2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 840 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Advertisements

Everything exists only in language (or yet another drunken soliloquy)

Consider this sentence

“The crow was flying and it fell down”

There is no past unless you talk about it. Again only exists in language. So what you actually have is…. Or what is actually happening is….

“Crow flying” for some time then “Crow on the ground” for some time. So discarding the past that doesn’t exist right now. You get…

“Crow on ground”.

The word ” ground” is a relative term. Can be decoded to “not sky and not in water”.

All these spaces exist, but they are only different in language. So drop that. We get

” Crow is”.

Crow is again a differentiated part of everything. Again only exists in language.

So what is the undifferentiated part of everything. Why “Everything” of course.

Another name for “everything” is our shared reality called “Life”.

So in truth the only real thing that’s happening is “Life”.

“Life is”

Everything you add to this is your story, or their story or someone else’s story. The only Truth in life is “Life is”.

To those out there that will think this is a game of fill in the blanks. Its Not ! I do not mean that Life is what you say it is… Which is true in a way, but that’s for another session.

The truth is

” LIFE IS.” It just IS ! Nothing else is going on !

If you can’t stop yourself from thinking beyond this, consider, you are controlled by language.

Musings on a drive to ooty

Not with standing an eventful night of hacking at my latest fad, hadoop, which ended at about 2Am, I woke up at about 630am to welcome a glorious Ganesh Chathurthi. The plan ? To drive 300 km to ooty !

Maybe its a vaasana from a previous life, or the result of tastes I developed in this lifetime, I am not sure, but you’ll find me happiest in the drivers seat with an open road before me and a full tank behind. That this came to pass is even more miraculous when you consider that as a child I was plagued with motion sickness. Infact I still remember throwing up repeatedly when as a child I was relegated to the passengers seat as we ascended (and descended) the same 36 pins I planned to attack today !

Driving has always meant freedom for me. A long drive is a promise of hours and hours of freedom. The moment you are in the drivers seat you are disconnected from the internet, your phone and the only electronic device you have access to is your GPS. After a few kilometres you no longer need to actively focus. You are in the “Zone”. You’re focus is at a level where it’s almost automatic as long as you keep your energy levels up. This is the point where, for me, I am at my creative best. Ideas, solutions, random thoughts, blog themes they all start surfacing.

We took the exit from nice road towards kanakapura. Immediately you feel the pace of life slow down. Lush greenery interspersed with a few small towns forgotten by time. Somewhere near Kanakapura we had to take a diversion into a small town. It had only two big buildings, the post office and what looked like the municipality head quarters. While the former looked a bit modern with the postal shade of red and the ems speed post sign over the front door. The latter seemed like from another era with wooden pillars in front surrounding dusty steps which led to a raised porch, behind which was the the only entrance to the building. The whole building was covered in pale yellow whitewash. On either side of the steps stood lawyers with their black coats and holding bright red binders in their hands. This building, the mud road, the surrounding small shops, the lawyers, the kids playing cricket on one side of the road and the busy housewives carrying groceries from their morning shopping, all looked like they were straight from a R.K.Narayanan book. Infact I half expected to see Swami run out onto the road rolling a tyre with his stick. I was literally taken to another era.

I must say something about the sky. When I drive, apart from the greenery outside, I always notice the sky. Today the sky was simply breathtaking. Bright sky blue with thick clouds arranged in layers like independent battalions. The clouds were absolutely still with bright white fluffy tops and thick cottony bottom halfs. A few had a dark grey line at the very bottom, promising rain in the near future. They conveyed the feeling of power. You are powerful when everyone waits for what you provide, while for you its a natural process of creation.

The hair pins were a bit of a challenge, constantly shifting between 1st and 2nd gear, but we made good time reaching our hotel in about 7hrs. As we entered the gate of the hotel we were left speechless by the view of the valley below. Lush greenery all around and trees that reach for the sky. Time to relax.

Your life’s work

This might be unsettling for some, (it was for me), but, You are doing your Life’s work right now.

