It was just after the Diwali of 2015 that I quit my regular job and started software freelancing. Since then, my life has taken a different turn. While at work, I have been coding, taking calls, documenting, improving, improvising and deploying projects. When not working, I am travelling, trekking, cooking, reading, watching documentaries, running, bicycling and learning a lot of new skills. It has been a wonderful year, one of the best in my life. In this post, I am listing out what I learnt while sailing through the year. Continue reading A year of freelancing: What I learnt
The search query ‘How to make my 10 year old read’ has about 20 crore search results in Google, it is apparently one of the biggest problems faced by today’s parents. So I was thrilled to meet Ananya, a 10 year old published author.
There were many things I wanted to do and be when I was a 10 year old including being an astronaut, teacher and doctor, all at the same time, however publishing a book wasn’t one thing that had crossed my mind then. Even today the task is so mind boggling, that I never get around and even start it.
In physics, we learn about a phenomenon called inertia. It means that a moving body continues to move at the same speed in the same direction or a stationary body continues to be stationary, unless someone does something to change that. Physicists have also framed a measurement system to measure the inertia of a body. This measurement is called the momentum. Putting a number to momentum is useful for letting us know just how much work must be done in order to make the body do something different than what it is doing now. However, for the purposes of English language, inertia and momentum are often used as opposites. The word inertia is used to describe a body not wanting to move and momentum describes a body not wanting to stop. The common ground for both is that they resist change.
How does this relate to human behaviour and getting things done? Turns out the human body and mind also show signs of inertia and momentum. The human body does not like sudden changes in movement and the human mind does not like sudden changes in behaviour. We can use these two facts to our advantage to start things off and get them done. I also later discuss when NOT to use the effects of momentum, since in certain cases momentum can build behaviour like addiction and inflexibility. Continue reading Momentum & Inertia: How to start things & get them done
I grew up in Chennai watching Tamil movies, where most Heroes compare themselves to Lion. Some of the absurd scenes include, Vijayakanth’s introduction where he suddenly turns into a lion and then back to him again, RajiniKanth’s factually incorrect statement about lion’s hunting behavior and Suriya’s extremely emotional dialogue again about comparing himself to a lion on hunt.
For the uninitiated, Lion is one of the laziest creatures and spends most of its day sleeping. The hunting is done by the pride, which is a group of Lioness that is attached to the Lion. When caught in a difficult situation during the hunt, each one is left to fend for themselves. The prey is eaten by the lion, cubs and the lioness in that order. If you are unwilling to check out Nat Geo on this, may be you can check with Kamal Haasan in PKS 🙂
So ofcourse I don’t want to be either a Lion or a Lioness!!
When I was in the third standard in school, we had a story about a wise man who tells his king that everything happens for the best. Then one day, the king accidentally cuts off a finger and much to his rage, hears the wisdom from the wise man yet again. The king has the wise man thrown into the dungeons. However, while out hunting, the king comes in close encounter with a lion, rolls over and plays dead. The lion smells the wound on the finger and thinks that the king is dead and moves on. The king is relieved to see his life spared, ponders over what the wise man said and sets him free.
This is just one of the several stories heard since our childhood, teaching us that we should always look for the positive side in any negative situation, take the necessary learnings and move on, thankful that we are living another day in this wonderful life. Continue reading The silver lining behind every dark cloud
Sapna is the daughter of a well known business man and works in a top notch IT company. Her family is very modern and she faced no restrictions or compulsions aka emotional atyachars that most Indian kids face at their home.
Two months before her 10th Board exams she went on a month long trip to explore the history of ancient India with some history buffs. Her sister went to the farms in Switzerland to learn to make cheese and in general travels to obscure locations in exotic countries for no particular reason. Her family often vacations in exotic places inside and outside India.
Picture some of the following actions: Walking in your neighbourhood, solving 10 + 10, talking in your mother tongue, counting 6 oranges. Now imagine the following scenarios: Walking through a crowded railway station or airport, solving e2 cot 27.9, talking about science in a language that you cannot speak very well, counting 39 oranges. What difference did you notice between the two sets of situations?
If you pay close attention, you will notice that the amount of activity in the brain increases significantly during the activities in the second set. This is because those are situations that you are not used to being in on a regular basis. E.g. you may not even pay attention to your steps while walking through your neighbourhood, but while walking through the crowd of the railway station, you have to watch each step and be attentive. But if you are a regular commuter, even jostling through the crowd will become a habit. That exactly is the power of habits. Your mind runs in cruise mode when you perform activities as a habit and you will often find that it drifts into thoughts of its own while your body finishes the activity on its own accord. You can say that you are running on auto-pilot mode without thinking about it. Continue reading Understanding your body’s auto-pilot
I am about 5’3”, may be a bit shorter. It is about the height of an average Indian Woman. But my family is no average. I am a dwarf among the giants. Women in our family including my mom are on an average of 5’5” and men around 5’10” .In both my family and my extended family among all the elders, siblings and cousins I’m the shortest. It was a source of great agony for me during my growing (or not growing enough years).
I can see I really fell short of my parents’ expectations in this front. We visited a number of doctors in various disciplines – Siddha, Ayurveda, Unani as well as the conventional English Medicine. Bought a number of miracle pills for height enhancement as well as exercise books. Most of this only made me feel more self-conscious of my vertical deficit and I abandoned them sooner or later.
Let us go through an exercise. Consider all your reading sessions during your day. Factor in all that you read: blog posts, magazine & newspaper articles, social network posts, books, novels, just about everything. On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfying do your consider your reading sessions? Do you come away from each reading session having learnt something new and looking at the world or your career in a different perspective? Are your reading sessions pleasurable and relaxing, making you want to read on and on? Or are they rather stressful, making you shake your head and ponder how terrible the world is? Continue reading Get more out of your reading