The security code

At work:

Me: “Oops, my key dropped in the lift lobby.”

Security: “Sir, I cannot let you tailgate back in.”

Me: “Ok, no problem. So can you get that for me?”

Security: “No sir, I am not authorized to go in”

Me: “So how can I go get the key?”

Security: “Sir, you go around the building and enter through the IN gate.”

Me: “Aaaargh”

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At my gated community:

My car is stopped at 10:30 PM by security

Security: “Sir, I need to see the renewal papers of your apartment rental”

Me: “Why?”

Security: “I can only allow you after I confirm you still have the house”

Me: “Why should you know about whether I extend my rent or not?”

Security: “Sir, its my job to know who belongs to this flat”

Me: “Ok, can I show it to you tomorrow?”

Security: “No sir.”

Me: “Can I email it to you?”

Security: “No sir.”

Me: “But I don’t have a physical copy with me. It is at home. Please let me in and I can show you.”

Security: “Not allowed sir”

Me: “So how the hell can I show it to you if you wont let me get it?”

Security: “Sir, your house-owner can confirm to us. Please call him”

Me: “But its 10:30 in the night!!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh”

 

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Incident 3:

“There is a car parked right before mine. I need you to contact the owner and get that taken back so I can remove my car.”

“Sir, other security is on rounds sir. There is no one at the gate.”

“Can you come after his rounds are over?”

“No sir, its my turn of rounds after!”

Aaaargh!!!

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Please feel free to share personal incidents where you have suffered from the security code!

 

Dear Miss Maths , ‘m sorry but we need to break up!

I loved you, I truly did. In only the sense that you understand, in black and white. I loved you and that was the end.

But you failed me…. Twice…. Now I can take it nomore.

True it was fun for a while… oh the hours I spent proving that your LHS was the same as your RHS ,though vastly different from a platonic plane!

The various hypothesis, theorems and rules… I still don’t get why some are hypothesis, some theorems and the unfortunate left overs, rules….Of course, you know… please don’t get started on that…!

Only you know the difference between the graphical positions of (10,4) and (4,10). But I used them interchangeably and my life changed as a result…. I ended up in a SSEC instead of SSN!

That was strike one.

Flash forward….. and I missed you, full stop. I yearned to get back to you, to experience your purity once again. To deduce the probability of landing a 6 figure salary in one out of the 195 countries of the world. But you came back with a big fat 0 as the answer, as again you failed me.

Here’s how strike two happened.

“What is the angle between the arms of a clock when the time is 12:20 noon?” the interviewer said?

“A little above 90”, I replied…… “Not exactly”, he said… “although you got your reasoning alright”

It is “108”, you said, while you laid your arms around that guy, smirking at my lack of intelligence and dismissing me as a failure!

 

To hell with you!

I am done. Plain and simple. There is no strike 3. End of note, for all practical purposes.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

I have found a girl more suitable to my tastes. Her name is Masters and she is quite accommodating. She thrives, not in black and white, but in the grey. There is no right or wrong with her. She understands that our actions are a result of circumstance.

What’s more, she has the mental balance to know that I cannot ever love her as I loved you. That there would be moments where I would hate her indecisiveness. But she doesn’t judge me for that. Or call me a failure as you did.

I know you understood nothing of what I said. Your bipolar mind cannot handle middle ground.

But I ain’t done yet…… ah Ah! You should have quit reading when I asked you to.

 

For that smirk that you most recently sent my way, I have this final word. Masters is a lot richer than you…. by how much, you go figure!

Booyah……… And goodbye!

Break-even

Break-even point is something that a lot of us have used in lives. It is the revenue required in order to outweigh the costs during a particular period of time.

Considering our own lives, I have always considered the break-even point to be when I have zero debts. Hence my net value would be zero and it is all positive from there on.

  1. During the initial years of my working life, I still had to undertake additional investments – a life policy, a house and some essential liabilities such as a car.

Essentially, my break-even point was pushed by several years as a result of these actions.

  1. The last few years have been kind to me and I have been able to make serious inroads in my repayment schedules. I have now moved much closer to achieving zero debts. However, being a more mature person, and a family man, I now do not think my break-even point to be when I am at zero debt. It has got to factor in savings for my child’s education, my wife’s well-being as well as all our sustenance.

Although I have reached the break-even point of my twenties self, I am nowhere close to that figure for thirties self.

Hence my question. Is break-even a number or rather a state of mind? Are we just looking for new goals to stay the course with our lives rather than have the heart and mind to stop accumulating wealth and live with what we have?

 

Hairy-Fairy

He was thinking to himself that this could be one of those moments in life where he experiences ultimate peace. He was lying on his back, in his bed, snack-bang in the middle of the day on a weekday and slowly drifting into sleep. He had been reading a novel, a damn good one at that, and yet the habit he had developed during college had returned and lulled him into sleep. The sweet, cold air from the aircon surely did its part to aid the process.

Wasn’t it great to take an off on a Wednesday, relax at home, and take pleasure about knowing that the rest of the world was slogging away at work and would give anything to be in your position?

