Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dreams and Obsessions

P.S. (Pre-Script): I would have liked to title this post as "Random Philosophy - Part 2". However, given the fact that "Random Philosophy - Part 1" came some two and a half years back I decided to drop the idea and simply title the post with what it wishes to speak about. Of course, it would have been cooler to pretend that I always had a "Random Philosophy - Part 2" in mind to come out two and a half years later.. but.. well.. whatever.. nevermind (Blogging Strategy 1: include cool lines from cool songs).

Now, I generally like to Start a blog post with a cool quote (Blogging Strategy 2) so here it goes:

We want to follow a dream, yes it's true, but it's one thing to follow a dream and another to follow an obsession...A dream is more pure than obsession. A dream is about pride.

This is Jose Mourinho (among the persons I idolize) speaking as manager of Inter Milan. Of course, Inter Milan went on to achieve their dream of winning the Champions League that year beating giants who were obsessed with the trophy (like F.C. Barcelona) along the way. And then this quote became a sensation and for me something I would love to live my life by.

At that period of time there was a someone completing his under graduation.. disappointed at the smallest of things.. delighted at even smaller things.. an emotional pendulum switching unpredictably between a wide range of emotions.. dreaming small, dreaming big, often naive and sometimes obsessed.

Over time the pendulum slowed down and gradually stopped. The kiddo went on to become what many people would call as a success.. focus gradually shifted to efficiency, brute logical reasoning and getting things done. If you succeed at "A" label it as your dream. If you fail at "B" it never was one. 

Being an MBA pass out it often becomes a duty to apply frameworks when analyzing things. So one day, he decides to make a list of all his successes and failures and analyze them using the Dream-Obsession framework. The discovery is startling. The successes happened to be an even mix of Dreams and things which started of as a dream but transformed into obsessions. The failures however consisted of all dreams and no obsessions.

Now from all his failures "X" happens to be the most desired. As a dream the pursuit of "X" never attained fruit. How about for a moment forget the dream? Perhaps if it doesn't work as a dream it might work out as an obsession. Of course, following an obsession is never the same as following a dream. Dreams have a certain romanticism associated with them. Dreams are cool. 

Perhaps there will be no satisfaction, no happiness, once "X" is finally attained as an obsession. But then, its probably better to miss out on the ecstasy of success if the other choice is of the disappointment of failure. Plus, there will always be time later on to remind the self that "X" was always a dream. Worth a try maybe.

P.S. Forgetting the media savvy quotes for a moment it will serve well to remember that The Special One has always been driven more by obsessions than dreams.

P.P.S. "Imagine" John Lennon singing "You may say that I am obsessed.. But I am not the only one"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Random Philosophy - Part 1

Shyam Chacha, having just got back from USA opened the box of chocolates for the kids. “Here, take as many as you want.”

The kids, having waited as long as they had, went for it. The youngest kid, a boy, got four, the eldest, a girl, got three, and the middle one, a boy, five. The youngest kid seemed happy about what he had managed, well, until he saw what his elder brother had got. Crying, he goes complaining to his mother.

A belief that gets ingrained into the system, partly due to the environment that we live in, and partly an inherent tendency, is that for someone to win, someone else has to lose. People don’t find happiness in getting what they want, but rather in getting what others don’t get. After all they’ll tell you that there are no win-win situations, only win-lose and lose-win ones. The basic assumption here is that the total amount of happiness in this world remains constant. So, how can someone get more of it, without reducing that of others? Put two such minds against each other, and is what we actually arrive at a lose-lose situation?

Siblings, as they grow up, generally realize that their competition lies not within themselves, but against the outside world, and that they must collude to maximize their strengths (even though the Ambani brothers may make you believe otherwise). However, if it is not with the siblings, it is with friends, if not with friends, then with peers at college or at work. Remember that maggu who would always lie about how much he had revised so that he didn’t have to teach you, or that member in your project team who would try to claim your work as his own in front of the boss.

Somehow, people always tend to view competition in a localized dimension, and the people around them as their enemies. Few would dare to think of their peers as god sent help to win the higher competition, the ultimate pursuit of excellence. And fewer would be ready to carry them along in that pursuit.

The mom, seeing the situation, asked the elder brother to give one chocolate to his elder sister, so that each of them had four each, a fair deal. The girl divided this chocolate into two and gave the two halves to her younger brothers.

“But, what about you?” They ask.

“Well, I had only wanted three.” She replied back.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The day after Tomorrow

Bluedart is renowned to be very reliable in delivering stuff. So today at 3 pm it was a surprise to have not got a mail from the Operations Desk yet regarding my expected courier. At 3:30 I finally decided that it’s time to enquire and sure enough 10 minutes later I had the ticket in hand, with the train scheduled for tomorrow night. At first awed by the sheer size, density and the pace of life at Mumbai it now feels that I have been here for ages.

