Category Archives: Me

10 things I would tell my 20 to 29 year old self.

20: Don’t be afraid.

21: Don’t be afraid.

22: Don’t be afraid.

23: Don’t be afraid.

24: Don’t be an idiot.

25: Try harder.

26: Try harder.

27: Try harder.

28: Try harder.

29: Try harder.

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The copy-paste Generation

We are in 2016 right now. It has been close to a couple of decades since the Internet became accessible. And a few years before that the PC had become main stream. I am going to obviously talk about the title of this post, in this post. But I have to set this up a little more.

Humans have been copying for centuries. Whether it be actions, reactions, books, music, ideas, creations and everything else. Copying is coded into our DNA since the time we were primates. Most of our learning comes from copying. And most of our evolving came from understanding what we are copying and how we made the copied version better.

The propensity of man to imitate what is before him is one of the strongest parts of his nature.

Walter Bagehot, Physics and Politics (1872)

Ironically, I copied that quote from a paper on plagiarism. I did it to add more gravitas to this post. Plagiarism comes from the Latin word plagiarius which means a person who abducts the child or slave of another, a kidnapper. The word ‘plagiary’ however, entered the English language in the late 16th century – recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1598. In summary, this has been going on since forever. The definition of any multi-cellular organism is that the cells essentially create copies of itself from one single cell. Heck, we are copiers at the cellular level.

Let’s come back to the 21st century. As the internet evolved from being available at a click on our desks to being available at a tap in our hands, so has the ease with which we obtain information. Today, anyone can write really good and insightful research pieces from literally our beds without opening a single fat book in cobwebbed libraries. In essence, not only can we retrieve loads of information extremely quickly, we can also possibly improve on it, add our personal brand of insight and then relay it further down to like-minded individuals who would love the added perspective. By now you can see where I am going with this.

Right now, we have reached a stage of such an information overload that we don’t even need to click, tap or call for any information. It is fired at us through multiple pages in multiple screens limited only by our internet data plan. These come in the form of long drawn thought pieces or just plain old rants written at the spur of the moment by someone expressing their frustration, lets call them manufacturers. The receivers who are at times meant to be nothing more than just plain readers, take upon themselves the mantle of co-thought leaders and propagate these pieces verbatim (lets call them resellers). The problem I have with this is, I find it hard to believe that in any text, which is more than 25 words long or more than 5 bullet points, there is absolutely nothing that the reseller disagrees with. They merrily copy and paste it, after all it just takes a few taps, and broadcast it to their entire known universe, literally.

I really think we have missed out on the evolving part in all of this. Even our cells which copied themselves from our forefathers realised there wasn’t everything that was useful and discarded those qualities and learnt new qualities which are more relevant. We really have stopped evolving as far as our thoughts are concerned. I see the exact same message texted to me by 3 different people on 2 different platforms and I know for a fact that they are not the same people. Every one of us have different backgrounds and different upbringings. Even twins don’t think the same way as each other except in movies. Where have we lost our individuality? Even though I and my sister are separated by literally nothing but time as far as our lineage is concerned, we know we don’t think alike. Why would I assume someone who is in no way related to me, even though they might support the same team, player, nation or party as I, would by my thought-soulmate?

We don’t need any news filtering app controlled by media agencies or governments or political parties to tell us what we should believe in. All we need is our minds, a few intelligent searches and a few minutes to read. We can all make our own minds for ourselves.

Time Machine

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Every time I travel by train, the ones that go beyond your state. I mean the states which make up our country and not the state of ones mind or the state of a substance. I can see how one could get confused here. Quite forgivable. Talking of states that make up a country, I wonder what is the right number of states. We seem to keep adding them by separating some, for reasons which are I am sure are noble and good. But I wonder, as I usually invariably do, is there a right number?

I digress. Returning to the train of my thought, pun unintended, these long distance trains are the best to give one a healthy shot of nostalgia. I remember all our holiday travels being in trains. There weren’t enough flights as yet then. And one traveled in the normal sleeper class, none of the air conditioned travels that we can’t seem to do without now. It just all seems to an extent vain to me these days. Back then one had the wind hitting you on your face, and one could see the country side with all its glorious fields rolling by. There were rivers flowing below you, which don’t as much as flow anymore, on account of having become drier over the years.

