[Discussion Forum] Career Conscience!

trust.jpg
  1. Are you in the profession of your choice?
  2. If:
    • Yes, then is there something for which you can leave your current profession?
    • If No, What is it “that” which takes your breath away?
Note:
1. I love this picture. It’s taken from Jean-François Chénier’s flickr photostream. The best thing I like about the picture is it’s name: Trust. 🙂
No relation to this post whatsoever, though.
2. This post is concerned to myself, more than anyone else.
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Baba lives on…

It hurts me when people keep crying about corruption, and complaining that nothing is being done for the society/common name blah blah blah. But it hurts even more when the people responsible for dissemination such vital information do not “play their part” responsibly.
Yes! I wish to blame the media. I’ll, however, resist and put it on hold for some other time.

This post is dedicated to Baba Amte. The man who dedicated a big part of his life for the “not so common men”. The meaning of “not so common men” can be understood by watching this small documentary.

Baba’s life is also a lesson for people who doubt in the power of one. His mortal structure is no more, but he’ll continue to live in the hearts of thousands…

p.s. Thanks to Amrit for sharing the video. It can be downloaded from BabaAmte.net

Tum Chalo… (India’s New Anthem)

Update: You can watch the show, Lead India, every Saturday evening 8 PM IST on Star One. Trust me, it’s worth your time.

I suggest that you read further only after watching the complete video, even if you have seen it in the past… even a few minutes ago 🙂


If you wish to download the video, I have a copy on my server.

leadindia_logo.gif

It’s one of the various promotional ads for the Lead India initiative (another reality show) by the Times of India group. It’s written by Gulzar Saab, music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, and sung by Shankar Mahadevan. It’s being termed as the new anthem. An amazing number of people find it inspiring, and a few find it a wave similar to Rang De Basanti.

The “different” aspect, however, of this reality show is that it promises to deliver leaders (or politicians) who have the potential to lead and to change things that we all keep complaining about, but never stand to oppose. It’s unfortunate that not just other news channels, but even we have all have been ignoring, if not mocking, it. IMHO, it’s a pretty amazing move. Try to keep an eye on the happenings.
To appreciate the video even more, I thought it’d be good if people could understand the lyrics.

Falak pakad ke utho, aur hawa pakad ke chalo, –2
Tum chalo, to hindustan chale –4

Lagao haath ke suraj subah nikala karein, ]
Hatheliyon mein bhare dhoop aur uchhala karein, ]–2
Ufaq pe paav rakho, aur chalo akad ke chalo,
Falak pakad ke utho, aur hawa pakad ke chalo, –2
Tum chalo, to hindustan chale –4

Although the song has only too pretty uncommon urdu words -Falak (Sky), and Ufaq (Horizon), yet the video is so gripping that a number of people just ignore the magical web of words that Gulzar saab has created.

The video attempts to convey a very simple message –stop complaining and be the change.
It reminds me of Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lines:

Main akeyla hi chala tha Jaanib-e-mazil magar,
Log saath aate gaye, Kaarvan banta gaya!

Similarly, the lyrics of the song convey a very simple message –have a pride in your existence and your actions. Nothing is “big” enough for you. This message has a very special significance. Most of us, the Indians, have a good inferiority complex. Leave other aspects, we don’t believe that an Indian movie can be better (or may be even as good as) a Hollywood movie.

Here is a literal translation of lyrics of the New Anthem:
Disclaimer: The lines below are just translation, not a poetic translation.

Hold the sky to stand, and walk with the wind in your hands,
Be the front-runner; because when you walk, Hindustan (India) walks with you.

Lend your hand to pull out the Sun in the morning,
Fill your hands with sunlight, and throw it around,
Keep you legs on the horizon, and walk with pride,
Hold the sky to stand, and walk with the wind in your hands,
Be the front-runner;
because when you walk, Hindustan (India) walks with you.

If it doesn’t shake you up, just imagine yourself doing all this literally. Imagine yourself pushing the Sun and being the reason for the sunrise. Imagine yourself walking with your leg on the horizon, as you walk holding the gusty winds like a rope.
That’s the kind of pride and courage needed if ones wishes to change and challenge the world.
Remember, the Tank Man?

Anyhoo! Here’s another video (not from the Lead India campaign), that I found on YouTube.

…and thou shalt be Geekier!

Disclaimers:
1. Puhleez understand that this post might leave you with a feeling of immense aggression towards the author. Kindly control your feelings and remember that violence is sin.
2. A part of this post is imaginary.

Prologue
Have you ever:
1. Lost your keys and thought, “Oh! I can make a quick Yahoo! (or Google) search”, only to realize that real life entities aren’t indexed. Not yet, at least. OR
2. Looked at a marriage invitation card and said, “The layout is nice, but the fonts.. yuck!”? OR
3. Prepared a changelog of your….. new girlfriend? OR
4. Smiled and hugged a friend while trying to figure out a bug in your program? OR
5. Told you friends that you’ve married your…. laptop?

