Mind dump

So yes, I have been away, for quite a while. Aaand, of course, a lot happened over these years, a LOT. But, as they say, cannot complain. I shouldn’t complain.

One of the good things that has happened to me in my current organization is that we have been made to undergo a ‘leadership programme’. Wait, it’s not as boring as it sounds. In fact, to my utter surprise, I have not found it boring at ALL. I used to believe I do not belong to such programmes. That such things are applicable for people who want to become successful managers. To my delight, I was wrong.

So the point of sharing the meta-information about the programme that we’ve been made to realize that one of the tenets of ‘transformation’ (from the downtrodden ordinary people, to leaders) is that we have to be fully responsible for our actions. “We have to ‘own’ our actions.” I never paid that much heed to this statement, until I consciously realized what it conveys. It conveys a lot more than what meets the eye — that it’s easy be the effect and not the cause of a situation. In simpler English — it’s easy to hold the situation or others responsible for our actions. The truth, however much we want to deny, is that it is we who chose to behave a certain way, and hence the responsibility is entirely ours!

A lot of times — in the mindless rat-race of proving ourselves to be perfect — an ideal employee, an ideal husband, a perfect parent, a caring son, a should-be-looked-up-to human — we tend to try to cover-up the actions we are not so proud of. While this might work in the near future, it has adverse repercussions in the long run, the most adverse being the effect on oneself. Slowly but gradually it erodes our soul.

Acceptance is liberating.

Accepting that we have been the cause of our actions — of not being the ideal in certain aspects or situations consciously brings us at peace with ourselves. The erosion stops, and so does the avoidance of facing the ground-reality. We need to realise that being at peace with ourselves is indispensable to trying to attain peace with the rest of the world.

Being at peace with ourselves lets us be aware of similar situations in future and behave in a better manner — which might still not be ideal — but still have better consequences than before. This is the key to a long-term sub-conscious aspiration of attaining the ideal behaviour.

White Noise

I have been experimenting with white noise lately, more so, to ward off external noises, rather than to validate the claim that such noises improve the cognitive skills. I admit, I like quiet workplaces. And I know, it’s a luxury not everyone can have. It might have to do with luck as well — if you get the hint. 🙂

Anyway, case in point being, white noises do help me in two ways: A. of course, as expected, they block external (non-uniform) noises; and B. I don’t have to worry about — as in the case of music — managing the playlist and all.

“Improving the cognitive skills”…erm…I don’t know! 🙂 Maybe…maybe not.. little do I care! There are various YouTube videos, Websites, SoundStreams that offer rain sounds, cafe sounds, etc. The one I use the most is called RainyCafe. I stick to the ‘rain’ mostly, but every once in a while I’ve tried out their ‘cafe’ option as well.

Do try out a ‘white noise’ next time you’re trying to concentrate on something, and need to disconnect. It helps.

Yellow terror!

You’re out on your morning walk on the pavement (or whatever is left of it), some of you are jogging; the morning Sun’s rays smear through the dust in the air and creates a golden mirage, you smell the freshness all around. Ah! what serenity! what more could one ask for. And then suddenly, you hear a not-so-loud engine noise…followed by a totally unnecessary series of honking —  it’s the yellow school van! The driver seems to have had enrolled a course in F1, but then left it mid-way after the first hands-on session. You are just left aghast by the way they whiff past everything — exploiting the mostly deserted roads which seem to be waiting-to-exhale — stuffed with (or in the process of stuffing) kids, who can apparently go only in a particular order so as the utilize every nook and corner of the van.

1376994223_538345445_3-Maruti-Omni-School-Van-Mumbai

These guys are flouting the rules left, right and center all over Pune — and there’s no one to question them! The traffic authorities seemed to have washed their hands after doing their part — “look, we’ve laid out very strict guidelines for school vans and buses — they’re supposed to put this warning on their rear window: DRIVE CAREFULLY – STUDENTS ON BOARD (or a variation of it)”. “Ummm…err…Mr. Officer, who is this warning for exactly? I don’t think it’s for the driver — he hasn’t ever taken cognizance of it after the first day when he got the package — I guess it’s for the people who just watch the van swoosh past them, praying to their favourite deities in exasperation — for the safety of the innocent lives — both inside and outside the van”.

 

This is why I hate Samsung devices

Came across a phone yesterday, from their latest (and hugely popular) Galaxy range. The (Android-based) UI was fascinating appealing. The capacitive touch screen was responsive. But that’s that. Seems that’s where their efforts (wannabe iPhone) cease.

You go to type a text message, and accidentally click on send….and whoosh…the message is sent! That’s the most stupid thing I have come across in a while. It’s worse than my very first Motorola, where if the phone rang while I was typing a message, the message went for a toss.

