Sunday, November 02, 2014

Another View of Indian IT

Some interesting observations about a country that boasts to be an IT super power or some such thing:
- Dearth of Domestic Market. Most of the money in IT sector comes from service export. Ironically, IT companies find it hard to find deserving customers (who can pay them as much as US/European customers) from within the country. We all use software systems purchased from outside, probably developed by Indians.
- Downloaders' country. We download and download. No, wrong. We do upload: tweets, facebook likes etc. But, open-source software, experimental results in tech. magazines and journal? Rarely.
- A Dumb Country. Literally. A country with millions of software engineers hasn't managed to come up with a (programming-)language of its own.
But above all are indicators. The disease is deeper.
- How many software engineers in our country are indeed capable to think beyond if-else-for-loops?
- Can we conceptualise products?
- We may flash stylish UML diagrams in executive meetings; but do we really know what software design/architecture is?
- Can we trust ourselves when it comes to writing an algorithm, data-structure on which someone can bet his money/life?
- How many of us do look beyond the fad (analytics, big data, cloud ...) into the real core of software (algorithm, data-structure, complexity, design, elegance, ...)?

(Reproduced from my Facebook post)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

LIving off Inherited Glory

I, along with Shilpi, Niranjan, Rashi, and Varadharajan, had been to a very interesting magic show in IISc this Sunday. The magic show had a very interesting theme: thoughts and philosophy of D. V. Gundappa, a famous Kannada writer. Each item was presented with a very nice philosophical commentary taken from the great writer's work. I felt the concept was unique and was presented brilliantly!
One criticism though. Certain lightly said things, like how we Indians have always known various scientific theories while they have been discovered only in the last couple of centuries by the West. I feel, those weren't in a perfectly good taste. I am sure, this was some sort of inadvertent misquoting of the great DVG. As a joke, it's fine. However, certain things make it undesirable: over-repetition, unsubstantiated claims, and feeding a nationalist ego of people (us) who anyway want to believe those stories.
I feel, as a nation, we Indians are going through a very difficult phase. We have been handed down a very low self esteem resulting from centuries of difficult times. I think we are recovering, though very slowly. In such conditions, one thing that's not going to help is to get deluded by any unsubstantiated claims of our superiority (as well as inferiority). Particularly based on stories, whether real or imagined, of the glories (or shame) of our ancestors. We must stop trying to live off inherited glory, and stand up for ourselves. Of course, we should beat our drums aloud, but only when we have something great to show that's created by us, the current Indians.

(reproduced from my Facebook post)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Happy Karva Chawth

There's a list A: the list of 'choices' that a woman exercises and does to express her individuality, sexuality, aesthetic sense, love and/or devotion.
And there's a list B: the list of things women have to do because of a male dominated society.
These two lists are built and maintained by an anonymous, distributed group of people who consider themselves the custodians of womens' rights.
I feel that two of the very important tools of female subjugation that our society employs are:
- Equating regressive traditions to choices that women make to celebrate their womanhood. Be it Madri's sacrificing herself on Pandu's pyre, today's Karva Chauth, or fashion trends for which 'modern' women 'choose' (with due consultation with beauty and fashion brands through the very balanced means of aggressive advertising) to follow expensive purchases, time-wasting routines, non-functional, uncomfortable and sometimes harmful dressing, and beauty procedures ...
- Dismissing those who point these things out while it's not yet deemed fashionable to do so by the custodians of women's rights, as regressive and supporters of rapists.
Surely a few years from now, someone will toss the tradition of fasting and praying and dressing up for someone near and dear from list A to list B.
While we wait for that to happen, thus making it acceptable to talk about them in intellectual circles, I wish a Happy Karva Chauth to all of you!

