End of a phase!

Ah! Independence Day is coming and with it my 2 year long vacation is coming to an end.

For the first time in many years it is time to regain the kind of focus I was always known for in the past . I have slowly been feeding the monster of competitiveness which had been lying dormant inside me for the last five years. This is one side of me which most of my new friends have never seen and which most of them wouldn’t like. But I have learnt a very valuable secret in the last few years: I have learned how to tame this beast that I can become. However, I am unleashing it now and the world will have to live with this new change and accept me for who I am or else they can go to hell . This is the only way I can achieve the targets I have set out for myself. I will revert back to the good old vacation mode me as soon as this personal mission is fulfilled.

Paid vacation leave for 2 years.
This has been on my mind since 2007 but I never figured out how to go about it. So after college, I decided to go for it. I was in no relationship so there was no fuss-fuss and my parents were cool with my decision. So I had nobody to answer to.

Rules for vacation were clear :
1. No money from parents. Adjust with what you earn.
2. Try out everything whatever is out there.
3. Read. Read. Read.
4. Watch indie and experimental movies from all over the world.
5. Listen to songs other than commercial craps.
6. Met new and interesting people.
7. Eat. Drink. Everything.
8. Write. Learn to write.
9. Figure out what is minimalism.
10. Develop a philosophical support system.

I had a offer and took it and after shifting to Bengaluru started my vacation. Met new people, made some great friends, few relationships (one of which almost took me to the aisle) and tons of great experiences and worked only that much so that I can’t be fired from job because that could be a bad thing.

My paid vacation ended on a cheerful note. CTS Performance Consulting team was happy with me and I was sort of happy with them. The time spent there made me realize that I was an excellent engineer and the time I had spent in the classroom/blogs/hackathons/forums over the last 4 years hadn’t gone to waste. It however strengthened my conviction of not working in the field of Performance Consulting . It is good but it is not of much help to get me where I want to end up. But I am still at it and searching a way out and will find it soon as I have 2 years to catch up too before making any moves.

Life has been worrying me for some days now and I called up some of my friends to get some advice. They gave me some advice the other day which can be perfectly summarized by one of Cat Stevens’ song. I hope some day I am able to give the same advice to some who might need it.

It’s not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.
I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy,
To be calm when you’ve found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you’ve got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

This vacation had its rewards but not without a good dose of danger.

I swear to return to the same relaxed boozed out one some day when I have accomplished the task set by nature.

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Hairs which blew away my mind

I started this post with the title “Hairs”. It then became the “Hairs which blew my mind” without a single extra word being added. But now I am sticking to the same title, I decided for it.

This is going to be a very disjointed post. I will ramble and go off on complete tangents with extreme regularity. Seekers of coherence – tread carefully. For here be dragons.

I was late to the office despite of the continuous taunts of why I come to office late. I don’t get late. I go around 10.30 am and come back around 9 pm and make sure before leaving, I am completing all my dues for the day. So I was working on my assignment without taking my normal breaks to roam around office (I still like roaming around though I am about to complete 1 year at the office.).  Then after finishing it, I noticed time and it was lunch time. So I went for my lunch and decided to have my usual Veg Biryani. After that I and my friends decided to roam. On my way to the elevator, I was busy thinking about my in-progress story but then my eyes saw her. And for the first time, without even noticing the face, I got attracted to her and I decided to see her completely. And then WHAM, I was in love. Even my friends decided to take another elevator, but I was determined to take the elevator which she was taking. So I followed her and entered into the same elevator and then all hell broke lose as she remembered that she left something in the canteen and she wants to leave the elevator and the door was closing and I am a stupid prick, who just put his hands to stop the doors from closing making way for her to leave. But I was smitten. And I cursed my luck for it. But nothing was there left for me to do. So I decided to close that chapter and move on.

