I need a [very well paying] job in data science. Now.

I need a very well paying job in data science. Now. In Pune, India.


 



Yes, I was visiting Kota for some official work when at the railway station of the [back then, a simple little] town, on a “whim” (borne out of a sense of curiosity, having heard the author’s name), I bought it. That was on 14th July 1987. The stamp of the A. H. Wheeler and Company (Rupa Publications), so well known to us all (including IITians and IIM graduates) back then, stand in a mute testimony for the same—the price, and the fact that this little book was imported by them. As to bearing testimony to the event, so does my signature, and the noting of the date. (I would ordinarily have no motivation to note a fake date, what do you say?) Also notable is the price of the book: Rs. 59/-. Bought out of Rs. 1800/- per month, if I remember those days right (and plain because I was an M. Tech. from (one of the then five) IITs. My juniors from my own UG college, COEP, would have had to start with a Rs. 1200/- or Rs. 1400/- package, and rise to my level in about 3 years, back then.)

Try to convince my the then back self that I would be jobless today.

No, really. Do that.

And see if I don’t call you names. Right here.

Americans!


A song I like:

(English, pop-song): “Another town, another train…”
Band (i.e. music, composition, lyrics, etc., to the best of my knowledge): ABBA

Bye for now.


And develop a habit to read—and understand—books. That’s important. As my example serves to illustrate the point. Whether I go jobful or jobless. It’s a good habit to cultivate.

But then, Americans have grown so insensitive to the authentic pains of others—including real works by others. The said attitude must reflect inwards too. The emphasis is on the word “authentic.” If a man doesn’t care for another honest, really very hard-working man in pain but spends his intellect and time in finding rationalizations to enhance his own prestige and money-obtaining powers, by the law of integrative mechanism of conscisousness that is the law of “karma,” the same thing must haunt him back—whether he be a Republican, or a Democrat. (Just a familiarity with the word “karma” is not enough to escape its bad—or good—effects. What matters are actions (“karma”s), ultimately. But given the fact that man has intellect, these are helped, not obscured, by it.)

Go, convince Americans to give me a good, well-paying job, in data science, and in Pune—the one that matches my one-sentence profile (mentioned here) and my temperament. As to the latter, simple it is, to put it in one sentence: “When the time calls for it, I am known to call a spade a spade.”

And, I can call Americans (and JPBTIs) exactly what they have earned.

But the more important paragraph was the second in this section. Starting from “But then, Americans have grown so insensitive to the authentic… .”

Instead of “pains,” you could even add a value / virtue. The statement would hold.

 

 

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Miscellaneous: my job situation, the Tatas, and taking a break…

The Diwali is here, already!

This year’s Diwali isn’t going great for me. I am still jobless—without reason or rhyme. It is difficult to enjoy Diwali against that backdrop.


As you know, engineering colleges affiliated to the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU for short) have been telling me that my Metallurgy+Mechanical background isn’t acceptable, even though the rules have changed to the contrary, and say that I now qualify (in my interpretation).

Recently I attended an interview, and it seems like I may be able to obtain a clear-cut answer on my eligibility (i.e. the equivalence of Metallurgy and Mechanical) from SPPU.

The thing is, SPPU has been having no Dean for its Engineering faculty for about a year or more by now, because the Maharashtra state government hasn’t so far undertaken the procedure to elect (or select) the next Dean.

This recent interview which I mentioned above, was for a Principal’s post, and I was short-listed. As is the common practice here, the short-listed candidates were all invited at the same time, and thus, I had an opportunity to interact with these other, senior-level professors.

These senior professors (some of them already active as Principals at other colleges) told me that it isn’t just SPPU, but all the universities in Maharashtra. They all are currently having only an in-charge or acting Dean for their engineering faculties, because the procedure to appoint the next set of Deans, which was due to occur this month (October) has once again been postponed by yet another year.

Policy decisions such as the Metallurgy and Mechanical equivalence at SPPU have been pending, they told me, because the acting Dean can easily say that he has no powers to do that. Though the other universities are clear that I would qualify, if a genius running an engineering college under SPPU thinks that I don’t, then the matter normally goes to the Dean. If the Dean is not official, if he is only acting, he doesn’t want to take “risk,” so he takes no decision at all. Not just the equivalence issues, there are certain other policy decisions too, which have been pending, they told me. The in-charge Deans have been processing only the routine work, and not taking any policy decisions. The next set of Deans were expected to get appointed by June 2016, and then, after postponement, by October 2016. (“achhchhe din!”)

