Friday, October 17, 2014
I've never really been a top achiever. I've never really been the one whose parents could show him off saying he's achieved top grades in class. I've never really been the one getting into "enrichment" classes. I've never been the one who revises before exams; heck I've never finished studying my portions before the exams. I guess I was really never meant to be all that.
I've always always been bored of exams. There are some cases in my life where I've been *so* bored of them that I've chosen to not even write answers to questions because if I did write them, they would be really long.
I just finished my MS a while ago and these qualities still stick with me. So I thought let me take some time and understand myself. Even through the MS program, I've gotten "D" grades because of, surprise surprise - boredom. I knew the answers, I was just bored to write them.
Some part of me, realized early enough that these "exams" were at the end of every semester and that getting good grades in them classified me under the _Good_ student category and that really didn't parse. Even as a kid, in retrospect, that was probably the reason for my crappy performances in them.
I never enjoyed being tested. I've however always enjoyed testing myself. I think that if someone is looking for a quality in the true essence of it and if you possess it, they will find it in you.
Even as a kid, I've always loved learning things. I've loved to take things apart and put them back together. I've always loved to take seemingly unrelated things, put them together and build a story out of them (Read: LEGO).
And I think that every kid, has these qualities. Every kid is inquisitive, it just _needs_ to know what makes that machine work, it _wants_ to take something shiny apart and find the source of the shine, it _yearns_ to experience something new. Every kid is curious. Every kid is daring. Every kid takes risks. Every kid, basically is a kid.
Education takes this away. In the name of teaching skills to take on the "world" around them, educations takes from us the very things that made childhood so fun. In the name of imparting knowledge, education takes from us the ability to _create_ our own knowledge.
One of the greatest things of mankind is our ability to perceive things differently, to perceive things as _we_ see fit, to perceive things from our point of view, to perceive things based on our experiences.
Knowledge has become a single source of truth. It is _preached_ that if all of us don't have parts of said Knowledge, we are not wise and that we don't possess what is required to qualify as residents of the world.
I might even go so far as to say that the only skill that we all need to share and that needs to live as a single source of truth -- is communication. Everything else is ones own. In a world as big as ours, like minded people will find each other and start working on something that they see fit, that appeals to their perspectives and their thoughts.
Personally, I feel that knowledge should be distributed. Everyone should be entitled to his/her own knowledge instead of having a single Knowledge pool which is supposed to be assimilated. Everyone doesn't look at a given object in the same way; we seem to be forgetting that simple fact of life and everyone is forced to think in a single way when fundamentally we are all different people.
If nothing, this seems to be like a propaganda. Like there is some sort of conspiracy behind the whole idea of "education".
Schools and Colleges have become but a business. _Extracting_ money from the parents of the kids in order to impart this said Knowledge. In order to make them "ready" for the world around them.
However there seems to be some places that get this. That understand that teaching is less about _telling_ them that 1+1=2 and more about making them _synthesize_ this information and ask questions about it.
Asking questions, should primarily be the goal of teaching. This quality seems to be the *first* thing that is _stolen_ from the kids. Most teachers encourage kids to ask questions but don't practice it themselves. Teaching, much like management of schools and colleges has also become a business. Teachers teach because it is a 9-3 job and pays decently. There are very few teachers who teach because they love to do it. They fail to understand what a great power they hold, a power to guide an entire generation, a power to *create* change.
I believe the psychology of kids and the way they think is very simple. They follow. That is all there is to it. They tend to look up to people and follow what they do. The simplest example of this is the way they learn to speak their mother tongue - simply by listening and following the lip movements of their parents. Guidance is essential, but the initiator is simple - The need to follow.
We need to understand this and cultivate it. We as teachers shouldn't *tell* our students to do something. We need to *show* them that that is the right thing to do, by doing it ourselves. When they see us doing something, they will also follow it.
To me, that is how education should be. It should be more about motivating the kids to do something that they want to do instead of something that we think they are good at. And they will only find out what they are good at when they ask questions about themselves and about the world around them. In our journey to impart education to our younger generations, this is something we are obligated to teach.
So what happens if we don't do these things?
Nothing really drastic. Some kids will realize these things soon enough and reacting on it. The only problem are the timelines. When they could have gotten this realization eons ago, why delay it? Kids are the next generation, they are the next change. When we have the opportunity to influence this change early enough why shouldn't we do it? The state our country is in right now, we could use change. We could use the next generation. We could use some questions.
