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The Glue said: “Put your life together”

Another day, another mission. The spirit of adventure never cease. The excitement and wonderment, wanderlust catching dust. In time, finding time, to time, for time.

I sat glued to the chair to solder a disobedient wire onto the printed circuit board, that it was phobic about. It reminds me of the legend of Kodungalloor Bhagavathy temple.  Where, the legend has it that the deity needs verbal abuses to be pleased.  The reasons pointed out are varying in geopolitical climates and religious sentiments, riding on libertarian actions to uproot the caste barrier. However, finding a convincing analogy to my situation , for my wire did not yield any clue. Therefore, giving the abuse a pass, I took to the next available step. I had to put this thing together. And there it was, in red and white, bringing the memories of Croatian football team. American’s have to change their fighting game name to something else. And football is really football, soccer does not mean anything. So, going back to the story. With great ambitions, I picked the savior of the day, the superglue. One tiny squeeze and the wire was trapped in its place. Only, I know the importance of having stuck the wire intact. And plenty of story that tiny bit of wire can tell me about the board. An accidental extra squeeze, and I spread the glue all over my fingers. Figuratively, I had put my life together in one shot, and literally in the next. And the superglue did both in such an enviable fashion. May be there is a super glue ad which says “Put your life together”.

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Posted by on March 22, 2018 in creativity

 

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The publicity question on creativity

In the question of passion, many have lost and gained jobs. Employment being the least resistant path to earn money comes and goes. Once we have gone into the cycle of joining and quitting, the next relevant question is monetary benefit. It is normal to jump jobs, earn experience, take corrective action to reach our target goals, benefits and financial matters. Is there a limit to this ?

We seek creative avenues that give provide freedom of thought and action. And when it merges within the cradle of an employment, with a cushion that provides along with responsibilities. It is very hard for some to imagine this, and they keep up their employment and stash their dreams of passion.

I feel this is more common in developing economies where the business cash flow is inwards and labor workflow is outward. In this mode of easy money through employment, the developing economies may find it difficult to attract enough talent for creative approach to solving problems which could be read as startups and new business ventures. Creativity is at its peak in some economies especially India in the form of stories, plays, poems, movies, digital art and so on. It is no wonder that most Hollywood movies go to India as one of the famous destination for artists with this calibre.

It is obvious from the customer viewpoint that we cannot assume any developing economies throwing the risks into the wind and jumping in the pursuit of creativity. It takes a leap of faith to create publicly perceivable, sustainable, value for creativity. Why is this hesitation misunderstood ?

Such as Steve Wozniak says here https://www.indiatoday.in/technology/news/story/indians-study-hard-and-get-mba-may-be-buy-mercedes-but-lack-creativity-apple-co-founder-steve-woz-1177668-2018-02-26. 

I can see this as a misunderstanding of the cultural, developmental and sociological situation prevailing in India. The understanding of which takes more than being a tech company experience.The article also lacks in being specific with a title of generalizing all “Indians”. Even Indians do not do that. This is again evident from the Shashi Tharoor speech which says that the whole landmass was called India from outside of India. And the natives of India had not given such a name to themselves as Hindu, Hindustan or India.

One thing that USA does extremely well is publicity and marketing. By acquiring all “national” brands “.gov” domains, most American companies listed on the Internet can have assured exposure to the larger market beyond its borders. For example National Geographic is not limited to the nation of the USA, similar is the case with the National Public Radio. While the same national public radio of India, if you will, is named ” All India Radio”. While rest of the world’s Government establishments have to add their country domain to “.gov” domain, such as “gov.in”. USA got the “.gov”. It is not “.gov.us” for whatever reason it is. Value of the USA as a brand , otherwise called “brandequity” is thus proven to be very high.  There is no brand bigger than a nation. No business better than running a country.

In the USA the venues for publicity is high. Even at a personal level, the interaction is mostly positive and spreading a good vibe in the USA. So, it can be assumed without prejudice that USA has mastered the marketing skills and it also has population with largest consumer pocket. Thanks to history and Richard Nixon that American consumerism is still on high and products , new products and technically advanced products can be sold at a premium. This is in contrast to developing economies where the price should be maintained as modest and the product has to prove, rather than sell, to be worth the price. This paradigm shift in the marketing thought process makes the advertisement industry in India highly creative and competitive.

It is also noted that the trend in developed economies is to sustain the cycle of buying and selling, keep the money rolling, as maintenance fees, even for living – also called as taxes and insurance, while in many developing economies these are optional and one may choose to live without these. This goes in lines of a great author, whose name escapes me, who said “An Indian’s frugality is often mistaken for poverty”. So in such economies, lesser marketing, lower impact on economy, lower cost to live all thrive well. This should naturally be extended to decluttered life and higher quality of living. Aren’t these the fads of developed economies too ? And in here, especially for low carbon footprint projects, zero waste and total waste recycling projects we see such technologies that enable people to live simpler, happier, without shameless self promotion.