Now that the appointments have been officially postponed by one whole year (“achhchhe din,” again!), the colleges themselves have begun going to the universities for obtaining the professor’s approvals, arguing that faculty approvals is a routine matter, and that they cannot properly function without having approved faculty.

Thus, the university (SPPU) has begun appointing panels for faculty interviews. There has been a spate of faculty recruitment ads after the current semester got going (“achhchhe din!”).

The particular interview which I attended, these other candidates informed me, was with a University-appointed panel—i.e., of the kind which allows approvals. (Otherwise, the appointments are made by the affiliating colleges on their own, but only on a temporary, ad-hoc basis, and therefore, for a limited time.)

Please note, all the above is what I gathered from their talk. I do not know what the situation is exactly like. (Comments concerning “achhchhe din!,” however, are strictly mine.)

But yes, it did turn out that the interview panel here was from the university. Being a senior post (Principal), the panel included both the immediately past Dean (Prof. G. K. Kharate) and the new, in-charge Dean (Prof. Dr. Nerkar, of PVG College, Pune).

During my interview, if the manner in which Prof. Kharate (the past Dean) now said things is any indication, it means that I should now qualify even in the SPPU. This would be according to the new GR about which I had written a few months ago, here [^]. Essentially, Prof. Kharate wondered aloud as to why there was any more confusion because the government had already clarified the situation with the new rules.

I took that to mean that I qualify.

Of course, these SPPU geniuses are what they are, and therefore, they—these same two SPPU Deans—could very well say, in future, that I don’t qualify. After all, I didn’t ask them the unambiguous question “With my Metallurgy background, do I qualify for a Mechanical Engineering (full) Professor’s job or not? Yes, or no?;”  and they didn’t then answer in yes or no terms.

Of course, right in the middle of an on-going job interview couldn’t possibly have been the best time and place to get them to positively confirm that I do qualify. (Their informal indications, however, were clearly along the lines that I do qualify.)

Now that the Diwali break has arrived, the colleges are closed, and so, I would be able to approach Prof. Dr. Nerkar (the currently acting/in-charge Dean) only after a week or so. I intend to do that and have him pin down the issue in clear-cut terms.

At the conclusion of my interview, I told the interview committee exactly the same thing which I told you at the beginning of this post, viz., that this Diwali means darkness to me.

But yes, we can hope that Prof. Dr. Nerkar would issue the clarification at least after the Diwali. If not, I intend to approach Prof. Dr. Gade, the Vice-Chancellor of SPPU. … I could easily do that. I am very social, that way.

And, the other reason is, at the university next door—the Shivaji University—they did answer my email asking them to clarify these branch-equivalence issues. The SPPU is the worst university among the three in the Western Maharashtra region (the other two being, the University of Mumbai and the Shivaji University Kolhapur). [I want to teach in Pune only because it’s my home-town, and thus convenient to me and my family, not because SPPU’s standards are high.]

Anyway, I now do have something in hand to show Prof. Dr. Gade when I see him—the letter from the Shivaji University staff. … At the Shivaji University, I didn’t have to go and see anyone in person there—not even the administrative staff let alone the acting Dean or the Vice-Chancellor. The matter got clarified just via a routine email. There is a simple lesson that SPPU may learn from the Shivaji and Mumbai universities, and under Prof. Dr. Gade, I hope they do.

… Of course, I do also hope that I don’t have to see Prof. Dr. Gade (the Vice-Chancellor). I do hope that meeting just Prof. Dr. Nerkar (the in-charge Dean) should be sufficient.

If they refuse me an appointment, I will get even more social than my usual self—I will approach certain eminent retired people from Pune such as Dr. Bhatkar (the founder of C-DAC) or Dr. Mashelkar (the former Director General of CSIR, India).

Here is a hoping that I don’t have to turn into a social butterfly, and that soon after Diwali, the matters would get moving smoothly. Let’s hope so.

And with that hope in my heart, let me wish you all a very happy and prosperous Diwali. … As to me, I will try to make as much good of a bad situation that I can.


Still, I don’t find myself to be too enthusiastic. I don’t feel like doing much anything. [In a way, I feel tired.] Therefore, I am going to take a break from blogging.

I have managed to write something more on the concept of space. I found that I should be able to finish this series now. I had begun it in 2013; see here [^].