Around 5 pm, our favorite SVT environment was unstable and we couldn’t do any more on it, so I and Avishek decided to go out. And when we were about to go, Srini got busy and we have to wait for him. And I was hungry, so I stepped out to eat something. And then again, I saw her and decided to go to the same counter and I made sure that I got seat such that I can devour her (Stop judging me).  And I again followed her to the reception area, where she was about to wait for somebody and I decided to wait for Avishek and Srini there only. So I was observing her. And then I noticed she owns One Plus One and I thought cupid was about to do his work. But then her facial reaction gave me the hints I never wanted. She has a boyfriend. I know the looks, the girls makes when their boyfriends texts them.

My eyes seemed to be hopping around the reception like a bird, settling down for a moment and then flitting away. Those eyes – there was something about them. They would light up with the child-like excitement of discovery and then surge with the sadness of a bleeding heart. Guilt from betrayal would creep into them and then get pushed aside by the promise of love. But were they mine emotions or simply reflections upon the stories I was gathering with my wandering eyes?

I could feel her eyes on me. They were searching for something. They needed an answer. I looked straight into them and replied.

Now we both knew.
We understood.
We felt.
Love.

But then her boyfriend arrived. And the way he was talking to my Aphrodite, I would have punched his face if I was in college or outside the office but I decided to stop and let things unfold before me.

All the really really beautiful girls are dating complete losers-morons-mean-sons-of-warthogs who should drown themselves in small unassuming puddles of muck. And if they are not, that means they just broke up with one such guy and are waiting for another one of them to come along.

You beg to differ, do you? You know some really amazing woman who is not dating some, for the lack of a more appropriate word, chutiya. Then my dear friend, you have just witnessed a miracle of celestial proportions. Birds have crapped on me more than a dozen times, two coconuts have fallen on my back, a rock the size of a football has missed my face by a few inches in my bike adventures, and yet I have never witnessed this miracle.

Then, my friends arrived and I decided to get out of her presence.

I left alone.
She left with her boyfriend of sometime.

My head hurts when I think of the whole situation. Even I don’t have the answers to everything.

May be it’s my karma.

Okay, Karma, now I think I know the answer.

You.
Are.
My.
Daddy.

Dreams and Legacy

It’s been a while since I went out to experience some new things, so I don’t have any story to tell you. But what I have is 2 small pieces of my mind. LEGACY and DREAMS abhors me but I am drawn to it just like the moth to a flame.

Enjoy.

Dreams
Throughout my life I have been a dreamer. My dreams have been a constant source of images which are sometimes abstract, sometimes detailed; sometimes bizarre, sometimes beautiful; sometimes fear-provoking and sometimes calming, images that have left such an indelible impression on my memory that it is sometimes difficult for me to distinguish them from reality, images that have enriched my senses, all of them, so thoroughly that I remain eternally thankful to the process of sleep and the imperfectness of the human brain which leads to the random firing of weakly associated neurons, hence producing dreams. 

I often wondered how exciting it would be if I were able to spend all my time in the land of dreams. Dreams constantly challenged my notion of reality. They provided me sights so colourful, so rich in texture that the real world started looking dull, morbid. They provided me such thrills, such rushes of adrenaline that nothing in my otherwise regular, ‘real’ life could match up to them. I looked forward to sleep, dreams, nightmares, visions with enthusiasm such as I had never felt for anything else. Dreams were my sanctuary, a life away from life which pacified my on the run, over imaginative conscience. 

So it seemed like providence when dreams came to my aid, again. Dreams would finally help me realize my ambitions, my dreams.

Legacy
For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with creating a worthwhile and long-lasting legacy – something that will survive me, perhaps for generations to come. Legacy can be in the form of material wealth and riches. It can be in the form of ideas. An artist’s legacy is his work; a gangster’s his street-cred and the urban legends that surround his name. As an author I hope my stories are read for years to come (they better immortalise me – I’m looking at you, first draft of new story). But my concerns here are of a very different kind – a legacy of a more personal nature.

