Tradition or Relevance ?

Society: I think it’s time for some change

Brahmins: I agree. Tell me. We will change our ways of living

S: I know y’all can’t cross seas. But we’re going abroad to work

B: It’s cool. We will adapt. We will come too, in fact, we will come there and build temples and eat pizza

S: There are these new technological products to help enhance the kitchen. Fridges, grinders, ovens and so forth

B: I will take them all

S: And about clothing. These suits from the west..

B: I will take them all, sleeveless is okay – its hot these days.. global warming you know!

S: And the internet, smartphones, virtual reality

B: Already have it. Just updated my phone, my son-in-law’s cousin’s friend works in Microsoft. I got this.

S: And about those new age jobs, working from home, internet economy!

B: Already on it, social drinking with colleagues also okay – you have to build network to get job at Google no?

S. Round the clock electricity, air conditioning, movies, adventure sports, WhatsApp rumours

B: Do you even have to ask? I am also youngster, I will also trek.

S: My NRI cousin is marrying a White American. What do you feel about that?

B: She was brought up in western culture no? As long as we have a brahmin wedding , we are okay. We can have extra Church wedding if you want!

S: I guess they’re all done. Now about those thousands of priest positions. We were going to employ Dalits for 6 of them – they can learn vedas and we can give them employment. And we need to talk about intercaste marriage too.

B: WTF. Is there no room for traditions? Why do you have to oppress us like this? Why are you snatching away our way of life? This is a direct attack on our way of life and we will have none of it. There’s no justice in this world! I will post about you on facebook in my caste groups. Liberalism is a disease in India. Where’s the line? Where are our ways of living! Guruji! Oh lord. The world has finally come to this! what will you ask for next? Non veg eating tenants? What will my NRI uncles think about us. Oh kalyug has come! The world is doomed!

Note: Based on a true incident.

In a world where everything is changing all too quickly, do we want to get stuck in an archaic past or lend ourselves relevant to modern times?

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Focusing on what I can control…

What would happen –

if we chose to:

Get better at setting and honoring deadlines

Help one more person, each day

Sit in the front row

Ask a hard question every time we go to a meeting

Give more and take less

Learn to master a new tool

Ask why

All of these are choices, choices that require no one to choose us or give us permission.

Every time I find myself wishing for an external event, I realize that I’m way better off focusing on something I can control instead.

Reblogged from Seth Godin’s blog

I’m sorry, but can you repeat that again?

Can you say “I don’t know” about all sorts of stuff to anyone anymore?

Especially in a world where you can google for the right answer in a fleeting moment?

How can we ever cultivate the humility of admitting, that in the zillions of data surrounding you, it’s okay if  you are not aware of a tiny speck of it?

Yet we , including myself, sometimes nod along even if we don’t completely understand.

The billion dollar question – What if I sound stupid?

And that’s when I mentally remind myself about this brilliant wait-but-why post on taming our inner mammoth – which so cares so deeply about what would people think?

Touche! Yes, It’s easier said than done.

In the beginning of my foray into the GS world, I asked a ton of “I don’t know” questions mainly capitalizing on the benefit of being new. Now armed with 2.5 years of “experience”, I am supposed to be fairly knowledgable. But I still don’t know 90% of the banking-tech world completely.

So , I have decided that I will continue asking why until I am old. How old? That’s a rhetoric question because I have decided that I will be young until I die. Youth is not an age – it’s an attitude.

But there are two rules –

1) “You shall never ask the same question twice.”

2) “You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.” 

Happiness is…

Thanks to a recommendation from a good friend, I watched this movie “Hector and his search for happiness” yesterday night!

While not completely novel, the movie touched me in parts where the protogonist tries to define happiness in his quest to be a better psychiatrist for his patients. He travels across the world to China, Africa and US to find out what makes people happy.

