What the darkness hides…

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It feels it was just yesterday when we were attending one of his cherished sessions and he suddenly said these beautiful lines: “We are never afraid of darkness, we are afraid of what darkness hides.”

So true these words seem to me from time and again that I often wonder what we feel as our topmost worries, our struggles, our stress and our pain has already been felt by so many before us! The only difference is that we are unaware of all those experiences of others.

This life is too short to do all the mistakes and consequently learn from those mistakes. Is there no way out to see what the darkness, of not knowing, hides? Well, most of us feel there isn’t any, especially when we are burdened by the thoughts which create dilemma, the consequences of the choices we would be making or when the incentives of taking an unpleasant action are higher.

She told me that she always lacked the required thoughts at the right time, while doing presentations.

I told her “Read.”

“Well I do not feel like reading.” She responded.

Was she being lazy while saying that? Are we lazy when we procrastinate on important things to be done?

Well, there is depth involved, laziness contributes to only a fraction of it, the real culprit lies in the darkness of what we call as System 1 in the words of Daniel Kahneman. Interestingly, our brain has two departments that perform the decision making task, the System 1 and the System 2. (Refer to my previous blog, The Quest Got Deeper) System 1 as we know works on impulsive reactions and seemingly easier choices among the available choices, and System 2 is the cognitive factory where critical thinking is done before any decision is made.

Remember while studying, when you have two hard subjects to choose from, you end up watching Game of Thrones. Wait, where did this third option come from? Here lies the silver lining, and your guess is right, it is System 1, your impulsive mind in action. Daniel Kahneman says, as per widely conducted research, that when our System 2 is loaded with hard choices in life, when it is burdened cognitively, our senses are driven by System 1 , which is a fairly naïve controller of our senses and yes it has a sweet tooth, it avoids responsible behavior.

So, the darkness wasn’t hiding laziness as a culprit, instead it was hiding a whole new perspective of how the decision making powerhouses work!

She asked again, “How can I know all this?”

“Read” I replied again.

They say, “Unless we do our own mistakes we do not learn from other’s mistakes.” Agree, but we cannot afford to do them throughout the life, probably because there are millions of mistakes to be done and we have only a few years. Thus learning from some of the greatest authors is what has separated men from boys and wise from the naïve so far.

Choice is yours, who rules the iron throne, System 1 or the wiser among the two, System 2…

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The Pursuit of Real Happiness

A photo by Ben White. unsplash.com/photos/4K2lIP0zc_k

There is a saying that a girl dances devotedly only when she is really happy within. Isn’t it true for all the living creatures the Mother Earth conceives? It surely is. What makes us happy when we feel that we are happy? Is the feeling of happiness anonymous or it has a link with what we do, or more precisely how we do it? There is certainly a link behind it and the answer lies in the how of the things.

After the submission of the project report, he was happier than he usually seemed to be. I asked him was it the relief of it being over or was it the feeling how it got over, to which both of us exchanged smiles… We both knew it was the feeling of giving the best shot and not just getting rid of it. I think we just discovered the answer!

The girl is euphoric when she dances or she dances when she feels euphoric, has everything to do with the devotion she puts in the act, the purity of the efforts that melts down all the hurry to just complete the act, indeed flowing with the act and enjoying the rhythm of it all. I think this is what makes her performance flawless in the purest of the forms we know. She knows that she has done justice with her expectations, she knows that she has put her soul in the act, she knows that it couldn’t have been better than this and she knows that she mean it when she knows it all…

Happiness is all about doing justice with your expectations. Happiness is all about being true to your soul and happiness is all about synchronization of the feelings between your external You and your Internal You…

See, who is responsible for your happiness, it is only You who really is. 🙂

 

Elementary Watson…

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To his disappointment again, Dr. Watson was thinking how Sherlock could think of all that was the key differentiator. Disappointment grew when the reply from Sherlock came, “Its elementary Watson. You see, I observe.”

Whenever in life our material self starts to feel complacency, the inner self smirks. If your inner self often responds sarcastically to your current choices, thanks to it, it is on duty. We often work the hardest to reach certain milestones which serves as the carriers of ours to the highway of our journey ahead and during these pit stops comes the time when we start losing the sense of direction. Sitting long enough at a pit stop ultimately hazes the windscreen through which the vision of the journey ahead is recognized.

