Billionaires of Moments

Posted in Life. Or something like it., People with tags , , , , on July 9, 2010 by samudranb

All of us are fascinated with the lists that Forbes comes up with. Newspapers splash it across the front pages. TV channels run exclusive interviews based on it. It is the topic of many a water-cooler conversation at the work place.

When it comes to money, we are not born equal. Some of us own private islands and jets, whereas some could barely afford two square meals every day. Yet, most of us dream about reaching those dizzying heights of affluence. Or at least daydream about it.

But have we ever stopped to wonder about what those fabulously rich people will take with them to their graves?

What does anybody take to their graves, really?

This was the premise for the talk given by Lakshmi Pratury , which for me was the most important take-away from TEDxBLR.

She spoke about how we all are fascinated by “billionaires”. And how we define them.

We define billionaires in terms of their financial assets, or “billionaires of dollars”. But given that there are so many inequalities of opportunities, it does not do justice to the rest of the humans to give this group an exclusive status. We need to have a fairer definition of “rich people”. A definition which gives everybody an equal opportunity to be called a “billionaire”.

And all that is required for us to arrive at that new definition is to change one word – from “dollars” to “moments”.

Life is not the number of breaths that you take, but the number of moments that take your breath away.

At the end of a life, what he or she takes away from it all are those unforgettable moments.

What if we all decided to be greedy about collecting these moments, instead of money? Wouldn’t our lives be richer, fuller and more satisfying in that case?

Could we collect a billion such moments? Is it possible?

Turns out, it is quite a task to be a billionaire of moments. If each and every second, of each and every hour, of each and every day, of each and every year of your life were a moment worth remembering, even in that case it would take you 31+ years to be a billionaire of moments.

Which is why Lakshmi suggested a system to collect these “points”.

If you share a moment with someone which makes the other person happy, then the number of moments that s/he collected in his lifetime, counts towards your total too.

Simple? Hell yes!

Effective? You bet!

I am on my way to become a billionaire. Are you? 🙂


Cinderella of India

Posted in India, People, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , on June 15, 2010 by samudranb

X: Dude! Did you know about the Manipur blockade?!

Me: Of course! It has been going on for 67 odd days now.

X: Yea? I just found out about it! And to think I prided myself on being up-to-date on world affairs!

Me: Yea, the media has just caught on.

X: Damn man… and here I was more worried about the Gaza blockade!

How does one react, when people are more aware of what is happening in other countries, than they are of what is happening in their own?

How does one react, when people ask if one’s state is a district of West Bengal?

How does one react, when people do not know whether the place where one comes from is a part of India or not?

How does one react, when the history teacher says the reason there is no mention of Assamese or other North Eastern states’ history in the syllabus, is because they are “not important”?

It’s not just the ordinary people who seem to have forgotten that there are indeed some states east of Kolkata. The administration too.

For the last many decades, while the rest of the country has progressed on to the new economy, NE states still languish in the old economy. While the rest of the country argues over 3G, NE states still await broadband (which is of course, only 256 kbps). While the rest of the country goes gaga over the latest Hrithik / Shah Rukh movie, Manipur goes gaga over the latest Korean movie, because Bollywood movies are “banned” there. While the students from the rest of the country fight to get into one of the best Medical schools across the length and breadth of the country, those from the 7 NE states fight to get into the 6 medical colleges available to them.

Why is the rest of the nation so apathetic to the NE? Is it simply because of the cultural differences? Shouldn’t the differences be highlighted, and celebrated, the way we do with J&K, Rajasthan, or any of the other states? Why is the North East consistently given a step-motherly treatment from the centre?

Is national integration even on the agenda for the central government? Should India even be one country? Does it even make sense?

Or should we wait till midnight to find out?

