Friday, November 27, 2009

BITS World 5k Run

Come December 6th, 2009, the 1st BITS World 5k run is organised around the world - over 150 participants in 13+ cities around the world are taking part in this run.
Go to to sign up !
Post run, all the participants can download a customised certificate with their photo / timing / city / name . Sign up NOW!!! Thanks to BITSAA Technology and the Communications team for designing this beautiful certificate and making the certificate download, possible!! You guys rock!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kimba, the Tigerrr

The spirit of the childrens day celebrations is captured very well in this video !! Srini, our creative guy, has made an awesome video . The spring in the step....

( if you zoom in to 'bridge the divide', you will find a collage of Deepam Childrens day Celebration pics )

Sunday, November 01, 2009

BITS World 5k Run

First ever BITS 5K run - Calling all BITSians / Alumni and Friends : Run on a 5k route near you!

Check more here -

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chennai Heat 2009 : Ultimate Frisbee Nationals : Chakraa - Champions !!!

Beach ultimate in India started off at Chennai , 2 years ago – When i came across this sport , i instantly got addicted to the quick thinking / running aspect of this sport. It has been quite a journey, since the last 2 years. Chennai Heat , which started off as a regional tournament in 2007, has grown to be the biggest ultimate tournament in India currently. 10 teams , over 150 players played in the Chennai Heat 2009 over 2 days, watched by over 2000 people each day

Since the 1st tournament in Novemeber 2007, i’ve been on the losing side – with the nov 2007 tournament hurting the most ( we lost from 4-1 up/leading , in the finals ).

The other tournaments that Chennai team played , were mostly ‘individual’ driven – 2/3 players stood out and dominated the team. Ultimate being a team game, Chennai ended up losing, despite playing some brilliant points.

When i started practising for the 2009 tournament, i noticed a distinct difference – many players were playing confidently / playing smart games. The pace of the game had improved and yet, most of the advances were solid – throwing to the free man, swinging around , waiting for the right cuts and cutters responding to the handler. All the practise games were tight ones and each of the teams looked like winners. All of the team members seemed to know what the handler was expecting instinctively.

It was after one of the practise days, i was thinking to myself about the possibility of the ‘first strike’ - Striking off #3 in this list. Seemed realistic .

In the tournament, Chakraa was playing as a team – everyone was having fun. Everyone was doing their bit – no spectacular plays, yet thrashing the opponents. The ‘hardest’ game was a 9-5 win. Chakraa won all the games comfortably. Final win wasn’t a surprise :) . Am sure, there was very little pressure on the individuals - 'Team' play carried us through :)

Interest in Ultimate is growing in Chennai – Thanks to CUF and some active players like Manu , Abhinav , Ajay , Mama , Bharani , Mondams , Subbu among others. They nurtured Stall 7, which is the team to watch out for in the coming tournaments.

Ultimate time ahead for the ultimate fans / players in India !

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chennai Half Marathon

Yet another marathon , where the 'want' and 'execution' were poles apart. I wanted to do a sub 2 hour 21 km run. But never practised for it. An occasional 10 km sunday run and a 5km run on some days during the week happened. Before the run morning, the longest run i did was 12 km.

And naturally the result - 2:38 for 21 km .

However, the regular frisbee / cricket and the runs ensured i was NOT depleted at the finish line. But surely, i need to improve strength in the legs. The positives from the run - 5:1 run-walk technique and the identification of areas to improve.

Also, this run was my first fund-raiser run for Deepam - Run for a Cause. The big target is to go under 4:30 for the 42 km at Mumbai in Jan 2010 and also to hit $10,000 , through run for a cause.

Need all your wishes and support to hit both goals!

P.S Thanks to the energy bunny Shankar Lal for the pics!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Why Do I Run ?

As i start answering this question, i can clearly separate the pre-marathon and post-marathon days..

During the school days, i was lucky to win a few medals at the school / district and run at the state levels. I ran 100 / 200 mts at school / district levels and 400 mts & 4x100 mts relay at school / district / state levels. Those days, i admit , the top reasons for running were to be the fastest runner in school , receive the medal from the school principal at the morning 'assembly' in school , win a medal at the state level ( and get into a top engineering college through sports quota!! ) , impress some of the 'friends' at the school sports day :P .. okie, i know that was selfish !!!

