Conversation with the Self: The Story of Eklavya

The story goes like this:
Eklavya wanted to learn archery from the best teacher there ever was- Dronacharya. Dronacharya refused to accept Eklavya as his student. Eklavya returned to his home, built a statue of Dronacharya and practiced archery in front of it. Arjuna found out about Eklavya and was impressed by his superior skills. Dronacharya had promised Arjuna that he would make him the best archer in the world. An upset Arjuna returned to Dronacharya and told him about the superior skills of Eklavya. Dronacharya confronted Eklavya and inquired about how he learned archery. Eklavya confessed that he practiced everyday in front of his statue and thus learned everything from Dronacharya himself. Dronacharya reminded Eklavya that he should pay “Gurudakshina” (fee) to him. Eklavya immediately agreed to it. Dronacharya asked for his right hand thumb (one of the essential fingers for archery) and Eklavya immediately cut it and submitted it to Dronacharya.
End of the story.

Usually this story is used to teach a few important lessons such as:
1) Eklavya achieved greatness by devoting himself to his guru and practicing everyday. 2) Eklavya did not hesitate to cut his finger in order to fulfill his duties as a student.
3) Dronacharya kept his word at all costs.
Fair enough. Though I feel that most of the people have missed a very critical aspect of the tale.

How did Eklavya manage to learn archery to such an extent that he surpassed Arjuna without any guidance? Eklavya had no one to educate him whether his methods were right or wrong. Yet he was able to achieve similar or better results as compared to Arjuna who had the guidance from Guru Dronacharya, the best teacher and one of the most knowledgeable person of the skill.

While researching about the story, I came across several view points that Eklavya spied on Dronacharya and technically “stole” the knowledge. I do not feel that this is fair enough assumption. Archery could not be that simple to learn. To me a more convincing explanation is the Art of Introspection. Without anyone’s guidance, the only person who could point the mistakes of Eklavya would be Eklavya himself. This process of critically analyzing our own thoughts/action is in fact defined as introspection.

There are very few people who would be brutally honest to others at all times. Often things which should be said are left unsaid because they might be harsh or tiresome. Often these are those things which would benefit the listener the most. Shying away from it benefits none. Thus, the reaction of your surroundings may not be a true feedback of your thoughts/actions. An “honest” introspection can prove to be a wonderful way of assessing your own actions/thoughts.

I stressed on the word “honest” because often we end up committing the same mistake we are trying to avoid: sugar-coat things and not be brutally honest with ourselves. Mostly because it is the easier thing to do as it lifts the morale and the situation does not seem so bad. What it actually does is hide or underplay the real problem. In my habit, I have started to see introspection as an “honest/brutal” conversation with our own mind. If I feel something does not make sense, then I do not try to convince myself or give excuses to me that it does. There are arguments back and forth, sort of conversation, before a final conclusion is agreed upon between me and the mind.

This has worked wonder for me in two ways. Firstly, deep introspection allows me to exactly narrow down to what the problem is. This happens automatically because I have all the sufficient first hand information about myself to make an accurate assessment of the situation with all 100% honesty. This increases the scope and speed of improvement in my actions/thoughts. Secondly, it gives me some clarity and control over the thought-process along with a fresher perspective of things/situation (sort of second opinion to a situation). This is important because often in the heat of the moment I would end up assessing a situation in completely wrong way. Without introspection, I do not think that there is any mechanism to understand that the immediate assessment was a wrong one.

All of this relies on two things: deep and honest introspection and benefit of doubt to others. The first necessity is fairly self evident. Giving “benefit of doubt” to other people becomes important when behavior or actions of someone else becomes the part of introspection. This is because you definitely not know what are the intentions/mindset of the other person. And sometimes the bias could be so strong that again we end up interpreting things the wrong way, which is not desirable. So playing the devil’s advocate is important unless you have the convincing evidence stating otherwise.

Hope this helps the readers. Would like to hear your experiences about it as well.

Good bye.

My new Newspaper

Spoiler alert: It is Twitter!

