Open Happiness

0
There is a cheeky story about a fisherman meeting a Harvard MBA where the fisherman is living a life of contentment with his minimal income. He had reasonable work hours, no stress, time to play with kids, meet friends, enjoy with family. The Harvard guy advises him on working harder, smarter, corporatiz-ing his work and become a millionaire. Fisherman then asks what would he do with all the money and the MBA tells him that then he can retire, catch fish, play with kids and on and on and I guess you got the message. My personal view is that the sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle for most of us. If you are a monk and you can be okay with anything in life then you are God, and most of the discussions don’t apply but for the average folks who feel happiness and sadness derived from external situations, I think a compromise between the two will be the best bet.

As of now, the circle I move in is lopsided (a good percentage of them not all) on the side of doing too much and being too competitive and too stressed out. Obsessing over being the one with the last word in a pointless meeting, trying to get the wording right for some presentation to make the right impression, socializing with the right crowd in the right way to get noticed and the list goes on and on. To the extent, life becomes an endless series of performance oriented living and somewhere they need to be brought back.

If you go to the core, life can be very fulfilling if you have the base of your needs covered from Maslow's hierarchy of needs and then have time for other tiers. To be able to take care of your base needs most of us need a lot less than what we have, but because we are on a treadmill with many others where the speed of treadmill represents the average speed of the guys running. So, to be able to just keep up, you have to be at par with the average. And why do you have to keep up, just because if you don’t, you feel you have lost and you lose your mind. So, there is an artificial association of happiness to this race. In fact, there is very little chance of gratification, as that is reserved only for the top few percent and the recent are just playing catch up. If you are doing well, you are less miserable, if you aren’t you are more miserable. The race is to avoid misery and not to attain happiness and hence the default setting here is misery.

If only, people could realize this and dig deeper and try to find happiness in simpler things like the coke ad below suggests, they might end up having a lot more fulfillment and happiness!


The Moments that count

1
We as human beings are always trying to maximize, it’s in our evolutionary genetics. What you try to maximize has a significant impact on your life.

I had heard a lot about Conjuring before I went to see the horror for myself and I wasn't spooked as much as I thought I would be. Being a die-hard fan of the genre I was less than impressed with scare factor, but one thing that stuck from the movie was a scene where a picture of the family together was taken at a beach and the whole family seemed really happy. That moment becomes pivotal for the climax. I wondered how many such moments do we have in our lives that truly stay with us.

When I recount, there aren't that many moments that always come to your head when you think about them. There are a scarce few though, those are still vivid and will probably remain that way for the rest of your life.  There wasn't a particularly striking theme for all of those, some were moments of true happiness and some of true horror, but a good amount were neither and were banal from all known aspects. A lot of them came when I was together with my loved ones. For the banal ones, I have a theory that those were the kind where you suddenly serendipitous-ly became fully aware of the ‘now’ and hence they remained etched in the memory forever.

We are doing everything in our powers to maximize the number of moments in our lives but are we doing enough to maximize the moments that stay. I know, this is a cliche and more like the classic example of a cliche said by probably half of the world’s population. It still does make sense to be repeated because of the applicability.

I will still remember the time when I got my job and I ran to the STD PCO outside my hostel to inform my parents. That indeed was a life changing moment but I will always remember the time when my father and my brother went to the circus in my really early childhood. I still remember the rain, the deluge, the cut short circus routine, the disappointment of not being able to see “maut ka kua” – a drill where they ride a bike on the sides of a sphere; it was cancelled due to the monstrous rain. I still remember a few glimpses of the streets we had to take because we couldn't take the normal route that was rendered un-usable by the rain. I can almost feel the wetness in my buttocks to this day and the numerous seat changes as the roof of the circus was leaking from many places. Not sure what made that moment stick, but it did and it keeps coming back to me and I can’t help but feel a little fondness and nostalgic about it.

If you are truly a saint, your every moment can be memorable but then for rest of us, we have to work it out. I have often thought about taking time off and be able to make these moments. It always ends up being a few days trip to a tourist spot, or a week at home, but not much other than that. It is almost always fairly routine with flashes of memor-ability sometimes.  How hard would it be to think of taking a month off for vacation, with family without family, but without the worry of something clambering and waiting for your attention that you somehow shut out? It seems fairly possible to be able to do that, but I haven’t done that in more than a decade of my job.  That probably is my best shot at making moments that count until a time when I become a saint!

