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Showing posts from 2018

short links

Blind – an anonymous corporate social network. I think the biggest use of this will be to give true feedback to people. Such platforms have huge downside as well – but it is the kind of downside if we hear others thoughts without filters. I think most of the wastage in large corporates is due to people not being able to communicate their challenges freely with each other. Much effort and time goes in maneuvering such a tangle and get something done. There are people who will never ever know what is wrong with them because no one can tell them directly what is wrong with them. “Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth”. It is true also that even when we know the truth about ourselves, we may rationalize and continue the same way. But still, by any chance, if people use such feedback to get better, it will be a huge improvement – individually and for corporations to get things done.
Why software development requires servant leaders – I was alone for lunch today and had couple of…

nightmare

When exactly did it become so big? A disaster happening step by step, we are in the picture and being aware of it slowly. When we are in an accident, time is supposed to slow down and we see everything happening but go with it since nothing else can be done. Kerala is seeing the biggest natural disaster so far in my lifetime. I see it happening, but when did I feel the pinch? I still may not have felt its full impact. But I see the people whose loved ones are stuck somewhere in the unknown, trying desperately to reach them, their panic in not knowing where they are and how they are doing and helplessness in not being able to do anything. I heard people watched the disaster unfold in the TV one day and next day flood water is on their door step. It rises inch by inch.
Concern in people’s voices, their genuine effort, eagerness to help in anyway possible – all this restores the faith in humanity. Even while there are some who still find ways to further their agenda and mischief in middl…

pendulum

Take any topic that seems interesting, obsess about it, build up the maze in the mind and keep going through layers and layers inside. The simulation in the mind starts to deviate from reality, either to the excited level or to the depression state. Preset rules are broken by emotion and impulse. How will it be brought back to equilibrium? Rude shocks of reality can bring it back, but then it might have caused some damage. Well meaning warning by someone close can point out the aberration, unless offense is taken where there is none meant. Self talk can do the trick, but such a strong mind which keeps it in check might not have allowed it to deviate in the first place. Blessed are those who either don’t move too far off the normal state either because they don’t burden themselves with too much thinking or those who sees the world clearly and have made their peace with it in all aspects.

Amelia Boone - Farnam Street podcast

Long time back, one of my team mates would say as a reason of coming late most mornings that he couldn’t muster the energy in the morning, had to warm up and crank the engine. I had joked with him to drink less the previous night, as a solution, nothing else is needed to charge him up every morning. But today was one of those days for me. I don’t laze around in the morning, I get into the rhythm and go through the motions, so won’t be sloppy, but some days are like that. I searched around to see what I can read which will put me in the mood and give me a little push – of self reflection, new ideas and get the creative juices flowing a bit. Didn’t find much, gave up and started from home for office. I had seen a photo of Amelia Boone with her 70 year old dad liked by someone in my twitter feed and remembered that I had downloaded her interview in Farnam street podcast. I put that on and started driving to office. It totally lifted my spirits, I was stopping multiple times on my way to …

recent reads

Few recent reads:-
Real Word vs Book Knowledge: Morgan Housel is someone I started following recently. Listened to his interview in Farnam Street podcast as well. This article was very apt for a debate that I was having with a colleague. We started a library within our team. Few folks pooled in money and we bought around 25 books which are some of the best in the areas where we all should be picking up skills, that will be useful in our work. In that context, argument was about bookish knowledge vs someone surprising us with their practical wisdom. I have no doubt there will be people who haven’t read widely, but will have brilliant insights. But it cannot be a “Vs”, not a “either / or” qn. One without the other will be incomplete. Also people use the excuse that they have real world knowledge to justify why they don’t read. In general, I think reading is on a decline (atleast among my acquaintances) and it could be one of the reasons for the rising social ills.
What is Love? : I thin…