In last 3-4 years, I have flirted on and off with Twitter. To me, it was like a micro-blogging site where I can share my thoughts, activities with anyone who is following me. I would start reading everything on my feed, get bored and then stop. During last month, when I was going through some online news article, it had cited a lot of tweets as its references. The idea of using tweets as the primary source of journalism really motivated me to start using my Twitter handle again.

I have been fan of newspapers since ages. I read newspaper almost daily (whenever I can find one). The printed news is almost always corroborated and accurate. Since it is in printed format, editors/publishers take extra care to publish credible news because anything incorrect/biased can come back to haunt them in the name of a “defamation” lawsuit. So all in all, newspaper was a comprehensive and credible source of journalism in my opinion. Plus, no one is shouting like they do on T.V. channels. In newspaper, you can decide what you want to read and focus on.

The only drawback of newspaper: it is slooooooooooow! So much happens in a day, that by the time it is printed in the newspapers, it becomes old news. Even when we are asleep, there is something happening in the world and the news of it is coming out through one medium or the other. The newspapers simple cannot stay updated with every little thing happening around the world in real time. T.V. channels do a commendable job of bringing every news update to their viewers instantly but, in my opinion, sitting in front of a t.v. channel all day to stay updated is really infeasible and sub-optimal solution.

Twitter really offered me the best of everything. It is fast and credible (if you follow the right sources). Plus, you can give your instant reactions to the news and it reaches the concerned person immediately. Since the tweets have character limit, only the crux of the articles (along with the web link to it) is shared by the journalists. This quantize the news into little nuggets of information rather than lengthy articles as found in the newspapers. Twitter, to me, is like a quick and regularly updated newspaper of the 21stcentury! Super-convenient! 

Why the recent attraction? Earlier, I had subscribed to almost everyone- cricketers, actors, politicians, anyone who was famous. As a result, my twitter feed was filled with random tweets without any consistency in it. I started the transformation of my Twitter handle by un-following everyone (yes, every single person). After that, I followed only those people/twitter handles which would keep me updated about the happenings around the world. Also a few photographers (I am slave to this visual art :-P) about whom I wanted to stay updated about.

The result being my feed is now more consistent and readable. I get regular updates and every little piece of information that is of some importance, almost immediately. It is like having a newspaper curated to your needs, which is capable of updating every few seconds. Trust me, it is incredible!

So, if you are like me, who find Twitter to be randomly organized and largely cluttered, perhaps you can try my way of starting from scratch. By carefully selecting whom you want to subscribe and curating your twitter feed to your needs. In most cases, you might only require 10-20 subscriptions to get everything you need in the most organized way.

Happy tweeting!

With large information comes the responsibility of credibility!

Let me give you the build up for this post: Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s US Congress hearing after multiple complaints of bias in search results. In the hind sight, perhaps even Facebook CEO’s hearing on data leak and its alleged influence on US Presidential elections. So what is this about?

Stating the obvious, the face of journalism, and to some extension, access to knowledge has changed over last 8 years. More and more people have started to absorb the immediately available information through Google, Facebook or Twitter. What appears first is determined by back-end algorithms determine which information will be more useful to you.

While these algorithms start out as unbiased and learn from the user’s interaction with the website, they are essentially “data driven“. Loosely speaking, there are two main scenarios where these algorithms can systematically work to suppress or promote certain information, thus introducing bias in the information provided to the user. They are as follows:

(1) If the algorithm is unbiased, it can be “tricked” into prioritizing fake or incorrect information/articles over credible ones by either making them as “click-bait” or by making them “viral” among large number of fake accounts which is subsequently picked up by real users as well. Example: IT cells of political parties retweeting their leader’s statements to make them as “trending” and “believable”.

(2) The algorithm can be just as easily designed or tinkered to create an inherent bias/censorship which suppress the content related to a particular person/domain etc. Example: Facebook/YouTube introducing censorship (in the name of content policy) against hate videos which can instigate violence.

Political parties in democratic countries have to maintain their public perception in order to gather votes in any election. Social networking sites and search engines have facilitated this to such an extent that parties have now developed full-fledged “IT Cells” which try to intelligently manipulate the public perception in their favor. The victories on digital playing field is becoming more and more important for political parties.

This result in key topics/information being methodically hid behind garbage or non-relevant pieces of information. The recent Congressional hearings of CEOs of Social Networking giants were based on the speculation that their product (website) can (and is effectively) be used to manipulate the public perception and temper with the electoral process.