(Reproduced from a Facebook post of mine)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Phoney Smartness

To Celebrate My Recent Shift to Smartphones ...
बीवी के साथ डिनर पे जाऊँगा 
उसकी बातोँ पर ध्यान ना देकर 
Twitter पे लगा रहूंगा 
अंत में उसके साथ एक प्यारा सा
सेल्फ़ी खींच फेसबुक पे लगाउँगा 
लोग 'लाइक' करेंगे, पर मन में जलेंगे:
'साला पढ़ाकू professor चला हीरो बनने.'

मैंने भी इस्मार्ट फ़ोन ले लिया.
यारोँ मैं भी इस्मार्ट बन गया.

कहानी, उपन्यास तो दूर,
अब अखबार के लेख भी लगने लगे हैं बोर
टेम्पल रन की तेज़ी
और whatsapp की काना फूसी, बस
बाकी सब है शोर

मैंने भी इस्मार्ट फ़ोन ले लिया.
साला मैं भी इस्मार्ट बन गया.

पंछी के कलरव हो या traffic का कोलाहल.
सुनूंगा तभी जब इंटरनेट से downloaded हो.
सूर्य का उदय, या शिशु की हँसी
देखूंगा तभी जब youtube पे uploaded हो.

मैंने भी इस्मार्ट फ़ोन ले लिया.
अब तो मैं भी इस्मार्ट बन गया.

सब से नज़रें चुराए रहूंगा.
बस हो या बगीचा, lift हो
या सड़क का कोई मोड़
हैडफ़ोन, hands-free FM में मस्त
देखूंगा भी तो यूँ कि मानो हो
'Do not disturb' का बोर्ड

ग़ैर तो ग़ैर, अपनो की बातें सुनने का भी
अब धीरज ना होगा।
कल जो था attention deficit disorder,
उसका नाम अब fashion होगा।

जैसे ही की किसी ने अटेंशन की मांग,
Facebook, Twitter की शरण में जाऊंगा.
कोई update ना हो तो
candy crush से ही काम चलाउंगा.

इतनी बड़ी इस दुनिया को
पाँच by तीन के चौकोन में ढूंढूंगा.
सब लोग तो आजकल यही करते हैं
मैं भी ऐसा ही करूँगा.

चंद सिक्को के एक खिलोने से.
अब तो मैं भी स्मार्ट बन गया.

देर से ही सही पर आखिर
मैंने भी स्मार्ट फ़ोन ले ही लिया.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

News Channels, Movies and Books

I mostly do not watch TV. Well, sometimes I do. I flip lazily through movie channels (in search of a highly gory action scene or a sci-fi or fantasy scene), music channels (old movie songs, ghazals, bhajans), travel/cookery/documentary channels (some NatGeo documentary on space/physics/computers, or some fat chef cooking something unhealthy and delicious, or rich, beautiful women in skimpy clothes talking about spirituality and world welfare holidaying in expensive resorts in South Pacific where I will never go), entertainment channels (soap operas, reality shows, just as a preparation to switch off the TV).

In that order.

Mostly, a fairly cursory pass through all these channels exhausts the 15-20 minute window of mentally vegetative state that allow myself.

My behaviour while going over the newspaper is similar: I start with the glossy supplementaries, I feed my morbid side by lapping up a few items reporting suicides, murders, accidents, rapes and robberies. Then, past all news on international politics, commerce, sports ... I jump straight to the editorial page.

If I really have some time in hand and am looking to spend it with myself while enriching myself, I pick a book. If I want to watch a movie (I love movies), I get a DVD or go to a threatre. I don't find it worth trusting the movie channels to telecast the movies I would like to watch, where they decide the time, and also the number and duration of commercial breaks.

An interesting observation is: I don't remember myself ever having sauntered into one of the numerous news channels. Not even when looking for information. In the days of Doordarshan, I remember having sat through the 20 minutes newscast where the very beautiful, elegant and impersonal-faced Salma Sultan would monotonously read out headlines worded crisply, impartially and lifelessly. Though I was still a kid, I would appreciate that those newscasts were talking about something important. And though I was still a kid, I was grown up enough to admire Salma madam's beauty (of course, there were others: Manjari Sahay, Avinash Kaur, J P Raman, Ved Prakash ...)! But never in the current days do I remember having survived a single news channel show.

