Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Tag: isg

Remembering a great teacher

1995 was a difficult year for me. I had finished the 8th grade at Indian School Muscat. However, instead of joining the 9th grade with my friends, I had to move to an entirely new school, Indian School Al-Ghubra, which was much further away and worse, was our arch-rival. My first few weeks at the new school were horrible. I missed my friends terribly; everyone was a stranger and I had a hard time adjusting to the way things were done at the new school. My first mid-terms were a disaster. While I had consistently scored in the 80’s to 90’s in my old school, here it was a different story. My grades were pretty bad. Looking back, I think it was mainly due to the stress of moving to a completely new environment. I was unsure of myself and I simply wasn’t used to the way things were done.

I still remember when I got my Math paper. I had scored a dismal 37.5 out of a 100. I was shell-shocked. I had never scored that low on a math paper. As I stared at the paper, tears welling up in my eyes, I heard a gentle voice tell me, “It’s only the first exam. You’re new here and I’m sure you’ll do better next time…” I looked up to see my Math teacher, Mr. Vida, looking at me with a little smile on his face. I didn’t believe him then, of course. More urgent things were at hand, namely soon-to-be irate Indian parents whom I would have to answer to, at home. It seemed rather insignificant and pointless to me at the time. But looking back, I can see it for what it truly was: a concerned and kind teacher taking the time to comfort an obviously-distraught student.

Over the next few years I became very familiar with Mr. Desmond Vida, and his wife Mrs. Pushpa Vida, or as they were known around ISG, “The Vidas”. I used to go to after-school tutoring sessions for Math at his place, which in addition to being extremely helpful were also quite simply, fun. A lot of my classmates were there and our study sessions regularly had less-serious interjections were we all laughed and joked, along with Mr. Vida. Those four years at ISG were formative and extremely important since they played a huge part in molding me and shaping me into the person I am today, and the Vidas were a huge part of that.

Mr. Vida didn’t simply teach us Math. He did more than that. He was a mentor and a guide who helped his students realize their potential. He consistently encouraged us. This was especially poignant to me, a student who never really fit in with the “learn-by-rote” mentality of the Indian system of education. Oftentimes while I was wondering if something was wrong with me, he would remind me that no, there was nothing wrong, I was a smart kid, and that I was simply better at applying knowledge than regurgitating it (an opinion that was vindicated years later when I finally moved to the US for college and started acing my Math classes).

After 10th grade, Mr. Vida taught us English. He was as effective in English, as he was in Math. He didn’t limit himself to the syllabus, but deliberately went outside it. We would hold long discussions in class about the subtleties and nuances of the prose or poem we were examining. To help us understand our lessons better, he had us present plays on some of the subject matter. I fondly recall those after-school rehearsals, still.

I graduated high school in 1999 and Mr. Vida was there to congratulate me and everyone else. He told us how proud he was of us and that we would all go on to do great things. That was over 13 years ago. Over the years we kept in touch intermittently through email and eventually, Facebook. Mr. and Mrs. Vida moved to Australia and continued doing what they do best: teaching.

Then this morning I found out that Mr. Vida had passed away due to an accident. I read the words, but they didn’t register. The kind, intelligent, jovial man in my mind’s eye didn’t jive with what I was reading. I was shocked. Fate snatched an exceptional man away from us, before his time. Like I said before, Mr. Vida wasn’t just a teacher. He was an exceptional human being. He guided us without telling us what to do. He encouraged us and helped us along when we faltered. He was never one to patronize either. Even though we were still somewhat childish, he understood that we were on the cusp of young adulthood and treated us with respect, and without passing judgement. He was always there for us to turn to if we needed help. When I heard the news, long-dormant memories came flooding back: the laughs, the jokes, late-night Math tutoring sessions before exams, and especially before the 10th grade board-exams. The play rehearsals where we’d end up fooling around (much to Mr. Vida’s consternation) rather than doing anything useful. Cruel irony then, that these fond memories were now tinged with sorrow.

Mr. Vida, you were a wonderful teacher and you were an inspiration. I am honored to have been taught by you. You will be missed, but not forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cruz and Mrs. Vida in this difficult time.


Guru Brahma Gurur Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwaraha
Guru Saakshat Para Brahma
Tasmai Sree Gurave Namaha

Translation:
Guru is verily the representative of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
He creates, sustains knowledge and destroys the weeds of ignorance.
I salute such a Guru.

Go ARMY!

