Saturday, July 31, 2010

A place of hope

Airports are a strange place. People come to separate and some come to unite. Departures are mostly sad and arrivals are happy. For some there is happiness in sorrow and for others sorrow in happiness. I really love to be at the airport. You can see all these faces with anticipation. A beginning of a new chapter or the end of another.

There is an analogy with software development. Some people who have just begun to code and those who are reaching the end of it. Similar to departure and arrival. Inside software also there are many functions. Some waiting to be called, some never called and some being called more than necessary. If feeling was mathematical, lot of systems would work otherwise.

Take a loop which is exiting without reaching the final condition. Has the loop been useful? Maybe. Depends on what is under context. If we have coded an exception without taking into account the probability of it being invoked, the code would just become sterile. All parts of the code should get executed as per the standard variance. Else we are wasting our time and the system's too.

What does this all have to do with happiness and sadness? Well for one thing, a code that works is a reason of joy and that which doesn't makes you sad. Or more aptly put, makes you mad. The best code there is, is written by machines themselves. I'm referring to self modifying code like that of a polymorphic virus.

A good statement of requirements and a solid design will pave the way for good code to be written. Otherwise it will all fall like a stack of cards. And no airport or no getaway would make you feel happy. A job undone is a cause of concern. It will erode you from inside. And an unhappy face can be spotted by anyone. Hence the dictum 'Do it to the best of your ability and then feel good from within.'



Thursday, July 29, 2010

From here to eternity

Social media has enabled the people on the long tail also to come forward and air their opinions. One very good example is Twitter – people like to tweet about themselves. There are millions of tweets generated every minute and the numbers are going to increase. The other aspect is of interactive blogging, where people can comment on various topics.

Open source is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. People are flocking to it. In fact most of the mail servers are on Linux platforms. Windows Exchange and Outlook are quite good, but you have to pay for it. One day I think we will break the shackles of Windows and move to more affordable and reliable systems like Open Source.

Is Open source that reliable? Well for one thing Red Hat and Ubuntu Linux are systems which have matured a lot. Governments all across the world are embracing the Open Source movement. The number one argument in favour of OpenSource is it's cost in relation to proprietary software. In today's world, for a typical company, the amount that you pay for software is higher than that for hardware. Maybe a day will come when people are given free hardware. The catch – buy the software from us.

We are witnessing a revolution in the software field, on all fronts. Today we really do not require coding to do a program. You can use programs which generate machine code for you. It used to be called compilers and interpreters. Now is the age of IDE's (Integrated Development Environments) and they are getting more and more sophisticated.

The algorithms are statistical in nature and newer methodologies like SCRUM promise to cut short the delivery time. Software in the future would be restricted to system software and some ad-hoc customized requirements. The programmer is a dying breed. The future holds great promise for the likes of testers and designers, as the arrow of time takes us towards eternity.

Surprise yourself every second.



Monday, July 26, 2010

This thing called darkness

It's strange. How darkness is misunderstood by people. Darkness is synonymous with ignorance. It also is the colour of sadness (depressed grey is nothing but a shade of black) As we are all aware black colour absorbs all the visual radiation and hence appears black. The moon also pulsates from a full moon to new moon. (Poornima and Amavasi)

Stay away from darkness, some people say. True - Because knowledge about the same is not available easily. But there is a rhyme and reason to this phenomenon also. The dark side of the moon is nothing but the face that we cannot see. There is no dark side to the Sun. Because the sun is full of knowledge. – No ignorance.

All stars emit knowledge, which in colloquial parlance is light. It's very easy to fall into a depression where the sadness is much attenuated. But think of all those people who have been depressed. I'm not just talking about people who take anti-depressants but all of us – we have all experienced a saddening moment in our life.

Even the Budhha (Gautama Siddhartha) felt sad when he saw misery around him. Death (Joe Black) does not take us to dark worlds. It carries us towards more light – a planet of lights where we get to learn better. Maybe on that planet there is no night. Whatever it may be, embrace death as your best friend.

Your angel is waiting to take you away.

To better worlds …


Friday, July 23, 2010

Words don’t come easy

Words can be misleading. Don't get fazed. The best way to communicate is through eyes. Nothing beats a 'look in the eye' strategy. Somebody has said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Very true. The other thing to decode is body language. You don't need to read a book, you can make out a person easily by both these methods.

Words are not two way by nature. They are unidirectional. Whereas other forms of communication said above are bi-directional. We can sense whether something is going in the right direction or not. It's like the difference between a television and a computer. The former is one way traffic whereas the latter is interactive.

