Shaunak Das from Serampore reaches Google headquarters, Courtesy: Google Local Guides

‘Local Guides’ is a program hosted by Google, which invites its users to help them make the map better, by asking them to review, add photo, answer questions regarding any location in the NASA satellite-aided map. Even one can add places, rectify incorrect information and can claim his/her business placed in the map.

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After Google launched this feature in public, it got a huge response from all over the world, and different people from different cities went on to contribute their known locations to improve the world map provided by Google. Local Guides from a same region regularly arranged meetups to discuss about it. India was not unaware of it, although initially, it got not much response. The interest of public over it took new heights after a doctor from Serampore, Hooghly, West Bengal, got chance to represent India at the prestigious annual Local Guides Summit arranged by Google at its headquarters at San Fransisco, California, United States of America.

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Today, we will listen to his story, and would of course gain some motivation from the hard work he did to attain success. Before that, we must introduce this young, vivacious man to our readers. His name is Shaunak Das, or we should say, Dr. Shaunak Das, a doctor who is currently associated with a private company at Salt Lake, Kolkata. Dr. Das had been invited by Google to visit their annual summit which took place from 12th to 15th September, 2016, after a tough selection process involving numerous other Local Guides.

Here is what he said about this journey in his own words:-

Introduction to Maps

I started keeping my eyes on this initiative from 2000, when there was no Google Maps, but Panoramio, which used the NASA copyrighted satellite images to locate the positions. I was eager to know if I can locate my position in it too, so that the world can find me. I was an active user in Panoramio during 2002-2003, and I regularly contributed for them. In 2005, Google started its mapping service called the ‘Google Maps’, for which they had to tie up with NASA, since Google had no own satellites. At that time, the maps were very ordinary, we could mark the roads, meadows and the water bodies through the Polygon.14894578_10157638946640333_959729963_o

I was doing it actively, meanwhile I was busy studying the BHMS course (Dr. Shaunak Das is a doctor). Unfortunately, some group of hackers attacked Google Maps, and damaged this Polygon system, forcing Google to disable this feature completely. Following this incident, the current Local Guides feature evolved out.

Equipment Used

It’s a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, which I brought from the Rhode Island, U.S.A. I downloaded ‘Google Street View’ app from the Play Store, which has a feature of 360 degree camera, which allows one to capture the 360 degree image of a place. Earlier, Google did not allow users other than USA residents to access this feature on this app, but I was surprised to see that I could access it even in India. Later I asked Google, they said since I brought this phone from USA, and its address is registered there, I’d have no problem using it. It was very advantageous to me, and I started roaming around the city and capture 360 degree images. Other photographers also asked me how to capture these images. I think, I was the only 360 degree photographer in India that time, and this feature appeared as an X-factor, while Google selected me for their LG Summit among thousands of applicants.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

The Selection Process

Yes, it was a tricky form actually. We were completely unaware of the fields of this form, and maximum people put their name as ‘XYZ’ to proceed to next pages to know what Google actually wanted from the applicants, but in this process, they could not proceed further. Google said we’d need 20-25 minutes to fill the complete form, but in reality, it took around 1 hour. On one Sunday, I sat to do it, and I was puzzled instantly. After asking about country, Visa information, they asked what had I done as a local guide, and what have I done for my regional forum of Google Guides.

This Local Guides program is not very popular in Bengal, and we had a small forum called ‘West Bengal Local Guides Community’ created by Amitesh Gayen, our fellow Local Guide. I had to provide information about a Local Guide meetup we organized last year at Eco Park, and how a hospital in Uttarpara helped me in this activity. And finally came the hardest demand ever – they asked me to send a 1-minute video explaining why I want to visit the summit.

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I asked my fellow Local Guides to help me shooting this video, but unfortunately majority of them refused to do so because they could not find any personal benefit from it. I did not rely on professional videographers too because they would edit the video themselves and I may not be satisfied with it. So finally I took my selfie stick bought from the Niagra falls, and went to Millennium Park and recorded my words with Howrah Bridge at the backdrop on my own, while people almost considered me a half-mad watching me talk alone like that. Thereafter I used Camtesia software to edit it into a 1-minute time frame, before uploading it in Youtube to send Google its link.

Google received almost 1000 such applications, among which only 75 Local Guides were invited for the summit. I came to know that I got a place in the list when Google announced the results on 20th May 2016.