 

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Vanishing point

An average timeline of  a human can be drawn starting from birth to school, progressing to university and job and marriage and help repeat all the same for the kids. This canned solutions in life is a proven time tested sequence. The authority of which is questioned only by a few. So far, the biggest joke has been, people who do PhDs become researchers and award winners, Masters degree holders assist the higher level tasks and assume a better position in relation to a Bachelors holders who can offset the difference in relation by experience. And Lo comes a business graduate with some idea, and good communication skills but unable to create anything depend on professional Masters , Engineers and Accountants to help surround him so the idea can be fruitful and s/he will manage, who in turn is controlled by Government regulations and to top it off politicians who have virtually no clue on what to do except get votes and keep their chair ( Indian context). And there have been people , Ministers who have hardly been to proper schooling but control whole education department of state. Nothing bad about them not being canned, or dressed like the preparation of a law student to be a judge. Nothing offensive. People are people and we accept them in that way. Who are you and me to change people and attitude. We can help build solutions, bring it to people, enabling them with technologies, but not force people to change their attitude. Attitude is developed from within. In relation to the learning, if someone does not have that attitude to learn. Why force it ? They may be more than happy in the position they are in. Hey, that is why they are in that situation , right ? Then why worry. No news is good news. If there is no news of worry on their part that is good. And as time progress , we have accomplished various things among a truckload of failures. We keep failing, falling, rising up, one step, success, among hundred falls, sometimes hurting, sometimes breaking bones, we never stopped. We keep moving. The act of brownian motion ( Shiva tandavam) or universal vibration. I am happy to have introduced to this relation between physics, spiritual idea and practicality by a Chemistry professor. That was mind-blowing. And that is exactly why I remember it even now after 10+ years of hearing it first, and only once. This sounded great.

 

Zooming back to reality, some 8 years back I was talking to my friend in one of the huge classrooms that we had. He was apparently struggling with his courses, while I crossed the bar every time by luck. There was struggle, but it did not hurt much. I took it easy.  The last bench was unoccupied. Rare. Compared to the mayhem that is generally associated with backbenchers who create ruckus even when the class is in progress. They had gone to in pursuit of whatever fantasizes them. We were left in the dust. Yes, though we have good amount of greenery and excellent climate the classrooms were dusty. I believe it was more of the dust in the mind. There was no clarity. What are people going to do. It was global recession, American trend is that whatever they do is global and international. There are massive impacts because of nations in general and USA is a heavy weight champion in this regard. And we were in dust, because someone lied. And a group of people lied. That lie was taken to be truth, democracy is crazy. And here we were sitting in this classroom, not sure were things were headed. About job search and direction of life. These are times that I feel timelessness. The time simply stops. And the clock grinds to halt so I can easily take pictures of these moments without worrying about the shutter speed. Our classrooms were very well ventilated and had natural sunlight to work with. The day was bright but future was not. Time simply stopped. My classmate asked me about the examinations in general. I wanted to help him. I let him ask. How can I force myself to help him. I waited. He asked me something that no one ever asked me, no classmates ever discussed, no professor mentioned this in class or in personal interaction. That was one question that still haunts sometimes. The implications was beyond classes. He asked me to give him a relation on learning. How the courses in our syllabus were connected  ? How does one course in first semester connect with a course on third semester. Just like the canned life , I mentioned before our syllabus in University of Calicut was also canned. There is a syllabus to follow. Common for all applied electronics and instrumentation engineers from first semester to sixth semester and few electives offered for 7th and the 8th semester. In total it was 3 electives for the whole 8 semesters which amounted to 4 years of engineering study. And therefore, it must be pretty easy to link the canned courses. I sat with him, listed the courses on paper. Tried to link related courses in group. And yeah! it made sense. It was someone sensible who made the course. We missed the forest for the tree. We were taking one course at once without a thought about how they all were the building blocks of electrical and instrumentation systems. That was a moment of revelation. Here was something I could learn, thanks to him, because he asked such a thoughtful question. And then the pieces came together. We divide to conquer and unite them for strength. We needed to hold both the bigger picture and individual segments in relation to the larger perspective. And there a peripheral course called Engineering Graphics made sense, though the professor had mentioned in the first year that this course has no direct application in our program, he did not connect or link it to applications of electrical engineering for us. It was for us to discover, to connect , to learn, to paint the bigger picture one section at a time. Now, that was learning at a different level.

