Idea Machine – Day 2/200 (Do!)

Spending the weekend celebrating Ansh’s birthday along with Dusshera was a nice changeup to the routine. The drive back and the time at home gave me some time to listen to more podcasts and read more articles. However, as I begin this quest for knowledge as well as wisdom, I also realized it is not worth it unless I am able to apply the learnings. It won’t be a direct action. A lot of it would be at a subconscious level and permeate into all spheres of my life. However, I need to actually start taking action as well – for example, start flexing my idea muscle at work.

Anyways, back to the idea framework

‘One new idea related to technology’
Machine learning. For example, how Siri, Cortana work?
Action: I have joined Coursera’s machine learning course. So hopefully over the next couple of months, I can develop further knowledge in this field.

‘One new scientific learning’
Listening to the podcast, ‘People behind the Science’, where a leading scientist, ‘Dr Patrick Lusk’ talked about the field ‘molecular biology’. For example, I learned about the congenital condition named ‘Heterotaxy’ where the organs are located abnormally across the abdomen rather than the usual or mirror position. He discussed about how genetic engineering was used to identify the genetic makeup of such individuals and how they have been able to develop mechanisms to avoid such genetic conditions in future babies etc.

‘One new life lesson’
Act! Take action. Just a small step. It will give rise to big things. Be patient.

‘One new idea related to work’
One is to reach out to Lisa to get her feedback. Thank her for the award. And lay down some ideas related to Personalized Marketing, but again, more importantly, listen to her thoughts.

Another one is to start listening to the ‘Pharma Marketing’ podcast and gather new ideas to apply to my work. Hopefully it will help in filling this section of the post 🙂

‘One new idea related to love/relationships’
This will be tough to fill every post, but I will try. Two things – each partner in a relationship should strive to work hard 90% of the relationship. If both try 90%, I am sure it will help in cutting out ego.

‘One new idea to further explore/learn’
This section would probably be more technical in future. But to start off, as I intently listened to ‘Rockstar’ soundtrack today, I want to better understand music as an art. What separates amazing music like ‘Rockstar’ from stupid Honey Singh songs for example. It is probably very subjective but might be interesting to explore.

Anyways, that’s it for now. I am sleepy. Good night!

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Reset time!!

There are times when one needs to reset his routine. And its the ability to identify such times that makes this resetting process all the more fruitful.

And it was with this idea that I had reset myself at the start of this new semester…that is a week back. However, after digressing much from what I aimed to do, I again realize that its not about just identifying the path; its the ability to follow and walk down the rocky road that is most difficult. And I realize that to keep walking down that hazardous route, I need my dose of motivation. Without it, my energy levels fall drastically and I fall off the path.

So, with a gulp of new motivation today, I again commit to reset my routine from Sunday!!

Newspaper mania!

“Reading a newspaper is a necessity,” claims each and everyone. I have been reading them since…hmm…say fifth grade. As must be the case with any other boy, I started with the sports page. I would see my elder brother reading sports page, and as with most younger brothers, I yearned to do what my elder brother could do. Be it reading newspaper, playing cricket, fighting, driving car/scooter or any other thing; I wished to do better than him. Running home from school, it would be a race as to who would reach home first from bus stop. We would change, and try to grab the sports page first, usually resulting in a fight. Starting from just the headlines on the sports page, I started reading the first few lines of a few articles.

Gradually, I moved on to the first page where I would merely read the headlines. Again as with the sports page, the habit soon grew into reading a couple of lines of a few articles. This goes without saying that I hardly comprehended the first page. However, I had to quickly widen my horizon in order to keep the newspaper away from bhaiya for a longer time. And that is when I found a gem – pocket cartoon on the first page. Amidst all the horror stories on the first page, it brought a smile on my face and hope in my heart. It became the first thing that I looked for on laying my hand on the newspaper.

However, the issue with the cartoon was that I could not spend much time on it. Apart from seeming to re-read it and struggling to understand it, there was not much I could do. So I moved to the last page. It greatly helped that most of the articles were in continuation from the first page. So it wasn’t anything new but at the same time helped me to increase my reading appetite. And gradually I started reading complete articles on the first page – of course, only the smallest pieces.

Now since I always read the sports page first(second last page), I would flip the pages backward to reach to the first page; and if any headline grabbed my eye, I would stop and read it. And this fascinating habit of going through a newspaper in reverse continues till date. And its not limited to just newspapers, even magazines are flipped in reverse most of the time.

