Toastmasters Club Elections

When I became the President of the Unisys Ritoras Toastmasters club last term, I did not know what to expect. Six months down the line, I must say I am glad I took the plunge! Leaders are not born as popular opinion states, Leaders are made. Opportunities to practice becoming a leader are everywhere, but the ability to practice without causing major disruption is what Toastmasters provides. Just as Toastmasters meetings provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment where one is not judged, being an office bearer promises to provide an ecosystem to hone ones leadership skills. Being a Leader of a club has given me ample opportunities to learn from difficult situations, and I am getting better with each and every engagement.

The meeting is the stage where you learn speaking, backstage is where you learn leadership.

Skills I continue to sharpen in the process are small group leadership, problem solving, conflict management, compliance with procedures, organizing groups to accomplish tasks/ events, providing tactful and constructive feedback, etc. If you are looking for becoming a better leader, the opportunity is now!

Roles one can pickup in Toastmasters are


The President presides at meetings of the Club, has general supervision of the operations of the Club. Serves as one of the Club’s representatives on Area and District Councils.

Vice President Education

Plans and directs club programs which meet the educational needs of the Club members. Plans and publishes regular schedules of meeting assignments. Keeps track of member’s progress towards goals. Serves as one of the Club’s representatives on Area and District Councils.

Vice President Membership

Plans and directs programs to retain and increase club membership. Serves as one of the Club’s representatives on Area and District Councils

Vice President Public Relations

Develops and directs programs that inform individual members and the general public about Toastmasters International and about Club activities.


The Secretary is responsible for Club records and correspondence. Maintains the club roster. Has custody of the Club’s charter, Constitution, Bylaws, and all other records and documents of the club. Keeps an accurate record of the meetings and activities of the Club.


The Treasurer is responsible for Club financial policies, procedures and controls. Collects dues and pays dues to Toastmasters International, and maintains records. Makes financial reports to the Club at least quarterly. Receives and disburses, with approval of the Club, all Club funds.

Sergeant at Arms

Prepares meeting room for meeting. Maintains Club property, including banner, nametags, and supplies. Greets visitors. Chairs Social and Reception Committees.

Additional information can be found at the Toastmasters website –

AWS and How I got myself AWS Cloud Practitioner Certified

It has been a while since I completed this certification. Well, this deserved a page on its own and here it is.
The reason why you would want to certify yourself on one cloud vs the other might range on a variety of factors from what you work on, you inclination towards one cloud vs the other, your future career path etc. If you ask me, it would be nice to have fundamental certifications in more than one Cloud. Helps understand things from a different perspective.

Certification in AWS

 As of 2021, AWS comprises of 200 products and services including computing, storage, networking, database, analytics, application services, deployment, management, machine learning, mobile, developer tools, and tools for the Internet of Things.

Certification in AWS shows that you have the skills and knowledge to design, deploy and manage applications on Amazon Web Services. The process of training and learning required to pass the exams allows one to solidify principles and strengthen your knowledge. AWS introduced certifications in 2013 and it currently offers 12 certifications that cover both foundational and specialty cloud computing topics.

AWS Cloud Practitioner

This is a certification which is aimed at individuals who are looking to validate their overall understanding of the AWS Cloud. It does not necessarily have to be technical folks. It is useful for individuals in technical, managerial, sales, purchasing or even financial roles who work with the AWS Cloud. The break up of the questions in the exam is based on the below criterion –

  • Cloud Concepts (28%)
  • Security (24%)
  • Technology (36%)
  • Billing and Pricing (12%)

How I Prepared

Consistently dedicated an hour a day for around 3 weeks. (spent more that than nearing the exam date)

Created notes and revised.

Looked up on complete courses on YouTube (Free videos by Andrew Brown is highly recommended)

Strategy for the Exam

  •  Don’t spend a lot of time on each question, if you are not too clear, mark the question and move on.
  • Eliminate obvious wrong answers (I found that this was applicable for some of the questions)
  • Look for specific keywords and relationship between questions


Platform Musings

This post is not structured right now, it will be a mind-dump of my latest fascination – Platforms

You think #Product and say why? I think #Platform and say why not?


Have you ever wondered where the centre of a city is? Where do those milestones you see on a highway which tend to (->) 0 actually reach 0? How does GPS measure distances? Well, I took it upon myself to find out!

What other city than our Bangalore? namma Bengaluru?

I wanted to figure out where the centre of Bangalore / Bengaluru is! I searched for Google for the Lat/ Long Co-ordinates of this great city – this is what I found


Brilliant, so she is at a Latitude of 12.9716 and a Longitude of 77.5946.

Now, let us Plot!

I am using the map visualization package called ‘leaflet’ to plot. More details on this package at this link.

It is not a lot of code to plot using the leaflet package, a snapshot of RStudio with the code and the generated plot below –


Look at the location, are you surprised? Well, I was. I was expecting it to be at the junction of old city (Chickpet) or some place near City Market or Chamarajpet!

If someone from the future were to communicate to you (from another dimension using say Gravity 🙂 Interstellar style) and ask you to be in the centre of Bangalore, now you know where to wait! You just need to know when!



WordCloud in R – Mythological twist

A WordCloud in R

Let Noble thoughts come to us from every side

 – Rigveda, I-89-i

Have you ever wondered what it would be to do a textual analysis of some ancient texts? Would it not be nice to ‘mine’ insights into Valmiki’s Ramayana? Or Veda Vyasa’s Mahabharata? The Ramayana arguably happened about 9300 years ago. In the Thretha yuga. The wiki for Ramayana.

