Dil Khush Jahaan.. teri to manzil hai vohi!

What are you doing with Your Life?

What are you doing with Your Life?

Came across this one from Bud Cadell’s works on whatconsumesme and instantly grew to love this depiction. Simple, yet powerful way to organize everything I do, or can do, and it’ll immediately decide how much time / resources I should be spending on it.

Though the self-help books wouldn’t get you to start writing your goals on a piece of paper, this one seems an interesting thing to do. – list whatever I do, or can potentially do, into one of the categories :

What I want to do but neither am I good, nor will it pay. – Travel consultant?

What I can get paid for, but neither am I good with  nor I want to do it. – Bullshitting!

What I’m good with, but neither it pays, nor I really want to do it. –

What I want to do and can get paid for but am not too good at – Dealmaking

What I want to do and am good at, but won’t get paid for it. –

What I’m good with, can get paid for, but don’t want to do. –

What I’m good with, would love to do and CAN get paid for! – Conceptualizing Solutions

But well, at 25, in the process of experimenting with your career before you’re required to stabilize, not all these questions are answered properly. Though if the last one is answered well enough, all else is irrelevant.

The venn hasn’t told me what my Hooray! is, but it has told me the way to think, if I want to get there!

Also, it’s given me an interesting thing to play with, to make new venn diagrams that’ll give me new ways of looking at life and what I’m doing.

AND , a cool piece of gyan to draw on tissue papers at coffee shops, and give away to people – with due respect to Cadell!

Back to my words..

It’s been a while since I blogged last and well, a lot has happened since then. Pretty much on all fronts.

For those who sought pleasure in sarcastically congratulating me for the election results, you still made me smile, so thanks for that. And I wasn’t hiding away somewhere, unable to face the election aftermath. Just a bunch of professional engagements keeping me rather occupied.

So well, I won’t try and follow the world in advising what the BJP should be doing next.  My mentor had an interesting take on it. It answered a lot of things for me.

A whole lot of intellectual talk came his way after the election – ” You should be introspecting, undergoing catharsis, give up on Hindutva and all of that…”. His response was simple, ” All these ideas and talk is great, but the change that you talk about, what’s going to be YOUR contribution in it? What role are YOU going to play?”

Most people, love advising and solving problems for others – non accountable types – have a lot of gyan to give, but not enough time or enthusiasm to actually contribute something of value. In politics, if you want to be heard, being a pure intellectual won’t suffice. You gotta be a doer – help execute, at least partly, the ideas that you speak about. Or find other ways of contributing – fund them maybe.

With all these thoughts, I’m not going to delve into advising what the the party leadership should be doing with their ideology and political strategy.  I prefer to leave those at coffee tables conversations just like college gossip.

And while I’m rather hopeful with the current way of things, I haven’t forgotten that the same papers, who wrote ‘All Talk No Vote‘ after the election day, screamed aloud that India had voted for secularism,  ‘mandate’ for congress and all of that.  There’s no disputing that congress won the political game, and I respect them for that. But to say that the people of India have awakened to make wiser choices, and that the days of extremism are over – would still be a utopian thought.

Just for instance, in Mumbai North-east, out of 15 lakh eligible voters, about 6 lakh voted. 2.5 lakh each to bjp and ncp and 1 lakh to MNS. BJP lost by a mere 3000 votes. Same’s the case with 5 out of the 6 seats in bombay. I’ll not get into accusing Thackrey junior for sabotaging it for BJP-SS, but just point out that the extreme still got more votes than the congress/NCP as far as Mumbai is concerned.I have collated the nos. from the election commission site, so if you have doubts, feel free to leave me a note and I’ll share with you.

So while feeling holier than me, don’t be too naive and believe all that you see / hear.

So that’s about the state of my mind. Next , what am I looking to do, really. I don’t know how much I will be able to do really. Being a professional with elite education to back me, I want to use these to listen to the voice of people and give them a chance to participate in policy making and execution.

Accordingly, I want to :

– Work with a bunch of IITians / IIM students on some e-governance projects – pick up global case studies, analyse their feasibility in India at a basic level and develop concept papers that can be proposed to the state.

– Interface with  tax payers / professionals of various sorts – understand their greivances and issues (those that are not entirely obvious) and see if there’s anything that state’s intervention can help in.

– Crowdsource issues for the governance / leadership to answer – identify the ones that are most crucial to each group of audience and try to draw attention to them.

– Work on interfacing political leaderhip with industry leaderhip effectively – to enable transferring of ideas at the right level.

