October 21, 2014

Am I too old to adjust now?

If there's one thing I took for granted about myself it was the fact that I could remain unruffled, even if I was provoked I could turn that into a blind spot and look for other happy things to occupy the mind. Enter the man phase and I simply can't keep quiet.

Some things and some people don't matter at all to me. And frankly speaking they never did. Fake premises of friendship, hypocrisy, cynicism, etc. are the things that I have always hated. And now, I'm taking the complete liberty to either ignore these elements or turn them back. Its the latter part which has got many of my friends alarmed but if I know what the right thing to be done is and I don't do it, then who will. 

September 14, 2014

Speaking out

It's a nice debate isn't it? Whether you gain more by expressing yourself or suppressing yourself. While the question of looking at gain from either of these exercises is also debatable we'll deal with the former first.

Whether you gain more by expressing verbally (direct or indirect), mentally or not expressing it all. Only one of these is conversational (there's external feedback) and only one of these approaches actually conforms to escapism.

Writing it down

From my experience of writing down stuff, be it in a diary or a blog, one thing I have time and again realized is that it gives you a great deal of clarity. Clarity about who you are, what you want to do in life and what you expect from your friends and relations and also, what they expect from you. Indeed life would be in great harmony if each of these things are always in sync. There would be no misunderstanding or fighting, receiving more than you can take or giving more than you can.

So the bottom line is this: expressing by writing down, removes clutter and allows for clarity to prevail. And since you've done the hard work of translating your emotions into words, expressing this to someone becomes so much more easier later on. To contrast that, try expressing your opinion or thoughts without thinking and see how much of the stuff goes wayside. If I were to quote like the last-page-of-the-newspaper-research only a third of what you speak is actually the issue bothering you. The rest of the time you are either:

  • wanting to feel good about yourself, or
  • talking negative about others (maybe even the person in front of you)
Nevertheless writing is an indirect way of expressing one self. You are your own critic, your own support, and you got to understand the fact that your first couple of analyses might actually be wrong and it's only the final analysis that sticks with you. Where this does lack is obvious in that it only has an internal feedback loop and your growth gets bounded by your understanding of the world at that point in time.

Speak out

You needn't sit down and write you could talk to your closest friends or simply to yourself.

One could argue if the above really holds or can be validated in any way. And in response, I ask you to recall the first corporate lesson that you are taught: "Think twice before you talk". I guess the first response of the brain is to defend itself internally, then externally and finally address the actual issue. No doubt this sounds like a Ig Noble snippet but hey this is no research blog that comes up with revolutionary stuff like "looking at puppy wallpapers boosts productivity"; maybe it makes them feel like going home early o_O.

So if one directly utters their raw feelings without thinking and just let's them flow would it help them or cause them further harm? Logically it would seem natural to be just letting out your thoughts as they come. But unless you are dealing with a humanoid, the person lending a ear is, who it is, that is at stake for you. 

The confrontation

While obviously one always looks to avoid any confrontation, most of the times it is better to sit down and talk about these things with the people themselves directly and maybe even shout at each other so that at the end of it both can realize what each other's positives and negatives are.

Story in a word?

So the short conclusion to this long story is that the next time you have a problem, don't get bogged down by it. Pick up the phone or write it down in your diary or type out your feelings (maybe into a blog) or even just face the sea and shout out all that you want. Each of these things can greatly relieve the internal turmoil you are facing and give you a direction for the next things.

August 25, 2014

The small joys

Saturday afternoon, while on the way to the hackathon event at the office, I happened to be travelling by an auto. And at the Tivoli crossroads, I saw a young girl pulling her mother across the road in a hurry. While she was definitely not following the traffic signals (people in Hyderabad have a tendency to cross when the traffic signal goes green not the pedestrian signal) I felt a bit emotional for two reasons:

  • the way her mother reacted to the little girl, oh my sweet little daughter sorts and 
  • perhaps wondering if the small girl had the conscience to not block/delay the traffic. It definitely seemed like she had thought about because although the signal was green there was not a vehicle in sight. 
It made my day (although it had just begun) to see all this happen while waiting in the auto and I smiled to myself, that for the umpteenth time I just felt immense happiness watching such small incidents. And I'm also often filled with a desire to meet these people, know about their lives and maybe just thank them... for providing happiness without even intending to. Life!

Six years of blogging

I've reached close to 5000 page views; and that feels really fantastic (albeit it took a long time!)
I just wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the constant support from my friends Sindhu, Pavi and Harshu who always had nice things to say about the blog. That kept encouraging me to write without worrying too much about how it would be received. Also thanks to Shivaram and Uday for their constructive criticism :D And a few other friends who genuinely found some posts funny and silly :)

I'd want to hit the next 5000 a little faster now :D

This perpetual feeling of wanting to keep working

I don't exactly remember when it started but for the last few weeks I have not been able to sleep before 2-3 AM (and hence getting late to office everyday -- you know the cycle) and have constantly been having the feeling of doing some work or the other. The last weekend, 40 of the 48 hours I was at work (not fully office work, we had a hackathon :)) and still the mind refuses to leave. For the first time I realized the dual signals being given by the body and mind.

Well all for the good but some of the other things in life tend to take a backseat. I don't meet as often with my friends now although they are close by and just end up feeling like lazing around on the weekends. I guess the real test of work life balance and the idea that each of these things are as important is now. Will have to take care of exercising and stuff too. This is one of the reasons why I don't really like the term 'work-life' balance because everything is work. You are responsible everywhere and hence life should be work-work balance :D Think about it.

Waiting to fall asleep still. Good nighto!

