Chasing Dreams

The best way to make our dreams come true is to wake up – Paul Valery

Any normal person would have been pumped up with motivation and reeked of awesomeness for exactly two minutes after reading the above quote. Not me. It is said 90% of the dreams are forgotten. Those 90% are the pleasant ones. The remaining 10% are the unpleasant ones. The reason I am talking about this here is because my friend told me that his car stereo was stolen. What’s the link? The 100% of the unpleasant 10% of my dreams involve thieves/burglars. I have no idea why. The only encounter I had with a thief was a pick pocketer in a local bus who I caught red handed. He pushed me and ran away. It wasn’t a knee-jerking experience.

Now a little bit more about my dream. The places differed, people differed, time of the day differed, seasons differed. The things that didn’t change was myself and the act of chasing the thief. I guess I love chasing too much. Everytime I dream of chasing a thief, I chase with vigour. I chase with commitment. I chase yelling at him. The line between dream and real life blurs and I yell for real. This is the only type of dream where I blurt out anything aloud. My wife is usually a sound sleeper. She doesn’t even realize when the alarm goes off in full volume right under her ear. But every time I shout, she wakes up. First time she was really scared and worried. She thought I had a nightmare. I wouldn’t call it a night mare. It was fun chasing. Few more instances, she was genuinely worried but started realising the pattern. These days she just wakes me up and asks who was I chasing. She is ready with popcorn and all.

So going back to the opening quote – no, I don’t want to wake up and I don’t want my dream to come true.

Do you have any strange recurring dream? Please feel free to use the comment section.

Oh, a finishing quote. My favourite one.

‘Dream is not that which you see while sleeping it is something that does not let you sleep.’ – Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam

 

Books I read in 2017

Happy New Year! Yet another year has gone and another one is born. The time wheel keeps rotating. I had been away from blogging for a while. Many a things happened in personal and professional life. Most of them good and some of them bad. But it’s a right mixture, alright.

I thought I should post something to just break the break. The simplest topic that I could immediately think was of course books that I read last year. I had set myself a target of 12 books to read last year and I completed 18 books. Which is quite astonishing given my history with reading.

Below is the list of books that I read this year. Yes, only a list. If you are looking for a review, sorry. I am too lazy. May be later.

  1. HBR Guide to Getting The Right Thing Done
  2. What the CEO wants from You
  3. The Art of Manliness – Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom and Advice on Living the 7 Manly VirtuesWriting without Bullshit
  4. The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man
  5. The Winning Way: Learnings from sport for managers
  6. Americavil Kichcha (Tamil)
  7. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
  8. Sujathoughts (Tamil)
  9. Faster, Smarter, Higher
  10. The On-Time, On-Target Manager
  11. How to Feel Empowered
  12. How to Take Decisions
  13. Confessions of a software techie
  14. 13 Steps to bloody good luck
  15. How to write a New York Times Bestseller
  16. Writing a Kindle book a week
  17. Writing tips

You can find the list of books on GoodReads here. The last few books have been on Writing. Interesting! Let’s wait and see how the plot unfolds.

Happy New Year, once again!

What have you become?

Imagine this. You are unhappy about the mechanical life in city and are going in search of a place where you can switch off. You found a place that is simple and serene yet useful. The place is inhabited by few who are on the same wavelength as you. Gradually the place is flocked by thousands and millions more. Everybody starts setting their own unwritten rule. They start their own propaganda. There’s always a group following a slightly vocal person. There are people who are saddened by the way the place has become. Yet there are more people who find opportunities among the crowd. There are jesters, activists, geniuses, businessmen, authors, pseudo authors, feminists, anti-feminists, leaders, managers, employed, unemployed and all sorts of people. There is always noise and commotion in that place.

Pictured that? Now lift this imaginary place and embed in the mighty internet and you get LinkedIn. Long time ago, LinkedIn used to be a simple, neat professional networking site. Professionalism was genuinely maintained. Very few people were on it. Then the user base exploded inorginacally and you can find all sorts of people now.

One set of people is genuinely looking for a job and another set genuinely helping. That is all fine. But some of the things that people do show up as being silly. I have listed some things that I have noticed.

