Thursday, March 26, 2009

Friday introspection....

One of my friend some time ago told me that I am the most cynical person in the gang. He asked me not to become like that. I didn't know the meaning of the word that time correctly; even I was not sure he meant this. Cynic - A person who believes that all people are motivated by selfishness. always looking at a glass of water or life as half empty instead of half full. Always looking at the negative instead of looking at the positive. I think its some way correct. The first part is not correct for me, but in a way the second definition holds good for me. I have a weird theory in life, I do expect the worst from life or from anything. I believe it prepares me for the worst, rather than just hope for the best and believe in the good side of everything. Every one seems to have heard about the glass which is half full. Other than the normal two category of people who sees the half water and half empty space; I belong to those category who ask themselves why the glass is half empty. One of my weird (another) hobby is to justify each persons (?) actions. I do it only in my mind. I will think about why or what has made him/her do that. I think what motivates him to act selfish, or why cant he be different. This helps me to understand and accept that person as they are. This also reminds me that how blessed I am. I have so much free time in my life. I try to understand people.

Today also I don't have any work. I am not liking it. May be its because its been 3 days in a row since I had any work. Its not doing any good to me, the more I get free time, the more I tend to be lazy. I like to have continuous work. Only then I can enjoy the weekend to the full extend, the deserved break you know. I want to do something useful in the free time. Other than reading news and some wikying, I don't think I am doing anything useful. I have tried to make some new friendships in the office too. But looks like they are not as open to it as I am. I stop bugging others when I understands that they feel I don't worth it. So that's also going to be a closed chapter soon.
In news - Steaming hot tea (above 70 degrees) is linked to cancer (

Monday, March 23, 2009

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Border between music and noise....

I was just forced to write this about International music arena. I respect A.R Rahman for his talent and I am one of his great fans. It was a great feeling when the great maestro received an international acclaim. Its been 24 years he has been in the industry and from the first to the last song he has composed were marvelous and there are still many more to come.

But I am too much concerned about the growing patriotism and intolerance in our country. I think its a high time we should grow our self out of the country. I have been observing so much narrow mindedness in our democratic nation and I am too much concerned. To think upon there has been an incident in Karnataka where local BJP body resisted the Charlie Chaplin statue being erected for a movie. There have been some bullshit reasons they have given (As he is a christian, a foreigner etc). But there is no one to control all the narrow thoughts. Who is there to preach these people about the real values of all religions, and about love. I am so much worried about our country and such narrow mindedness should not be tolerated. India is supposed to be a country of tolerance and I am sad to say it is no more a tolerant country. Individual freedom for expression should be protected at any cost.

What I wanted to say originally is, when a British singer is given Grammy, the British doesn't take the credit, the credit goes to the singer and all the fans feels proud and they are all around the globe. We should open our eyes to the other countries and other professionals. Each fan of Rahman should feel proud, but when we put that as a country's achievement the whole worlds perception of us would be we as a narrow and selfish country. When A.R Rahman starts to compete against the professionals who are on the UK and US Chart busters we should understand some facts. The sound scores from "only" movies are considered for Academy awards, and most of the English movies do not have a great sound score. When a movie with songs composed by AR goes to the Academy Awards its obvious that there is not much competition. Do you remember the Celine Dion song from Titanic? I don't think the "Jai Ho" was as good as "My Heart Will Go On", no offences meant but this particular song of AR was not so great compared to other songs of him.

The tight competition for music is on Grammy Awards and that's were actually great musicians are exposed for competition. I just want to take the attention to the International music as our musicians have started competing in the international arena. Our music has been always melodic why because the music has been in Indian culture for centuries and has been mainly associated with Gods and worships. I would say it has not evolved out of that much. According to musicologist Jean-Jacques Nattiez "the border between music and noise is always culturally defined". Its been high time for our thinking and musics' to evolve. We should start learning to accept the other musicians from other countries too.

I have been really amazed by the professionalism shown by foreign musicians. In US and UK (where most famous bands are born) the music is controlled by the so called Rock, Pop, Rap, Metal, Heavy Metal, Jazz, Trance, Electronic bands (many more but these have more followers). Indian Music is a different classification. One of the very first rock bands "Led Zeppelin" was started doing shows in 1968. The dedication of these people are amazing. Most of these guys are always high on drugs and alcohol. But then their life is full of music. I am not sure how many of us know about Iron Maiden touring US; yes they are on a 365 day world tour. The team leader is 52 years old (Steve Harris) and he started the band Iron Maiden band at the age of 19, the one of the most admired heavy metal band of all time. Rest of the team members are also as old as him. Can you imagine that old people performing heavy metal songs on stage? I found it incredible. In India we are not exposed to the success of all these bands and such bands are not encouraged in India. You should try to see one of such bands - Iron Maiden, Linkin Park, Metallica - live performance (they are available in YouTube). I can assure you, not even a single Indian composer or singer can command such crowds. The bands are driven purely by energy and fans. I have attended one of the Alternative Rock band - Cold Play - concert in Washington. You won't believe the turn out was around 20,000 people. Ya of course later they won the Grammy for the best song of the year ("Viva La Vida").

