Archive for September, 2009

3000 kms. 8 days. 4 states. 2 guys. 2 bikes. 1 helluva journey.

Posted in About me, Biking, Life. Or something like it. with tags , , , on September 27, 2009 by samudranb

So I could not make it to Kanyakumari from Pune on this trip. Not everyone quits their jobs just because their company did not give them leave you know? 😛

But that does not take anything away from the fact that this trip is going to be one helluva experience. A 3000+ kilometre ride is no joke. Nor is it gonna be child’s play.

Date Day Where we will be starting from
28-Sep Mon Pune
29-Sep Tues Goa
30-Sep Wed Chikmangalur
1-Oct Thurs Coimbatore
2-Oct Fri Madurai
3-Oct Saturday Rameshwaram
4-Oct Sunday Bengaluru
5-Oct Monday Bengaluru
6-Oct Monday Pune

What do we expect to see on this trip? South India in all its splendour. And ugliness. Majestic hair-pin bends. Ghost-towns. Wild-life sanctuaries. Coffee plantations. Insanely huge temples.

I will tell you all about it, if I do not get trampled by the wild elephants, mauled by the tigers and panthers and leopards or killed by the sandalwood dacoits. Or get into horrible accidents with drunk drivers. Or potatoes.

P.S. I will post regular updates on twitter. Or will try to.

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So you want to change the world. Really?

Posted in Entrepreneurship, Society with tags , , on September 22, 2009 by samudranb

How many of us, at some point or the other, have thought about changing the world? How many have done something about it? How many have said “oh its just too difficult… I will just go have a double cheese burger instead”?

Changing the world is hard work. Heck, its probably the toughest work in… the world. Of course, it is not half as well-paying as, say, investment banking. That Ferrari Spider that you had been salivating after for ages? You would have to salivate after a Bajaj Super now. Probably a second-hand one at that.

So why should we not give up those world-changing dreams to fulfill our desires for something as gratifying as a sports car?

Because now is a damn good time to be doing so. The eco-systems, such as this, for such social entrepreneurs are better developed. The pay is not half as bad. With “social entrepreneurship” being the new buzz word, you get some easy publicity. Oh, and you might get some fabulous awards too.

And then of course, there is that other thing. You know, of lighting up thousands of lives, or educating thousands, and benefiting millions, or empowering the poor, or providing clean drinking water at affordable rates. Of leaving this earth a better place for your children.

Of leaving behind a legacy, instead of just a sports car.

Signs

Posted in Dating, Life. Or something like it., Love with tags , , , on September 9, 2009 by samudranb

Sometimes, things just seem so simple, its beautiful.

Calling this short-film beautiful would be an understatement.

FartingPen

I concur.

What is marriage?

Posted in India, Musings, Society with tags , , , on September 8, 2009 by samudranb

Marriage (noun)

  1. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
  2. The state of being married; wedlock.
  3. A common-law marriage.

Love marriages around the world are simple:

Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy.They get married.

In India, there are a few more steps:

Boy loves Girl. Girl loves Boy.
Girl’s family has to love boy. Boy’s family has to love girl.
Girl’s Family has to love Boy’s Family. Boy’s family has to love girl’s family.
Girl and Boy still love each other (hopefully). They get married.

Chetan Bhagat. (except for the part in the brackets. That’s me.)

It seems like I cannot escape it anymore. Half the world is getting married (the rest already are). People are talking about it everywhere I go. People are inviting me to marriages everywhere I go. People are asking me the inevitable question everywhere I go. I of course feel my contemporaries’ kids will be in college by the time I am anywhere near producing a few of my own.

All this talk led me to have a lively discussion with Damudra…. my evil twin brother. Of course he won. He always wins. Here is the synopsis of the argument. See if you win it, if you are on the good side.

Is it a process to bring together two people closer to one another, by formalising their relationship?

How do two people, who hardly know anything about each other, forget about knowing anything about their families, their habits, good and bad, their plans for the future and  the skeletons in their closets, agree to try and make a life together? How do they even begin to believe that they will be happy together? How do they go from sleeping alone, to sleeping with an almost total stranger? What miracle do they hope will bring them closer together? Why does this “bringing closer together” need to be formalized?

