Thursday, 16 January 2014

Handling Life and Work

         School, College and University all these have claimed to prepare a student for life, they say they will help you tackle the real world and will turn you into a successful person. Of course, they teach you things like talk and calculate and depending on your major in college you may even end up as a doctor, an engineer or even a lawyer. The perfect kid each and every parent dreams of. You are trained to live the perfect life, follow the rules, know the rules, following a role model as if we were sheep. Ironically, a sheep is exactly what you can call someone who is a product of this educational system. Guided right from the beginning to follow a certain path that leads to the so called "success" and become a "successful person". Were the success can be measured, where you are made to believe that this "success" is actually quantifiable, it is assumed to be tangible, a product of how much you remember, how quickly you can find the answer. How accurate you are with your hands. Does this really qualify for the measurement of such a thing. Maybe the term success at least in schools should be called progress or something of such sorts.

        Now how useful is this quantifiable success. How much does it actually affect your actual productive as well as creative ability. Once we get out of such a place where we are almost ushered to get through and once you get to the real world you soon realize that the things that were valued in the closed campuses are completely irrelevant to the life outside. You cannot possible write down a schedule for everyday of your life, and sometimes if not always things will never go according to plan. You go to a  pub and nobody cares on how booze much you are able to guzzle down. You go to the saloon and come out and not a single person is going to notice your hair. Nobody cares if you have a shiny new watch or even bother to look at your new shoes.

       You somehow manage to get out with stellar grades and get yourself a  job and now you realize that you don't have enough time to do what you were used to doing. Suddenly the most valuable possession of your's is your time. You start to plan and structure it, you cut down on your social life, you stop doing things you enjoy doing all because you feel it is a waste of time and finally you just accept the fact that change is inevitable. You are not what you were. You now have a responsibility and as if one is not enough you have a plethora of different responsibilities. You are responsible for the money your boss makes. You are responsible for not meeting your friends. You are responsible for the fact that you cannot find enough time to take a couple days off. You have this obligation to pay your taxes and your other debts and loans.

       How much time does it take for you to realize that there is something wrong with the way we are looking at things, how much time does it take for us to realize that there is a problem somewhere. So what is this problem, why is it that we are incapable of finding free time. Some try to go back to the old ways, and try to plan out their entire life.If that's the case then where is the opportunity to start something new, where is the gap for those new experiences the great authors have raved on about in great length in their works.

      The solution to such a problem is not learned in school because it is simply left ignored, the schedule is too perfect for such discrepancies to creep in. So we set on about to emulate such a perfect system, and realize that it is to no avail. It does not fit in with how the world works because more than often almost all of our plans involve at least another person and the only way this perfect system of management is going to work is that the entire world follows such a perfect system like clockwork. But it is clearly observable that the scenario outside school is far different from anything like that.

      We require a better form of management, something that is more dynamic and something that can accommodate mistakes and inaccuracies that happen while planning. So let's look at our options here.

1. Conventional Way - Write down a schedule and follow it and hope that those included in the schedule also follow it.In this you just jolt down all your projects and write down a schedule for everything and follow it till the given task is completed. But mostly always leads to missing deadlines

2. Dynamic Approach - In this have a prior situation report on each and every project and change the plans and try to make up time with proper planning. This is possibly the best method but has too many variables to keep track of and too many people to communicate with.

3. Deadline Priority - In this all you do is do the work to which the deadline is closest and plan the rest of the schedule accordingly. List all the projects based on the deadline and follow the list and work on the tasks accordingly. Chasing deadlines is not the best of feelings.

4. Importance Priority - The most important works are given a higher priority status and the lesser important works are left to be tackled with on another day. Maybe the best way to handle the projects based on the importance of the projects but this delays the unimportant projects sometimes resulting in long delays in completing them.

5. Interrupt Priority - Work on the project that has the highest requirement of your attention. You get called on only whenever something goes wrong and relies a lot on trusting others to complete the work hence you are not able to focus on the work at hand.