Whenever we make promises to ourselves, to others or to our commitments, the person who closely listens and writes them down in his memory book is our inner self. Our external self is so naïve that it forgets the promises it makes in the situations like “I’ll not let this happen ever again, if I get saved this time”, “I’ll stop procrastinating from tomorrow”, “I’ll not drink from tomorrow” and the most popular one “This is not the way, I’ll study regularly from next term..” but someone close and entirely opposite in nature, the inner self, without a word smirks and destroys the castles of complacency filing the ambience with guilt that lasts the longest…

People often say, “I don’t know why my mood is the way it is…” It is this very reason of dissonance or conflicts between what they had promised and what they ended up doing to themselves. Is there any middle path? It smirks again…

I know why it smirked. It is aware that I am aware of its reason of smirking…

I repeated with it, the inner self, “God lies in detail…” Yes, “Devils lie in details, God lies in detail...”

Absolutely true that what separates Men from Boys and Women from Girls is how well they interact with their inner self and the less is the dissonance between what was promised and what is being perceived creates the differentiator we know as Self Assurance.

“I saw in details while she saw in scope. Not seeing the scope is why I am here and she is not. I took each element separately and never looked to see that they never did fit together properly”
― Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

Daag Acche Hai…

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It had already started raining when we were having tea at the cafeteria. Having finished our brews, we decided to walk in the rain. My friend Ashu was trying to save himself from the tiny but piercing rain drops when I impulsively jumped into one of the debris to splash all its content out. In a New York minute he and I were painted with mud, sand, water and what not. Now he could imagine what my next move was going to be. He tried to run away and…. Splashhh! Second, then third and till our destinations were reached I had gathered plentiful of mud and sand with incomparable joy unlike anything in the last few years… I was as if living my childhood in that moment all over again…

I remember my mentor use to say, “Education numbs the mind”. Truly, as we grow mature, or as we supposedly get educated about innumerable dos and don’ts in daily life, all our childlike activities seem childish to us and to other educated folks around us.

Parties are getting increasingly boring, outings are getting outwardly formal, and to add insult to the injury, now a days our free laughter have been replaced with refined and well trained smiles. To sum up, among so many mature and educated thoughts, the childlike carefree and impulsive behavior feels the same as a loner feels in a late night disco party, and thus it does the same as does the loner, it eventually leaves the premises after a few formal exchanges…

After a long time, I crossed roads with my childlike me. I am happy that he quickly recognized me and some joyful and euphoric exchanges happened in that same old rain… Today, I felt the rain, unlike the last few rains when all I could think was “how much time would the jeans take to get dry if I went out in the rain…”

Go out, seek where you had left your childlike You, when you did.

I told Ashu, Daag acche hai… 😀

 

Everything will fall in place…

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Changes are always desired until they happen. Often our mind challenges the status quo of our life and there is an internal rebel for change. Our mind makes us question everything we are doing until we are convinced that our incumbent state needs overhauling. Consequently, we start lacking in confidence and then comes the comparison trap, comparison of our current state with anyone and everyone around us. We feel everyone is doing better that us, “his job is better than mine”, “I too should have opted for economics than arts”, just to name a few. This vicious circle is never ending nor our desires for change, until they happen.

The picture is not as gloomy as it seems, sometimes exaggerated story serves as a wakeup call. Changes are good if one perceives them a bit differently. When I left my job to join my desired and always sought after course in operations management from one of the eminent institutions in India, I started questioning my decision the day I attended the first lecture. It wasn’t about institute or quality of education rather it was my mind that started comparing my life at the job, established relationships and familiarity with the job at hand with the unknown environment, never before read subjects and doubts about anybody wanting to come and talk to me. I even thought, “Do I belong here?” (You know, the comparison trap and the vicious circle, it was on duty then).

I was sitting in the induction the very next morning and listening to the former chairman and professor, he was sharing his college day’s stories. He said when he joined IIT Bombay in his engineering years, he asked himself “Do I really belong here, aren’t everyone around me is much smarter than who I am, aren’t they so cool?” I felt as if he was looking inside my heart and telling my own story. He said, “I self-assured myself that every bit of me belong here because I competed with several thousand and secured this place not by chance but by working hard for it… Then I never questioned my worth, rather I questioned my goals… Calm head, warm heart and busy hands with self-assurance is all it takes to sail through in any phase of life…  ”

I had my answers. Although, it is easier said than done for me but now all I am doing is embracing this change and learning to sail through. The journey is new and definitely long, so many stranger sailors are accompanying me, everyone has his own story, but as they say:

Strangers are just family who are yet to be known…”

Embrace the changes, they are the part of unsolved puzzle. Someone has rightly said, One day every piece will fall in place, till then laugh at the confusions, live for the moment and know that, Everything Happens for a Reason… 🙂

 

The Dawn of new beginnings…

Don’t be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before we can meet again and meeting again, after moments or a lifetime, is certain for those who are friends.