His brown doodled travel journal has his following quips :

  1. Making comparisons can spoil your happiness
  2. Happiness often comes when least expected
  3. Many people only see happiness in their future
  4. Many people think happiness comes from having more power or more money
  5. Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story
  6. Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains
  7. It’s a mistake to think that happiness is the goal
  8. Happiness is being with the people you love; unhappiness is being separated from the people you love
  9. Happiness is knowing that your family lacks for nothing
  10. Happiness is doing a job you love
  11. Happiness is having a home and a garden of your own
  12. It’s harder to be happy in a country run by bad people
  13. Happiness is feeling useful to others
  14. Happiness is to be loved for exactly who you are
  15. Happiness comes when you feel truly alive
  16. Happiness is knowing how to celebrate
  17. Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love
  18. Happiness is not attaching too much importance to what other people think
  19. The sun and the sea make everybody happy
  20. Happiness is a certain way of seeing things
  21. Rivalry poisons happiness
  22. Women care more than men about making others happy
  23. Happiness means making sure that those around you are happy

And to add my own, Happiness is being together with my better half 🙂

Why the world no longer needs religion

I have come to believe, increasingly over the last three years, that we no longer need religion and that, honestly, it is doing more harm than good in the world today.

This is not an attack on a single or specific religion. I think all of them have failed humanity equally.

If religion began as an explanatory guide for the unknown in the universe, it has stayed as a tool in the hands of rulers, the rich and the privileged as a means to control information, wealth and knowledge. Supporters argue that religion is needed in the world today as a source of morality and conscience. However, the idea of morality founded upon the fear of punishment is laughable. Such morality is fickle and dangerous.

At the heart of it all, the question is, do we need God to be “good”? I would argue that we don’t because several reputed atheists are known to be philanthropists, doctors, businessmen, scientists: people who have changed the world for the better. Similarly, there is such a thing as a religious murderer, a convict or a felon. Religion has certainly not kept someone from being “bad” and religion is not a pre-requisite in order to be or do “good.”

In fact, recent history would suggest that the opposite is true. Religion and religious fervor have fed some of the bloodiest events in human history. Planes crashed into buildings; a short, mustached man practically decimated an entire people; and in 2014, seven gunmen walked into a school in Peshawar and shot down children. I have yet to find a science which can explain that. If humans are increasingly using God to be “bad,” then His usefulness in inspiring “good” is not balancing the odds.

I can practically hear the arguments being screamed at me: it is not religion that is bad, it is the people who use it for their malicious ways. I agree. Think of it as giving a person a scalpel and advising them to use it for surgery. If the person repeatedly uses the scalpel to stab people, it is not the fault of the scalpel, certainly. But perhaps, it is time to take the scalpel away. Perhaps the person is better off without any sharp objects, especially if the world has moved on and away from scalpels to perform surgeries.

Are we still motivated by God to be “good”? Perhaps some people are. Should we need God as a crutch to be “good”? If we take the crutch away, does that necessarily mean a society with cruelty, discrimination, hatred, poverty and violence? Oh wait, we are already there.

Irrespective of whatever good religion has done for the world till date, my argument is that religion will become a toxic force for the future if allowed to continue. Religion has outgrown its usefulness.

The world today is a more complicated and knowledgeable place than the early eras of human development. Forces that propagate homophobia, misogyny and slavery have no place in the modern world. Instead of dismissing only the offending components of religion as many proponents like to do, however, I call to dismiss the institution as a whole.

Challenges that face the world today like climate change, hunger, income disparity, nuclear threats, rising global population and terrorism need rational, intelligent legal, social and economic transformative action. Religion not only propagates and furthers scientific illiteracy it also is part of a much larger social machine used by the wealthy and privileged to further individual agendas.

