Manav Kataria's Blog


Why do I want to startup?

David Cohen, TechStars

Are you planning to startup yourself? What’s motivating the switch?” — a friend recently asked me.


I believe this is a fundamental question that all aspiring startup enterprenaurs should ask themselves. It took me a while to articulate my feelings in this.

I’ve always loved the ideology of a startup. Partly because my dad is an enterprising businessman and I’ve always looked at it positively. Also, because holistic development has been ingrained in my way of life.

For me, the journey of startup is an exercise in learning. It teaches you not just tech, business and design but also how to be a better team player, communicator, visionary and a better leader.

The (difficult) process of making a company, a product and an organization successful forces you to iron-out your rough edges and hones you to become a stronger, better, and a more capable individual.

If done right, its an ideal exercise in self-development.

If you ever dream of starting a company or are fascinated by the idea of having a startup, do some soul searching and ask yourself: “Why do you want to startup?” 

Met Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

(December 22, 2010) The Dean of International Relations invited the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and a few students for an interactive session. Mr. President was a comfortable speaker and very frank diplomat.

I was surprized and delighted at the same time with the frequent use of  words (translated)  “I would not like to hide/conceal from you what we discussed with your government …” coming from a politician! There was sense of loyalty, trust and straightforwardness in every word. This was so unlike Indian politicians.

I’ve recently started respecting politicians. Unfortunately, I see a clear difference of strata between ours and the ones that I like! I’ll refer to them as “Diplomats” and ours, well – “Politicians”

Outlook & Impressions

Very humble, straight-forward and elegant. A charming personality. Short height. No unnecessary attitude or style. I doubt any lady in the room would not call him handsome!

One starking difference about Russians  – Never hesitate in doing what is right!
Whether its performing (what some of us might call) lowly activities like testing the mic or throwing a coffee cup into the bin, kicking-butt of the enemy who attacked your country or just speaking your mind. They have no hesitation or fear of Public, which makes their case seem so genuine in action!

I only wish/hope our Indian counterparts were as inspired by him as I was.


IIT Bombay was developed by funds & training from USSR. So in a way, his visit had a symbolic significance and we intended to strengthen ties with them in various technological fields like

  • Weapons,
  • Controls,
  • Health-Care and
  • Nano-Technology Collaboration with India.

We also talked about:

  • UNSC support,
  • Anti-Terrorist Military Collaboration,
  • Russian Republic Communism vs Democracy,
  • Peace, Economy and Technological Development with India.

Photos of the Month

These were clicked on Daa’s Birthday Party. The third one isn’t mine, but I love it! 🙂

Studio: H6 Canteen

Diwali Reunion 2010

Batch ’99 Reunion – Nov 2010

People: Kunal, Gautam, Vishal, Manav, Alkesh, Surendra, Jitendra

School: St. Xaviers, Mount Carmel, Adarsh Mahavidhlaya
Locale: Adipur, Gandhidham, Kutch, Gujarat, India

Music: Hyperakt (
Photo Credits: Vishal, Manav, Gautam, Surendra, Jitu
Photo & Video Editing: Manav

Evelyn Glennie shows how to listen | TED

In this soaring demonstration, deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie illustrates how listening to music involves much more than simply letting sound waves hit your eardrums.

Beautiful! Almost Unbelievable!

Bathroom Interior Design

Two simple bathroom designs I did for home:

Lower Master Bathroom Layout Features:

  • Frequent Access items (WC and Basin) have easier access than Shower and Washing Machine.
  • Easiest toilet access in the night.
  • A partition cabinet between with few sides closed to keep the laptop safe before shower.
  • Enough utility space all over the room – under the basin, partition cabinet and the right wall. Feel free to add more.
  • A carpet/rug far away from shower to keep your feet dry.
  • Add a sink at Shower Corner.

Interesting Suggestion:

Vishal Verma I can see how hygienic your laptop is going to be 😀 By the way, having an optical keyboard right in front of the pot wont be a bad idea. While you are ‘doing’, u can also chat with friends. Saves time. And moreover, the best ideas are born while you are on toilet seat…so good to have something non-tangible to capture the idea in that moment.