You ride back home in your car and you notice the signals. Well they send you a message, whereas words emanate from you and end somewhere also. For the receiver it is like getting a message just like the signal. However, everything depends on your interpretation. And what can be spoken should be spoken, rather than being said in say a mail.

Some of you may disagree with me, saying that speaking is really a very time consuming and slow activity. Well here's news for you. When you speak or have eye contact or read body language, that gives a sense of togetherness. And man is a social animal. A lot of things left unsaid can be a cause of misery. So here's the bottomline – Organize, Simplify and Socialize (Actually a products short form – OrSiSo)

Listen first and talk you side of the story. The world is waiting to hear it from you.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

To lead means to follow

To lead means to follow. For a leader to lead, he should have been a good follower in the past. A leader should have a passionate attitude not just towards some things, but towards all that he comes across. Can everybody lead? Yes, of course. Leadership is not an innate trait. It can be nurtured into every individual who is willing to practice.

At any point of time, there can be some leaders only. It's like a king walking thru the pavilion while audiences clap by. These same forgotten people may be tomorrow's kings. Never undermine anybody, because he may the future leader paving way for thousands of innovations yet to come. Or he may be a peacemaker for the whole planet. There is no limit to what a 'belly on fire' person is capable of.

Likewise a good teacher does not teach procedures and rituals. He coaches his students so that they may learn to lead one day in the near future. Followers are not just a bunch of beguiled people who wait for the ordainment from a leader. They are the very reason that makes a leader what he is. Captivating. Motivating

A leader sometime may have to wage a war. A righteous leader fights without consideration for emotional attachments. He knows that it is not about winning or losing. But the very dharma of his is driving him towards the war. Finally, a leader lives for his followers. He is strong, although you may see some faltering indications in moments of doom. After all, he is also human …



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A life worth living for

Is there such a thing as fate? I believe there is. Actually there are many fates, not one. Destiny is not carved on a piece of stone. We have been empowered to choose the destiny that we want. Take Palmistry for instance. Do you know that the lines on the hand keep changing in a few years, depending on the path that we walk on.

Hence there is no such thing as a deterministic future. When probabilities all add up, they form a future for us. One thing we have to note is that our karma plays a big role in determining this. Destiny is full of stuff that dreams are made of. For it to manifest, we will have to use our wisdom to choose from the quagmire of choices that we get bombarded with everyday.

There are epiphany's all the time in our life. These may lead to the path of the righteous. But as easy as it seems, there is no one way about it. It's a journey of trial and error. Like CMM's optimized level, where we learn from our mistakes. And those who repeat them are bound to get the realization later. Finally it's about God Realization.

We don't need to become ascetics in search of God. We have to include God in all aspects of our life – for example seeing him everywhere; knowing that inner voice of his when he communicates to us; hearing him in a song. A God who has preset the destinies would be a dictator God, and I'm pretty sure, that is not the case that we have here. He is the all knowing and merciful and always assists us however down one may feel.

From the urchins on the streets to the Buffet's of Wall Street , he is one and the same for all. He is love personified. He has given us the chance of realizing him in this very lifetime. So we really need not worry about such a thing called fate. Just go out and find him, in every single moment. And that is life fulfilled. A life worth living for.



Monday, July 19, 2010

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. People say that they work under pressure. Well, for those who enjoy pressure, they say a different word viz. pleasure. They work under pleasure not pressure. It's true that the ones with the mettle do not run away from work, but the more you pile on, the better they get.

Everyone has to report to somebody. Imagine the work of your higher ups or their higher ups. The day itself is filled with so many activities, that they have a tough time allocating attention to every event of the day. Mails, Reports, Interviews etc. which take up a majority amount of time. A good way to break the mould would be by planning.

All unplanned and planned activities should be clearly estimated for, at the beginning of the day. The more the planned activity, the better. Secondly we should focus on the quadrant that is important work. By this I mean value adding. Rather than attending to those unending 'douse the fire' situations we need to be focussing towards long term effects of activities.

Finally the most important aspect : focus. Do net get out of focus into emotional agendas or grapevine conversations. We should know what our circle of influence is and try to make changes within the same. Worrying about things that we can hardly control does not make any sense. In fact the word worry itself should be buried.

Let's not work under pressure; let's work under pleasure.



Friday, July 16, 2010

The way of the warrior

The way of the warrior

The warrior is somebody who faces all situations in life with the same disposure. Be it good or bad, he has the guts to face the predicament. A warrior is somebody who sales through the river of life with honesty, integrity and dependability. Whether it is a scalable or a portable transition, he is not fazed by it.

