Freedom of ideas: Self or Society?


I went to a Tarot Card reader yesterday, just to curiously know what my life has to offer me with those pattern of chosen cards. The reader glanced me and told me “You have the freedom to grow and pursue your dreams, but you are holding back somewhere just because you are dual in your thoughts. If you focus on one thing important, you will grow as a person”. I realized, she was kind of right. It happens with all of us.

Somewhere, in our life’s turns and burns, we all get into a situation where duality creeps upon us. Not that we want it to happen, but forces and situations around make it happen. To know, what exactly we are capable of, we need to get ourselves from the dual nature of self and society. Today, people dream thinking more what is suitable for the society around us and not what we are actually passionate of. These dreams take a shape of an unborn child and the opportunity passes away. To get the right click in the right time, we need to be clear in our thoughts and pursue the least trodden path to achieve what we do in dreams, accurately.

Clarity holds a person and gives direction. I remember an old age adage “A stitch in time saves nine”, which holds true with the true sense of freedom. Freedom is not just pursuing your own life, but creating a balance with the self and the society around. We stop after achieving a certain level of clarity because we feel the society around see us with enough respect. And our dreams are eventually shrinks to what our society thinks it should be, and that is when dreams die and world-denting ideas perish. We need to struggle till the end of our dream, and that is our freedom.

In business/job/startup, we know our freedom is more or less based on our ideas. Some ideas suffocate to die inside us and other make a way to the world and change it, till we execute it. Why is then our ideas don’t initiate and the freedom is not free? Because, like the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, our ideas are uncertain with the linkage of our self and the bond with the society. We get momentum, we lose track of our idea’s position. We get position, we lose track of our freedom’s momentum.

So, taking back from what the Tarot card reader said, the dreams which are fulfilled are in true nature, the reflection of self to the society and they are to be pursued and to be struggled upon despite the limitations to our freedom, and tending to infinity boundaries to our ideas. 

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Life and its Power of Compounding.


If you have taken a class of Finance 101, you might be aware of the consequences when we compound a present value to future value over a particular interest rate with the number of periods. That’s when, Finance turns into Magic. Let me give you an example, if someone invested $24 in buying Manhattan Islands in 1626, and over the years the interest rate, lets say is 6%, the value of Manhattan Islands today would be $240 Billion! This is the power of compounding.

We know our life today is the result of our efforts in the past. The interest rates is the result of our collective efforts. High interest rates symbolizes more efforts. More the efforts, better the gain. That’s when we know our life is being compounded each day. Let luck be the inflation! It goes up and down, but never comes in a way to our efforts. So, a lesson that Finance 101 teaches us, our efforts today will have a future value that is much more significant we can ever imagine. And luck is just a part and parcel, in some value more or less in the future.

Coming to what, we call it the Life Mantra. Think, if you can run away from the power of compounding, if you can’t, you need to take a Finance 101 class and discover the philosophical side of your life’s efforts to give and its expensive fruits to eat.

 

Silver lining endings, always?


Today, I saw a finest connect in the movie Silver Linings Playbook, and a quote struck me. Thought of sharing it here, think about it.

The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday, that’s guaranteed. And I can’t begin to explain that, or the craziness inside myself and everybody else, but guess what? Sunday is my favorite day again. I think of everything everyone did for me and I feel like a very lucky guy.

Said by Pat almost at the climax in the movie.

Is there always a sunday to every story? Are there silver linings to all your endeavors? Something we have to think about while we try accomplish something so hard, that everything we could ever wish is to make it positive till the end and finally, after drenching out in sweat, mind and heart, we get there. That’s the feeling no one could ever want to miss in their life.

I have this same feeling today, while I am admitted to Masters in Entrepreneurship program at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and Department of Engineering. And somehow, everything I did in the last 5 years connected the dots to achieve this. God’s been kind, and people supportive. All those good quotes I have ever heard makes more sense to me now and with that I am just enjoying my Sunday. A silver lining to a beginning of my journey. And I am sure, you had yours or waiting for it, believe in yourself and you will get a silver lining at the horizon. If not, a golden lining is destined for you. You are the Entrepreneur of your life. 

How Bitcoins changes the economics?


We must have recently learned about the virtual currency that is recognized in the digital community as the Digital Gold. We all must have come across online social games where collecting coins determines how well you have performed in the game like the recently popular game app TempleRun. With those coins, we could unlock other stages, players, equipments and other innovative features that helps us survive in the game and get addicted to it. Similarly, there are coins which are used to buy and exchange real products in a new currency form known as Bitcoins.

What is a Bitcoin? 

These Bitcoins are not controlled by any government or banks, but are algorithmically designed intangible, digital form of currency that efficiently controls the flow of money. Today, almost $750m worth Bitcoins are traded and stored through the digital wallets. One can get Bitcoins by a concept called Online Mining, like the concept in mining of gold. By running an online store that accepts Bitcoins, or by exchanging dollars, yens, pounds etc to Bitcoins or by mining bitcoins through computer generated problems, we can acquire and use the Bitcoins. The current value of 1 Bitcoin is almost $120 and the value is volatile like the stock markets. The maximum amount of Bitcoins that can be traded and stored has a cap of 21 Million and not a single Bitcoin more.

So how does this affect the economics? 

In the ancient times, different metals were exchanged to barter goods among different communities, which represented amount of grains stored. Then came the coinage, where metals were mined, weighed and stamped into different coins of gold, silver and copper. Then, the need for credit and a currency that was less burdensome to exchange led to the introduction of Paper Money from the Pre-modern China.

As Bitcoins are gaining more popularity by the attributes it showcases like acceptability, design, limited supply and easy transfer without processing fees, the economics of money will be altered in bits.

