy, part-time or any-time volunteer role in these “Service to Society” Information Technology Free And Open Source Software (FOSS) projects promoted by Ravi Iyer. The progress in these projects is completely dependent on the contributions made by interested volunteers with Ravi currently playing a Seva coordinator role and, where appropriate, a part-time contributor role.

As the software would be Free And Open Source Ravi hopes that others would, somewhere down the line, play the Seva coordinator role for these and any future such “Service to Society” IT projects. Ravi has no financial profit motive at all in these projects.
--- end intent part extracted from home page of above mentioned blog---

But no volunteer showed interest for this site and associated work though I got a lot of encouraging comments from well wishers (shown on the home page). I put up some posts on FOSS licensing and a Spoken English App that I thought could be the first small project. I also put up some info. about a Rural Agricultural Portal project idea. Later I got caught up in other matters (mainly other blogs like my Indian CS & IT academic reform activism blog and the I am I blog mentioned above), and perhaps as I saw no volunteers showing interest, I stopped my efforts on the FOSS projects. Somewhere down the line, I used this blog to post miscellaneous technical posts on stuff like Home data backup strategy, Home Internet connection problems etc.

Note that the raviiyer.org domain that I own has been configured to redirect raviiyer.org url/link requests to the above mentioned blog. The title of the blog has the term raviiyer.org on it.

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Changes proposed to be made in next release of document (page numbers are as seen in pdf document)

1) Modification of sentence in page 2:
"I am deeply grateful to my Guru and my Mahadev (Great god), Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, for all the love, wisdom and care with which he indirectly and directly guided me so far in my journey and also for his tolerance of the many human flaws that I had and that I still have."

I would like to translate Mahadev as (Great Divine being/Avatar with supernatural powers to whom I pray) instead of (Great god).

2) Change references to company-D to Datamatics Ltd. Change references to company B to Boshu Technics Corp, and reference to Mr. B in that context as Mr. S.K. Basu.

3) Modification of sentence in page 38:
"When I visited my previous company, company-D, around that time, a top man there looked at my thin body and remarked, 'Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown'."

Name the top man as Dr. Lalit S. Kanodia, founder of Datamatics Ltd.

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An old software industry colleague and friend wrote on 22nd June 2016 (and was OK with public sharing; slightly edited to fix a typo):
Just managed to read it Ravi. You remember a lot of stuff in vivid detail.  Felt as though I was encroaching on your personal diary...
--- end comment ---

I (Ravi) responded (slightly edited):
Glad that you could make the time to read it, --name-snipped--. Hope it was a decent read.
About the personal diary bit, I think spiritual autobiographies especially (and some non-spiritual autobiographies/biographies as well) are quite personal as they tend to share very emotional and sensitive parts of the author's life journey. I wonder whether you have read Mahatma Gandhi's My Experiments with Truth autobiography.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Story_of_My_Experiments_with_Truth:
The Story of My Experiments with Truth is the autobiography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, covering his life from early childhood through to 1921. It was written in weekly instalments and published in his journal Navjivan from 1925 to 1929. Its English translation also appeared in installments in his other journal Young India. It was initiated at the insistence of Swami Anand and other close co-workers of Gandhi, who encouraged him to explain the background of his public campaigns. In 1999, the book was designated as one of the "100 Best Spiritual Books of the 20th Century" by a committee of global spiritual and religious authorities."
--- end wiki extract ---

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi, Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869. So the above autobiography covers slightly over the first fifty years of his life.

If I recall correctly, I read this book when I was studying B.Sc. (Physics) in Ruia college, Mumbai (borrowed it from the college library sometime in the early 1980s, I guess). It shared a lot of very personal details of Gandhi's life. That sharing made a great impression on me then. To be honest, I have not shared so many personal details in my short and somewhat hasty autobiography write-up (till Sept. 2002 which is almost till I turned forty years old) - I edited out some personal stuff which I had conveyed confidentially over email to Mathai as it involved some other people who may feel offended by such sharing (even if I don't mention them by name).

BTW if you have not read this book of Gandhi and would like to read it, this seems to be the free pdf version of the book: http://www.mkgandhi.org/ebks/An%20Autobiography.pdf (609 pages). http://www.mkgandhi.org/ebks/gandhiebooks.htm lists some other books of or related to Gandhi which are available for free download.
--- end my response ---

[I thank Wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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