The Depth of Abstraction

1
During an orientation I attended for one of my significant promotions at work, someone kept repeating a phrase “Get comfortable with uncomfortable” like a mantra. Every now and then throughout the day it would be thrown in for good measure. I tend to forget most of the stuff I hear in these kinds of sessions, but this is one of the few that stuck.

This isn't a concrete advice with specifics; rather it sets the tone and has applicability everywhere.

The reason this remained stuck is because it internally spawned in me a chain of thoughts and for the first time I fully realized the wisdom of abstract advises. I have often considered them useless in past as being too generic to be useful, something said because of lack of thought into putting it in more concrete terms, in short - bullshit

Recently I was trying to advice someone on similar lines and reached a point where I mentioned to him that you don’t need advice on specifics, you need a generic meta-advice. An example of one such advice would be a case where I offer 10 things as suggestions on various aspects you can improve and the 11th advice I give you is “act on advice received”J. So effectively the 11th advice is sort of meta-advice but holds real value especially if you aren't really acting on advises.

Another example once came to my mind was giving someone advice on how to keep himself healthy. The advice can be broken down to granular on keeping your heart healthy, limbs healthy, liver healthy, digestion healthy and so on. If that someone happens to be someone who falls sick very often, I think a meta/abstract advice would be to try and work on his immune system. If you can make that strong the other parts will be taken care of. So, you have set the tone and direction of what you are trying to do and then you still do what you have to do to keep your body parts healthy but then you always have the context in your head.

This advice held the same potential for me and I realized the power of having such mental frameworks to ease your life especially with all the cut-throat-ness in this world thrown into the mix for good measure. This simple advice can be applied whenever you are feeling bad and just by observing and knowing that you are in this specific situation that you are supposed to learn from, changes the scenario from victim-hood to one of coping and learning from it. The more practice you get the better you get at it. So every time you are in deep shit, rather than feeling you are in deep shit, you can visualize yourself as being in intense practice J This may sound like bullshit, but think about it – when you are working out you are putting yourself through intense pain, much harder than a moderate slap on your face during a fight. Which one would hurt more? The pain inflicted by a slap will be much harder to bear than the pain of your workout, despite the huge difference in the actual pain element associated with the two. So, what is different, the way you perceive the pain – one is an insult, the other is your own pursuit. Now, the basic point of the lengthy explanation is that your suffering isn't determined by the magnitude of pain, but the context and your perception of that pain. If you could change that you can free yourself from it! You can extend this to any situation and hence we are back to the point of discomfort. If you can find a way to handle discomfort (generated by job, spouse, kids, parents, friends, traffic) and be OK with it, you have found your way to nirvana!


So, think about some abstract/meta advises you would like to apply in your life and then apply. Few basic tenets you should keep in mind – Our bodies and brains are infinitely elastic and respond to challenges and practice, they have the power to become better and the second one - whatever you need in life to be at peace is present within you (no matter who you are!). So with these two basic tenets and a video about hope below from an upcoming start up, find out your own set of rules and start a new life full of hope, happiness and most importantly inner peace!


The Shawshank Redemption Re-reviewed

1
One of the best lines ever said in a movie or elsewhere come from the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”. It is an inspiring movie; the pace of the movie belies the climax. 

Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

Every time I hear word hope, I get reminded of the movie and the line above. Every time I think about it, I get to think about it in a different way, based on the phase of life I am in and the state of mind I am in.

The part that I hadn't noticed so much earlier but that comes to my mind when I got reminded of the movie today was the pace. There was hardly any urgency or many tense moments throughout the movie. It just takes an easy and lazy pace, definitely out of tune with the climax that is awaiting you.

I also thought a little bit about the restlessness that comes with hope. Your restlessness is driven of the fact that you don’t like your current state and you would like to change and you have some hope of changing it. But the fact that there is restlessness is enough to spoil your present and for some folks that is the kind of hope they have, which can make them miserable, like Red said in the movie.

Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane

The kind of state Andy appears to be in the movie is a sense of acceptance that comes with finality. Some times that fact that you are in a dead end state drives acceptance and you end up compromising with your current situation. That is the sense you get out of most part of the movie as he tries to do things inside the prison as if he is going to be there forever. The acceptance hides behind itself an indomitable spirit and an undying hope that remained alive despite near impossibility of ever being able to get out.