So let us teach them. Let us teach them to assimilate. Let us teach them to analyze. Let us teach them to object. Let us teach them to learn. Let us teach them to teach. Let us teach them to travel. Let us teach them to experience. Let us teach them to love. Let us teach them happiness. Let us teach them to fail. Let us teach them to help others. Let us teach them to care. Let us teach them humanity. Let us teach them to look beyond boundaries. Let us teach them to look beyond our world. Let us teach them to look beyond religion. Let us teach them about sacrifice. Let us teach them to not lie. Let us teach them to live up to their word. Let us teach them anything we can. Let us teach them everything we can.
But first, Let us learn these things. Let us teach them, by teaching ourselves.
That to me, is education.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
From August 9th to August 16th I was there. I was in the Himalayas. It had always been a dream and for the one time in my life, I was living my dream. In the course of that one week, I learnt a lot of things. But more importantly I learnt the importance of unlearning something. We are a species that is capable of thought and reason and as a side effect we are able to learn something every single day. But the concept of unlearning goes deeper than just basic thought and reason. Unlearning something requires you to go into the roots of your learning and strip it out. In reality, It is a really hard process to do.
Worries, pains, sorrows, love, friendship all take a back seat when you’re with the mountains. The only thing that matters then is you and the mountains. And truthfully, that is all matters in life. Everything else is but a requirement set by someone; a mere necessity. Every single day that I trekked the mountains, I asked it a whole new set of questions and it gave me a whole new set of answers. But the funny thing is, the mountains never spoke, I was speaking to myself all along. Then I realized the power of one. The power that lies in each one of us.
We worry about such petty things. We accept pain way too easily. We throw ourselves into sorrow for the smallest of things. We don’t give love a chance. We underestimate the value of friendship. I realized how much of importance I was giving to the things that didn’t really matter and how less of importance I was giving to the things that did really matter. The mountains cared for me. They let me walk on them and feel them and it seemed like they only asked for one small thing in return - That I care that same way for something else.
The human mind really is something else. The initial days were really tough on me. I found it extremely hard to heave my bag and walk so much, ascend so much, descend so much. But as the days passed my mind started to accept these things. Pain took a back seat as the ascents started becoming fun and the descents, even more so. I looked back on the painful days with a laugh. At the top of Gardsar pass, which was the highest point of the trek, I wanted to do more. 13,750ft suddenly seemed too less. At the top of Garsar pass, it didn’t matter to me that I did a 3hr climb, what mattered was that I could see both the Vishansar and the Kishansar lakes. But even that, wasn’t enough. I tell you, the human mind really is something else.
The mountains woke up with us and slept with us. Every single day up there was different. The mountains poised a different set of challenges for us every day. Be it ascending on snow or on boulders or on extremely small trails, it never ran out of things to throw at us. I woke up every day looking forward to these challenges. I woke up knowing that things wouldn’t be monotonous. My DSLR camera ended up being a distraction. When I was in the moment and was a part of it all, I never once felt the need to take a picture. I always felt a greater urge to stay there longer.
Given a chance, the mountains have a lot to teach us about everything but more so about oneself.
Ask her why you worry. Ask her why it pains. Ask her about sorrow. Ask her how to love. Ask her how to befriend. Ask her what. Ask her why. Ask her where. Ask her how.
But please, ask. But please, wonder. But please, submit.
And always remember, they are waiting for you. They always were, they always will.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
My mom had learnt how to draw a car from my dad. So whenever i asked for a car, she used to immediately draw that and show it to me. Beside my house, there was a hospital and i was really enthusiastic about the lights on top of the Ambulance. So the next time when i asked for an ambulance, my mom whipped out her car drawing and put a light on top of it and voila - Happy me! As a kid, i used to be fascinated by drawings and i think that has what led me to still fall in love with art, in any form.
We were in Singapore for a while and we were staying over at one of dad's friends place. When my dad was out to work, i believe i fiddled around with the microwave and turned the lights off in it or something and my mom got really upset with me and took a hot matchstick and ran it on my hand as punishment. As much as it hurt back then, i think that attitude has remained. Anything that i get in my hand, i *need* to know how it works.