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Goodbyes are never easy for me, no matter how short the associations are. 31st May, a date which officially paused my association with Tata Technologies, is among such times when amygdala and hippocampus of my brain messed up in their job of controlling my emotions. Two years and two months, a fairly good enough time to feel the nostalgic vibes that i felt while leaving from the beautiful city of Pune.

I can remember the time when I was leaving from Indore in 2014 to be a part of this exciting journey. I had doubts regarding new place, new people and how the adjustments would happen as it was going to be my first experience of leaving home. I am really happy that I found my doubts shattering away while I was busy making memories in these two years and made so many beautiful relationships.

I must say a big thank you (I know a thank you can never suffice) to my brother Gautam with whom I shared incredible time of cooking, studying, gyming ( :D) and so many memories that words can never describe. I am sure this association is counting and will count in time to come…

I must include the excerpt of my farewell speech here to mention my colleagues who shared a great deal of quality time with me;

Vishal, my first team leader in corporate life, I will always miss you calling me “Ankit… Idhar aao.. :D” Wish you were here while I am departing .

Raghu and Pavan my other team leads, thank you for the great time we had together while supporting many tasks.

Sanjay, you are the person who let me know about the rare processes like WERS and typical doubts of Team centre. ( I know how panic I used to get when the completed work failed to save in Tce and you say “Arre ruk me kart ahu J” Thanks for all the support that is beyond words.

Nitish, the person I must say who taught me CATIA from scratch and the only person whom I irritated the most while putting so many doubts while creating model, but it was your patience and perseverance that made my journey look so smooth, I must say without your guidance I would still be submitting the wheelarch cladding model 😀 Thanks a ton for bearing all the tiresome hours and testing my CAD models, for discussing so many things and for all the Doctor Saab jokes 😀

Gautam, I must say , like our resumes and our engineering, we shared the photocopy work experience in TTL 😀 Thank you for brotherly 7 years and counting…

Thanks a lot to Amey for being a colleague who inspired me in many ways with exceptional knowledge about any and every automobile I heard and not heard about. I shared a great team with you in Srujan innovation Quiz and I wished we continued more such challenges together. I am sure we will share a lot of moments in time to come…

Thank you Yuvraj for discussing life with me and I must say I learned a lot from you and I am sure we are just a phone call away.

Thanks a lot Vishesh for all the discussions we had and for all the new things you told us. Thanks for all the bookings you did while we were “Homeless :D”

Thanks Vijay, Nayan, Ajit, Arun , Arundhati (the only lady in our team :D), Sunil, Rohan, Ashok, Vijay, Adarsh, Raja and Utkarsh for being a part of my journey…”

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Apart from my colleagues, I must mention a person who deserves a fair share of I being able to move on in life, Bhavna Uttamchandani. You shouted, you scolded,all for my good,  you made me realize my potential to go for it, I know a thank you is not enough but still I must mention how your continuous poking made me start towards the journey of my dreams. A big thank you to you for your endless efforts in telling me that I can, now I am sure I will.

I must apologize to Harshal Joshi ji, Piyush, Prankur, Paraag, Ruchi for not meeting before I leave. I would not give any reason saying it was lack of time, but I am sure you all understand…

A heartfelt thank you to Paraag, piyush, Prankur and PV for being with us when we lost our flat… Thanks a lot joshi ji for the great things we shared in these years and yes a lot is yet to be shared.. Thanks Akki for being a person you are…

Thank you Aman Agrawal, Deerghraj, Vishal, Anupam, Ishan, Mandeep, Rishabh, Naman, Prem, Rohan Mandhre and Poorna for being a part of my life which I am sure will continue in time to come…

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I am grateful for all the guidance I am getting in my life from Sandeep Atre Sir, Chandan Somani Sir, Akash Sethia Sir, and all the faculties I got an opportunity to learn from. I look forward to this support forever because I know how valuable you are in my journey of life…

As most of you know I am moving on for a fellowship program in IIM Lucknow in Supply Chain and Operations Management, it is going to be an altogether new journey for me. Keep your undeterred belief in me and I am sure I’ll sail through…

The list in these years has gone so long that I must say thanks to each and every one who was connected with me directly or indirectly and I wish we keep on meeting in future. I wish all of you a great life ahead and I wish you happiness and smile…” 

Itni Shiddat se maine tumhein paane ki koshish ki hai,
K har Zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki saazish ki hia ,
Kahte hai
Agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho to,
Pori kaynaat usey tumse milne ki koshish me lag jati he,
Aap sab ne mujhe meri chaahat se milaa diya ,
Aaj is baat ka bhi yakien ho gaya k humhari filmo ki tarhan
Humhari zindagi mein bhi end tak sab kuch theek hi ho jata he… 
Happies endings or agar theek na ho,
Too woh the end nahi, picture abhi baaki he mere dost …..