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At the Summit

On the first day there (12th October), we had a reception party. We were staying at Hyatt, where Google booked 100 rooms for 75 of us and 25 Google employees. The next day, we visited the Google headquarters at Mountain View, Silicon Valley, where we had a private meeting regarding some of their internal issues. We boarded a special bus there, which could kneel down to ground level while exchanging passengers. There, the 75 guides were divided into 7 teams, and I got place in Team Yellow. The vice president of Google Geo, Jen Fitzpatrick gave a welcome speech to us, and mentioned the top 5 Local Guides who helped improvement of Google Maps to a large extent. In that top 5, apart from me, there was a Malaysian girl who uploaded 640 GB photos to the map, and another boy who showcased the physically disabled people on his video. A man from Nigeria also featured in that list who helped in the Google Local Business.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

Then they showed which Guide had to travel the most to reach there. A guy from the Reunion Island (French colony in Africa) was declared as the one who had to travel the highest distance. I was second in that list, although I had to cover greater distance through a break journey. We were asked to click unlimited photos and post it with #LGSummit16, they’d show those on local TV, and the best photographs would get prize. Then, we had a grand lunch session at the large Google canteen, before heading to the Merchandise store. We as well visited the Android garden, where all the sculptures of the existing Android OS are kept (Cupcake to Marshmallow). The next day, we visited another local office of Google and then, a bowling game center.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

That was the end of the Google tour, and 30 of the 75 of us visited the Alcatraz Island, which is quite similar to Cellular Jail at Port Blair, Andaman Islands. I met with the prison officer there, who was selling his autobiography to the visitors. Thereafter, I spent time with my relatives in U.S. and returned here on 18th October.

Any Special Moment

I wanted to get in acquaintance with as many as Local Guides from the world as I can. So, among all the 75 people who visited there, I have talked to at least 25 of them. I even calculated time to talk with each so that I could get enough time to talk to maximum number of people there. Meeting so many different people from different nations were the most special experience for me. Apart from that, getting into the Silicon Valley, which contains the headquarters of internet giants such as Google, Facebook, was also special.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

Tips for the Junior Local Guides

It’s easy for anyone to get 500 points and reach Level 5 in this program, but as it has some positive sides like one can give instance of his contributions in job opportunity, it has some negative sides too. People in India are too much competitive, and in a country like ours with 120 Crore population, lacs of people are using smartphone. Google hosts this summit annually, and hardly have they selected 2-3 local guides from a country, so if one contributes in the Google Maps with the particular aim to reach U.S.A. Google headquarters somehow, then that’s not a great idea. You should not leave your studies and do this all the day, to reach there. The people I met there said that they did it just for fun, at their leisure time, they clicked photos and submitted to Google Maps. An Indian guy even scored 10,000 points, and there were reports about him that how he could attain that much, and finally he was not even selected for this summit. I would suggest junior Local Guides not to take this thing as a competition, instead just enjoy doing it.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

Even I faced some bad experiences regarding this qualification process. When I got selected, my fellow Local Guides protested against my selection, and they even set up Facebook pages complaining against me. In a large country like India, if every top scorer from a state wants to go there, it’s totally absurd.

Do it as fun, and think about it from a completely different angle rather than setting an eye on the annual summit. If you add your home to the Google Maps, it’s your family who would get the advantages of it, maybe while returning at night from somewhere through private cabs which use Google Maps for navigation.

উপহার

সারাদিন আজও দম ফেলার সময়টুকু হয়নি হয়তো তোমার,
সকাল থেকে রাত অবধি নিঃশব্দে করে গেছো সব কাজ, ঠিক অন্য দিনের মতোই..
কতো অলিগলি ছুটে বেড়িয়েছো, পেড়িয়েছো হাজারও মোড়..
কখনো বাইপাসের ধার তো কখনো পাঁচ মাথার মোড়, আবার কখনো উল্টেও গেছো উল্টোডাঙায় এসে..
সারাটা দিন বছর মাস বিশ্রাম নাওনি কখনো অধৈর্য হয়ে বলো নি “আর পারবো না কাজ করতে”…
দিয়েছো অনেক কিছু প্রত্যুত্তরে চাওনি কিছুই
উচ্ছিষ্ট খেয়ে কাটিয়ে দিলে সারাটা জীবন..
সাক্ষী থেকেছো কতো অশালীনতা, অপমান, নোংরামির, চেয়েও প্রতিবাদ করতে পারোনি…
শুধু মুখ বুজে করে গেছো কাজ সহ্য করেছো সব…
হয়তো একটা গোটা কেক দিতে পারবো না তোমায়, আর নাই পারবো পায়েস খাওয়াতে..
শুধু উজার করা ভালোবাসাটাই উপহারে দিলাম তোমার ঝুলি তে, এই শেষ বেলায় কল্লোলিনি কলকাতা ভালো থেকো..

