A couple of days ago, I appeared for the final exam of my Masters in Data Science. So, it’s finally over, done and dusted. Did I learn something? Yes. Could it be done better? Definitely. Do I feel happy? Of course. Do I need to study further or is it the end of education? Hah no. Struggle has just started.
It has been an amazingly unpredictable last 2 years. This blog has been a witness to it. Many new things happened lately too. Mostly good, still some bad. I finally received something due at workplace which was pending from a long time. Should I jump in elation? Yes. But has the work reduced or became easier? No.
All in all, the point of writing this post is to remind myself that no matter how high one can go, there would be something which would keep you grounded, thethered or in orbit. There will be happy news in life. It might be delayed but they will be around the corner. There will also be some regrets, some health issues, some outrage.
I guess, it is okay to be tethered. Even when one takes a leap of faith and jumps, there is bungee.
We have just crossed the mid-way of the year 2018 and are in the proverbial Half-Time period. I thought of pausing and reflecting on the journey so far in the year 2018, so the following in an effort at that.
As it is pretty clear, I didn’t live up to the promise of writing a blog post every day. I had totally intended to write at least something every day but even on the free-er days, I didn’t. So, I am going to write, in simple points on how do I feel about things after the first half of 2018 getting over in this post itself.
Good Habits are difficult to sustain
I tried a lot of things from the beginning of this year to date. Some of them and their outcomes follows:
Blogging Daily – I couldn’t do it. Reasons and excuses are many but they are not important. Can I do it? Certainly yes. Will I try again? Of course.
Bullet Journaling – Actually achievable and makes your life better. There is nothing new about journaling and planning your days ahead by writing them down but Ryder Carroll actual made it a lot systematic and formal, yet totally customizable. I started off by jotting out 5-6 things I wanted to accomplish every day before leaving for office. This was not done on an app, but I sat down and wrote them in a small notebook which could be carried without any hassle. Once I got through the planned activities, I could strike them off or if I couldn’t, I could postpone them to next day or any other suitable day. This is a good way of planning and executing. Believe me, writing things on paper and then striking them off gives you a sense of calm and helps build confidence which apps cannot. I did stop doing this when few things happened in life. But I can restart any day. And let Any day = Today. Restarting it right away! See, pausing and reflecting helps!
Toastmasters – I finished my Advanced Communication Bronze module in this May. This means I delivered 7 advanced communication speeches in 5 months this year. I learned a lot of Storytelling and Speaking to Inform and it helped build my confidence in Public Speaking further. I am now going to try to new educational program called Pathways. I haven’t set a goal yet but I do see myself finishing at least till Level 3 of this. Oh, and I made my club win the Best Social Media presence award this year out of 200 odd clubs. IFTTT rocks.
Health – I think right now I am the fattest I ever have been. My weight has been consistent since last 2 years but this time I felt the fat. So, I stopped eating sugar a few weeks back and now even after starting it again in last 2 weeks, but in lesser quantities, I don’t feel the fat. The bottom line is, I need to do more about this and continue to cut the sugar out of life.
Reading Books – When one habit derails, all the other good habits around that also derail. My Book Reading spree came to a halt but all is not lost. Let’s begin again, shall we?
All of the above also helped me end my Social Media stint. It is easy if you try.
Life is fragile
And you must handle it with care. People generally overlook problematic things in life and take everything for granted. We have limited time and it should be told to everyone every day. This year, I have been through some experiences which were the 1st time for me. To be very precise and not melodramatic, it can be summed up in 2 points.
I sat in an Ambulance for the first time for a relative who was being rushed to the hospital after collapsing suddenly. I delivered the news of the person in the ambulance passing away to the kin by myself. The passing away part happened in seconds, right before my eyes, without me even realizing it that it had happened. It happened so fast that I couldn’t even gather any thoughts about it before or after. It just taught me one thing that the transition between being alive and being dead is so small that if understood, a lot of us unnecessary efforts about unnecessary things can be avoided.
I had to experience a very close family member being diagnosed with cancer. All I could do is to motivate and instill all the positiveness I could. The family member is still fighting the battle and I hope and I wish the battle is won.
The above 2 points are so contradictory and ironical that I don’t have any conclusion about the dilemma that should we worry about death or should we let it be?