Maybe it was the act of reading books that a strange thought occurred to him. Maybe Ellesworth Toohey from “Fountain head” had called it right when he had remarked that the act of holding one another’s hands to show that you are a couple was rather impractical. Your palms would begin to sweat soon enough and you would want to remove your hands. No matter when you did this, you are sure to disappoint your partner.

Now why was he thinking of Toohey? Oh yeah, it was because of the strand of hair that kept tickling his nostrils, making it really difficult for him to be enjoying the moment to its fullest. Surely, asking his wife to move a bit would solve the problem, however was he willing to take such a risk and disappoint her? Would she feel hurt that he pushed her away from him, (meta)physically? Three years of being married had made him wise enough to think of consequences before acting. One could be forgiven for greater crimes but pushing your wife even a square inch away during a moment of such great peace and intimacy such as this one could have disastrous consequences.

He tried to huff and puff the hair out but that only elevated the tickling. He could take it no longer. Picking up all his courage, he said in the faintest of voices, “Honey, could you move your head just a little bit, more towards my shoulder than my face?”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

…………………………………………………no response………………………………….

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Suddenly the door opened, startling him back to awakening. His wife peeped through and asked him, “Did you say something coz I could not hear from over the kitchen?”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

And he muttered, “Err, no. I just said I need to get a haircut soon” as he parted his really long hair away from his face!

 

 

 

 

 

#Truestory : Scroll further for action taken!

 

 

Book review – Doing good better – William MacAskill

Hailing from a conservative Indian family where we are taught to extract maximum value out of every penny or item, I found “Doing good better” to be extremely appealing. I have had reservations against donating money, the greatest one being that I did not have much to spare and hence would not give it for those causes with minimal impact. So I had to educate myself which program was the best and this book helped me gain clarity.

It has been five years since I graduated from my Masters program and I have missed graphs and statistics. I have always had a fascination towards topics where popular assumptions are broken down through logic, reasoning and most importantly, numbers. For those of you who love reading such a genre of articles, this book will appeal to your intellect.

The book provides a great starting point to evaluate various organizations and causes to gauge their effectiveness and impact. But that expectation is a given considering the title is “Doing good better”. Having said that, I am now aware of a few causes that do real good; capable of asking valid questions & qualifiers before parting with my money for any causes. Moreover, I am well aware of how much I can be influenced and drawn towards certain causes and well publicized events where the impact of my donation would not really make much difference in the overall scheme of things. My latest blog on “Why I won’t donate to the Manchester bombing” is based on some of the concepts outlined in this book. So, in essence, this book has more than “met expectations” and delivered to promise of educating me of how to do good, better.

I also found some sections of the book irrelevant for me and would happily skip those if I reread the book. For example, I am already too deep into my career to consider a path more aligned with effective altruism. Also, I do not for one bit find it practical for me to evaluate between a PHD or a computer science degree, keeping altruism as the end goal. As the saying goes, we Indians become engineers first before figuring out what we want to become in our lives.

In summary, read this book if you :

  1. Are remotely interested in doing good to the world
  2. Like the use of logical & data driven arguments to overcome popular assumptions
  3. Are convinced the one individual cannot make a significant difference to the world
  4. Want to choose between eating chicken/beef or ham, keeping in mind the environment/animals themselves

 

Why I won’t donate to the Manchester bombing

The bombing at Manchester is indeed a very sad event. 22 families have lost loved ones and surely their lives have been shattered beyond wildest dreams. The news has been well published on paper and has garnered a lot of sympathies from across the globe. There is no doubt that this is a tragedy.

NGOs have been setup for relief work for the families and pleas have been voiced for donations for the affected families.

However here are the reasons why I would not donate for this tragedy.

  1. Global Press: With so much coverage on the event, and a lot of celebrities voicing their sorry to the families, I am sure there would be enough funds collected already for the families. Moreover, I am also sure there would be one or two extremely rich persons wanting to make a real difference with a significant donation. Assuming a conservative estimate of 100,000 donations of $100 each, the impact of my donation to the overall figure is just 0.1%.
  2. Impact: Though the impact of the event has been devastating for the families, the scale of these impacts is restricted only to a section of Manchester. To put things in perspective, natural disasters wipe out entire towns and cities.
  3. 22: 429000 deaths happened in the world due to malaria in 2015. Road injuries (rank 10 in causes of death in the world) kill 43 people every day in Tamil Nadu. The Manchester bombing killed 22.
  4. Impact of one dollar donated: If I donated a dollar to the families in UK, I would probably be able to buy a bar of candy or chips with it. If I donated $100, I would probably have bought the families a new bed. Whereas $100 would be able to buy 40 mosquito nets that can potentially save 80 people from Malaria(Source: https://www.againstmalaria.com/WhyNets.aspx) . Using the concept of The 100x multiplier, which states that the value of a dollar given to a poor country could do 100x more good than when given to a rich one.  (Source :

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/06/what-is-the-greatest-good/395768/ ) it just makes less sense to donate to UK which is one of the richest countries in the world and can easily afford to take care of its people.