People adding posts like “If you are a genius find the answer for this: name two cities that start with letter a and ends with n”

Posts like “7 things that extraordinary people do every day”. Followed by “11 things that extraordinary leaders dp everyday” out of which 7 will be from previous post and 4 will be from “6 things that natural leaders do everyday written by somebody else. These posts are informative in the beginning but you know right, familiarity breeds contempt.

Posts from authors. Some of them are good. Some are mere plug for their upcoming books. The advertisement about the book and the author takes more space than the original content of the article.

Hypocritical posts. There are people who write articles on leadership or company culture or promoting work life balance or gender equality or what not. When you read the posts you feel like the person is genuinely good. But when you get acquainted to the person and see from a close range, you actually find them doing the opposite of what they are preaching.

Posts like “I met this random person in the airport and ended up offering a job in my company”. One or two posts might be genuine and interesting. And when you suddenly see a surge in number of such posts it makes me wonder. If so many people are helping so many people like this is unemployment will be eradicated eventually, no? Another point is that I have not seen even one such post from the stranger in Airport who got the offer thanking the person who offered the job.

Posts that are topical. “What did Trump, Modi and Zuckerberg do to get rid of cockroaches”. Right. They have nothing to do with getting rid of cockroaches but these names drag user views at any given day. It may even start a mini keyboard battle in the comment section. En of the day, more views mean popularity.

Posts that go like “We are hiring and starting a whatsapp app group to connect with prospective candidates. Please express your interest by leaving your number or email in comment section”. LinkedIn was created for that very purpose. Use that.

Posts that tell a nice story and just when you feel like you have read it somewhere, you will find the disclaimer at the bottom that it was originally by somebody else. Sometimes people forget they have ‘Share’ button just for that. You need not copy paste content as your post and give credits at the bottom. That is sly, no? Some people don’t even give those credits. Those people are duely served by Justic League in the comment section naming and shaming them as plagiarists. There is so much fun in correcting people when they are wrong.

Worse are those forwards from Whatsapp. These are just jokes and nothing else. Sometimes you don’t even get it.  But you can’t stop it, can you?

Oh and I almost forgot the new trend. Posts that say “I received a connection request and I responded to a message from that connection requesting for help. He/She told me that they have written to thousands of people and I am the only one to respond and thanked me for the consideration. People, if you cannot respond to messages then what is the point of getting on to social platform”. Now this is very clever accusation. The point is not accusing the people who dont respond but a sly promotion of themselves helping others. We won’t know if they really helped either. But hey, I posted. So I must have helped. Do you get that? Or I will accuse you of trust issues. Point taken.

Everybody wants to be somebody that they are not. They want to project a face that others may like. Everybody seeks attention. “What others think of you is none of your business” is a good advice followed by none. No wonder image consulting is a thriving business.

If you are one of those few who is sad that LinkedIn is becoming facebook and whatsapp, what do you think about LinkedIn becoming YouTube or vine?

 

braceyourself

Me, Astrology and Data science

You may have predicted by now where am I going with this post. Hold your horses. May be you are right, may be you are not! After all prediction is only a only a hopeful choice until it becomes a fact. Just like a theory is a hypothesis until proved.

The whole IT world is like one big fashion show. Every few years there will be a new technological trend and everybody would try to hop on just to stay relevant.  Companies adapt to the technologies to show they are trendy even though it is of no use to them, developers start reskilling themselves getting ready for the next wave and the non-IT companies will be trying to pick their vendors based on who is following the current trend. Few years back it was cloud, mobile etc.,. And currently the trend is data sciene, predictive analytics, machine learning, Artificial Intelligence etc. While I agree these have tremendous applications, most of the crowd adapt just to stay relevent. This is just my thought, I may be wrong. Data science and analytics are areas of my interest too. (note: interested, not expert. Yet.) The art of analysing some data points and making adjustments to your business so as to be profitable sounds interesting. Strangely it is called a science and not an art.