All these guys write their own lyrics, compose their own songs, sing their on songs and play their own instruments. Isn't that called professionalism, they even come on stage and perform and entertain. They are a package, real "performers". A well admired package; capable or defining the attitude and expressions of a majority of youth in US and UK and the rest of the world. As I have told before music is the representation of culture and we should accommodate other cultures also to ours. Its high time for an evolution like that.. When world culture starts to accommodate us we should reciprocate.. Make our self more flexible towards different cultures and respect them. Throw away the superiority complex infused by fundamentalists. It does no good to humanity. I used the sample of music to convey this message.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Commuting in Chennai....

If you have ever been to Chennai you wouldn't have missed the funny shaped share autos. They look like a box on four relatively very small tyres. They will be taking some 12 people at a time. (some times nearly 15). Though some people find it disgusting to enter the vehicle, sharing the sweaty seats touching other sweaty people; I find the journey in share auto interesting. I have found very interesting people while travelling in share auto, some moments were really funny. its a cheap way of commuting too. I always choose share auto as my primary commuting means wherever possible. Share auto drivers are very mean fellows and they just try to fit in as many people inside as possible. This weekend I was sitting inside a fully occupied share auto and the driver stopped the auto for a very old lady. He asked her to sit some where till it reaches the next stop. She couldn't find any place other than an young lady's lap :) she didn't even turn back to see whether she is ready to take her on lap or not.. I tried hard to control my laughter. The young lady was so confused what to do and the old lady sat very comfortably, and I could no longer control my laughter...

Its not very rare the share auto guys get swearings from other drivers. Driving in Chennai can be absolutely unpredictable. its a total chaos. People never stop at red signal, they don't wait for the signal to turn green to start moving either. They over takes from all the sides and in all driving conditions you can imagine. intersections are very dangerous, the way other side traffic take over the on going traffic is unbelievable. They just keep coming to the middle of the road and makes the space for the coming traffic narrower. And the coming traffic never stops until there is absolutely no space any where to cross. OH GOD. This can never get better, the population and the number of vehicles keep increasing

I just wonder why no one wants to better the way of their living by adhering to traffic rules and keeping surroundings clean....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Time for Test....

Again its time for test. Recession; what is it that god wants from that. I have a clear idea on that. Recently I have become very much spiritual. It helps me rationalize why some things happen; while others do not have a clue about why and what. I have only one thing to tell to atheists; if being an atheist helps you to be calm and better then stay like that, else listen to what I have to say.

Its very very painful to see people loosing their jobs, I happen to be a helpless spectator of what was happening when HR head chose to sit the cabin behind me and started calling those whom he has chose. I couldn't stay there for more time and by that time I felt very heavy and very obligated to the almighty for letting me hold on to what I have for the time being. Some weeks ago, I happened to speak in a small session which is organised by my department. The topic they have chosen to discuss was "how to manage our wealth during recession". Every one spoke about managing money and how to cut costs and everything. To me it sounded nothing about money. Of course its about money, but its about money, more to the corporates. They only cut costs; whatever costs we incur are unavoidable or meaningless when we don't have job right. What wealth meant to me that time was, ourselves. Recession is a teacher, a teacher who teaches the man how dispensable he is and tells how unpredictable the life can turn out to be. In that session I told the people about that. I consider my self as an extravagant person, but I guess (just guess) I could change my spending habit according to my income. Recession is not about that, it is supposed to break the ego, which came upon the software industry or whoever started to get unimaginable wealth due to the globalization and outsourcing. I never have been proud about the money I get hold of. I consider money as a medium to achieve personal luxury and help those who is in need. Do you think those who doesn't spend money are with more light heart? no I don't think so. You would never be remembered for the money you had.

I just think this is the time to think about what we have rather than what we don't have. Time to think what and all we have which can be taken back. Is there some thing which guaranties our own life. Even that's not guarantied. Don't you feel small or smaller? Yes that's what I think god wants us to feel and think about now. Some introspection.

All the very best to those who let go their jobs (even though it was not by choice) to make their company profitable, they are real heroes.