Yes the 9 to 5, the daily grind. Its your life’s work. When you are older and look back you won’t even remember the things you did, unless they are extraordinary. Yet that will be your life’s work.

Doesn’t it, then, make sense to put your life into your life’s work? To rethink what you do, if what you are doing is not what you would ideally be doing?

This is not a question you answer off the cuff on a bad day or a good day. Its a question of your worth to the world. You are a gift to this world, are you being the gift ? Are you utilizing your unique talents for the benefit of the world ? Or are you somehow surviving ? And its not about work, its about everything we do. Are we really being excellent in our daily lives ? Just being excellent betters the world by example.

There’s an amazing revolution happening in the world. People are leaving the straight and narrow to start their own ventures. Ventures with the aim to make the world better in all its aspects, while making money for posterity. We need to bring this drive to all aspects of life. You don’t need to be an entrepreneur but be the CEO of your life !

Lost

Missing people is a big problem in India. The success rate of finding a person who is genuinely lost is dismally low as frankly the police department is not equipped or staffed properly to deal with it. For small children its even lower and tracking a person who cannot communicate like a dumb person or mentally challenged person, it is practically impossible.

My dad went missing last weekend. My dad has Alzheimers disease. Although he is physically fine, he is not able to communicate even the simplest things. From the outset we were told that our chances of ever finding him again were low.

Our first instinct when we were told the news was to get as many people as possible on the road to scan the area. My wife Paluk reached out to everyone we knew while I started the search for dad. The care-taker whose carelessness had put us in this spot told us that he had lost track of dad in Indiranagar.

We posted flyers all over Indiranagar and spoke to passers-by, dhobis, ironing persons, mailmen… anyone if they had seen anyone with a white shirt and white dhoti holding or wearing a blue sweater.

As I walked the streets with a colour photo of him in my hand, the futility of the situation hit me over and over again. I asked myself if I were in the place of the people who were being asked, would I even be able to notice, forget recall an unknown person walking by me. I could only pray that dad would somehow leave an impression on passers-by.

While facing disappointment and discouragement on the one hand, we were also witness to the humanity and sacrifice of the volunteers who came to our side at this trying time.  At any given time we would have 10 – 20 volunteers on the road searching for dad. These people were friends, colleagues, dad’s old colleagues from the navy, even people who had just seen the news on social media and reached out to help. This gave us encouragement and hope that we would find dad soon.

We got a number of sightings once news began to spread. The thing about sightings is that its pretty impossible to verify whether it really was dad or someone who looked like dad or maybe a lie altogether. To deal with this we changed our strategy. We would first show the photo and check for recognition. If a yes, we would ask questions about his dress “What was he wearing?” etc and sometimes throw in a red-herring like “What was the colour of his pants?” (he was wearing a dhoti) to catch any liars. Even with this methodology we still had 10% of the sightings totally off the charts. Looking at the other points a credible story seemed to be appear. In this way we moved from one area to the next, following the most credible of the sightings.

According to the data that fit the story, dad had crossed over to 100 ft rd from domlur and then moved up to kodigehalli and then moved to CMH road and adjoining areas over the course of 3 days.

While the volunteers and I were on the streets doing the search, Paluk went about organizing media coverage such as more pamphlets, putting an ad in the news paper and even getting us sometime on the TV and cable channels. My brother also flew down from the US to help in the search.

Very soon my Dad’s photo was all over the Internet and Dad’s course mates and ex-colleagues from the Navy started calling in to see how they could help. The commander-in-chief of the southern naval command called and assured me that no stone would remain un-turned to see that dad was returned safely. The Navy applied pressure on the police and also provided a few personnel to help in the search. MLA’s and influential persons from bangalore and the center called up the police station to galvanize the police force.

A whatsapp group was created and all the updates appeared there. A friend of mine Albert Bivera from Mumbai pulled in a lot of people into the search and also helped directing the groups via whatsapp.