In principle, everyone had pledged that they are doing their best to stay neutral and fight the threats to their neutrality. To some extent, they have been able to curb the external attempts of influence by making more robust algorithms and making the creators a bit more responsible for their contents. Either way, their response and efforts had been positive.

In my personal opinion, the onus also falls on the people alleging bias in these communication platforms. In the words of Rep. Ted Lieu (during Sundar Pichai’s hearing),

“If you are getting bad press articles and bad search results, don’t blame Google or Facebook or Twitter. Consider blaming yourself.”

 Rep. Ted Lieu, 2018

In the present scenario we have little control on what information is being fed to us first. Perhaps, we should make it as our own responsibility to not be “gullible“! I am pleased to see that some such awareness is being spread among the masses. As a society, we are slowly starting to see through layers of manipulated information. This should be the direction, we need to be heading towards!

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

A cinematic thriller! Perhaps one of the best on-screen attempts to portray the raw brutality of the Jungle life.

Source: Google Images

Not very often do I end up writing about a recently watched movie/t.v. series but latest appearance of Mowgli in a Netflix original definitely deserves the praise. To be honest, I had very low expectations from the movie. I anticipated it as just another “kids” movie. A movie which would be all about the joyful life of a boy who is met by an over-whelming challenge and he over comes it while teaching a strong moral lesson. The end!

Within first 5 minutes of watching this film, I realized that it is much more than that. Contrary to previous attempts, this film has a “dark” take on the life of Mowgli. As quoted in the movie by Kaa (the female python):

Mowgli, man and wolf, both and neither, …..

had been shown as a conflicted man-cub. His emotional, physical and mental struggle to become one with the wolf pack had been portrayed with great degree of realism. Andy Serkis, the director, had done a commendable job to bring out different layers of his struggle and mustering of the strength to overcome them. Hats off to Rohan Chand for such a gripping portrayal of Mowgli! Mowgli terrorized by Shere Khan (man eating tiger)’s attack on his life, expression of disappointment on being purposefully betrayed by Bagheera (the black panther) and Akela (leader of the Wolf Pack), his initial struggles in the human village and later the curiosity and fascination of the ways of the Man- are just a few indescribable and incredible highlights of Rohan’s efforts to bring life to Mowgli’s character.

Stereotypes were constantly challenged in this movie. Mowgli was not unanimously accepted in the jungle. All the animals maintained distance from each other. Man was both respected and feared by animals of the jungle. Jungle animals made it their rule that they would not hunt the Man’s cattle (cow) as the Man considered cow to be religiously sacred (the sign of respect) and did not want Man to enter the jungle to seek revenge (sign of fear). Shere Khan was not evil on purpose but was prey to his own animal-instincts. Only the fittest survived. Man’s dominance over forest was shown with contempt rather than as their birth right.

The movie is filled with a lot of brilliant scenes and dialogues. In a hunting scene, Bagheera tells Mowgli that,

Hunting is scared, little brother. It our right. But we never do it for sport. Shhh.. (after almost killing the prey) Wait. Wait. We look them in the eye and so that the soul doesn’t depart alone.

A lesson which Mowgli follows to the end.

The details in the screen play, plot-consistencies and twists and visual/sound effects along with brilliant acting skills of Rohan Chand made Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle quite a cinematic treat and refreshing outlook of the Jungle way of living. Mowgli’s emotional conflicts, amalgamation of both animal-loyalty and human-logic in his consciousness makes it stand apart from similar previous attempts (including Tarzan). Just go watch it and have fun!

Dark side of the research….

Its 4 AM in the morning, but don’t worry, it isn’t a post which I am composing half asleep. I had a virtual espresso shot and somehow just for today- I have become an insomniac. Fun!

I had been working on a funded research project (for last 6 months) focusing on sensitivity analysis and reduced order modeling of mathematical models of infectious diseases like tuberculosis and typhoid. My mentor and I started working on an hypothesis. We strongly believed in the hypothesis as it was highly intuitive and seemed quite practical. Initial experimentation were in-line with the hypothesis we had started with. Gradually the hypothesis got converted into a theory which we wanted to publish. In fact, we had started writing the draft for the Journal of Theoretical Biology or Journal of Mathematical Biology. What went wrong then?