New Chapter in Life
Just a handful of days ago, I entered my 4th chapter in life if we divide life into a group of years for simplicity’s sake. Considering, we live first 0-13 years as kids and then things change. We live next 10 years i.e. 14-23 towards really jumping on to the career-building education bandwagon and then eventually crafting our careers and setting the tone for the life ahead. After 24 or 25, we reach a position where we do have a faint idea what of what we can accomplish and what we cannot (I know some people are more determined than others, and some don’t know what they want till they’re 60 too. So, I am just presenting my way of looking at age). After 30 or 32 years of life, you actually think that you know a lot and now you could give life-advises to people. Like this blog post. So, I am in that zone now. Sigh.
Alright, Half-Time Up! The 2nd half has started already and time is running out. We have some goals left in 2018 to be attempted. All the best to all those who have goals!
Happy New Year Dear Readers! (Yes, the 2-3 of you)
So, as I had promised, I did go to the office today. As expected, there was as much silence as there is silence in a curfew laden area.
When I opened my mailbox and saw a flurry of Working from Home emails, my sarcasm meter went haywire and I sent ‘Working from Office’ mail to many. Sarcasm getting charged up early in the morning is a good sign. Right?
Few good things happened though.
Even when the colleagues weren’t there, there were no abstainers from the helpers and pantry workers. That shows how much these celebrations meant to those who don’t have the privilege like us to skip work. (You may argue that you have earned this but do you think that time would stay the same.)
Someone came to my desk and wished me a happy new year. Who does that nowadays?
I bought hosting space for my domain. After much pain, it is finally live now at abhinavbhatt.com
2016 is almost about to end, finish, over, poooof!! YAY!
Now, for some reason, I don’t understand what the hoopla was about. Bad things happened this year, sure, but that happens every year and this is going to continue to happen next year as well. Probably, I don’t feel as impacted as supposed to, by most of the things which happened this year, as I transitioned from being, how to put it mildly, Sngl to Mrrd in January itself. Once you have made that change in your life, every other impact feels like falling of a 1 KG metal ball or a feather in space.
So, as goes the tradition, this is the year-end summary blog post for 2016. Some major things are summarized below so that I can read the same 10 years from now (if all goes well):
January was something. Apart from the D-Day, I also stepped outside Indian soil. And landed on a semi-Indian soil. And it was fun.
And the events that followed after Jan’s main event, have been fun alright! For the first time in my life, I got to live alone. Like actually alone. Sounds very weird after the first 2 points but that is how it was. I lived alone for about 8 months, with occasional visits from friends and family. But living alone gives you some perspective in life which nothing else does. I recommend, everyone should live alone for a month of two, at least. I played a whole lot of Pokemon Go for 1 week, before those idiots took it down. Around mid-year, I joined Toastmasters. One, to slow myself down. Second, to become a better public speaker. The journey has been super exciting as having an aim in life, a purpose, gives you a lot to look forward to. Also, the club gives you an environment which one craves for in a job, that it is not just rewarding, but also competitive and that school-college-classroom feel is there. However, I don’t know how much have I improved as a public speaker, I surely have become more open to talking to any number of people. I would go in more confident now, as compared to past. There are still many glitches to overcome, but we shall do that in 2017. And yeah, I have completed the CL Manual, and very soon, I would be a Competent Leader officially. Yes!
I got the opportunity to visit Gokarna for the first time, and Ooty for the 2nd. But, I couldn’t give myself much time to click photographs, so there is one things I missed out on. I should have clicked more.
I moved to a new place. After spending full 6 years in the most North Indian part of Southern Bengaluru, I moved to Eastern Central Bengaluru. I am going to totally miss, Bun, Tea and Momos. And the people there which made the place worth living. Last but not the least, I had my first ever and the most severe, Bike accident. I had forgotten that Bengaluru’s roads have potholes and I drove in to one. Bike toppled, as did I. Luckily, only bike’s headlight got broken and my right hand got muscle sprained. Nothing bad happened. But my right hand is still recuperating. I got to wear that protective sling thingy for the first time ever. Hopefully, I will remember how to ride on roads in this country.
Have I changed? Yes, to a certain extent. I have realized that time doesn’t stay the same always even when it seems to have frozen for some time. And most importantly, life after marriage is fine. It only seems dangerous till you haven’t done that.