In the end the hope does work out, but the aspect that struck me more this time is the possibility, what if it hadn't. Would that be considered a sad ending? It wouldn't be exemplary ending (and definitely worse for a movie), but then the way things seemed to be going it seemed an acceptable ending for Andy. He was doing things, changing his world in little ways possible for himself. He built a name and reputation for himself, made real friends, real relationships, had leisure, time to indulge in his hobbies (some if not all). A lot of things people in the outside world struggle to keep because of a lifestyle they chose for themselves or decisions they made in life. The point that struck me was, it probably would have been OK for Andy even if he wasn't able to break out. He seemed happy and content with where he was. Even though he was aspiring for more, it wasn't as much from a sense of hating his situation and trying to escape it, it came more out of being OK with the situation but still striving to be at a better place, a content-er place if you will. As he also comments at some point

Get busy living, or get busy dying

A hope that drives madness and spoils your current situation isn't real hope. The best kind is the one where you don’t end up being miserable in your present, yet you look up to something even better.

Self Reliance

1
How great would it be, when everybody in the world gives more than he/she receives in all the aspects of life! If only that one cardinal rule is followed the world will be a constantly improving place

Now that I have a lot of friends who have young kids and are trying to inculcate values in them that will shape their lives forever, I can see different patterns. Some patterns are recognizable as inherited as they are things that their parents did with them and hence assumed to be the best possible things.

A lot of people mistake good parenting with being subservient to the kids’ demands. A “no” for something is regarded as a lack of care or resources; more so when it comes to things that your kids’ friends have. Seeing what I have seen around, I think the last thing you would want to happen to you is to be seen as someone not caring about your kid. Most of the times, the conclusion becomes lack of resources and that’s an insult to the ego of parents. It is more common than you think to have parents put their ego (in reality) in front when dealing with such situations. It is easy and guilt free because all the while you are convinced that you are doing the right thing, in fact the best possible thing! However, there lies the catch. In succumbing to any demand your kid makes or anything that is driven out of peer pressure, you are essentially letting someone else drive your parenting. Now that may or may not be the right thing, but the fact remains, you have forsaken your judgment. You have outsourced your thinking and will let others, your peers, decide what you do. This is generally a bad rule in life.

There is however, another class of people, who realize this and let their own principles guide them. They are the ones who would make their kids clean up their own mess whenever possible. They will make them say sorry when they make a mistake and make it known to them what is wrong and what is right. Those guys will do a great job at making independent and self reliant kids. While it may seem that you are helping your kid by doing his/her work or covering or defending their mistakes, it actually weakens them in long run, make them dependent on you and in worse cases make them bad people. I am still surprised by the number of people who would support their argument with, my parents did the same to me as if they are some benchmark of propriety; a gift to mankind. In doing so, they are validating their parents as the best examples of parental care and themselves a perfect specimen that came out as a result of that perfect care.

The new ad by HDFC bucks the trend, and shows the value of self reliance and how you can be caring yet be able to push your kids in the right direction by letting go of the support gently and thoughtfully. A brilliant ad that I am sure is going to catch the attention of a lot of folks.


Painless Upgrade

1
The market for second hand goods is gaining pace and automobiles are not far behind. An endeavor that once would have meant many weekends spent in finding second hand car dealers and then checking their inventory is now transformed to an online marketplace where you have the choice available at the click of a button. It is also to be noted that a dealer acts like an exchange and makes commission from both the sides, so there is inherent friction built into the deal that is eating away hard earned money from the both the buyer and seller and making the middle man richer.

My first second (!) hand car buying experience was spread over many weekends of searching the showrooms, keeping track of the models they had and multiple visits to them before I could finalize something. I am pretty sure, I ended up paying a little extra due to the commission made by the dealer, and this is beyond what he claimed he made on the deal. With online places like quikr next, now a large part of the research can be done at the comfort of your home and you can talk to the seller directly.

As I had mentioned in past, there was a tendency in our previous generation to attach a lot of emotional significance to their purchases, things like my first car, my first something else. And in most cases those first remained their last ones too, because they were reluctant to sell those off or possibly they were never able to because they never go the right price for it. Considering the limited second hand market, they would never find the price satisfying for their vehicle and then will choose to stick with it rather than sell it a price that they find insulting for their prized possession. So, there they were stuck with their old goods forever and cherishing their emotions around it. Not the case anymore, current generations don’t think much of replacing “people” in their lives, much less thought would be spared for things. And no one is looking forward to a life where they develop an emotional bond with their car and never feel like selling it off. With the options available in the market, it is far more tempting now to sell your current car at a good price and get a better one at a reasonable price, a gradual painless process of upgrade!