National UID Project – Status, Questions & Concerns

Project Summary:,000_crore

Implementation: Phase One – 100Million UIDs
Timeline: December 2010  – March 2010

Pilot State Chosen – Karnataka

Three Pilot tests completed by June 2010. Quoting Deccan Herald

About 20 sets of gadgets comprising a two-mega pixel web camera to capture image of the person, slab finger scanner to record the finger prints, single finger scanners, iris camera are being used. The whole process takes about five minutes or even less than that. The details are being collected across 14 centres in Mysore

Queries and Concerns

  • Technical Security
    How do they ensure protection and manipulation of information once it is stored in their repository? What threat does it pose to the nation if their database gets leaked or hacked?
  • Information Validation
    How do they ensure validation of information at the time of storage into the database? What if the information was manipulated at source?
  • Paperless ID Verification
    If a (secondary) purpose is to avoid the hassle of providing identity support documents, it may not be a bad idea to provide address details to the organization as well. Kinda like a directory service with access control options.
    Otherwise, the residents would still have to submit documents of address proof -and we’re back to square one?!
  • Authentication
    “The authority will not issue any cards” — How do they authenticate my identity otherwise?

Official Project Document:
Creating a Unique Identity Number for Every Resident in India — UDAI Working Paper -Version 1.1

Martian Mouse!

Disclaimer: This post has no correlation with reality!

My touchpad driver was crashing quite frequently so I decided to uninstall it and upgrade to a new one thinking it would finally fix my problem!
And, did it?…

Remember those old science-fiction movies – and the eerie sound they made when a UFO floated-up in the Manhattan Sky — Yea? Well that’s how my touchpad sounds right now! Don’t believe me? Watch this video:

Credit goes to our cameraman Tej Vohra for his brave videography attempt to capture the aliens! 😉

Wow! What’s going on?!
The touchpad is now a musician playing Theremin.

What’s a Theremin? – Invented in 1919 by a Russian physicist, Lev Termen is a musical instrument that is played without touching it! This is what makes it easy to play but notoriously difficult to master!

Playing Technique (from wiki/Theremin):

The controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas which sense the position of the player’s hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand, and amplitude (volume) with the other. (The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker)

Playing Mario Bros on Theremin:
(youtube link)

Let me present to you, “Geeks Unleashed!
(youtube link)

I want to make my own Theremin someday! It would be a so cool to have one at home 😉

Interesting Courses at IIT Bombay

Summer 2010

  • SOM:
  • IDC:
    • ID 631: Product Design I – R. Sandesh,
      (25th October – 12th November , everyday) OR
    • ID 665: Design Workshop I – RAO A.G
    • ID 641: Product Planning, Strategy and Marketing – B.K.Chakravarthy
      (Every Tuesday 9:30 – 17:00, IDC Auditorium, till October 19th)
    • VC 605: Photo Communication – Sudesh Balan (7th-22nd October everyday) √ (done this earlier with Raja Mohanty)
    • ID 643: Design Issues: Looks okay – not too promising
      (Wednesday, Friday 8:30-9:25)
  • Mechanical:
    • ME621: Mathematical Methods for Mechanics and Dynamics
  • Energy:
  • Physics:
    • Non Linear Dynamics and Chaos (Awesomely Taught!) – Punit Parmananda √ (done) “Had done it earlier, will do it again!” Review: “PP is a fantastic teacher. He talks all practical stuff. Every other class is a practical application presentation by students. Awesome Course! Wanna Do it Again! Highly Recommended”

(last update: Added MG785 20th Sept; timetable for IDC Courses, et. al; 22nd July)

This is a top of the head list. This post will frequently get updated in the next 2 weeks.


