Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Our Illusion of the world around us

This post follows from a lot of different thoughts recently. Different thoughts which made me realise that the nature of my thoughts are getting constrained by my own actions. When today's products were envisaged and the world moved towards mass personalisation, it seems we have missed a veiled threat. The threat of over personalisation, the threat of excess customisation to an individual.

I had some time ago, read an article about the prevalence of personal culture, about people increasingly being regulated by their own beliefs and actions rather than of the society and the groups that they live in.

Today instead of the web we have "my Web", the web comes customised for every person, when I open Google reader, i read the articles from sources that i have selected, even the sources that are suggested are the ones similar to my likings. Even stumble customises the pages it serves in a similar manner. Eventually ones view of the world around them becomes a reinforcement of their beliefs and thoughts rather than an exercise in exploring new frontiers and ideas.

I do have a feeling that I am being overly skeptical, which means i am growing old as i am starting to compare today with yesterday. But the fact remains that I do not just want things that make me feel good, in order to live and adapt I also need to reflect and correct my beliefs, and if one is unable to do that, I believe that is when one ceases to learn and grow.

After all what is more real, your beliefs of yourself, or your perception in someone else's eyes, and what happens when when the disconnect between the two is as wide as the world you have woven around yourself.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A series of unfortunate Events:

  • Got a Kingfisher flight ticket From Kolkata to Bangalore on 7th Evening. On cleartrip A month ago.
  • Received a message from Cleartrip that flight is rescheduled 2 weeks ago. Checked with Cleartrip customer care people. They did not know about it. Said the airline must have rescheduled it. Asked me to carry the printout of the same old ticket. flight rescheduled to 3:30 PM.
  • A week before the flight simply checked on the Kingfisher site. Said it could not retrieve the ticket for the given PNR. Checked with Cleartrip. They had no idea. Called Kingfisher they said the flight has been cancelled. Called Cleartrip again and asked they what were they going to do about it. They still said they had no idea about it. (CONCLUSION: NEVER USE CLEARTRIP AGAIN).
  • Kingfisher gave the option of An evening flight were they would put me on Waitlist. And a morning flight. I took the morning flight and now my flight is 7th of Nov 7 AM in the morning.
  • A day before the flight(6th Nov) i receive a message that my old flight number(The evening flight) is cancelled. Normally this is when i would have known about it. Had i not checked earlier. :(...
  • On the station to get a train for getting to Kolkata at 5 PM on 6th Nov. Got an automated call that my Morning flight at 7AM the next day is cancelled due to operational reasons.
  • Called Kingfisher customer care, their first offer was that they would refund the money... :(... Then they said they could get me a ticket in the evening in Indian Airlines if i got to their Airport counter.
  • By the time i got to the airport at 10:45 PM, 6th Nov, the counter was closed. And there were a lot of people in the same position as me. (Which surely would not be accommodated in one Indian flight).
  • Finally I got a ticket in Indigo for Chennai. For twice the price of the original ticket on 7th Morning. (The Bangalore ticket was worth thrice).
1. Don't use cleartrip.
2. Don't trust Kingfisher for long term travel tickets.
3. Dont Buy travel insurance. (Apparently they only pay if u are dead. They don't believe that insurance should cover flight cancellations.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

[WordsEveryDay] Some words everyday...

We hear so many things as we pass through life, across the lunch table, in the lift, over the cubicle. Overheard on the phone... countless things that make us smile, nod in approval, or shake our heads with dismay. From today i will try to write things down i hear, anything that stuck for whatever reason. There will be no names, Just words... U can take them as ramblings, I am going to mark them with [WordsEveryDay] so that u can avoid such posts if u don't like ramblings or random words. I hope i can keep the discipline.

Here is for today:

  • We have a problem, we start out by making the kids watch TV when they don't eat easily when they are young, and then they get addicted to it and we can't take them away.
  • You know, there kids can watch anything. They don't have to worry about being culturally correct. I cant watch friends at home, but kids don't have to care about that. Whatever they grow up with is their culture.
The first one really brings forward out general attitude towards making short term decisions, the second one portrays in plain terms how the one generation views the next and how the differences shape up.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The need for a parallel universe

My last drought of words was in November 2008 so i cant say that its an yearly phenomenon. Anyways i am back here...

Getting started with the point. I have been deluged with information recently, and the the number of things happening together is accelerating the flow too... There is the two sides of the Maoist story, the number of views on the India-Pakistan relations, the cacophony that surrounds and discussion on sports in India, there is the never ending debate on religion and atheism,.... there is even the small stories about the people struggling with the system in my college...

And in the middle of all this is me trying to get a picture in my mind of how things really are, what would be the "right" thing to do in each of the cases, and that's when i hit a block and a realisation stuck. No matter how open minded we are, and ready to accept all sides of the story, our conclusions are always going to be biased. For the simple reason that we can't live through both sides of our decisions. We cant live two lives and experience them all. Even if we can, and have the time there is the problem of your second life being tainted by virtue of you living your first life.

For those of you who have seen "Deja Vu", its like the fact that even after living on both sides of the story, there will be a self of your that will be unaware of what happened.