     So well there are a few ways we can manage our time, maybe a combination of all of the following ways can help better manage our time and we can probably save some time in the process. This means that there is some proper planning to be done in your part and maybe it is a good thing maybe it will improve your time management ability as every body knows time is money.

    You read anywhere that time management is key. Getting things done on time or well before time leaves us with the essential free time which we so very crave for. Thus letting us learn new things, build new relations or simply unwind. Everybody would love more time in their hands and it's all up to them to get it. Of course different techniques have their advantages and disadvantages but it is up to us to assess them and utilize the ones that best suit our needs.

   Thus, when you have time left from work you will have more time to handle life and that is all that matters.

Monday, 9 December 2013

A Cure For Boredom

Lately I've been inspired by the movie "Yes Man" in which actor Jim Carrey plays a guy who never says yes to things, that is until he enrolls in a program that forces him to always say yes. And this simple "yes" changes his life. Maybe that's the cure for boredom, saying yes to things. You start something and then you get engrossed in it, but you need to start it in the first place. Starting new things can range from really interesting to really boring. So skydiving is an interesting thing to do, maybe frightening but interesting nevertheless. Playing the guitar, the thought of it is really interesting, the moment you actually pick it up and find out that it's nearly impossible to play, that's when it gets boring and then again once you get the hang of it, you are hooked for life.

Maybe saying yes is really the answer to boredom. But then again, anything funny is also a cure, just look at the number of hits those funny cartoons rake in. Basically put, boredom is nothing but the desire to seek something that entertains us. Keeps us happy and diverts the mind from thinking. Then maybe being bored is a good thing because we may be able to make informed decisions because we are not occupied with other things. This may be true but only conceptually, because our minds can never stay bored and think of all sorts of random things when we are bored. This gives us an interesting possibility, what is we could control the random things and do more productive things instead? Or is it what we already do?

We all have seen people do amazing things as a hobby, as something they do when they are bored. Now obviously these things are not entirely useless and almost all of them require immense thinking and creative ability. So the question goes much deeper if excessive stress on the mind is not the cause of boredom then what is? and more importantly why do we even get bored? I do not have answers to these questions, food for thought maybe. So looks like we've hit a wall. But let's continue anyway. So we can be certain that the mind does not dull down when we do something while we are bored, maybe that's because our brains actually want some activity and it appears its selective and maybe it just needs something else to ponder on about. And if that's the case anything other than what you are doing should be a cure for boredom even counting the number of o's in this article.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Why I listen to songs in languages I don't know.

I was watching this video that got me interested in time lapse. It's called "Why I shoot lights at night" in which the photographer and video maker Toby Lockerbie, and I've seen this many times but the video never manages to loose its magic. Thus the name for this post.
                                                              Why I shoot lights at night

I've been bothered with this question for quite a while now "What is the difference between a song and music?", So i thought about it and concluded with this answer. A song is something that we can comprehend, It is intended to have a particular meaning that the singer wants to convey, and also obviously it uses language. Whereas music has many meanings, though it has a general theme it doesn't have a definite meaning.

So, can a song be music?
Well the short answer is yes.

Not a day goes by for me without listening to some music, and yes music, I don't really listen to the song I may have listened to the song a hundred times and can't even recite the chorus properly. I'm not saying I don't listen to the song but I'd call the vocals to be just another instrument, a piece of the jigsaw we call a song. It is often said music has healing effects on the soul, very deep topics which we are not going to discuss here but lets just say I believe them. It's funny why we like music, from a scientific point of view music is nothing but a set of resonating frequencies. So, why is it that our brain appreciates those particular frequencies. What is it about them that has the ability to control our emotions? We all are  aware of the slow paced music played in restaurants, and the pumping music in clubs. What is there about music that it is capable of influencing everybody in such a similar way. Maybe this is the worlds language. You don't need words, you can just listen to the music being played and have an idea of what is going on in that particular place.So we all can agree music is something magical.

Now let's get to the question in hand. Have you ever gone someplace where you don't understand the local language. But you listen to the local music and are able to enjoy it just as much as the locals, how about sing-alongs? there in no backing music but you are still capable of enjoying it. Hasn't the song just become music, at least with respect to my definition of them.