Let’s not forget that a major religious leader visited one of the most AIDS ravaged parts of the globe and advised against the use of contraceptives and that nearly a century after the Scopes trial public school boards still spend enormous money and effort in fighting for the right to teach evolution. Just last week, a religious organization took to the Supreme Court because they believed that having to sign a waiver opting out of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate somehow infringed on their religious liberty: if you use contraceptives and if the State makes me implicit in granting you access to it, it violates my religious freedom. Unfortunately, debates of this nature are not infrequent. American society is drowning in arguments where religion pokes its nose in places that are, frankly, none of its business.

It is shameful that a nation founded on the principles of liberty and equality had to fight so long and hard to ensure the right of marriage for its gay citizens. If the separation of church and state was truly a tangible ideal in America, this right would have been secured years ago. Yet, gay hate crimes fueled by religious discord are a reality today. If a major coffee shop/restaurant chain franchise cannot decorate their cups the way they want to without coming under attack for being “anti-Christian,” it is a hint that we are taking religion way too seriously: Oh, you don’t celebrate Christmas. You must be anti-Christian.

The harms of religious adamancy are worse in developing countries, and easily more apparent. Setting aside ISIS, the Islamic militia and the much-publicized religion-associated violence that exists in the Middle East, religious belief can pervade the consciousness of a nation so much that it can hold back progress and economic growth. For instance, recently, in India’s centuries old Padmanabhaswamy Temple (miles away from my hometown), gold and jewelry treasures worth nearly 22 billion USD were uncovered by a public interest litigation action. Massive outrage from religious organizations and the public resisted the monetization and use of the treasure toward India’s growing trade deficit.

This is no longer about religious freedom and expression. This is social irresponsibility and apathy because, while the idol of a religious deity lies swathed in gold, silver and diamonds, less than twenty feet from the temple are workers who make less than a dollar a day and half of the nation’s children go to bed hungry. They certainly don’t need religion.

Reblogged post from http://www.dukechronicle.com

Strive to do the best you can!

“You can not make a spoon that’s better than a spoon”

Umberto Eco said that when he was talking about the form of paper books.

But I think it raises a challenge for just about anyone who seeks to do something truly great in the world of design (in any of its forms):

Can you invent a thing for which no one will ever invent a better version of it?

Certainly, Dylan has done that for dozens of his songs.

And Frank Lloyd Wright did it with ‘Falling Water’. No one will ever build a better version of it.

But Like A Rolling Stone and Falling Water are specific instances of general ideas (songs and houses). Not quite the same as Eco had in mind.

But you know what, that’s probably worth aiming for regardless.

Can you make the thing you make next to be spoonlike in its unimprovableness?

– Reblogged from Seth Godin

Where did all the good jobs go?

They didn’t head to other countries or even down the street.

The good jobs I’m talking about are the ones that our parents were used to. Steady, consistent factory work. The sort of middle class job you could build a life around. Jobs where you do what you’re told, an honest day’s work, and get rewarded for it.

Those jobs. Where did they go?

The computer ate them.

For a hundred years, industrialists have had a clearly stated goal: standardized workers building standardized parts.

The assembly line was king, and the cruel logic of commodity economics pushed industrialists to improve productivity. They did this by improving the assembly line and, when they could, by paying workers less.

We invented public school to give the industrialists enough compliant workers. More supply meant that they could pay people less. More supply meant that the terms of the deal were in their hands.

But as the economy grew, the demand for workers for these jobs grew as well. It fueled a housing boom, a retail boom, a mass marketing boom.

The computer (and the network it enabled) turbocharged this race toward cheaper and faster.

The computer patiently measures and reports.

And the network creates value in connection.

The connection economy values the bridges between the nodes as much as the nodes themselves. Uber is worth more than the independent cars it connects.

So, the computer:

First, if you (the owner of the means of production, the boss, the industrialist) can find a supplier who can make a part for less, you will, and you did.

Second, once you can parcel work among your employees, you can measure them ever more closely and figure out how to maximize what you get (and minimize what you pay).

Third, computers make patient, consistent, cheap workers. When you can train a CNC machine or a spreadsheet to do a job better than a person can, odds are you will.

