Tamasha Review – Pot of tea?

Watching the movie Tamasha on Friday was a reaffirmation of the belief to chart your own path in the limited time one has on Earth. However, the treacherous path is to find one’s purpose and meaning in life. It is like making and tasting a cup of tea. Everyone has their own approach and method to make tea and then even the same cup of tea is liked differently by each person. Someone likes it strong while others like it sweet. Someone likes ginger tea while the spouse likes cardamom tea.

We need to understand and appreciate others’ perspective that they could like their tea to be different. And most importantly, it is a personal decision.

Similarly, everyone has to chart and make their own life. Each has their own likes and dislikes that shape their perspective of the world and what makes them happy. Molding someone into a shape that is approved by the society leads to tremendous inner conflict. Some can handle it while others cannot do it easily.

Hear your inner voice. Try working on different elements of your hobbies in spare time and actually do something about it. Make your own cup of tea, just the way you like it – only then you will enjoy it to the fullest.

Rambling

It has been a busy past couple of weeks. After hitting rock-bottom in January this year, it has taken a lot of effort to put things back on track. Reading a ton load of blogs, articles and podcasts has helped in the perseverance to even try and make sense of life and its meaning and purpose.
Having the right partner is an important choice and factor in one’s happiness. Hopefully I am on the right track there. Having met her earlier this year and knowing her more every day, I feel incredibly lucky that she would be my life partner. She is just too nice a person. The fact that she is so beautiful is just like the slight hint of delicious icing on an already perfect cake. I frankly do not seem like good enough for her but I am glad that she picked me as it allows me the opportunity to grow as a person and become wiser. I consciously try to be aware of when I get irritated or angry, and that process should make me recognize the stupidity of such measures.
Anyways, with all the uncertainty around our relationship, things have taken a turn for the better in the last couple of weeks. The families have agreed to take things forward and hopefully 2016 will be THE year (keeping fingers crossed).
On the other hand, I have been trying to find what excited me. Reading a lot about the futuristic technologies in conjunction with the ancient history is captivating. Virtual reality is the next big frontier on the cusp of changing the landscape of how humans perceive the world. Space is another key frontier that people like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos are ready to explode into. Artificial intelligence and the questions surrounding the origins of life, once answered, are set to change the destiny of the human race. Tremendous research and advancements in our understanding of the human brain, the field of neuroscience, is so fascinating. Especially since the majority of the people with my background are focused on app building and startup phases, I have the opportunity to jump over the hoop and try to play a role in these exciting technologies. There is a very limited probability that I would do that but I really need to step up and do it for a change.
It is just an incredible time to be as a human not withstanding the terrible happenings around the world due to terrorists wrecking havoc in some places. Such events are so sad. Just imagining the hardships being faced by such a large population in terms of refugees and the people facing such grim life situations in the Middle East, I should feel incredibly lucky. However, it does lead to discussions around the possible solutions and it hurts to hear the often intolerant views on religion. But then, it is introspective as well. If I do not want others to have such strict opinions on these very complex issues, how am I in any way qualified to pass judgements on their opinions? I just wish media realizes its importance in shaping the opinions of the world and make efforts to develop feelings of love, empathy and compassion amongst everyone. People have to start considering religion as a personal rather than cultural phenomenon. The goal of a person’s life should be to grow wiser and not just old – by growing the ‘good’ feelings of love and compassion while trying to get rid of negative emotions like anger, jealousy and hatred. Or should it? Solutions cannot be generic – they should be customized for every individual but overall, they should lead to peace and prosperity. But then, who am I to even say anything? Just wish a peaceful future for humanity. Amen!

Idea Machine : Day 5/200 (Calm!)

Having gone through an extended period of emotional turmoil, every ray of hope seems delusional. Things seem to be turning around for the better. I feel more calm despite the swarm of thoughts. The past few weeks of pondering and flexing the idea muscle has brought much needed calmness to my mind. There are still bouts of emotional upheaval but I would like to believe that I am getting better and improving as a person.

