Archive for the ‘Internship Experiences’ Category

I could have chosen any organisation for my internship to fulfill the course requirement. Why a detective agency? Its just that I have been recently feeling a bit philosophical in each and every decision that I make in my life. I don’t want to regret later in my life for things that I did not attempt.


Image Courtesy: From Google

Last year, I was excited about detective works and was thinking of interning as one. I was not too into it to think about a future career in this field. Further, I know there are certain things that I am not good at to be a good detective. For example, I don’t usually notice things well, nevertheless I definitely want to experience how it feels like to be a detective.

Finally, I decided to intern in a detective bureau/agency in Chennai. (Not interested to reveal the identity of the bureau/agency) It was a 21 days of internship excluding Sundays.

I was assigned to various cases related to identity verification, certificate verification, infidelity, security intrusion, etc. and I also learnt about other cases that are undertaken by the agency. Some of them are matrimonial verification, missing person/property investigations, etc. There were also some peculiar cases that has the potential to change the traditional detective works. There was a grandmother who wanted to know how her first granddaughter was doing after her son and daughter-in-law was divorced. She wanted to do it without disturbing the mother as she might have moved on to a new relationship.The other case was to deliver a letter to a person whose address is unknown. The client worked in Chennai several years ago and made some good friends whose addresses was lost. After decades, the client wanted to contact them. Therefore, he approached the detective agency to find the person’s current address and deliver the letter. Both of these cases were considered as innovative services brought up by the people and not the agency. People’s needs and awareness have made them to think how detective agency can be used to achieve their tasks despite the traditional cases dealt by the agencies.

Amidst the horrible climate and traffic in Chennai, I enjoyed being in the city. Having jovial friends like G, S, N and V and elder sisters N, J, K and others to hangout with, I started considering the city as one of my options to settle in. 🙂 Despite the learned society, my experience with the detective agency was horrible. By saying so, I am not demeaning the good intention of the people working there. The main goal of the bureau is to help their clients with their best efforts and alleviate their problematic situation. I would like to list why detective works does not suit me. 😦 😦 😦


Image Courtest:

  • From relationship point of view : Most of the cases were filed either by a wife or husband of someone who suspected that their partner might be cheating on them. They requested the detective agency to find whether there were any illegal affairs. As a consequence, the other partner was followed, evidences were collected for or against the claim. I really don’t like the way how resolution within relationships are being carried out in these cases.


“தேரான் தெளிவும் தெளிந்தான்கண் ஐயுறவும்
தீரா இடும்பை தரும்.”  –  திருவள்ளுவர்                                                                                                                                                                            Translation from a blog: “To make choice of one who has not been examined, and to entertain doubts respecting one who has been chosen, will produce irremediable sorrow. “

First of all, the complainants were not able of carry out a personal talk with their partners to sort out the problems among themselves. Whatever maybe the barrier, involving a third PRIVATE agency into a personal relationship spoils the bond. Some people needed to have the private investigation done so that they could make a decision on their relationship legally i.e whether to apply a divorce or not. As far as my knowledge and experience, I don’t know to comment on this. However, I condemn cases demanding investigation over the girlfriends or boyfriends. One of the cases I would like to brief is about A’s information report on his girlfriend B. Since B was not talking with A for a long time, A doubted whether her parents were arranging a marriage. Therefore, A wanted to know whether there were any marriage talks and B had agreed marry someone else. There were many cases dealt that were similar to this. In India scenario (though I am sort of generalizing it), it is true that the girl/boy friends tend to leave their partners without providing information that they deserve. As a result, one would have hard time moving on with their life with the unanswered questions, or follow and force their partners demanding answers or to get married to them. It might all be because relationship and break ups are still viewed as taboos. I learnt that many private detective agencies in Tamil Nadu more or less deal with similar cases.


Image Courtest: From Google Search

  •  From Privacy point of view: In many cases, the works breaches the privacy of an individual. The detective not only gets to know relevant information about the case but also gets to see and understand many aspects of the person’s life who is being followed.

According to Black’s Law Dictionary “right to be let alone; the right of a person to be free from any unwarranted publicity; the right to live without any unwarranted interference by the public in matters with which the public is not necessarily concerned” – Says Hinailiyas in Right to Privacy Under Article 21 and related conflicts

Although the agency puts efforts to understand the intention of the complainant before filing the report, they don’t have norm sets to follow up. They hardly know what happens after they provide the information they gathered. However, the agency protects its complainant’s details, case details, their subject (tho I don’t like using the word subject) information, and their conclusive report and ensures confidentiality to their clients.