Ah yes. You all are probably wondering where I went. I wasn’t anywhere near operating distance of a computer since May 17 and upto July 26. Why? Well, this is because I was at Fort Jackson, South Carolina undergoing Basic Combat Training to become a soldier in the US Army. You all are probably wondering if I am insane. No, not really. I did this because it really helps me with my college money. Keep getting good grades and they pay 75% of my tuition. Awesome eh? Anyways, it was quite an experience. One that I will never forget and one that in a strange and bizarre way, kind of enjoyed. I’m fitter than ever… and more confident that I have ever been. It was just absolutely amazing. Well, so now I’m back to my usual existence as a Computer Engineer. Not many changes on this page. I put in some JavaScript to check on screen resolution. You will be redirected to another page if your resolution is not 1024×768. I also updated the ISG Message Board link to point to a new one. CoolBoard shut down for some reason. The new one is EZBoard. The About Me section has also been updated. So if you care to be bored out of your mind, go ahead and take a look. That’s all…

Malaika will be back

Hey! Umm…I will be making some minor changes to the page. The Malaika section will be back up. I don’t have enough space for gcj and libgcj anyways so it really doesn’t matter. Oh and this silly page is showing up on search engines… wow… finally. I’m thinking of making changes to the menu format because it shows up all wierd on any resolution lesser than 1024×768. I’m still thinking about it so it’s not concrete. Anyways, that’s all… exams are up in a week and I think I am going to die. Alright then… take care you all! And thanks for doing something about the message board! =)

New Message Board

Alright people… how’s it going? Heheh… Napster is going to be up… at least for the time being! Ok, now onto more important stuff. I’ve got a new message board up. I’m not going to use the InsideTheWeb one anymore. I’ve got a CoolBoard one now. It’s much nicer and has many cool features. So all you ISG people from the class of 1998-’99 (12th grade) go check it out now and write something! What else… oh yeah… coming up… I’m making some updates on the About Me sections AND once I get to Arizona, I’ll put up pictures here… I promise! I know I’ve put it off for a while, but this time you’ll get the pictures! =). I’m not doing anything on the Links section just yet because all my cool toys (Adobe Photoshop, Paintshop pro…) are at home. Alrighty then! See you all later!

California Rules, P2P Rocks, Metallica sucks even more

Hey everyone, how’s it going? I’m in California right now and I’m having loads of fun… yeah… it feels great to be away from that searing Arizona heat. I’m looking into creating a new message board which looks nicer and has a lot more stuff. Work on the webpage is going to be delayed (as usual =( ) because next semester looks to be a lot of work. Anyway, the main issue here is Napster. As you might already know, it is most probably going to be shut down at midnight on Friday. The issue here is how to keep it going… Well, there are many ways… first of all, there is a service called Napigator that’s available and it lets you connect to other servers. There are also other services like GNutella, ScourExchange and iMesh that allow peer-to-peer connection. The recording industry may have won the battle, but for all purposes, it has lost the war. There is no way it can stop services like GNutella because unlike Napster, GNutella is de-centralized and there is in effect, nothing to shut down. Well… I’m assuming that it’s going to be a while before the idiotic heads of record labels finally understand this. And as for Metallica, I’ve lost all respect for them… their “campaign” against Napster was nothing more than a publicity stunt. And Lars Ulrich can go to hell. Well, anyway, they pretty much destroyed themselves with Load and ReLoad… but oh well… I’m thinking that in a way, shutting Napster down will actually help this new technology… Alright then… time for me to go… cy’all later!

Trouble accessing Message Board

This is with reference to the Message Board. I’ve been having trouble accessing it lately and I wonder if you have as well. It’s probably something to do with their server and hopefully they should have it fixed soon. Well… I’m enjoying my freedom… it is absolutely cool! Heheheheh. Updates… hmmm… I have to see when I get some time… I’ll do SOMETHING. Don’t worry =). Alright then… I’m gonna go and sleep… gotta wake up tomorrow to go somewhere… Cya!

Link to Hypernews Updated

Alright… the link to “HyperNews” has been updated to Marc’s forum. On a question of technicality, Marc’s CSE210 is not”HyperNew”, but rather PHPSlash that he’s using. The link points to that site now. I could change the image file to reflect this change, but I’m too lazy. Anyways, HyperNews has kinda become synonymous with a forum where we post our questions and woes on CS… So even though it’s a misnomer, I guess it’s good enough! Ok you losers from ISG… Don’t you have ANYTHING to write? I have something REALLY cool to write, but I won’t unless you people post something first! >=(. Anyways, I have to go now. Cya

ISG Message Board back up

The Message Board is back up! It happened right after I updated this page. The CSE210 forum is also working. I’ll be leaving the link here as a backup in the event that something happens to Marc’s forum (I doubt anything will happen). You guys, write something on that message board ok? Please?!

ISG Message Board down. New link to Hypernews

The ISG Message Board is down for some reason. I’m not sure why, but I think the entire InsideTheWeb server is down. I don’t know how long it will stay like that… please bear with me. Oh and the CSE210 forum here, is being discontinued. Marc has got a better version up and running… WITHOUT the banner ads!

Some updates…

Hey guyz! Will someone write something on that message board? I’m tired of seeing those old messages… What’s happening?? How’s the new semester!! Nimish! I know you’re accessing it! I can see you! Write something! Okay.. on to new stuff. I’ve updated the About Me section. No Pics, I’ve rewritten the entire thing. Read it if you want. I think I will be busy all of new week. I have to figure out the entire process for my classes and essentially get used to the new schedule. Wish me luck! Well, that’s pretty much it! I’m thinking of starting work sometime on the guest book. I’d like to write it in Perl and have a CGI script. I can’t use CGI here as there is a security issue… I’ll think of something! Anywayz, that’s all! I’d better go now! Cya!

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