Saturday, September 19, 2015

Growing old

My niece was complaining the other day about going to school and all the home-works and projects and the tests she needs to prepare for. It is a usual thing for today's kids.They are overwhelmed with studies and after study classes. On a usual day, I would just smile and move on. But this day, I sat with her and was explaining how, in every phase of life, you keep feeling that the next phase is good and going to be better.The myth is broken as one grows older.
We face reality when we are in late thirties or mid forties, then you know this is it. You have reached the best portion of life and you either decide to enjoy  it or keep living it in the hope of future.
Growing old is not a great feeling especially when you have crossed fifties. It is said that when you are fifty , when you wake up if you don't feel pain somewhere in the body , you are dead !!!
Growing old teaches you to let go. Letting go of some dreams to make some dreams a reality, Letting go of some of your loved ones for some of your other loved ones , Letting go of some opportunities to enjoy something else, letting go of your loved ones from your this  life. 
In an interview with a lady who was 80 years old, when she was asked why nobody looks forward to growing old, she told how growing old is about letting go and letting things go gracefully, how it is about being frail and being dependant.For somebody who lived life with all independence, being dependant is not very nice.
Its also one of the most important reason in Asian cultures for families. Asian cultures, still continue to support the elderly within the family. Marriage , kids are still looked upon as insurance for old age.This is changing gradually with lesser people staying with parents.With more globalization, people are growing more consumerist and that calls for more money, this is causing Asian cultures also to look at providing comfortable living for elderly outside the family in old age homes, retirement homes. The visible example is how ads for "Nana Nani" (Granpa Grandma - maternal side) has increased in the recent years. It irritates me , how they chose the name to suggest that the girl's daughter has nowhere to stay, especially if they migrate.Paternal grandparents are called - Dada Daadi.With a lot of folks migrating to American and European countries, these homes have become new avenues for business.

But nevertheless, as man grows old, s/he gets more opportunity to share, to retrospect his life, to share his learnings. I look forward to growing old, seeing my nephew and niece make their life, spending time with my cousins, parents, sister and her family. Its a journey and if we do not enjoy the scenery outside the journey is not worth it!!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Pale Blue dot

If you do not know what this is, this is what Carl Sagan called the Mother Earth on a historical photograph captured from pioneer space ship.
Here is a link to You tube video which explains it here.
It is very philosophical while being a pure astro-physical concept. While we run through our daily lives, it is introspective to know our place in universe and how teeny-tiny our existence is and yet how important and how lucky.
All that happened so far, the men who lived, the wars fought, the triumphs obtained, the history made, the discoveries made, the religions followed and the religions extinct are all part of the space and time Mother Earth provided us.
We should be happy when we realize this.
We need more people like Carl Sagan who can bring in so much passion to masses in science.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


When I was very young, we used to have lessons in school about Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Gandhi ji, Chacha Nehru, Sardar Vallabhabhai and others.
Over a period of time, we look up to these gigantic figures who changed the course for humanity and retold the history.
We always have good things to learn from these personalities , from how they started humble and identified their paths and reached the destination that nobody else could have told them.
But as we grow up, for a majority of us, the dream of doing something ground changing seems too far. For various reasons - the eternal struggle between balancing responsibilities, career aspirations , family and so on.
Somewhere we start to not recognize and appreciate the simplicity of living. For a lot of us, until we are quite old enough we do not recognize our parents achievements. When I look back, i started appreciating them and their journey only when i was in early thirties. May be I am slow. May be we are so close to them that we do not take time to bring in the perspective to look at their journey.
Once I met a person , who told me that he had to do all his college studies in correspondence over mail because his family was not in a good situation in their business. So he had to take break from his studies to give time to business and then come back and pursue the studies. I contrasted this with my own situation, where my parents used to treat me like a queen when I was studying - ensuring  I got all I asked for - not just basic needs but the other things which I could have managed without as well. It was only then that I was thankful to my dad, who provided for all of us and ensured we had the security and safety with which we could think of other things.
Then I looked at the journey my own parents took in perspective, I am actually proud of what they have achieved so far. The humble beginnings with which they started and the independence with which they are leading their life. While we appreciate the great personalities , we should also appreciate the common man around us. This I think is purely self learnt in the Indian system and some will never get it .... ever....

