Sunday, June 01, 2014

The One with the Update

It has been a long time since I last posted about the events this year, so far. So here they go:

The Marriages

I attended 2 marriages this year, one in January, the second in Feb. Both were an experience in themselves.

The first one was at the place of my sister's in laws, so I had to fly the route B-V-K-P (both ways). It was a last moment plan, my father was supposed to be going, but due to his health reason, I decided to go in.
  • I had to spend a lot of time flying, and I had the opportunity to witness a good amount of nature from a distance. I got the chance to watch the seas from high above, and not a single wave was visible, just a slight shimmer that would appear every now and then. I got the chance to see the sunrise, and how the clouds on one side were all lightened up, while those on the other still appeared to be in darkness. I got to observe the rivers from the top, and they all appeared like lines drawn with a pencil by a child.
  • Such was the epiphany of the moment, that I couldn't wonder thinking that if there truly were Gods in the sky, this is how they would see the lands below. And if the rivers and mountains appear that insignificant, what would be the worth of a human? I couldn't stop myself from thinking further, that in that very moment, over the area I was observing, rapes, murders, and other crimes as well as celebrations, moments of joy and other happy  events would be happening at every instance. If God exists, he must be a truly busy person, and there is no need to pester him over aching knees or hair loss or other trivialities.
  • The marriage was in a joint family, and I observed for the first time the merits of the joint family. Its not like everyone is perfect, but all of us are better than the other in one way or the other, and in a joint family, the shortcomings of one can easily be complemented by the strength of the other. The fist is always more powerful than the individual fingers.

  • All in all, the trip made me realise how insignificant I as an individual was in the grand scheme of things. I realized that I had changed a lot from who I was just 2 or 3 years back, and now was the time for the next step in life, whatever it may be.
The second one was of a college friend at my hometown. Once again, I had to switch flights B-M-J.
  • I had made an initial screwup of booking my onward ticket of 13th Feb, and return ticket of 17th Mar, which I realized only 2 days before my departure. Luckily, another return ticket was available to me at some discount, so I ended up planning for 2 trips, one immediate, another a month later.
  • I had one view out of the windows in particular which I will remember for a lifetime. It was during M-J where I had a 4 am flight. It was still dark of the night, so for a while after the flight took off, we were just above the moonlit clouds. It was a cloudy night, so there were clouds spread around for miles like big bundles of cotton. But the best part was, that it was a full moon, and the moon was shining brightly, and so all the clouds appeared milky under its halo. The clouds were themselves very intricately shaped, with spherical domes and what nots. And soon, it was time for sunrise, so after a while, I could see the yellowish red clouds from the other set of windows. Thus, on my left were still the milky clouds, whereas on my right were the red morning clouds. Such was the peace in both the scenes, that I couldn't stop myself from thinking that how much time we spend worrying about our stupid daily chores, when life can be so beautiful and peaceful when viewed from the top. All in all, it felt like I was flying on a divine confluence, and beauty was all that ever existed.
Everything has a role to play
  1. Two incidences come to my mind, from around January that I would like to log here.
    • The first is about the value of carpeting and noise cancellation in meeting rooms. I sat in meeting rooms which were bare in terms of sound proofing, and the noise level was consequently very high. After spending an hour down there, I appreciated the value of those carpets and decor, which I would usually write away as designer items.
    • The second was during the internet and hardware problem we were trying to solve, that I came to realise how internet infrastructures are usually laid, and how much of that has been abstracted in the world of 3G data cards on our mobile which work at the tick of an option. It was fun exercise and great learning experience designing the network topology that could work in our case, figuring out the components etc on my own, reading manuals and data sheets, spending close to a week on stuff that seems so trivial and non existent from the top, yet is a science in itself when experienced.
The resignation

I had been feeling the stagnation for a while, hardly working on any technical things in the last 4-5 months before my resignation. There was also this nagging feeling, that somewhere somehow, I wasn't learning enough, and that I could actually do a lot more, and learn a lot more. 
Additionally, I had been hoping to take some time off after my father's health scare last year and plan for the next move. Finally. I wanted do some travelling, and ram through other items on my accumulated bucket list, I turn 25 this year.
So, I resigned at the end of February. Some drama happened before and after the resignation. But in the end, whatever happens, happens for the good.

What I have done since
I spent some 3 months since doing random stuff (mid March-current)..
  1. Reading my emails
    I spent a week during my last month, reading each and every mail in my office email account. It was an experience in itself, and I got to re-live the past 15 months again.

  2. Cooking and food
    I learnt to cook a variety of food (mostly dals), but hey, its the permutations that count. I also developed fruit habits, finding stuff that works, and when it works, from where it works.

  3. StackOverflow and other StackExchange sites
    I crossed the badge/bounty count I had in my mind for the year. I spent a fairly significant amount of time reading up about workplaces and project management, which should give me sufficient context for wherever I next move.

  4. Running
    I started running on a treadmill, and was able to sustatin it for around a month. Starting from 2.0 km in 20 minutes, I was soon able to do 3.0 km in 22 minutes.

  5. Poker
    We had an mutual friend stay with us for over a month at our flat, which provided me an excellent opportunity to learn and understand poker better from him. I learnt the lingo, started guessing the chances, and was able to predict the cards that other players had. The high point was winning 6k bucks in an online tournament. An advice to remember - "Jab tumhara hand hit ho jata hai, to tum low betting karte ho, aur jab nahi hota, to high bets call kar dete ho. Yehi dikkat hai naye players ke sath - are bhai jab hand hit hua hai to bet karo na, darr kyu rahe ho".

  6. Books
    The count for this year stands at around 40, which keeps me just in reach of the 100 books target for the whole year.

  7. Social experiment on Linkedin and Facebook
    So sometime early April, I used an anagram of my name to create a linkedin account. Along with that, I created a mail account, and facebook account. The accounts were barebones, I hid all education, work experience fields, just seeded them with some random likes, posts.
    Now this linkedin account I created - I was able to grow it to 500+ connections in less than a month, out of which some 400 are tech recruiters. Close to 160 work in the big 4 in the US. The network strength I have is close to 27M. FWIW, my original account has 900+ connections, built over 2 years, with network strength of 11.5M.
    I had somewhat similar experience with Facebook. I've removed the accounts, but I can now see how the social media world is not built on solid principles, and in fact amplifies any kind of negative opportunities in society. Not just the good(social connection), but the bad (impersonation, fake information) have been also been scaled.

  8. Games
    It had been a while since I played any good game, so I spent some time playing and finishing Age of Mythology and a bunch of other games again.

  9. Vipassana
    I had started this year with a resolution to read zen koans, and attend the 10 day meditation camp at Igatpuri. I devoted some time to the first on my tablet, while I have just finished the second one last week only. 

  10. Videos on YouTube
    Till some time back, I used to think of Youtube mostly as a distraction, full of videos meant to distract you, and through suggestions make you reach either cat or adult videos. Not anymore.
    In this period, I have spent a significant time watching videos on how stuff is made series and understanding role of technology in industries.

  11. Friends
    I met a good number of old friends, both from the school and from college. I also made a few new ones along the way. One thing that surprised me was the perception my school friends still had of me. It was humbling to hear the good and (mostly) the bad about my self from years past.

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