The forsaken God.

Me and my friend were coming back after having purchased a lot of stuff for the party next day. Both of us were not in the best of moods as it had been a long day. The market place was so crowded, dusty and congested that the words “personal space” did not have any meaning there. As if all this was not enough, the hot noon sun did not help the cause at all.

With all the goodies in hand, just when we reached the place where we had parked our vehicle, my friend remembered that he had forgot something. He asked me to stay with all the stuff over there so that he could hurry over to the market once again and get it. I agreed and he went back.

The Animal was God to the people there. They worshiped it and would spend a few seconds in prayer if they were to see it standing somewhere. Some would even touch it and take its blessings. Some would even go to the extent of running upto it when it pees. They take a little in their hands and drink. A little bit more they would take and rub on their heads.

When my friend left me waiting for him, The Animal was lying down in front of me. I saw people hurrying here and there, busy with their jobs and errands, people who were carrying things from one place to another, people who were running to make both ends meet and others who were simply out shopping. All these people, without fail, were paying their respects to The Animal. I kept staring in awe.

After waiting for 10 minutes, The Animal, which was lying there in front of me, slowly got up and to my amazement, it was really huge. It remained calm and it was a nice experience to see the huge Animal so close. I closely looked at all its features. Even when I was at it, people were coming, paying their respect in the middle of all their hurry, and leaving.

I kept on looking at it. Finishing its head, body and tail, I finally reached its legs. I was always fascinated by hoofs. How it stood out from the rest of their body. I had a sort of belief inside my conscience that they were even made of metal! So in all that amazement, I looked at its hooves. The legs in the front and the left one at the back was fine. However, what met my eyes when I looked at its rear left leg made me twitch.

It was sort of disintegrated. Powdered and loosely held together, you could say.  It had swarms of flies all over it and covering it entirely. They were buzzing around its hoof too, trying to find a place to sit on it. The Animal stood on its 3 legs and the one with the rotten hoof just touched the ground.

It stood there for 5 minutes and then, I noticed that it was trying to move. It slightly made a forward gesture, strengthening its front legs. However, when it came to the point where it had to exert pressure on the damaged leg, it could not. The flies were still swarming on it and The Animal now and then moved its leg a little to shoo them away. Still all of them came back on it instantly.

For about ten minutes, it tried hard to move forward, but failing in its attempt each time when the point came where it had to use its damaged leg. All this time, people were coming and going, paying respect to it. Only a few of them taking time to notice its leg and not even one coming forth to help their God. After ten minutes of staggering, The Animal once again lay down at the same place, again to be worshiped and respected by many, but not to be helped by any. My friend returned and we were on our way.

The Animal was the forsaken God.

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My first week at Bangalore!

I actually started writing this post a week ago. However, I got caught up in my work and had to postpone it till now. So it has been two weeks since I’ve been here and the next three paragraphs were written a week ago.

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This might be the most treacherous thing to do – sitting and blogging on a hacknight day! But hey, everyone works on what interests them and I work on what interests me. So I guess I’m good.

Now, coming to my first week at Bangalore, I’m living. I mean, life at hasgeek has been so much fun that I actually feel that I’m with a family away from family. After sitting at home crawled up in my bed for almost three months, my life sure has taken one heck of a turn at this point. I have walked almost 13 kilometers within three days since I got here! Not only that, but being at CIS (the Center for Internet and Society) itself is absolutely wonderful. The lovely house with a lawn at the back and a really calm atmosphere…

However, for all the loveliness at work, the commute in Bangalore is killing me. I mean, at home, when I figure out I have to travel 7kms to get to someplace, I think, “Okay, just a 10 minute trip. I can make it anytime I want to and get there”. Ah! Little did I realize that such was not the case in Bangalore. It takes me a minimum of half an hour (if everything is well) and a maximum of one hour and  thirty minutes to get to my office.

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Coming back to the present. The above is the basic story of my commute. Well, that is going to be a problem only till I get a cycle/motorcycle or until I move to a place near to my office. So I guess that is fine.

What comes after traffic, my office, if you could call it that, is a really nice place. For one thing, it is not an office building or anything. It is a rented house. Hence you have the lounge, the office room, the kitchen, toilets, bed rooms and most pleasant of all, a lawn! At times when sitting at the office gets too monotonous, we get the bats and the net, and play badminton. It is sort of an open building. “Open” as in anyone can come in anytime, get the wi fi and work from there. Pretty cool. We are on the top floor and on the ground floor, it is CIS.

The time I decided to join the company was awesome as in they had two of their biggest events lined up within 4 weeks! Days got suddenly busy and before I knew it, I was talking to serious geeks, handling participant registrations, working on logistics and working on what all were coming up. All the work was made enjoyable by the ones whom I was working with. 8 of us HasGeek is going strong.

JSFoo and it’s Hacknight is over and it was plenty fun. Here is to the future!

Is execution important than vision?

I had a pretty tiring day.

Being at the town, I started walking from a certain point, under the blazing hot noon sun, visiting each and every slipper shop on the way, trying to get hold of a certain brand which I had been using till now. I walked and I walked and to my surprise and dismay, reached back at exactly the point that I had started, without any luck whatsoever. Tired and wounded, not to mention disappointed, I went and had a drink. I sat and rested my overworked feet for a while. I got up again and started walking towards the bus stand in order to catch a home bound bus.