Move a few years forward and i ran my first marathon in 2006. And here are some of the reasons why i run these days...

“If you want to win something, run the 100 meter race. If you want to experience something, run the Marathon” – Emil Zatopek

Thursday, August 13, 2009

India Today - Newsmakers 2009

India Today has an anniversary 'Youth Special' this week on 'Newsmakers 2009' - They had chosen Archana and me, on behalf of Deepam. The group is shaping up pretty well, with contributions from a number of volunteers. They, truly, are our strength. Expect more to come out of Deepam, in the coming days / months / years... check out

Monday, August 10, 2009


A new initiative :) - Reproducing Vignesh's email to the BITS Community -

Running is probably one of the most popular and yet simplest sport, ever. All you need to start running is just a pair of shoes and the will to hit the road. It is this reason, why there is a huge bunch of people who are already running or eager to jump into it with that small and much needed nudge.

We all run for different reasons, sometimes to burn that double cheese burger you could not resist, or the 5 pints of beer that you drank during your last Friday pub evening. Some run in groups and join running clubs to make it a social activity and others use it as a point of introspection running alone to clear the multitude of thoughts. I know friends who started running to apply to B-schools, to travel and see places by running marathons around the world and sometimes just for the feel good factor after a great run, what is commonly referred to as the “Runner’s High”!

However, the key still remains that everyone needs that first nudge to start running. During a Skype call with a few fellow Bitsian running friends, the idea of promoting running amongst Bitsians through a forum was formed – Bits2Marathon. Being amateur runners, with a couple of marathons under our belt, we’ve benefitted tremendously by staying as part of a running club in terms of running tips and advice, motivation to run and help in garnering funds when running for charity (BITS.aid has a Run for a cause program encouraging Bitsians to run and raise money for the many projects under its banner). We hope to achieve the same through this forum.

The aim of this group is to promote running within the Bitsian community, by meeting for weekend runs, train for marathons in your respective cities, travel together for running competitions, run for charity and change lives, get new friends and stay connected in the process. We have created a Google groups as of now and invite all runners and those interested in running to join the group. Also, feel free to spread the word amongst your Bitsian friends who do not know about the group. The more the merrier!

Please click here to join group

Slowly as we grow in size, we will start up with more activities and have weekend or long-runs.. Who knows one day, we will be strong enough to have our own Bits Marathon, around the campus in Pilani!

Happy running,

Mahesh Krishnamoorthy

Boston – Vigneshwaran Chandran

KK – Karthikeyan Vijayakumar

Sunday, June 14, 2009

35 X 35

Am turning 27 in a few months and that got me thinking about goals / things i've done. Ideally, i should've made this list of things to do when i was 21.

Still, i guess it is never too late. These are the 35 things i would like to do before i reach 35. I've got 8 more years and am going to take a shot at this.

I will track the progress on 35 X 35 ( 35 by 35 ) and will update every 6 months.

1. Finish a marathon ( under 4 hours )

2. Win a local league cricket tournament with ‘ Runs n Wickers’

3. Win the ultimate Frisbee nationals with ‘Chennai Ultimate Frisbee’

4. Help Deepam ( teach 10,000 kids every weekend

5. Run a company successfully – Build it from startup stage

6. Run a ‘rural-focussed’ sports school

7. Teach entrepreneurship at college

8. Invest in 5 college start-ups

9. Cycle 1000 miles of the ‘tour de france’ route

10. Play the guitar

11. Buy some land and farm

12. Travel to atleast 20 states in India

13. Write a book

14. Watch a cricket worldcup final from the stands

15. Travel to atleast 5 continents

16. Never have a 'tummy' - Fighting fit and six pack abs

17. Go on a week-long trekking trip

18. Watch 5 F1 races from the track side / drive an F1 car

19. Watch all tennis grand slams from the stands

20. Build a green car

21. Fly an aircraft

22. Finish a triathlon race

23. Cook a full course meal for friends / family

24. Run a restaurant / Hotel

25. Dance at a social function!!

26. Design an energy efficient product

27. Understand school / college physics concepts!

28. Visit 50 countries

29. Launch an innovative product / keep innovating in that space

30. Run a rural market focussed company

31. Have a paint-balling arena / climbing wall / fun outdoor games at home

32. Do an M&A deal

33. Explore Tamil Nadu / North East India / All of India

34. Spend a month in a forest / Camping

35. Run a social enterprise

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Workshop on Shopping for Work

