Apr 15

Search for happiness

Some movies change you. Into the Wild, is one of them. It’s not yet changed me, but it’s got me thinking a lot. The movie is about Chris McCandless who grew up in Annandale, Virginia, and died at age 24 in a wilderness area of the state of Alaska. After graduating in 1990 from Emory University, McCandless ceased communicating with his family, gave away his savings of $24,000 to OXFAM (charity) and began traveling, later abandoning his car and burning all the money in his wallet.

McCandless headed down the snow-covered trail to Alaska with only ten pounds of rice, a .22 caliber rifle, a camera, several boxes of rifle rounds, some camping gear, and a small selection of literature—including a field guide to the region’s edible plants. He took no map or compass. He died sometime in August, and his decomposed body was found in early September by moose hunters.

Alexander, as he called himself was in search of happiness. There were too many things that were happening at his home. His dad had married twice and Alex had discovered that he was the bastard kid. He completed his education like the good boy; his father wanted him to be.

But soon after his convocation, he decided to leave home in search of true happiness and just to get away from all that was going on at home. He had decided that he had had enough of it. He did not want any education and he did not want his parents to be around him. He could very well do on his own, and be perfectly happy.

I just completed my post graduation, and like Alexander I wonder what is true happiness and how can I achieve it. The pursuit of happiness is endless because no matter what, one can never be truly happy. Like If I am happy with a bike now, I’d want a car later. If I earn 10 lakh now, I’d want more later. There is no limit to happiness, and one cannot define it.

At times, I wonder why we are doing what we are. Do we need to? Life begins each day, waking up, washing up and going to work. Who said we need to work? If we break all social shackles, do we need to make money for anyone? Do we need the money for ourselves? Can’t we just be?

I am pretty sure, come what may one can decently live alone without anyone around in a non-descript place. But then again, what Alexander did, did seem like happiness to him. He enjoyed the 2 years. But during the last few weeks, he had been losing it. It had been more than 9 weeks since he spoke to anyone. By the end of it, he was more lonely than hungry. It’s an irony that just before Alexander died, he mentioned in his diary – “Happiness is when shared”. That’s when he realized happiness is best when you are with people, and what he derogatorily called – society.
I am the kind of person who is perfectly happy alone. There is happiness in being alone, but only for a while. One should learn to enjoy the moments. People all the time around you, can be a pain. It leaves no time for introspection and just being – YOU.

Into the Wild

Maybe one day, I will just take off and head out on my bike into the wilderness. But I will do it with

  • some money in my pocket,
  • a few good books to read,
  • a Swiss knife,
  • a lighter and fluid
  • cigarettes
  • a few pair of clothes
  • a small pistol and some rounds
  • a camera and batteries.
  • NO CELL PHONE

And for people who are reading this, please do learn to spend some alone just with yourself. There is no reason why anyone should call you a loner. It’s not that. One needs to unwind, and its best done alone. Not at parties, not with friends. Just alone.

This is a song from the movie. Long Nights, by Eddie Vedder.

Have no fear
For when I’m alone
I’ll be better off than I was before

I’ve got this light
I’ll be around to grow
Who I was before
I cannot recall

Long nights allow me to feel…
I’m falling…I am falling
The lights go out
Let me feel
I’m falling
I am falling safely to the ground
Ah…

I’ll take this soul that’s inside me now
Like a brand new friend
I’ll forever know

I’ve got this light
And the will to show
I will always be better than before

Long nights allow me to feel…
I’m falling…I am falling
The lights go out
Let me feel
I’m falling
I am falling safely to the ground

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Apr 5

Before I begin writing anything, I would like to put a small disclaimer here. Please don’t expect a direction, a moral, a conclusion or a happy ending in this article. I wrote many paragraphs individually and put them together under one heading - something that just sounded cool and with nothing more to it.

I was 17 when I first left home. That was in 2002 when I joined RVCE, Bangalore. Engineering and hostel life do change a person. After staying in Bangalore for four years, I found my way here. There were phases in engineering and there is a fair share here in MBA as well. I landed here on 13th June, a day after my college exams got over. I had packed up all my stuff in five large bags and simply left from Bangalore. I was out alone here in Pune. On 14th I walked into the auditorium, and I was simply overwhelmed. There was a lot happening around and I had joined a day late. One day means a lot, especially when groups start forming within a few hours of reaching a new place.

There was a weird exuberance all around. Each one of us wanted to make it big in the corporate world. The world was ours for the taking and we were just being fed with all the management jargon right from day one. There was a lot we heard, a lot on the various streams in MBA and so on. What they did not share with us was a dream, a dream that would change the way we thought about life and career. What was told to us was rightfully delivered. I thank SIBM for that, but I was left wanting for more.

Subjects after subjects were poured on us. I swallowed and spit them after exams; I am not sure about others. I steadily believed that all that was taught was useless and we were missing the bigger picture. What would separate us from the MBA brat pack?

Leadership

There is one thing that I did learn at SIBM. And that’s how to be street smart, and be the best at it. I remember by guide (during summers) told me once (incidentally, he is a pass out from SCMHRD, 2001); ‘SIBM grads are the best when it comes to getting the work done’. No respite, no talk, just plain good ol’ solid work. If something needs to get done, he might as well have a SIBMite do it. He knows for a fact that it will get done. Now that’s what we are good at. And that’s the way it should be. Every b-school claims to follow the latest curriculum, have the best faculty, facilities and so on. But there is one thing SIBM is; it truly is the birthplace of smart managers, those of course who get the work done. But we need to go beyond that.