ആനഡോക്ടര്‍

“നൂറു സിംഹാസനങ്ങള്‍”ക്ക് ശേഷം ജയമോഹന്‍റെ “ആനഡോക്ടര്‍” വായിച്ചു. പല വരികളും, ഉപമകളും, മനുഷ്യന്‍റെ വികാരങ്ങളെ കൃത്യമായി വരച്ചു വച്ചിരിക്കുന്നത് പോലെ ഉണ്ട്.
Yuval Harari യുടെ Sapiensഅടുത്തിടെ വായിച്ചു. ഇത് വരെ ഞാന്‍ കാര്യമായി ആലോചിച്ചിട്ടില്ലാത്ത പല ചോദ്യങ്ങളും ആ പുസ്തകം ഉന്നയിച്ചിരുന്നു. മനുഷ്യന്‍ പല മാറ്റങ്ങളിലൂടെ ഇവിടെ വരെ എത്തിയെങ്കിലും, നമ്മള്‍ ഈ ഭൂമിയിലെ രാജാക്കന്മാരായി സ്വയം അവരോധിക്കുകയും, നമ്മളെ പോലെ അല്ലാത്ത എല്ലാ മൃഗങ്ങളെയും കൊന്നു തള്ളിയും ഇനി എത്ര കാലം. ജീവിതം കൂടുതല്‍ അനായാസവും, കൂടുതല്‍ കാലം ജീവിക്കാനും പറ്റുന്നുണ്ടെങ്കിലും, കാട്ടില്‍ പണ്ടു വേട്ടയാടിയും മറ്റും മറ്റു മൃഗങ്ങളെ പോലെ ജീവിചിരുന്നപ്പോഴെക്കാളും സന്തോഷവും സമാധാനവും പോലും ഇപ്പോള്‍ മനുഷ്യര്‍ അനുഭവിക്കുന്നുണ്ടോ എന്നും.
ഇതും അങ്ങനെ ഒരു പുനര്‍ചിന്ത ഉണ്ടാക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. കുറച്ചു കൂടെ അടിസ്ഥാന വികാര വിചാരങ്ങളിലേക്കും പോകേണ്ടതുണ്ട്. ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ സങ്കീര്‍ണമെന്നു തോന്നുന്ന പ്രശ്നങ്ങളും ആവശ്യങ്ങളും വെറും മിഥ്യാധാരണകള്‍ ആകാം. മനുഷ്യന്‍ ഒരു hunter gatherer animal ആയിരുന്നെന്നും, അന്ന് കാടിനെ കുറിച്ചും, മരങ്ങള്‍, പക്ഷി മൃഗാദികള്‍, ക…

Kalki - My Indian Life

Came across Kalki Koechlin's new podcast My Indian Life.  I had watched only two of her movies so far. First one was Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. I thought she was slightly odd - uncommon face, a unique way in which speaks. One of her interviews in The Hindu caught my attention, how thoughtful and articulate she was. Over time, watched her short films (The Thought Of You, Naked, The Job), prose poetry performances (Noise, Printing Machine, Dear Men) and her movie “Waiting” recently. She is a creative force, refreshing, uncommon one. The risks that she is taking, using her creativity and art to speak up for social ills. I wonder if I was anywhere as mature at her age. I hope she goes a long way and goes on to do more brilliant work. So far the two episodes of the podcast were good – first one with a male belly dancer (Eshan) and second one about an actor (Mallika) using her body and standing stark naked to challenge our thought processes and gender biases. In the first one Eshan talks …

stop.retreat

Zero philosophizing
Zero self promotion
Zero pampering and pandering Zero boasting
Zero drama
Zero lying
Zero complaining
Zero blame
Zero playing victim
Zero wasting time
Zero exaggeration
Zero preaching
Zero impulsive reactions
Zero talking about others
Zero procrastination
Zero social media
Zero sensationalizing
Zero expectations
Zero criticism
Zero worry about things that can't be changed
Zero wallowing in despair