Photos of the Month

Last Saturday me and Vinay were planning to go join my friends and Chandu Mhatre for a Photography Session at Versova. We were late. We got up at 6:15am whereas we were supposed to start from IIT around 5:30. As we were about to leave, I got a call from my friends who were already with Chandu to ditch the plan! 😛

As we had already taken a morning bath (really!) — we were determined to go out! And hence we decided to click in IIT that day:

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Uploaded a few more here:

Exploring Powai: Heritage Park

I visited the Heritage Park and the Glenn Society Park today. It is an interesting place and I got to see a diverse age group of people having fun: children playing, teenagers chatting and lot of the elderly jogging! They have done some landscaping and also (read hence) sprout a small pond there! 🙂

Wanna try out Hiranandani Garden next!

Photos of the Month

Industrial Design Center had organized a workshop on Street Photography as a part of – Design Degree Show 2010. I would rather call it a practice session as the facilitator was harmless 😉

The best thing was the learning experience from those 15 participants, all humble and amazing photographers that came together to photograph IIT on that morning. Here are few of my pics:

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More at my: Facebook-Gallery

Have obstacle will Jump – Parkour

Parkour Mumbai

Why Lie Down, when you can Sit; why Sit, when you can Stand; why Stand, when you can Walk; why Walk, when you can Run; why Run, when you can Vault, Jump, Drop, Leap, Climb, Swing, Flip etc.?”

Parkour for life!

I was showing some Parkour videos to a friend when I accidentally stumbled upon the Parkour Mumbai Website.

It was heartening to see that Parkour has its presence in India/Mumbai. All I knew about Parkour was that 3Run Traceurs gave a stunning performance last year at Techfest. And this Russian Traceur video which I saw on the lan:

I always wanted to learn Gymnastics but never got a chance. Parkour does have that flavor. I really want to join the parkour training camp. But Kandivili is too far from Powai to reach at 6:00am every morning. I’ll have to settle for a weekend training program that they have 6:00-8:00am every Saturday.

Tech Profile 2009-2010

Manav Kataria
Institute Tech Awards


  • He mentored juniors and enabled PG participation in Tech
  • Always encouraged UG-PG interaction thru various hobby projects like air-mouse, multi-touch screens and haptics
  • He facilitated peers to participate in Institue Projects – There are 4 PGs now active working as a part of Student Satellite project
  • He acted as the “unofficial” Tech Secy at H1. Setting an example, he caused H1 council to recognize the value of a Technical Secratory. The hostel constitution is now ammended to include a official Tech Secy post


JK Rowling’s Speech at Harvard Commencement 2008

One of the best speeches I’ve ever heard.

Talks about the Benefits of FailureImportance of Imagination, and the influence that individuals like us have over the future well being of the world(An apt listen after last night’s terror activities at Pune.)



True Value

MK to GD while trying to Motivate taking risks, experiment & venture out while at IIT.

This is the time I can take risks; And beyond this,
the risks become
inhibitingly costly.
This place – is a learning zone
and, my time is running-out…

The Triple Filter Test

[tweetmeme source=”ManavKataria” ]

A very interesting story that describes how people waste their time and energy in (observing/performing) useless activities. (src: email)

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”
“Triple Filter Test?” asked the acquaintance.
“That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test.

The first filter is Truth. Have you made sure what you are about to tell me is true?”
“No,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it and…”
“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not.

Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of goodness. Is what you are about tell me about my friend something good?” “No, on the contrary…”
“So,” Socrates continued, “You want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left.

The filter of usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?” “No, not really.”
“Well,” concluded Socrates, “If what you want to tell me is neither true nor good, nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

Solar Eclipse 2010

Unlike my undergrad college an eclipse here is really a celebrated event!

Solar Eclipse 2010

Junta at the event

Krittika – Astronomy club of IITB actually gave solar filters and had even setup a telescope for us to view the eclipse closely.

Here are some snaps I clicked that day:

Solar Eclipse 2010

Auto Focus; 20x Zoom

It is amazing to realize power of technology that lies within our hands today;
high zoom camera + solar filter = sunspots, observed by a common man!