I was invited for a talk at Chennai Business School .  Ram and I put our heads together and decided that we will have this session 'interactive' ( previous experience(s) of students getting bored listening to me :P ). We wanted to make it useful for students ( near term - Job hunt , since they are graduating in a month ) and for us ( we have this big aim of getting people/students around us think about starting up ). So we called this one ' Workshop on Shopping for work' - Shopping being required for both the job hunt and all of entrepreneurship. (Thanks to NEN / Vishnu for this opportunity & tips to interact with students )

I've pasted my speaker notes below - Examples i used in the class for each step is missing.

Made students 'write' on a piece of paper on how they would go about Steps 3 and 5 . We discussed TWO case studies for Steps 3 and ONE for step 5, with students contributing all the answers with me 'moderating' the session with 'questions'. Tried to make the session more 'actionable / implementable'

Workshop on 'Shopping for Work'

  1. Ice-breaker ( write your dream jobs on paper and ‘rocket’ them to front )
  2. Pick a few of them at random and read them to the class. Find out why they are ‘dream jobs’. Go to the ‘root’ of all dream jobs. Clarity on what is a 'Dream job' - A job which you love doing and get paid for doing those.
  3. Shopping for work – Jobs – how to land that dream job ? ( Become an expert / learn/think : Read on internet / blog / learn from people - Share ideas : blogs/twitter/web/social media – take initiatives : Organise events in your dream area / Do projects etc – connect with people in the ‘dream area’  )
  4. Why starting up makes sense in this current economy ? Examples of start-ups formed during recession
  5. Startup workshop – How can one startup ?
  • Do all of Step 3
  • Why do company’s exist ? ( To solve people’s problems for which they will pay : So, go find people’s problems : get inquisitive : ask questions wherever you go / whoever you meet : Read on the web – blogs of entrepreneurs / experts etc )
  • What is the most important ingredient in a startup ? (Team : How can you build team ? Where can you find people to form a team ? People complementing skills )
  • How will you sustain – you have an idea / team .. ? ( Monies : 1st customer – how do you get . Raise money from pals , family etc )

Do what you love doing – you have the best chance of becoming the ‘best’ at it. Startups are magical – they are created with nothing but have the potential to become big thing. Startups need not be just companies, it can be a band or a sports team or a non-profit group and many more. Take initiatives , this is the time for it – you don’t have many responsibilities. Starting up right after school is the best time since cost of failure is low – after that, it becomes a lot harder due to responsibilities and cost of failures. So, go out there, the world is your playground. Experiment , create and have a lot of fun.

Would love to know your thoughts on how to make the session 'engaging' and yet provide useful 'content'.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Curiosity , 2nd year at Deepam and 1st mail

The first mail to Deepam ( bridgethedivide) , sent about a year ago. 

'Imparting Curiosity' will be the big theme at Deepam, for 09 / 10.


Hello Friends,

I look at the last 10 months of my life , since i decided to throw away my "comfortable" job and start-up on my own, and i realise all i that i required was just a few thousand rupees and a dependable computer . I would like to add that i would have bet on my computer more than the few thousand rupees i had, for the few thousands vanished quickly . But my computer stayed with me, ON all days and a lot of nights. And surely, it helped me make much more than the few thousands i had initially. 

On every single day, the last thing i do is to walk away to the bed shutting off the laptop and the first thing i do is, not difficult to guess, run to the computer. ( Most of us .. am sure all of us in this group , probably follow the same routine. )

When i went to school ( now seems ages ago, 8 years ago ), the single most important gift my teachers ( Dad was the best and some teachers in school ) gave me and my school buddies was the imparting of CURIOSITY. They made us dream. They made us curious about object around us. They made us ask questions. I wasn't the smartest guy in my class . But i was always curious about things around me. When i heard about BITS ( and the stories my school principal told us about my school seniors who went to BITS and their success ), it inspired me to work for the entry into the great insitution. There were some amazing teachers during my school days without whom i would've got stuck in a much smaller world.. the dream-less world.