It’s difficult to overstate how powerful this three-part shift is.

125 years ago, the Singer sewing machine was one of the most complicated consumer products ever constructed. Every part in every machine was hand fitted to work. Replacement parts had to be hand tweaked to fit. Without craftsmen, there was no chance such a machine would exist.

Today, it’s possible to build just about anything merely by specifying existing parts, sending them to an assembly shop and accepting delivery. If any provider along the supply chain wants to charge extra for their commodity contribution, the creator can switch suppliers.

Today, the typical worker serves the computer. Only a few have computers that work for them.

Sure, there are still pockets of work that are essentially unmeasured or unique enough that they’re difficult to replace. This is where the remaining ‘good jobs’ exist.

For the rest, though, the first brick in the wall is clear: Either you serve the computer or it serves you. Either you are working on spec to create a commodity, or you are using new tools to create disruptions and to establish yourself as the linchpin, the one we can’t easily live without.

It happened to machine tool operators and to radiologists as well. It happened to travel agents, to lawyers, to the local shopkeeper as well.

And the network? What about the connection economy?

Some have voted to cut themselves off from the network. In some ways, this isolationism is understandable. In the race to the bottom, a key job of our government is to build rails, to set limits, to ensure that standards are met. On top of that, we must work to ensure citizens are trained for what they can do next. When that doesn’t happen, it’s easy to blame the network, because it acts like a leaky pipe, not satisfying the people who have signed up to use it.

But the connection economy creates value. Not for everyone, not all the time, but it gets adopted because it works. Pareto optimality can’t be repealed–people and organizations working together are more productive than those working alone.

Our short-term challenge isn’t to get the good jobs back. That’s truly unlikely. No, the challenge is to embrace a different form of education and training for a different world. And we must build and maintain a safety net as we go through this transition. People didn’t ask for this revolution to happen.

[A surprising book on this topic, worth a read.]

It’s not a matter of paying for it. In the winner-take-most world of the connection economy, there’s plenty of wealth being amassed, and there’s no reason to believe that society benefits from dramatic inequality. Creating pathways out of this inequality is what governments do when they’re doing their job.

During the last forty years, as the computer and the network destroyed the system that our schools were built for, we (from the top down, and also, most definitely, from the bottom up) did almost nothing to change the schools we built.

Parents and the institutions they fund closed their eyes and only paid attention to SAT scores and famous colleges.

When a pre-employed person says, “I don’t know how to code and I’m not interested in selling,” we need to pause for a moment and think about what we built school for. When he continues, “I don’t really have anything interesting to say, and I’m not committed to making a particular change in the world, but I’m pretty good at following instructions,” we’re on the edge of a seismic shift in our culture. And not a positive one.

No, the good jobs aren’t coming back. But yes, there’s a whole host of a new kind of good job, one that feels fundamentally different from the old days. It doesn’t look like a job used to look, but it’s the chance of lifetime if we can shift gears fast enough.

You don’t have to like this shift, but ignoring it, yelling about it, cutting ourselves off from it is a recipe for a downward spiral. It’s an opportunity if we let it be one.

Reblogged from http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

On parents

Re-posted from a shared article on Facebook. Resonated…


My mom once asked me, “Dhruv, you aren’t dating any girl… you aren’t gay right? (smiling) Right? (stops smiling) Right?”

This happened a couple of years ago. What followed was a one-hour argument, starting with “What if I was?”

After breaking through various barriers,
“But it’s not natural”
“Okay, but it can be cured”
“Okay, but I hope you aren’t”
“Okay, but what about grandchildren”
“Okay”
We finally got to: “Are you? It’s okay. You can tell me.”