Is it a process to bring together two gene pools, and thus increase the chances of survival by “natural selection”?

Wouldn’t marriage be against the principles of natural selection? Natural selection results in the best, and the fittest, producing the most number of offspring, while the unfit do not produce as many, thus resulting in more of the better qualities of the fitter population to be passed on to the next generation. Marriage provides the unfit, opportunities to reproduce, while restricting the fit from reproducing as many they could. Face it, most women would rather have Brad Pitt over you. Its just “natural selection” at work.

Is it an arrangement of convenience between 2 humans to share real estate, and soap?

What is it about a marriage that is so convenient? Why do people need to be married to share living space? What distinguishes a marriage from any other business transaction? There is a give and a take. There is a cost involved. The goods are inspected before … the transaction.

Is it an arrangement between 2 societies to spread their culture beyond their existing boundaries?

Usually (this is based on my limited marriage-going experience), marriages are often filled with conflicts regarding details of the various customs and rituals which have to be followed. The groom’s side and the bride’s side, more often than not, do not agree. There is a power struggle almost always going on in the sidelines. Not to mention the one-up-man-ship. Nobody wants their culture to be eroded. Nobody wants to not follow the customs and rituals that have been going on for ages. Since when is culture equated with customs and rituals? And why?

Is it a sanction by society for 2 people to have sex?

How do people reconciliate themselves to the fact that the whole world and his/her uncle, knows WHEN, WHERE, WITH WHOM they will be having sex? Why does the sex have to be a ritual after the wedding? Why can’t it be before, or at some random during the wedding? Is it the thinking about the sex that makes the entire society giddy with happiness at the mention of a wedding?

Is it a process used by society to identify adulthood?

Why does a marriage certify one to be an adult? Why should one’s perception of a person, change because s/he is married or not?

Is it a process designed to torture two people so that they do not think of going through the same once again? And thus encourage monogamy?

Holy mother of GOD! Marriages are so painful for the one going through it!! Imagine sitting, standing, sitting, doing whatever the pundit asks you to, reciting stuff you don’t understand, performing gestures of which you don’t know the importance of, just to formalize a relationship. ARRRGH! I am 100% sure the whole concept of a painful marriage was invented because all the studs of the village would take all the pretty brides and leave no one  for the old pundits. They were the ones who came up with the concept of monogamy, and also made the marriages so utterly painful so that nobody in their right minds would even dare to think about marrying a second time.

Is it sacred?

What is sacred? That which is believed in by hundreds of thousands? Or that which has been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of generations? Or that which is held close to their hearts, by the people close to you?

­­Is it worth believing in?

Is it really necessary?

Humans as Corporations

Posted in Musings, Work with tags , , on September 3, 2009 by samudranb

In today’s “Corporate Dossier” supplement, I found this small piece dealing with “change”, tucked away on the 3rd page. It ends with “10 questions that leaders must ask of themselves and their organizations – questions that speak to the challenges of change at a moment when change is the name of the game. The leaders with the best answers win.”

The questions got me thinking. How similar (or different) are people and corporations?

To be successful as either, they should have a drive to be the number 1 in their respective fields. Both have to provide some service (labour) or have some product (knowledge) that the market must be willing to pay money for. Both take quite a lot of pains to find and maintain strategic partnerships. Both want to leave legacies behind. Both want to live longer. Both worry about the future. Both take steps to ensure their survival. Both (or atleast many of both kinds) are afraid of change.

So would it be possible to manage one’s life, as one would manage a corporation?

If you were managing the corporation “You, Inc.”, how would you answer these following questions? (I have modified a few words to make them relevant for people)

  1. Do you see opportunities the competition doesn’t see?
  2. Do you have new ideas about where to get new ideas from?
  3. Are you the most of anything?
  4. If YOUr company went out of business tomorrow, who would miss you and why?
  5. Have you figured out how YOUR organisation’s history can help to shape its future?
  6. Can your customers employers live without you?
  7. Do you treat different customers people differently?
  8. Are you getting the best contributions from the most people?
  9. Are you consistent in your commitment to change?
  10. Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?

Would love to hear your answers in the comments.