During drafting of the journal paper, one day an idea suddenly struck me (while playing badminton). I had done a semester long course on Machine Learning and its applications in real world problem. Techniques used in machine learning are suitable for analysis of high-dimensional data, something which I was dealing with in my research. I wanted to visualize and cluster my high-dimensional data and provide a strong argument in support of the theory which we were going to present. Ambitious!

We found a technique: t-SNE (t-Stochastic Neighbor Embedding), which worked remarkably well with even very very high (>20000) dimensional data. The crux idea of the technique was fairly simple and we implemented it without any hiccups. To our utter shock, the results from t-SNE shattered the hypothesis to bits-and-pieces. It wasn’t something which my supervisor had asked me to do. It was my own idea which resulted in scrapping of my previous 3 month’s work. Shattering and painful! We simply couldn’t neglect the findings (though we are confident that we would have published the earlier results as well since no where in systems biology, had any one has ever attempted to implement t-SNE algorithm. No one would have challenged us!). It was the matter of upholding research integrity: that as a researcher we have to put the most correct form of information in front of the world.

None the less, there were beautiful lessons to be learnt from this incident. I learned about the strength of integrity and honesty. Staying true and honest to my work was really difficult and required very deep work ethics. I learned that a certain amount of knowledge is never enough! Never! There is always something which you will not be aware of. You really need to work hard to keep up with recent research trends in all the domains which are even remotely connected to your work. And this is very essential as you never know what might become useful for you. Most importantly, I learnt to tackle the failure.

Discussing with my mentors, I realized that what happened with me is not rare. Rather it is quite common and happens with almost everyone at some point in their research. Instead of withdrawing from the problem in fear of further failures, one should take inspiration from it. Use it as a building material for your next hypothesis which would be that much more robust. Catching your own mistakes is no smaller feat either since it is difficult for us to scrutinize our own creation. Yes, there will be a bitter taste left in you after such incidents but that taste will keep you on your toes, ever so cautious and attentive with your next steps.

What did I do in my case? For starters, I didn’t hide anything from my supervisor. I struggled to come up with a new idea/hypothesis to test for a long time. Partially because moving on from a hypothesis I strongly believed in was difficult and partially because systems biology isn’t my long term research domain. Some inertia is justifiable! Currently, I have a new idea which I am eager to discuss with my supervisor. It is something which gives me joy that I can push myself beyond my own limits in challenging circumstances. I have a new beginning at least, which is very important. Incidents like these test your character and work ethics in the most challenging circumstances. I am happy to be able to just pass this test. The entire experience was quite humbling.

Sadly, for all the joy (of solving problems) research gave me, this is one of its dark sides which I got to experience. The wiser people say that: “The more you struggle initially, the easier your path will be become later on”. I hope that is applicable to me as well. Apart from these hiccups, research is beautiful, elegant, powerful and at times eccentric! Really really enjoyable! I hope the readers will get something out of my own experience (which is the prime motivation of writing this blog post).

See you next time. 🙂


When Ants Ate My Maggi!

So in 7th standard…my final exams were going on. That particular day was my Maths paper and after surviving a grueling “after-paper-discussion-session” without any heartbreak, I was pretty satisfied with my effort for the day! Even though next day it is mother of all examinations, History, I decided to feast myself with Maggi! It was an instant winner. Not 1 (who eats one at a time, Pff!), not 2 (it is a special day after all 😀 ) but 3 packs of Maggi! There is no one to stop me after all! (Evil laughter)

So I got into the act; pot carefully selected- not too big that it makes eating from it difficult, not too​ small that Maggi sticks to bottom. Water carefully measured with my trusty tea-cup! Enough to make the “Soupy” version but not too much that every thing is floating! Now comes the big question- Maggi first or Masala first! Now the problem here is that even though instructions behind packet tells you to add them together, but for all practical purposes you need to pick your favorite and  “swaha” it in water. But then if you make noodles enter first, then pour in masala, there will be masala lumps stuck in noodles! If you make masala go in first and then put noodles, there is a chance that masala might get over cooked, leading to a tasteless Maggi! Ah what dilemma! How a 7th-grader was supposed to know the enigmatic concepts of entropy and diffusion! But some how practical results trump theoretical explanations! So going by the rule of thumb, I intelligently poured in Masala and then the noodles. All that is left is to cook it!