And with options like quikr next which is a chat based system, you get a lot of benefits like privacy, ability to keep track of the discussions and no endlessly interrupting calls. Most of the offices are now following an open theme for seating (which I find absolutely useless for any creative pursuit because of the all the built in interruptions, but I digress, topic for another day), it is very hard to hold a conversation without annoying the hell out of your co-workers, in such cases, an asynchronous chat based system comes as a blessing!

As I have said many times before, the world has never been better for people looking to get things purely for their use without investing the savings of their lifetime and without sacrificing countless weekends in the search of a deal.

The Retirement Myth

1
It is interesting that the bane of our successful working class isn't laziness, on the contrary it may be too much work

Many folks including myself would speak of their early retirements at the start of their careers. All blue eyed, hopeful, optimistic and full of energy, it all seems like a steep rise to top in the next 10 years or so, giving you enough money and constant income to have you retire in peace. Few people got it right and I only read it few years back and it all makes so much sense. Tim Ferris got it right in his 4 hour workweek and the Peter Cohan inthis article

We are not looking for a life of zero work, I don’t think most of us will survive that kind of life, more so after a life where you could make enough money in ten years to last your life time. Unless you are truly lucky to win a lottery, any such achievement would come after many 100+ hour weeks and you would be incapable of dealing with the emptiness of no work. So, essentially, what we look for isn’t really zero work, but freedom from constraints, a control over your life, your time.

If you could spend your days the way you want without having to worry about putting food on table or saving up for your kids’ college, marriage and what not, you would have the life you want. This all makes a lot of sense, and begs the question - is it really worth waiting 20 or 30 years and have a retired life where you are not worried about all the things mentioned above. Would you even have the energy to do what you want with your free time then?
Instead of planning for a deferred retired, peaceful life, figure out what you would like to do. You may come to realize that all that you are looking for doesn’t need you to retire fully, all it might need for all you know is a little bit extra time in your life and may be slightly better financial planning? Like the ad below from IDBI federal Life Insurance trying to free you up from worrying about some part of your financial needs.





Anyway, this may be true for some, not for others, but what makes sense for everyone would be to have a list of things they would like to do if they could get a chance to live worry-free. Here is mine

Read

I have been too fond of reading all my life. I spent first 18 years of my life without reading any English novel, but devouring every piece of reading material I could get my hands on at my home. We never had a reading culture at home (more so English) and I never realized how much I loved it. Come college, I see a Hostel library and I got hooked. I read more than 55 books that year ( I was keeping count), of course, the grades nosedived, but that’s how I started and my constant regret is, so many books, not enough time!

Play/Exercise
Again something I did as much as I could, but wasn’t into it formally ever. But started playing table tennis a little more seriously in college, and then later on got into running, yoga, gym-ming, swimming. I may not look super-athletic, but I enjoy it !

Movies/Music
With web 2.0, there is only more to do here and I would like to lap it up all

Write
Writing for fun, un-constrained, un-supervised

Learn
Something, anything

Make Money/Grow an enterprise/Solve Problems:
This is the bit where I would like to fit my job or is a proxy for a job. However, a job that lets me enjoy the other things without putting pressure to choose from them, or ignore them. Of course, there are rarely those jobs, and even if there are, there will be peer pressure, a constant sense of competition with your immediate peers forcing you to push just a bit harder. This is a bane for all of us, in big scheme of things, all of us have lost the race in one way or the other if we really think we are in a race, but we always change our scope to make it interesting/horrible for us. And we stick to our own treadmills forever.

Write your own list, figure out what it is really, and make a move!

Pensioners' paradise and Visitors' nightmare

1
Despite being in Bangalore for a long time now, I haven’t been able to reconcile with the one ways especially in the business district, the area next to M G Road. I was trying to reach a place that would have taken me 20 minutes under normal traffic and if I knew the way, took me an hour to reach because I came within few hundred meters twice and took the wrong turn. Horrible traffic conditions and lag in GPS meant I was always one step behind and paid the price heavily. All this extra time I kept thinking and thinking. The only logical reason to create so many one ways is to optimize the traffic and one ways should somehow help it, though considering all the extra traffic I generated owing to my wrong turns, it would have more than compensated for the savings. Obviously I will think that way because due to all the one ways I suffered and will mark them as evil.