What the hell does it have to do with astrology, you ask. I was thinking during my walk after lunch (No, you’re wrong. I’m still employed). My family strongly believes in astrology. I have always argued that I believe in astrology as a science and that I just do not trust the astrologer. I do not want to take my life decisions based on what an astrologer says for the reason that he may be not be an expert in the field. But astrology, as a science, is great. The simple fact that the astrologers predict the days of Solar eclipse, lunar eclipse etc without having to google is itself amazing. I could not stop thinking about how much effort would have been gone into collecting the data about stars, suns, moon, planets, their positions, distance, time, birth time, all the surrounding factors at that time, place of birth, family lineage, jatakam or kundalini (some argue that this is extensive understanding of human gene/dna behavior as a simplified coding).  There are innumerable factors to consider. The permutation and combination of these factors would have caused the outcomes, collecting and correlating which would have been pursued as a life goal by few(or many) .

If you think about it, Astrology is a data science. In the current business scenario, data science requires collecting of business transactions and other data. In astrology, our ancestors would have collected data about universe.

In data science, you build models and use statistics to identify the correlation between multitudes of data sets and entities to arrive a meaningful analysis. In astrology, they would have done the same.

In data science, you build models based on the different approaches and different entities. In astrology they built rules.

In astrology, you dont know why these rules were created. What were the analysis that led to these rules? They might have probably be lost in time. In data science, at least currently, people know why they built or how they created these models. But I am assuming it is only a matter of time before data scientists become oblivious to this and start using the models blindly. These models then will become the rules.

In data science, you are trying to predict the future behaviour using past data and try to adjust the course of the business to avoid losses. In astrology, they try to predict the future of your life using the past data and suggest rituals, ceremonies, prayers etc to nullify the evil and course correct your life.

Both in astrology and in data science, the prediction can only be indicative. It cannot be accurate.

Coming to the question why I dont trust astrologers. Data science is new. People are trying to learn in and out of the concept gathering deep knowledge and understanding. These set of people are passionate and they create things. Then the second wave of data scientists would come who would not really be passionate but good at data science. So they end up pocketing above-average salaries. Seeing this, another wave of data scientists would come who will neither be passionate nor good. But just because there will be abundant opportunites, they will be data scientists. This could have very well happened to astrology. Those who studied and compiled astrology may have been the passionate ones. But right now, with so many people insecure, placing their trust on godmen instead of god, and looking desperately for someone who can provide them solace in the form hope, the opportunity is abundant. So you find astrologers like mushrooms everywhere. I am not saying all astrologers are bad. There will be definitely good ones. I am saying I just won’t know who is good.

I am ending this with the prediction that Data Science would eventually reach that state. If someone somewhere in the future stumbles upon this post and finds it true, I would be hailed like Nostradamus. Sadly, I will not be there to know if it happened. That said, I am curious to go back to the scriptures and see what amazing things have our ancestors worked on. Why reinvent the wheel, right?

End of rant. Cheers!

 

James Bond Tribute – The Indian Jam Project

If you have followed my blog for a while, you would know that I am a fan of the group called The Indian Jam Project. This group of talented musicians excels in re-arranging famous international soundtracks into an Indian classical version. They recently released the tribute to James Bond Theme music. I love James Bond movies. In fact, I, my wife and my daughter bond well over Bond movies. So I was super excited to listen to this version of the theme. After all, James Bond’s Indian connection have resurfaced long after Octopussy.

It felt a bit strange when I heard it the first time. I was not sure if I liked it or not. But the more I listened, it grew on me. Has it something to do with Tushar Lall meeting the legend, A R Rahman?  (For the uninitiated, it is believed that A R Rahman’s songs do not strike a chord immediately but one will start loving it when he/she listens a few more times). It sounds brilliant. Ending it with Skyfall, was the icing on the cake. I like the grayscale theme as well. Below is the video. If you do not like it the first time, I insist that you give it at least a couple of more tries.

Below are my posts about my favourites of The Indian Jam Project’s works

  1. Interstellar Tribute
  2. Inception Tribute
  3. Star Wars Tribute
  4. Game of Thrones

Check out their other works in their YouTube Channel. Enjoy the music!

Instant Motivation – Falcon 9

Everyone has his/her share of ups and downs. One time you are pumped up with enthusiasm and another time, you are worn out like a deflated tube.  If you may have noticed carefully, when you are down on your motivation there is always something that could give you an instant boost. It could be a song, a memory of a trip you had taken, a phone call from a friend, picture of your family and children or anything else.