Of all the cities I have been (and it would be futile to sit down and start making a list) there has been something about Mumbai that sets it apart. There are many places to talk of – Bandstand, Lonawala, Fuel, HN, HRC, Elephanta, South Bombay, Juhu, Malls, Vashi etc. to name a few and countless experiences to remember and recollect – WC matches at Convo Hall, the last locals, EAD, the MBA party, Impact Day, chocolate truffles, IMG nightouts etc. But perhaps the fondest memories that remain are those of the night walks in the rains. And this is a thing that I have now started to grasp, of how one can find the greatest joy in the smallest and simplest of things, the fact that it’s all in the mind. It would be hard to find another place which holds something for everyone. The city holds an amazing capacity to provide equal quantities of joy to all of its residents, irrespective of the amount of cash at their disposal.

As the time to leave approaches the amount of ‘lasts’ are beginning to burden me. From the ‘last time I am meeting this person’ to the ‘last time I am getting my clothes washed at the laundry’, with many others in between. Tonight is going to be the ‘last’ night here, followed tomorrow by the ‘last’ day in office, involving many ‘last’ meetings, and then a ‘last’ visit to room 228 at ‘The Lady of The Lake’ at IITB (which now feels like the third home, after home and IITR), ‘last’ tum tum ride, some more ‘last’ meetings, ‘last dinner’, a ‘last’ auto ride to LTT station, a ‘last’ look at Mumbai at midnight and the next day be no more.

There is a touch of excitement at homecoming, a tinge of sadness on leaving, a sense of gratification on the stay, a reminiscent of the memoirs, and a feeling of hope, that maybe this won’t be the last.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dusk of a Episode

This March has proved to be quite an eventful period. One moment I was on my way home, tired, the sole desire being a bed to sleep on. Spending nearly half of my time in slumber at home proved to be a rejuvenating experience, without which I couldn't possibly have survived till now. Holidays could and should probably have stayed for a couple of days more though.

The fears of draconian laws being implemented at college after the 'Shimla incident' remained a mere fear. Govind Bhawan Day saw a new level of destructive behaviour being unleashed on its defenseless rooms. This further advanced to a higher level a few days later at Ravindra (For more details contact Amit Bhasin @9897845707). The next day proved to be what I would say is the most memorable birthday I have had (despite the worst beating of my life I had to take for it). And I haven't said this until now.. thank you everyone for making it so very special, I shall not be forgetting it for a long time to come.

Having shirked a lot from my commitments in February, March provided the platform to redeem myself. The occasion that I had been waiting for a long time (and on some occasions hoping for it to just end soon) finally arrived. Cognizance was an experience. Those four days everything in R-land seemed to have attained a new level of attraction. The sight on the night of day 0, with a sea of people gathered around the UG Club was both scary and mind blowing. I ended up spending all four nights sleeping on the couch there, not that I couldn't go to my room, I simply didn't wish to. Strolling (and sometimes riding) around the place at 2 in the night, with the place completely deserted had an splendor of its own, imagining the fact that there were hundreds here a few hours ago.

When it did finally did end, there was a sadness within, a realization that deep inside I had wanted it to continue forever.

Now I am trying to make up for the lost sleep, and getting my routine back on track. And while deranged people will continue to sniff, hack and destroy stuff.. and lamentable comments written in #hash #tags will grab some bakar time.. I cant help feeling indifferent. Anger is an emotion that I can simply no longer find inside me.. All this comes at a cost though. The quality of my jokes have degraded to a level that I find scary, even to myself.

P.S: I had to describe this
me: (Shaking Christopher James hand after the magic show) It was fabulous.
CJ: (Taking an excited look at my Led Zeppelin t-shirt) Yo.. Led Zepp (Thumbs up).

P.P.S: It feels good I could help someone find their wallet back.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lights will guide you home..

Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one.

(Pink Floyd - Breathe)

Over the past few months, MBA vs GRE vs Job has been the hottest topic of discussion in the CS corridoors. Now on the brink of fourth year, this ugly topic has cropped up for many who have no idea about what they want to do. There are those who have decided to follow their interests and then there are those who advocate a career path just for the money in it.

Right from the childhood an individual is taught to sacrifice the present, for a better and more comfortable future. There are people who never initiate the process, those who give up in between after reaching a particular level and then there are those who never stop, forgetting the very basic purpose of their efforts. The question that comes is whether to stop, and if yes then when to stop?

There are three words that come to mind here: Success, Satisfaction and Happiness.

Generally speaking, Satisfaction is a necessary for Happiness, and Success is necessary for Satisfaction. To achieve Success one must have a desire for it, for which one needs to be dissatisfied in the first place. It is also important to realise that once one has attained happiness and satisfaction it wont last forever and in future one will only be driven to search for a greater level of satisfaction which will lead to disatisfaction and ultimately to satisfaction and happiness. So to stop is definitely not the answer. And often the level one attains by sarifices will require the same amount of sacrifices to sustain itself or move forward. So, to sacrifice oneself isnt right either.

The question here is who defines these three things for a person? If one allows someone else to define it for him then he can never trully be happy or satisfied. The most important thing is to be true to oneself. There is always a price to be paid for being good, for doing what one believes in. But the greater motive is ultimately to preserve ones own identity and that is what brings true happiness. The key lies in moving along at the right pace, which one decides for himself and that which one can maintain without sacrificing his identity in the process. At the end of the day its the identity that one creates for himself that matters.