My dad, he's been a long time lover of comics himself and i think it is right of me to say that he passed his legacy down to me there. I've read the oldest of the oldest comics. Ranging from the baby huey to cacha chowdary to the oldest of the tinkles that date back to when he was a kid (i believe). This also has greatly added to my creativity. So many times in life, i've used comics as a way to refresh and let go of reality.
I believe there was this one Lungi that i fancied tieing around my neck and jumping all around the house as superman. I clearly remember all those awesome times that i had with myself. Growing up, i had no one to give me company and was referred to by my cousins as a loner but i've always enjoyed being that person, being with my thoughts and being with my imagination. My love for superheros saw no stop since then. I still love my share of Superman, Batman and what not.
This one, when i think about it, played the *biggest* influence in my life till date. Yes, i think thats what it did. Legos are these building block type thingies that i think influenced so many peoples lives. Especially mine. I've spend DAYS playing with them building things that i imagined. They never stopped buying me legos. It was like my go-to gift. I used to love them. There wasn't ever anything that i couldn't build with them. Of course sometimes when i tried to build something and it didnt come out the way i wanted it to. I used to come out into the hall and break it all over the floor. My mom then promptly would pick it up for me (which ofc was followed by a huge shouting, but still). I cant begin to emphasize how much these things did to my brain. I begun to think in all sorts of different ways. I owe much of my outside thinking to legos. They are such a great resource to learn.
I have a weird spelling - shrAyas, not shrEyas like the others who share my name. That too, has been such an awesome conversation starter with some of the greatest friends in my life. Maybe that is why i embrace weirdness. Because the first thing about me IS weird. Maybe that is why among all things, i aim to be different. I dont like being a part of the masses.
Hahahahah. I'm sure when they are reading this part, they'll really laugh. Just the word means so much to my family. All the time that my dad spent trying to teach me the world renouned Unitary method problems and the age problems and the geometry and the trigonometry and the basic additions and what not. I still remember my dad being asleep, i woke him up and said, "Since 2*2 = 4 shouldn't 1*1 be 2?" And he woke up and kicked me so hard, i flew back a few feet and then realization hit me. I might not be too strong in math right now but i really love the subject thanks to all this. It is a wonderful subject and it will come with us till we hit our death beds.
Growing up, i was really really scared of my dad. Of what he'd say if i do something and of what he'd do if i didn't do something. And at that point in time, it was really sucky to be in my position because some of them had really "cool" parents and i didnt. But looking back at these things, i'm glad that he was like that with me because it made me conscious of the things i was going to do. I think innately i've learnt from that to pause and think at least twice about what i'm going to do or say to other people.
I slept in my parents' bed for *far* too long. I developed a fear of the dark and that was the only way out. I probably took away their alone time by always being, which really kind of sucks if i think about it now. But i think that i learnt 2 things from that. So many years since then, i've begun now to get over my fear of the dark. In addition to that, i've learnt the importance of sacrifice. When you feel that something is worth the sacrifice, you should just do it. They were great souls to give that much up for me.
We travelled a lot to Bangalore, because the entire family stays here. We mostly took the night trains when i was a kid and my mom used to put sheets of newspaper on the ground and sit there till i went to sleep. "TILL I WENT TO SLEEP". I was a kid back then so you will realize how hard that is for a damn kid. Sacrifice, again.
This was the bus that my mom used to take as she picked me up from school. She used to put me on her hip and walk super fast to the bus stop to catch the bus. I remember her buying me Ravalgon peppermint if i was well behaved. That is such a great memory. I can still close my eyes and go back to the time that i was going to eat that peppermint, such a great memory. Perseverence.
We love travelling. It really sucks that im not able to make enough time now a days for this but we really do. Ever since i was kid, i remember always going to places. I think that is where i developed the love for travelling, seeing new places, experiencing new things. When we look back on all the albums that we have made till date, it is such a colourful experience for me. Just last year when we travelled to Sri Lanka, I saw something that completely changed my belief system. That is the power, of travelling.
Balaji, Kamat, Chaya, Badari, Ravi, Nalini. Enough said.
When we hit puberty, we're all cranky teens. We all have ways to deal with it. My way was to just rage. Rage has always been a problem with me. But there was something else that i... no they used to do. They've always been great at understanding me even if i didn't tell them anything. This really used to be my solace. They used to just *know* if something was up. And i remember so many instances of sitting on one of the chairs and my dad and mom talking to me about things. It doesn't even have to date back to when i was a kid. Just about a year ago the same kind of thing happened. I was losing confidence in who i was and what i was and they came down from Chennai because they *knew* that something was wrong. Rightly enough, i was ok after i let it out.