1. While some people in the US government feel that the government is excessively printing money, for the money circulation and its link to productivity and employment opportunities, they are devaluing the dollar. If Bitcoins are introduced and gains acceptability, due to its maximum cap of 21 Million, the excess printing of money will be discontinued, which alters the economics of money supply.

2. Moreover, if Bitcoins are introduced, the transfer of bitcoins through buying/selling products which are legal or illegal in nature cannot be tracked. This definitely excites the ones involved in money laundering, manipulating the black money and other illegal activities.

3. Bitcoins also eliminate the possibility of transfer of dollars by paying a significant sum of fees to payment portals like PayPal, CCAvenue etc. These middlemen companies have no role in the transfer of Bitcoins. Similarly, the processing fees charged through central banks will also be eliminated. And governments, individuals, companies can transfer money without the need of these middlemen.

4. In Bitcoins, the money supply is fixed by design, which is a limiting factor and thus will be highly volatile in terms of dollar exchange rates.

5. There is a possibility of hacking the digital wallets in which the bitcoins will be stored and hence one cannot recover the bitcoins once stolen, this excites the hacker community in general. There is no way to track these stolen bitcoins though Bitcoins are cryptographically designed.

Also, watch this video: 

Though, the new virtual currency is in the talks, the role of governments will be the most important factor in determining the life of Bitcoins. Till then in God we trust. 

Remembering Vivekananda


English: Higher detail image of Swami_Vivekana...

Today is the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda (1863-2013) and his birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day in India. He was a spiritual leader, a man of principles and an avid orator in Interfaith Awareness.

I am sharing his speech at Parliament of the World’s Religions, Chicago in 1893. which I luckily found on the web.

Here’s the full length of the speech, a must read.

Sisters and Brothers of America:

It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.

My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honour of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: “As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”

The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.”

Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.

Luck favors the unintended


We know that our ‘role model’ predecessors whom we look to must have been the innate example of ‘Luck favors the brave’. We have often being advised by our peers, family, mentors etc that to achieve something you have to set your goals and try to achieve it by knowledge, hard-work and passion. Would this just be enough to achieve something we always wanted to but never identified it in the first place?

Yesterday, my father narrated me a story of his life, a story which changed his life forever. A story of fate and fortune. Coming from a middle class family, my father was 13 years old when he was sent to study at Birla Public School in Pilani, Rajasthan (one of the finest boarding schools in India) with a sole intention by my grandfather to make him an engineer from BITS, Pilani in the long run. My grandfather was turned to by his brother who was living in Pilani and he suggested him to send his son to the school with a pretext of making him a capable person. My father went to attend the school for Class 8th. Owing to his nature and his attachment for my grandmother, he started writing letters to my grandmother when he was in school tugging at his heartstrings. When my grandfather came to know this, he posted all these letters to my father’s uncle back there in Pilani. The uncle then fixed this situation by asking the school authorities to take a retest for my father for Class 9th. This meant that my father had to give the re-test, could not think of going back and was stuck at the school for one more year. Propelling his will to go back, my father left Pilani with his bag in the middle of ninth standard, boarded a bus from Pilani to Delhi and then a train from Delhi to Surat with just 20 rupees in his pockets.

He came back to his parents and then was admitted in a local school. He then pursued Bachelors in Chemistry in a local science college. After getting a bachelor’s degree, he started working under my grandfather who was working as a Manager in a textile firm owned by Birlas. After one year working under my grandfather, he set out to float his own textile business. Since then, there was no looking back for him and he build a successful business along with his two younger brothers. More than 20 years in the business, he has been resilient and consistent in the growing the business. His experiences taught him to take a leap to something unconventional and go on a path less intended. One thing he told me ‘If I would have stayed in Pilani, completed my high school there and pursued engineering, I would never have got into business (which he nor my grandfather thought in the first place) and so whatever happens, happens for a reason’. 

We, as a generation, often ponder over our goals in achieving something through those common attributes of planning and hard work which have been preached over since ages and fear to take unintended risks. If we achieve or we don’t, luck has not only supported the brave but also the unintended. So, its sometimes better to be unplanned, believe in yourself and start looking for the dots which will eventually connect when the right time comes. Clock is ticking and I am waiting to ring my bell.

Is it the real closure?


Indian Government today took a swift decision to hang the convict and the lone survivor  Ajmal Kasab of 26/11 Mumbai Attacks and spread the message of integrity and security of our nation. Sometimes its good to be late than never. But, the one question still arises in the mind of the commoners witnessing each moment India is living, is this the real closure of the case?

I don’t think so. Though the culprit was hanged till death but the masterminds are still living somewhere in that corner of the world and grinning through all this. Their job was done to carry out and implement their plan of attacking Mumbai at its brim. When in time, will those people be convicted and executed who live in the odds of terrorism and many such activities. There were attacks on the parliament, the sovereignty of our democracy and the convict Afzal Guru is still beholding the law and behind the bars. When in time, will there be a strong message passed to these terrorist groups that India is not handicapped by nature. Their network is still intact and secure by over multiple nations. India being one of it. When in time, will the roots of this evil be procured and snatched out from the soil of our nation? This might be a closure to one chapter as said by father of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who lost his life battling and saving lives during the 26/11 attack, but there are a lot of other chapters to close.

In no religious scriptures or texts there is written that killing innocent people helps you attain the true divinity and materialize fruits which are no sweeter. The sense of closure will come when the actual people who are planning and manipulating minds like Ajmal Kasab and others be convicted and hanged for life. I am sure our Defense is no less in tracing down these groups geographically, but a collective will is required over nations and the needful should be done than coming over the diplomatic relations. World will be a better place to live, if nations come together and not just individuals.