Though this analysis has helped me little in making that crucial decision for myself, it certainly has helped me understand things better. And while there will be a time when I'll have to get up and make a run again, for today I can just lie down on my bed, turn on Dogs by Pink Floyd, close my eyes, and go to sleep without bothering about setting any alarm..

Influenced heavily by The Namesake (Jhumpa Lahiri) and Pink Floyd.

P.S: Dairy milk is the proof that God exists and wants us to be happy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


The past 2 weeks had been really hectic- code, receive a call, make a call, code, make a call, receive a call... Code and make people code, this pretty much describes what I had being doing for the past month. Having spent the last month thinking entirely about how to integrate one piece of code with another, whether I'm walking, watching tv, having lunch, dinner, breakfast or for that matter coding (obviously.. and for the record I rarely have breakfast) it was turning out hard to remain sane.

So though it turned out to be a welcome relief when it finally ended but it was marred by the disappointment of heading back to R-land and having to waste yet another new year away from the family (The credit for which as usual goes to our college administration). This frustration was shared by many as they were forced to head to R-land to 'celebrate' the new year. The opening of a Dominos just outside the campus may have seemed to have add some flavor to the life at R-land where the only familiar name for non R-landish people was a 'Cafe Coffee Day' a few kilometers away on a national highway. Now this post is about 'Last Night' (more specifically about the Last Night of 2009), so it will be unfair to talk more about day things like Cafe Coffee 'Day' (At the same time it would also be unfair to dish out more PJ's like this).

The night turned out more fun than I could have expected. Dinner at Sagar was followed by bonfire, and dance and act a minute sessions, the less about the later the better. Fire provided an escape from the rather chilling cold at R-land (Which leaves all this talk of Climate change and Global warming a bit hard to cooperate with). 'Happy New Year' wishing was followed by a dozen idiots watching 3 idiots. I had seen better movies before, but not enjoyed them more. All was well.

There are things in life that remain incomplete forever.. and some that have abrupt endings, however this

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

The future of web development

P.S. (Prescript): Its been a long time since I've posted. For those who thought I was gone for good, I'm sorry to disappoint you :P. While the last 2 posts were fun its now time to move to towards a different direction now, a more serious one. I don't expect even half the 23 comments i got last time, but this is something that I just have to do. I hereby declare that I have written this post in full consciousness and the best of mental states and there is no reason for anyone to doubt otherwise. :)

The World Wide Web has come a long way from its early days of static html web pages. E-mails, chats, skype calls, facebook, twitter, blogs etc. have made the web into an extension of our social life and for many people much more than that. For an organization a presence on the web today is not merely a luxury, but a necessity. Infact entire retail stores of organizations exist completely on the web. And hence as new ventures are started one of the very first requirements is a comprehensive and sleek website, coupled with all the latest in-things and a complete Content Management System.

From a developers perspective as the focus now shifts on compliance with the W3C standards, maintainability and Search engine optimization. Building mere functionality isn't sufficient, codes have to be written in a clean and structured format. Gone are the days when entires sites were constructed squashing in PHP and HTML codes into single files. As there is growing trend of using specialized designers and specialized developers here is a greater shift towards MVC architectures. MVC (Model-View-Controller) architectures separate the Database, Data Logic and Processing and the Presentation layer hence making the integration of designs and backend coming from separate sources possible and also ensure easy reuse and maintenance of the code. While Struts is an accepted industry standard today its complexity is enough to draw away most developers. Instead more developers are preferring Ruby on Rails, Django, CakePHP, TurboGrears, Symphony overs Java based frameworks as these are much simpler to use. An added advantage in frameworks like Django and Ruby on Rails is the automatic CRUD (Create read update delete) part which can be used to make CMS interfaces much more easily. While the support for these technologies isn't great yet, they are the ones that the future web will run on. As a matter of fact majority of the existing websites are made in a technology that is light years behind what exists today.

Another development are CMS systems like Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, ZenCart etc. that provide a quick and easy way to set up complex sites by using the army of standard built in features that they provide. However the more standard built in features the lesser the scope for customization, and in today's million-website-web it isn't the standard website that stands out. Websites need to be special to make an impact. And so while Joomla may work brilliantly for one website, Wordpress may work perfectly for a blog, they don't offer a comprehensive or permanent solution yet. Quick and easy, yes, but at a price called compromise, and compromise isn't a word that an organization that lives on its website is ready to hear.

So as we move towards a bigger Web its hard to imagine a Joomla that will offer total control (no doubt Joomla will continue to progress, but so will the web :-) ). It will nevertheless provide a quick and easy fix for the ones who don't care about pixel perfection. But for the purists the future lies in Django, Ruby on Rails and their tribe. There is still a huge scope for further development and additions in them before they could be called perfect. Inline PHP on the other hand should finally be laid to rest. jQuery, Mootools and newer javascript libraries will continue to dominate on the client side, and Ajax should soon gain a foothold and get incorporated into the MVC architectures. MVC's are here to stay. Watch out!!