Concepts like space and time are very deep matters, and I still have to get enough clarity on a few issues, though all such remaining issues are relatively quite minor. I should be able to get through them in almost no time.

From the new material which I have written recently, I guess it would be enough to write just one or two posts, and then the series would get over. What then will remain would be mostly polemics, and that part can be taken on the fly whenever the need to do so arises.

I may also think of giving some indications on the concept of time, but, as I said, I find myself too lacking in enthusiasm these days. Being jobless—despite having the kind of resume I have—does have a way of generating a certain amount of boredom in you, a certain degree of disintegration at least to your energy and enthusiasm, even if not to your soul.


So, let’s see. Let the Diwali vacations get over, and I should come back and resume my blogging, telling you what all transpired in my meeting/interaction with the in-charge Dean, and the related matters.


Since I am not going to be blogging for some time, let me note a couple of notable things.

One, the US Presidential elections. I am not at all interested in that. So let me leave it aside.

Two, the Tata Sons issue. It does interest me a bit, so let me write down a bit on it.


I was not as surprised as some of the newspaper editorials and columns say they were. The days of JRD are long gone. The Tatas already were a changed company when Cyrus Mistry took over from Ratan Tata.

Once I returned from the USA in 2001, despite my resume, I never got a chance with the new Tatas (either at TRDDC or at TCS). Such a thing would have been unthinkable during JRD’s times. … Even keeping it aside, what all I observed about the Tatas over the past 1.5 decades was enough for me not to be at all surprised by something like the current fiasco.

No, Prof. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, reading things from where I sit, the Tata fiasco doesn’t do any significant harm to the social legitimacy of Capitalism in India. People—common people—have long ago observed and concluded what had to be. If what the common people think were to be caricatured, it would look like the position you ascribe to the “cynics”. But no, IMO, this position isn’t cynical. To carry realistic impressions about hallowed icons is not quite the same as being a cynic.

Yes, as Harsh Goenka astutely pointed out in his comment in today’s ToI, Ratan Tata’s tenure coincided with the semi-liberalization era: 1991–2012. Whenever you come to compare Ratan Tata with Cyrus Mistry, you cannot overlook that broad context.

I have always thought that JRD left too big shoes for any one to fill in. But, with due respect to Ratan Tata, I still would have to say that no one could possibly entertain thinking in similar terms, when it comes to Ratan Tata’s retirement.

Looking at the facts and figures reported this week, I don’t think Mistry was doing a lousy job. Reading through his letter, I in fact marvel at how well he understood his job—and for this reason, I speculate that he must have been doing his job pretty well. …

Realize, the letter was written within a day or two after an unceremonious removal from the top post of a 100+ years old Indian icon, a $100 billion behemoth. Seen against this backdrop, the letter is extraordinarily restrained; it shows an unusual level of maturity. To expect any more “restraint” is to actually confess ignorance of such basic things as human nature and character. (Sadhus, let me remind you, are known to kill each other in their fights at the Kumbh Mela, just for the priority in taking the Shahi Snaan. Keep that in mind the next time you utter something on nobility of character and culture.)

And yes, I also had come to think that the Nano project was doomed—I just didn’t have the sales and profitability figures, which got reported only today. My reasons were simple; they were purely from an ordinary consumer’s point of view. If you are selling the Nano at around Rs. 2.5 lakhs, just think of the alternatives that the consumer has today: you could get a used car in a “good enough” condition, not just Maruti Alto but even a somewhat more used Toyota Innova, at roughly the same price.

Anyway, I don’t understand these corporate matters much, so let me shut up.


But, yes, knowing the house of Tatas and their brand managers, I can predict right away that in the near future, you are going to see the Tatas announce a product like “Tata Quantum Dot,” or “Tata Silicon Dot,” or something like that. … Why do I think so?

I started writing on quantum mechanics, and roughly around the same time, the cable-less Internet, based on the electromagnetic waves (mobile, Wi-Fi) was getting going in India. So, the Tatas came out with the Tata Photon. Yes, “Photon”. The Tata Photon. … It meant nothing more than the usual Internet dongle (2G, and then 3G) that everybody else was already supplying anyway. (And the Tata Photon never worked too well in areas other than in the Mumbai city.)

Then, the USA was abuzz with the catch-words like nano-technology, and the Tata brand managers decided to do something with that name, and thus came the Tata “Nano.” By now, every one knows what it means.

