To Write Or Not To


D tells me, “Why don’t you write? I like the way you used to write.”
As if I am some kind of professional, I excused myself, by telling her, I have writer’s block.

I have been reading, watching, listening and consuming information. Most of this information is not useful for me. I am least bothered about what I read. I am just mechanically consuming information. Reproducing the same as posts on LinkedIn. And I have not been communicating as to what I feel.
I sometimes feel, I don’t feel anymore. I just eat and vomit.

I am doubtful if I can ever write again. Whether I will ever be in free flow. Have I lost it?
And what will I write about? This blog has been total chaos, sometimes jotting down everything I feel and sometimes taking months to write long posts. But even with all the atrocities I do, a few select set of people used to read. I am kind of sure, I would have lost their readership now.

Who will I write for?
For myself? For D? For my friends? For any arbitrary reader?

I understand writing is good.
I understand, by writing I will get to know myself. Better.

I am beginning to understand. 
Again.




Where Have You Been, All These Years

Quite a lot happened in the last four years and blogging turned out to be one of my least priorities.
Maybe I have kept myself busy.
June 2011 - I arrived in Mumbai. I brought the rains along with me, all the way from Kerala.
And in the last four years
  - I changed my job twice.
  - I changed my phone thrice.
  - I changed my abode four times.
I trekked the Sahayadris, partied with artists, danced with doctors, walked the city alongside a Bengali and worked with a Sindhi.

And then?

And then I met D, a cute and sweet kiddo. 
I asked her, "where have you been, all these years?"
She asked me the same question.
Maybe we were busy learning our life lessons.
Maybe she lived and grew up just 8 kms from where I spent my vacations.
Maybe we have crossed each other a couple of times when I strolled down to the railway station.
Anyway,
I assured her, everything is happening for good.

February 2014 - Engaged to D.
Marriage in May - I was in a state of trance. 

Our honeymoon, more of a trip, to Singapore was fun.
I had planned the trip in great detail and depth. D was wondering why the hell is this guy acting so nerdy. Thats when she realized she is screwed for the rest of her life! :)
During the trip we understood each other better and fought over innumerable stuff. My short temper playing spoilsport. My inexperience with women added to my insensitivity. When I look back now I feel pity for D. D is so adjusting and sweet. 
We had a memorable time. We tried various cuisine. Universal Studios was D's favourite. Night Safari was a meditative experience.  

D once pulled my sleeve and reminded me, memories are more valuable than material stuff. This reminded me of some academic articles that tried to detail happiness.
Bliss.

Some Times

Sometimes I feel time is accelerating. The earlier years of my life were slower. Then they got fast, faster, more faster (now don’t crib about the grammatical error) and even more faster. This might be since I have a lot more do these days when compared to earlier days.
Is it just me or is it something the whole human race is going through?



The last two years of my life were happening ones. We were all warned it will be so. We were also told the two years will the most unforgettable too. Well, time will tell if that claim is true.
Yes, the 22 months were fast. Why was it so? Well when you have a lot to do and you get to meet a lot of people, time flies. Yes, it does.



At times, one might try to slow down things. Not talking to people, not doing projects and shutting oneself up in the room. Well, he/she ends up regretting more. For the next night in the mess, you meet passionate people talking about that guest lecture you missed, that learning at the consulting competition or the fun at the weekend workshop.
Having learnt the lesson, one ends up taking part in anything and everything. For you never know where you stand until you take part in the race.

To be named, been there done that
One likes to be photographed and tagged
One arrives at the month end party exquisitely dressed
Embrace the lady and high-five for him
Photographing the peacocks and the benches
Seeking 59 likes and 34 wow-comments
My brethren in high spirits and their sisters sloshed.

At the end of it all one is left with the contact details of about 500 people who are necessarily highly-motivated, sometimes hard-working and would probably compromise-on-anything-for-success.
Oh yes success. Whether you measure it by your monthly paycheck or the attractiveness/intellect of your life partner, you better earn that. For the world will respect you then and only then. And sometimes one feels, quoting a premium, success is overvalued in a B-school.
But if you are lucky you will end up making a dozen or so good friends, you will learn a little bit about yourself, a bit more about others and to please others by lying and name it being polite.

I consider myself lucky.

Always have been.

Having decided that my previous work was inconsequential I decided to take part in this race. When I started I didn’t know it was a race. As I finish now you can’t ask me where I stand. Well, my fellow students taught me everything in this human birth is a race. An eternal one.
So the race is still on. And the roads are aplenty.