How do people remember us when we are no longer around (we need not have departed to our heavenly abodes, but perhaps moved to a different city)? Do they miss us? Do they remember us fondly? What is it about us that they miss? In short, did we have any impact on their lives? These questions trouble me often.

As we grow old we surround ourselves with people. Some of them fall by the wayside as time goes by – either because we outgrow them or perhaps due to circumstances.

Anyone who has ever lived in a megacity knows that a social group of friends and acquaintances (however close they may be) has a limited shelf life as a collective. The constant churning and flux of the city ensures that old faces disappear and new ones keep appearing.

But there are a few who remain connected to us at a much deeper level, irrespective of the time that has passed or the distance that separates us. These friends and companions are our extended family.

All of us have a few close friends we don’t communicate with on a regular basis – no phone calls, no Twitter replies, no Facebook comments, no emails, not even a new year’s greeting card. But these people are always in our thoughts – at every heartbreak and failure, at every moment of triumph and joy – these are the people we think of. Trivialities like distance and a lack of communication don’t affect such friendships. These friendships are our legacy.

But with friends there is also a legacy of shared experiences that transcends space and time. 

Now it’s time for random videos :

Blast from the Past

Today is what you call is a Chicken day. Every item I ate today had chicken in it some way or another. I love chicken and can eat it everyday and that makes my mother sad but when you live alone, you don’t have much choice in vegetarian food.

Day started early (at 6 am) as I had to meet a nice lady about a job opportunity but today wasn’t my day as she was looking for an iOS designer and I am more of an Android guy. Though I know the design principles and techniques , I thought I can give this thing a chance . So I met her at 8 am and we talked about design principles and she took me to a conference which was about Design Sprint. It is a design technique developed by Daniel Burka and Jake Knapp at Google Ventures. I first came to know about it by following the podcast of Kevin Rose. It is a very cool thing and I am in totally in love with it.

Here is the link, if you are interested. But if you want to be in Product Management someday, then it is a must for you.

Google Ventures:
http://www.gv.com/sprint/

Google UX:
https://developers.google.com/design-sprint/downloads/DesignSprintMethods.pdf

Orthogonal Product Development :
https://signalvnoise.com/posts/3914-video-ryan-teaches-product-management-at-mind-the-product-in-san-francisco

So now, it is 11.34 pm and I am bored. So I decided to go through my previous journal entries and came across this piece of gem( I am writing journals since the age of 15, thanks mom for this good habit) . I wrote it just before my 21st birthday when I was at Bhubaneswar chilling and relaxing in the name of engineering.

The other day I was walking around in Pal Heights (huge Mall in Bhubaneswar ) and came across a father and son who were trying to buy some computer games. The son wanted to buy everything there was on the shelf and the father was trying to convince him that he would play the games for a few days and then get bored. The son wasn’t going to give up easily and the father too was a hard nut to crack. Six-seven years back that could have been my dad and me. Seeing the patient father talking to his son made me laugh at all the pitiful tricks I used to pull off to get what I wanted when I was young. Yes it’s hard to believe but it is true – I have matured and grown older. The final blow to my juvenile days came when I got bored playing GTA and NFS. I could not believe what was happening. Computer games, my love and hobby for the past so many years did not interest me any longer. I decided that the next time I play any game on the computer, it would be with my children. 

Tomorrow I turn 21 and that means I can legally vote and get married in any country of the world. I decided long back that I was never going to vote because of my complete lack of faith in the democratic system and my extreme hatred of all politicians. So one of my legal right becomes useless. Getting married on the other hand is always on my mind and I am a firm believer and supporter of the institution of marriage (find me a girl today and I’ll get married tomorrow). Jokes aside I do feel that purely arranged marriages in today’s world are a complete failure. They were successful in the past because of the extreme control of the society even in private matters, which always led to a compromise between the husband and wife. Even when the couples were miserable they pretended to be happily married to keep the rest of the world happy. 