Obviously, a lot is yet to come, its the dawn of new beginning… Stay tuned and keep smiling … 🙂

 

Mundane to Mind-dabber

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Sometimes it feels like you are a man from Mars. You want to converse when people hardly talk. You want to discuss when people hardly read. Today, so much is being written on millions and billions of platforms, scores of how-to articles, journals, studies, forums and what not on healthy conversations when all we need is genuinely a conversation itself.

This is an age of Big Data, we are developing state of the art tools for data analysis or to put it simply, we are developing algorithms which can develop in computers, a rationale to segregate what is useful and what is not. Irony is that we ourselves are abandoning such inherently gifted algorithms in our brains. Most of us have a lot to talk about but a little to discuss on.

Are we running out of memory? I feared and ended up reading a useful article on “What is the memory capacity of human brains?” on scientificamerican.com by Professor Paul Reber, Psychology, at Northwestern University. An excerpt from the same:

The human brain consists of about one billion neurons. Each neuron forms about 1,000 connections to other neurons, amounting to more than a trillion connections. If each neuron could only help store a single memory, running out of space would be a problem. You might have only a few gigabytes of storage space, similar to the space in an iPod or a USB flash drive. Yet neurons combine so that each one helps with many memories at a time, exponentially increasing the brain’s memory storage capacity to something closer to around 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes). For comparison, if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.

Surely, we aren’t running out of memory at least in our lifespan of seventy odd years* if we are spared from pollution or any manmade deadly disease. I heard from a thinker that education numbs mind and our short term pursuits become our ultimate goals in life. But today aren’t we so adapted to the urgent but not important tasks that we are least bothered about a conversation worth our existence as human beings and not as the products of globalization?

Sometimes the surge in the number of books being published, websites being populated with millions of articles and ever increasing virtual interaction scares the soul out whether we are approaching an age when some day someone would be saying, “yeah, I conversed to somebody in 2018 last time when I was 24, since then I didn’t need any!”

As she says when she is angry with her husband;

“We seriously need to talk on this!”

I agree with her, at least on this matter…

The Birth of Indian Aviation – J.R.D’s Gift to The Nation

When Nevill Vintcent, a South African aviator and airline founder, proposed Tatas in 1929 to start an air mail service, they were recovering from the downswings of the 1920s and they had to withdraw from some enterprises. Furthermore, the then Chairman Sir Dorab ji Tata was reluctant to give a nod to J.R.D’s aviation dream. It was John Peterson who persuaded Sir Dorab ji to let J.R.D. have his way, “Let the young man do it. It doesn’t cost much. The Initial investment needed is much less, only Rs 2, 00,000.” Finally Dorab ji agreed. (that amount was around 6 million rupees in 1991!)

The first letter to the Member, Department for Industries, Government of India, Sir B.N. Mitra, was written by John Peterson as early as March 20th, 1929. John was probing Government’s interest about aviation. He sought the reason to be military if not others. He tried to convince B.N. Mitra that  Tatas had an offer from Vintcent’s to start mail service, Mitra said your proposed route from Karachi to Ahmadabad to Bombay was not matching with government’s plan of Karachi to Delhi.

Continuously, J.R.D. had ceaseless correspondence with Govt of India on behalf of Tata Sons from 1929 till 1931. The period tested J.R.D’s endurance and patience at the threshold of his career. By the end of December 1931, J.R.D was tired of Government’s delays. The strain was evident on him and he wrote to Vintcent, who was in Delhi those days, “I think that Government are treating us shabbily, I hope you’ll be able to save me this journey and to find out whether the Govt. intend to say yes or no in next 100 years…!”