That got me thinking, who would design a city in this way where navigation is such a challenge. This arrange can be convenient if either or both of the following holds: its a really small city and/or the population here has been living there forever. Those will ensure that everyone knows the way like the back of their hands and will generate an overall optimized traffic. This theory aligns well with the reputation of the city as pensioner’s paradise. The problem with this is, it becomes rather un-welcoming for new and not so new people.

Don't Repeat Yourself

1
I posted about the benefits of having a vibrant second hand market and its handiness when it comes to folks who are looking to set up base in short amount of time without having to spend a bomb and a series of weekends exploring.

Quikr has already given an awesome market place for these transactions and is always looking to up the game and make it a better experience for the users. With quikr next, they are introducing quikr chat which is going to be a great thing on many counts. Here are the reasons I would prefer chatting over a phone call.

Reduce Interruptions
We live in a world of interruptions. While it is impossible to eliminate it, it is wise to reduce it as much as possible for preserving your own sanity. A phone call leaves little room for multi-tasking and snatches you away from whatever you are doing. Responding to chat, on other hand, can be dealt with an asynchronous manner. A significant improvement in our overly interruption ridden world.

Multi-task
Chat gives an option for you to speak to many people at once, often times re-using responses as opposed to a phone chat, where you can talk to only one person at a time and things get recorded only if someone is explicitly transferring the data from voice format to some other longer lasting format than your memory.

Convenience
It is hard to take calls and talk in office at your desk unless you have a plush personal office to use which many of us are really not fortunate enough to have. For those of us, having an option to continue a quiet chat makes a lot of sense.

Privacy
You are always worried about handing out your phone number with the large number of marketing calls you receive. Despite being extremely cautious about giving out my number, I get a lot more marketing calls than I would be comfortable with.

Record Keeping
You will be talking to a good number of people and both as a buyer and a seller you would want to keep track of what things were discussed, which would include some clarifications around nuances that matter to you but don’t always get captured in the fixed categorization and text put in the ad. You can keep track of all those with chat and will be super handy when closing in your option. With phone in one hand, it will be challenging for someone to really note down the information, simply too inconvenient when compared to the comfort of being able to chat and preserve the information forever.

Cheaper than phone call
You save money on phone calls! Data is much cheaper than voice, until now that is. Things may change in future but as it stands now, you do spend a lot more for the details you share using voice than when you send it as text/image over internet.


Like I said in previous blog, things are much sweeter for everyone these days and more in-line with the times. These simple but extremely effective features are going to be make a significant impact on the way people buy/sell things and set up their homes!

Spoilt for Choice

1
Asus has some great products to showcase in recent times. The two that came to my inbox for checking the features are Eeebook and the “All in one” PC. To begin with, the look and feel of both the products is top notch and you will be tempted to go for both. In our day to day life, the time spent on our devices (for good or bad) will definitely mean we need different screens for different settings. I already own quite a few of these “screens” and have designated use for all of them but then the moment you see something new, you got to check it out. So, let’s see what each of these got

ASUS EeeBook X205TA - A compact laptop, with a decent sized screen and under 1 kg, definitely something you can carry with ease. The features that matter to me are

-> Under 1 kg with a full function keyboard
-> 12 hours battery life
-> A decent sized screen for a portable device

ASUS All In One PC ET2040 – This one is a full-fledged desktop that doesn't really fill your desk unnecessarily despite such a healthy screen size. The features that matter to me are

-> Heavy duty power – 2.4 GHz
-> Screen size – I am a big fan of big screens especially when working and 19.5 inch, you won’t be left wanting for bigger screen be it work or pleasure
-> Hand Gestures – while this needs to be tested in person to see how effective they are, but if you are like me who watches a lot of stuff online, YouTube or otherwise, this may come in very handy
-> Power backup – need I explain this
-> LED Display – “seeing will be believing” but going by the experience of LED TVs, this may be a killer feature.

Looking at these two products, I think everybody would want to have one of those for different use cases. I, for one, am more impressed with the ALL in one PC as it gives me an elegant desktop for my home that I can use for my work as well as for multimedia entertainment. My work usually involves looking at a lot of data or looking at things in detail where a larger screen translates into higher productivity. In fact, if I had my way, I would love to mount an array of screens on a wall, but you don’t always have your way. A screen this size is definitely something you can’t complain too much about.

