All that glitters…

He told them, “You would be thinking that we are going to cover advanced training in this institute. Not exactly, before you unlearn all the wrong methods and techniques in your previous training of any form…”

They all abide by him thinking advanced, top ranked institute’s trainer/teacher/guide knows better than anyone and everyone teaching or guiding elsewhere.

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They say that the real process of learning is unlearning old things and learning newer and advanced ones with time. Maybe true for some things but not all.

We attend same courses in many stages of our learning career be it education, arts, sports or any other field. Every time we attend the same course, we experience two things, either we feel disappointed or we get a whole new perspective about the topic. In today’s fast moving life, the second feeling has become rare where most of such overhyped and excellently marketed sessions end up disappointing most of us most of the time.

In one of his rare most sessions he said, “Today people impress others with their personalities but ditch others with their characters” and probably most of us have experienced this with people who impressed us with their first few impressions but disappointed us with time.

So what is the big deal? What is our loss in such scenarios?

Let us understand this by a relation. Personalities often impress, impressions evoke actions, and every action has its consequence, good or bad. When we are impressed by a false personality, we often question our old values that have so far helped us achieve whatever we have in our areas of specialization. We take actions to alter those values, those methods, those techniques and end up creating career disasters, and ultimately questioning our own abilities to achieve. Think about a legend in some point of time whose career ended in pain because of this very fact, you’ll find many.

She asked, “Shouldn’t I learn new methods then?”

He replied,” Question their authenticity first, scrutinize their sources and check their compatibility with your real strengths and values

She inquired, “So, not all the new things are worth adopting?”

“Absolutely not”, He affirmed.

“So old is gold”, She laughed. They both laughed recognizing the fact that not all the data is information and not all the new techniques are relevant to everyone…

“Choose wisely Harry, both, the teacher and the teaching” 😉

 

 

 

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The Vocal Silence

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They say silence is the strongest of the conversations. Even the dumbest of the silences have time and again created chaos in the environment they persisted. As do the products have a life cycle, so do the conversations have it.

The first phase, as we all know, is Introduction, where some of the best conversations among two souls happen. A phase when the brightest of the thoughts are exchanged and both the souls go out of their way to surprise each other. A phase where plethora of stories get conceived and most of the dreams get the nourishment of what it would be like when this or that will happen type of thoughts.

The second phase, yes, the Growth, when the conversation gets deeper and richer. Deep as an abyss, wide as the two ends of horizon. The phase when most of the ideas, dreams, and future is planned. A phase when none of the two soul ever think about a moment where there is a void between the flows of thoughts. They flow seamlessly, flawlessly with the growing conversation.

As every product reaches its peak, so do the conversation, and one fine day, the Maturity, yes, the third phase arrives. The time when conversation reaches the zenith of its lifetime, the time when the lustre, the sheen, the gleam starts to signal the climax. It is this very moment when an unwanted part of the conversation takes birth, the genesis of Silence happens…

The conversing souls starts to differ in thoughts, the much needed fuel for the growth of the voids between the free flows of thoughts. Yes, the Decline silently overcasts the flow of thoughts. The vocal silences hunt the sheen carrying thoughts. They over power the conversations and what finally remains is mere sentences with superficial or no meaning and seemingly unending vocal silence everywhere.

Probably, no one want such a scary phase of silence in a once blooming conversation.

She asked, “Is there no way out?”

“Of course there is. There is always a silver lining.” He replied.

“And where is it?” She inquired.

In the extension of thoughts, in the belief that conversations matter, in the purest of their forms, in the most naked of the ways, where there is no room for those silences to get their fuel to grow. He replied.

But I do not think it can happen like it used to happen before” She doubted.

“I agree.” He nodded.

“What!” She said being amazed.

“Because, now you do not think it can, formerly you never thought why it cannot”

There was a long silence between them. Probably the beliefs were struggling to win over the vocal silence or else one of them had accepted the decline… 🙂

 

Our Untold Stories…

A photo by Florian Klauer. unsplash.com/photos/mk7D-4UCfmg

The buzz word in town these days is nothing but the biopic of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, “Dhoni: the untold story”. The movie depicts not only the success story of Captain Cool but also conveys a few lessons worth remembering.

Each one of us has plethora of untold stories associated with our life’s ups and downs and they are equally inspiring at times as do the stories of successful achievers, then why many of us could not convert them into big ones?  This is probably what you read between the lines while going through “Dhoni…”  It is about how desperately you want to achieve something. He kept on fighting with his inner self, a safe govt. Job or the risk filled journey of his passion. Most of us lose this fight on every month’s date 1, when the paycheck gets credited in our accounts and we get sufficient to defer this question, at least till the paycheck allows us to.

How many of us are ready to board the train Mahi boarded from that platform that day?

Another beautifully message-woven conversation depicted in the movie comes when Sakshi and Mahi had a discussion over phone;

She: “My world is not like your world, nor it is as big as your world…”

He: “My world is as small as a cricket kit bag…”

I couldn’t think of a better way to convey the message, “Think Small, Think Focused” His world was not what we saw, his world was what he saw, only the cricket kit and cricket, rest all followed. We are so busy being busy in things that do not even matter to our lives that we often lose the track of what and why we started for. Currently the irony is that our education system also tells us to go general and not to go specific, our managers want to go for everything, and our engineers want to go for everything and who not.

How many of us are ready to go focused and to go specific in our lives?

Once my mentor told us in a session that “90% of the world is a victim of  people who impress with their personalities but ditch with their characters”.

Believe me this world is in scarcity of not the engineers, not the managers, not any politician or any celebrity, rather it is in dire need of one class of people “The Passionate Ones”, It has 100% placement records too.

Let your Untold Story come to the world, who knows how many exceptional stories are waiting to be sprouted by yours…

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…

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…