It wasn’t a race but a proof.

January 1, 2019

Things like founding a company, or talking to a gathering of 1000 people or convincing that one girl I admire (after we have talked enough) or running a marathon even in a dream would seem like delusion for me. But one of this, running a (half) marathon happened for real in 2018.

I do go for a stroll every day, I wouldn’t dare to call it as a walk, because people even below 5 and those above 50 do overtake me consistently. But being the lonely inhabitant, I am forced to eat everything I cook and its difficult to cook less for a single person (what if it isn’t enough, its better to overeat than to starve with that feeling of wanting more) and hence I gained weight beyond what my college time buddy could imagine.  I took that as an insult and motivation alike, along with the fact that my triglycerides were high with a hereditary risk for diabetes, I decided to give running a try! That was a year ago.

I try to run 3kms every day and would end up running 10 days a month, a little under 3. By the time I hit 2.5, I would be exhausted and stop. The days when I manage to run 2.8 , I would walk twice as slow and twice as long to reach back home. But this September some mystic force moved my feet to experience a 5km run. It used to think time spent honing your physical body is time taken away from flexing your mental muscles, so was never a fan of intense or long physical activity. Rather I used to drain time daydreaming or random walks across youtube channels. It had become a habit for me to take up more than I can chew not only on my food plate but also on my work plate and reading desks. The internal image I had of myself is that of a person who never finishes.

A wild thought occurred to me that if at all, I can run a half-marathon, then maybe I am not that bad! But 21.1 km seemed too long and long enough to have inception like confidence that one can finish what one starts. It’s also challenging enough, that I had the risk of proving what I thought I was.

I started taking my run’s more serioulsy, 5kms were tough, but I was able to do it, I endured and started increasing. Within a week I went from 5 to 11 and that’s when I started believing that I am gonna try this for a win!  But still its only half of goal, and I am done and exhausted with 11. Will it be even possible to walk past that finish line, I started dreaming and desiring about it with earnestness. It’s no longer a dream,but a proof that needs to be proven. I put my researcher’s hat on and this youtube channel helped me get some structure for my runs. Though I wasn’t following a fixed plan, I incorporated what I could from their randomly picked videos. October rolled by with clocking 100 kms for the first time in a month. The marathon was on 9th 12:00 AM , about 40 days away. I kept on my runs in November and took advice from my friends who tried it. I went for a run with a friend couple of weeks before the marathon and pushed myself as hard as I can and I clocked 15, came back home and registered for the marathon assuming I have it in me.

Alas, only to find it hard to even walk! I can’t let this goal of mine go away just like the other big ones I am yet to realize in life. But I didn’t want to be stupid to get injured as well. I kept quiet for a week, but the pain persisted. I was sad, fearing that I won’t be able to even start. But 3 days before the run, I was able to walk without pain, and I said if I can do 5k without pain, then I am going to start and do as much as I can on race day and there will be next time.  I was able to do 5k with mild pain and decided to risk my legs for the race day.

It’s a midnight marathon, where 5k,10k runs start in the evening and the full and half marathons were scheduled at 12 and 12:15. I was part curious and part anxious. It helped that the venue was closer to my home, went there observed all the festivities and warmed up well.  When it is time, my heart raced a bit high even before I ran, its something like never before! It was a 5km loop that needs to covered 4 times! There was energy in people around, music and merry! I leaped in and was running faster than I ever did, I consciously slowed down, expecting that my legs will give up sometime soon. I used to walk every 100 ms for every 1km and in 30 mins I completed my first lap, three more to go. There wasn’t pain, I was enjoying my run, but I was still doubtful about completing it. There were all kinds of people obese,lean, professional and amateur around me. These are people who decided to test their will and endure the pain, I got inspired by looking at many faces. I realised every one is running a race of their own instead of with each other. I kept revising some concepts from deep learning to make me forget the passage of time!  And somehow in little over 1 hr I crossed the start again, 10 kms in 62 mins, now I had the belief that I can finish it. With this new found confidence though the second half was slower than the first half,it was more joyful and hopeful. Beliefs can be transformational! I cheered up people along the way when I sensed they needed it!