There's plenty said about how the news channels have become sensationalised, loud and biased. So, I will not go there. I will sign off by just mentioning that however much I rationalise with myself, I haven't been able to motivate myself to keep up with current affairs, particularly by the way of TV news or newspapers. I do pick up magazines like Frontline and India Today sometimes. But I find keeping up with the day to day updates beyond my capability. In other words, my interest in certain current affairs gets aroused only when they lose some of their currency.

For me, a chunk of time devoted to entertainment or enrichment is often scraped out with some effort. I can't bring myself to squandering it. If it's entertainment, I would like the taste to stay in my mouth long after that. If it's for knowledge building, it can't depend on raw nuggets of information/rumour/gossips dished out to me in loud voices, sensationalised wordings and fake emotionalism, but on crafted/distilled/verified pieces of work with a direct connection of it to things I hold dear to my thoughts.

Whether entertainment or knowledge, I can accept only things which have a dash of timelessness in them, not anything with false claim of quality but essentially volatile.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Thank You All for Your Birthday Wishes!

In my years of Youth, I used to resent birthdays. I used to think of them as yet another milestone in the journey to an inevitable darkness. I used to feel depressed that I wasn't famous and popular. I felt ashamed that I was still not in love, or in a one-sided one! :)

Yesterday evening, I went to the store, bought a packet of Cadbury Eclairs, and distributed among the children playing in my neighbourhood, the way I used to do in school. It was silly and childish. But I felt happy, uncomplainingly satisfied about how my Birthday had been, how my life has shaped. I spent the entire morning yesterday in solitude. I breathed the openness around me. Then, later in the day, I opened myself up to my family, then to my friends. My birthday was spent in serenely, carefully, observing my entire existence, layer by layer. And today I can proudly say that I accept myself in my entirety. My physical being: lazy, unfit, achy. My mind: unstable, egoistic, insecure, jealous, hiding a savage beast under a thin layer of intellect which peels off at the slightest touch of indignation. My soul: pure and lovely, in harmony with everything within and beyond.

And I feel that this transformation which has come over me, from a complete lack of acceptance, to this peaceful acceptance of me, has been nothing less than miraculous.

As years pass, I get to see as real the invisible threads which connect me to the Universe. I feel with more and more clarity that a part of me lives in various ways outside of me, and pieces of this Universe have an image in me.

Some of these threads also connect me to you, my friend! I wish to thank everyone who wished me on my birthday, and those who didn't but thought about me for a moment.


Birthday 2013

Thursday, May 15, 2014


If faith is for you the kind which makes you stand before a God praying for your or anybody's welfare, or to be optimistic that good things happen to good people, or that everything happens for good, or somebody out there created you, loves you and takes care of you, well, consider me an atheist.

And yet, I am sure that there can be no action, no life, without faith. But that faith needn't be only of the above kind.

What is faith? The most important characteristic of Faith is that it is irrational. This is not yet to mean that faith is bad; remember, I just asserted that without faith, life would be impossible. Then? Faith is a meta-physical belief, which means that you believe in a thesis or proposition which isn't yet proved or may be actually unprovable within the framework of scientific methodology. For example, believing that God exists is a faith. Believing that God doesn't exist is also a faith. Not believing that God exists or doesn't exist, is agnosticism, and is not a faith!

An extreme version of faith is blind faith, in which you have decided on your faith a priori, and in order to preserve it, resort to selective observation, misinterpretation, misrepresentation and even manipulation of facts. An even more extreme version of blind faith is fanaticism. If the facts which go against your faith come through human beings, you decide to silence them through intimidation, persecution and even murder.