To summarize what happened next, my brother left home for higher studies, and I myself, being in 8th grade, had all the time in the world to read newspapers and magazines. I started reading the opinion page as recommended by everyone (I would read the article Mom asked me to). I started reading the Business page, especially following the Sensex, though I had no idea what it meant and stood for. I loved the numbers – inflation, GDP growth rate, forex reserves etc. Then came the World page – an exciting window into the world 😛

So there I was, a 9th grade student in a comparatively small town like Shimla; doing almost everything that he could think of. We had a computer at home since my fifth/sixth grade; I had persuaded Papa to update it when I was in 8th; got internet in 9th to become one of the very few in Shimla to have an internet connection. Papa got subscriptions of India Today, Readers Digest and Computers Today and we had The Tribune and The Times of India coming in every day. Sunday would be a triple delight with even Hindustan Times coming in; and I would soak myself into them for hours. I read so much that I had to vent my thoughts out. I started writing. I needed audience – readers who would read my articles and give their opinion. I had internet. I made my own website – created a monthly newsletter that would carry my articles. I learnt programming – made programs for the fun of it – for example, in 9th grade, the Indian version of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’, titled as ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ was hugely popular in India. I created a mini version of that – Kaun Banega Saupati, and ran it on our school’s annual carnival, getting huge appreciation.

I have digressed far too much. Coming back to the newspaper thing, after 10th grade, I had to read less in order to prepare for JEE. Slowly, the appetite grew small but I aimed to better it in college. However, unfortunately that didn’t happen. Though I read more than I did in 12th grade, but I never reached my 9th grade levels. 9th grade was an amazing year for me when I look back. I did huge amount of stuff during that time – thinking of new ideas all the time and ways to implement them. And this is all due to my parents – they pulled all plugs, stops that could have created obstacles in my way. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

However, its not all rosy. In this rush to gain knowledge, this adrenalin to know everything, I missed one thing – staying fit. I never exercised and played only cricket that is not at all enough for 15 year old. And I regret not doing more about it till date. Its not that I am fat and all that, but its just that I am not athletic and except for table-tennis, not great in any game.

So finally, let me come to the point that me wander down the memory lane. Today being Sunday, I read the editorials of both Times of India and Hindustan Times. I have always held ‘Vir Sanghvi’ and ‘Karan Thapar’ as the best media persons I know of and today they upheld my belief. Both wrote on the Left-Congress standoff on the nuclear deal and boy, they were really good. Vir Sanghvi really drove home the point that finally, there is an issue on which a politician is willing to bet his ‘seat’ on and not compromise. Even though Manmohan Singh might have his say now, it is highly possible that early elections would be held and Congress would not be the next government. And it gives me hope knowing that Congress is willing to back Manmohan Singh knowing this very fact very well. Kudos to them for taking a stand that seems to be beneficial to the nation and not the party. The Arjun Singh quota thing is another issue and that deserves a separate post. In the same breath, he mentions a possibility that even if the government pushes forward the deal, it may fall down next month and then a few NSG countries might regard the deal as lacking in moral legitimacy as it doesn’t have the support of the majority in India itself. So the governments falls, the deal breaks down and Congress loses the next elections – a Congress nightmare with Manmohan being the Kamikaze. The other extreme makes Manmohan a statesman where he goes through with the deal – SP supports them such that there is no no-confidence motion; giving Congress time to drill their way back in time for elections early next year and probably pull off a victory.

It really bewildered me to see that there was no editorial on this nuclear stand-off in Times of India. S Aiyar talked about inflation – ok. Jug Suraiya talked about some gold seats in multiplex – (why do I even read him) ahh!! And surprisingly, Shashi Tharoor wrote about Pakistani Writing in English – ahh!!! Okay, I know Shashi Tharoor writes about a wide variety of topics, but this – come on…how many would read this???

Anyways, I am so glad that I read Hindustan Times today – reading both of the newspapers reminded me of those bygone era and I long to go to Shimla. The good thing is that I am leaving for Shimla tomorrow, and probably read The Tribune – whose words, cartoons, articles I grew up on.

Good days!

I usually remember the blog world when I am feeling low and frustrated. Things are usually not going my way when I make use of this opportunity to hammer away a few keys to motivate myself up or something that would help me work harder and keep me pumped up.