EEEBook is great when you work on the go and your work involves more than browsing internet or sending small messages/mails. Tablets are great for those browsing needs, but the moment you have to type something substantial you are left fighting with the device, instead of being able to focus on the task at hand. This looks like a great balance between usability and compactness.

For those who work on the go a lot more and need a sleek, long lasting, lightweight laptop, they will end up loving EEEbook, but for me, the pc takes the cake.

All in

1
I am not an expressive person and when it comes to talking about my personal life I get even shyer. However, the lure of a gift voucher and an opportunity to write about one of the rare things I have done in my life to express someone’s importance in my life, decided to go ahead with it.

Considering the picture I gave above regarding myself, it isn't hard to guess that I had an arranged marriage. There was no courtship, followed by realization leading up to proposal. Well, it was one of those new age arranged marriages where there is interaction before closing the deal, however, the intent from the start was to explore marriage and the only options were, get married or forget about the whole thing ever happened and move on to the next prospective match! Sounds clinical, but that’s how it is. Well, I am sure there are people who can turn this into a courtship and proposal routine, but none of that for me.

Given not much was done earlier, I tried few things later on to make it interesting. Small things like hiding gifts in unusual places, and … maybe that’s it :(. Amidst all these banal attempts, there was however, one that I would call a really successful one and if I have to think of a way for proposing someone, I will gladly convert the same idea into a proposal.

She was gone for a while to visit her parents, my parents, relatives, basically a fairly long visit to our “native” as we call it here in South India. I had time in my hand and got some ideas on creating albums for our family. They look like picture books, literally like books with your pictures in it. I created many of those, but the one in question was about how I met my then future wife for the first time after speaking to her on phone for a month or so and then all the meetings in between and so on.  Speaking to her on phone, I was impressed with a few things, not so impressed with others, but at the end few things were clear. We were completely different people, but if there was someone who could tolerate me and stick with me, it was her and if there was someone who I wish would do this for me, it was her. I guess, rest of the stuff, felt less important, though it manifests itself in our daily lives, in the form of constant disagreements but we never hit each other so I guess we are good :).

So, I was shameless enough to click pictures of our first meeting and she didn't mind either. We never proposed as such, but talked in general that day and absence of any no, meant yes from both the sides. Once official I had the pictures of all the other time we spent together leading up to the marriage and then our first anniversary. So, I collected all those and arranged them in a nice sequence and got that book done.

Now, she was back and this time also there were the usual hidden gifts, and I guess she was already bored with that. Over the weekend, we decide to go to a mall. The two of us were roaming around in the mall and reach to a studio with all sorts of fancy personalized things. I suggested we explore (or maybe she did as she likes all these things) and so we go. We checkout a lot of sample mugs, t-shirts and then reach the album sections. The moment we pick the album, she is frozen, sort of petrified, not knowing what happened, and whether it was real. It was “our” album with us on the cover page. Well, that was a “shock” very well received and I felt all the preparation that went in was worth it. With support from my brother who coordinated with the studio on that day to put our album out in the samples at the right time.

So, this would be my proposal, except that the last page instead of holding the picture of our first anniversary, there will be a question, the big question! It will be an all in proposal, completely documented, leaving no room for saving your face in case things don’t work out. It will be bold. So go forward, take the cupid challenge and make it bold if you are looking to do it. 

Rolling Stones need online Market Places

1
How many times you have heard your parents or grandparents wistfully talking about the furniture they bought, there first (and many times only) bike or car. How all those things were not just things for them as they lived with them for so many years that they became a part of their identity! Some of the folks we knew as our parents’ friends could actually be labeled with their vehicles or clothes, because they were just there, always, never changing. You would often witness them sweating over the quality of the stuff and be extremely particular about what they were buying because it always seemed like a life time decision and hence all the due diligence was worth it. I have a chair at my parents’ place that is 40+ years old and that’s just one among many other things and definitely not the oldest. But gone are those days, I believe, and for good (both in terms of never coming back as well as this being good as a trend).

The trend is changing and the mindset is changing too and I like it. The static nature of life is giving way to a more fungible and flexible mindset. The life of a job used to be 35-40 years because most of the older generation worked with government or government like private companies. People would often stick to their hometowns as much as it was possible. It wasn’t uncommon for people to pass up promotions just to be able to stay in the same place. Having this set up, it made some sense to invest a lot of time and attention in setting up your house as you were doing it once forever but not so any more. This generation isn’t sticking to jobs or cities or countries or marriages (not good!) for too long, so it is only natural to adjust the rest of our habits accordingly.

