Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Contrasts

Contrasts, opposites make this life what it is. No matter how much you hate coming to office, the feeling of going home in the evening is so sweet that it's worth coming in. You are hungry and the sensation is killing but you also know that when you eat, it will be all that much more delicious. We have a number of sayings that illustrate the fact that hunger/appetite really improves the taste of food. The same thing applies to vacation, going away from home is nice and exciting, but coming back home to the familiar surroundings is also warm and comforting. That's why "coming home" is such a cliché. I hate waking up in the morning, it's really tough for me, but then if I never had to do that, the weekend will lose its charm, wouldn't it?

Think about it, every negative thing, every pain or problem has something in it that makes it worthwhile.
Separating from loved ones is the most painful thing I know, whether for a short while or long. But coming back to them, meeting them again, it makes it worth the pain of separation. That first hug after weeks or months of distance, makes the heart so glad the months almost feel welcome.

Thought of the day - 28th Feb 2007

"There are no mistakes.
The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are
necessary in order to learn what we need to learn;
whatever steps we take, they're necessary to reach the places we've
chosen to go."

-Richard Bach quotes
(American Writer, author of 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull', b.1936)


This will have to be my last thought of the day for a while, I don't
think I'll be diligent enough to continue on my vacation. So, expect the
next thought on 19th March. :-)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Thought of the day - 27th Feb 2007

Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow.
Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being
brave.
- Mary Tyler Moore (1936 - )

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Thought of the day - 21st Feb 2007

Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.

-Elizabeth I, in Francis Bacon, Apophthegms, 1625

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Reality Demystified

Alright, I have had enough of people lecturing me to get back to 'reality' and now I am ready to dissect the concept of reality and see what comes up. Feel free to contribute a comment and your own point of view, even if you think I am crazy .
So, reality? What is reality? Things as they are, absolutely as they are, free of perception isn't it? That's how I understand it, I didn't look it up, not yet anyway.
But the question is do you really know how things really are? Let's dig deeper. :P *rubs hands with glee*
Suppose you have a headache, you take a tablet. Now, we all know, most of us anyway, that that tablet doesn't do much in the way of curing the headache, it just anesthetizes (whoa that's a tricky word) the area where the pain is and you don't feel the pain. The cause is there, the pain is also there, but now you don't feel the pain. Which one is reality - pain or no pain? You are not feeling the pain so that can't be a reality for you, and yet you know very well that it's there since the tablet just induced local anaesthesia and nothing more so painlessness is not a real reality! :)
Some people don't take a tablet for headaches just for that reason. To them, I'll ask what about dental surgery? Would you go under the gas or not? What about molar extraction? If you persist, I will persist too, what about heart bypass? What about amputation? Can anyone go under any kind of pain without the help of drugs? No.
My point? You relax your hold on reality for a certain period in order to escape the pain and torture of reality.
Have you seen the movie "Shallow Hal"? This guy, the hero, after a post-hypnotic suggestion, sees all girls as beautiful because of their inner beauty and when his friend wakes him up he is ready to kill him. Why? He explains, "If I like a girl and you don't, would it matter to me, if you think she's not beautiful. I saw a knock-out I don't care what anyone else sees?" Does he sound like he wants reality?
This brings me to my next point, what about love? When people are in love, esp. when they are falling in love, they see things differently. Not only they don't see each other's faults but also the world seems like a perfect place to them. I am not a cynic, not any more, but still I'd admit that the world is far from perfect. Yet, to a couple in love it would seem like paradise itself.
I have been in love, or infatuation or whatever you want to call it, and then out of it. And when I was out of it, I thought "Man! that was a fool's paradise I lived in!" and then soon I realized that the fool's paradise was a very pleasant way of living rather than the "smart" awakened life.
Let me quote from Heinlein, from his book "Revolt in 2100" that I finished today, his young hero says, "Call it what you like and laugh at us, but at that moment we were engulfed in that dear madness more precious than rubies and fine gold, more to be desired than sanity. If you have never experienced it and do not know what I am talking about, I am sorry for you."
Madness that's more to be desired than sanity, eh? Yes, the lad is right, only those who have loved would know what it means. Especially the ones who have loved and lost! For my money, if I had a wish I would ask to be eternally in love, deeply, madly in love and never to be brought back to reality!!
erhm...*shakes head and comes out of the dreamy stare into space*
Other than all that, how are you sure that this dull, work-home-kids-drive routine is reality? Have you seen Matrix? Computers have created a virtual reality that they feed into the minds of humans. Ok, Matrix is science-fiction what about God? All religions talk about God having created the world and ruling it. According to Hinduism God uses his assistant the most-treacherous female 'Maya' to run the world, and,
"Maya maha thagini ham jaani", Maya in itself means mystery and confusion, creating an illusion. So her illusion is your reality?
I can still see people in the crowd shaking their heads (don't mind me, I am envisioning myself on a high stage, discoursing to a great crowd :D )
Any one who did anything in this world, anything worthwhile, anything that made you know their names even though you don't live in the same street, did so by ignoring reality to some point.
Ah, puzzled? Let me explain.
This German doctor, I keep forgetting his name, yes Viktor Frankl, he survived and escaped Hitler's concentration camp, a place where a person could lose their life, their dignity and their mind. He not only kept his sanity, but he helped others, escaped when he got a chance and finally made a difference in the world with his work. He had a vision, all the time he was undergoing the torturous, inhuman treatment in the camps he always focused on an image of a better life, a vision of liberty, equality and a life of dignity. And at one point, he was able to swap his realities. Could he do that if he had just lived in the reality?
Then look at other figures, Euclid, Edison, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Mother Theresa, Lal Bahadur Shastri...each and everyone of them had a dream, a vision, a better place to dwell on than reality.
Shaheed Bhagat Singh had a dream in his mind, the dream of an Independent India for which he gave up his 'reality', his safe and secure life as the beloved son of loving parents, and risked his life and ultimately died for that dream.
To conclude. I can't say that reality is something to be ignored. But reality is not everything. If you want to achieve more than what is real for you now, you have to focus on things that are not real, strive for them, work for them and make them the new reality.
I think I can best conclude with these 2 lines from Allama Iqbal,
"Isi roz-o-shab meiN ulajh kar na reh ja,
Zameen aur bhii aasmaaN aur bhii haiN."
(Don't be confined to this day and night,
there are other Earths there are other skies.)
[From his famous ghazal - Sitaron se aage jahaN aur bhii haiN, abhi ishq ke imtahaaN aur bhii haiiN.]