Now there are different ways to go about it! You can either stir it constantly, evenly mixing everything and evenly spacing noodles in your pot. Or you can leave the cake as it is and have nice rectangular chunk of noodles, just like in Lasagna (A western dish with alternate layers of noodles and gravy). Or you can do a semi-stir, and get best of both worlds! Hahahaha! Greedy Me! In those days, I used to go for Semi Stir, and then let the steam do its job! These days I am more like a Full Stir guy! Thinking about a movie or t.v. serial to see while feasting on 3 packets of Maggi! Those were the days when Byomkesh Bakshi and a Prem Chand Written T.V. serial used to air on Doordarshan! I glanced the wall clock to see what is going to be aired in next 15 minutes…..Byomkesh Bakshi! My favorite detective!!! (I wasn’t a Sherlock Holmes fan until I had seen Robert Downey Jr. play it later on!)

I took a quick look inside the pot, thinking how I will be wiping it clean as Byomkesh Bakshi solves the crime! Already drooling at the sheer amount of Maggi at my disposal, all for me! I feel like a Greedy King sitting in his treasury, tossing his money around with both hands! Now while I was day dreaming about my pot of Maggi, I realized that I have let it boil for too long and now I will have to wait for a while before I can start eating! So I covered it with quarter plate, placed the ladle aside and went on to switch on the TV! So I arranged a small stool in front of my comfy little chair placed at a correct distance from ceiling fan and in front of TV so that I wouldn’t get scolded for sitting too close to TV nor will I get drenched in sweat after a long bout with Maggi! (I am little particular about these things!)

And then the mother of all the heart breaks begun- Show started on time. Spicy murder mystery! First advertisements were rolled out and I ran towards kitchen at god speed so that I don’t miss out on anything at the end of adverstisements! I removed the hot quarter plate, only to find ants crawling all over my Maggi! 😦 I swear to god, first heart break and a painful one! 😦 That was the moment when I was able to justify the heinous crime of burning ant hills with magnifying glass! -_- Was I crying? No! But I learned that complaining won’t get you anything! You just need to move on and go to next best thing you can do, which in my case, was eating Namkeen and bid my sincere adieu to the Maggi hijacked by those tiny Ants! Also learned that never to imagine about something so much that it hurts later on!

This was my Maggi story (there are a lot more: like fighting with siblings over securing a fair share for yourself or sneaking in night to make Maggi).

Happy Eating!

Let Education Be Education!

So…results are out, breaking news are being flashed, interviews are being done and sentimental background stories are getting compiled! But wait a minute- Am I talking about an athlete or celebrity who struggled through hardships to do well and make India proud on international stage or the results of JEE-Advance are out? Difference is almost non-existent, right! And in a few days from this article, another field will be going through same roller coaster ride. So what is this article about? Is it about pressure on students grilling day and night to score good marks…..Hell no, because there is nothing wrong in hard work! So what am I try to imply with such a thought provoking title “Let Education be Education”- probably the fact that most of us have truly forgotten what education was supposed to mean! The basic question of “What, Why, How, When, Where” are long lost and no one, especially in these factories (coaching institutes) churning out doctors and engineers by the second, are doing anything for their revival!

I studied in one of these factories, blind like everyone else in the starting, lost my way in the end. I somehow managed to crack through entrance exam of one of the most sought after institution in India, lost my way again and now I am about to graduate, finally with a clear path ahead. That being said, I recently had a chance of observing the Great Indian Results Drama! There was this exam which almost 1.5L students appeared for. Some students achieved a good rank because of their effort. Some achieved a good rank, well because they were born in certain special circumstances! (The debate about reservation if for some other day!) Then students who scored well were celebrated as heroes and heroins of some Bollywood Movie. Processions were carried out, they were honored with garland and tilak, a ceremony so grand that even Knighthood Ceremony of UK would get a tinge of inferiority complex! (Exaggerated, I agree). What about those who did not score well? Simple, Villains for their family and society! (To be clear here, I never allowed my coaching institute to publish my photo because I am strictly against such publicity!)