(And also “Dhruv, you can’t find a girl because you’re fat”. I ignored that. One social issue at a time!)
Which brings me to my point:
As a youngster, the biggest service you can do to society is telling YOUR parents they’re wrong. And man our parents are wrong. They’re wrong a lot.
My parents have taught me a lot. They’ve encouraged and inspired me endlessly, and surely are the coolest parents I know, but the most important thing they’ve taught me is to question authority, even theirs.
I have many close friends who regularly share liberal anti-racist, anti-sexist posts online, but have accepted that they won’t, for example, “get married outside their community”. You aren’t helping. You are the disease you so righteously claim to be trying to cure.
While preaching peace to our generation, we ignore our parents generation, where, even in the most open minded homes, phrases like, “look at her clothes” “these <insert group/religion/caste here> are all the same”, are uttered in not-so-hushed tones.
Today, the biggest propagators of the notion of rape culture, caste system, racism, islamophobia, homophobia etc are your parents generation, however latent it may be. Do not ignore it because you think you’re respecting your parents. You aren’t. You are disrespecting them by letting them become socially irrelevant.If you trace it, squash it.
Let it be an argument, a fight, a stand off, but don’t give up on your parents by silently letting them be carriers of social evils.So, stop preaching online. Look behind your computer screens at the wrinkled little lovable bigot you’re living with. If you love them, tell them they’re wrong. They’re wrong a lot.
Let’s make the world a better place, one parent at a time.

10 things I have learnt from my 2 year career stint!

  1. Apart from jobs like academic professions like medicine or law, job requirements are largely negotiable — you just have to prove that you can bring value to the table. Be willing to “break the rules” a bit.
  2. The combination of believing that you can get to almost wherever you want to be, having discipline, and having insecurity about where you are is the formula for a successful, impactful career. Embrace that feeling of inadequacy. Keep learning.
  3. What’s realistic for you is entirely predicated on what you’ve been exposed to. We all fear what we do not understand. Once you have been exposed to it and understand it, it’s not scary anymore. Follow successful people, read their books, listen to their interviews, study what they did to get where they are — and eventually, those crazy unrealistic dreams will become realistic for you.
  4. Do what you enjoy doing, and be great at it. Everything else will come.
  5. Surrounding yourself with the right people could lead to more opportunities than any company could ever give you.
  6. Be patient. Don’t be afraid to take one step back today to take two steps forward tomorrow.
  7. In the beginning of your career, your technical skills matter the most.You get tested on how well you can use excel, or write code, or design products, etc.But as time goes on, those technical skills start to matter less. How you interact with people starts to matter a lot more. And it’s true, being good at what you do matters. But you need much more than that. You need to know how to navigate the world of office politics. You need to figure out how to add value outside of your role.You need to figure out what your company needs, and give it to them — even if they don’t tell you what it is. Network constantly and learn to sell yourself.
  8. Real education starts after college. Successful people read as much as one book a week sometimes. They listen to podcasts. They go to conferences. They read research papers. They talk to other people who are doing big things.That’s how they’re able to “connect the dots” between seemingly unrelated subjects, and use that insight to land more opportunities.
  9. Always get more exposure. After you accomplish anything professionally, get online and write about it.Help someone who was once in your shoes trying to figure things out.Exposure builds credibility.The bigger the audience you have, the more people will take you seriously.
  10. Someone who expects to be “set for life” after getting a job at a brand name company is probably screwed. No job is objectively good or bad. It’s what you make of it.

Finally,

Alex Banayan said it best:

“[All highly successful people] treat life, business, and success… just like a nightclub.

There are always three ways in.

There’s the First Door, where 99% of people wait in line,hoping to get in.

There’s the Second Door, where billionaires and royalty slip through.

But then there is always, always… the Third Door. It’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, climb over the dumpster, bang on the door a hundred times, crack open the window, and sneak through kitchen. But there’s always a way in.

Whether it’s how Bill Gates sold his first piece of software, or how Steven Spielberg became the youngest director at a major studio in Hollywood — they all took the Third Door.” — Alex Banayan

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