August 18, 2014

Writing simple is simply difficult

I find myself to be in that phase where expressing a simple idea also is not easy. The reason for this being, that multiple ideas/variants of the line/phrase I write come into play when I try to write (or express).

The fact that it is that way can easily be understood by (trying to) re-writing the above line in a simpler language.

I find myself to be in a phase where expressing an idea without touching upon its evolution and variants, underlying assumptions, and related clauses is becoming difficult. The reason for this I believe is the expansion of my knowledge base, and a renewed ability to come up with multiple interpretations of a given idea. While at the one side it helps me analyze a problem from different angles, it also introduces a lot of clutter in the thought process on the other. Therefore, when I write down any thought directly from my mind I tend to keep adding '/' for specifying the variants; parentheses for explaining analogies, and extended sentences are broken down by ';' to squeeze in more ideas and thoughts.

Ah well, I look forward to mentally (and consciously) remove that aspect of clutter from my writing and only bring in what is most relevant; so that I'm not the only one who can understand the subtleties in what I write. 

Songs that make me cry

Lately, I've been feeling the deep emotions inside me connect with some of the older Telugu film songs that I happened to search for and listen to. Don't be mistaken/undermining the fact that I would be writing about some Telugu songs. These are beautifully written, with pure language connotations and not written for praise but songs that automatically draw praise for every line because of their deep rooted meaning.

I've narrowed down the reasons as to why these songs make me cry, to the following: 
  • either the song writer's lyrics were meant to evoke those feelings or
  • that I see myself echoing those lyrics somewhere or the other in my mind. 
  • Ultimately, when you are in your deepest emotions it is your mother tongue that you connect with the most (A theory my brother had which I find to be quite deep and true) 


To clarify, it is not the case that every time I listen to these songs my emotions get evoked. Rather I listen to these songs when I'm in a certain state of mind. (the advantages of being the consumer) And again, it is not just Telugu songs that I connect to but almost songs from every language (some which I don't understand as well) where the lyrics have been beautifully written. E.g., Challa, Cham Cham Jaani Ratein, etc. And its not the music (will require another post for that) but the lyrics (and perhaps the tune) that moved me the most

Also, to begin with I've heard these songs or have seen them somewhere or the other but never really paid too much attention. I guess the reason for that is the same as why a class 1 student would not be able to appreciate Calculus. You are simply not in that zone, there's a journey you need to undertake and then, as if by a natural intuition, you start learning or tending towards appreciating it. 

Absorbing the songs

Once I'm done with a song: either I've heard it a zillion times or the emotional connect passes away; I find another song. (This brings a great deal of infidelity when applied to relationships, but there we have dynamically changing verses and here it is a static verse). Repeated listening allows us to extract the juice from each song (almost) fully. That, in fact, is the reason why I'd like to write down my emotions, because: 
  1. It helps absorb stuff faster than plain listening.
  2. And those initial thoughts and feelings of freshness can easily be forgotten later. And it would be hard to express them exactly as you found them to be. (Much like documentation; which is never written while working on a project).
But we cannot absorb any piece of art fully; even if you don't why you would agree with that. I feel its because: 
  • a piece of art can extend well beyond what the artist thought it out to be or 
  • because of people's perception about the art. 
While separating the perceived emotions from the artist's intentions is in itself difficult, being able to capture all possible interpretations is impossible. (Perhaps it could be fun writing an algorithm: given a piece of art write all possible interpretations: separating the artist's intentions and audience's perceptions and then checking if summing the latter would equal the possibilities). And hence, it is important to revisit any piece of art (in my opinion even projects we work upon) because we can interpret new stuff in new environments with an elevated level of thinking. For example, once you learn Unix programming Matrix (1999) seems all the more comprehensible.

My experiments

So to begin with, I'm in a certain state of mind and I happen to start searching for a song/piece of writing that best expresses this emotion. You gotta take a leap of faith here and believe that I've found the most suitable song for myself at this juncture. Here are the songs and the exact (beautifully written deep-rooted) lyrics that literally make me cry. 

Taraliraada tane vasantham

Setting: Well past midnight, after you've finished your work; this song will give you the hope that your hard work will pay off and more inspiration to work harder. 

taraliraada tane vasantham
tana dariki raani vanalakosam
gaganala daaka ala saagakunte 
meghala raagam ila cherukoda

Thakita Thadimi Thakita Thadimi Thandana

Setting: Again past midnight, after a normal day; this song will tell you the ephemeral nature of life and what it is about. I'm yet to fully figure out the meaning though :( 

Narudi brathuka natana 
Eswaradu talupu ghatana
Aa renti natti naduma 
Neekenduku intha tapana
Telusa manasa neekidi telisi alusa
Telisi teliyani aasala vayasee varasaa
Telusa manasa neekidi telisi alusaa
Telisi teliyani aashala la la laa la laaa

I'm in awe of the brilliant touch of "la la laa la laaa" too! 

Brochevaru Evurara

Setting: I've found two extreme moods for absorbing this song: either when you feel a bit haughty or when you are on the brink of losing hope. It would tell you that there is someone always looking after you and that you needn't ever worry. 

Brochevaru evarura
Ninu vina
Nannu brochevaru evaruraa

I've come up with a blog especially for this purpose http://songthatmakesmecry.tumblr.com/ (should find a way to link multiple blog sites into -- website seems the best way; also I've found Tumblr to be much better for blogging than Blogger!) and will be updating both the full version of the lyrics and their meaning (something that is not readily available on the net unlike Hindi songs).

Thanks for reading until then. 

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