But I repeat that faith, this irrational belief, is central to anything sentient beings do. Here's a list of some faiths that drive many of us, even those who would claim to be avowed rationalists:

  1. I am the best.
  2. Knowledge is power.
  3. Money can buy happiness.
  4. Humans aren't an inherently vicious race and can be educated to behave.
  5. Technology is benign.
  6. Consumption drives the economy and leads to prosperity.
  7. Competition, as long as fair, leads to ethical business.
  8. We are in a mess right now. But something will happen, somebody will do something, to take us all out of it.
  9. Some animals are crops. It's OK to eat them.
  10. And this one probably applies to all of us living: It's better to live than to die.

Many of the above are blind faith, and they are kept by very rational people.

I too have a bunch of faiths. Which means that they are irrational. They can't be proved. Yet, I feel as if they were planted in me before I could have decided whether I wanted them or not. They, of course, have evolved and have taken an articulated form over time. And surprisingly, I don't resent them. For me, another of those who swear by rationalism, they form the foundation of my life. Here they are:

  1. There's something called goodness. Value exists. Beauty exists.
  2. I am good.
  3. Life is good.
  4. Universe is beautiful.
  5. I am a part of that beauty.
  6. We all get glimpses of that universal beauty, some in more quantity, some in less.

For me, to remember those glimpses is an act of faith; to forget that is heresy. To try and turn that glimpse into a vision is an act of faith; to ignore, benumb, or kill it is heresy. To contribute to that beauty is faith; to destroy it is heresy.

Would love to hear what your faith is!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Aam Aadmi Stories

Picked up the image from somewhere on the Web. I know not whom to credit but the legendary R. K. Laxman

Last Friday, in Yeshwantpur Railway Station, I encountered two instances of the abysmal moral standards of the common man. Here are the accounts:

Pay and Use Toilet

Like in many other Pay-and-Use Toilets in the city, this had no board stating how much we should pay for using it. I am sure that this disappearance is by no means incidental or an act of God. The attendant, sitting and reading the newspaper, said without even looking at me, three rupees. I knew he was overcharging, but gave the money nevertheless, thinking I would save my energy to fight corruption at some other occasion. However, I lost my patience when I found no water in the tap. I informed him about it. He said, 'Yes, probably the tap's not working. Why don't you take water from the bathroom.' I asked him why he wasn't sure if the tap was working or not. And how was it appropriate of him to expect me to take water from bathroom. Wasn't it his responsibility to get the tap repaired?

I continued bombarding him with lecture: 'One, you are overcharging. You are getting your salary, and are also pocketing this money which should go to the government. Two, you are sitting here and reading the newspaper. Even if you are looting the public, at least you should carry out your responsibility properly, shouldn't you?'

To this he retorted, 'OK. You come and sit here.' To which, I told him that I have another place where I sit, and there each penny I earn has my sweat on it.

 My little son was with me. And I can't bear the discomfort he feels on seeing this other side of me, to which mostly he and his Mom are occasional witnesses. So, I left, fuming and frustrated. My 3 rupees donated at the alter of Aam Aadmi's corruption!

Parking Lot

When I was entering the parking lot in the morning, I had noticed that the parking ticket didn't mention the amount, and had foreseen trouble.

While leaving, I asked the attendant how much. He said 20. I said, it's 10. He said 20. I said, I don't think so, show me where it is written. Suddenly, the person forgot Hindi, and started off in Kannada. This time I was better prepared, and already in fury due to my above experience. So, I said, half-Hindi, half-Kannada. 'Why is it not written anywhere. It used to be 10 rupees earlier. Why should I give you 20?' and kept repeating this mechanically without raising my voice or visibly losing my cool. In the end, the guy gave up and said in the very Kannada villain/hero style, 'E! Hog ri!' with a rude wave of his hand. I left after giving him 10 rupees.