অনুশ্রী কর

OATH OF SACRIFICE

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It’s the 70th Birthday of Indian Independence! We didn’t even realize that this much days are gone, did we? Then what had happened in the past that made us dependent and independent? Well, there is a deep, enthusiastic and heartening tale of this auspicious day. Then let’s go into the flashback, recall the names, remind those incidents and reverberate the slogans of our heroes again on this Independence day!

Once upon a time, European countries like Britain, France, Portugal were having a peaceful trading in our country. They tried to take control of India in various ways, but only British succeeded. It turned on their greediness as the ruling Mughal Emperor – Akbar died in the 17th century. The political instability rose and the British took advantage of it. Through the medium of war, they managed to snatch many regions, and then the whole nation.

 

Some of the massive Battles:

• Battle of Plassey, West Bengal (1757)

• Anglo-Mysore Conflict, Karnataka (1799)

• Maratha War, Maharashtra (1818)

• Anglo-Sikh War, Punjab (1849)

 

British Governance:

British governance had ill-effects on Farmers, Artisans, Adivasis, Fakirs and Soldiers. Due to exploitation, the discontent finally exploded in the form of 1857 mutiny, when Indian soldiers were given cartridges covering with grease of fats of cows and pigs, which was against our religion. The extremist Mangal Pandey shot the British officer, and the revolt began.

 

Well, the Britishers were smart enough as they implemented the ‘Divide & Rule’ technique to bisect the Hindu-Muslim bond. This led to the emergence of ‘Muslim League’ later in 1906.

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Although Britishers were exploiting, they started Railways and other transport, mills, technology and most importantly – Western Education. Now, Indians took advantage of this and realized the necessity of revolution in the backwardness of Indian society.

 

The Beginning of Renaissance:

~ Women reform: Raja Ram Mohan Roy

~ Girls’ & Dalits’ school: Mahatma Phule

~ Caste discrimination reform: G.G Agarkar

~ Growth of Literature and Science:

Mahadev Ranade, Rabindranath Tagore, C.V.Raman – Nobel Prize winners

 

Patriotic Perception:

In 1885, Indian National Congress was established. It helped to create political awakening and cultivate patriotic values. The extremist leaders like Lokmanya Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai led the nation in an aggressive way. ‘Swarajya majha janmasidhha hakka ahe ani to me milavnarach!’ (Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it) were Lokmanya Tilak’s immense words. Through newspapers like Kesari and Maratha, the unity started to develop.

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Bengal Partition:

Showing the cause of inconvenience for administration, British decided to do the partition of Bengal state in 1905. The hidden evil purpose was to divide the Hindus and Muslims of Bengal. Citizens strongly opposed the decision through agitations. 16th October 1905 was considered the ‘National Mourning Day.’

 

Division of Viewpoints:

There were some leaders who had the opinion to deal the issue with peace while some had the fire bursting out in them. The division of leaders – ‘Moderates’ and ‘Extremists’ resulted in a new concern for unity.

 

Mahatma Gandhi:

After the death of Tilak, now the barrister from South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi was given the responsibility of freedom struggle to make it reach to the peak of Independence. Through the extreme new ideas and values of Non-violence and Satyagraha, he managed to reunite the people and re-pressurize the government.

 

British was never ready to be defeated. They passed ‘Rowlatt Act’ by which the government could arrest any Indian without inquiry. Gandhiji and other leaders were arrested to prevent the patriotic volcano eruption.

 

Jalianwala Baug Massacre, Amritsar (1919):

Public meetings and conferences were banned in Amritsar. In order to protest, a massive contribution was made by 400-500 people in Jallianwala Bagh. General Dyre was ordered to open fire the unarmed people, in which 400 people were killed and 100 got injured.

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Non Co-operation Movement (Aug 1920):

There was no way now that could stop Indians from fighting for their motherland. All government places and things were boycotted. A peaceful procession at Chauri Choura in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh had been fired by British police. A tit for tat, protestants set the police station on fire.

 

Revolutionary Movement (1925):

          Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru and other revolutionary fighters planned to take out the treasure from a train in Kakori railway station for the funds for revolutionary work. Shouting the slogan ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ (Long live the revolution), they also conducted bomb blast in court and shot the men in red suit to protest against the unfair laws.