Among all this i have often remembered the parallel universe or the many worlds theory in quantum, i hope its right. And we find a way to see into them. At least we will know what happens when we make a different decision(i don't want any comments relating to the Lost series :) ). Until then I will ask forgiveness for my biased opinions and would like to assure those affected by them, that they were taken with the best of intentions.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The India i see...

I had this topic in my mind for quite some time now, and have been thinking of getting down to write about it. Am talking about the heading. Now i was lying there in my bed now - am at home u see and eating my mom's delicacies and getting fatter - and some words came into my head and i thought yes i have to write it some day. Then the next thought was- Why not now?... I cannot get any more free than this. So here i am.

Anyways lets get down to the point. What do i see then??... I see an India where my hometown gets converted to an island after as early as 6 O' clock because the police cant protect the roads connecting the town to the nearby cities from the naxalites, I see a college which is said to be one of the best in the country, but which survives not because of it being so, but because of the perseverance of a few of the faculty and a lot of students with loads of bureaucracy, I hear of relatives rejecting marriage proposals because the bride side cant spend enough on the marriage, I see an India where a farmer works thro' the year so that he can add to the meager income that he gets from his toil in the fields even though the food prices are going thro the roof, I see an education system that is failing to cope up with the aspirations of the country, and a political scene that we all wish could be better.

But along with this i also see friends and youngsters running organisations like Pratigya and Center for Civil Society that gives us hope for a better future and a place for new leaders and ideas to emerge. I also see my next door uncle buying a computer for his 8 year old on Dhanteras, I see happily married couples whose love did not matter whether they were from Delhi or Maharashtra or Jharkhand or Haryana.... I see DINK families enjoying their life and planning for their future, and i see a working mom running thro' her life with a smile on her face, I see my mom struggling to type a reply mail to her daughter-in-law in Hinglish but smiling with every word that she gets right. I see a friend looking to go abroad but who doesn't want to miss a wedding, I see 7 telecom companies in a place where there are no roads after 6... :-) ...

In fact I see an India that's so full of potential, and an India that's slowly but surely realising it. Yes i am disillusioned with my India, but i am still hopeful. Hopeful because even though the daily papers splash loads of heart shattering news across their front pages everyday, the special good news editions that run on national holidays are getting fatter year on year. I have hope because i am surviving in today's India in spite of being pessimistic. I have hope because someone has very rightly said that pessimism is a luxury for the good times. I have hope because i am a pessimist but still find reasons to smile.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking at my past.. Just the past...

I hear a lot of noise about the new year coming up, people are busy making resolutions, which i generally don't make. I am not a planning guy, take life as it comes, and do what u like, but then that leaves me out of writing what's going to happen in the the year to come. But i can always write about the year gone by, surely not the events happening in the world, that would be too much and too talked about. So today i am going to talk about "I".. :-) ...

Now lets see... u know human memory is contextual, u remember something when u see something similar to it, and also it gives more importance to what happened most recently, so i remember chocolates getting costlier and lighter more vividly rather than going to Chennai for a workshop, more than 6 months ago. okay, let me list what i can recall

  • I got placed(Got a job)(important one, not to be forgotten),
  • Chocolates got costlier.. :-)...
  • My sis got married
  • My father retired
  • I gave a seminar that everyone liked at the time(but i dont think i am getting good grades),
  • I attended a workshop in IIT Chennai(a lot of wherever i am going now comes because of that)
  • A couple of my friends had babies, (making me feel old.. :(.. And wondering if i can ever be responsible enough to have one of my own.)
  • I didn't go anywhere on a trek.. :(... Making it a pretty boring semester.
  • Started off on Twitter. Liked the medium. But the problem is again separating the spam from information.
  • -- Thats all i can remember right now... Will add more as and when i remember them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Preaching thy self...

Ever had the feeling that u have yourself not being doing justice to what u say. You see i am a great believer in doing what one says, as in - practice what you preach, treat others as you wish to be treated yourself, and everything along similar lines. But a few days ago i realised that i have been saying something which if not altogether false, can only be considered otherwise because i did not know that what i was saying was wrong.

The incident was simple, i had not being playing regularly for the last week or so and hence had become a bit rusty when i got back to playing again, now trying to get back to the way i played earlier i fell back upon what i told others who asked me how to play- tilt the bat in the right way, check the speed of the ball(i play table tennis, if u are wondering). And to my utter dismay, they didn't work, now it was time for me to realise how bad the advise that i gave others was. So this time round when i did get back to playing decently, i tried to figure out what was it that i was interpreting in the wrong manner, and then came together the number of things that have always stared me in the face but i had never put them together to realise that they are all interdependent. I had written a post some while ago, it was in context of the way we learn what every emotion is, but now its time for me to realise that its not true for the abstract things only, everything that we learn is through imitation and repetition. Its the sub-conscience that does the thinking, ... I dont even know if i am making sense here... Anyways what i did realise was that there is no way to do something better than to get used to it to such an extent that one can move beyond it altogether. Practice makes a man perfect has never sounded truer to me, albeit it came from a slightly different line of thought. And what it also means is that my sub-conscience is more adept at doing a lot of tasks than me, and that implies a lot of other things, but that is a topic for another post. .. :) ..