Today, the USA and other countries are abuzz with words like “Quantum Supremacy” and things like that. You can only expect some Tata brand managers to latch on to this buzzword, and launch a product like, say, Tata Quantum Dot or Tata Silicon Dot—or both!

Tata Silicon Dot, I predict, would signal the arrival of the house of Tatas into the business of supplying the sand required for civil engineering construction.

Tata Quantum Dot, on the other hand, would mean that the house of Tatas had taken an entry into the business of plastic dart toys. Or, the business of the “bindi”s that ladies wear. That is what the house of Tatas would mean by the name Tata Quantum Dot.

And here our policy analysts think that something happening to the house of Tatas is going to affect the credibility or social legitimacy of Capitalism itself in India! Oh wow!!

Ummm…. Does any policy research center in India have any data on the proportion of the private business in the overall Indian economy (including both the organized and the unorganized sectors) over the years, say starting from 1930s? Also, the quantum of the government expenditure in the Indian economy, and its proportion in the national GDP over the same period? Would they care to share it, please? Or is it that they don’t have to look at such data for their policy research purposes? … As to me, I have been on the lookout for data like that for quite some time now, but never could see it compiled anywhere. That’s why the request. Please drop me a line if you spot a reliable source.

OK, bye for now.


A Song I Like:

Since I won’t be blogging for a while, let me give away the “other” song right away, I mean the song which had somehow happened to strike me as being similar to the song “too laali hai savere waali”; see the Song I Like section here [^]. This other song is:

(Hindi) “bhigee bhigee raaton mein…”
Music: R. D. Burman
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

I take the “raaga” of the earlier song (“too laali hai”) as “pahaaDee”—or at least that’s what I got from an Internet search. The “raaga” of the current song (“bhigee…”) isn’t listed at any Web site. Assuming it’s not “pahaaDee” (or a variant on that), the question becomes, why the two songs might have struck at least somewhat similar to me—why, humming one song, I very naturally and casually happened to remember the other song.

It would be interesting to see if Data Science can be used to spot (and quantify) similarities in songs. The traditional music theory puts too much emphasis, IMO, on “raaga” alone. But there can be other bases for similarities, too. The sound patterns of musical pieces, I think, don’t get exhaustively (and at times not even essentially) characterized by the idea of the “raaga” alone. Talking of these two songs in particular, the similarity I caught might have been connected with certain ups and downs in notes with a somehow similarly sounding tempo. The style of the tunes sounds similar. Guess Data Science might be able to shed some light on things like that…. It would be interesting, to look into that, no? That’s what I had thought…

I mean, I had thought. … But then, these days, as I said, I am unable to work on this topic, too…  I just don’t have any enthusiasm left. Honest. I somehow finished this post, only because I won’t be posting for a while…

So, there. Bye for now, take care, and best!


[E&OE]

 

Monsoon / Rains Prediction—My New Interest

Some day in (not too distant a) future I would like to take up studies of weather modeling. Actually, “weather modeling and prediction” would be a much bigger (or general) field. My curiosity and interests lie only with prediction of rains in India.

I am serious.

With my PhD work, I have grown familiar with computer numerical modeling tools and techniques. I would like to put them to some different kind of use. Purely as a matter of a personal hobby—i.e., irrespective of what happens on the job front.

I am well aware of the phenomenon called chaos—both in the strict and the not-so-strict senses of the term. But, really, the way I see it, chaos does *not* matter, or at least, it should not—not to the extent it is made out to… For instance, I want to know why, despite the so-called “butterfly effect”, monsoon does arrive only around the month of June in India. I mean, if the world (or at least its weather) were really to be that “chaotic” (in the sense random),  monsoon might have arrived in December one year, and in March some years later. But this, somehow, does not happen. Ever. Obviously, the world is not really as “chaotic” as chaos theorists would like us to believe.

I am also aware of the rather fine record of the earlier models, e.g., the Govarikar model, and also the new models that the meteorological dept. has been testing/using. I am not entering this field with any ideas that I will necessarily be able to do better than other people.

And yet, I know that unless I give it a real good try on my own, it would always be so very difficult for me to believe that monsoon prediction is really as hard as it is generally made out to be. I mean, it doesn’t matter if it’s hard, and so, I fail in it. The point is, I want to realize just in what way it is hard. By directly “doing it.”