zombie leader

I read this speech, Solitude and Leadership, few days back. Got reminded of below excerpt from “Heart of Darkness” while thinking about middle managers in bureaucracies.
He was commonplace in complexion, in features, in manners, and in voice. He was of middle size and of ordinary build. His eyes, of the usual blue, were perhaps remarkably cold. . . . Otherwise there was only an indefinable, faint expression of his lips, something stealthy—a smile—not a smile—I remember it, but I can’t explain. . . . He was a common trader, from his youth up employed in these parts—nothing more. He was obeyed, yet he inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect. He inspired uneasiness. That was it! Uneasiness. Not a definite mistrust—just uneasiness—nothing more. You have no idea how effective such a . . . a . . . faculty can be. He had no genius for organizing, for initiative, or for order even. . . . He had no learning, and no intelligence. His position had come to him—why? . . . He originated no…

blue skin people

Read this poem yesterday. Also had this article about loneliness recently.
We will almost certainly never meet the people best qualified to understand us, but they do exist. Probably they once walked past us in the street, though neither of us had the slightest idea of the potential for connection. Or maybe they died in Sydney two weeks ago or won’t be born until the 22nd century. It isn’t a conspiracy. We would just have needed a lot more luck.
In conversations with strangers, I normally stick to the basics. Not giving anything away. Both people trying to size each other up, not really interested most of the time, transactional. For me it sometimes takes years to have a personal conversation with some unless the other person opens up first. Once we start breaking the barriers itself, the weirdness of both start to show. For some, the weirdness is apparent from initial conversation itself and we avoid each other unless it is warranted, in which case we tolerate to get the mutual goal a…

strange day

It was a strange day. A whiff of a strike and the city shuts down. It forces me to ask for help, it feels nice to get it. Started the day with a nice dosa and lemon tea. Ending the day with kappa and mulaku. Started the day in bright spirit. Started the day reading a nice short poem forwarded by a friend. Déjà vu again having read something similar earlier in prose and wondering about it. In between, saw a rainbow after a long time. Walked in the rain a little bit. Laughed with friends. Helped some people prepare for a tough battle, thankless job. Tried solving unsolvable problems. Listened to endless problems that are turning my hair grey. Ending the day in a massive headache.

facing praise

When someone praises me, it puts me into a program error kind of situation – output freezes sometimes, I try to make my face expressionless, skip it as if I didn’t hear it and talk about something else, mumble something etc. It is not humility, it is about lack of emotional intelligence to acknowledge the praise. I should just thank even if it I don’t think it is earned and move on. Sometimes I think it is imposter syndrome playing a part where I don’t think deep down I deserve the praise, sometimes it is truly not deserved and people just say things to make you happy, but sometimes there maybe some truth to it.
It all came back to me today when someone did the same thing. I thought the person thoroughly deserved it, but pulled all the tricks in the book to avoid acknowledging the good thing. She ignored, downplayed, felt bad about others who deserved more, felt bad about her team who didn’t get what they deserved, in fact even said it is somehow going to cause her harm and said she d…

friendship day

When someone says something and you are able to reply without thinking, worrying about your words, about what they might think, worrying about what you said afterwards, you maybe beginning to make a friend.
When you find something beautiful in the world and you want to share with someone, that friendship maybe growing.
And when your heart is heavy and you are ready to share to get some solace without worrying about it burdening someone else, that friendship may be strong to withstand it.
When you describe someone and goes on and on about them and finally realize how much you love them, then the friendship is deep.

uplifting?

I watched Rajeev Ravi’s movie “Njan Steve Lopez”. Liked it, but less than Kammattipadam and Annayum Rasoolum. All his Malayalam movies (and the ones he did cinematography for in Hindi – likes of Gangs of Wasseypur) seem to be centered around gangs and people in them. While it addresses loss of innocence, humanity of the killers, circumstances that lead to them, why are the talented story tellers focusing on violent lives as their medium? Likes of Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino etc. I have had my fill of action, violence and gore. I needed a uplifting story today – not another tragedy. I heard one director comment that reality is boring, too long and too slow, if we show the reality of everyday life, no one would watch it. We need to escape reality and hence the cinematic/dramatic leap of faiths that take us away from the world outside. Maybe that is true.
I need something positive now – a good story, one that reassures the hope, believable, not too dramatic or unreal, about natural…