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Dandi March (1930):

To oppose the unjust of taxation on the basic necessity like salt, Mahatma Gandhi along with 78 followers completed the journey of 385 km from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat.

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Quit India Movement (1942):

England declared Indians as their army for 2nd World War. When asked for Independence in exchange for this, they clearly denied it. The situation started becoming more serious.

Gandhiji appealed to the people,

“Every one of you, from this moment onwards, consider yourself a free man or woman. The Mantra is: ‘Do or Die’. We shall either free India or die in the attempt.”

Massive agitations resulted in the arrest of Congress leaders & more than 60,000 people. Despite this, from school children to old people, all participated. A school boy named Shirishkumar was brutally fired by the police.

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Indian National Army:

The words from Subhash Chandra Bose – ‘Tum Mujhe Khoon Do, Main Tumhe Aazadi Dunga’ (Give me your blood, I will give you freedom) were strong enough to fill the energy in the atmosphere. The powerful magnetism of Freedom struggle motivated the Indian soldiers in Navy and Air force. They also decided to have their nation independent and hence went on strike. Soon British realized that their time was going to end.

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India as an INDEPENDENT NATION (1947):

At midnight hour on 14th August, 1947 i.e on the beginning of the bright day of 15th August 1947, the Flag Hoisting ceremony at Red Fort was celebrated by millions of aspiring Indians along with the sacred souls of martyred freedom fighters. ‘Jana Gana Mana’ written by Rabindranath Tagore was declared the National Anthem of Independent India.

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This motherland has seen many Sacrifices, Revolutions, Patriotism, Unity and Faith.

We Salute the Real Heroes of India, the True Fighters who created a Dream, had the passion to aspire it, the ones who taught us that big things take time to happen but they are worth, and you can achieve it once you have faith and unity. The living legends who were, are and always will be encouraging to every Indian and make them feel proud!

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It’s been a long time and we’re trying our best to make India a developed country. There are certain obstacles of corruption, discrimination and superstition, so let’s take a vow to battle these and make Independent India a ‘Developed Independent India’. So what are you waiting for? Get up and create the magic again!

Pallavi Ekbote

REVIEW: MOHENJO DARO (2016)

5

Harappa and Mahenjo Daro, we knew as the oldest civilization set up in the Indian subcontinent through eternal history lessons from childhood, which got destroyed without leaving a clue about the cause of this destruction, as even modern day technology could not decipher the Indus Script. This film is made with an intention to throw some light on the mystery, with loads of imagination mixed with some real historical facts and archeological items. In short, Mohenjo Daro depicts an non-proved reason behind the end of Indus era, combining it with a story of love, lust, revenge and heroism.

Sarman (Hrithik Roshan), a young farmer in Amri, a village, where he does the bravest of works, regularly dreams of an unicorn watching at him with a mysterious music which his paternal aunt often hums. He has some unknown affinity towards the then capital city of this civilization – Mohenjo Daro, and visits there for indigo trading after some strong resistance from his uncle and aunt. Visiting the city, he feels this city is known to him very well, but can’t recall why.

Sarman meets the head priest’s daughter Chaani (Pooja Hegde), who is respected by everyone in the town as the blessing of Ma Sindh (Goddess of Indus River), and falls in love with her. After he saved her from a rage of horses, she also falls for him, but as already the sly dishonest chief of the town, Maham (Kabir Bedi) decided her marriage with his son, a devilish Moonja (Arunoday Singh), the fights begin.

Maham’s greed for gold under Indus River influences the construction of a dam on the river, causing several drying up in the poor villages, and this also counted for a major natural disaster, which is portrayed as the fall of the civilization in this movie in the climax. Can Sarman win his love, can he get all the missing links about his real identity, can he bring an end to the dictatorship of the kingdom, and finally, can he save the common men from the disaster which caused the ruins, currently situated in Larkana, Sindh, Pakistan? Please visit the halls to complete your curiosity.

Although some scenes, VFX works and historical miscues were illogically funny, but I won’t agree with the extra bit of criticism done by some newspapers. Hrithik Roshan did his part very well, and the research and hard work of Ashutosh Gowariker Productions Pvt. Ltd. could provide us enough entertainment, posing in the year 2016 BC! A.R. Rahman was magical with the music, and the shooting sets in Bhuj, Gujarat, were created very efficiently, to complete a perfect reconstructed view based on the ruins of Mahenjo Daro. I’d give a 7 out of 10 to this movie

Just for fun, some destruction and sacrifice scenes were ‘Deja Vu’ regarding to Hollywood chart-buster 2012!