The search was physically and emotionally taxing. We would go to sleep every day at 2Am only to wake up at 5 Am and continue. To be closer to the place where dad went missing, our friends Srobona Das and Nelson Carvalho offered their place to stay.

Tuesday I reached a point where the emotional turmoil inside and the physical exhaustion on the outside, put me in a zombie state, not having the energy to care anymore but still caring too much to stop. I sat at one of the places dad had already been, hoping that he would return, while directing other groups so that their searches would not overlap.

On Tuesday night we combed a 2 mile radius around Chinmaya mission hospital at night, hoping to catch him while he slept. This was done with a beat policeman Mr Manjunath. No luck.

Wednesday morning all the leads went cold. There were no new sightings of dad. We combed the area around Chinmaya Mission hospital twice that morning, but did not get any new leads. The number of volunteers at that time was very few (more were coming in the afternoon) and we started looking at hiring private detectives to continue the search. We were also thinking of getting colour posters printed and pasting them all over Indiranagar.

For me, the biggest question, was where do homeless people sleep? Any homeless person on the pavements, I learnt, was picked up by the police and handed over to some NGO organization. For healthy homeless people it is usually  the beggars colony in kengeri and for mentally challenged destitutes it is RVM foundation hospital on bannerghatta road. We also found that the places where homeless people can sleep without getting caught by the police are only bda complexes, railway stations and bus stands. We searched all the complexes, stations and bus stands nearby but no luck. A friend of ours sent a photo of dad to RVM foundation to check for dad.

On Wednesday afternoon around 4pm we got news that a 90% match had been found at RVM foundation hospital. We quickly asked for a photo. They responded on whatsapp. The photo was that of my dad, he was found. I rushed from Indiranagar to Bannerghatta rd to verify that it indeed was dad. We didnt tell anyone, as we didnt want to stop the search until we were 100% sure that dad had been found.

I reached RVM hospital by about 5.30 to see my father elated and thanking god to see me. Tears of joy and gratitude to the heavens.

Dad had been found on Tuesday evening in a dried up late near Anekal. The villagers had helped him out and handed him over to an NGO called Niranthara who had in turn handed him over to RVM on wednesday afternoon. We were told at RVM that this was the first time a missing person had been taken home within an hour of arriving.

Dads upper body clothes were clean. He had mud on his feet and hair, but otherwise physically he was fine.

If dad was in Anekal on Tuesday evening, then who were we tracking in Indiranagar? How could a person with no money reach Anekal ? Did the caretaker lie to us about where he lost him in the first place (it turned out he had already lied about the form of transport he had taken and the reason for him going to indirinagar)? If he lied why did he do so?

These questions for the most part will remain unanswered, we have filed complaint against the caretaker to see if there was a bigger plan here.

In conclusion, we are really happy that dad is back and this is a call to us to be more vigilant about his care. We thank all the Volunteers for their help and support and hope we will be able to be of service to you in the future. The police handling of Lost cases, from accepting the FIR to the actual work of finding leaves much to be desired. I hope to contribute there in the future.

What feels like work but isn’t…

I found another danger in the workplace. I suspect Its a quirk of my incentive recognition system, somewhere in my brain.  So it probably doesn’t apply to everyone.

Meetings. 

I know, its old news. 

BUT, the small quirk as I said lies in my head somewhere.

Meetings are a must sometimes and the ones I am talking about are the “needed” kind. The issue is that after a couple of meetings or an especially vocal one, I mean the ones where I have something to say AND I say it, I feel like I have done a lot of work. The issue with that is I feel I have done enough for the day, and spend the rest of the day doing brainless or enjoyable work that wallows in the nether regions of my todo list.

I cant exactly put my finger on the feeling, but it lies between adulation and a standing ovation. It feels like my existence has been validated, My reason for being (in the company) vindicated beyond doubt for the day, “if that is the case then why work?” the conversation goes.

Right now, I am just watching this. I dont know what to actually do about it, but I know its affecting my productivity. Suggestions anyone?.