Just when I had taken 4 or 5 steps, there was this shop to my left. Out of inertia of having asked at each and every shop that had slippers in them, I simply stood outside and with an air of sarcasm , asked the owner whether he had the brand that I was looking for. I got what I was looking for from there.

The lesson that I learned from this happening is that always start the things that you want to do just before you  are  actually going to start doing it. In the philosophical sense, this thought has many implications. However, having experienced this first hand in real life, I’m bound to start applying this thought to the various aspects of life.

Anyway, that was just the icing of the cake and the above three paragraphs were not in my mind at all until I thought about how to begin this post that I wanted to write.

Reaching back home, I turned on my laptop and checked my mails. I happened to stumble upon this thread. I simply went through the replies and happened to click this link, with no particular reason. That was Diaspora page of Jishnu. Since I was tired from the day’s happenings and wanted to rest, I was simply browsing and as such, scrolled down along his posts. There I stumbled upon the following video, which is the primary reason for this blog post.

Usually I had this idea of talks by technical people getting boring and monotonous. This was exactly the opposite. Moreover, this was not a talk but rather a sort of Q&A session. I was not planning to sit through it completely, but the more I listened, the more I got interested to listen to the rest and hence, I finished it in one shot.

Mind you, I’m not saying that Linus is the epitome of perfection or anything of the sort. He maybe, he maybe not. I just wanted to think and improvise on some of the things that he mentioned during that session and that is exactly what I am going to do.

The fist and foremost being the title of the blog post. Is execution more important than vision? Vision as in, a dream of how something should be.

Well, according to Linus, he personally was in favor of getting things done rather than thinking and dreaming constantly of a bright future and end up doing bits and pieces. He takes the analogy of a man walking, looking at the stars. He has vision. However, unfortunately, he fails to see the potholes that are in the way that he walks because he is not looking down. Hence, he stumbles upon them and falls down. Linus does not completely criticize visionaries too as it is possible that the path that guy is walking upon might not have potholes and as such, he will achieve his vision.

This is a very interesting point because everyone can have ideas. People can have tons of awesome ideas. They can dream of things that should happen and keep on dreaming. As much as I admit that you should dream until your dreams come true, sometimes (most of the times), people simply end up only dreaming. That does not help.

What makes you different, or better, worthy of being alive, is when you get things done. Linus even quoted Edison where he said, “Success is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration”. That is more or less true. Passion, inspiration, dreams, ambitions, etc all are just thoughts in the wind until you work hard for it, and achieve it.

With this thought in mind, I thought about how I have been over the past year and it was quite interesting to see the difference.

  • Started my blog – “Yet another guy who has access to Internet registers yet another blog on wordpress”
  • Wrote posts – “Yet another blogger who has to put in his blog, everything that happens to him”
  • Wrote posts consistently – “Hmm… Yet another consistent blogger”
  • Wrote stories – “Most definitely not a personal diary”
  • Technical posts – “Not just philosophy and stories. Useful posts”
  • Crossed 100 posts in a year – “Wow, I did not expect this guy to keep at this for so long. Still…”
  • Published a book – “Awesome. This guy is actually getting things done”

I sure as hell would like to meet that omnipresent dude who commented on my stages of blogging. However, the point that I was trying to make was that even though I hadn’t realized it till now, I was following my passion and getting things done.  I needed this push as I have in my drafts, 4 incomplete posts that I started writing and half way through, started thinking about how it should be and the impact that it should bring about to a reader. That thought is good, but it should not be as strong so as to pose a hindrance to what you are doing. Otherwise it ends up as the case mentioned earlier. I have these amazing vision and thoughts but I’m not actually doing anything for it. Now that I have that idea in my head, I’ll be finishing those posts soon.

Hence, as much as it is important to have a vision, it is as important to get things done as well.

Another interesting thing that he mentioned is being open about your feelings regarding something. He quoted his own example for this statement which was that one guy who worked on a certain kernel feature, got suicidal when Linus told him that the kernel did not want that feature. This would not have happened if people clearly knew about how Linus wanted the project to be.

I was not a big fan of extremism. However, taking into consideration the above scenario, there are times where being an extremist pays off. I mean, him being like that in regard to his project does not mean that he is like that with his family. The point being that there are occasions where you should stand like the Pole star and there are occasion where you should be diplomatic. I mean, Linus could have called that guy for a cup of coffee and started the, “Listen, I knew you’ve worked really hard” thing, but seriously, that attitude would have left the entire kernel project in once heck of a mess.

To the question of whether all the students should be made aware of the open source movement, his answer was thought provoking. The point is that everyone need not be made to learn programming or anything of th sort. However, the ones who have the spark in them should be given the chance and the proper encouragement for learning and improvising on it. He mentioned the cheap Raspberry pi board available where out of 100 boards, 99 of them might be lying in the dust. Still, the important thing is that one board gave an interested person the opportunity to learn and that is what matters.

This is true in real life also. When you try to do something for the people, instead of worrying and spending time on getting everyone involved and interested, you should be more set and concentrate on helping out those who are genuinely interested. We tend to forget that in our path of achieving a “noble cause”. Once you get through to those who are interested and when they start to do wonders, the influence will become bigger and will spread.

Well, that’s about it I guess. That session was something that I desperately needed and I’m glad I did not stumble upon it any later.

Thanks Linus.