When I was inching towards the close, I had a moment of pride and the proof I was searching for. When you sweat it out with the right strategies, you increase your probability of success. The universe more often works for your favor when you are prepared and you can own the victory when it rolls the dice on your favor. On the other hand, you might even land up victorious due to luck in certain attempts, but deep inside you know you aren’t the reason for it. This runs all my near and dear ones, knew how I pushed myself for it. 2018 made me rethink what I was thinking about myself. Having broken the jinx, now I am sweating it out for my other big goals in life. And I am also not letting my foolish thoughts make me deprived of anything that I can do.

Wish you all a wonderful start to 2019, whatever might be the big dream of yours, go get it and realize you are destined for much bigger things!  Get your proofs,if you havent done it already.

 

 

 

 

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Dreams – you can live it!!!

August 7, 2016

Its been a while since I woke up early , so its worthwhile to freeze some thoughts when I am early today. Last two weeks, there has been a change in my schedules, I had traveled out of my comfort zone to chase my dreams!!(huh..:)). Yes Dreams in plural!

But this post is about a dream – to be inside a class like they show in online courses, or like the ones I fantasize about in the big league. When I first rode past the IIIT in electronics city , I thought entering those gates were not even worth dreaming because they wouldn’t let me in. But I went back and checked the options, they didn’t have openings!

In few months, when they had, I entered in:)!! I have been going there since May, but it was only on August 4,2016, the magnanimity of the situation sinked in me.

First and foremost, our education institutions exist for the sake of it and student interest come last in making and delivering courses. In most places you are asked to take unrelated courses even if you are a phd student and submissive students do so for paper grades! But when you make a choice about the courses you take, that’s the first sign of pursuing your interests. And it also places the teachers in a difficult situation, because if the students, dont see a value in them, those teachers are in risk of being left alone.

In these circumstances it felt like a treat to read the list of courses being offered for this semester in International Institute of Information Technology,Bangalore! Though I had room only for two courses , randomness and curiosity combined made me register for three!!! I am taking machine learning, geometric modeling and advanced machine perception, each with different objectives. In machine learning, I am going beneath what I know to strengthen my basics, in geometric modeling I am out of my comfort zone , having to stretch my math and programming abilities and in advanced machine perception I am going to tick my to-do lists that seemed eternal!

And when I sat in the first machine learning class, voila, I knew this is gonna be a dopamine store. The professor started by saying that in this era where information is available everywhere, class room is not the place for information exchange but for getting trained in thinking through leading us to see insights!  And he did it:)!!! How often you see a bunch of 150 young people waking up early in the morning for a class and most of them in rapt attention. (May be for Kabali:))!.Yes the prof is on the ranks of super star!

Geometric modeling – The way in which he had led us to think about it and various applications of it – intrigued. And he earned our respect by displaying control over the subject in the choice of content. Before persons like this, you just submit yourself:)! Every now and then , this class challenges me by jolting my basics. That which gets shaked gets stronger as well:)!! The latest gem from this class is discovering that circles can be represented using a lower order polynomial in a parameter! This is an unknown but curious territory, in chosing to travel down this lane, I risk being jaded, but at the same time, the scenarios you see are beyond your imagination!!!

Advanced machine perception – the course is designed to be broad and lets you wet your feet in different streams , one each in four months. So its four courses packed in to one. I am amazed by the thought process that goes behind designing these courses. It includes those areas which I have in my todo list which I considered that will remain eternal, but in four months they are going to be ticked!!

Believing that things are in place for you is a good feeling, because not often in life, you get to feel that in this world! I cursed randomness many at times, but this one phase in life, I dont mind stretching beyond my limits, because randomness has showered his blessings on me. Two roads diverged under a bridge and I take them both! These classes are my dream! I will stay awake to make most of them :)!

And yes traveling in itself is out of my comforts, and I traveled quite long for one other dream! Breaking your own misconception about you and getting out of comfort zone, makes you breath a fresh air. I would ask request you to do yourself a favour by inhaling it once in a while.

And when you have a dream, believe in it and keep looking. The world is small and life is short to have dreams as dreams, lets live it!

 


East and west,parenting differs

June 6, 2016

I am just going to place two incidents in toy shops I have observed at two different times in two different places.

East, Bangalore – A south Indian parent and an awesome 3-4 year old!