With time the picture gets bigger, revealing only little sense overall. Nevertheless, I keep working at a corner here or somewhere dis-contiguous elsewhere. My site of work appears random. Clock keeps ticking. My picture has more color and more figures in it now. How are they related ? Though, I am not cent percent sure I keep working at it. And the sense of time vanishes. Recalling my Engineering Graphics lessons reminds me of the concept of vanishing point, will that vanishing point be my point of convergence ?

 

 

-Sense of Time series-

  • Sense of Time - I would wake up everyday. Just like any other day. This was yet another day. Exciting as usual. A running clock adds to the excitement of awaiting adventure. And I start upon a new one. This time it is about time. And it is time. Time changes and now it was forcibly changed. The circadian […]
  • Vanishing point - An average timeline of  a human can be drawn starting from birth to school, progressing to university and job and marriage and help repeat all the same for the kids. This canned solutions in life is a proven time tested sequence. The authority of which is questioned only by a few. So far, the biggest […]
  • Wake Up - Work life habits are like rock. I would wake up at 5.30 am. Listen to the soothing sound from my phone. The wake up call with a Native American touch to it, resembling the flute of Carlos Nakai. In the background the birds chirp and the wake up call for a hunter, ready to pick […]
  • Blizzard - Nature is by far the best cure for passing time. Problem in passing time is a common boredom oriented disease. I have met extrovert complain about boredom. Even Issac Asimov said this. I do not have to believe it. It is belief that add weight to visions. It is this belief that converts the unreal […]
 
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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Reading Napolean Hill’s – Keys to Success

Napoleon Hill's Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal AchievementNapoleon Hill’s Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement by Napoleon Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

 

Having read Think and Grow Rich and quiet impressed by it, this was a natural choice to pick up from my wishlist. Napolean Hill does an amazing job in formulating the idea that we all have heard or seen practiced. However, we never got a chance study and condense them into these 17 principles that Napolean discusses. To mention them , they are:

  1. Have definite goals
  2. Form a team that actively improve by symbiosis
  3. Improve personality
  4. Have Faith with practice
  5. Do the extra work
  6. Be Initiative
  7. Have positive attitude
  8. Control enthusiasm
  9. Be disciplined
  10. Think based on facts
  11. Focus
  12. Inspire – Teamwork
  13. Learn from failures
  14. Be creative
  15. Be healthy
  16. Manage Time and Money
  17. Discipline the habits

This formulation works with any goal. I have personally experienced this by  revisiting some of my personal experiences where I set a goal and achieved it.  Though I had neither read this book at that time nor tried any self-analysis. But after reading the book it turns out true that I have actually followed most if not all the steps mentioned.

It is common sense that we are normally limited by resources at a specific time. Mostly these resources are monetary savings, emotional savings, personal health and accomplishments (read failures), facts available and the level of belief and confidence.

Like we notice with anything else, if we are really good at a particular thing we tend to perform better than the expected normal on other subject. Say , if you are a student in school. If you are really good in English you will definitely notice a great improvement in your social science or history test results because of your English and the confidence that it creates within you.

Habits are nice to have in which we auto pilot most of the stuff that we need done, so it becomes muscle memory than a strenuous mental computation process. This helps us put all the routine task to auto pilot so we focus on goals that need creativity and focus.

 

There are multiple other books that took some of these principles and expanded upon it.

Habits are nicely covered by Stephen R. Covey

Focus is touched upon by Cal Newport in Deep Work

Norman Vincent Peale had expanded upon power of positive thinking

Everyone has faced faith either by force or by habit, to realize it by applied faith and practice is upon the self. Whenever Napolean says about faith I pass through the paragraphs since I believe in something, that some people call religion. Every person has her/his own opinion and faith. If that works for them then look no further. This is de-facto covered by default.

I could easily relate to having used these principles in some of my job searched. The last search was highly effective. We had an awesome team of job seekers, all from my research group. All planning on graduating and we used to discuss our research and job search alike. Though we had different target graduation dates and goal deadline, we all achieved it. Did our graduation, defended thesis/defense, published it, got a job. The magic of working in groups and discussing is rare. To get such a group at the right time and to nourish and learn from the group was a great learning experience.

 

Throughout the 17 points listed , one theme is evident. That is control. A person in charge, in control of their destiny plans ahead, plans for failures, assimilates resources, focuses at the goal to be attained and devotes time, effort and resources in relentless pursuit with completely controlled enthusiasm. This is driven by positive attitude supported by discipline in actions and thoughts. This is exactly what the book articulates.

Overall this is a nice read, if you know something just skip that section and the book will yield what you picked it up for.