I am somewhat on the introvert side on the line of Social Behavior ranging from Antisocial and then introvert and then reasonably-less-speaking-person on the left side, and then a normal person, extrovert, blah-blah person, and then Antisocial on far right. I do talk a lot given the opportunity, timing, and context but I am not much a fan of Small Talk. So if I don’t have anyone around me for a prolonged period of time, I can do quite alright. In other words, I am accustomed to the feeling of what over-enthusiastic (or just extrovert) people say ‘getting bored’. I am not familiar with the feeling of ‘thaasophobia’ which extra-enthusiastic people might have.
So coincidentally by chance of fate and luck, and some heavenly misalignment of planets*, I am living alone for last 3 months. Before that, I lived with 2 roommates for more than 5 years and even before that, I lived with a joint family of 14 people for over two decades. So for others, it might be a normal thing to tread alone but for me, it is certainly a new experience. Not that I haven’t lived alone for a shorter period of time say a week or two when roommates used to visit their homes but this is now the longest I’ve stayed on my own. Living alone is work if you ask me. One has to be responsible for everything and stay alert most of the times. Earlier one had someone to look after smaller things like shutting off the dripping tap or doing kitchen stuff or the most troublesome task of opening the door when someone knocked. One afternoon I dozed off and forgot to shut the main door. Don’t tell anyone as nobody came, not even the cat. I am still learning the nuances of living alone. And till the grace of some govt. bank HR department, I will continue to rule my apartment like cockroaches roam around Bengaluru, that is, like a boss.
Work-wise living alone is one thing and emotionally it is different. It is wonderful in a way because of several reasons as it gives you to sit down and think. This kind of thing is hardly possible when you have several distractions of people or electronics around. I don’t remember sitting down and pondering about the meaning of life in last 5 years. Nope, never. Now when I don’t have a TV nor a roommate, and when I am totally fed up with the Internet, I go out for a stroll/run. (Ok, whom am I kidding, not Running per se but brisk walk.) This happens in the evening and mostly in the night around 930-1130. Earlier when I used to go for a walk, I used to keep my headphones on with loud music so as to not get distracted by the noise of traffic. Not anymore.
After 930 pm, most streets which are not the main roads are generally deserted. People are inside and Dogs are taking their naps before they go berserk after a couple of hours or so. The place where I live has quite a number of small parks around. So when I go alone, without headphones, I get a chance to look around without any purpose to achieve as such. And I generally see this: Some people coming back from their offices tired and hungry. Some food places’ workers returning to their homes joyously giggling and making fun of each other and a LOT of couples. The average number of couples I see in a mere 2.5-3 KM walk is more than 30. Some slightly mature (30ish) walking after their dinner. Some cuddled up in some dingy corner of the park’s wall where light is rarely disturbing. Some guys standing on their bikes talking to their girlfriends outside Ladies PG Hostels (HUGE number of PGs around here). Some elderly couple walking together with them not talking to each other and men generally walking 1 m ahead of their wives, but still strongly together, if you know what I mean. Some sweet talking PDA types young couples who talk as if their vocal chords have been stuffed with marshmallows. Some sitting outside a closed shop talking with shine in their eyes and glee in their voices. Some quarreling because someone missed wishing on birthday. Some celebrating birthday outside the girl’s hostel. In general, I see more unmarried couples than married ones. This makes me feel kind of happy.
I sense the sort of happiness one feels that one feels after watching ‘Before Sunrise’. The craving people have to meet at least once a day and spend some time to talk is just beautiful. For some, just a glimpse from a window is enough, if it gets too late. I might sound weird as I am not some 90-year-old philosopher who has seen things but to me, there is a sense of innocence in these faces who, after spending their whole day in sun (sometimes office AC also feels like sun if you are not happy with the work) and relentlessly head-banging traffic, they still take time out to make extra effort to talk to the people they like. As I said, many people don’t make that extra effort. They just let it be and resort to technology instead of a good old face to face talk.
Nobody knows, how many those couples turn out to be legitimate couples in future. Nevertheless, this time never returns. After marriage happens, family life begins and the job becomes busier, nobody gets the face to face happy quarreling time back.
Now only thing I worry about is not worrying about this
So 2015 has finally arrived and January is almost over. No idea what is the hurry. I mean it was barely 2010 few years ago and now this decade is almost half over. Anyways, these year numbers are man-made and there won’t be any year or any number after sometime. Remember, Sun will engulf you eventually.