I live quite close to a Govt. school and i pass by that school quite often. A hundred + smiling innocent faces spend the crucial initial years of their life in that institution. With due respects to the teachers in that school ( and other Govt. Schools ), i wonder how many of these energetic kids are transformed into a curious, inspired student.. for a lifetime. 

What did these kids do to deserve this "moulding" ( if you can call it that ) ? What did i do to receive such close attention and care from my teachers ? We talk of earning/deserving what we want / get . But when i was young, as a kid , what did i do to earn the great education i had in school ? Nothing. We talk of equality but where is equality when it is needed the most - at the begining of the life of these kids. They need someone to bring curiousity to them. They need someone to teach them to dream. They need someone to open their minds. They need some great teachers and the great teachers.. as i realise, are great friends.

Now put all these together... and we start this initiative - bridge the divide ( DEEPAM ) - An initiative that will help the kids in Govt. schools / kids who are under-priveleged ( living in slums ) to become curious about computers.

The idea / impetus came out of a discussion between Ram Viswanathan ( someone i look up to ), who is the founder of chennairunners ( a group that helps spread fitness and specially running in chennai ), and me after a morning run. Ram had been a great mentor ( in other words, a great friend ) from whom i walk away having learnt something new, everytime i meet with him. His passion to do good things, his vision and his mentorship will be really valuable to all of us as we begin this journey.

In the next few days, we can try to get as many passionate people to help us get started on this initiative. We need a lot of helping hands. Volunteers can help in a number of ways - teach / inspire the kids , talk to corporates and get computers that are discarded, talk to schools and organise classes and many many more.

If you know someone who will be interested, i request you to bring them into this google group ( ).

If you have ideas ( be it on corp funding / getting computers from Corps, teaching or anything at all ) , just mail in.

Stay Curious


Monday, March 09, 2009

Deepam - The Journey Begins

Archana has made a video , capturing the 'start' of the Deepam Journey. Please take a look and spread word

Deepam 1st Anniversary Celebrations

"I have not seen a bunch of kids as happy and contented as these kids are " mentioned Rahul Nayar, as he observed the kids at the Deepam 1st anniversary celebrations. The life of Deepam, these kids made the anniversay a very special day for all of us, who were present at the celebrations. The Nalamdana centre at the olcott kuppam , venue for the event, was charged with enthusiasm and energy - thanks to the kids, the chief guests and the volunteers.

The MC's for the event, Basu and Meera, keeping the kids engaged..

We had a special person talking to these kids on Saturday - Sarath Babu - He was truly 'one of them' . As he stood in front , sharing his rags to riches story, one could see the kids getting inspired. The room went silent , as the kids and the volunteers were in rapt attention.

Sarath interacting with the kids

Kiruba, the other chief guest, in his usual way , engaged the kids with an interesting story and conveyed a nice 'life-lesson' across.

It was a year ago, when Ram , our mentor, suggested we go to govt schools and teach kids there. His point was simple - 'Lets start small , 2 or 3 of us can go teach at a local school but the focus should be on making an impact ' . Since then, he not only taught the kids, but the volunteers as well.

Kids presenting a memento to Ram
Ram announced a scholarship program for kids - 5 deserving kids ( Deepam Stars ) will get all their education expense covered for 2009-2010.

The anniversary cake , cut by the kids

We also had performances from kids - Nalamdana Centre girls mellifluously sang a popular tamil song

These kids can sure shake a leg..

All the winners of the cultural events were awarded medals. Kids got participation certificates as well.

Its the volunteers , who work tirelessly, who have helped Deepam make an impact. They were awarded certificates as well. Anupama's commitment to pudhiyador center is outstanding.
Meera who comes to Chennai every weekend, from Bangalore - She and her husband Vijay, teach on saturdays and sundays, every weekend

Archana, who puts in a lot of energy and helped build Deepam, gets the certificate from Ram

The start has been good - The 1st year flew by. It can only get better !

A big thanks to all the kids and the volunteers !

P.S More photos can be found here

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Support Education - Vote for Deepam

An Essay and a Film on Deepam is in the running for the National Knowledge Commission Prize. Essay / Film talks about how Deepam is solving some of the problems in Indian Education System.