There was an excited and enthusiastic kid in front of me on the queue and the reason for his excitement was a new toy he had in hand. His Dad was looking at it all over and I assumed he was trying to figure out what his son would do with the building blocks. He handed it back to the kid and continued in dealing with the issues in billing his bag of purchases.  I poked this little kid with my hand and he turned back with a stare, “Excuse me…” demanding a reason why I touched him. I was awed by his composed nature in asserting his rights! Within twenty seconds he started screaming aloud for reasons hard to decipher. There was a conversation between him and his dad , but the sound of his cry was so loud, that one was naturally worried what went wrong. When I asked him what’s wrong, his Dad replied, “He want this toy!” – pointing to that building blocks which he just returned back to the cashier.  That’s wicked, did he just let the kid keep the block so that he won’t disturb him during his shopping?

A random huge toy store in Thousand Oaks California, an awesome Mom:

These toyasaraus – or whatever, even a grown up like me melts inside that place since they have everything a kid would fantasize about – from trains, cycles to video games to puzzles. It must be really difficult to get a kid inside and bring him back with contentment , because any child would want to take home more than he could. I got curious about a conversation between a Mom and a 5 year old and I over heard it.  Mom handed over a bill (I dont remember the number but  it doesnt matter) and instructed the kid, that his budget his limited for that amount and he could make any choice but had to check for the price. The kid then went on a stroll picking up toys and looking for their prices!:)!  At five, you learn to live within limits:))!:)!!

Now these are just two samples, but I trust they are very much representative of the majority. To all those parents, who trick your children, override your own rules, just don’t blame the kid when it repeats it in future.  I know your intentions are pure, but so be the modus operandi.

 


Memories -why and what lasts!

May 27, 2016

Do you take pride in the amount of storage in your phone, laptop ? Ever felt grateful that you have got GB’s worth of video,photos in your hand. You could now have a collection of movies and books, that would take a life time to complete in your palm.  Do you feel enriched?, well wait for ages,we the human species, have the gift of being able to reconstruct what happened in the past. Our sense  organs might not be the best in the market (compared to other organisms ), but our retention engine /playback device called brain fills in for it, its the state of art  and best!

However, its not perfect, for you dont get to chose what to keep or what not to keep directly, like you play with your media files in hard disk. But still you get to influence it. These thoughts popped up when I remembered a line from a conversation with a friend. He was surprised because I remembered something he said which was a trivial thought for him. Everyday we kill hours in cafe and we are forced to fill that time with words not worth remembering. But still I rememberd  that “Life is never easy and will never be devoid of challenges, but can be made exciting ever!”

Okay I am not here to ponder on why I did for it, but on why my brain chose to remember it.  And right at the moment, when I put this question,my brain refers me to Inside out. Neuroscientists, should pardon me, because even they are not sure how it works, so I am free to put forth my views.  It will incite more wrath from them,if I show my neural networks to them, because even I would cringe in calling it as a model of human brain.

But the theory is, your experiences are weighted by an importance factor. Again you consciously could assign importance, but it has to be accepted by the dark lord, sub conscious that what you propose is important. You say something is important with thousands if not million neuron spikes from your input senses, but the dark lord gets to veto them out with his single neuron! He decides what stays and how long does it stay, and even where does it stay.

But he is a boss, so doesn’t get in to details, he just checks how it feels. But you as a rational person, assign weights after careful analysis. And though he gives it a careful thought when you weigh something high, he still can reject it ,if he doesn’t feel right. He is the ruler, there is no going against it.

But there is a hack, he being the dark lord, stays in the dark away from the world we imbibe from. All his food for thoughts goes through our senses, if you can filter his inputs you can have an impact on his decision making.

Here we go, we have unlimited storage, a high resolution camera, a reasonably sharp  audio receiver, and an extremely sensitive smell sensor. Smell sensor is not appreciated as often we use it. Its the most sensitive and powerful device! You can close your eyes and plug your ears, but smell, its hard to override its inputs and I assure it impacts almost every choice you make from where to shit to whom to sleep with!

That being said, now its your choice to use these senses and what to let in. Let in more of those content you wish to be retain and your dark lord will oblige!  By the time I learnt this, my dark lord has already learnt some unwanted stuff that conflicts with my conscious brain.

Now when there is a fresh arrival (baby), you get a chance to start from square one, by exposing that little one to all that would only be good.This is that spirit that drives life ahead for millions and zillions of years!

 

 

 


1 is good,2 can be better or worst!3,4,5..?