Just an Outlier. Out of the above two incidents, I lost money in one, and saved in another. But in both, I know well enough that things would proceed just the way they had before my being there. I could fight corruption in neither case, and felt equally frustrated in both the occasions. If you protest against an act of corruption, the corrupt service-person will fight you, intimidate you. He'll do everything in his means to defeat you, to break your stand. But his most effective weapon is to ignore you, to let you have your way this one time. Because, as things stand today, a customer demanding honest service is merely an irritant, an anomaly, an outlier in a statistical distribution for him. An outlier hardly changes the overall distribution which anyway is heavily biased toward hopeless resignation that we all have submitted to through years of defeat and subjugation. It costs them nothing to let you go if you are merely one outlying point against a million points which have meekly and hopelessly fallen in line.

Power to Aam Aadmi. I have asked this question earlier. I ask it again. What excites us so much about the Aam Aadmi getting the power to rule? Do we really think that this Aam Aadmi and our politicians are two different creatures? They are both products of their respective circumstances, and fundamentally behave in an identical manner: opportunistically.

Vote for AAP. Am I asking you not to vote for AAP? No! I still feel they are a viable alternative to an already devastated governance. We don't lose anything by bringing them in.

I also feel that one of the most valuable contributions of AAP to the Indian society has been to bring in a wave of hope in the middle class in particular. Though, some of their moves have disillusioned people, and have surely marred their chances as a political party, the waking-up effect they have had on us is for real and undeniable. I anticipate that this year, a distinctly larger portion of Indian population will exercise their voting rights. Not all, or even most, of these additional votes will go to AAP. But whoever people may vote for, they will. That, more than anything else, is a fundamental change, and a ray of hope for all of us. I would give a part of the credit for this to AAP.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Meditation for a 5-Year Old

I think Vigyan is no different than other kids of his age in that he is the most distracted when he's studying. All our attempts in coaxing and forcing him to concentrate beyond a few minutes have met with little success so far. This morning, when in the middle of his task of writing अ and आ some number of times, the tigers and elephants and penguins and robots and demons in his head all started their show in full glory.

So, I tried a new trick today. Told him, 'Look! Your mind is playing tricks on you. Whenever you want to concentrate, it will tell you, "Let's think about the tiger." When it does that, don't listen to it. Tell it, "No, no! I am going to do my work."'

Vigyan -- surprisingly -- was receptive. The idea of his brain breaking into two pieces, each with its own identity, was probably very satisfying to his imaginativeness. So, he seems to liked the idea. Said, 'OK.'

And then every 2 seconds, he went: 'Nono nono nono ...'

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Stand-by Students

During My Lecture

What's common between the students and computer Screens?

When your computer screen goes into a standby, it comes back up on the first mouse click.

When you are in the middle of a particularly wordy part of your lecture, revelling inside at the beauty of the strings of words you are spinning out, the class in front of you quietly slips into a standby mode. the faces go dead, the eyes turn glassy. And I am sure a very colourful screensaver program comes up on their mind's screen.

And when you end your discourse with the simplest of questions, you realise that your words would as well have been spent on empty desks and benches and the classroom walls. It takes the entire class a while to realise that a question has been asked and that they are supposed to respond. You see a phenomenon very similar to your laptop screen coming alive when you click your mouse after a gap of inactivity: they fidget, the faces become alive, the eyes look startled.

However, one thing that these students do which a laptop would never do when coming back from stand-by is to ask: 'Excuse me Sir! Could you repeat the question (mouse-click)?'

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fursat ke Raat Din

I wonder what would have been the state of Physics knowledge today had Newton been busy checking his facebook status when the apple fell.

We are so busy these days! People have no time for anything. They are constantly checking up the Net for the next interesting update on their social network: who is feeling bloated after a heavy lunch? who is not feeling like working after a 'spirited' weekend? Who has just made a banana pudding or something? How important!

It's hard to have anyone's undivided attention for any significant time because they must look at their phone once every few seconds. Deep discussions, that one life-saving, relation-building, intellect building, thing we used to do with our friends are now a thing of the past. 