My motivation thus, is, really speaking, purely intellectual curiosity, and even generosity—but not altruism. But, yes, if it will help millions in India who are so crucially dependent on the (timely) arrival of monsoons, why not? I mean, if it’s not going to hurt me in any way, then, why not?

People often confuse generosity with altruism. A good clarification in this context is this: “…Whether I care or not, is irrelevant. I have a right not to care. You have no right to force me to care. …” [Taken from here. Emphasis mine.] Now, altruism, in its actual sense, is not my motivation. It’s just that in this issue (prediction of weather) I would happen to share my knowledge without charging anyone any money, that’s all.

BTW, allow me a real quick aside on this entire issue… Situations are often not quite what meets the eye. For instance, just think who would be willing to fund my research: The government? Of course not. (Independent newcomers are never welcome or funded; amateurs are not even entertained.) The private business? For instance, Reliance or Walmart? LOL! That’s even more remote a possibility. How about VC’s or alumni associations in USA or India? ROTFL. Of course not… Conclusion: Situations are not always what they seem to be. …

… I mean, oh yes. The argument that it is only the government interference in economy in the first place which makes the matters come to such a pass that even the staunchest supporters of privatization wouldn’t come forward to support any research such as mine privately, is, in principle, a valid argument. But my point here is, it’s not the only significant fact which can be stated in matters like this.

It’s, of course, true that businessmen wouldn’t come forward to fund my research. Not even if they themselves are rich. And, more importantly (from an ethical point of view), not even if they themselves are actively looking forward to invest money in the industries that are directly dependent on monsoons, e.g., agro-products. For example, people like Reliance or Walmart. Or, the shipping and airline companies (whose business, too, depends at least in part on weather prediction). None of these companies or characters is going to come forward. Not even if my total budget is never going to exceed 0.1 million  US $ or so. Not even then.

Institutions are, in a physical or raw-power kind of sense, bigger than individuals, and so, in a mixed economy, over a period of time, even the people who come to occupy the top or influential positions at least in dominant businesses or industries are the people who are “businessmen” more in title than in spirit… And, that’s the sad part…

A different kind of businessman comes to occupy the centerstage when the statist elements in the economy become powerful… This has always been the case with India, whether under the Brits or after independence. (Statism precisely is the reason some specific communities like Marwaris and Gujrathis dominate private businesses—there is no such a thing as a “business gene”.)

And, these days, the “different kind of businessman” also is the case with so American businesses. Though, of course, Americans do not like to acknowledge it. Still, this is a fact. Some people seem to be so much in love with the strings “American” and “businessman” taken one at a time or in extaposition that they would rather never acknowledge the facts now-a-days denoted by these words.

This “different” kind of businessman is of the kind to whom you can never sell any idea such as, for instance, the present research. Not because your ideas have no business-value (or “worth”) but because this kind of businessman knows that he can always accumulate far more money far more easily, simply by bribing around and manipulating government controls. Naturally, a character like him would only ask: “What’s the point behind this kind of research? Go to government who take so much taxes from us…” Or worse: “Why all this verbal diarrhea?”

(I must add here that JRD was truely something of an exception—judging by his business practice, that is, and not by his words. His words oftentimes were utterly socialistically inclinded… So, don’t go by his random quotes…. But the fact is, he had extraordinarily high business standards. And vision. … None comes even close to him in today’s India, despite all this privatization and globalization that has been going on 1.5 decades by now. None. Leading Tata managers/owners included. All present-day luminaries of the Indian IT world included.)

But anyway, the research/study itself is going to be interesting… Fluid Mech. and Heat Transfer (in general Thermal Sciences), but in an unusual sort of way… There is this truly real-life i.e. a large-scale application, directly staring in your face, year in and year out…

If you have any directions to give me in my new pursuit, drop me a line. (If you wish not to be named here, that’s fine, just say so…)

—–

Odds and Ends:

Have been thinking about quite a few things in the meanwhile—things of research / science. Will post them here as they become mature enough.

Oh yes, another thing I propose to do is also to list a few recent papers (esp. those appearing at arxiv.org) which I have found noteworthy (strictly for my own purposes/random interests). I might discuss a few of them via separate posts here soon.