Theres my mom - Shes believes in a God very very much to the extent that she's been going to the temple religiously almost every day since the past 10-15 years. Then theres my dad - Does things that he has to. I think he believes in God a little but not as much as what my mom does. Or even if he does, he doesn't show it too much. Throughout my life, i've never been forced to doing anything with respect to believing in god. They did their share of things to show me the path but never did they push me down it. Right now, I'm agnostic but that doesn't mean that i wont do things that they tell me to.
The power of taking a moment and freezing it in time is something that only nature should have. But we have it too. In the form of the art of photography. A passion of mine, that was fueled by them. My dad showed me the tech on how to shoot it. It has lived in me till now. I love taking pictures and i've even done it professionally for a while. I think the eye, is in the family.
I love Tech. I love my gadgets. That has my dad written all over it.
I live to eat. Anyone who knows me, knows how much i love food. That has my mom written all over it. I dare anyone to come home and not go satisfied.
Never did i think that this would be so easy. Or at least that is what they made me feel. I thought that i would have to talk them into it. I had a whole game plan mapped out but it was such an ease. I can't say anything more here except that i am ecstatic. If 100s of people tell me it is awesome that i'm going to marry the girl i love, i tell them that it is because i had such a great set of people. Again, never did i think that it was going to be so easy. Really.
Is an emotion that isn't used too much in my family. But it isn't an emotion that you can even find the lack of. I've imbibed the same things within me. Love is an emotion that we all share. It is all about sharing. You share your personal space with the one you love. You share your knowledge with the ones you love. Love is indeed a word in itself. But the easiest way to show love, is by sharing. Through love, i've learnt to share. Through sharing i've learnt to love.
Perseverence. Dedication. Brilliance. Hard work. Trust. Friendship. Professionalism. That one presentation at Sri Lanka blew me over. I one day aim to talk to a group of people with that amount of pride that you had and the amount of confidence that was brimming from within. Respect.
If anyone tells me i am Intelligent, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me that i am honest, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i am caring, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i am loving, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i think differently, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me that i appreciate their effort, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i take good pictures, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i love their food, it is all you guys.
If anyone believes in what i tell them, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i have a great set of friends, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i am a kid, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i have matured, it is all you guys.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Some people see him in deities. Some people see him as a spiritual being. Some people believe he was a human living among us.
Me, I dont believe in religion. Don't get me wrong. I believe in a god. I believe in a power but im not a part of those groups that separate this being into different sects demarked by religion. When we are born, inside our mothers womb .. there is absolutely no discriminations. Nothing to demarkate you from the rest of the babies in mothers wombs. Why does this have to start the instant we come out from those wombs? Why do we have to be judges based on which stars were where when we were born? Hell! Why do we have to be judged at all. Each kid, each boy and each girl must be let to their own ways.
If a "god" existed im sure he won't let these discriminations happen. He wouldn't stand by while we ran a blade through the others throats or raped innocent little girls. If god was a "he", im sure "he" would have done something.
That's simply the reason I don't believe in the injustice branded - religion. It just doesn't make sense. What I believe is that every man is for himself, or by an extension .. his family and that is all. Theres no "him" involved anywhere.
What I would classify as a god is merely nature. That's it.
Right as the moment im writing this, im standing on top of a lighthouse at kapu beach, udipi, karnataka looking at the sun setting behind the majestic Arabian sea after having done its days job. This, what im seeing right now .. is the god I believe in. This is all of it. The majestic ocean, the waves thrashing against the rocks, the sun going down.
ISO 100 . Shutter 1/250 . F 5.6
We seem to heavily rely on a person to solve our issues for us but all I see from right here is everyone minding their own business. Being themselves. And thats how it should be. Everyone takes care of the bubble that envelops them, themselves, their families.
I think that's all I want to say. Standing up here has just made me think of these things. From up here, everything seemed the same. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, jains, Buddhists, Jews. It doesn't really matter. All I saw were people and the bold nature bringing everything together.
there was 1 more key thing I realized -- without the nature, we can't survive .. but without us, nature would thrive. It doesn't need us, we need it. Its high time we realize that and act.