 

  • “Sharing” work in the Internet - This post is a book review for “Show your work” by Austin Kleon This is the TVC that comes first to mind about “sharing” Like the boy in ad, whatever our age, we do “sharing” for personal need/satisfaction/benefits , knowingly or not. Austin talks about the value in sharing work online, establishment of personal brand, […]
  • Blinked - Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell My rating: 3 of 5 stars View all my reviews I picked this up a second time. Thanks to Buffalo-Erie Public Library System for providing this free facility. Blink takes the reader through some case studies and associated case studies on snap-judgements and its base […]
  • Reading Napolean Hill’s – Keys to Success - Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement by Napoleon Hill My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews   Having read Think and Grow Rich and quiet impressed by it, this was a natural choice to pick up from my wishlist. Napolean Hill does an amazing job in formulating […]
  • Book review: The Score Takes Care of Itself - This book on leadership based on American Football (ഇടികളി) coach Bill Walsh is best read as a leadership case study. The book was gifted to me as an employee by my company.  The style of writing is slow paced and boring. The connection between the real life experience of Bill Walsh as a coach and […]
  • Book Review: Destiny Disrupted - I heard about this book from a Palo Alto entrepreneur. I read the book Destiny Disrupted by Tamim Ansary. The style of writing is unbiased for most portion and biased whenever it is expected. This book gives a good idea on the endless wars that the west Asia has seen the history and some facts. […]
  • Book Review : Algorithms to live by - This book came up in the circles of job search and discussions of things that don’t matter. It would have been a fallacy if the title said stood by what it said. Algorithms are thought processes and having behavioral philosophies of itself, that mathematicians may appreciate better. However, math being a yesteryear wonder-keyword and a […]
  • “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love”: Book Review - Background My previous reads were “Biography of Steve Jobs: Walter Issacson“, ” Notes on Startups: Peter Thiel“, “Siddhartha : Herman Hesse”  and I can only wonder how this book connects with those. I came across the author Cal Newport due to the Happy Schools Blog. This book arrives in style, for  a job hunter in […]
  • Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups - Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews I came across this book accidentally. My lab mate had this book on his table for a long time. I see it sometimes on this desk , even now. I […]
  • Great reference for life and sales - How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger My rating: 5 of 5 stars https://ajeya.wordpress.com/2016/07/1… View all my reviews I did not expect to give such a title for reviewing a book that had the ” How to ..” in its title. But the book “How I Raised Myself from […]
  • Narrative of the Blunder termed war - Brig.  J.P Dalvi gives a clear account of want exactly happened at the India- China war (1962), which was less than a war in his book, “The Himalayan Blunder”. The motivation to read this was reading about VK Krishna Menon , the then Defence Minister of India. The title given is great because it happened […]
 
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Posted by on November 20, 2017 in Book Review, Review, Uncategorized

 

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Sense of Time

I would wake up everyday. Just like any other day. This was yet another day. Exciting as usual. A running clock adds to the excitement of awaiting adventure. And I start upon a new one. This time it is about time. And it is time. Time changes and now it was forcibly changed. The circadian rhythm of the human mammal with all its intestinal fortitude could not hold the time. The norm of life in this part of the world. Fall back and change back from daylight savings to normal time. For whom, I asked ? I received replies of various tones, repeating the old farmer’s story who wanted to save time in the form of daylight savings, invariably the justification reassure that farmer’s depend directly on the daylight and sunrise, not the artificial clock. A farmer’s life is not a “9 to 5” joke with coffee breaks meant for gossip and lunch time focused on chitchat and not on satisfying the imminent hunger. A sense of time does not exist for such frivolous activities. Any real work accomplished in this way is really an achievement. Focus on the work than the focus on making work look like it is not work, can turn cumbersome. Why not get the work out the way, within the realms of time allotted? Free the rest of time and really enjoy the daylight and save time with a sense of time. Now, I am lucky to have a work where the sense of time is based upon the priority of work and work-at-hand rather than the hours-requirement. In this way focus brings in a sense of time and vice versa. Quality-time put in work releases dependency of work on time. In turn removing the sense of time. Focus, plan and a target goal within a time framework helps save time. And when next time someone says about daylight saving time and how it affects their daily routine and public in general, it will make no sense. Because, no one really saved any time by turning the clock hands. As an environmentally conscious human one may try to save the tube light time in office. Use the daylight time, keep the blinds open and let the natural light help us light up our workspace. Yes. A Tube-light Saving Time (TST) instead of Daylight Saving Time (DST) . In this way, time attains another dimension. A dimension of sense, or should I call time as another sense in addition to basic senses of humans?