The times have changed and couples have stopped compromising. If an arranged marriage ends in a divorce then the couple can blame a lot of people including their parents for the failure of their marriage. But why should others take this responsibility. The best option today is to let kids go ahead and get married. If their marriage fails, tough luck. At least they cannot blame others for their own mistakes. Luckily my parents share my views on this. So I have seven more years to find myself a girl and get married otherwise my parents take over the process. That’s 2555 days or 61320 hours or 3679200 minutes more. The last figure does give me some hope but I can hear the clock ticking inside my head. 

Another great thing that happened in Pal Heights that day was the end of the long battle between me being cute and me being nice. I think this battle does deserve a little background (most of my friends would think I have lost my mind for feeling so happy about such a dumb thing). 

I am quite sure that I make a good first impression on people (people mean girls from now on). But for some odd reason people always thought that I am a very nice guy. Now there is nothing wrong in being nice but when you find out that there are just three things that people (i.e. girls) say about guys after having met them, you realize that you did not get the best compliment. The ranking of these compliments goes something like this: Uuuggghhh, Nice and Cute. I don’t think I need to explain the first one. The second means exactly how the dictionary defines it: 

A city of southeast France on the Mediterranean Sea northeast of Cannes. Controlled by various royal houses after the 13th century, the city was finally ceded to France in 1860. It is the leading resort city of the French Riviera. Population: 342,903. 

Sorry! wrong definition: 

Pleasing and agreeable in nature, exhibiting courtesy and politeness, of good character and reputation, respectable. 

That’s exactly what girls think about you. But there is more. Being nice also means that you are good enough to be their best friend but not good enough to be their boy friend. It means the girls feel protected in your company (like the company of their elder brothers) and see you as a harmless creature. The mother of the girl friend of one our close friend remarked that engineers are harmless and she doesn’t mind her daughter hanging around with us. Though she meant it as a compliment, it is the main reason why so few of us have girl friends. Being called Nice is as bad as being called Gay (although there is nothing wrong in being gay). 

The third and the highest form of a compliment is Cute. Not only does the girl like you but she also wouldn’t mind going out with you if she already didn’t have a boyfriend. There have been only two occasions in my life (about which I know) that a good looking girl (yeah looks don’t matter that much but they do) called me cute. But it happened to be the same girl on both the occasions and I did end up going out with her. However I have been called Nice so many times by so many girls that I was beginning to loose faith in the cosmic truth:Good things happen to good people

But last week in Pal Heights, Mr. Cute won the battle over Mr. Nice so triumphantly that there is no chance in hell that Mr. Nice will ever surface again. Four gorgeous (hot) young women (all over the age of 18) found me extremely cute. Only I know what such a thing can do to ones confidence.. 

I am cute, I am 21 and life is good. What more can a man ask for. 

But now, fast forward 4.5 years to 2016, I am in the Uuuggghhh category. Getting into nice and cute category is a tough task for me now .

I am a little angry and frustated and going to sleep after pressing the Publish button.

In other news, my life sucks and I am now desperate for a single ray of hope.

Relationships : A mathematical analysis.

The late Douglas Adams in his Hitchhiker’s series stressed on the interconnectedness of everything in this universe. This basic principle leads to some very interesting discoveries. The method of Zen Navigation, which is described in Dirk Gently series, can make for an amazing pass time. All you need is a car and a free afternoon. Just go out on the main road and follow any person who you feel knows where s/he is going. You could end up visiting some very interesting places.

Life does present us with a lot of opportunities but it is up to us to identify these signs and make the best of the situation. From my own personal experience and from the experience of some of my friends I have come up with a theory about the Circle of Life:

Let us consider ourselves the center of a circle and all the people we know (family, friends, girl-friend/s, etc.) to be arcs of different lengths on the circumference. The lengths of these arcs are directly proportional to our love for these people and their size can decrease or increase over time. The radius of this circle is a measure of our age and reaches a constant value around the time we are thirty. The area subtended by an arc at the center is a measure of the hard work and love that has gone into the relationship. Anyone who was ever a part of our life would always be a part of this circle no matter what.