After a hundred movies on my laptop, which includes 20 Malayalam flicks, a score more on the cable; 6 seasons of Friends; 3 seasons of That’s 70s Show; a dozen or so books; tens of hours of chatting and cribbing on GTalk the 70 day vacation is nearing its end.

To Mumbai!

P.S. The pics were clicked at the Palaghat Fort. And if you are touring Kerala
someday you wouldn’t want to miss The Rock Gardens at Malampuzha. Of which I have pics but am lazy to upload.

Unanswered

I am in love with the character of the girl in the bus! Her looks are so intense. Damn.


What is the director trying to convey here?
I am wondering . . . that Khalujaan is in love, that he is feeling everything around him is romantic, blissful and nice. Even if the girl doesn't look at him lovingly the man in love will feel that the stranger girl is so fond of him. That you are worth a look and possibly a smile.
Why is the man who learns that Khalujaan and the girl exchanging glances, giving him his seat?
Since Khalujaan is old?
Or is he a romantic himself and he understands?

Its 4.00 am.
I have lot of unanswered questions including three essays.
And the song is in loop.

The Last Home Coming

I just planned a 3330 kms of chiku-buku for 56 hours! (And I am only hoping it doesn’t turn to be 127 hours :) )
Lucknow-Moradabad-Delhi-Kota-Vadodara-Panvel-Magoan-Mangalore-Kozhikode-Shoranur.

And what’s the icing on the cake this time?
I will be along with a couple of works of fiction. Period.

I have learnt that travelling alone is a unique experience and can be very rewarding, personally. Advantages of travelling alone are plenty:
  • It's easier to make friends with the other travellers. Yup, you got me. ;)
  • You only have to please yourself. You are not concerned about a zillion other people and their safety and comfort
  • Your time and budget. No excel sheets after the journey!
  • Your travel will be far more flexible and you take decisions on the spur of the moment
  • Opportunity for reflection and contemplation. This is no globe. This is required after two years of fast-paced b-school life :)
You might be thinking what an introverted moron I am. Yes, I am and always will be. And this doesn’t mean that next time you plan a trip you comfortably avoid me. I will bury you alive. :)

From the time I joined for my post-graduation I wanted to take a train from Lucknow to my native. And this is my last chance. I have heard that once you stay in a train for 2-3 days, even after you get out the hangover stays and you feel like you are shaking. :)
I have always loved travelling. That’s one reason why I had a great time during my summer internship. Memorable days!

And trains. You know how much I love them. And moreover this journey is going to be special. The final one after two years of so called academic rigour.

Honestly academic rigour is upto you. Its how much you want to do rather than someone imposing things on you. More about b-school system in another post possibly a month or two later. :)
P.S. I clicked these in my last journey on the Konkan rail-line. The next one should ideally have better ones :)

Thought Makes Character

We are living in interesting times. Atleast I am. :)


Having learnt that economics and political sciences are based on the axiom that economic and political decision makers are motivated by self-interest the objectivist in me is tickled.

Philosophy as a study

Philosophy is nothing but man’s relationship to existence, how he should live his life. Philosophy as a study has five branches – 2 basic branches, 1 central branch and 2 derivative branches


  1. Metaphysics – Nature of the universe as a whole. What is real? Are there more than one reality?
  2. Epistemology – Theory of knowledge. How do you know you know? :)
  3. Ethics/Morality – Code of values to guide human choices and action. What should be the goal of my life?
  4. Politics – Nature of society and proper role of government. Should government spend on military?
  5. Aesthetics – Philosophy of art. What makes an art work good or bad?

You cannot escape from philosophy. You may do so consciously but your subconscious will pick up from the world around you. All men/women have a view on all these aspects of philosophy. These views shape our life and character.

The collective views of all men and women on these aspects shape human history. And this is why philosophy is important. And that is why I study philosophy J.

Objectivism as a philosophy

Though I have blogged about objectivism long ago, I have not done justice to my favorite philosophy (though I don't have clarity on politics). Plato’s philosophy was almost diagonal to objectivism while Aristotle’s was pretty close in many angles.

I have tried to capture objectivism as a philosophy

1. Metaphysics – Reality: Everything that you can sense exists. The collective of all that exists is reality. Things are what they are. If you broke your leg playing football, however unhappy you are about it, you broke your leg. You can wish, desire believe that your leg is fine. But reality is your leg is broken. Thus human conscious cannot change reality. Nor can any supernatural power. Thus the rejection of Subjectivism and God hypothesis respectively. The natural world operates by cause and effect. One type of cause is human will.