-Sense of Time series-

  • Sense of Time - I would wake up everyday. Just like any other day. This was yet another day. Exciting as usual. A running clock adds to the excitement of awaiting adventure. And I start upon a new one. This time it is about time. And it is time. Time changes and now it was forcibly changed. The circadian […]
  • Vanishing point - An average timeline of  a human can be drawn starting from birth to school, progressing to university and job and marriage and help repeat all the same for the kids. This canned solutions in life is a proven time tested sequence. The authority of which is questioned only by a few. So far, the biggest […]
  • Wake Up - Work life habits are like rock. I would wake up at 5.30 am. Listen to the soothing sound from my phone. The wake up call with a Native American touch to it, resembling the flute of Carlos Nakai. In the background the birds chirp and the wake up call for a hunter, ready to pick […]
  • Blizzard - Nature is by far the best cure for passing time. Problem in passing time is a common boredom oriented disease. I have met extrovert complain about boredom. Even Issac Asimov said this. I do not have to believe it. It is belief that add weight to visions. It is this belief that converts the unreal […]
 
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Posted by on November 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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A good lesson to learn during Bachelors program

10/10/2006 : The day our classes officially started for Bachelor of Technology at CU ( Calicut University). Information pours in slowly but definitely, in that time, when mobile internet was slowly penetrating the serenity of Malabar.

We had plenty of time to expend on a rather long vacation after +2 (higher secondary school). That was the best months of vacation, waiting on something unknown, uncertain, and having nothing else to do. The months before the tests/exams of +2 was had a  sense of war-time emergency at personal level for my batch. Hence, the vacation was a special invitation for some, who particularly put up with the stress of studies and prepared rigorously.

October approached, and we were in for some initial foothold in the next steps of study. Everyone wanted to get into engineering. This was understood for the return of investments and the scope of an engineering degree rather than the personal interests as such. This could not be elaborated further because what were some of the career explorations students at that time did? I had no clue. Newspapers, family, and their extensions were the go to source of information. Internet was available, but information? I do not know. With limitations in sources of information, it was a blessing in disguise, helping to eliminate unwanted distractions and stick to guaranteed investments of 3-4 years in college. It is easy to choose when we have the complete picture of valid available sources.  The long wait was closing in and we were in the process of enrolling in the colleges for whatever we have picked. This waiting period taught one valuable lesson to wait to get. Unlike the current times (year 2017) of clicking and getting whatever you want. Waiting to get something was a lesson. And later, as time progressed, for our batch, Calicut University wanted to give us a definite time for first year examinations (2007). Moreover, some students went to CU. Some striking, some to see what a strike is like for the first time, some to see what CU looks like. It was first time outside home and hostel for a solid mission. To be there. Later, as situation was handled excellently by CU administration, it was learned that there were no physical strike, not a single person had the madness to through a stone at the windows of the windows, for fun or seriously, this would have caused chaos. Their combined dignified demeanour saved the day. Period of uncertainty cast a shadow on the academics. What will be the actual dates of examinations? On what basis are the studies to be planned with an uncertain date? What possible distractions could be avoided? There were truckloads of uncertainties and unknowns! When it came to passing backlogs for some that was another avatar of uncertainty. In addition, at the dusk of the program recession hit, thanks to Lehman Bros. The Indian system of campus placements to get job re-assured that it was not worthwhile for companies to visit campuses for placement. In sum, the cumulative uncertainties prepared everyone in our batch to mentally prepare ourselves to face the yet incoming uncertainties of the bigger world, called ‘Life’. That 4 years of preparation toward life was the most valuable course in the program never advertised or assumed in those years.

 

PS:

My batchmates may or may not agree to all these. These are my personal opinion.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2017 in Lesson, Uncategorized

 

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To , or not to ?

To think over the mind and matters that matter the mind is not very mindful matter. However, the matter of mind is such that mind still minds about mind and matters. Mind thinks without the thought to provoke it intentionally. It keeps at the task of pondering over the wonders and gossips of the world. And once this question came up.

How do I see a person.

As a person who minds, I do not have to think too much on how I behave when I am with people I am accustomed to . Like small kids who are free to cry or be happy or be wild in the presence of their best human contact, mostly mother and father bear the brunt. They seem to act more polished and  controlled in the presence of strangers. This, I see as  a sense to be naturally defensive. Keeping the own nature to the near and dear ones, while be secretive or hide the total character from others, who may or may not be well-wishers. Is it for the same reason that the human mind gets stuck at the thought of a public presentation or to speak up at interviews and public forums. May be Yes. There is a time when the mind is experienced enough to pull in socially acceptable standards of putting thoughts into words. This may backfire in case of people who are honest and frank about telling the inconvenient truth.  Do I perceive them differently ?