SIBM claims to be the birthplace of business leaders. So what’s been done to make us leaders? And what separates a leader from the rest of the brat pack? What I do know is that winners don’t necessarily make good leaders. Call it the winner’s curse, but the fact remains that they are so used to winning that, they cannot handle failure - of any kind. When you are responsible for people other than yourself, sacrifices and compromises have to be made. Battles must be lost to win the war. You are never a leader until you’ve lost.

It takes a lot of courage to step up to the job, to be unattached to everything else. Knowing that fingers would be pointed, enemies would be strengthened; and friends would be lost along the way. I call it courage under fire. A leader does what has to be done, no questions asked. He isn’t gifted with the luxury of being confused about his prerogatives. His decisions might prove to be unproductive initially but the fact that he was the one who had the stomach to do what nobody else around could makes him stand out as the leader.

As we walk into corporate corridors, one can’t help but wonder how we would perform compared to our peers. It’s been a great run here at SIBM. Life was comfortable. Made some good friends. My stint at SIBM is almost over, and I am asking myself a lot of questions. Would I be able to stand up to the challenge? Would I be able to take the responsibility of my failures with as much bravado as my successes? How will it be when I join work? Will it be more competitive when I join work? Perhaps only time would tell. Until then I just wish I get to learn along the way what stuff true leaders are made of!

A Path Ahead

This post was published in the SIBM Yearbook for the batch of 2008. I would like to thank Niladri Shekhar Das for lending words for the posts, and given it a great depth.

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Apr 1

Google Virgle

So google does it again! And this time its not only Google but also Richard Branson! An April Fools Joke crafted in great detail goes to the extent of even co branding with Virgin! Virgle.

SO what is it this time? 

Colonizing Mars, and actually inviting applications to join the mission as a Pioneer!

Heck, they even went to the extent of creating an online application, you can take the test here. Google totally takes to a all new level this year. Its got FAQs as well! Google actually has a 100 year plan for this!

This is the pitch:
Join our startup civilization
Here’s the Virgle Pioneer pitch: Things will get better. Eventually. Sure, the work will be hard, the broadband rates low, the commodes decidedly open source, and yes, your life might be extinguished in a fiery instant of catastrophic technological malfunction. But your enriched descendants will appreciate your sacrifice, which should render worthwhile your choice to spend the rest of your (perhaps radically foreshortened) life in deprivation and uncertainty.


 Larry and Sergey, all part of the joke!

 
Richard on Virgle!

You can check and discuss the videos here

They finally spill the beans here. Reads,

Sorry, but the page you’re looking for doesn’t actually exist. Why? Well, because…we didn’t have time to build it. Because we didn’t think that particular page was all that important. Because this is just an early version of the Virgle site and lots more pages will be coming down the pike as the project -

— oh, all right. Fine. April Fool’s. Ha, ha, ha. It isn’t real. There. Are you happy? Does it please you to drag us out of our lovely little fantasy world, to crush all our hopes and dreams? Is that really what you need to hear? Fine, you’ve heard it. Virgle isn’t real.

Yet.

Get all the details of Virgle here

Gmail Custom Time

HA! This service claims to set the delivery date to anything you choose, way back to April 1st 2004 When Gmail started. This is what it says:

Yes. You’ll only be able to send email back until April 1, 2004, the day we launched Gmail. If we were to let you send an email from Gmail before Gmail existed, well, that would be like hanging out with your parents before you were born — crazy talk.

A ‘genuine’ testimonial!

“I used to be an honest person; but now I don’t have to be. It’s just so much easier this way. I’ve gained a lot of productivity by not having to think about doing the ‘right’ thing.”

Todd J., Investment Banker

Read More about it here

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Mar 31

There are so many things we watch, do and talk about every day. Be it shopping, eating, driving or just lying down. We feel free and are well equipped to put a point across. But have we ever thought of the objects we use or see everyday? I mean I am sure if they could speak, they could have spoken a hell LOT!!

Let’s take a heap of Lady’s finger or bhindi as we commonly know. We always pick the ones on the top of the heap. Isn’t it unfair to the ones that have been unfortunately placed at the bottom? I mean they are as fresh as the ones on the top, but we are not keen enough to dig deep, we happily pick up the ones on the top. I really feel sorry for the left out ones. And the irony is that by the time the top layer of the heap has been picked and the ones in the bottom are exposed, either they are rotten or another layer of bhindi is poured on top of them. Something like standing in the queue for the ticket of a movie and just as you are about to reach the window, the counter closes with a board oscillating with the “SOLD OUT” sign.

The never ending visits of my not-so-near ones and dear ones made me think about my old bed. It has been bearing the load of all my well fed relatives. It used to complain once in a while by making a squealing noise but sill did a good job. My niece jumped on it, my 101 kg neighbor sat on it, the latest edition to my aunt’s family peed on it and the bed still stands or should I say lies strong.

My old eraser (don’t know how I still have it) has blackened edges now. But still is lying in my pencil box seems to glow with confidence of being used one day. My kid brother does use it at times. I am sure that it must be a real morale booster for the eraser.

I often picture these remix songs walking in fultoo attitude, wearing blinks, long jackets and the aura of glamour around them. They must be feeling so in. Even though they stay only for few weeks, yet they have a solid (positive/negative) impact on us.

They are like wannabe teenagers. They grow on us soon and then we tend to ignore them as we are annoyed by their continuous existence!!

Do send your thoughts about the things you wish could speak . Run your imagination and tell me what they could have possibly said.

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