Anyway, coming back to Samsung — in their mindless rush to bring zillions of Galaxy devices to the market, did they ever sit back and think of usability? — because, apart from the looks, that’s what makes an iPhone an iPhone. I can bet it wouldn’t be more than two lines of code to put a validation to disallow sending of blank messages. But as long as their phones are selling like hot cakes…who cares…right?

Al-khajoor and suchlike

So I decided to finally go for a trip to UAE a while back. I’m back now. Fatter.

But a fun trip, I would say.

It’s interesting to notice the difference in culture, landscape and people in general, within a couple of hours of travel. Like those Arab gentlemen at the immigration desk of Dubai airport. Snotty lot. Come to think of it: their cockiness may be justified to a great extent — there are just too many of us (/people who look like us/people from the Indian subcontinent) in their country. The figure is intimidating. Therefore an immigration desk seems to be an ideal place for them to vent out their angst. Those four or five minutes is their little revenge.
Throughout my time in the UAE I observed this snottiness in Arabs in general. For example, if you accidentally bump into them (or somehow if an ‘excuse-me-situation’ arises) they’ll not utter a single word. I wonder if there’s an equivalent of ‘excuse-me/sorry’ in Arab dictionary. Probably, a typical interaction in the moral science class of an Arab school might be like:
Teacher: So Majid, tell me, what do you do when you bump into someone, or someone bumps into you accidentally?
Majid: Umm, I don’t know m’am, hit him/her? or tell dad to arrange for hundred lashes for them?
Teacher: No Majid, that’s rude! You’ll just give him/her ‘the look’. Or if s/he is saying ‘sorry or excuse me’, then turn your face away and walk-on.
Aside to the twisted Arabs, one of the best things was good food in abundance. I got to sample a Turkish delight, awesome Afghani cuisine and mouth-watering Pakistani food. All thanks to my cousins and cousins-in-law.

Apart from the family ties, I guess, food would be the only other motivation for which I can visit UAE again.

Cacophonix

Ah! the cacophony they call ‘Coke Studio @ MTV‘ (India)! Now don’t get me wrong — I have utmost respect for the artists they invite — it’s the ‘too many cooks’ I have issues with. Somehow they end-up spoiling all the broths — no matter how promising the outcome looks initially.

I confess, however, my bars have been raised several notches, OK many more than several notches, because of what they churn out at Coke Studio (Pakistan), where Rohail Hyatt is doing an incredible job! Somehow, he knows exactly where to provide his inputs and where to just let the things be. Each of their composition is classic, unique and impeccable. I still regret getting to know about it much later — in their third season.

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Woah!

The more I use WordPress, the more I’m in it’s awe! Like this time, when it imported ALL my posts from LJ without a hassle.

Seriously, what more can I ask for?!

A Whole New World!

The shift to WordPress from Livejournal (LJ) triggered a chain of mixed emotions. I realized what all I have been missing just because of hanging on to an ailing blogging platform. I guess, apart from my laziness, a big reason I stopped blogging on LJ was that it was so uneasy to blog there! WordPress has made it so simple — like this window that I’m blogging from right now — it’s just a drop down that I got after clicking on ‘New Post’ just below my browser bar.

Yes, I accept, it’s a feeling that I have been living in the stone-age of blogging all this time!

sf


boats at pier 39
Originally uploaded by pugmarx

…so it’s been more than a month here in “San Fran” and now, as the number of days left are getting struck out, the excitement is increasing. I was wondering, apart from the socio-political obligations (sometimes aka ‘expectations’), what would be the first thing I do when I reach? Maybe I’ll ask wifey to prepare tea. Although it sounds very mundane that a person would have tea once he’s back. I mean, what could be so special about it. But the gravity of the crave could only be realised by someone who’s been away from a good tea for that long. So, done! Tea it would be!

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Scrum

Why is it that everyone becomes so quiet only when it’s your turn in the daily stand-ups. And there you were, thinking that this too shall pass since everyone is joking around, and no one’s actually listening. You try to chuckle and smile past it, in your opening statements, but suddenly everyone is serious, and seems really keen on knowing what you did.
Sometimes one just feel like confessing, "actually i just updated my Facebook profile…", but then the previous guy had just discussed something which seems similar to devising a next generation rocket propulsion.
Not that updating the Facebook profile requires much less a brain-work (you want to sound interesting, and smart, and honest, all at the same time (more so, if you’re unmarried) ), but one has to sound "productive" and "profitable" in the current situation. So then you unleash your imagination and apply a decorator to your, in layman’s language, "time-pass".
*Sigh*, how I love scrums!