If the answer to any of the above mentioned questions is YES, then…. you are in a great trouble my friend. You’re a geek…… and there’s no turning back.

However, life, as cruel as it can get, makes you realize at times that you’re lagging in your quest for geekdom.

http://paid-to-smile.net/lydia/images/rotj18.jpg

The Phantom Menace
It started long long ago when our protagonist was born… But. We won’t go in details. The curious one’s can refer to this post. We will start our story from a latter date when he was recruited in a computer services firm, but wasn’t happy at all. This isn’t where he belongs. He was supposed be somewhere else… to be more intimately involved with computers.
He had a bad feeling about it all!

Attack of the Clones
He, anyhoo, joined the firm, but…………….. it was all a mess.
Or at least that’s what he felt initially. There were (so-called) engineers all around him who’d topped the exams in their respective colleges… but; as The Mentor says, “Damn kids! They’re all alike”.
They were like… Zombies… Parasites… Clones.

Revenge of Swen
“There’s a match for you, not matter WHAT you are”, they say.
True it was for him. He found a match in Swen.

Swen was different.
Not as good looking as him (???), but smart enough (:-o).
Dumb, but geek.
Married, but looking.

Swen soon realized that the young chap was a nerd. Swenny’s nerd-ometer had confirmed it.
…and this wasn’t acceptable to him. He gradually became jealous an started searching for the loophole which would drop The Nerd from geekdom to non-geekdom. He didn’t have to wait too long. He soon realized that the protagonist is a sinner.
He had not watched a single episode of the Star Wars.

The force wasn’t with him. Clearly, he was a non-geek, or still a padawan.

A New Hope
He was devastated… but life moves on.
Swenny left him and went to Chennai and he got involved in training and preparation of new geeks at Hyderabad. He also co-authored a book during the time… spent 16-20 hours a day in front of a computer, mostly on FOSS and security issues. This is the time when he married Bittu.
His hardwork made it clear that there still was some hope.

The Non-Geek Strikes Back
After his back-breaking tenure at Hyderabad, he shifted to Bangalore. This was the time that saw a rise in the stature of the padawan. He worked on a number of things related to Web security (education + pen testing + research ++). Recently, he also started off with PHP training. The force was growing strong….. but Oh! The harsh reality.
He still was a non-Geek.

Return of the Geek
Our very own Jedi Master (Swenny) had by now achieved enlightenment on the matters of brotherhood. He realized his folly. He travelled to Bangalore one weekend and brought with him a gift for the padawan he had once deserted.

A pack of all the six episodes of Star Wars with the following words inscribed on them:

Your path, your destiny lies within,
Discover your inner Geek.

It took only two days for yours truly to get baptised. Thanks to the master, he was no more a padawan… He’s become a full-fledged homegrown Jedi now.

Epilogue
The force grew even stronger and the Geek attained enlightenment in no time.
He realized that Geekdom ain’t no event. It’s a process. A continous quest for GeekDom itself.
The quest continues……

p.s.: I recently presented a webinar at my company titled, The Web is Broken. It’s an introductory presented to web security, and should be conceivable by anyone. It’s fun too 🙂

Poetry Blog Launched.

This post comes from yet another train journey. I am going to Bhilai for… ummmm.. may be 2.5 days. 🙂

Anyways, it’s a long journey (in 3 different trains), so I guess I better save my battery and let you know that we’ve launched a new poetry blog: Bawre Mureed. It’ll have poetry by Baba Bulleh Shah, Gulzar, & Mirza Ghalib. We will also try to includes explanations (as per our limited understandings). Typically, the explanations will be written by Me (for Baba Bulleh Shah), Mureed (for Gulzar), & Gaurav (for Mirza Ghalib). The blog was launched long back, but we were busy (and lazy) enough to keep the posts… almost nil.

I know this may not excite many people. But I am sure most of you like poetry. So if you ever feel like writing something, feel free to drop us a mail. We’ll post it on the blog with full credit to you and link to your blog. This will, hopefully, boost the number of visitors to you blog. 🙂

p.s.: In case you are wondering what does “Mureed” mean; read the blog title. You can easily compute the meaning. 🙂

[YART]:The First Time(s)

I have been transferred to Bangalore. I got a flat to stay even before landing here, thanks to Manas. We get to eat home-made food, thanks to Ajay. Got a part of relocation money in advance which I needed desperately, thanks to my company.
And the best part of all this is that I’d be working on my field Web Application Security with amazing people around, one of them being Peter Thomas, author of JTrac.:)
Now, so many nice things scared me initially but I’ve adjusted somehow. 😉

This post, however, is not about my Bangalore experience. Nor is it about how frustrating the first day was because not even one of the 9 floored building had a single working coffee machine… this crisis continued for straight 10 days.
Can you imagine “Engineers without Coffee”???
The policy makers need to read Dilbert.