2. Epistemology – Reason: Logic rules. No non-sensory means of knowledge like mysticism, ESP etc. We also reject skepticism (belief that there are no absolutes). Reason has 3 central elements –

  1. Observation: Reason starts with the evidence of senses
  2. Concepts/Abstractions: Our way of organizing sensory data logical
  3. Logic: The method of reason. Nothing can be A and non-A at the same time. There are no contradictions

Every truth is an absolute, but we have to use reason to arrive at it.
Emotions follow from your convictions. Man should enjoy them as much as he can. But they are not means of knowledge.

3. Ethics – Rational Self-Interest: Each man lives by his own mind and for his own sake.From epistemology we learn that ethics can’t be based on whim. So let us reason it out.What gives raise to ethics? Man is a living being who needs to be selfish to keep him alive. You might ask then what the difference between man and animals is. Why does man need ethics while animals don’t? Animals don’t need ethics as they have no choice. They are programmed to support and keep themselves alive. But man can kill, commit suicide, etc. The primary virtue of objectivism is Rationality. Man survives by the use of reason. It’s a basic necessity. All progress that man has made is due to man’s ability to think. Other virtues are

  • Independence: of If you are not thinking independently you are not thinking!
  • Integrity: Acting according to what you think. Otherwise why think? J
  • Productivity: Using your mind to create physical wealth

You don’t sacrifice your life for others and don’t expect others (or coerce, force, kill) to sacrifice themselves for you.
If you practice this ethics there won’t be a dilemma between should I be moral or should I be practical. The only way to be practical is to be moral. The moral way to lead you life is to be practical.

4. Politics – Capitalism: Separation of government and economy. Foundation of the system is individual rights of life, liberty, property, pursuit of happiness. Not the right of job, free education, social security, m etc. What a man earns by his own effort is his. No one can snatch his belongings. Also the government offers him nothing. No subsidies and price controls. Pure market determined prices. The government has 3 functions and only 3 functions

  • Police – To protect life and property from domestic criminals
  • Military – To protect from foreign aggression
  • Judiciary – To resolve disputes among citizens in a civilized rational manner

Government controls will take something from one person (group) and give it to other(s). This is against our ethics.

5. Art – Value Oriented: Art should present world as it could be and as it should be. As it could be as we want to stand with reality. As it should be as art gives man inspiration to fight through life and lead a better. Art what gives you values, elevates and idealizes the human spirit, gives you inspiration is called romanticism. This form of art is timeless.

One of the most debated aspects of objectivism is Self-Interest, often misunderstood as selfishness. Questions I have often faced are

  • Why do you help a guy who just fell from his bike?
  • Doesn’t a man love his wife? Where is the self-Interest here?

And we objectivists have rational answers!

Man lives by his thoughts and ideas. And philosophy is one of his basic ideas.

Drown

Whom will I tell all my sorrows?
I want to drown them.

Who can I ask all my doubts?
I am pestered by so many.

Where do I wash all my dirt?
For the sink is clogged.


Poor Manager

Finance Prof. says, "maximize shareholder's wealth"
Marketing Prof. says, "maximize customer satisfaction"
Human Resource Prof. says, "maximize employee satisfaction"
Operations Prof. says, "maximize firms efficiency"

When will a manager get to live his life?
He is always concerned about others.
When will he . . . ?


I need a copy of Atlas Shrugged!

Big time.

Point, CV Point

First term at IIM was a replay of the final year at NITK.
All the movies that DC can offer.
Of course, minus the beach.
And the sunset.

How I miss the beach.
And the sunset. Rather the sun.

Second term came and along with it came Summer placements.
An eye-opener.
People are all-in-all.
They study, sing, dance, flirt, smoke, play, mug, drink, write, quiz, paint . . .
It doesn’t feel great to learn that there are 120 people ahead of you.
Or does it?

For you get the urge to study. To solve a few cases.
There are subjects in which you are good.
And there are others you are miserable at.
You feel, the subjects are miserable, the professors are miserable.
And you complain, “I am at the wrong place.”
Awaiting those month-end parties.

Hey, by the by, reading “The monk who sold his Ferrari” is not going to add a CV point. Why read it?
You are told you wasted 24 years of your life.
Be focused. Do things that add CV points.
Oh, the first scene of Modern Times.

"Its very difficult to get a good friend in an IIM"

"Why do you say that?"

"People are busy. They don't have time for . . . oh, just remembered, gotta rush for the baddy match, bye!"

Being at L

All my IIML rantings at http://gettingeled.blogspot.com/
See you guys there :)

2 Springs in Bangalore

There is only one season in Bangalore.

Pleasant.

And I have seen two of those. I wish I would see more of those in my future.

