These are the best of the times. I feel that fervour of getting things done, no matter what it takes, return in me; which had gone away in last few years. During my last year at IITK, two years at IIML and another two years in corporates. The initial months at Google had given me some optimism, but it faded away very soon after the initial ecstasy subsided and I started taking the stock of the real situation.
There is much uncertainty in life. Things are not going at a pace I would want them to go. They are slow. Too many dependencies. But its still an ecstatic time. I am unable to sleep. And its not because of depression. Its because of excitement. The next thing I would like to try out to make things work! They are quite mundane most of the time. But the sheer joy of getting it done is marvelous. The world may not think much of some of these small, little achievements. But they fill me with a satisfaction that being a batch topper at IIML and all the ensuing press coverage could never bring. Its not a smooth ride, but it feels good. Does not matter where I land, I would not regret these days ever in my life. The sheer joy of trying.
I was talking to a friend the other day. She was feeling depressed. She had chosen a different path too, and found that what she had chosen out of passion was just another day’s work for most of his colleagues. She is not finding companions there. And it is making her depressed. Among other things. The things she had fancied doing are not really happening. We had a long chat. The only thing I was trying to convey to her that she needs to get out of that feeling that she has no other options. She has options. I don’t know if it was for real, but at the end of it, she said she was feeling better. I don’t know whether she actually believes in it now, but I think she got at least some faint hint of how powerful having options make you feel. If you have done one of those negotiation skills related courses, you have probably come across BATNA i.e. Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. When you trying to negotiate something, you should clearly have the alternatives ready, in case the negotiations fail. The stronger your BATNA is, more powerful you are in your negotiations. You have the options! The concept of BATNA came in some of my MBA courses too. Funnily enough, I remember one of them was an Operations course, called Materials Management. It took me a while to recall why did it come there. It was a lecture on dealing with Vendors I guess – negotiation was inevitable.
Another friend writes about having a good life, but the research going slow. Now, I no longer get alarmed when one of my Ph. D. aspirant friends tell me that. Because all of them say the same thing and that seems to be the way of life. Funnily, even as an entrepreneur I find that things are going slow. How fast do we want to go? Things do not ever move fast enough for us? And yet, all the time we are complaining about stress, work-load, not having time etc. etc. Or is is the endless effort involved in getting things to move faster that is stressing us out.
Today I am not stressed. But I was unable to sleep and I wanted to write. And yet I did not feel like writing about the movie I watched and liked (U Me Aur Hum – Abhaya is proclaimed that I am partiality towards these badly named movies – half English, half Hindi. Some of the readers may be able to see the reference to the ‘Jab We Met experience!). I also did not feel like writing about the couple of books I finished. Third book of Jhumpa Lahiri, called ‘Unaccustomed Earth’. It was a disappointment. Not because the subject matter was the same again. But because the story telling was missing. It seemed like random pages from diaries of people. You see some stories building up, and then they are forgotten. Leaves you feeling fooled. Also read ‘Dream’ by H. G. Wells. I have only read ‘Invisible Man’ before this by him. But I guess he is an exceptional Science Fiction writer, whom I can read and almost like. Otherwise Science Fictions are not to my taste. Believers in astrology wonder as to how that could be, me being an Aquarian. Aquarians apparently live in future! Btw, my American companions on the APM tour sponsored by Google had said that Tokyo is future… I am not sure I could survive there with language and food. Although, I kind of liked the city.
I was reading a short story, which had an incident where three friends returned late at night after some of their activist work and found themselves locked out the house, when the other residents were fast asleep. They had to jump in through balcony or something. Reminded me of an old incident. It was after I had shifted to Purnia and was before I went to Navodaya. So, I was between 7.5 and 10 years old – I don’t know exactly how old. We have several relatives in Purnia. Not all of them are very close, relationship wise. For example this cousin, whose wedding night it was, is a cousin from my mom’s side (mauseri bahan to be exact). The way we are related is that my maternal grand father and her maternal grand father are cousins. Both of them dead now. The grand fathers I mean. Anyway, so it was the wedding of the cousin. We stayed in the same locality. So, it was obvious that many of the guests would sleep at our house. Me and a cousin, who was couple of years older to me, and was a real sister of this cousin getting married, came home early. We were unable to remain awake the whole night to watch the wedding ceremonies. We slept off. Mom had told us to not lock the door behind us. But at some point of time both of us got very scared, because the whole house on the ground as well as first floor was empty (on account of the wedding), and it was dark and we heard (or imagined) some funny noises. So, we locked the door and fell asleep. Much later in the night, my mom returned with a bunch of other guests, mostly women and older girls. And of course, there was complete commotion with them banging the door furiously for at least an hour. Finally, one of the cousin brothers took courage to go around the house, hold himself by the window rails of the first floor, and slightly tug us with a bamboo (or was it a broom) to wake us up. Despite his gentle manners, we woke up totally scared and refused to move for a good 15 minutes after that. Anyway, finally they all were let in. But it was to remain a joke on us for many years to come. Those people are fading in my memory now. I don’t even get to know when a cousin gets married and another one bears a child. Only occasionally when I am at home during a wedding or something do I hear of it and rarely do I attend these weddings. But in those days, some of these weddings used to be the most exciting things around. Acquiring new brother-in-laws as a result of the said weddings was great fun. The brother-in-law who became the part of the family owing to the wedding mentioned above was a handsome Medical Representative. Writing him letters on the fancy letter pads we got as gifts on birthdays in English used to be a big deal. I still remember how ecstatic I felt when in his reply he had once said that I wrote English well and with some more practice I could indeed write very well. Whoa!
Have been thinking about social networks too. There are still new ones coming up everyday. Some of them are trying to carve a niche for themselves by being around something specific. Movies, Books, Campuses etc. etc. I’m not sure if a mere attempt at positioning them so would be any good, if the features are the same old forums, communities, blogs, upload photos and upload videos. In many of the Orkut communities I see the same games being repeated – totally unconnected with the intent of the community. Rate the person above you, complete the story, play antakshari, would you marry the person above you etc. etc. Some of the communities are doing well, but most seem to be either becoming dormant or falling prey to these disconnected time pass stuff, for which you don’t need yet another community. So, where do these social networks stand chance? Some are doing so by creating relevant content themselves. Good effort. However, when you are talking of the social network, and not just portals, the interaction between users also matter. I propose some kind of editorial control and moderation there. Not to pass on judgment on the quality of the user generated content, but to ensure that they are on topic. That’s all. Let the community do all the rating, ranking etc. Something like a Slashdot model of comments for editorial works may also work very well, where you give some editorial sort of responsibility to active users who have good feedback on their editorial job. More on it later… hopefully!
In case you are trying to find some connection between all the things I have talked about, you did not read the title carefully. It is called “Ramblings…”