The original Ramayana consists of seven sections called kandas, these have varying numbers of chapters as follows: Bala-kanda—77 chapters, Ayodhya-kanda—119 chapters, Aranya-kanda—75 chapters, Kishkindha-kanda—67 chapters, Sundara-kanda—68 chapters, Yuddha-kanda—128 chapters, and Uttara-kanda—111 chapters.

So, there are a total of 24,000 verses in total. Well, I don’t really have the pdf of the ‘Original’ version, I thought I could use C. Rajagopalachari’s English retelling of the epic. This particular book is quiet popular and has sold over a million copies. It is a page-turner and has around 300 pages.


How about analyzing the text in this book?

Wouldn’t it be EPIC?!

That is exactly what I want to embark on this blog, text mining helps to derive valuable insights into the mind of the writer. It can also be leveraged to gain in-tangible insights like sentiment, relevance, mood, relations, emotion, summarization etc.

The first part of this series would be to run a descriptive analysis on the text and generate a word cloud. Tag clouds or word clouds add simplicity and clarity, the most used words are displayed as weighted averages, the more the count of the word, bigger would be the size of the word. After all, isn’t it visually engaging than looking at a table?

Firstly, we would need to install the relevant packages in R and load them –


The second step would be to read the pdf (which is currently in my working directory)

I first validate if the pdf is there in my working directory


The ‘tm’ package just provides a readPDF function, but the pdf engine needs to be downloaded. Let us use a pdf engine called xpdf. The link for setting up the pdf engine (and updating the system path) is here.

Great, now we can get rolling.

Let us create a pdf reader called ‘Rpdf’ using the code below, this instructs the pdftotext.exe to maintain the original physical layout of the text.

>  Rpdf <- readPDF(control = list(text = "-layout"))

Now, we might need to convert the pdf to text and store it in a corpus. Basically we need to instruct the function on which resource we need to read. The second parameter is the reader that we created in the previous line.

>  ramayana <- Corpus(URISource(files), readerControl = list(reader = Rpdf))

Now, let us check what the variable ‘ramayana’ contains


If I look at the summary of the variable, it will prompt me with the following details.


The next step would be to do some transformation on the text, let us use the tm_map() function is to replace special characters from the text. We could use this to replace single quotes (‘), full stops (.) and replace them with spaces.


Also, don’t you think we need to remove all the stop words? Words like ‘will’, ‘shall’, ‘the’, ‘we’ etc. do not make much sense in a word cloud. These are called stopwords, the tm_map provides for a function to do such an operation.

> ramayana <- tm_map(ramayana, removeWords, stopwords("english"))

Let us also convert all the text to lower

> ramayana <- tm_map(ramayana, content_transformer(tolower))

I could also specify some stop-words that I would want to remove using the code:

> ramayana <- tm_map(ramayana, removeWords, c("the", "will", "like", "can", "and", "shall")) 

Let us also remove white spaces and remove the punctuation.

> ramayana <- tm_map(ramayana, removePunctuation)
> ramayana <- tm_map(ramayana, stripWhitespace)

Any other pre-processing that you can think of? How about removing suffixes, removing tense in words? Is ‘kill’ different from ‘killed’? Do they not originate from the same stem ‘kill’? Or ‘big’, ‘bigger’, ‘biggest’? Can’t we just have ‘big’ with a weight of 3 instead of these three separate words? We use the stemDocument parameter for this.

> ramayana <- tm_map(ramayana, stemDocument)

The next step would be to create a term-document matrix. It is a table containing the frequency of words. We use ‘termdocumentmatrix’ provided by the text mining package to do this.

> dtm <- TermDocumentMatrix(ramayana)
> m <- as.matrix(dtm)
> v <- sort(rowSums(m),decreasing=TRUE)
> d <- data.frame(word = names(v),freq=v)

Now, let us look at a sample of the words and their frequency we got. We pick the first 20.


Not surprising, is it? ‘Rama’ is indeed the centre of the story.

Now, let us generate the word cloud

> wordcloud(words = d$word, freq = d$freq, min.freq = 3, max.words=100, random.order=FALSE, rot.per=0.60,  colors=brewer.pal(8, "Dark2"))

Voila!  The word cloud of all the words of Ramayana.


A view of plot downloaded from R.


If you like this, you could comment below. If you would like to connect with me, then be sure to find me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. The links are on the side navigation. Or you could drop an email to

Phew, finally

My First Blog Post

It has been years since I bought this domain. I finally managed to get this hosted (on a shared hosting space from my friend). This has been on my bucket list for this year, happy to have ticked it before the year ends (BTW, I have two different bucket lists – one for the financial year ending (for my financial goals) and the other for the Julian Calendar). I just realized writing this that I put two sets of brackets in my previous statement. Well, I shall let that pass for now.

Coming to the purpose of this site (Indian English?). I intend to use this as a personal blog/ space. My digital presence. My online avatar. My springboard into the web. My Hangar. It would also be the one-stop-shop (no, no, don’t start thinking of e-comm, I do not intend to sell anything here) for all the information that I would really want to share with the world out there. To establish a digital presence, it looks like I need the following –

  • Content – Shall build it in a few days
  • Strategy – Interesting, Strategy for a personal blog? this needs some thought
  • Design – I totally intend to use come customized templates, I also would use this to play around with some UI/ UX
  • Technology – well, you might see some of my escapades in web technology (read Dashboards, Shiny Apps, JavaScript frameworks, spa.js) here.

Well, that’s pretty much the time I had for this right now.