Let us take a step back and see what are we doing- There are students, still teenagers, treating them like Kings and Princes, giving them “God Complex” too early to handle! We then introduce them to dogma that a particular branch is the “only” good branch (just after observing short term benefits!) and not encouraging them to pursue their interests! What happens next? These students get complacent at the worst possible time of their career and screw up at a place where they should be excelling with flying color. So congrats “factories” for screwing up most of the engineering generation! Kudos! Complacency + God Complex + Freedom of college life = Disaster in most cases! (I was one of them!) End result is a generation of engineers without any perspective or vision for their future!

Coming back to these “factories”- buildings are proudly labeled as “coaching institutes” and people working inside those buildings, especially those who interact with students are “coaches”. Mind You, not “School and Teachers”! Funny isn’t it! End result, you don’t get “education” from teachers, instead you get “instruction” from coaches! As emphasized in a great movie “3 Idiots”- “Chabuk ke darr se sikhaye huye sher ko Well Trained kehte hai, Well Educated Nahi”.  We are getting a supply of “Well Trained” students and not “Well-Educated”. Is it purely the fault of these “factories”? Well is corruption purely because the officers are corrupt, No, right! What I believe is that, it is the right time for “Coaches” to turn into “teachers” and give their students some perspective about life and subjects! Work hard to inculcate the passion of “finding” an answer rather than “solving” a problem! Decide for yourself! What do you want- instruction or education?

But then, who is going to listen to me! It is not like parents will stop submitting their “raw materials” to these “factories”. I am not totally against these factories. They give you a chance to sit in premier institutes of country, make you hard working, competitive and quick-thinker! What they lack is inculcating a perspective, a vision in their students. May be a lot of practical problems like suicide and depression may get solved on their own with a little change in atmosphere. I don’t mean to hurt anyone. But I believe that somewhere someone will appreciate my thought, and life of couple of students will change because of that!

Let Education be Education!



The Old School of Ink Spill

In a student’s life time, there is always that one pen which leaks every now and then and at the very wrong moments. Be it early morning, Ink Refill session while you are trying to make it to school bus in time or in the middle of writing an essay during an essay writing competition! There were all sorts of trouble attached with that ink pen! But when I look back, I see it as one of the first few lessons I learned for crisis management. 🙂 Weird isn’t it, that how something as trivial as an ink pen can teach you something as valuable as crisis management. Here are a few lessons from those fond/frustrating memories of ink-spills:

  1. Always predict before hand.

Will the ink last the whole day? Should I go for a refill? What if the pen stops working? Since those days, pen used to lack an indicator to show the amount of ink left, you would have to rely solely on your instincts to decide when to refill! A lesson missed by ball point pen users. They can see the whole refill thing right there.

Thus Ink Pen taught me an important lesson of anticipating the problem even hours before it might occur and take steps to counter it or at least be prepared for it. Predicting product durability was another key concept taught to us by Ink Pens.

2. The Faster You React, More You Can Save

The moment you come to know about the Ink spill, what is the first thing you do? Pull away all the important pages and objects away from the range of disaster impact. Then pull away the least affected one, and so on, till everything of importance is removed from the area of impact and that too within 20-30 seconds! Fast Enough! This is the crux of any crisis containment strategy.

3. If you play with fire, there will be burn marks!

Even if you do everything with extreme caution, you will still have stain marks on your hands, tore pages at the back of notebook with ink blots on the remaining part of the page. A beautiful lesson of how to accept the losses and work with them! We so brilliantly hid it from the world that we just had a face-to-face with the most staining disaster in the world, yet explained the whole adventure to our best friends. Perhaps a lesson about not sharing our losses with no one but only those who would understand and not make fun of you!

I still love writing with the ink pen, mainly due to the vintage feel and texture of impression and its smell. Perhaps I am the only one in my college to do so. But Still, that Old School of Ink Spill still keeps me on alert and proactive during a crisis.

Things I Learnt Last Semester….