If it is a public personality, a politician or a popular person. There is a reason to keep a distance at the thoughts promoted by that individual. The influence of this individual may be limited by the sense of overall character perceived by the viewers, followers or fans in case of sports and movie starts. If an actor says about social responsibility rather than films and movie related matters, I do not feel that the person is authentic because of lack of experience shown by that person in social responsibility initiatives.

Say, I heard something about a close friend. How does the mind analyse it. Initially, it is the thought as to should I share what I learned about the person just now ? Is she/he open to hearing the same. Does it benefit either of us in sharing this information/gossip. Is it true ? Should I check if it is true ? Does it matter ? This process very closely uses the Aristotle’s filter of truth.

If the mind decides through the filter that it may be true, but not beneficial in material terms, except that the growing empathetic concern to see my friend in a better light would be  personally satisfying. This holds no material benefits and can be truly classified into the category of gossip.  Because this really does not bring in the positive enthusiasm, nor is it could in bringing about a sense of calm. It is just like some of the Indian roads. You see the cattle shit, sometime you do not. You step on it. Some people may feel it funny, some feel it may be funnier when you step, slip and fall. Nevertheless, for the self, it is the back-pain and the resulting dirty footwear that matter. And like Mark Twain said about age.

“Age is a matter of mind. If you do not mind, it doesn’t matter”

Can be applied to anything and feel free to fill the blank.

“_____ is a matter of mind. If you do not mind, it doesn’t matter”

To judge whatever comes to me, to analyze and to categorize as good bad, beneficial , not beneficial, instigating action or not, is for the mind to decide. That is where it really matters.Because at the end of the story, if there is no lessons learned, there is no point.  And it goes to resemble the Socrates’ question and let me ask the self  when something comes to me. Is it for me to take action, scrutinize, propagate, promulgate or pejorate. The next step “to, or not to____?” remains with me.

And Buddha’s story helps here. A person came to Buddha and shouted huge profanity at him. Buddha remained silent. After some time the person left the place. And one of the disciples asked Buddha. ” That person, was outrageous and too heated up. Why did you remain silent all this time ?”

And then Buddha replied ” If someone comes to you with a gift and you do not take. What happens to the gift ?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Incomplete, me!

Once, I went to an office to sign up for my paperwork due for an employment. Being in USA, I like the way they present the tax forms upfront, so we know that we are part of something bigger and tax is being paid directly, there is nothing illegal about the job offer, etc.  This happiness is short-lived by the amount of confusion innate in any Government forms. And after multiple questions, filling up portion of the forms and going back and forth, I made a friend out of the front desk clerk. Then comes the part which asks for my status in the country. I say without any expression, but surety to know the answer “I am an alien”. That lady held my hand in a semi-sympathizing manner. I was startled, for a moment, because I never expected such a reaction. The movie “Independence Day” (US American English movie) came to mind. I did not dwell myself too much into the implications of the movie, in this context, for I have a job at hand. A job to complete. As I continued, more spaces stood out blank “says aliens to read instructions”, I read out. This time the lady had come to terms with my kind of reading. So, we were back to the content, directly.

Sometimes, in life, when confused, I feel that I live to fill up the blanks in the forms presented at various stages of my life. Except for the space for family, parents, I used to wonder all the humongous amount of information that we had to put into paper to get various benefits from the Government, or even in the case of employment. This continues into online applications, tax filing and almost every place I end up being me. And then this funny incident happened.

In my last visit to the health services I was told there was nothing to do, except the chores. The freedom of the country, I am in, gives the practitioner a complete picture of my previous medical cases. Only, whatever I chose to reveal in the beginning, of course. This is a routine in USA, where you are asked the history of your health, about your parent’s health, so the complete case history is at the fingertips of the doc. This time I only had to verbally fill the form that they had in their system. It is mandatory for them to remind me of all the background I had. Especially allergy and surgery. I have been asked in India, my home country, too, about allergy to medicines. This may be standard across the board. However, surgery was something new. So, I am told ” You had no major surgeries except removal of wisdom tooth”. I ask back, curious to know if it is really that important ” Is it a real surgery?”. Doc replies ” Yes! because they gave you anaesthesia, opened your body and a part of your body is removed “.  I retorted “I am incomplete!”. She in a surprise said “I have never heard someone say like that”.

That realization that I had left something of my body back from where I came from, I had lost it to the modern medicine. A part of my body is removed, therefore I am incomplete. Nevertheless, it helps fill the form, where there is space to fill up with any surgeries I had.  Cynically, I had lost something to gain something. And the insight struck that I do not have to be confused enough to do something to fill up some random blank space in some equally arbitrary event in this life.

 

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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The Cockroach Approach

For the Cockroach Theory you should be checking the video below.

Otherwise read on for the Cockroach Approach

cockroach free images എന്നതിനുള്ള ചിത്രം

Cockroach approach is an existing time tested socially relevant, culturally insensitive and popular way to find the best and leave the rest.