Quite a few things happened for me in Bangalore. One IPL cricket match, 2 dramas at Ranga Shankara (strictly watching :)), 3 places of stay, 4 night-outs, a couple of restaurants, innumerable movies, a lot of foolish shopping. And of course the acting workshop.

The importance of Bangalore for me is in the fact that it is here that I found what it feels to earn ones own bread, to send a monthly sum home, to buy clothes for my parents, to treat my sister. Like Ayn Rand would say, it is here that I gave my best abilities to earn my best and spend this money on the best goods/services that money can buy.

I have indulged. Lost me discipline.

And I believe its time for me to grow.

In the final year of my college I identified three main sets of people.
  1. GREy people with hopes of getting out of India realizing that technical education in India sucks big time.
  2. CATaphilic, most of whom don’t know what to do with their life.
  3. Ayn Rand fans who will work in MNCs. This group is also mostly confused and the members are very lazy to be part of the above two groups. People of category 2 ask the question what to do in my life and get confused, but people of this category are confused even before they ask themselves this question.
I fell into category 3 as I was at the height of my laziness. Luckily my company is a great place for a fresher. Amazing people and a great work culture makes this company a wonderful place. The counter-strike, the chess, the TT, the leg-pulling, the location of our office added spice to my life in Bangalore. Fooky the PJ king, Bassappa the self-posted bakra, and many other weird characters here brought in variety. I learnt a lot both professionally and personally. Except that we don’t get free laptops to take home, everything was just perfect at my office.

But the only thing that’s permanent is change.

Broadly intelligence is classified into four main spheres and each person has a score in each of these.
  • Analytical: The logical expert.
  • Sequential: The analyzer who breaks down a problem into small sequential steps.
  • Interpersonal: The communication expert.
  • Imaginative: The broad-minded holistic person.
As an R&D engineer who doesn’t deal with customers, I must have used the first two categories. I believe it is time for me to explore the other two spheres.

I shall be moving to Lucknow in the third week of June to take admission for the Post-Graduate Programme at IIM Lucknow.

Art - nothing but Experiencing

If writing is a form of art, then I have known no better artist than Arundhati Roy and I have appreciated no better piece of art than "The God of Small Things".
I finished my second reading.

"That is their mystery and their magic.
To the Kathakali Man these stories are his children and his childhood. He has grown up within them. They are the house he was raised in, the meadows he played in. They are his windows and his way of seeing. So when he tells a story, he handles it as he would a child, of his own. He teases it He punishes it. He sends it up—like a bubble. He wrestles it to the ground and lets it go again. He laughs at it because he loves it. He can fly you across whole worlds in minutes, he can stop for hours to examine a wilting leaf. Or play with a
sleeping monkey’s tail. He can turn effortlessly from the carnage of war into the felicity of a woman washing her hair in a mountain stream. From the crafty ebullience of a rakshasa with a new idea into a gossipy Malayali with a scandal to spread. From the sensuousness of a woman with a baby at her breast into the seductive mischief of Krishna’s smile. He can reveal the nugget of sorrow that happiness contains. The hidden fish of shame in a sea of glory.
He tells stories of the gods, but his yarn is spun from the ungodly, human heart.
The Kathakali Man is the most beautiful of men. Because his body is his soul. His only instrument. From the age of three it has been planed and polished, pared down, harnessed wholly to the task of storytelling.
He has magic in him, this man within the painted mask and swirling skins."
- Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

My biggest learning last 2-3 months is that art is nothing but an experience. An artist undergoes an experience and presents it in a creative way in his work. The power of the art form lies in the fact that the artist has undergone a set of emotions during his experience and these emotions are bundled and arranged in a beautiful manner in his work.

This power inspires and touches.

Eyes That Behold Mine



These eyes that behold mine

Why is it that they resemble
The ones, that I dream of

Why do I feel that they are
The ones, that shall stay with me

Why do I believe that they are
The ones, that shed my tears

Why do I dream that they are
The ones, that live my dream

Those eyes that behold mine.
For ... they ... no more, are mine.