I am not one of those who fall in love with their stuff. I hold all the stuff of life at a distance and a strong believer of buy and sell approach. I think finally, the world is now coming to a place which I feel more comfortable with. There is a great second hand online market and you don’t have to spend a bomb or weeks finding the right stuff for you. You just have to log in, browse through the ads and voila, you are done.

Many years ago when I moved to Bangalore, even when I could have transported some stuff at my new employer’s cost, I decided to take only what I could with me on the flight. Coming here, a lot of weekends were spent in finding the right shops and then one by one I got things and buying after marriage is a totally different ballgame that I won’t even venture to discuss today. So, for my bachelor setup, I had to go for new stuff, because there was no reliable marketplace that I could use to buy decent goods at decent price. The world today is so much better though.

We are rolling stones and we are not looking to gain moss, we find our freedom and salvation in online marketplaces!

STT: Speech to Text

1
Just realized the power of text to speech in smartphones. It was pretty accurate and possibly there is no going back now as it is so much easier than typing. This may be one of the biggest game changer for me in 2015. This post was entirely done using speech to text on my mobile phone, needed a little correction here and there but around 80% accurate.

PK

1
How much money can you make by paying attention in your primary school moral science class? Well crores for sure and enough to break records all time bollywood box office records.

I have never been a big fan of satyamev jayate as is well known to people around me. The primary reason is, we don't need Amir Khan to tell us to be basically decent, kind, play and many other things. Though in reality, it seems a good number of people like to be told! It also doesn't give me any gratification to appreciate the efforts of others who are doing some great work. Not that i don't appreciate their work, but me seeing it and appreciating is not my idea of being a responsible citizen. Not pegging my efforts on any scale, I just feel, to each his own, and I am no one to judge anybody else for not doing anything about it except when it comes to hurting others, that's totally terrible and for that I don't need a show to tell me.

Anyway, continuing on that theme apparently there is another message you get in the movie PK which has gotten cash registers ringing non stop all over the country. There is some outrage from various sections of the society because of the usual - "I may be wrong, but you didn't show someone else' folly? and that gives me enough right to question and oppose and litigate you". Well, it is totally understandable to see why the movie showed what it did, and didn't show what it didn't. This was the most convenient story/themes they could bring in without any massive repercussions.

Well, I took some objection to the movie as well, but mainly because I felt there was a little bit of over-generalization. Few Babas being bad doesn't mean all are bad, people being forced to donate money in temples isn't something I have seen (so really doubt if it's common), general idol worship (well, that's an issue too?). Some of the practices are not fundamentally wrong. There will always be a case of bad sheep but that shouldn't be enough to rubbish a religion or a broader philosophy. Terrorists using Quaran as their guide shouldn't be used as a reason to rubbish their teachings or labeling all muslims as terrorists. Also, the movie has gone too literal when it looks at people visiting temples, may be a lot of them go their with their applications, but probably not all and they are meant to be spiritual symbols and people go their for experiencing peace.

The general population who takes all the godmen seriously good or bad will probably take the movie too seriously as well and will start thinking that "all" religious practices are bad. And to all those who want to argue that until science proves something it isn't to be believed, well, gravity existed before science recognized it and gave it a name and there may be such things. So, let's go with the middle path and leave a little room open for doubts, skepticism, questioning either way and keep it cool. Going to either extreme is stupid and in that the film falls in the same trap that it's trying to expose!

Music stuck at different times

1
A government bus ride in a small town will definitely lead you to listen to some songs from strange times in past. I end up hearing songs that were released 20 years back and yet, all the buses and some times cabs play them. Ashiqui and Dilwale are two hot favorites. It seems they just bought the music at that time and then nobody bothered to change it. May be that was the time the bus was bought and hence the songs remained stuck. Recently my barber's tv was broken and he ended up playing songs from his mobile and surprise surprise, he was playing Dilwale (and he is a south Indian!!)

I have a friend who listens to songs that were popular during our college years. Without revealing my exact age, that is pretty far back in past.

I recycle my collection a little more often and other than few solitary songs, most of the playlist consists of stuff from 4 years back. Today I made it a point to recycle my playlists to change the situation for myself.

I don't know what it is, but everybody seems to just get stuck to some point in the past and continues to be there in some way through the music and just can't let go of it.