I like to imagine a lot and most of the things I imagine while listening to music are beautiful. Now whenever I listen to a french song, a Korean song, or even a song sung in Tamil. I don't know what the song is about, my mind takes off with a horde of emotions wondering what the singer is singing about, maybe the most magical place on earth. I remember the scene from The Shawshank redemption when Andy plays the record in the warden's office and Red("Morgan Freeman") narrates how it feels
" I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are better left unsaid. I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can't expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was as if some beautiful bird had flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.  --Red "

The feeling of not knowing what the singer is singing about is amazing because then at that point of time while you are listening to the song the singer is singing whatever you want to hear, and that for me is better than any lyrics in the world. Whenever I listen to Yann Tiersen's "L'echec" and "L'effondrement" it's the mood that carries over and you feel exactly what the singer intended you to feel.

Also when  you listen to somebody sing along a song where the original is a composition which did not have any vocals and somehow the vocal aspect makes the original song even better, almost as if the music was written for the song. These two pieces of music were piano compositions where the vocal versions came after the music came out Ludovico Einaudi's "Nuvole Bianche" and Yiruma's "River flows in you".

I'm hoping you've heard the music and love it. So, let's get back to our question, Yes songs can be music and sometimes songs can make the music better. When you hear a song where the singer is singing what you imagine the song is about, that's when the song becomes amazing music, and that is why I listen to songs in languages i don't know.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Think On Think Ahead

I was talking to my sister, it was a conversation that was fairly unusual also was a pretty lengthy discussion. 
Now coming to think about it, we have so many things going on in our life and sometimes if not always we have questions that have to be answered, and yes these are specific to the individual and in most cases the answers are difficult to find and one persons opinion may not be the definitive answer. 
And this leads to the question, how do we find the answers to these questions? Does pondering on about trying to find an answer work. The thought process, is it logical? do all our questions have a logical, definitive, concise and defend-able answers? Let's take an objective approach in finding the answer to the above question. Now that we all have been through classroom education its safe to assume we know the classical approach to solving a problem. 

1. Read and write down the question
2. List all the information given to you which is relevant
3. Solve sequentially till you reach the answer and fill in the gaps

This approach does look simple, and we all can agree that it is logical. That is because we are very familiar with this type of problem solving, because we are given the directions to think. you are given a road sign telling you where to go and you reach the destination. 

What if we remove the helping road sign from the above scenario, then we arrive at something we call puzzles. Now is when we have to really think, when the mind stops following the protocol because none exists. As they say "this is where the magic happens" its that "magic" that I am going to concentrate on for the rest of this article. This is where the beauty of the mind comes to play, where we start to exercise our cognitive ability because now we have to create our own set of rules, we make our map. We have to take in all the external occurrences and start to look into our surroundings trying to make sense of where we are, this is where we use the knowledge we have and use it to make sense of what we discover, where we make sense of the world by looking at the north star and by looking at the moss on trees. We start to think.

Obviously we have to figure out everything, we have to find the answers our self. Now what if we had our road sign here too? would that make it easier or will it make us focus only on one thing and turn a blind eye to the other possible answers? what if the answer to questions only leads to more questions? well hello we have just crossed the puzzles and entered into the domain of life. and here is where things get tricky. it becomes a maze of puzzles where nobody knows the answers and and you do not know where you are going. In the world of robotics there is this contest called "micro mouse" in which your robot has to solve a maze as quickly as possible. the "magical" part here is how the mouse manages to figure out the fastest or shortest path, now the shortest need not be the fastest. So you may be knowing that programs are written based off of algorithms and in the maze solving game there are two key ones
1. flood fill algorithm
2.A* algorithm
As we already know a maze is a puzzle and puzzles have definitive solved answers. So the magic of the flood fill algorithm is how easy it is to understand, now let us say there is a pail of water in the maze and someone emptied it in that place, now the path the water takes to come out the fastest is the fastest/shortest route. 