Solar Eclipse 2010

Sunspots; Manual Mode; Infinity Focus; 20x Zoom

The sky around:

Aurora; Image Courtesy: Vishal Tanna

Aurora; Image Courtesy: Vishal Tanna

And yes, there were a few, creatively-bent, willing to behold the power of the sun without any fear …

Telescopic Projection

… and dare its true purpose!

Telescopic Projection Burning

More such images at:

Thanks to AP (Anand Prateek) and Vishal Tanna for lending me their camera.

Climb the hill and a Party follows…

Sameer Hill Trek
It was “planned” by Arti, that all of CC (Control and Computing) students, MTech + PhDs would trek the Sameer hill top today. We started around 5:15 and came back around 7pm. It was wonderful up going up there again, and with new friends it was all the more better.

It gave us the opportunity to break the ice! Infact we even had a freshers intro up there at the top! 🙂

From my batch it was Imon, Nikunj and Me from M.Tech and Subhasis Dutta from Ph.D. There were a lot of juniors, viz; Rachel, Garima, Arti, Mayank Pandey, Sidharth Jain, Pratyush, Sandeep and one more I think. From the seniors we had Ram, Mandar, Debu da, and Swanand the “guide”

Imon wanted to rush back down and play football. Nikunj had to take a leak and was stuck up there with us! The rest of us were quite happy up there! We also met Neeli (Neelam) and Peeli (Priyanka) up there. It was a pleasant surprize!

IceCreams for Bhel
After we parted I realized I hadn’t had enough. And wanted more “masti” so I decided to meet the folks at BJC and have a bhel! BJC was closed so we ended up having ice-cream and chocolates.

Thereafter we went to H11 and were officially treated by Rachel (tho’ I don’t know who paid!) for maggi 🙂

Theatre Fest
“Maagi to kha li par hamara pet fir bhi nahi bhara tha. to hamne socha ki theatre fest jaate hain”

I gave a small introduction of today’s play what I knew but didn’t create a big impression as I didn’t have much expectation myself. Me, Garima and Arti did end-up watching the play and we liked it so much that we were in that trance for almost an hour after that!

Dinner and the rest
We had dinner at Gullu and then a nice walk till the main gate, all of us. It was great! I had a splendid time. Hope to have more such encounters in the future!


10th January 2010
IIT Bombay

Applications In BioMedical Engineering

A System’s Perspective: Computer Science, Embedded and Control Systems

Control Systems and Theory:

  • Understanding and thus modeling of human physiology and pathology.
  • Leading towards applications like controlled medication like drug delivery.
  • Factors like rate and dosage could be controlled.

Computer Science and Embedded Systems:

Integration of computer science with embedded systems has lead to many applications within medicince and healthcare.

  • Machines like X Rays, CT Scan, MRI help diagnose a disease/condition rapidly.
  • While others like defibrilators, pacemakers, dialators and cathetors help keep a patient under check and improve the response time of a doctor.
  • Hapitics enabled Surgical Simulators are a boon for providing high risk Medical Operations and Training today.
  • Visualization Systems that enable 3D Reconstruction of human body from CT Scan, X-Rays, MRI, etc, powered by computer graphics and imaging technology has greatly enhanced understanding & analysis of medical students and doctors alike.
  • Applications like Telemedicine and Telesurgery rely on backbone of Internet and Communications Infrastructure.
  • I envision integration of mobile and healthcare devices in future thus enabling the common man to keep himself under check while on the move.