I tend to spend a sizeable period of time near the door of the train compartment or on the railway platform of every station we stop at. Feels nice to have the wind hit you and stand with the morning sun on your face as you breathe in the relatively clear air which one doesn’t find in the cities. It feels like one is traveling. Across states. How many states do we actually have these days? One keeps forgetting.

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What I want to do every time it rains.

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No matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing, no matter what I’m wearing; when I see rain falling, there’s only one thing I wish I was doing at that exact moment.

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Between roofs

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I always wanted to know
What you get when you reach the end,
The proverbial end of the proverbial rainbow,
Is it the proverbial pot or just more snow.
Curiosity killed the cat they say,
I’m curious, who’s the cat and who are they?
Now my curiosity is visible as plain as day,
Let’s let the proverbs and idioms and clichés stay.

Curiosity led me to run my first 21.097,
Or half marathon as some might prefer,
Though I don’t know what led me
To run the next 5 thereafter.
I ran to know how it felt, running
more than you ever thought you could.
I found the end easy but the journey cunning,
And I got hooked, like a wannabe to dude.

I wanted to know what it feels like,
To go higher than you thought you would climb,
Climb using your legs, not a mountain bike,
So I took a journey through snow and grime,
To try and reach a summit in the Himalayas,
Which was just one of my numerous gurus,
None better than the people around me,
Without whom I would’ve made a lot of booboos.

I was once told, even a flower can be
Your guru, every thing or person,
Teaches you something for free,
All it costs you is just your vision.
It means every journey one takes
Teaches one more than one paid for it.
So travel and some sense try to make,
And you’ll be richer when you’re done with it.

Saranbir taught me that a leader does not have an age,
Umesh, that you need to keep up to keep an eye,
Satvik that you need a leap of faith to turn the page,
Jayanthi, that positive attitude can bid a doctor g’bye,
Aviraj’s determination lay expectations flat,
Prithvi taught me to be a mom to your mommy,
Sharanya, to smile no matter what,
And others taught me more for me to carry.

The mountains taught me there
Always will be someone taller than you,
You don’t need to fret and care,
Just stand tall and be true.
The stars taught me to look up above.
Look up and believe,
Even if you don’t see them, love,
They never actually leave.

I always thought a beach person I am,
The sound of the waves, the sun on my face,
Having now seen the Himalayas in all its glam,
Doubts I have in my mind more than a trace.
Never will I forget the moment I stood
On the roof of our planet, our home,
Above me I saw another roof just as good,
Standing between roofs felt like reading a never-ending tome.

The curse of the haircut

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I don’t really know how to begin this one. I mean, the title itself can pretty much sum it all up. However, writing something down is a form of expression for me. So let me complete this one as well.

Getting a haircut is an event, for women. It is just another chore for men. For most men. It is something you have to do just to maintain personal hygiene. Just like brushing you teeth and taking a shower everyday. There isn’t really a practical way out of it. For quite a few men from the above subset, this practice becomes even more of an annoyance. Those that are further evolved, easily distinguishable with visible evidence of male pattern baldness.

In economics and sales, when the base is small, the growth is often seen to be higher and quicker. Same is the case with hair. Hence, it makes the entire exercise to occur more frequently resulting in an end result which is only relatively desirable. In the above sub-subset, lies a further set, consisting of an even higher evolved being, known commonly as the Tam-Brahm.

With the obvious advantages of being further evolved comes certain disadvantages which are nothing more but the outcome of certain prehistoric practices. One such example is restrictions on when you can get a haircut. I’m not allowed to get my hair cut on any day post noon. I’m also not allowed to get a haircut on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Now, considering I’m a working man, it leaves me only with Sunday mornings when I can get a haircut.

In many places, a barbershop is a social hub. Where men hangout. For me, it is a visit planned a couple of weeks in advance. For me, the event is a curse.

Hong Kong Diary – Cars

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Well, it had to be about cars didn't it? I had to rant and rave about them.

