Journey -I

If you have known me to any meaningful extent, you would know that for me when someone talked about travel..this would be the usual conversation:

someone -” I wanna travel, explore new places , meet new people”

me- you just don’t wanna work, isn’t it? What use is your travel going to be ?

someone- Well it exposes you to different things , you learn a lot

me- uuuuuummmmm…learn ? but how can you learn from travelling . If you wanna learn you should get some books or talk to smart people …right ? how is travel gonna help you ?

someone- i am going to meet different people on my way ..will get into different circumstances

me- ..welllll…true ! but..isnt it a very inefficient way of meeting people who can teach you something .. so for instance, if you wanna learn about how this world works , go and talk to a physicist; if you wanna learn about business talk to entrepreneurs….while travelling you might meet few interesting people..but isnt it very inefficient !!!

someone-( this guy is mad)

me – (he/she is just a slacker !!! )

—-

Lets fast forward to today now ! Its been sometime now  and since then I have travelled a lot ( Well at-least by my standards you judgemental moron !). The great thing that has happened though is that i have had the opportunity and pleasure to go out with people from different backgrounds and nationalities. On a lot of such occasions we were able to have lots of interesting conversations. Just not to over-romanticise this, with a lot of people I could not go beyond the usual weather-talk , which just bored the hell out of me and i would wonder what the hell i am doing here. But where we could, I have been fortunate to hear to people’s stories. Through these stories, they have given me a look into their  ‘core memories’* that have shaped their personalities and their world view.   They have shared their vulnerabilities and their motivations . All this has helped me develop empathy or  form that human connection. I will go ahead and lay out a couple of examples to bring this out.

  • This conversation was with a friend in a cafe in western europe . Just to put things into context, I always thought of this guy as a shallow pretentious fuck ( sorry dude if you are reading this 😛 ).  Anyways, so, I was blabbering about my problems and how life is not fair and everything . While we were reminiscing about the past, this dude shares with me how one of his very very close family members was in a critical state in the hospital when he was supposed to leave. While he was narrating the story, we were both struggling to keep tears at bay. Unable to understand, how he managed to remain ‘intact’ during those times, he told me very simply something on these lines – you need to decide whether you want to focus on shaping your future or you want to get drowned into the present sorrow which might not be in your control. If I can  borrow a quote from one of my favourite movies ” we don’t decide where we come from but we sure can decide where we go” **.
  • I have learnt from a friend whom I share with a deep resentment for “pessimist slackers” who had  gone on solo travels to distant lands ( sorry cant name the country here) so she can clear out her thoughts, sort priorities , to cut herself off so as to find herself  back. And this was the person I never thought would have a hard time with anything.

These and other such stories and encounters have really helped me question my worldview,  have a relook at my priorities, realise how we are more vulnerable than we ever thought but at the same time  stronger than we can imagine. More on this in the later posts.

*(if I may borrow that term from one of my favourite Pixar movies- Inside Out).

**common go watch it if you could not recall that its from Perks of being a wallflower

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Compliment effects

In the technology industry, one product might compliment the other and vice versa raising the value of each other. For example, broadband complements youtube, facebook, etc; apps compliment the mobile operating system, Tesla cars and their supercharger stations . So in economic terms if you assume that the user has X amount of money on product A and product B which compliment each other, then your aim should be to commoditise the other product  (say B) so that it becomes cheap and you can enjoy a larger profit share on your product (A in this case).

For great discussion of compliment effects in the context of Autonomous vehicles and mapping industry , check this article here. For a more general discussion on compliment effects in the technology industry check this

Dichotomy

There are moments when i start craving for certainty,

no storms, no seas, just vast plain lands,

but then i dread this vanilla journey,

this vast stasis and nothingness.

 

And then i want to be in the middle of a cyclone,

with everything around me lifted, swirling, smashing and swooshing

but then i get weary of this chaos

this unending terrain of highs and lows.

 

I want the Sun, the Fire, the Wind – to sum up in a word -all the desires,

and smash those walls,  to bring down the empire

but then I just want to be a humble being

with a bright ‘halo’ lit up behind me.

 

 

a basket and a backpack

there was a bag of grief lying around-  sturdy rough like those backpack types,

always packed to be carried away,

there was also a basket of  joy nearby- really beautiful though a bit fragile

and  with a handle per se.

 

i stood standing staring at both,

wait-but why was it difficult to choose ?

i would reach for the basket but would end up with the backpack

perhaps now you understand my ordeal, my difficulty,  my inability to choose.