– Hold events that involve complete civilans into thinking about governance related issues and contibute with their ideas.

– Use online media to identify, spread and raise the issues that are important to the people and take them to the right places.

A few months into the system I’m still in the early exploratory phase and there’s a lot that may not be within my reach to impact yet, but well, the process is on and the lessons too.


Can Educated India be politically relevant?

Much as there are a whole bunch of things I don’t like or understand about democracy, I won’t engage in arguing for or against it, simply because Democracy is here to stay, whether you and I like it or not.

What we do have in our hands, is the implications. Of divisive politics, and of caste based vote banks and the choice for us to become ‘relevant’

The underlying fact is, each of us, by himself, only has one vote and inadvertently allow vote banks to be created on the lines of caste and religion. One leader from an XYZ community can promise a few thousand votes of his people, knowing full well that they stand behind him. He can bargain for anything, including reservations, or other kinds of personal favors, or cash.  He won’t even shy away from taking to the streets or outright hooliganism, knowing that the politician dare not displease him and his vote bank.

And then, of course, there are the businessmen looking for their share of the pie out of the thousands of crores of government spending on various projects. They can fund the candidates’ campaigns, and money can then buy numbers. Don’t we all know of the several instances of country liquor, saris, biryani and other things distributed to buy slumdwellers’ votes.

And if you can get a vote ‘bank’ by any move, it’s anyday preferable to collecting individual votes, it’s a much better Return on Time Invested after all.

On the other hand, if as Responsible Indians, we were to come together and take collective political decisions, there’s a lesser chance that we’d be manipulated by short term poll tactics. We could constitute a vote bank, that means business and can’t be fooled. I’m not asking for blind following, or denouncing individual choice and freedom, just a more collective approach.

Simply put,

Why can’t a Tax Payers’ association stand up and make demands, that we’ll vote for the government that shows better transparency with the way tax revenue is spent?

Why can’t an IT professionals’ association stand up and say that we want better educational institutes ?

Why can’t a Youth Group, promise a few thousand votes for better attention to youth affairs – employability and vocational education?

Because we’re too busy to unite. We’re too busy to lend our voices to such causes. And, often, we have personal interests, that rise above the interests of our group or even the nation. (one of my most disappointing personal experiences, to note this in a young professional, who was too busy to help, but was keen do it for money.)

The trouble with smart people is that they’re really smart. We’re extremely difficult to convince. We’re too smart to follow the words of any leader. We have endless questions. We’re wishful thinkers who can enjoy a political discussion in the drawing room, but leave it at that. And we’re supremely cynical about the politics of the country.

And We they stand alone. One smart guy doesn’t easily trust the judgment of another smart guy. Even after he is convinced, none of us can claim to represent the political preferences of even a close friend circle. Because we’re shy of taking a public stand. Because we fear defying group behavior. We can’t step out of the herd. We’re afraid we’d be judged.. We’d stand out, we’d lose social approval……

The essential Mantra, is United we stand, divided we are irrelevant.

It’s time to waken the voice within and add weight to it, to become politically significant!

So lets stop taking the holier than thou approach, and start getting our hands dirty to clean up our home!

It’s time to start talking politics.

To Join Hands! To Ask Questions!

It’s akin to the freedom struggle, the quest this time, is the redemption of the nation!

P.S. This is an entirely politically neutral post! The change I want to see in the world – Hear a voice, irresepctive of political preferences! And this pursuit must continue, even after the elections are over and the powers are established. Whichever way. The Change will not be overnight.

Wisdom Tooth Hurts…

It’s weird, I’d initiated this post last year and I dont’ remember the context! The title sure seems interesting enough for me to rethink and start a journey through my years of having gained wisdom and how I don’t like it so much!

These might sound like rants of the angst, but well, first hand learning!

People are weird – they don’t always say the truth, they dont’ always mean what they say, and they dont’ always say what’s on their mind.

Personally and professionally, this has been the most appalling thing I’ve come across. To believe in people, only to be let down and be disappointed.

Then I wonder if it’s too naive to continue to trust people, or should I become wise – once bitten, twice shy!

The quotes that are treated as lessons, aren’t just ‘quotes’, my favorite one, in this regard now, is ” Trust only those who stand to lose as much as you do, when things go wrong

I’ve wanted to stay the Anne Frank way, to continue to believe people are really good at heart and not judge them

The other thing, is the realization of the impossible – the rise of practicality, with a dash of cynicism.

Whenever I’ve been told about something can’t be done, I’ve been obsessed with walking around the whole thing, to find a logical, reasonable solution to show HOW it can be done.