Lets stop fighting for our religions and start fighting for nature, for what helps us survive.
I'll go now, enjoy my time with my god while those people die in the name of something pointless.
Peace and love.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Remember MMXL? I wrote it 2 years ago. If you dont remember , click here.
Anyway here goes,
2 years have passed since i last wrote about who i am / what i do. Has anything really changed? Have things become better? Have things become worse? Whatsup?
I think over the past 2 years i've learnt more about what the world is about and how people are but more importantly i think i've learnt more about how i fit into this world and how i am and how people are towards me.
I'm very lucky because i have a bunch of *wonderful* friends.. These i know are those bunch of people who will stand behind me even if 34 people are against me. And i trust them. I think in these 2 years my relationship with each one of them has taught me so much more that i could have learnt on my own — Humility, Creativity, Relationships, Standing up for your beliefs, Composure, Love and lots more.
I've learnt that code is my calling. I want to write code for another good n years in my life. Not because i want to learn a 100 different languages but simply because i think writing code makes me happy and writing code makes me want to write more code. My idea of a perfect vacation is a beach, some cold water and my laptop. In that setting, i could most probably create history.
This is also something that i want to learn in my next year. I say i want to create history but i also say that i can do this only on my perfect vacation. This is something that i'm really looking to change. I want to be able to step out of my comfort zone and do things that need to be done from my side. I dont have vim? no problemo, Notepad++ would do. I want to be able to eat things that i usually do not eat simply because i haven't eaten them for so long. Getting out of your comfort zone and being able to do those things allows you to create a comfort zone whereever you wish so and that woould be a great tool at your disposal.
I've learnt that photography is not about sporting a 7D or having a funky f1.2 lens. Photography is *ALL* about the moment and how you see it. You dont need some fancy equipment (although it surely does help) in order to get what is in your head out on to a picture. What it takes is dedication and the ability to constantly keep that image in your head till you get it out on print. Thats what photography is about, not the shutter speed, not the aperture, not the depth of field but all about the moment and how you are part of that moment
I've learnt that relationships are extremely hard to maintain and sustain. It takes a lot of hard work in order to keep functional and meaningful relationships with people you care about. I've committed some rather big blunders in my relationships with people and i felt like an ass later. But taking a step back and looking at my mistakes i realize they all had something common in them — I went back. I did what was required of me. Why? All because that relationship meant a lot to me. Because i wanted to sustain. Even though some of these mistakes i've committed time and again , i just hope that those people too realize that they are important to me (contrary shit, i know)
I've learnt that literature is very very key. Its absolutely not enough if you just have some programming knowledge (in my case). Whats more important is your understanding of how things were done and how things *CAN* be done in the right way. This has increased my belief in the *RIGHT* way thinking of mine (sorry alfy)
I've started to enjoy nature more. The cold mornings, the colder nights, the beautiful sunsets and the sunrises. They all seem way more nicer over the past 2 years. I think nature has a way with every single person and takes its own sweet time to pull them into its clutches. My clutch was one single inccident enroute to nuwara eliya, SL sometime this year
Just this year there was loss as well. Steve Jobs, Dennis Ritchie, and many many more. Crazy year. They were people who i looked up to and admired. Gone. Apple's keynotes wont ever be the same to me again sans Jobs and i wouldn't have ever loved to program as much as i do right now if it were not for Mr. Dennis' wonderful C. In line with Jobs, I too am a person with a messiah complex and I will change the world. But that for sure will not be easy. I realize this all right now. Efforts are required. Efforts will be put. The world needs an imprint of me.
We all live in society, over the past 2 years i've tried to help out in any which way that i can. Just because we're well off it doesnt mean that we need to overlook the dirty things that are happening around us. I've decided that i will try and help out the society in whatever possible way from my side. Bribe and corruption sure do suck but its not like i can do anything being a shitty programmer is what would have been my thinking. But i've realized that theres a lot that can be done from each individual's side when it comes to getting shit done. Not only in regards to bribe or corruption but in all society helping factors. I'm going to look out for it. I'm going to try.
2 years is a hell of a long time. Theres a lot i've learnt. Theres a lot to learn. I'll get there.
2012 get the fuck out. Bring it on 2013. Lets see how much you can change me and how much i can change the world.
Peace and love.