Resham Das

A Letter that Matters the MOST

Pallavi Ekbote

To

The Human Being,

Planet no. 3,

Solar System

Subject:  Complaining about poor maintenance of the residence.

Dear my creature,

I am writing this letter to you to complain about the poor maintenance of the residence and the troubles which I have to face due to it.

Since many years, ailment has become a routine for me. Perhaps, I may succumb soon. The reason why I have issues only with you and not with other creatures is because they are obeying my precepts and living their lives facilely. A mother always shows solicitude and whatever she advises, it is for the betterment of her children. When you were born, my only desire was to acquaint you with everyone in the universe, but then I thought to let you ascertain about us, and you did it. You found about your mother, all your relatives, the stars, the planets and most prominently your grandfather-the Sun. You were my beloved child. This is the reason why I bestowed you a special reward of sentiments and thought process. Though your progress fascinated me, after a certain period, it didn’t seem like before. Having technological power certainly does not mean that you do everything as per your wish. It is your technological misuse that has left me in a serious condition. I am suffering from a high fever called ‘Global Warming’ due to some greenhouse gases present in my body. I have been coughing ceaselessly since many years because of pollution. It was endurable for me at the early age when you were a juvenile, but then I had to take some undesirable actions to make you evolve into a better personality.

There were many times when I was so cheesed off that nothing could stop me. My numerous negative emotions like Floods, Droughts, Volcano eruptions, Tsunamis and Earthquakes had come out of me. It made you realize your mistake but only for a couple of months. It all started again. Although water produced by me is salty, I offer you fresh water by the process of rain. It isn’t my fault that you deforest the land and then abide water crisis. Your grandfather provides you not only sunlight but different sources of energy that keeps you alive. It isn’t his fault that you defile me unconditionally and slay my Ozone army which dauntlessly protects me from UV rays. Trees create their own food by photosynthesis. They don’t greed for more. Animals and birds have their own meal. They don’t come and eat from your plate, do they? Then why are you intruding in their lives? The land doesn’t belong only to you. I obviously let you have access to adequate resources up-to your requirement, but please don’t harm others’ habitats. They also deserve a life just like you. As I mentioned earlier, you are special to me but don’t force me to show up my wrath again. I can’t watch the decease of my own children. There won’t be any purpose of my existence then. Has anybody ever wanted her mother to pass away? If no, then please stop polluting my breath (air), stop cutting my arms (trees), stop killing your brothers and sisters (animals & birds) and stop being selfish!

As a mother, I request you to take immediate actions against this very sensitive and significant matter. You are grown up now, so you should take some responsibility of maintaining your own house. Otherwise I’ll have to take some stringent action before I perish!

Thanking you,

                                                                                                                                                  Yours truly,

Mother Earth

Attachment of my health reports:

A Difficult but Necessary Solution

RESHAM DAS

While the number, intensity and destruction of earthquakes are following a hike in last 5-6 years all over the world, it’s becoming very much essential to implement a forecasting system which would warn people about an upcoming earthquake a relevant time span ago. Till date, science and technology invented the forecasting mechanism for storms, cyclones, and almost every kind of climatic occurring but not for an earthquake. But recently, a group of geologists discovered a new concept which may help the prediction of a coming earthquake with almost exact date and time!

According to this concept, if the number of free electrons at the lower layer of ionosphere over a certain region increases abnormally, there’s a chance of earthquake in that region, whose magnitude and intensity would depend on the concentration of free electrons at the lower ionosphere! But how is the free electrons at ionosphere related with the tectonic activity many kilometers under ground? Well, it’s a noble gas called Radon with an atomic number 86, which links these two factors. When a tectonic movement starts deep beneath the earth, due to sheer collisions, Radon gas stored inside earth crust, comes out from the region and moves upwards. At ionosphere, already the gases stay in ionic condition due to extreme temperature, and so when Radon joins them, the electronic concentration rises! Therefore, keeping an eye on the lower ionospheric electron concentration, the people below can be warned about a coming tremor, in this way. Even the time of the shock can be calculated analyzing this excess electron concentration.

It’s difficult to implement such a measurement of electronic concentrations 7 days a week, 365 days a year, but still scientists are attempting it, in order to offer security to human beings living on a turbulent earth.