April 3, 2016

I go to my movies mostly alone, (surprisingly whenever I had a company, mostly they took me to a Vijay movie) and there is a big reason behind it. I like my movies, I am choosy about them, when the magic unfolds on screen I am in to that world and its in to me. I don’t wish to be disturbed by pop-corn munches or the trivial comments from some one next to me.  But still I am not always spared, there were occasions when people sitting me were big nuisance , having a compelling need to make a comment about every move in the movie, to their movie partner . So indeed I feel great , when I get a couple (they don’t talk much) or a loner like me next to me at the movies.

Same is the case with eating out, but I guess I am not stringent about it and having a eating partner doesn’t hurt if he/she shares your taste. Back to the movies, many have a habit of watching a movie solely because of the peer pressure to update their two cents about it before a friend does.With such objectives,they keep looking for those moments and  try out their views with the guy next before making it permanent on the history of facebook and twitter.

And now lets get to a utopia, where you have a friend who thinks the way you do, and enjoys the stuff you enjoy. Considering there are trillions of neurons in our brains and asking them to work alike has a tiny probability of finding a atom among all the number of atoms in the world. But lets take that, some where a group of ten neurons are firing close enough- that’s similar interest(GVM movie?!). I have had experiences with this too, though the vision might match, the mission execution could be vastly different. For example, I have this friend of mine who enjoys the GVM show as I do, so I don’t mind having him next to me (He doesn’t speak during movies). But to get this brat , I will have to deal with all his uncertainties, right from the time of booking to the time we meet. If synchronization can be hard in a deterministic multiprocessor, think again about the million-billion neurons in our mind. Its fun when it works even a little, but doesn’t come for free.

But at the same time, what good is the thoughts/experience in my mind, if I don’t get to share the joy of it with those who can understand it. One poor guy used to get overdose of it!But now I distribute my thoughts in different threads. When you are alone, your world is really expansive, you could observe anything you chose, walk past any aisle or shop for any length of time. And even skip your meals, if you don’t feel like. But when you have someone around, you will have to adhere to their stomach needs and endurance of legs.

But this whole notion of expansiveness in loneliness is close to an illusion, because you get to see the child in joy, but the child is hardly going to play with you. I didnt call it as an illusion, but just place it closer to it. Also one is lost in one’s own mind, depending on the way the mood swings, it can either be a disney land or a horror island inside you. When one has a company, drifting from horror island to disney land and vice versa is made possible by the one accompanying !

Now you cant arrange  this numbers 1,2 and 3 and so on in any order. They arent always greater or always lesser, but they are never equal. And in case if you can order it, I would say 0 is the best! Where no life exists on earth – not even you, the one who thinks that he is breaking legs with philosophy while writing a blog post. Absolute silence and peace on earth because there is no one to fight! Is that peace at all? Peace is when you have a chance to fight and prevent the need for it.

Now this title is a head fake. Its not about the movies. Well even in movies, when that rare company of mine blurts out something from a perspective I could have never seen, I do get Aha! moments. But may be few of those one’s are hard to digest, but its up to you to send them for digestion or not:)!

1 is okay, 2 is vulnerable, 3 makes it stable, 4 is a pack and anything more is a crowd!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Udupi Deluxe Coffee/Tea!

March 28, 2015

I am not a miser but I dont like to pay more when it can be less. I prefer to buy a packet of batter and make a dozen dosas instead of spending 50 bucks for one. With the same intent instead of spending 10 rs for a coffee/tea I could make 4-5 servings of the same with a packet of milk! I bought couple of packets two months ago. They are just lying around in storage because drinking tea at home doesnt feel the same as you do in a tea-shop. (Coffee shops means something else)!

7::00 AM

Where I am I have this beautiful tea-stand before a hotel, I create my own reasons to visit this place as often as I could. Its sad that they start little late in the morning around seven. So if I am up only around that time, I got there for my morning cup of coffee,caffeine wakes your mind. But what’s even more refreshing is to see some early birds. A bunch of school kids, PG residing men and woman rushing to work. Every face has a destination and goes towards it.I do appreciate the luxury of being lazy and watching them from the sides at that time.