His achievements are not his achievements, but the people around him who have helped him. He always shares his honours with others, but keeps the trouble to himself. Perhaps that kind of mettle is what makes a warrior so strong. He believes in 'Laugh and the world laughs with you, Cry and you cry alone.'

A warrior also believes in simplicity. He does not dabble into jargons to make things harder for others to grasp. His agenda is clear. He is somebody who wants to get the work done, in the most efficient and simplistic manner. He cares about his people. That is why, even when he leads, he gives the right of way to others.

Finally a warrior is made up of the same stuff that others are made of. He is just somebody who uses the tools to extract the best out of any situation. He shares this and does not feel any need to hide it. He is compassionate and truthful. He feels for others who are depraved of basic necessities and does his part of trying to take the sorrows away.

The warrior is somebody who fights, only if the fight is called for. Finally, he does not fight for what he believes is right, but for, what is right.

To all those heroes out there …

I would like to raise a toast to you.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

A gift for others

Water is like the numeral 1. Anything you mix it with, it happily takes the property of the thing in which you mix it. Not because it doesn't have a personality of its own. This is exactly what Stephen Covey says 'Seek first to understand than be understood'. It's tough to listen to other people's stories when ours itself seems spiralling downwards.

This is what leaders are made of. They are good listeners. I think women naturally have the ability of listening better than men. They are more intuitive, and don't create a scene. Men love to talk about work; women about relationships. So, although somebody may be a gladiator, he may be weak in relationships. A sound person is complete in all aspects.

Every man has a woman in him and vice versa. But the manifestation varies from person to person. Some men are feline like and some are wild cats. Some display a womanly disposition and others are extremists. But everyone has a sense of legacy. We always want to leave behind a mark set by us. This is a natural feeling among all, and I mean women too.

The question is not of breadth, but the depth. As the depth increases, the breadth will follow. In short we have to display some inclination towards what our love is. Towards where the heart is. And when this love blooms, it spreads across the scent of happiness all across the world. For this to happen, we need to work towards the same.

In the end, what matters is not how many people we touched or how we completed a major project. What really matters is 'Did we leave this place better than what it was before?' - A gift for the budding generations to come.



Saturday, July 10, 2010

Falling from grace

There are times in our life when honour is at stake. Those with weak minds would get swayed by temptations. Remember, that you have to stand for something. There are some things in life that you would never compromise on. In short we all need a value system in place which is unbreakable. A promise is a promise to be kept. And the first person you make a promise to, is yourself.

The spoken word is much dangerous than a knife's cut. Remember people hold you onto your words. That is why I always say that before hitting that SEND button, please think twice. When that someone that you know comes and complains about things that you would have said in the distant past, you know that these are the trying times. You may feel like defending. But hold your guard. Listen.

Values and Principles in life change. Not by a high degree. But to some extent, from what our experience teaches us. A strict rule in a community which you are following as a part of your value system may be ridiculed in some other community. Different strokes for different folks , they say. Despite the opposition, hold onto what you believe in.

But remember that you should not be fanatical about your value system, however deep it may be. Choose a value system that is in line with universal values. Changing ourselves is one of the toughest things, but if we see something that is higher than what our beliefs are we should choose it without hesitation. Life is a continuingly improving process, and being strong (not the mack thing) will take us one step towards God. Finally, once God has raised you up to a particular level, try to fly higher. Do not fall from grace.

To your higher love


Saturday, July 03, 2010

We are all gifted

Some people say 'This person is gifted'. Actually we are all gifted. This person has found himself, hence he seems to be gifted. God has given everyone some special ability to be found out and made use of, in this lifetime. Till the time we don't, we lead a mundane existence. It's definitely not money, because money is consequence, not an end in itself.

It's about talent. We are naturally better at some things than others. That's the call of our heart. And if we heed that we will be successful. In whatever ways that we define success. People seem to have a short definition of success equating it with money, fame etc. But I would say he is successful who has found his true yearning ; he is successful who has found happiness ; he is successful who has helped many others succeed like he has.

This world itself is a mykhana (a term I borrowed from Urdu) which means a drunkards place. We all get drunk with whatever it is that we do everyday. Yet many people don't stop and look behind. For them the day is a to do list of things to get done. And when it does get done, it boosts the persons ego. When we fail we get upset.

Success and Failure should be accepted with the same grace. It really does not matter. What matters is that we tried, to the best of our ability. The prerequisite for trying is that our heart should be where the action is. We should strive to be happy always. Can a sad person make another person happy? I doubt. Find out where the happiness lies and then follow it all along.

Wishing you the best always,