Now we can apply the same logic here. The concept that we can take up the experiences from everybody and and use it to somehow help us find the answers to life's questions. We have to face the fact that everybody's opinion matters and can be used in a constructive way to help us find the answers. and most importantly we should always try to be on the thinker's side than the followers, because the guy who invented the flood fill algorithm took a problem and found its answer. He is a thinker and only thinkers find answers. So think on and think ahead.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Paradoxes and Oxymorons

So I was thinking of a title for this post and I finally found it.
of course originality is key in content so what would be the case if the title incidentally coincides with this poem. Well in this age we are able to get answers to all the questions we ask almost instantaneously, some say this is a good thing and others may oppose. But in no way can it be ignored.

Its funny how a simple question or a search in Google will always get you amusing and unheard-of results, you always find something new. That's exactly what happened when i searched for "Paradoxes and Oxymorons" in Google and I am greeted with a poem having the same name I came up with for this post (also as a side note: I'm aware that if two people have the same name then we call them namesakes, but what do you call it when two "entities" have the same name does the same logic apply here?) and obviously I had to read it. It's funny how we find really interesting things by mere coincidence.

OK, before you go searching for the poem let me post it here.

Paradoxes and Oxymorons
                        by John Ashbery

This poem is concerned with language on a very plain level.
Look at it talking to you. You look out a window
Or pretend to fidget. You have it but you don’t have it.
You miss it, it misses you. You miss each other.

The poem is sad because it wants to be yours, and cannot.
What’s a plain level? It is that and other things,
Bringing a system of them into play. Play?
Well, actually, yes, but I consider play to be

A deeper outside thing, a dreamed role-pattern,
As in the division of grace these long August days
Without proof. Open-ended. And before you know
It gets lost in the steam and chatter of typewriters.

It has been played once more. I think you exist only
To tease me into doing it, on your level, and then you aren’t there
Or have adopted a different attitude. And the poem
Has set me softly down beside you. The poem is you.

"Paradoxes and Oxymorons" from Shadow Train by John Ashbery. Copyright © 1980, 1981 by John Ashbery. Used by permission of Georges Borchardt, Inc., on behalf of the author.
Source: Shadow Train (Penguin Books, 1980)

Hope you liked it.

I really did, more so because of the way I found it. And if you are reading this then that means that you are also a part of the coincidence that has lead to the reading of this poem and this coincidence goes a long way, a very long way, the very fact that you are living to read this while I address you, hopefully a total stranger and that is the fun of it. The very essence that links us together our interests. And when this mutual interest in a particular thing meets with coincidence that is where we get our "Paradoxes and Oxymorons" funny words they are and almost always misinterpreted. Maybe its the way we are taught to think, that being the biggest paradox itself. Cant see how we can stay connected having never seen each other in person but hey, we are technically communicating. Well by now you probably realized that the topic and the content are unrelated which is a direct result of poor planning and really bad ability to communicate and by now you probably figured my final attempts to save this article by using a lot of oxymorons, a perfect example of random thoughts being directed to a keyboard. 

Well maybe i have managed to bring this post back from the dead, and actually I have given it some oxymorons but the paradox still remains and that is the paradox.    (If it made any sense)

Friday, 16 August 2013

The first event of makeasy

The first event management job was a huge learning experience
Well we started an event management service. And my friends college was our first client,
we were asked to manage and help in the milan 2013(alumni meet) for their college where we were required to provide entertainment and also were required to make a slideshow of the heads of department.

So we were there and we had a pretty good show setup. At least that's what I thought, the guy who studied in the college was also a pretty talented musician/composer, we got him a singer and guitarist and my friend who was a beat-boxer, I was in-charge of the technical stuff like the amps and also was to take photos.

You see in  the kind of service we provide the first and most important thing to do is to maintain quality and make sure all the people there knew that we were "makeasy events and music".So, even though I play the guitar and I am guessing that I maybe better than the singer guy my main priority was to promote my service.
So photos it was, also it was my first time taking raw images you know I needed these to be as good as possible.