I will not go hyperbole on how I keep turning my head at every street corner virtually every 3 minutes. But I do.

Given the fact that housing itself is expensive here, parking is even more so. This coupled with great public transportation, most of the ones who own cars are the ones who can afford the really great ones. I have seen some great cars in the last 10 days (apart from the classic Toyota taxis). I am listing down the ones I think are worth mentioning.

Ferrari 458 Italia (Yellow)
Ferrari California (White)
Ferrari 599 (Black) (I saw no red Ferraris, maybe because the cabs are red here)
Mini Cooper S
Mini Cooper Classic
BMW Z4 (gets a mention only because I love it)
BMW Z3 (with Matte finish Black paint *wipes drool*)
Aston Martin DB9
Aston Martin Vanquish
Aston Martin Spider
Lamborghini Gallardo
Lamborghini Gallardo Spider
Jeep Wrangler
McLaren MP4 (in the showroom)
Golf GTI
Volkswagen Scirocco
Maserati GranTurismo
Porsche GT3RS
Porsche Panamera

I will add a few more in the next couple of days I am here as I see more of them. I haven't mentioned many other cars like Mercedes, BMW and Lexus luxury cars because they are not really exotic. Of course they exist here too like everywhere else. (I will continue to pretend that the entire reading world really cares about all of what I just said)

Maybe I sound like an idiot raving about cars which others might see around them everyday, but I have never been to a place where I saw all of them within a small area in just a week's time; so screw you! Also, maybe I sound like a 5 year old kid talking about seeing all these cars for the first time, well, I am one.

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Hong Kong Diary

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Since the time I have come to Hong Kong (8 days back), I have been planning to write down everything I see here or experience here. But either I didn't find the time or the inclination.

What I am going to do, is keep writing separate posts about things Hong Kong. This will hopefully cover all my thoughts and also help me get over my guilt for not writing much about my first trip abroad.

First up, I LOVE this place. As a city, it has most of the important bases covered; great food, good people, decent weather (relative to where I come from), great transportation system, Wifi through most of the city and some awesome cars. Some of the things that work against it are the expense of living here, the surprising lack of recreational options except shopping and the crowd, the quantity. Given the fact that Hong Kong is a 'World City', what works against it is that it is after all an island with limited land mass. They have solved this problem by building insanely tall and efficient apartment buildings, however, when all the people decide to get out of their homes and be on the street, all hell breaks loose. But I guess one gets used to it.

This is kind of all that I have time for right now, but I do hope to cover the shopping (will require a separate blog by itself), the people, the food, the experience and much more in my future logs. Also, more pictures hopefully. Will tick each one off as I get to them eventually.

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Conversation in a Delhi Metro

This conversation took place about 4 months back.

I was in Delhi for the Half Marathon and after I finished the run, I took the Metro to go from the venue to my friend’s place. Next to me sat a 16 year old boy, clearly belonging to SEC A. This boy saw me in my shorts and decided to ask me a few questions:

Boy: You just ran in the Marathon?
Me: Yes
Boy: What distance?
Me: The Half-Marathon. 21 kms.
Boy: You have run before?
Me: Yes, this is my 4th.
Boy: Ok, can I get the medal you got there for finishing the run?
Me: No. It is a souvenir.
Boy: Where are you from?
Me: Bombay
Boy: You keep going around just to run?
Me: Trying to.
Boy: So where in Bombay are you from?
Me: Thane.
Boy: How is Bombay?
Me: Good. I love it.
Boy: So you keep seeing movie stars?
Me: Errrrr, not really.
Boy: Was there any celebrity here in Delhi for the Marathon?
Me: Shah Rukh Khan and Bipasha Basu flagged off the run. 
Boy: You met them? Clicked pictures?
Me: No, I just saw them with a flag in their hand.
Boy: How many celebrities have you seen in Bombay?
Me: Errrr, this is my stop. Got to go.
Boy: Ok.
Me: You should start running.
Boy: I am giving my boards this year.
Me: All the best!
Boy: Thanks.

I don’t know why this conversation still amuses me. 🙂