Talking of our kids, they don't know how to deal with open time, open space. We used to wait with bated breath for half an hour of Mickey and Donald on Sunday mornings. Our kids have 24 by 7 uninterrupted supply of Doraemons, Ninja Hattoris, Chhota Bheem, Thomas and his Friends etc etc. A moment by themselves, and they become irritable.

For us as children, the state of boredom was probably the most important trigger for creativity. When those summer vacations turned out to be longer than could be filled up with cricket, hide-n-seek, game of cards, climbing trees, chit-chats -- that when our drawing kits used to come out, visits to the library became an option. Creativity was not an option, it was an essential survival tool for us. There was no format, no classes, no costs. Identify things you love doing, or get bored.

Today, various expensive tests have to be done to find out your talent. Tennis classes you stop going to after a few days, swimming classes you discontinued because of your allergy, singing, piano, drawing, abacus ... thousands and thousands spent to find that one perfect match for your talent.

We like to believe that everything is custom-made for us. That one life-partner, that favourite food item, the perfect profession, the only artistic expression. The pursuit for perfection leads us to react in a bored way to almost everything that comes our way. Our lover must sweep us off our feet. The best cuisine must give you an orgasm. We should be in a profession where we love every moment of our day.

I mean, come on!

I know, for the above banter, I am going to be branded the typical old-school guy who can't tolerate how technology affects our lives. But we are probably the last generation left here who can tell what it means to really go unplugged, offline. Our kids will never know that feeling, except as rare moments of complete despair.

Anyway, I wanted to make it a quick one. I had thought of it many times, but felt inspired to write this out inspired from a similar post from one of my friends today about how people have started depending on facebook trivia to express themselves and find interest in life.

We are so strange! On the one hand, we keep whining about how busy we are; how nice the days were when we had free time. On the other, we greet fleeting moments of leisure and emptiness with complete boredom and apathy!

Thursday, March 06, 2014


Do you know what an interesting thing I have been doing off late? Spending several hours in the library - reading, working! I don't carry my computer or phone along. These are moments of almost complete concentration and amazing productivity. 

Just to be honest, the real reason for doing so is not a meditative mind, but a mind completely messed up with constant interruptions -- students, office, facebook ... My office is like a marketplace of distractions.

This is something I haven't been doing off late; for a long time, in fact. I don't remember when I have ever done it. I was a regular visitor to libraries when I was a kid. That was pre-Internet era, remember! But I would never really sit in a library and study. I would borrow and return books, browse the shelves may be. But would never sit there and read.

This new-found experience is therefore a first-time experience for all practical purposes. And though, right now, the library serves sort of a negative purpose -- that of hiding from commotion, I hope to turn it into a purely positive one -- wherein I go there seeking something, rather than hiding from something I dread.

If this goes on, this surely finds a place in my 2014 achievements!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Some Obvious Points

Everyday, I meet n number of my foreign-returned Indian friends who endlessly lament about how bad and unsafe the Indian roads are and how they have no other go but to use a car to go out on them. And here we have an American post-doc scholar at IIITB named Ryan, an MIT PhD, who cycles down everyday about 13-14 km to Electronics City from HSR Layout where he is put up. On being asked about how it is, he says very nonchalantly: 'It just takes 30-40 minutes. That's about the time I used to bike to work everyday in US. So, it's OK.'

I'm conscious that I am using the power that the white skin and names like MIT have on us Indians to drive home some points which should have been rather obvious: 
  • that 'we' are the reason for our bad roads, 
  • that cycling is good for everything -- your health, your wallet, and the environment, 
  • that the reason we can't dump our car is not because of bad roads, it's because of our false sense of status  and/or pure laziness.

Monday, February 03, 2014

At Crowne Plaza, Electronics City, Bangalore

Vigyan and I visited Hotel Crowne Plaza on a Sunday morning in September 2013. Bangalore Literature Festival was on there. There was a message from our arts enthusiasts' group that members would gather there and would do group sketching. However, no one turned up except us, it seems. So, we father-son fooled around a bit, shared a sugar candy, took some photos, attended a live interview of Mr. Gulzar, and then returned. This painting is done from one of the photos we took.