Anyways. In another news, I bought a bicycle to commute to office, which is about 10kms from my house. I had a tough time the first day as I was riding it after a gap of… mmmm… 5 years. But again, this post is not about my bicycle. It’s about a very small incident that generated Yet Another Random Thought [YART].

We had a blood donation camp in our premises on 26th. It was an awesome experience riding back home on my bicycle after donating blood. 🙂 On the way back, I recalled the first time I had donated blood. It was something that made me Happy (with a capital H). The Feeling of being (virtually) present and save someone’s life. It was overwhelming.
This time, however, I didn’t feel anything special. To be pretty honest, it was an it-has-been-too-long-since-I-did-it feeling.

The typical Piscean, that I am. It lead to a series of other similar thoughts.
The first time I rode a bicycle.
The first time I left home for studies.
The first time I returned home.
First time I spent my salary on my parents and relatives.
And several other first times which are a little personal…… 🙂

These random thoughts made me happy. The Sadist in me, however, doesn’t like to see me happy. He’s happy when I am miserable. He injected in me the comparison table to compare the “first times” with the regular and natural follow ups.

Of course the latter ones don’t provide me with the same feeling of ecstasy. Especially because they are not meant for it. They are simply meant to be a part of life. All the first times provide the view to a new road which would take us forward; but only if we wish to.
People give-up, change lanes…. break up with their loved ones…… all because “things-are-not-the-way-they-used-to-be”. They don’t feel the excitement that used to be.

I wonder why don’t we understand the simple thing that the excitement the “thing” (job, venture, relationship) brought was not just because it was exciting. It brought excitement because it made a change in our lives and made us Happy. The same thing won’t bring the same excitement. It’ll, however, bring Happiness (with a capital H)… always. 🙂

Love (whether for our job, or our loved ones) is a Gift.
The story, however, doesn’t end here. This Gift is also a responsibility… a two way responsibility, between me and my Gift.
Sometimes, it has to make me Happy, other times I have to sustain the faith that it’ll make me Happy.

I know this a very very complex philosophy. I wouldn’t have dared to bare it, had I not come across this dialogue from the movie “Captian Correli’s Mandolin”. Here, the lead actress’s (Penelope Cruz) father sums up this strange philosophy very beautifully in just a few sentences. He takes the support of Love between couples to explain it. I believe it extends to anything you Love.

When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No… don’t blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But it is!

I pray that every time my friends (or I) give up on something, HE reminds me that we are choosing the easier path…
He reminds us all the moments when we fell and hurt oursleves, physically..
And he also reminds us what we did after falling down. 🙂

I love the following two lines (Hindi):

Kaun Kahta hai Aasmaan mein surakh nahi hota,
Ik patthar to zara tabiyat se uchhalo yaaron

I won over the Sadist… this time 🙂

Visuals inspiring Thoughts

As I sit here at Nagpur railway station at around 3 am in the morning, waiting for my train (yup, I am on vacation. Yippie :D), I have nothing interesting to do than to sit and look around. “Sit and look” because my back still hurts 😦

It’s situations like this when you are reminded that movies and life aren’t so different. There was a man talking to his son regarding family matters; a lady, holding her small child to her bosom, trying hard to stay awake… (these visuals reminded me of the opening scene of “Love Actually”)… and then there is broken platform floor, broken water pipes, beggars sleeping without anything to cover them. All this at the same platform

Looking around I saw an advertisement board for a Women’s College. What made it interesting was the following quote:

If a man is educated,
an individual is educated.
If a woman is educated,
whole family is educated.

I’ll leave the analysis of this quote to you. I’ve something else running on my mind. It’s interesting to note that one of the primary causes of almost all the problems in India (or as a matter of fact, in any country) is Education.
On the contrary, it is not a matter of surprise that a properly educated society can eradicate *most of* social problems.
I’ve also mentioned in a previous post that education, IMO, is an amazing business.

Now, can’t these two mix?

What I mean to say is that similar to the Free and Open Source Software business model, can’t we have a business model where education would be free (or very nominal) for the “customer” but at the same time, will generate enough revenue for the business owner? I know it sounds crazy. Mostly because FOSS industry has most of it’s earning from support, and there isn’t much of a “support” feature in the educational field… but I sincerely believe that there is a business model waiting to be discovered.

…and yes. I must mention that it’s not just a running thought. It has been on my mind for quite some time and a little developed than what I mentioned here.

Footnote: I’ve been relocated to Bangalore. I know I know, I haven’t informed a lot of people… but things flew petty fast. I’ll be there on 16th.