Now talking about the event itself, well i was surprised to see that none of the performers were there to check with the stage and test whither they were getting their music played. Well they were probably not used to this kind of stuff, you see I've done so many backstage and technical parts during events that I know its almost impossible for something to work perfectly during a  performance all the time. So i would always make sure that there would be no hiccups during the main event, and hiccups are exactly what happened that day, the sound guy couldn't get the sound from the laptop to work with the speakers in the hall.
The students who came to perform didn't even check the sound before their performance and this make the main guy of the college("dunno what his post is") got angry at the students and gave a long and boring speech on the importance of preparation and also about caring about stuff in general.

Yeah the coordinators were really bad at what they had to do. They didn't even have a logo of the event ready to project on the screen so I had to improvise and use the pdf for the banner and use that image edit it in paint and give them a logo, during the main event sound was a major problem so they put a microphone to the speakers of the laptop, not the best fix but at least we could hear something so our presentation(which I made) was played on laptop speakers, but the response was pretty good, seems like we struck a chord with the audience makes sense only people who came are the people leaving the college and the photos of their departments and their HOD's is pretty welcome, also the obvious competition between the different departments so overall it was received pretty well, and at that time I managed to take a few good pictures of the presentation.

Coming the actual performance, the beat-boxer was flawless, well he is kinda used to performing now, and also anything he does is new to the people there so it was a hit.
The singing part was an interesting thing, the drummer was pretty good and I started the keyboard's recording the drummer continued and the singer was pretty good at singing the first song, the second song was what we call a disaster, the entire song was badly every aspect, so finally we followed it up with jugalbandi (cannot find an English word for it) kind of like a challenge between the drummer and the beat-boxer an obvious winner and well that was the end of it. I  got some decent shots, we saved the day
and everybody there knew about makeasy.

Anything we can learn from it.
1. Always make a sound check and video test
2. Recheck
3. Practice everything
4. Never take a slow lens to a dimly lit event
5. Always shoot raw always use zooms
6. Never let somebody who does not have experience in opening the song open the song
7. Make sure the laptop to which the projector is connected has internet
8. Always carry two extra guitar amps and cables, a microphone and an extension box
9. Have an actual schedule or at least an order of things to happen
10. Most importantly cut boring speeches, do not have large time gaps in between events and keep it short and end it memorable.

Guess that's it,gonna be hard to maintain this IRL or IRE to be specific.

Some of the photos.

The audience



The audience

A dance

The Drummer

The Singer


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Stress buster.

The first thing that's going through my head is that I've got to code for the website I started.
But maybe I need this. Reading my thoughts in front of my eyes, this is weird, maybe because its my first blog.
I've got music playing on the computer right now.. major stress buster.
So here is the scenario I've got four projects I am working on simultaneously.
and this got me thinking of what all ways I have to take care of stress
well photography is one way of keeping me in a good mood and so is listening to music
and as things go making a music video should be the best stress relief for me.

But that's not how it goes not that it's not fun but then you end up worrying about
the next steps i.e. editing, color correction, and audio.

So that is when you realize that the best stress buster is when you actually finish a project or something
you started.

Lets take things into perspective, when you listen to music then you know that you have nothing to worrying about and also that music is nothing but some frequency's of sound that are designed to be in order or to sound complete. Our body(ears to be specific) are designed to appreciate the sound and therefore we like it.
and taking photography into consideration i believe that the photos i take should not be edited. So the thing that satisfies me the most is the fact that the project is started only in an instance, you frame, click and that is it the photo is taken, done, nothing to worry or think or plan about.

But the best way of stress relief is meditation at least that's how it goes for me, the ability to visualize the stress and flush it out or calm down in an instant, well that takes practice but is an amazing ability, helps me to have a clear mind and thing straight, stress does all sorts of things to you, almost makes me wonder how predictable the mind is, people do unheard things mostly bad when they are stressed, and the worst thing someone can do is to argue, or trouble someone who is stressed, crazy things can take place.

Come to think of it blogging is also pretty good stress relief, because the finished product in in front of my eyes.
Well that's it. First blog done.
Now that I'm reviewing just realized that I've got to make a website.
Well back to work then.