Sunday, January 05, 2014

2013 Balance Sheet

2013 was momentous! It's marked by some mega-events of my life. And it's dotted with millions of moments lived with an attitude that made me feel more happy, complete, magnanimous, humble, alive, than ever before.


  1. Became a teacher – finally!
  2. Bought a house.
  3. Kept cycling, climbing steps. With the above job change, I got rid of my 4 hour daily commute. Now, I cycle to my office. I also have kept up the habit of taking the steps in my apartment. 6 floors up, 1-2 times a day, done for a long time is a small but definite addition to my health.
  4. Water colouring. My attempts at water colouring saw a visible upswing this year. My paintings have started looking more fresh and confident. My feeling of struggle reduced too.
  5. Singing. Well, I have always played down my musical side. Partly because I never felt I had much potential. This year, I started some of those shortcomings wither, which I used to think of as inherent characteristics of my voices, starting to go.
  6. Family time. Has been better than ever before
  7. Learned mindfulness better:

  • Handling anxious moments

    • Preparing
    • Faith in myself
    • Comfort in discomfort. This has been an important step in overcoming my long-standing starting problem. Lack of clarity, ambiguity, uncertainty etc. used to paralyse me (they still do) before I was to start something. I have made a start to ignore these feelings when I know that what I want to do is good on other more objective measures.
    • Self forgiveness. I consider this new found attitude to be the main reason why I have seen improvements in many of my endeavours (singing, painting etc.)
    • Breathing while yet not there. It's a part of a bigger attitude change of not wanting everything to be settled in order to feel comfortable. Human mind will never stop aspiring. Therefore, there's never going to be a moment in life when there's nothing pending. Pining for the elusive state of completeness is a big mistake. Life is now, at the moment. Breathe.


    No swimming, no Yoga. I started these all with great gusto, but was interrupted. Swimming stopped simply because the chlorine in the swimming pool of our apartment would giving me terribly burning eyes. While practising Yoga, I seem to have overdone something which made me feel very unwell at a point. I couldn't get back after that.
    No publications again. My last 4 years have been without any publications! It's very bad patch. I have been doing research, have been getting results, but haven't published anything. You may think I got lots of rejects. Wrong. I never submitted any of my work. Don't ask me why!
    Writing, drawing, reading. They saw a down-turn towards the last few months. All blames to my new job, which has consumed my time like a black-hole.

    Lessons Learnt

    Leave certain details for the last moment. Rely on your ingenuity.
    Don't curse yourself for everything that goes wrong.
    Depend on others.
    Breathe when in distress.

    New Year Challenge

    Of course, I would like continue concentrating on leading a more wholesome life -- moment by moment. But I am not perfect, and discovering my own weaknesses and winning over them remains an integral part of the fun.

    Fear of Failure

    My greatest challenge has been my deep rooted shyness/fair of rejection/fear of failure. Much of what I do, therefore, remains with me. On the one hand, this continues to prevent my achievements – however small they may have been – from being seen and recognised. But on the other, and more importantly, it has robbed me from the advantages of continuous practice, and quick , constructive feedback.

    The next one year will be a time to work on my deep-rooted low self-confidence. I must offer to the world whatever I have to offer without fretting too much about how good it is. For this, even if I have to face competition, I must not get dissuaded (I still have an uneasy feeling about this, though). What concrete stuff can I do?
    • Write more technical stuff. Submit papers.
    • Write more non-technical stuff. Approach publishers.
    • Speak more. Find fora where willing listeners gather.

    Taking Breaks

    Another art I need to work on is to take breaks. I mean – real, worry free, rejuvenating, recreational, re-charging breaks.

    I would like to improve feeling comfortable in incomplete states, so that the act of completion is a voluntary choice, not a chore or punishment. I feel, I need to keep observing how many times I have survived – no, succeeded – after starting with nothing in hand. Faith should then grow, automatically.