Well today its different. I am here to express my delight at the good turns occurring in my life at the moment. There was this genuine desire inside me to have a CG above 7.5 when I sit for the placements next semester. Despite some hard work, things weren’t really going great guns for me and I was fearful of not achieving my goal. However, today the grades came out and they were far better than I had expected. In fact, this semester, I scored the first A in a lecture course in IIT Delhi. It feels amazing. I had almost lost hopes of scoring A while being in IIT after coming so close last semester and yet failing to do so. However, this time it was the other way round, when it was an unexpected goody.

Also in a couple of other courses, I have obtained higher than expected grades and it feels amazing to have Lady luck on your side for a change. Thank you everyone specially, my parents. I love you both! Hence, instead of requiring SG of around 7.7 to get a CG of 7.5; I have scored 8.33!!!

Its not just the academic front that has garnered most of the luck befalling me at present. I have become the Placement Head of IIT Delhi for the coming academic year and its a big thing to be bestowed with such a big responsibility. It has been largely because of the consistent hard work I have been putting in for the last two years. It feels good because this is the only important body that selects its team rather than electing its team. So as I was saying, its a big responsibility and I aim to work hard and carry forward the good work done by the previous teams and better the placement process. There are a number of gaping deficiencies in the system and a number of ways where the process can be made more efficient. So its gonna be a long and hard process.

I plan to take the position an organizational challenge, aiming to mobilize the team in the best possible way. The team is good and has some hard working people. I have worked with most of them before, so its going to be easier. The position provides me with immense opportunities to improve my organizational, communication and interpersonal skills. There are going to be numerous obstacles to be overcome and work has already started to overcome them. So its GAME ON!!!

At the same time, I need to work on a number of things. Besides MTP, where I need to work on a consistent basis, its high time I initiated efforts to study for CAT. Its real high time now. Go to Ambala, rest for a couple of days, refresh, and come back hard at everyone n everything. Things are going your way, and harder efforts are needed to keep them going my way before the tide rises back.

Again, it feels really good to have pulled it all off in spite of tide going against me at the start. From a bad start to the semester to ending it on a high, its been another amazing learning experience at this amazing place called IIT. However, this semester marks the end of the stay at IIT for a large number of my batch mates who were in four year programs. It feels weird and awkward to even think of staying back in Karakoram without some of my best friends here. I am still not able to imagine how the next semester would be. Just hoping that the remaining Dullas all gel together and have a blast of a time. I am still not being able to chew the fact that I have to say goodbye to a number of my friends. Its really weird! But I would just say that my best wishes are with all of you and hope you go great guns in your life.

Best of luck!!

Down but not out!!

“Being sad is not always bad”,
screams a title of an article in the Sunday Times today. When you are down, you are not happy with the situation and hence try to improve it, says the article. Now, 9 times out of 10, I would never read such an article. I take pride in the fact that such moral-boosting articles and self-help books are for the meek, coward people. And I still do.

However, this title caught my eye during a time when nothing is seemingly going right for me. Now I know, I resort to blogging whenever I am feeling low, and today is no exception. In fact, its much worse than ever before. Last week was what I can easily consider to be one of the worst times of my life. Earlier, whenever I would feel down, I would search for the bright spots still holding true for me; but this time its different. Wherever I search and look, I see darkness.

Now, the worst thing was failing to secure an internship this summer in BR. From being in a situation of never having heard of BR, to a time when I knew so much about BR and the finance field, that I was just so pumped up to land this position and carve my career. This goes without saying that there have been numerous positives that have come out of this enriching experience. I have understood a lot more about the outside world; as well as , more importantly, a lot more about my own self. What I want to do in life, still remains a question no doubt, but things are much more clear now. However, the fact remains that I failed. It was a challenge, and I had worked really hard to prove myself worthy of the position. Till today, I am still not clear of the reason but it hurts to know that I failed myself.

Apart from this internship thing, my brain has become really cluttered these days. Things appear very foggy and I am not being able to think clearly. The increasingly dry and hot weather is not helping my case, and I have become extremely lazy. Even with lots of work to do, and lots of time at hand; I am just not pushing myself at all.

What I probably need is a different perspective of life in general. When the chips are down, one needs to just all the more hard for things to fall back into place. They just won’t fit in by themselves. I just hope I am able to do what I am thinking and pull myself out of this doom asap.

I can do it!!