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


People keep telling all the time that they do multi-tasking. I have always found it very difficult. There could be two ways of multitasking - one is time sharing  - for example  do task 1 for 5 mins then do task 2 for 5 mins and switch as required. Second is doing two things at exactly at same time- same second actually. For example reading a book, while you are listening to music.

It is the second one which i find totally not doable. Everytime i try this, one of the task is not done properly. For example, i would end up reading same page multiple times when i multitask it with music. If i am writing an email and then listening to music i get distracted.

So in my opinion, multi-tasking is not easy. A lot of people just refer to the first approach as multi-tasking. A person who understands how brain operates, may be able to explain.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I am happy with my Job, but my purpose of Existence does not seem achieved

How many of us feel this way? I am hoping quite a few.
With a recent promotion , I was reflecting about has it made me happy or happier rather.
Its been the puzzle for me ever since I realized that earning money cannot be only purpose of life.

When I got into my first job, I really wanted to understand how this industry works. The initial effort of the Industry to pull me into activities like Quality Assurance or Program Management which are the stereotype roles for females in the software Industry were quelled.

At least I am happy that I struck to my stand of exploring the technology world. But once I am in and am able to maneuver and get comfortable, this alone does not seem to make me happy. I love the aspect of being able to think rationally and being able to provide solutions to problems, but sometimes it seems like common sense and nothing extravagant.

To some extent this is the crisis for so many of us who are in the initial thirties, and who are from a typical middle class of developing country like India. Our initial ambition is to have a decent education and then get into a role where we are self sufficient. A lot of my peers are very happy doing what they do and blocking more real estate and stock than they are ever going to enjoy in their lifetime. I feel good atleast about the fact that I have realized quite early that living simple life with basic amenities gives you flexibility and freedom from money-bonding.

Still this is not enough, there are miles to go before you sleep. I have given certain other things a try to see if I get a sense of satisfaction if I do something additional. The whole reason for existence of this blog is because I have always felts writing very thought provocative, reflective and self challenging. Very often when I write these small essays, I realize how a thought in the head is very easy, but how tough it is to express it and to get the right words. This has helped me appreciate the work of the authors and effectively enjoy reading. But still not enough.

I then tried to engage socially, I became a volunteer at Balajanagraha program which is about civic education for school children. For about six to eight months , every saturday we need to visit the school and engage with the kids of eight standard and share with them the challenges of urban development. A very good activity, for all those who keep thinking that after I am forty as a second job, I will become teacher , this is an eye opener. The most challenging part of this is to be able to attract the concentration of the kids for the period of one hour without having to shout, beat or scold them. We have become successful already in making sure to tell our students that good things can be enforced only with stern and strict rules. I finished the second year this time and have realized this is not it either.

Among other things I am trying is to lead a calmer life, go for  a walk. One thing to realize is that not one of these can make you satisfied, there needs to be a purpose . Leading  a life with a purpose larger than your life is what can make one satisfied, I am still searching for it and he journey will go on.......


Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
In India, we are aligning towards Anti - RRR. With all the globalization, we have started believing Western is bestone. There is a huge surge in the way we used to consume and buy products. There are more and more super markets. More and more foreign products easily available locally, not to mention the increase in the fast food outlets , especially the ones which have known to cause obesity out there in the west - the KFCs and MCds.