In my +2 (Indian System-  that is 12th grade elsewhere- approximately) in all the Kerala state run schools we had this biology experiment as final laboratory examination question. I have see my sister’s great lament in verses on death of a cockroach she killed. She never became a surgeon. I heard from an American friend that they had rats to dissect for exam. That is more cruel than a “lesser” creature such as the cockroach. While some may also go to the extent to idolize and sanctify the creation. Near immortality of cockroach is very well depicted in the movie Wall E (Trailer below)

Cockroach is apparently the only creature that can survive even nuclear disasters, it is said that cockroach can decide when it wishes to die. Just like Bheeshma from Mahabhaaratha.

The question to address is why ? Why we were told to dissect a cockroach ?

This was one main reason why I changed my syllabus to CBSE from Kerala State Board since there is no dissection in CBSE. So much for ahimsa. On enquiry, I get this cockroach approach to education. This applies to all competitive fields in life too. The reasoning is that among all the student who dissect a cockroach there may arise one or two doctors/surgeons who may in future help serve humanity by saving human lives. For this reason, endless number of cockroaches were caught, fed, petted and brought to lab to score marks and get cremated. No activist will mourn over a killed cockroach. Because they are available in plenty. No shortage at all. This is what happens to all the equally educated/skilled students. There are so many of them. Why should anyone care about them. If they wish they can find their means to make sense of their life. The cockroach approach teaches the students these two important lessons. Quality and greatness can be sparked by working out in large numbers, here large number of student perform the same procedure, from where two great sparks may lead to produce two great doctors. This is exactly what I heard about the Chinese badminton team. Since there are so many players, the best among them. If you see the list on the BWF world ranking. You can easily find many Chinese players. It would be very easy for them to win many more matches than a lone wolf from another nation, since they may have faced tough competition in the Chinese national and local matches itself. Similar is the case in many other sports. Quality comes out from large numbers. The famed Edison is said to have discovered umpteen ways not to make an electric bulb before he did make a working one. Numbers play a major role. This is also illustrated in the book Outliers in terms of 10,000 hours rule for mastery. Hence, we can safely assume, that cockroach approach helps humanity to excel. Nevertheless, the cockroaches need to find elevation in being petted before dissection, before salvation by death.

 

Updates:

I found some interesting cockroach approaches which are somewhat different from what is written above.

Analogy of approaching (attacking) a cockroach 

When a real cockroach approached 

How to Invest like  a cockroach

Cockroach portfolio in Investments

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2016 in Lesson, Uncategorized

 

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One Year in USA and studies

Today marks my one year in USA. A different country, but not too different now. Thanks to the summer extension. It is not too different.

This one year and its realization has strengthened the motivation to come here, to learn and to experience, the most sought after environment of the world. The melting pot may still be hot but what kept the momentum going is the abundance of natives, Indian Indians here. So, there is this common connect, stories of the past, glorified for the present, at occasions not so welcoming for a story but passes without a pause to occupy the same. This is wonderful where we discover the art of telling stories. Pieces of life bottled and well rounded to present to native speakers in native tongue. This is cool. Besides, there is this awe-some stories of the other land presented to the native native, US Americans and other internationals who came here to Buffalo, to study and to achieve their goals. This is fun.

Let me now focus on Buffalo for the time. I joined University at Buffalo one year back for Masters in electrical engineering. And there were too many things to think about in the first few weeks.

Regarding courses, I did not know much on how to choose. I had a very broad general idea, whereas in the offering there were so many special courses available. So, I had to attend all the interesting classes, schedule myself in Google Calendar and try and attend atleast  one of the possible two classes for sampling it and talking to professors. Some professors were crude, some odd, some smart, some great, some eloquent, some very helpful.  I had no clue about the scheme of Individual Problem/Study/Project. This is a 3 credit alternative to a course. This helps to work in the lab of the professor on some topic and get closer to the subject and possible reference and thesis option from professor.

It was tough to keep up with the events in the campus. There were so many that I had to put that up in calendar and choose wisely to get the most out of each. There were lot of free food especially pizza, which back home is considered to be kinda food for rich. but essentially junk. For a vegetarian you always get Cheese Pizza if your stars are not in great position. Week-ful of pizza and events makes one tired, the focus may even shift away from the job at hand , which is course selection and professor interaction , than free stuff and part time on campus employment.