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Power of Words

There have been leaders of states who have moved an entire nation to action with a single speech. Lal Bahadur Shastri during the war with Pakistan called for funds from the citizens and such was the power behind his words that people rose to the occasion with women even surrendering their jewellery, the one thing that they hold dearer than their life.

/>But even forsaking such great superlative examples of speech, our words have great effect on others. Words are part of our communication, the carrier of our emotions and thoughts. Especially in today's times when you might find yourself not face to face with the other person but separated by thousands of miles and then some, connected only by means of wires, cables that run underground and underwater carrying electronic signal to their destination, your destination where you want your words to reach. Have you realized though, that it is not only your words but your emotions, thoughts and ideas being carried with them? Yes, of course, you have. But have you thought about the fact that between your thinking and your typing there is a distance, subtle but quite marked? If you do not take care in choosing your words and their order, what you are saying is not what the other person will hear.

/>And then there is the tone. Yes, just like a spoken conversation every letter, every email has a tone. But the important thing is to make sure that the tone being carried by your communiqué is the one you meant to express. It is possible to come across as rude and arrogant from an email that you typed out in a hurry without meaning to be rude. But the recepient doesn't know your hurry. He or she doesn't know if you were smiling or frowning when you typed this. It is important to use just the right words with all the niceties thrown in. Correct phrasing can mean so much.

/>It is possible to say "I hate you" in person or on the phone in a way that would make the receiver of this phrase smile, knowing how you mean it. In a written communication it is likely to be taken literally. The use of smilies helps a lot in such circumstances. A simple :-) can change the tone of a sentence from serious to light. There are many others that can be used as appropriate but this one is the most used one.

/>I once had the honor of working with a man named Sathya, he was the onsite-coordinator for my project and all of us, team leads and team members alike had to communicate with him on a daily basis, over email and phone. Actually, even the project manager and program manager needed to communicate with him daily. I have never known somebody so perfect in communication written and spoken, not only the tone, accent and manner of speaking but also the words. He always knew what to say and how to say it. Even in the times of stress when he had to take somebody to task he could do it in such a civilized manner that the person felt the impact of the situation without feeling bitter. Subsequently he and I both left that company within days of each other, but he still remains a source of inspiration to me and communicating with him is still as much of a pleasure at it was.

/>My target is to be that good in communication where people feel good after talking to me, good, inspired, motivated and uplifted! What's your target?



Tuesday, February 13, 2007

V-day

So far, at least 7 different people have asked me what are my plans for
Valentine's day. And to all of them my response has been the same - No
plans. I don't care for the stupid conventions.