11:30 AM

During week ends, around 11 AM, I  run out of fuel after day-dreaming about the day ahead. I get back to the spot. Now the spot would be filled with youngsters who mostly meet during week ends. They exchange stories and it would be heart warming to see their smiles. Of course you would spot some couples cooing around. You would also see parents roaming around with kids.Mostly during this time I would spot a hustling mom either rushing to a bank or grocery shop who keeps pulling a child who walks lazily holding her hands. Rejuvenated by masala tea, I would mostly have to spend 10 mins on road to cover back the 2 kms to home.

4:00 PM:

After that little nap, I would need a dose of caffeine again. I dont waste much time gazing around and promptly go there for a coffee during this time. My mind would be mostly filled again with dreams and aims for the evening.  The place also would be mostly less crowded during this time. I remember mostly  retired people around this time.

10:00 PM

Even during week days when I sense a long night, I go there for a cup of tea. Easily the best time of the day to be there. Families would have their day out with kids trying to convince their parents for every passing baloon and dolls. Traffic would be  a mess and  you would be bonked by the honking around. Yet just gazing around you would see different kinds of conversations around. Just like the 11 AM version with much better resolution. People will be more relaxed and happy and optimistic.  You will rub a few of that as you sip a cup of badam milk or masala tea. They do really make good masala tea.

Even if you offer me a good tea at home,I would anyday prefer to go to a tea shop. Have been so ever since my college days. Paradoxically I never feel alone in such places, but I even play my tricks to avoid company while going there:)!

Oh the little pleasures of life :)!


Peerless Movies: 100 days of love

March 27, 2015

Preamble:

It was quite something to manage to be out from work for a 7 PM show and I do that only to find my debit-card failing me in the ticket counter with just 30 Rs in my wallet. I had to head to home that day. But the next day I tried the same stunt,with some cash loaded. But there was always a question within me, is this movie worth this stunt? – Totally!

154 minutes of BKN’s life:

Balan K Nair, I assume was the Nambiar – the villain of Kerala and is the name of our protagonist. He invites you to the movie and tells you a tale which almost looks like a fantasy to be true,but on second thoughts, it is! Now the story – boy meets a girl,sees her smile and loses his sleep,hunts her down to find she is not meant to be loved , fights for a while with his ego, gives in, while the girl finds a better groom and we are headed for a Minnale styled climax. If its just about this story its a mix of different things we have seen umpteen times on screen.

Its not about it, its about how it was unveiled.  Some where in its soul, the movie wants you to feel the joy of life, just like how it is when you play a video game.  Love at first sight – I hate that! And they do it again –  our hero – who is rich enough, not to worry about his food, when he is fired and extravagant enough to spend his time to hunt a random girl in life. But he is not foolish, he has some ideals in life! Its so romantic to hunt for that smiles until you realize that she is the one who shamed you in high school.

And Sheela – the heroine, who is all what a sensible girl can be. She is not that impulsive Jessie who troubles you with her whims while haunting you with her beauty, but a clear -headed , sensible soul who is capable of appreciating the little beauties in life. Except that she wants to pragmatic as well!

And we have a gamer-friend who is initially too big to fit in to your heart,but manages to find a space inside in those 2 hrs!

This movie needs to be experienced for its light heartedness, never once it tries to be serious but accomplishes what it sets out with ease – to illustrate a slice of the turmoil inside contemporary youth when it comes to making that choice. We are more watchful but yet want to have all the fun in the world.  Life could be an mundane experience filling your well defined needs. You pay for your regrets  by loosing your smiles.What makes your life count is not your money or fame but the memorable moments you make! – These are some serious stuff I interpreted out of this movie.

I felt like I was watching a well made GVM movie – the hero-rival hero -heroine element resembled Minnale, the school episode reminded NEP, and the aesthetically designed interiors of houses GVM,GVM!  The movie ridicules itself,makes fun of cliches then and there,yet takes a cliched story and serves it in a modern shade. Aesthetically and technically brilliant!

Alright, I sure would love to ramble a lot about how funny the movie was, but that would spoil the fun while you watch it. Go watch it!! You will never hate me for letting the story out:)!

The stories in our lives are also not different from each other’s , same old shit, but when you mix some humor and gratitude in life, even travelling in a old scooter that you cherish will be more enjoyable than riding in a comfy luxury car which you treat as a necessity. [Cars/scooter are just metaphors, to appreciate this you need to watch this movie folks]

I