It was an eventful semester! No doubt in that. I was partly glad that it was over and some part of me craved for more action. May be because I was getting addicted to the things happening around me! All the shuffling of things, coping up with set-backs, fighting through grueling exams and making memories. As the new semester is about to start, I think it is the right time to write about what I have learned from the last semester:

  1. No excuse for Academics!Ultimate truth! For juniors, who might be reading this, “Never slack off in your acads! Never flunk even a single test! Its no different from your 11th and 12th preparations!” People often console complaining teenagers that in college they wouldn’t have to study this much. As a result, most first year students end up throwing everything in the wind and start living carefree. For sure by the end of their college years, they realize the grave mistake they had committed by doing so! I hope I have realized it soon enough. The truth is, college education is just as fierce and competitive as Entrance exam preparations! The only thing that has changed is “complexity of concepts”.

2. World is Not mine, and I am not World’s!

On my very best day, destiny always have something else planned for me! World can throw weird and most joyous surprises in your way and little you can do about it. Instead of complaining about it all the time, I realized that this is not my world and I am not owned by this world! Last semester was filled with both horrific as well as memorable surprises and I am thankful for developing such a special view of things. Such experiences taught me that it is not the end the world even if you have hit the rock bottom! At any given time, you can choose to improve yourself or drown yourself in the puddle of disappointment, ultimately the choice will be yours! Not giving a shit about what world will think about you will keep you light headed!

3. There is always a happy ending!

No matter how gigantic the shit pile is, there will always be a happy ending to it. Sometimes, you will need the valuable help from others but there will always be there for you! I am stressing on it so much because a few things happened from which I couldn’t have recovered if people were not ready to help me. So always have a good company around you.

4. Tomorrow is now!

Don’t wait to learn something if you have the time to learn it right now. You might end up waiting for a long time to get another opportunity like this. Don’t be afraid that you won’t get enough free time. The more you work hard in your initial days, the easier life becomes later on. With such a fast paced world, the tomorrow is already here! Don’t miss out on opportunities! I wanted to learn Tabla, now I have to wait for more than 3 months to do that when I could have practiced a lot in these 3 months! Or all those software which I wanted to learn last semester, I have to invest time now, to start from scratch! Don’t be afraid of the hard work, do it smartly and you will be reaping gigantic benefits for yourself in future! Thus “Get off your ass and get to work! Always there will be enough hours in day, you just need to reshuffle!” 

5.  Making Memories doesn’t require planning! 

It doesn’t require an elaborate plan to make a moment worthy enough to etch it into your memory! One shouldn’t be too up tight to have every moment perfect so that it can be called memorable! Sometimes meeting people randomly, sharing a loud laugh with everyone can make it quite memorable! Thus from now on wards I have decided to throw caution to the wind and enjoy every moment in most weird possible way so that I have a story to share. Let us be honest, nobody is excited to hear about a well planned trip. Everyone will love to hear about your mis-planned adventures! 😀

These five things got etched to the bottom of my heart! I am sure they will contribute in making the next one even more better! 😀


A Friend

Forging a relation different from others,
Who acts like Newtonian Apple* when it matters.
Like Ruth* and Samson*, hold my hand when Earth Dances,
Tolerating my mistakes, hiding ‘em in crates.

Loyal to Captain in a mutiny,
No hesitation to reach there for me.
Like Steve Jobs*, keep me under scrutiny,
One who caters to the need of me.

Have the strength to hold me back,
Someone to tell me when to tap*.
Having similar world in our mind,
A special one from my own kind*.

Always hold the mirror for me,
Inspire the world’s desire of being me.

Newtonian Apple: A falling apple triggered the concept of Gravity in Sir Isaac Newton. Similarly a friend should be someone who is constant source of inspiration.
Ruth: Ruth is a biblical figure known for her Loyalty.
Samson: Samson is a biblical figure who is known for his strength given to him by God.
Steve Jobs: Steve Jobs was known as a great mentor and inventor. He even mentored Mark Zuckerberg in his early days as Facebook CEO.
Tap: In a wrestling match, when one of the fighters is overwhelmed by other, he can bow out of a fight by tapping the ground as a signal to save himself from any serious injury.
Kind: Here referred to as individuals belonging to a particular race of human species.