I still hold very strong beliefs despite knowing that there is so much I do not know. Probably – it is not a bad thing as it allows me to have an intellectually stimulating conversation with anyone. I can be fun and quirky and stupid with one cousin, while being all romantic and nerdy with my loved one. I love playing these different roles in an obvious non-chameleon-like manner.

Anyways, back to flexing my muscle:

One new idea related to technology
How can we leverage the human evolution to revolutionize technology? We are already starting to leverage neural networks to construct AI platforms. In an advanced version, can the memory storage be also built through neural structures such that only contents that matter to us more is highlighted in the memory? It will help in bringing up the critical contents to the user much faster and fade away the rest. Basically, prioritizing the storage memory for the user.

In a further advanced human society, probably just a few years down the line, when technology is able to record everything our eyes see into a memory chip, it will be even more critical to be able to have a memory like our brains so we do not expense it on unnecessary useless information.

One new scientific learning
I recently listened to another ‘People behind the Science’ podcast that had Dr Adam Gazzaley as a guest talking about Neuroscience, a field that does seem very exciting to me. He works more specifically on the cognitive aspects of the impact of video games. He provided a glimpse into the future – where the virtual and augmented reality will have such a critical role to play, and more importantly, how video games will lead the way in this exciting highly innovative field.

One new life lesson
Religion is not useless. I had weaned myself off religion over the last few years. But with all the emotional turmoil, I could have used religion to bring some sense of calmness into my life. Anyways, better late than never as I have realized that religion is very personal. It does not have to fit into the typical societal definitions. I do not believe that there is a Ganesha sitting above the clouds watching over us or for that fact, any such force. Maybe I am wrong about it as I probably could be, since we as humans, ‘probably’ know a very very tiny fraction about how this universe works.

Back to religion, I want to use it as a meditation tool. Singing religious hymns is a practical way of forcing your mind away from the daily mundane matters – essentially meditation. Today being Diwali, I decided to force myself to perform puja and it wasn’t that bad. I felt quite after those 15 minutes of puja specifically singing Hanuman Chalisa and trying to avoid thinking about anything else.

‘One new idea related to work’
Just need to explore other opportunities so I can get out of Xeljanz CDA role. I am excited how things are already happening possibly due to this blog series – one, I was able to create a slide about my vision at one in the morning, but it was appreciated and brought into the main deck. Second, I reached out to others to be part of a market research project, so that I generate exposure to other functional areas. Keep up the good work.

One new idea related to love/relationships
Have patience. Forgive others. Stay calm.

One new idea to further explore
Though financial investments has evolved to become a large part of my life over the last one year, I fail to write more about it. I do spend a large chunk of my free time either listening to music, talking to my loved one or following the stock markets.

I learned over the last few weeks about tax-loss harvesting and I need to complete that tactic by end of the year. Basically, claim loss of over $3000 dollars that will be offset against any gain (that I do have from Netflix shares and all those dividends piled up). I plan to combine this tactic by switching over to much lower expense funds or ETFs. I am paying too much in expenses reducing my overall returns.

Next – I need to write about the value of stock markets. The time spent is worth the vast amounts of knowledge and learning that I get about not just the financial markets, but also the global economy as a whole that in turn runs the world.

Idea Machine : Day 4/200 (Friends!)

Meeting up with friends is always cathartic. I should do it more often. Spending an entire day just hanging out, starting with brunch to a NGO board meeting and then drinks and dinner, means a day truly well spent. The discussions ranged from all the happenings at ZS to the world issues to the technological advancements of the future to the stock market and lastly, our personal lives. It feels good to be yourself. I sometimes feel myself more around such friends than my family members. I mean it is a different level of being connected – with similar mindsets, educational background and age. In fact, four of us share our birthdays within a couple of weeks of each other.