The above idea had struck me about a month or two back. And then, just a week or two back, I happened across a very good site: http://www.arxivBlog.com. … I got to know of it once I happened to pursue a “Trackback” link at an arXiv paper that I had got interested in… Anyway, do have a look at that site and also tell about it to your friends…

I wonder why we don’t have a single such a site/blog in engineering sciences… Sigh…

Anyway, back to <Hindi>”Rim Zim Gire Saawan…”</Hindi> But, <Hindi>”Quon?”</Hindi>

[This post revised and considerably expanded on July 13, 2008, about 11 AM IST. Also coming up very soon: My thoughts on irrigation and water availability in India.]

A List of Some Patentable Inventions (and Some Interesting Recipies to Try Out)

I have no longer any money or patience to file for inventions. Yet, I would like to give a simple list of the things that have struck me in the recent past.

I know some of them are patentable. In making them public, I am simply putting captains of Indian industry to shame—why did they keep me unemployed and so, unable to save enough money that I could go out and patent these ideas. (Earlier, in an iMechanica posting, I had blamed IIT Bombay. I continue that blame too…)

The ideas are almost self explanatory, so I will just jot them down:

(1) Multi-Purpose Mobile Phone Cover: Why can’t someone introduce a cheap plastic cover for mobile phones (i.e. cell phones) that (i) mechanically covers all the buttons so “locking” is not necessary, and, more importantly, (ii) when you receive a call, the cover pops open with a spring to give an acoustic deflector so that people don’t have to shout. You see, unlike the old conventional phone handset, the mobile is too short. So, you do need an acoustic deflector. Often, you see people holding their palm to the same effect. Why can’t a simple spring-operated push button do the same trick? (iii) Plus, the cover, if done right, will let even cheaper mobile models look like their far costlier counterparts. Good show, it will be. (iv) The piece could cost just a few tens of rupees (or a dollar or two) and can be easily manufactured using plastic injection moulding by millions.

(2) Steering-Wheel Mobile Socket: Redesign a mobile phone in such a way that it could be easily inserted in a socket on or near a steering wheel of a car. Upon pressing the mobile in that socket, automatically, the loudspeaker option and a directional microphone would get active. (The microphone could be a permanenet mounting in the car. Its signal will get routed when the mobile is in the socket.) This will allow people to use the same mobile phone hand-set while driving their car. Of course, privacy could be compromised, in which case, provision could be made to rather have a single headphone. Ideally, people should not drive and talk on cell-phones, but they do so all the time anyways. At least, this way, there is some kind of a safer option for them (and RTO) to consider and evaluate…

(3) A Consumer-Controlled “Replay” Button on TV Sets: It always amazes me that [stupid] people at SONY (just for example) didn’t think of this obvious one before. Sachin Tendulkar (just to take an example) plays a great shot, and you want to see it replayed. Precisely at that moment, a commercial takes over, and you have to wait until the time that the TV station transmitter gets in the mood of showing you the replay. Instead, since digital memory is so goddamn cheap these days, why not arrange to have the last 10 seconds (or 30, or 60 seconds) stored in the buffer. (The buffer will have a continuously varying content, of course). When you want, you just press a button on your remote, and it will begin replaying from the buffer, that’s all… Extra bonus: Provide a socket for the buffer to be downloaded in MPEG format on to a computer. (The commercial copyright agreements will have to be changed a bit, I suppose. But it won’t be impossible…)

(4) Healthier “baTaaTaa” “waDaa” and “baTaaTaa iDli”: Potato is not so bad for health—it has no oil. It is the process of deep-frying which makes it bad. Hence a solution: Start with a low-oil or zero-oil “saaraN” (i.e. the stuffing that goes inside the ordinary “baTaaTaa waDaa”).  Then, simply place this roundish ball of potato-stuffing in the middle of the depression for making iDlis in the iDli stand. Pour a little iDli flour mix around that potato ball, and steam the idli as usual. You wil get a sandwich-like “baTaaTaa iDli”. Two tastes mixing into one!! Eat it with green “chutney.” Another variation: In Maharashtra (and Gujarat, I suppose), there are “paaT waDyaa” made of “besan” (i.e. “chanaa”) “daal”. This delicacy is made by steaming—not frying. Hence, it is low fat. So, you can use it… Note that before making “waDyaa”, you first have to make flat “chapaati” like thing with the “besan daal”. The idea is: Wrap the potato ball with that “chapaati” like thing, and then steam the resulting “waDaa”. Now, you will have the taste of “besan” for the outer cover too, just as in “baTaTa waDaa” So, I predict that it should be tasty… (Try it out and let me know!!)