Your vote will make a BIG difference - Support Deepam / Support Education

Apart from the quality of the essay / Film, the judging criterion for
  • Essay - No of Votes / Rating of the essay
  • Film - No of views / Rating of the Video
How can you support :
  • Please vote / rate the essay here ( please create a login for knowledge portal )
  • Please View / Rate the video here ( to rate, please sign-in to youtube ) 

Please spread word ( twitter / facebook / gtalk ) - request all your friends to support Deepam and help spread education. Please vote ASAP.

Friends of Deepam

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Auroville Run

The run experience at Auroville was just simply ... Beautiful. The experience itself is very much a reflection of the spirit of the place - The beautiful trail through the forest , very scenic , the waiting in anticipation of whats next on the trail , the woods and the unpaved roads , local drummers upping the tempo of the run ( me syncing my run to the beat!! ), these volunteers who would go miles to ensure a great experience , the cyclists accompanying the runners all over the course , volunteers cheering runners at exactly the right moments - it was all magical ! It is Auroville..

The Beautiful trail through the woods

The Carbo loading at the pasta party - we stuffed ourselves with so much food. Thanks to the dinner, i could last the distance.

I had a fantastic run - though i couldn't crack sub 2 hours for my 21.1 km. Gut given the tough last 2 months , with a terrible IT band that put me off sports for 3 weeks and a bout of fever/ cold that lasted right into the marathon day - am happy with the time i took 2:19 or a little less. I managed to do 15 km in 1:29 and had a smooth run till then. I was sapped of energy to come up with a strong finish. 

Thanks to this podcast ( on Energy , by Vinod Khosla ) i managed the first 1 hour easily - i had some doubts going into the run. I hadn't run for 10 days , thanks to the fever. So, the podcast really helped me take my mind off the negative thoughts. I learnt a great deal, listening to it, in the first place. After the 1st hour, it was familiar territory - a bit of tiredness , heavy breathing , heavy legs : Just hung on till the finish :) . Am falling in love with that 'phase' of the run!!

The target is to now crack sub 2 by end of 2009. This run gave me a lot of confidence and hopefully, should stick to the routine and crack the goal.

P.S - Thanks to the organisers for a beautiful run. I borrowed these pics from Balu / Venkat and others. Thanks !

Idea # 7 - Flash Visuals of Concepts to aid Teaching

Problem : I was teaching the kids at Deepam , the concept of 'Force' , some months ago. I had prepared 4 simple examples t0 help students understand , better. I used the blackboard , 'told' them examples - Didn't help them much to 'visualize'. 

I got a couple of kids to 'enact' what i was 'saying' - the kids were able to understand easily. So, clearly, the problem is with 'teaching methods'.

Solution : Develop flash visuals for all concepts from the LKG to Class 12 and beyond.

If someone is aware of any free content on the web, please do let me know.

Harvard Model and Deepam

How does Harvard attract the best of the best students to study there ? Most of us ( definitely, i thought ) would think the big boys at Harvard would have it easy - the best students fight to get in there ( similar to the IIT situation ).

I was WRONG - This business week article shows why .

Harvard admin / professors / alumni go all out and scout for the best talent to study at Harvard. Machine ( computer) involvement is so minimal. Its this personal touch to the whole effort, that brings the best of the best to study at Harvard. Am quoting Mr.Fitzsimmons, the Dean , here "What we aim to do is to get the very best faculty together with the very best students," he says. "Our hope is that these synergies will develop the talents of these students to a much greater degree and that they will then give back a lot more to America and the world." 

Am thinking Deepam should aim to ' Bring the best volunteer effort , with a good infrastructure / technology and enable the underprivileged kids become the best students '

Its possible... with a personal touch :)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Deepam - Collaborative Painting

 Deepam 1st Anniversary celebrations kicked off with a ‘Collaborative Painting Workshop’ on Saturday and Sunday. Students at 3 of our centres – Olcott School , Pudiyathor and Besant Nagar Community center had a lot of fun splashing the colors on the canvas. Over 40 students participated in this activity. The kids enjoyed themselves immensely - their creativity and team work was on display as they turned the blank canvas into a piece of art .

A big thanks to Archana and Balaji - They helped take this concept from an 'Idea on Paper' to 'Painting on Canvas' !! They planned this event well, from buying the right materials / coming up with a 'workable theme' to coordinating with the other volunteers and kids, to ensure the event was a success. Thanks to all the volunteers, who worked along with the kids , got their hands dirty with the paint and brought shape to the painting. 

Here are some of the pictures