So instead of reduce we are on the path of increase. The per capita production of waste in a developing country like India is still much lesser than the per capita Waste in a country like USA or UK. But while they are trying to reduce, if we get on the path of Increase, it is much more difficult to bring in a change in developing country like India.
Reuse ,
The older generation in India is careful about this concept. I have always seen the old people at home try to think about how to use something before showing it the path of dust bin. But of  late, people have learnt to throw things off. A very simple example is how once upon a time, a nice pair of dress in good condition made of silk would rotate across various cousins  sisters in a family. Not anymore, we cannot think of reuse mostly. We are into the culture of throw and buy new. With more BigBazaars on our ways, things seem cheaper than earlier, the cost and ease of availability have made us think reuse as not prestigious.
We have a long way to go before we can even say we are recycling things. Even in the more educated environments like offices,I do not see waste segregation . At homes people just are not educated enough on importance of waste segregation. Cartons claim and show recycle symbol but where are we collecting stuff which can be recycled. Most of these are reaching landfills and polluting our environments.
Arguably the biggest contributors and the systems which need to make RRR their principle are the industries. The manufacturing Industry needs to inculcate the habit of RRR. To make sure the industries do this, the governance needs to bring in policies. But only when as a society we follow these can we ensure that it will enter our mainstream politics. Very rarely does an aspect like this become important agendas for government. Unless the waste causes breakout of epidemic or causes serious environmental issues, these don’t even fall in the list of issues the government would look at. Most often, while discussing these aspects, we feel totally helpless on what we could do. But things need to start at home. For example one day in a week, decide not to use plastic at all or say no to outside food atleast once a week or say no to a certain simple daily usable product which can be prepared more efficiently indigenously like tooth powder or a soap or a shampoo or a washing dish powder. It will give us a confidence that we could do something and encourage us to be creative in our ways.Leading a simple life  will require us to think creatively. For example, I realized that the sodium lauryl Sulphate used in tooth powder for getting the froth is not very good for health. So while I searched for how to prepare toothpowder at home. It was very simple recipe – Salt, bakingsoda and clove oil . I tried it for a month , then continued it for a year. I never had any problems. When I made it next time, I added a few of my own ingredients like Neem powder, Turmeric. After another six months, I decided to switch my toothpowder to ayurvedic and am now using Vicco Vajradanti. Similar to this, I rarely use the Shampoo and even when using , it is mostly ayurvedic. It requires us to change our lifestyle slightly, but its doable. For all of my friends out their who have the practice of smoking or drinking, it goes without saying that if we can change some basic things in our day to day life and see them become better, why not try leaving the bad practices even if they are once in a while.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Grace Hopper conference

I was at the Grace Hopper conference for two days. For the first time, I was in a conference about women. To start off with, it was amazing to see the kind of participation. So much so that on the first day, for most of the sessions I was sitting on floor.
The second day was all the more better . My most favorite session was about social enterpreneurship, where women from diverse backgrounds came on the stage and shared how they have been enterpreneurship and made us part of their journey by a glimpse of the video.
I think the conference had a big impact for me in-terms of the way I started looking at the Information Technology industry and the careers within it.
Actually a lot of the topics addressed as part of the conference were not really gender specific . For example a lot of the sessions, brought to the fore a lot of leaders - mostly women. They shared what they thought were the pursuits of a good leader.
Few take aways I had with all the leadership related conversations was
- You will need to make choices and trade-offs and be OK with making them.
- You need to have mentors and sponsors in the workplace to help you
- One needs to be passionate about what he does. We need to be proud of what we do and bring passion into the work.
- You need to constantly challenge yourself.

The interesting thing was , I was on multiple sessions related to leadership and most of the leaders re-iterated what I said above in different ways.
Apart from this, the biggest question on every session was how women need to balance between work life and home and still be successful at work. To me, this drills down back to the choices above. Women have always been owning child nurturing tasks for time immemorial now. While different people had different opinions like some reached out to their support systems, some had hired help.

Overall it was a good time spent. I made a few acquaintances in the process.I think more women and men should spend time on going to sessions this way. It takes us out of the well we create ourselves and encourages to move out of our comfort zone.