When a child is born its radius is small and its parents take up the entire circumference. As one grows older, friends come into the picture and take their place on the bigger circle. The length of the parents arc is however still of the same length. By the time one reaches the age of 20, family and friends constitute nearly three-quarters of our circle. But a quarter of our circle is still unoccupied. This is a cause of a lot of unhappiness and unrest in our life. We are constantly looking for the person who will come into our lives and fill up this gap. In the case of men we are looking for the right women with whom we can spend the rest of our lives (yeah some men could be looking for other men but that doesn’t really matter). This state of unrest leads to many conquests and journeys. Girlfriends come and go. But the gap cannot be filled as long as one-quarter area worth of hard work and love hasn’t gone into the relationship.

Some people are lucky and fall in love with each other instantly (remember it can be love only if both the people involved feel the same way about each other). Others have to work very hard to get the other person to fall in love with them. This process can go on for a long time and passes through various stages. It can be very tough and emotionally draining at times. One has to put his heart and soul into the whole thing and forget everything else. Many poets and writers have achieved greatness because of the work they produced during this period. But all our attempts can fail some times. That however should not stop us from following this path. Perseverance is the only way to survive in the game of love.

The other group of lucky bastards who had it easy in the beginning also have to work very hard in the later stages. Since they by-passed the stages of friendship, trust and commitment, they have to make up for it later. The relationship cannot survive as long as the quota of hardships and heartache is not full. The group, which was lucky initially, is the one that fails more often than the other group.

Some of us try to fill this gap in our life by making more friends and just hanging around with the old ones. This can never complete the circle of our life. I suppose finding the missing arc is the main aim of our life. And once we find that special someone it is up to us to do everything we can possibly do to make the relationship survive. This ordeal could go on for the rest of our life. We have to learn to start enjoying the journey as much as the goal. We have to create an Odyssey of our own.

People come and go. But they always remain a part of our lives.

Batman V Superman : Dawn of Justice

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It’s been 2 years since Zack Snyder revealed his pet project (which also happens to be a dream of every comic book fans), Batman V Superman : Dawn of Justice. The logo and the casting news broke the Internet. It had the plethora of opinions regarding lots of aspects of the movie :

Zack Snyder’s capabilities of making a serious movie. Hopes were high since he stayed true to original materials during Watchmen and 300.

Ben Affleck’s casting as The Batman given his bad portrayal of Daredevil(some believe it was bad but i adored its R rated version as production studio streamlined the movie to give it a shorter run time).

Gal Gadot’s as Wonder Woman as she is scrawny and the weirdest thing was that some were even saying that she doesn’t have the right sized boobs to play Wonder Woman. (this is some serious shitty thinking of some idiots , why don’t you find yourself a muck of drain water and try to swim in it)

And then came 2015, Warner Bros released the first trailer at Comic Con. And people thought they are going to see the Frank Miller version of the epic brawl of two titans on the silver screen. All the criticisms surrounding the Ben Affleck, Zack Snyder and Gal Gadot died and all the Marvel’s fans too.

Then Suicide Squad trailer came and the Batman atop Joker’s car scene killed whatever doubt was there. Wonder Woman’s standalone movie entered shooting and leaked images killed the Gal Gadot’s casting doubt. So the things were in favor of this movie.

Now the year is 2016 and the movie released all over the world. Being a follower of Rotten Tomatoes and Imdb, I was in quite a doubt is the movie that bad. It has 34% rating on Rating Tomatoes and faced quite a fall in its Imdb rating from 9.4(Wednesday night) to 7.7(Friday night) . But as promised to my Uncle and Aunt, I had booked the tickets. I was in confused state when I was going to the movie. Lots of expectations usually leads to an epic emotional crush. And that didn’t happen today. It was a mixed experience. I was happy seeing a Batman who is true to the original material and sad because incoherent storylines makes me feel sleepy and when you are a sleep deprived, you can sleep at any moment given chance.