Manav Kataria

10th January 2010
IIT Bombay

Assignment for BM600: Introduction to BioMedical Engineering

Mood Indigo 2009

Day 1:
Juggling Workshop
DAY 2:
Got up very late today. Participated in a Photography competition “Papparazzi”; Disha was the celebrity and I was a Papparazzi. And then Pool Side Dance Party!… It was not as nice as last time but it became fun later on..
ProNight: Classical Night
“Event jab tak Pure Classiscal tha, to jyada chamka nai. Fir gazal singer aaya, aur Jhulelaal bajaya to khoob mazaa aaya!”
DAY 3:
What a day! One of the best experiences at Moodi, ever!
I had planned to do a bank robbery ‘the Heist’ and then attend the DJing workshop.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to do anything at the Heist. We started discussin and forgot to complete the obstacle track in time. So we got disqualified! 😛
The Djing workshop was good. I got hands on at the Pioneer NewAge Mach3. We attempted to catch the first beat of every a bar in a track. We also saw a demo of some good mixing.
They had a Rock Climbing Wall and an obstacle course at the NCC grounds. There was also a mental task to be performed alongwith.
I also got a Tatoo today!
ProNight: Fusion Night
Raghav Sachar and Alms for Shanti
A brillian performance by folks from Israel! Fantastic Music using unconventional tools. Exhilarating performance! I can’t explain it!
NCC Roads:
Bike Stunt Performance
Day 4:
Nunchak Workshop. Good tricks, but it was too short.
The Workshop was good. Fir time pass raha. Attended an International Music performance.
< videos >
Doston ke saath masti ki. Aur Mess mai pani puri khai. Aur haan, I finally Climbed the OldSpice Rock Climbing Wall. Tried the obstacle course with Sagar: rock climbing wall, 8.5feet NCC wall and balance walking. It was fun! 🙂

Looking for Touch

Looking for Touch:
Haptics and BioMedicine – Discussions at IITM

I am looking for a Project in Haptics / BioMedical as my M.Tech Project (MTP). I love this field. It makes you feel useful when you contribute to the community. Not to mention there is a great potential in this field for entrepreneurship. To decide on a suitable project, I am here at IITM today, visiting Prof Manivanan.

I had a wonderful discussion with him today. Discussed a lot of projects from extremely challenging to not too risky. The most exciting ones are the most risky! Also BioMedicine will be a totally new field for me.

I need to evaluate whether IITB will accept these projects. Does it have enough control systems? Enough Research? Enough substance? Or may be too much! 😛

Lots of things to think about. Will take sometime before I can decide. See them more clearly before I make a decision. That’s what this vacation time was supposed to be for! 🙂

Just for fun, wrote the rest here …

Banish your fears

Banish your fears.
This is the biggest obstacle for most people – self-doubt and fear of failure.

How can you face it or banish it? Here’s how …

  • First, acknowledge it rather than ignoring or denying it.
  • Second, write it down, to externalize it.
  • Third, feel it, and be OK with having it.
  • Fourth, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Usually it’s not catastrophic.
  • Fifth, prepare yourself for doing it anyway, and then do it.
  • Take small steps, as tiny as possible, and forget about what might happen — focus on what actually is happening, right now.
  • And celebrate your success, no matter how small.

Adapted From: The short but powerful guide to finding your passion:

Why scientists aren’t so famous today?

Richard Hamming

Richard Hamming

I wanted to share this article “Why No Famous Scientists or Engineers?”:

I especially liked the answer in comment #4: “I think the problem is the lack of revolutionary and easily understandable science/technology”

It reminded me of the legendary talk by Richard Hamming on “You and Your Research” (Video | Transcript)

To summarize what Krishnan said in his reply to the above article (see comment):

  • The work of today’s scientists is not less important than what it used to be.
  • There is a bias in the author’s note.

I agree with both his points. But I also agree with the author’s central point – Today there are lesser scientists who are famous or their work!

Why is that? Where are we going wrong?

The article raised a beautiful point I wanted to share with you – simplicity.
Writing papers or patents today is an Art. Write on everything around the object and nothing about the object! Specifically hide intricate details to avoid leaking your intellectual property.Obviously this makes it difficult for the reader to comprehend the science being described! I have an impression that “in those days” a general scientist wasn’t so insecure about his idea being leaked or stolen. In defense of my very own scientific community,

It wasn’t so commercial, you know!
~ King Julian, Madagascar

What can we do to avoid it?

Why does science have to be difficult to comprehend? Nature didn’t intend it that way. Lets keep our work as simple as possible. To quote the smart guy:

Theories should be as simple as possible, but not simpler
~ Albert Einstein