I am a person who values individual’s privacy and always grimace at certain cases. I just can’t control that reaction. 😛 Apart from these two main reasons, I am physically not a very hardworking person. Though I enjoy meeting new people, visit new places, I would love to do the former at my own choice and later in a good weather condition. 😀

Some reasons I learned why people approach a detective agency..

  • People don’t believe in police and want to get their work done quickly
  • Detective agencies have connections with forensic experts and police officers
  • Detective agency works are secretive
  • Gets a nominal fees

🙂 🙂 🙂 However, this internship helped me understand the city better and learn ways to commute between places easily. I met many experts in the field who shared their insights with me related to the Indian criminal justice system. I am grateful to all the people who allowed me to have this intern experience.


So glad to travel around these places in Chennai. I wouldn’t have explored this much without this internship! 🙂 – Thanks to Google Maps!


**This is not to defame/demean any private detective agency in particular.**

**The content is my personal learning, experience and opinion and does not reflect my institution** 



Logo of iSTEP

Throughout my first year of university, I have learned, Humanities, Social science, Quantitative Reasoning, and Science. While I was reaching the end of my first year all the four disciples were put together and our professors focused on making us think in different perspectives, which is essential to build solutions for real world problems. Not surprisingly, we had the summer projects, which is mainly for exposing the students to the real world with our newly gotten insights from our first year of liberal arts education. 🙂  Some of the projects were

  1. Avian Birds species watching
  2. Oral History
  3. Participatory Research
  4. Working with iSTEP 2010 team from TechBridge world
  5. Asian Arts and Culture blogging
  6. Different English in the World
  7. Infant/Children Nutrition check up

and so on..

As I have planned to graduate in Information and communication Technology(ICT), I chose working with the iSTEP 2010 team members. This summer project includes 10 AUW interns(8 Bangladeshis and 2 Indians).

iSTEP, innovative Student Technology Experience Program, is a part of TechBridgeWorld group in Carnegie Mellon University.  There are two technical projects that are implemented in Bangladesh. One is English Literacy tools for improving the English proficiency for the Access Academy students of Asian University for Women and another one is the Braille Writing tool project for the visually impaired people who are associated with the help of YPSA.

This summer for me was not  focused only on iSTEP, its a focus of the ICT4D (Information and Communication for development). Our first step was visiting YPSA ( Youth Power in Social Action), an Non-governmental Organisation in Bangladesh. We, along with Professor. Hussain, our advisor, went to two of the YPSA’s office. The office in Chittagong consists of ICTD lab for visually impaired people. They teach the visually impaired people how to use computer. It is surprising for me that Mr.Vashkar, head of the YPSA office in chittagong, also a visually impaired person and I got to know this only when he said “you can see some pictures…” pointing to the projected power point presentation. ” but I can’t see that”.. He had his computer talk, his cellphone talk, whenever he perform a function. 🙂

Sitting in a oval shaped conference, Vashkar was giving the amazing presentation about YPSA’s work to the underprivileged communities in Bangladesh. I was in a mixture of happy and surprised feeling to see a new phase (face) of developing Bangladesh and the youths behind it. I was able to feel the negligence of the minus and the presence of strong confidence within those differently able people.

Another office in a village called Sitakundu is a tele center and physiotherapy center. Entering into a small room, bending my tall figure, i found 3 women looking after a 5 year old kid who is not able to sit straight without others’ support, and to understand or talk properly. The women there says to the child, “if you are massaged well everyday like this (massaging and pulling his bent legs), dear you will be alright soon”. In Bangladesh, physiotherapy is not popular and there are less physiotherapist and lack of qualified physiotherapists. On the other hand, there are many disabled people in Bangladesh with their age ranging from infant to adult.  When thinking about YPSA’s initiative for this physiotherapy center, it is really inspiring. It was a small room, with a bed covering 1/4 of the room and 2 long wooden shelves stacked with documents and files, that is called as their physiotherapy center. I was thinking, though I see lots of tall buildings for residents and restaurant purposes, there still exists these little houses waiting of some opportunity to get better in their life.The Communication office of YPSA’s Sitakundu office provides computer training to students and household women.

