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


A tale to remember

March 23, 2015

A bunch of us set out to see the peak of a cliff in Yosemite.  It was a tourist’s favorite and a big week end,so we had loads of people to accompany us. While we were inching closer to the top,I came across something which I remember till date. Its a tale to preserve and hence set out to record that.

A family of four, the parents should be in their late forties but the children must be still in  their first decade on earth. A boy and a girl with their Mom and Dad had been enjoying this exercise all along. The parents must have got tired and they asked their little troop to rest a bit. The little girl was adamant on continuing but it was the steepest ascent towards the peak ahead. The parents naturally instinct would have wanted them to be around while the girl traversed those peaks. So they asked her to wait for a while. But she was adamant and her enthusiasm to reach the top blinded the risks ahead. I was observing this from the sides and something beautiful was in store for the observer. The parents let the girl walk alone!  I followed her …!

She was finding it hard as the altitude grew and she was breathing heavily, but she kept going and reached the peak eventually. The parents with the little boy were cheering up by showing signs whenever she looked back. When she reached the peak she must have felt alone and she didnt show any expressions.

I was busy with my troop and lost these thoughts for a while. But here is the best part of it, after few minutes I got to see that family together. They were cheering up the girl and celebrating their presence in the peak by saying “We (You) have made it..”! The girl was being taught to celebrate success and this scene is still frozen in my eyes.

Being who I am, I read too much in to this event. Having children in your forties, not being there for your child, daring to let your child take risks , above all teaching them to cherish the success that comes your way. Parenting is no fun, but a source of a cocktail of emotions. It includes everything, and those parents taught me something about parenting.