Math, Beauty, Mind and Nature

"In my entire scientific life, extending over forty-five years, the most shattering experience has been the realisation that exact solution of Einstein's equations of general relativity discovered by the New Zealand mathematician Roy Kerr's provides the absolutely exact representation of untold numbers of massive black holes that populate the universe. This "shuddering before the beautiful," this incredible fact that a discovery motivated by a search after the beautiful in mathematics should find its exact replica in Nature, persuades me to say that beauty is that to which the human mind responds at its deepest and most profound level."
- Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, 1975

Mumbai Meri Jaan

Right from childhood I was very curious of Bombay. I grew up watching Malayalam movies in which the hero goes to Bombay and struggles to make ends meet. I told Amma, one day I will go to Bombay and work there. But Amma hates Bombay and she has her explanations. But still I loved the concept of Bombay. I knew that many people, mainly businessmen/entrepreneurs have made it big in Bombay.
When I was a kid I read a magazine article about Bombay. I was very impressed. I read that on a day when the electric trains disobeyed to run, people walked 8-10 kilometers to their workplace. Their dedication and loyalty to their profession can’t be put down by an insane bandh declared by an insensible fanatic organization. I have always associated Bombay with enthusiastic energetic people. I am proud this city belongs to my country.
Achchan has been working in Santa Cruz (Mumbai) for the last three years now. I have never been to Bombay. While graduating I had a chance to go. But then I told Achchan that there are no tickets and other lame excuses. I preferred staying with my grandparents in Pattambi. I don’t know why, but that’s what I did and I was happy about it. Maybe be because I had this notion that I will go to Bombay only “after I stand on my own feet”. Thus in the summer of 2005 Amma and Ammu went to Mumbai to stay with Achchan while I had a great experience taking my Ammamma to her birth place.
Yesterday I watched Mumbai Meri Jaan along with two of my colleagues – N and H. N is a silent-smartie and H is a movie-addict-hunk. I have been to several movies at PVR, with H, all of them big flops.
MMJ was a different story altogether. There are quite a few things that I liked about the movie.
  1. All the characters have been well presented. The actors were just amazing and were at their best. I have always admired Kay Kay Menon and Soha Ali Khan. But I was never impressed by Irrfan Khan and Paresh Rawal before. I understand that its not they are incompetent actors, but it is lack of quality opportunities. They have done justice to their roles. Now, I love Hindi cinema.

  2. Madhavan’s character (Nikhil) is my role model. I have always stood for public transport. I don’t own a vehicle although I think I can afford one now. Achchan also doesn’t own one, but he asks me to buy one. I am not very fond of auto rickshaw as well. I have always tried to avoid them. I look down upon people who use their private vehicle unnecessarily. I love BMTC.

  3. Nikhil also preferred staying in India. When I go to Pattambi and meet a stranger this is what happens -
    Stranger: Hi
    Damn Good Guy: Hi
    S: Working?
    DGG: Yes
    S: Gulf?
    DGG: No, Bangalore
    S: Working for experience?
    DGG (totally confused): What? Experience...?
    S: For going to Gulf I mean.
    DGG: oh. I am not interested.
    S: you are not interested??!!
    S leaves with the expression of meeting the most stupid person in Pattambi. How I love Bangalore.

  4. The movie has ripped the News media naked. Asking unnecessary questions and unnecessarily sensationalizing otherwise minor issues is not just a business tactic but a way of life for these professionals. I remember a very bad instance of asking really stupid questions. The CBSE class 10 results were announced. The topper of the Delhi region was being interviewed.
    Press: What’s your favorite day of the week?
    Topper: Wednesday
    Press: What’s your favorite color?
    Topper: Yellow
    Wednesday and Yellow, my foot. What is a viewer of that News channel gaining from knowing the favorite day of a 10th CBSE topper? How many guys had planned of proposing her on a Wednesday with yellow flowers in their hand? I love raping the media.

  5. Coming from NITK to Bangalore has made me come face to face with the great economic divide in Indian cities. Any auto-rickshawalla\salesgirl in Bangalore will be able to relate with Thomas (Irrfan) the nomadic tea vendor. I remember the rubber-band theory in economics. The rich-poor divide widening is like a rubber-band expanding. It will stabilize in one of the two ways –
    • The rubber-band snaps back. That is the divide becomes narrow by the redistribution of wealth
    • The rubber-band breaks. This is equivalent to a revolution. The kind of thing that happened in USSR.

    I love a little bit of Socialism.

  6. Patil(Paresh Rawal)’s sudden realization that he has not done anything worthwhile as a constable and Paresh's performance is just great. It is an eye-opener not only for Patil but for all of us in different professions. Have we contributed anything worthwhile to the field we work in? Reminds me of Ayn Rand. I love Objectivism.

  7. I am a big fan of movies like Amores Perros, Crash etc. All the stories in MMJ were related using the electric train bomb blasts. The individual stories were smoothly brought together. A commendable show by Nishikant Kamat. I love Brilliance.

  8. Thus the movie has got all the things I love.

    Very few movies get applause from the lazy and sophisticated PVR audience.
    I made a good investment after a long time! I love being happy.