But nevertheless, Valentine's is a big day - for florists, lingerie
stores, card shops, jewellers and thousands of other merchants who have
made this a big day. I am not against expression of love, not at all. I
am all for it. What I hate is the idiotic commemoration of love.
I admit there are a few who get a good chance to propose on this day,
but what about the rest of the humanity? I will give you 10 to 1 odds
that the majority is of people who feel more lonely and depressed on
this day because of the big, hyped-up reminder of the fact that they are
alone on this day. The other 364 days doesn't matter but this one day
makes them sadder because of the sight of red heart balloons in every
store window.

I am reminded of a line from a Hindi song, it's about the festival of
Holi and the girl sings, "Tum ho to...har raat Diwali...har din meri
Holi hai.."

To me V-day is the Friday, I can get off work early and spend a couple
more hours with my girlfriend. Which is of course my laptop. But if you
were my girlfriend what would you prefer - that I spoil and pamper you
the whole of 14th Feb and come home after 11 O'clock every night on the
other 364 days? Or that I spend time with you regularly, care for you,
love you and make 14th the same?

Last year, on 14th I had a gf and I spent the day with her, hectic day,
lots of travel on my motorbike, buying things, arranging things for my
travel past midnight that night. We did manage to steal a few hours to
have leisurely lunch in a very nice restaurant. But we would have done
that anyway as I was leaving for Germany that same night and the
restaurant was right behind the court where I gave her the power of
attorney to use in my absence.

This year, no such plans. I can though. There are a number of things I
can do, I can make plans. I just don't want to. 14th just puts extra
pressure on a relationship that's just taking hold, or a relationship
that doesn't exist but in the mind of only one party? This pressure
makes people act in imprudent ways and then they repent, shot down,
overcommited or just plain confused! Happy Valentine's Day, now you feel
lonely AND stupid!

I'll wait for somebody to tell me that these are my bitter rantings
because I don't have a girlfriend at the moment. Or that I have low
self-esteem issues or something.

Till then, have a nice day!

Thought of the day - 13th Feb 2007

"Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory"

- Unknown

Monday, February 12, 2007

The madness continues

This is the time for anyone to call me insane without fear of a rebuttal
or challenge. This weekend my nightclub launched. We had the opening on
Friday evening.

What nightclub you ask? Which country? Which city?

Well, that's where the insanity comes in. This nightclub is only
virtual, some bits in a database that show up on the computer screen as
a well-lit dance floor, with colored spotlights and the rest of the
club-like decorations all around.

Yes, those who know me closely can guess that I am talking about Second
Life. My first two business ideas in SL launched the same day, Bollywood
Fashions, the fashion line based on Indian fashion and the nightclub -
Club Silverstar. My club is one of the few in all of SL that features
live DJ's that play a great selection of music and are completely open
to public requests. I found that most of the time people are so into the
music that's playing they don't request anything different. And when
they do request the DJ's are most of the time able to find the song and
play it for them.

Yes, I spent real money to setup this club and my partner radio station,
House of Music, that provides DJ's and bandwidth and the whole radio
setup, they have put in real money too. Yes, we do expect returns in
real money, maybe not very quickly but soon, as the club builds up a
reputation. Most of all, it is fun running a nightclub. I have never
thought about running such a club in RL. I want to be a businessman but
my business ideas are generally confined to software. But in SL, this is
the perfect business.

I get to do things that I would like to, people come to me for jobs, I
walk around wearing a tag that says "Club Owner" and I have the same
attachment, aspirations, concerns, fears, and activities as I would have
for a real life business.

Just before we opened on Friday there was a lady from, "Looks", an SL
magazine, who was doing a piece on nightclubs in SL. That was like
giving an RL interview. Then Sunday, one of the DJ's interviewed me on
live radio, on-air, about the club. That was completely real too. :)

But still, if someone wants to call me crazy, I would understand, be my
guest!! :-)

Thought of the day - 12th Feb 2007

"Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor
that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and
deepening it.
That factor is attitude."

- William James
(American Philosopher and Psychologist,
leader of the philosophical movement of Pragmatism, 1842-1910)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Thought of the day - 9th Feb 2007

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.
- Ayn Rand

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thought of the day - 8th Feb 2007

"Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated.
You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps."
- David Lloyd George



I love this thought it advocates risk-taking. And I am all in the favor
of risk taking in order to attemp bigger, better things in life.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Thought of the day - 7th Feb 2007

To be enlightened is simply to be absolutely, unconditionally intimate
with this moment. No more. No less.
- Scott Morrison

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Monday, February 05, 2007

Thought of the day - 5th Feb 2007

The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a
thing makes it happen.
- Frank Lloyd Wright

Friday, February 02, 2007

Thought of the day - 2nd Feb 2007

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who
walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece
of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient
proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of
the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of
circumstances, to choose one's own way.

- Viktor Frankl

You can read more about Viktor Frankl here, a man who survived
the concentration camps.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl

Thursday, February 01, 2007

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