I don’t have any prejudice against Manchester or against the affected families. I have been a Manchester United fan for over 15 years and have experienced the city first hand. Judge me if you want, but I believe that once we have decided to donate money, we need to take a step back and look at where we can make a higher impact with the money we donated.

 

PS: If you want a quick recommendation of where to donate, here is a great place to start – http://www.givewell.org/

 

Altruism

I have been toying with the idea of making donations to funds that help the world….. Noble thought indeed.

However, I have been struck with a realization – I am happy to do the act but very reluctant to write about it. I would appreciate your opinions on whether my thoughts are justified.

Do we help ourselves?
I believe it is more of our ‘savings’ mentality that people expect us to build and save wealth. This might be for our future, followed by buffer for contingencies and if that is achieved, continue building for the future generations to come.

I do get the logic about why we should adhere to these principles. According to me, these guidelines are exactly what they are meant to be – guidelines. Once they take up a shape bigger than being just guidelines and becoming a norm or even worse, a fixation, there is little or no room to live life.

Economic freedom is a great feeling to have. Achieving this should enable one to explore options. This could be in the form of indulgences, following an alternate career path or passion, venturing out into a new business or risky deals or even altruism.

As per our ‘savings’ mentality, every penny out must fetch an ROI. Anything else is a wasted opportunity or a loss. All indulgences are frowned upon and we are branded as a show-off. Business ventures that carry risk are tolerated at best as there is an outside chance of returns.

Altruism scores the least as there is no personal gain. Any wealth that goes down the route of altruism is considered equivalent to wealth down the drains.

Is it just me that feels that our thinking is flawed or is it the norm? How many of you have embraced altruism and what was the reaction you faced when you discussed about this topic?

Keen to know your thoughts.

Open offices

What is your opinion about open offices?

We have recently included music in the office. N Sync and Backstreet boys have taken over the work space. I found myself having mixed thoughts about this. On the one hand, it is nice to listen to songs of old. It takes you to that time and gives you a kind of energy that you had during that age.

On the other hand, the constant noise obstructs work. Writing official mails require you to ‘think’ in English language and english words from songs at the background mess up your trail of thought.

No one wants to have open disagreements. So it is my belief that open offices do not allow for purposeful ideas to blossom. Already introverts find it hard to voice their opinions and the open design forces them to overcome huge, stressful barriers just to get heard. With constant music in the background, people are naturally content to listen rather than overcome and converse.

In my opinion, I don’t see many advantages of open offices. I believe more work gets done in conference rooms where I can work in silo and with a higher degree of conversation.

Keen to know your thoughts as comments.

Stayfocused in, Gmail Out – Increase productivity, reduce distractions.

Ok, one month into trying minimalism & simplifying my life, I have been making significant strides. For starts, I have felt bored more often in the past two weeks than I ever can remember. I am creating free time, which is good.

I am also through 300 pages of the first ever book I read since Harry Potter!

While minimalism at home makes sense, I have realized there is much more than physical objects that clog up our lives and work. My major breakthrough has been in using the chrome extension called “Stayfocused”. This app allows you to add websites that you are addicted to and allocate only few minutes to them per day after which they are blocked off on your device.

I have used this for the past couple of weeks and almost stopped looking at Facebook, goal.com, bbc sports and a few more of the sites I am addicted to. I now have the choice of channeling the additional time towards work or writing.

Though Facebook has taken a large amount of bashing for being unproductive, I also believe we need to look at another deterrent – GMAIL. When was the last time, you got a personal email on this platform?

For me, it was about 6 months ago. Yet I have not only had the app installed on my phone, also allowed it to auto sync continuously but also allowed it to throw up a prompt for every new email.

Over the past week, I have unsubscribed to all marketing emails. For those that do not allow me to unsubscribe (WTF man!!), I have created a rule to mark them as read. I have also muted the mail app and turned off the Autosync. I have experienced peace!

You can try this out too 😊

 

 

 

Feel free to comment some tips to increase productivity.

Stereotypes

Introvert, extrovert, ambivert.

Gen x, gen y, millenial.
Libran, Scorpion, Gemini.
Hindu, Muslim, Christian.
Tamil,Telugu,Mallu.
Northie, Southie,Gujju,Chinky.
Paki,Gora,Nigger, Sand Nigger.
Latino,Asian,Chinese,Caucasian.
MBA,Engineer,IIT,Commerce,arts.
IT, Automobile,Cook.
Rich,poor,middle class.
Thin, fat, man, woman, child, teen.

We have a lot of choices in describing anyone. Little do we realize, our choice of words greatly describe our perception as well as the perception of our audience on the subject in question. And it greatly affects them…. Sometimes, it ruins lives; destroys peace ; promotes hatred ; invokes suspicion; creates divide…

Maybe you did not talk to your next best friend because you classified them as one of these rather than embrace those differences.

It is the age of consuming new information. We are driven by the mad urge to know new things. But please be mindful that content that we consume is carelessly curated by viewership-hungry journalists that are highly incentivised to sensationalize every piece of news they get.