The primary aim of part time on campus employment is to get some money in exchange of time, this is not going to give any thing great other than first hand experience in customer service, food preparation and a bunch of good friends to work with and talk with that alleviates the work load in the form of friendly conversations. There is this chicken an egg problem to be solved. To get a job, you need SSN , some jobs ask for NY state license. But to get SSN you need job. So it is natural to go to the easiest method to get SSN , job and money. That was Campus Dining job at the time of my orientation. There were more than 100 people waiting to get a job. The managers here are great in satisfying the crowd who came seeking job. They are very helpful and understanding. This helps in getting along with unfamiliar environment. In fact, in UB Campus dining there is a referral program that existing employees can refer new employees to get referral bonus. My friend had declined for he did not want that that bonus. I do not know why. Then there is this option of UB bullseye career services which posts many campus jobs. Also, talking to people in different offices helps to start useful conversations.

As an average Indian, I went for the budget options of Lycamobile $29 for mobile. Had the handset from home. Went to the local credit union for banking. Relied on the roommates for wholesaling shopping prices and stuck with cooking to reduce the cost of living. On top of this I needed a laptop. I would suggest bringing the laptop , whatever condition it is in, to be used for atleast the bare necessities of checking the  courses and email-ing the professors, because the library facilities would be crowded. The mobile has a small screen to accommodate such comforts.

Before long, I was grinding for the assignments and part time jobs and the household work. This in the beginning was the usual student stuff , that resembled that of a typical Indian student in India. But, here the addition is part time job, the compromise of which can be calculated in dollars. Even if you are not used to quick arithmetic of USD to INR conversion, money is money. It can push you, pull you and break you, if you are not careful. The focus on studies was built by studying with friends and maintaining a calendar. This gives some kind of focus which is incrementally refined till all the exams appear to collapse it. This happens just after the week-long break that can break you for another two weeks if the break is not properly utilized.

Slowly, it dawned upon me that people do not meaning anything more than “Hi” when they say “Hi”, ” How is it going?”, “What’s Up?”, ” How are you doing today?”, “How are you?”. The person who starts this esp US Americans, will be gone a mile as you try to answer/ reply. That was strange. Outright crazy. But in time I came to terms with it.

Regarding Electrical Engineering. We were given option to take two courses outside the department. Tempting courses are available all across the departments, ranging from Introduction to VLSI , Robotic Algorithms, Computer Architecture – CS department; High Performance Computing – Physics Dept.,  BioMEMS fabrication lab – BME dept., Six Sigma – IE dept. this will enable you to apply for UB TCIE internship in summer.

VLSI guys that I know went for:

Analog electronics,Introduction to VLSI, Analog IC Layout – 3 subject to learn Cadence Virtuoso; Embedded systems – experience ARM Cortex M3, VHDL,  Computer Architecture – Basys 2 and Verilog; Digital Communication System design – gives Mentor Graphics tools and teaches Verilog . Dr. Albert Titus has Analog and VLSI lab in BME dept.

DSP specialists get to learn 3 courses from the great Dr. Adly Fam, with many options to take Individual study with him. There is application of DSP in Power electronics courses too.

This fall 2016 there is Quantum mechanics for engineers which seems to be a great course.

last fall there was this awesome course on fundamentals of solid state devices a prerequisite for magnetic materials for this fall. This is not for the light-hearted in math.

MEMS lovers go for – MEMS, BioMEMS and lab on a chip, Wearable and implantable systems, RF1 and RF2 – not for the light – hearted. Optofluidics – which has a project. Microfabrication lab – an awesome lab facility you can see from outside in Davis hall and from inside if you taken the course.

Photonic and Optics group is very strong in UB. With many nice professors and courses of variety. There is plenty to discuss among Non- linear optics, Optofluidics, Photonic devices, nanophotonics, photonics lab, consumer optoelectronics and lasers.

With all these great courses, it is common for students to audit some courses to learn the stuff but not to earn credit. That said, any course you take more than 4 courses (12 credits) is free. you do not have to pay. I personally know a person who took 6 courses in final semester. This is a good strategy. Like Football formation you have to split the 10 courses (30 credits required for MS) into some format. 4-4-2 is a no-brainer; 5-4-1 and 4-5-1 is to save money from a course. Applying for reduced course load is permitted, but only once in the complete program, where international student can take minimum of 3 courses in a semester. People use it in different ways :- 4-3-3 , 3-4-3. People who want to finish fast take 5-5, bang for bucks and save almost 6k$. Another option is to get a Co-Op in third semester. This depends on your job application. And then the lesser pursued path is 4-3+thesis-thesis . A thesis credit could range from 1-6 , people use it wisely.

Ideally by end of Fall you have good projects and some GPA in hand which enable one to apply for summer internship. Application of which starts from fall. This may be seemingly too long , but no. And people who did not get internship here went to India and did Internship. People went home just to be home. Also, people achieved fall internship in the second fall, but you need to manage your courses accordingly.

 

(May be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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