I have posted some scattered views of mine about religion in few posts in the past. I have never been the religious kind and apart from being superstitious about certain clothing items as they were more comfortable, I am not a believer of superstitions either. I rarely go to any temple, and that too because I had to accompany someone else. But I ‘did’ believe that someone up there is watching my actions and acting on that by rewarding or punishing me. However, my checklist of believing in that started fading few years ago and more recently, most of the remaining points got ticked off as QA failed. Recently I spent time in reading stuff and watching videos which helped a great deal in understanding what is wrong with our worldview about God and religion (whats right is the holidays https://abloquacitylab.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/confusionism/). Some of the stuff range from George Orwell’s 1984 to South Park, from George Carlin to Christopher Hitchens (What a man!) to Sam Harris and even a bit of Richard Dawkins and from RSS to RSS.
Before anything else, I would like to put some thought for 1984 novel. It is said to be about a dystopian era where Govt. has a check on everything an individual does and ‘thinks’. While it is generally considered a word about Communist style of government (and even the Church), I think it is more related to the Theism than anything else. Big Brother or God is watching over you. You cannot question the authority. You cannot even think of stepping out because Godmen or the government will find about your thoughtcrime and punish you for it. There is a word for it: Blasphemy. Je suis Charlie is alright as long there is nobody pointing a gun towards your head.
Coming back, there have been various factors behind me being pushed at the intersection of the venn diagrams of Atheism and believing and even being agnostic. Some of them are plain truths of life, some are untimely deaths of people who were dear and then there were news events such as killing of school kids in Peshawar which tend to tick off points faster.
Through this post, I am trying to align or address my views in a systematic format (partially inspired from http://whatho.in/2014/08/16/things-i-believe-in/)
You’re not special. Nope. You hold as much importance in the world as much as an ant does. You do fit in a larger scheme of things to keep things going but if you’re removed, someone else will take your place. If you do good at the tasks assigned to you, that’s a bonus. If you don’t, there is no point in wasting time over regretting as time is irreversible. And the only thing constant, apart from speed of light, is change. You should, however, keep trying to raise your skills and thereby living standards because who doesn’t want to buy things we don’t actually need.
If possible, try to save your surroundings (which include land, animals and plants) as much as you can. By this I mean, try to be vegetarian. If you can’t, it is okay as taste > life of another organism. Now when it comes to comparing life of another organism to life of plants, all I can say is that to live you have to consume living things which include plant. If possible, you can minimize the damage by eating just plants and not animals with plants. But nobody can force you. If you like to eat non-veg, please keep doing so. Just don’t tell vegetarians that they eat ghaas-foos because your non-veg won’t taste any good without that ghaas-foos.
Continuing on saving the surroundings, minimize use of leather because it involves killing of animals. And killing of animals is (bad, mkay?) required because science has made enough progress that we know how to cook (and not hunt), and how to cultivate (and not kill) and what to wear (not animal skin). Still, if you like, wear fur, leather, whatever.
Karm or Karma is nothing but Newton’s 3rd law. For each of your actions, you can expect a reaction. But, for some of your efforts, you might not get the equal reaction because you are not the only one making efforts. There is nothing like if you do good now, you will get lifetime achievement award later in life. No. There is no guarantee.
You need not please God for getting things in return. God is you yourself and the other voice in your head which tells you what is right morally and what is wrong legally. Act on it and follow the only mantra of life: Live & Let Live. Also, don’t preach but if you think you are right, you can put across your opinion, like I am doing. And I may be wrong.
Since by birth and by tradition, I am a Hindu and Hinduism allows a certain degree of atheism (unlike some other religions, mostly Abrahmic), I will continue to write Hindu in the forms, to please my people. But my opinion has now been affirmed which will take another ‘Resurrection’ sort of miracle to change.
Don’t preach. Keep your belief to yourself but it is never wrong to speak what you think.
P.S: There are certain things which happened to our (still not the perfect heaven) country (and religion) over the years which divided the people somehow. For instance, during the times, religion was more of a way of life than motivation to kill others, people from other places invaded us, looted our property and damaged our buildings. And, they also brought various cultures and good things which make India what it is today, an amalgamation of numerous religions, dialects, colors, faces and many problems.So change is welcome, violence is not. This was again motivated by religion in a way. Well, this is a topic I would touch later when I write about RSS and Nationalism, so this post ends here. I hope you didn’t read it. Good.