soundtrack for memories

Aaye Tum Yaad Mujhe, Gaane Lagi Har Dhadkan Khushboo Layi Pawan, Mehka Chandan
One of my favorites (the favorite Hindi song maybe). What it reminds me is a rainy day in Mangalore. Finished the daily call from a telephone booth. The rain falling down gets silhouetted in yellow light from the streetlights. There is a spring in my step, heartbeats are singing.. Golden days.
Pal Pal Dil ke Paas, Tum Rehti Ho Jeevan Meethi Pyaas, Ye Kehto Ho
I wanted to record it in an old cassette, by mistake overwrote the original cassette, borrowed one from a friend, instead of the blank one. Searched in all the music shops and couldn’t find the same one. I didn’t want to say I made a mistake. Found another tape with this song, bought it and recorded the song back into the first cassette. I have the image of PaiCo music shop where I found the copy when I hear this song.
Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein, Khayaal Aata Hai Ki Jaise Tujhko Banaya Gaya Hai Mere Liye
Riding in a tourist van, my Engineering class tour. Br…

സ്പീച്ച്

രാത്രി 10:30 മണിക്ക്, ദിവസത്തെ എല്ലാ യുദ്ധങ്ങളും കഴിഞ്ഞ്, അവസാന തുള്ളി വരെ ഊറ്റി എടുത്ത കരിമ്പിന്‍തണ്ട് പോലെ വീട്ടില്‍ വന്നു കയറി. സോക്ക്സ് ഊരി ഇടുന്നതിനു മുന്നെ തന്നെ പിടിച്ചു.
“വാ, വാ, പറയട്ടെ” എന്തിനോ കാത്തിരിക്കുവാരുന്നു.
“ഇനി എന്തുവാ?”
“ഇന്ന്, ഇംഗ്ലീഷ് ടീച്ചര്‍ എന്നെ 8th ഇന്റെ ക്ലാസ്സിലേക്ക് വിളിച്ചു കൊണ്ട് പോയി. ഇന്നലെ പറഞ്ഞ ഇംഗ്ലീഷ് സ്പീച്ച് ഒന്നൂടെ പറയാന്‍ പറഞ്ഞു. ഞാന്‍ ടീച്ചറിനോട് ഒന്നൂടെ നോക്കിയിട്ട് പറഞ്ഞോട്ടേ എന്ന് ചോദിച്ചു. എന്റെ ക്ലാസ്സില്‍ പോയി, ഒന്ന് പറഞ്ഞു നോക്കിയിട്ട്, 8th ഇല്‍ തിരിച്ചു പോയി. ടീച്ചര്‍ ലാസ്റ്റ് ബെഞ്ചില്‍ പേപ്പര്‍ നോക്കുന്ന പോലെ ഇരുന്നു. ഇതാരാണെന്ന് അറിയാമോ എന്ന് ടീച്ചര്‍ ചോദിച്ചപ്പോ, കുറെ പേര്‍ പറഞ്ഞു, “ഗായത്രി, 6th സ്റ്റാന്‍ഡേര്‍ഡ്, റൂബി ഹൌസ്”. ഞാന്‍ സ്പീച് പറഞ്ഞുകഴിഞ്ഞപ്പൊ ടീച്ചര്‍ പറഞ്ഞു, “ഇത് 6th സ്റ്റാന്‍ഡേര്‍ഡ്ഇലെ കുട്ടിയാ, ഇങ്ങനെ വേണം സ്പീച് പറയാന്‍””
“എങ്ങനെ, എങ്ങനെ?”
“ഇത് 6th സ്റ്റാന്‍ഡേര്‍ഡ്ഇലെ കുട്ടിയാ, ഇങ്ങനെ വേണം സ്പീച് പറയാന്‍ എന്ന്”
“പിന്നെ, പിന്നെ. ഇങ്ങനെ പൊങ്ങി പോയാല്‍ നിന്റെ തല പോയി റൂഫില്‍ തട്ടും. കൂടുന്നുണ്ട്.”
“ചെയ്തിട്ടല്ലേ പറയുന്നത്” …