The movie started with the Thomas and Martha Wayne murder scene and Bruce Wayne’s fall into the pit which is actually a cave full of bats. Then we go to Superman – Zod fight in the Metropolis which Bruce Wayne was experiencing first hand. And when he found a man who lost his both legs and a girl who just got orphaned during the neck-cracking finale of Man of Steel, he starts to think of a fight which will make Superman and the world more cognizant of his capabilities. Or, wait — is it because Wayne thinks everyone is too into authoritarianism to see how insane it is to trust Superman? Or maybe he simply can’t see past Lex Luthor’s (Jesse Eisenberg) tricks and an ongoing media narrative that Superman is dangerous. The rest of the movie is incoherent collection of fight scenes which are good enough to make us forget their deeper meaning. Getting hung up on themes in a movie like Batman v Superman is like going to a steakhouse and getting miffed with the asparagus. You only start to notice the little things if the stuff you’re there for isn’t up to par.

Therein is Snyder’s ultimate failure: His fight scenes featuring Batman and Superman are just fine. The two throw punches. Superman is stronger. Batman uses gadgets. It’s all set to a rock ‘n’ roll Hans Zimmer score that Snyder uses when he wants things to be dramatic. The weightless CGI-fest begins to bleed together and morph into an exercise in risk-averse repetition.

Megaton fight scenes are the reason people will put up with bad dialogue or bad logic in a film, so it’s an outright tragedy when Batman v Superman’s showdowns become as boring as the rest of it.

Jesse Eisenberg rocked as Lex Luthor in the beginning but later turned out to be a less frightening Joker without a motive.
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Gadot’s Diana Prince is a spellbinding combination of Amazonian brawn and a gliding, regal sylph. I just wish she had more to do, because she’s excellent with what little material she’s given.
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Affleck does a fine job portraying a weary, more brittle Dark Knight than we’re used to seeing. It helps that he’s guided by Jeremy Irons’s winsome Alfred. Snyder got the chemistry right between Bruce Wayne and Alfred. Jeremy Irons and Ben Affleck are the Alfred and Batman/Bruce Wayne we deserved.
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As a spy in 2015’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Cavill showed us he can manifest all kinds of charm — but Batman v Superman doesn’t ask him to use that skill, or even to flash a wry smile, while playing the god from Krypton. Batman v Superman’s Superman is more weepy than inspiring.
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What happens when the stuff that’s supposed to break you out of the monotony is just as monotonous as everything else?

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The Beast Within : Rise slowly but please Rise. ;)

Wow! It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog entry. It has actually been a long time since I wrote anything. I am back into my old routine ; life has slowly slipped itself into the old routine of working on Some projects and sitting and chatting with friends at our usual hangout places. There is one difference though, a big one. This is the last year we will be in some routine job. There is a look of anticipation and nervousness on everyone’s face. Will we get a good job, will we get an MS in a reputed american university, and will we be able to make it to the IIMs. These are some of the questions on everyone’s mind. Although most of us are looking forward to the new challenges we’ll be facing in the real ‘real’ world, all of us are afraid at a certain level about leaving the secure and carefree life that these routine work companies has provided us for the last couple of years. The happy days are going to end soon. But our world will not end with a whimper; it will end with a bang.

For the first time in many years I have achieved the kind of focus I always wanted. I have slowly been feeding the monster of competitiveness which had been lying dormant inside me for the last five years. This is one side of me which most of my friends have never seen and which most of them wouldn’t like. But I have learnt a very valuable secret in the last few years: I have learned how to tame this beast that I can become. However, I am unleashing it now and the world will have to live with this new change and accept me for who I am. This is the only way I can achieve the targets I have set out for myself. I will revert back to the good old me as soon as this personal mission is fulfilled.

Life has been worrying me for some days now and my family has been trying to cheer me up. I hope some day I am able to give the same advice to my son.