They also have a special room for “Community Radio” to broadcast Chittagong based programs and to disseminate information to the local areas. It was run by YPSA “illegally” before the formal permission from Bangladeshi Government. They ran cultural shows like competition for the little singers and chose the best one.

Tele centre which is situated in the most interior part of a village mainly focused on spreading latest information to the villagers, for example, a new technique for farming. Tele centers are very valuable resources which acts as a medium between the technology deprived community and the real source of information. The women work in this tele center  gathers the questions from the farmer and sends to the experts for suggestions using internet.

World is not easy for anyone! YPSA faces a lot of problems to carryout its vision of empowering the youths in Bangladesh. Frequent power cuts (Electricity, a common problem of Bangladesh), lack of resources, lack of qualified trainers, lack of fund and support, lack of culturally/communally relevant solutions, lack of space, e.t.c. thus goes the challenges! After this very long trip, I got to understand the real meaning of why technology is considered a way of solving problem, a way to bridge the gap between the developed countries and underdeveloped/developing countries.

The Next phase of this internship begins with a week of classes given by Professor. Yonina Cooper of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. It was a six week course for the iSTEP team members. Throughout the course, I got to know about the different levels that iSTEP research program will take to make the project tools sustainable in a particular community. Talking about Professor. Cooper, she is an amazing figure with the kind way of approaching students to make them understand the subject. It was really a great time to have her classes for that week as she is very friendly and caring person. During her stay, we went to the nearby YPSA’s office for meeting Mr.Vashkar and Professor. Cooper shared her experience staying in Doha, (U.S. is her country).

Meanwhile, Professor. Hussain gave us his research papers on Community Radio and his yet to be published paper. I was so happy reading those and gaining new informations and insights about ICT :).

The next phase happened after long time, which is the arrival of the iSTEP interns. We showed them all our AUW spaces and later shared about each other’s plan for this summer program. And we were in small teams of four. Myself and Nishi were working with Aysha, the technical lead of English Literacy tools program. Binny.K.Babu, Fahria Kabir and Zishrat Hasan were working with Jen, team leader and the needs assessment member for both the projects. Lutfun and Shumana had been working with Anthony, the technical lead of braille Writing tool. Last, but not least, Nipa Nandita, Sadeka, Tasmin Nouf and Shagufta Shathy with Brain in documenting the whole project for marketing.

With Aysha, I researched on articles that talks about the educational games  and how it helps to improve knowledge of people in different age groups. Then Aysha taught us the database that would be behind the tools. Later, worked on designing and creating the mockups. Apart from this project, Aysha was really kind enough to teach me and Nishi the importance of Microsoft Access database. Now that I am able to make databases, I am looking forward for a perfect day where I would start doing a data base for Professor. Amin.

During the 7th and 8th week of the iSTEP, which were mainly the development phase of both of the projects, Aysha was too busy on coding, and we assisted her in testing by inputing the questions on the teachers’ interface in order to detect the bugs. The first testing for the student interface was made and very valuable feedback were gotton. Along with the testing, a survey and a follow-up interview has been done with each and every person who participate. I am so impressed after seeing how testing is important for the developing technical projects. Its  not that you develop and you know it is user-friendly, it is actually based on different perspectives and practical usages that says how user-friendly it is.

It was nearly the end of seventh week  of iSTEP program, I joined the needs assessment team with Zishrat, Fahria, Binny and the lead, Jen. They raised concerns about the slow server and internet connections that might occur during next weeks testing. The AUW interns foresee and provide the iSTEP interns with the information. Then the steps were taken accordingly to back up the future plans of the project. Thinking about the future plans and foreseeing the problems that would occurs gives a strong mental and physical preparations to the find the alternatives. The same morning I have given an interview about my intention to join iSTEP  and my experiences so far to Matt, who arrived that day to document the experiences of all the interns(AUW+CMU) for the future interns and marketing :).

Together with Bea, Matt, Aalborg Professors, Professor.Hussain and other istep interns, I made an another field visit to the different offices of YPSA as we did in the beginning. I got to understand YPSA better this time in their ICT plans.

Throughout this internship experience, the most interesting was reading the blog of the istep team members. Here is where all the five members share their experience with their new learning and the cultural shocks. They all especially seemed to be my roll models in the field of technology.

In future, I am really looking forward for working in a tech research project like this.