angst

On the edge From clutter in the mind Unfinished, postponed and ignored obligations Shutting it out
Buzz in the ears From disturbed sleep Absorbing all foul vibes Tired eyes too
Warning impending doom From inevitable falls Shattering the illusions Ringing alarm bells
Weight on the chest From broken promises Unreal, unspoken expectations Ignore and forget

quagmire

Perceptions Turn a good thing into rotten Sinking bit by bit Like a quagmire
Shout more Try to reason Empty screams Not heard
Sharpen the skills Change the rhetoric Think different Hope against hope
Keep fighting? Wait for a miracle? Luck to turn? Glass half full?

deep friendship

Came across some recurring themes about friendship in different articles that I was reading. I have had such “deep friendship of intimate conversations” from childhood to now, but none of it lasted lifelong. I have had friends whom we never thought we will ever drift apart (no blood pact or anything). There could be many excuses – of moving, different schools, college, locations, people moving away for better life conditions, long distance friendships not sustaining etc. I have been steadily losing friends – most due to people deciding to move abroad (typical Malayali syndrome), getting restless in their jobs and wanting a change and then it becoming hi-hello once in a while. Idea of a life-long true friend is alluring.
Solitude and Leadership – speech by William Deresiewicz But I’m talking about one kind of friendship in particular, the deep friendship of intimate conversation. Long, uninterrupted talk with one other person. Not Skyping with three people and texting with two others at …

nirvana

I was discussing Buddhism with a friend today and debating whether Nirvana state is a worthwhile target – why get free from all the desires and suffering since many of these is what makes us human. Why transcend being human while we are living this life? It could be a naïve thought. But I was thinking if I would let go of below emotions if I had a choice..
Feeling that I am not giving my daughter enough love and wanting to give her a hug Missing someone so much that it puts a weight on the chest Seeing someone so genuine and feel happy about having met them Feeling tensed for no reason or too many reasons piling up Stepping out to the sun at noon, a cold breeze and feeling healthy and happy Laughing till the eyes tear up and back aches Feeling of accomplishment after doing something well Screaming silently at myself for doing or saying something stupid Acute embarrassment in facing people and saying things I don’t believe in Physical pain like a small electric shock upon seeing someone…

short stories - list

On the Move - Oliver Sacks

Finished reading “On The Move” - autobiography by Oliver Sacks. Two hours of it in the morning today, a bright day, with no distractions and reading through the best parts of the book, was bliss. I got to know about him first through radiolab podcasts. Watched the movie “Awakenings” based on his book by the same name (his character played by Robin Williams in the movie – exceptional talent) and had read some of his essays and TED talk. An amazing human being – I wonder how people can be so passionate, dedicated, curious, childlike, meticulous, full of energy and genuine. While the autobiography could be dragging in parts for those with not so much interest in science and medical writing, knowing his story and the context, it was interesting to me.
Few good quotes from the book.
It was sort of continuation of my thought from yesterday about why people write and the process through which writers go through. Highlighter also reminded about Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk – the story about a …

writing resolution

For past few days I have been trying to build a habit to write something, anything, every day. No reason why I came to that resolution. I realize that at times when the emotions run high, the creative juices flow and I need an outlet. But can't say for sure that is the reason.
I guess any creative process, whether it is doodling on paper or playing something on an instrument, leads to a sort of dopamine hit, gives a bit of satisfaction. I don't have a set process or time, but I end up doing this as last act of the day. It may be the least productive or creative time though, so the struggle to stare at a blank page and write something might be higher. Cognitive resources are at low, having used up a lot during the day in seemingly endless context switching that is typical in what I do. Especially at end of a week as well - Friday night - crashes the brain. Now even in this situation, if something comes down to the page, it still gives a small dose of satisfaction which can be ta…