 

it was dark and cloudy, keeping all light at bay,

so i reached for the torch that lay hid beneath,

not the sofa, or the table or that  bed I so hate,

but the one that is always lit within, The Soul as they all say.

 

so now I held up the basket and  marvelled at it,

while I sipped my coke and went through that novel

Just then a gust of wind passes through my way,

tearing through my fragile basket , lighting out my light and loading me with the backpack again .

 

Staring at those shattered pieces,

With no light and no voices,

i picked them up , only to put them in the furnace

where i would strengthen and forge them to build a bigger and a stronger basket !

 

Oh and only if you ask where i managed to get the fire,

I have only this to say- i found it in the ashes of the light that burnt way back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect day

You know one of those days there is a moment, when it suddenly occurs to you that its a perfect day. The sun is out and shining, not so much to burn you down but enough to keep  things lively, there is a mild cool breeze blowing and you are sitting in the open at the centre of city called Prague, sipping your coke while thumbing through the pages of a book written by a nobel prize winner. Perfect ( except for the two mid aged ladies sitting beside and smoking the shit out of their lungs, :/) !!! Those moments you wonder why there was ever anything wrong, why it was ever difficult to get by, why it was ever so hard.

Its not that all your problems have been resolved or suddenly everything is sorted and you have understood all the secrets of life and love, but there is that presence in the current moment – that realisation of being here in this space and time without a worry about the future or the yearnings of the past. This is probably, what is called, being in the moment.

Mask

When i was little, the Cartoon network used to show this weird stupid cartoon show called The Mask. It was about some stupid, confused, ill-confident ( m not judging ! :P) guy called Stanley ( ok, i dint remember that name -> just googled that up and found that the show was based on a novel, anyways) who is unable to find his way in the world. As far as I can restore from my memory lanes -he gets easily bullied over, is to shy to approach his crush and is a clerk in a bank. Pretty bad, huh! Then one day  he discovers this magical mask (i don’t remember if i ever saw that episode) which turns him into a completely different human being  He gets all these superpowers, a confidence boost and always has a retarded smile on his face. He is able to bully others now, turns into a play boy and even becomes funnier ( though honestly the jokes cracked were some of the most stupidest, i’ve ever heard).  In short, his world turns upside down for the better, and the entire show is about the mask’s exploits. This makes me think why I even saw that cartoon show !

But the strange thing is that such  masks  have become so common these days . You are supposed to find one and wear it. Wear it even though it wears you out, because who wants to deal with a stanley. Your friends want you to wear it, your employer wants you to wear it, your family wants you to wear it, your dog wants you to wear it. So wear it. Not wearing it is being vulnerable, being breakable. There are going to be certain times when it will “rain” and the insides of the mask will be wet, it would slip over, but dry it down and put it on.  After all, the entire SHOW is about the mask’s exploits.

 

 

How will you measure your life ? – Clayton

Figuring out the purpose: Its utterly important to figure this shit out for a very simple reason- it serves as a guiding light when I am  deciding about my priorities and have to do resource allocation. There are so many things that demand my attention and energy and time – all of which is limited. So I need to make sure that I dedicate my resources to those things that I want to become. He argues that world is too full of “mirage, paradox, and uncertainty to leave this to fate”. And obviously, as I have been learning the hard way,  this is not one-time event rather a process that takes time . As I go along in my life, I need to consciously evaluate my assumptions about the person I think I want to become. And these are not very specific targets– like becoming a doctor or entrepreneur , but rather high level goals.

Equally important is to commit to myself to that purpose, to becoming the person I have outlined for myself.  But I should not be too rigid about how I go about doing that. He explains this beautifully with the concept of deliberate and emergent strategy. He argues that once we have our goals we make a deliberate strategy and commit our resources. But often on that path, unexpected opportunities and difficulties arise. When this road forks, I need to make a decision whether I want to continue on my deliberately chosen path or take a diversion and move on the new path. Neither of it is inherently good or bad rather depends on my particular circumstances. He argues that if you have found both the hygiene factors and motivation factors in your career, it makes little sense to give up your deliberate strategy. But if you haven’t its important to try things out. To quote from the book, ” its rarely a case of sitting in the ivory tower and thinking through the problems until the answer pops into your head. What’s important is to get out there and try stuff until your talents, interests and priorities begin to payoff. ..then its time to flip from an emergent strategy to  a deliberate one”.

Long term planning

Building processes.

 

( Incomplete)