Anyways, I need to sleep early with a packed day waiting tomorrow. So here we go with the routine

‘One new idea related to technology’ : Self cleaning car
It came up as a joke with the friends but a self-cleaning car would be amazing. It probably could be very basic but the coating material could be such that it doesn’t let dust and other dirt settle on it, so the wind can blow it away. Maybe there are tiny nozzles around that spray the car with clean water. The areas where the window rolls down to can be another innovative space to clean the window panes.

‘One new scientific learning’
It is not necessarily a learning ┬ábut a realization that our ‘self’ is merely a projection of our brain’s perspective, which in itself is simply a collection of fading memories. Self necessitates a continuity that is provided by the need to have the biological vitals within a very narrow survival range. I am increasingly curious to understand the workings of the brain.

‘One new life lesson’
Music has played an increasingly important role in my life. I probably never listened to music as a kid. I remember actively listening to music beginning only in 11th/12th grade. In college, it increased exponentially. However, last few years living alone, has made me appreciate music from multiple perspectives. It allows you to immerse in pain, which is intoxicating in its own evil way.

Life is not a collection of days but moments. Moments that bring experience and excitement in its own special way. There is no purpose for those moments. They are not meant to help others. They could make for good stories but that is about it. From being a protected, smart, angry kid of 90s, I evolved into a carefree, selfish young man during college. The success did not elude so the crash was very painful. However, no one succeeds in life without big failures, whether personal or professional or both as in my case. The experience in last few years have brought a wealth of life capturing moments for which I was never prepared. No one can understand or help you during those tough times.

Music brings those moments to life and makes you feel alive. It fires neurons in the brain that you never knew existed. It tugs you into a world for which you were never prepared. The real world.

The self developed coping mechanisms, whether it is immersing yourself in work or hobbies, allow you to survive that world. They have made me into a much more self-aware, still selfish, more calm and patient, more curious young man.

‘One new idea related to work’
Network, network and network. Send emails to ex-colleagues at ZS like Christian Bennett. Send emails to people looking at my LinkedIn profile, especially people from Healthcare Startups. Atleast, you open up doors of opportunity and then decide whether it is a good fit or not. Open as many doors as possible.

‘One new idea related to love/relationships’

Why are we so possessive? Or atleast why am I so possessive? Is it simply a by product of my previous relationship that has formed a defining stamp of love in my mind? However, simply put, the need for love is simply addiction. The need for those happy hormones that are released due to someone desiring you. But why do we crave attention? What is the ancestral association? Maybe attraction leads to the biological need to reproduce. And that is where most discussions end. However, I still do not understand the biological need to reproduce. Yes, I know we need to do that to survive as a species and reproduction is the only means to pass on our DNA and hence, our genetic information. But why? Why cannot a species simply be happy to live and die as an organism rather than think of the species? If reproduction happens, it happens – well and good. If it doesn’t, then forget it. The universe will carry on just as if Earth did not exist. It is not as if the living species on Earth is running the universe.
Maybe a part of the answer lies in the origins of life. How and why cells formed that lead to living species on earth. I crave to understand that better. The theory of ‘primordial soup’ has its holes but probably the most accepted in today’s world. I still fail to understand many nuances here.
One answer I read on Quora mentioned that evolution does not really care about individual human beings. Evolution is optimizing for replication of genes, where the organism itself or its physical form is simply a disposable vehicle to transport genes through time and hence stay immortal. Sexual reproduction allows for further optimization as it picks the best characteristics from both organisms and continues to propagate through time. And once a better version of the organism has been born in the form of the offspring, the parent is disposable and in fact, a liability on the finite resources available. There is a need for organisms to be mortal. This also answers why hasn’t evolution continued to make any organisms immortal or atleast make an effort towards that.

‘One new idea to further explore/learn’
Not necessarily new, but I need to further explore Origins of life!! It is not a passing thought anymore. It comes up as a common thread across various ideas and thoughts. I need to get a book for this. ‘The Selfish Gene’ might be a good start. Need to explore.