To reach dead ends, hits you hard. To realize that the obstacles standing in front of you are too big to really cross over, move around and/or penetrate through.

The first time you accept something as impossible, or not worth the effort, the first time you let go of something is when the maturation process starts!

And then when you see expensive mistakes, that you can’t undo. Just like a hand of poker, where you see in the final round, after raising the stakes rather high, that you can’t possibly win. The moment you realize that, the wise thing to do, is to fold. It’s not easy. It takes wisdom! And to get this wisdom, you need to lose a few hands.

I wasn’t born a pro!

Tagore, surely didn’t mean this when he said, “Perpetual giving up is the only truth of life”

So what are the times YOU’ve turned wiser, with a bad experience?

OOPS! Yet Again, It is!

After a long period of individually answering people ki ‘Main Finals mein baith raha hoon kya?’, I guess it’s full and final, that it’s OOPS! yet again. I would’ve been thrown out by now I guess, if the place reps noticed that I didn’t submit any CVs for the process in the first place.

It comes now, since I’m COMPLETELY done with all curricular requirements of my diploma, including the last exam, the last class and the last assignment. Funny, I’m still in college, perhaps not yet ready to accept the change that stepping out of college life is going to be, for me!

An oops in undergrads, and then in summers, and now again at the finals, feels funny to have never really worked in a formal situation before and being still not willing to do it. Not that I have anything against jobs, or people who take them up, I somehow never fit that bill.

For this onelife, to experiment a little bit, I’ve given myself the position of Founder and CEO of Onelife Knowledge Services Pvt. Ltd. Fancy name na? So what are we to do with this?

We’ll run the portal called lifeinlines.com integrating multiple input mechanisms to make it simple for anyone to archive LiL moments from his/her life. A fast paced life, 2 years just whizzed by, as the best daze of our lives, but if you were to look back a few years later, would have some photos, videos, and memories that would grow more and more vague with time. Moving ahead in the corporate world, keeping in touch with others, and sometimes even with yourself, is going to turn difficult.

So at lifeinlines, as you live through the million LiL moments, you can express, capture and eternalize your ideas, thoughts, emotions, reactions, memories, pieces of wisdom….. your life as it turns out, using any channel as our website/an email/a gtalk messenger/SMS/MMS/a phone call and all this would build an archive of your life, complete with images, videos, voice narrations, other files and of course text. It comes with multiple privacy levels so you can keep things to yourself or share with whom you want to.

Call it your personal scribblepad, or a mini ‘Dear Diary’ or a Micro-blog. but it’s going to be a lot more than all of these put together.

Now, it’s meant to be a description of what I’m doing, not an advertisement,

Then we got to know that web 2.0 is falling short of content creators and observed that there’s so much knowledge disseminated in dialogues and speeches in so many situations, so we’re trying to build the tech and human interface to bring these two together. So what’ll happen is if you’re speaking at a location, you call our number from your cell phone, record your entire session and this would be archived on the web as an audio file.

We can also arrange for it to be transcribed, edited and published on the web, under your rights, for a share of the revenue it can generate. The aim is to bring high quality tacit knowlege to the public domain. A LOT of such knowledge lies in the minds of people and shall probably be lost forever, since most of them will never get down to blogging, or writing a book or too many articles for whatever reasons of his own. The long tail of demand for quality content on the web, should take care of the costs incurred in this exercise. And then, unlike usual one off interviews in traditional media, we can collect questions for these people on the web, and arrange for monthly telephonic interviews, getting all the questions answered, bringing out a little more of what’s lying unaccessed in the back of their minds.

That’s the internet and mobile side of it. With our personal interests and the observed gap in that space, Onelife would also provide basic level advisory to young startups – associating with legal, accounts, marketing, business planning, branding, strategy….. providing a one stop shop for startup requirements. And this isn’t going to cost a bomb, because we know startups can’t pay. If we feel excited about it and fall for your spirit and business, we might just work for a little equity!

It’s a funny time, at weird moments, you get ideas about making a visiting card with a photo, and at another times, getting laid back and going by the philosophy of Onelife, you define a company policy that the employees won’t work weekends. Might be a foolish idealistic thing for a startup to think, but well, now it’s Company Policy.

Though it might be comforting to know that I’ll be my own boss, it’s even more intimidating for a thoroughly indisciplined soul as me to have to define my own deadlines and stick to them.

But then, it’s a roller coaster.. if I’m to have fun at the highs, shall be prepared for the lows as well!