I have been an admirer of Elon Musk for all his work. Be it an electric car, solar power or a super-human ambition of migrating people to Mars. This guy is insane in an admirable way. Whenever I read something about him, or a see a video of him or his speech, I am in awe. It is true his personal life may not be so glorious but the mission that he has undertaken is larger than life.  I have started reading his biography now. I have seen many YouTube videos about him. The one that I am going to share is the one that gives instant motivation to me. Whenever I feel a little down, I see this video. I draw inspiration from that video. It is not just about Elon Musk but every single person in the video. It tells me that the greatest happiness is in putting in soul and energy into something that others dismissed as impossible and seeing it succeed. The sheer sense of achievement and pride. This video is by Nat Geo about the launch of Falcon 9 by Space X when the first stage of the rocket landed back successfully after launching the satellite into the orbit. Had this attempt failed, it would have made the company to be shut down. As I said, I am intensely moved whenever I see the video. I hope it gives you that burst of motivation too. Cheers!

Consequences of Laziness

Dear People,

We are nearing the end of 2016. Another year passed by just like that. Good things and bad things happened around the world. Take what is good and leave what is bad. Because what is bad for you may be good for somebody else. Whether something is good or bad is subjective. I have talked about this earlier. So I am not going to dwell too much on it. But, there are some common enemies. In my last post, I briefly touched about Procrastination though I shed some positive light on that. In this one, I am going to talk about its cousin Laziness.

Everybody has been lazy at some point in time. It is only the degree of laziness that decides the success or failure. I am going to lay down few verses from Thirukkural, written over 2000 years ago, which talks about the ill effects of laziness. It shows that laziness is as old and as indestructible as cockroaches. This poet has dedicated one section of 10 verses on the topic.  The topic is named “Not being lazy”.

குடியென்னும் குன்றா விளக்கம் மடியென்னும்
மாசூர மாய்ந்து கெடும்.

Even though one’s family has a good legacy, it quickly dies if he has the darkness of laziness.

மடியை மடியா ஒழுகல் குடியைக்
குடியாக வேண்டு பவர்.

If one wants to maintain or increase the dignity of his family, he has to eradicate laziness from his conduct and put in the right efforts.

மடிமடிக் கொண்டொழுகும் பேதை பிறந்த
குடிமடியும் தன்னினும் முந்து.

The glory of the family of an ignorant man, whose conduct is defined by laziness,  quickly perishes even before him.

குடிமடிந்து குற்றம் பெருகும் மடிமடிந்து
மாண்ட உஞற்றி லவர்க்கு.

The family glory decays and faults increases for the ignorant man who give way to laziness and put forth no dignified efforts.

நெடுநீர் மறவி மடிதுயில் நான்கும்
கெடுநீரார் காமக் கலன்.

Procrastination, forgetfullness, laziness and over indulgence in sleep – these four things form a small boat that is desired by those who are down the path of desctruction.

படியுடையார் பற்றமைந்தக் கண்ணும் மடியுடையார்
மாண்பயன் எய்தல் அரிது.

Even though an idle person may be blessed with the wealth of all the kings ruling the earth, he rarely dervies any benefit out of it.

இடிபுரிந்து எள்ளுஞ்சொல் கேட்பர் மடிபுரிந்து
மாண்ட உஞற்றி லவர்.

Those who do not make dignified efforts due to laziness will subject themselves to condemnation and reproach.

மடிமை குடிமைக்கண் தங்கின்தன் ஒன்னார்க்கு
அடிமை புகுத்தி விடும்.

If laziness becomes the characteristic of a person from a good family, it will make him a slave of his enemies.

குடியாண்மை யுள்வந்த குற்றம் ஒருவன்
மடியாண்மை மாற்றக் கெடும்.

When a person overcomes and gets away from laziness, the disgrace brought upon his family will disappear.

மடியிலா மன்னவன் எய்தும் அடியளந்தான்
தாஅய தெல்லாம் ஒருங்கு.

The king who does not give way to laziness will obtain all the wealth passed over by Him who measured the worlds with His foot (God)

I wish you, and your nears and dears, a very active, prosperous, and a very happy new year. May this new year destory the laziness in your life and bless you with abundant health, wealth and knowledge.

Cheers,

Sadagopan