J.R.D again wrote to Vintcent, “The Chairman is very disgusted with this approach of Govt and Tata Sons would finally give up on this proposal to Government.” Vincent got worried as he wanted that Tatas must not give up on this legendary initiative to bring aviation in India. He met the Viceroy Willingdon and tried to persuade him and his wife. Finally the Viceroy said, “Gentleman I think we see eye to eye on this proposal.” Tatas were finally been given the permission to start the mail service in India. This was the endurance and patience of the young J.R.D. who ceaselessly tried to convince the Govt. and finally the Govt. had to approve Tata’s airmail proposal.

J.R.D. said to the Rotary Club after the inauguration of first air service in India, “I want to express, perhaps unnecessarily, the unbounded confidence we have in ultimate future of air transport in India. A few lean years will precede the great development that must come but that has always been so with any new enterprise and in the case of air transport, more perhaps than any other, the difficulties are worth conquering. We look forward confidently to the day when none of you would think of travelling or sending your letters by any other way than by air, and when that time comes, if we have done our bit in helping India to make up for the lost time, we shall have achieved our purpose and we shall be satisfied.”

Last year in 2015, India post alone sent 6088 million mails across India and Abroad.(As per India Post Annual Report) A dream conceived by First Commercial pilot of India has traveled a long way ahead and it will keep on travelling ahead in generations to come. A country waiting for its share of development in its 30s, 40s, 50s or 70s has seen a great deal of changes in aviation field. On Tata Founder’s day, this article is an attempt to convey J.R.D.’s dream to his very Nation which he felt should deserve its share of growth and development with no further delays as a lot of time had already been lost in pre-independence era.

PS: Excerpts are taken from ‘Beyond the Last Blue Mountain’ A Life of J.R.D. Tata by R.M. Lala.

Social Net-worth

They say we are social beings, the only ones among the millions on this planet, who can express their emotions and feelings verbally to an extent that most of our peers can’t. Yet, are we actually so expressive as to always put forth our thoughts, as they bubble up in our mind, to anybody or everybody around us? No, we do not.

He has 500+ connections on Abc dot com but he is worried about most of his thoughts being hidden in the safeguards of the secret vaults he revealed to none but himself. Why would he be choosing to be so unsocial? Is he actually an introvert? People who know him label the other extremity to his character!

We often get amazed when we hear about the most notorious child in our neighborhood being silent and shy in his kindergarten interview. It creates a shock value because we know that kid very well who transforms our well decorated rooms to a pity mess on a daily basis.

We speak in public, we converse in groups but we exchange real thoughts through those secret vaults only with the person we trust or intend to trust in time to come. As they say we are transforming faster than we are evolving. Evolution is that quasi static process which Nature and the environment has always preferred, transformation is what we experience around us, be it technological, behavioral or cultural to name a few.

Our inner instincts of trust evolve and thus no matter what our Social Network says, the apt indicator is our Social Net-worth or our trust base. Finding the right trust base is like a marriage; it can make or break lives. Still people marry, so do people trust; still people get divorced, so do people lose their trust base.

It’s not about your secrets, it’s not about opening those secret vaults, it’s more about your choice to whom.

Every Choice comes with a consequence. Choose prudently. The little kid does it better than his adult educated version…

The funniest part is when we suddenly start thinking, “It would have been better if I hadn’t told those things to him/her. Opps.. 😀

What’s your new Birth Date?

She told him, “You’ve changed.”

“No dear, why would I?”

She replied “I don’t know but you’re not the same. Something has died inside of you. Something that used to spark our talks…”

He didn’t say anything, they put the phone down.

He contemplated; he recalled and then, all of a sudden, he realized “What happens when something dies?”

When something dies… what happens… oh my god, when something dies, something takes birth!”

He called her and said,”Say happy birthday to me?”

“You’ve gone mad too; I knew all this will adversely affect your little brain.” She exhaled sadly.

“Oh come on, say happy birthday to me.” he insisted.

“But why, it’s not your birthday, is it?” She asked suspiciously.

“Okay, tell me what happens when something dies?” he asked in a hurry.

“Oh God, I don’t know! Do I know, amm, when something dies, something takes birth!” She exclaimed.

“Exactly!, Welcome Me 2.0” he laughed.

(They laughed together. He could sense the spark in her eyes through her voice. He knew the spark had taken a rebirth…)

Today he could have let that spark die, let things go, and let the play end at a sorry note. He chose the other way round. He let his inner self take the birth again. They laughed again. What is stopping you from taking your super enthusiastic ver 2.0? Give yourself a chance, no one else will if not you…

“Some people die at the age of twenty, but are buried at the age of eighty” says Robin Sharma. How will it feel if we get started again? Believe it or not your inner self is ready, are you ready for a “You 2.0”?