How to make chicken curry

Posted in Cooking with tags , , , , , on June 14, 2010 by samudranb
1.2 Kg Chicken (or whatever the packed, cut chicken pack weighs at your neighbourhood supermarket)
2 Tomatoes – diced (or whatever you can do with it)
2 Onions – chopped (or whatever you can do with it)
1 thick slice of butter (thicker the better)
Garlic paste – 1 squeeze out of the packet
Salt – to taste.
Turmeric – to yellow-fy
Take chicken out of the freezer.
Forget about it for around 3 hours, till it de-rockifies.
Once the chicken is breakable into smaller pieces (the de-rockification would not have been complete, do not worry), put it into a large dish / bowl / something that can hold the entire thing, without getting chicken blood/ guts/ thingies all over your kitchen counter. Cover it with warm water, as much as possible.
Once the chicken is soft and tender, yes, exactly like that teddy bear you sleep with, marinate it with salt and turmeric.
If the chicken looks pink, you have not put enough turmeric.
Pour the salt. Dont be miserly. It is pretty cheap. Put in as much salt as your heart desires. (If you are the kinds who are more at home with a Magismomanometer, then follow these instructions: Make a slit in the packet of salt having diameter 1 mm. Pour out the salt through the newly created slit for 7 seconds. You are allowed to use all precision instruments at your disposal for this process.)
Cover the chicken and watch 2 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.
Put the butter in a large kadhai and fry the chopped onions.
Wait till their colour changes to Jessica Alba’s skin. Yea baby.
Pay attention to the onions. You do not want them to look like Venus Williams’.
Add the tomatoes.
Wait till they are a little dry and wrinkly. Like Madonna.
Add the chicken.
Add the garlic paste. As much as you can squeeze out in 5 seconds.
Err… stir.
Add water. As much as you want. You want your chicken pieces to be fully covered.
Stir more.
Go watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
Go watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother.
Come back and find your chicken curry ready.

What? It worked for me!
Disclaimer: The author is not responsible for any bowel related issues that you might face on trying this. Try this at your own risk.

Bye bye Pune

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6, 2010 by samudranb

And so ends 2 and a half years of Home 6.0 and 6.1!

For those of you who don’t already know, I am moving to Bangalore. For those of you who don’t know why, it is because I am taking up the post of an instructor(+something more) at Noesis education’s GMAT division.

Many have asked me whether this is a planned career move. To them, I shall say “It is not.”

Some have asked me whether I had ever thought about working as an instructor. To them, I shall say “I had not.”

Many have asked me if this is a wise move. To them, I shall say “I do not know.”

Some have asked me to teach them the secrets of the secret clan of Wu-tao monks. To them, I shall say “I do not know what you are talking about. (But wait for my super-exclusive, tell-all book)”

To the rest who asked why, I shall say this- that I have sort of gotten tired of the inertia of the last 6 months. These few months have not been kind. I have not been still, but I have not moved forward. I tried planning my life, but the execution sucked. The tune that was stuck in my head was “I sit and talk to God, but he just laughs at my plans”. And “Teri neeyat kharab hai” (but that probably had more to do with Maria Gomez, than any relevance to my life).

So, to put it simply. WHO.THE.EFF.CARES. IamGonnaTakeThisAndRunWithIt. 😀

Adios Pune!

P.S. – Parents always expect the worst, and the best from their kids. “Dont patao too many girls. And do not wear dirty underwear for too long.”

World domination

Posted in Entrepreneurship, Life. Or something like it. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2010 by samudranb

You know when you feel like you want the world in the palm of your hand? When you are bored with the mundane? The ordinary? The everyday? The forgettable? When you want to change the world, leave behind a legacy, or just be famous?

When you want more from your life than just a paycheck? Or a “do waqt ki roti”? or even world peace? or Megan Fox?

When you want to leave your footprints on the sands of time?

What do you do then?

Some people drink to lessen the pain. Some drink to forget. Some give up in frustration. Some give in to temptation.

Some quit their jobs without much of a backup plan. (Or maybe it was just me.)

After quitting my job, I went on a reading frenzy. Trying to find people like me. Or rather, other crazy people like me. From all across the globe. From all walks of life.

Thankfully for my sanity, I found them. In fact, I was surprised by their numbers. Some, even crazier than me. But more or less, everyone of them seemed to have hit upon the solution to the problem that seemed unique to me, but was actually common to us all. They were happy. They were unique. They were… following their hearts.

There is Michael Bungay Stanier, who urges you do stop doing “good work”, and have more FUN, and start doing GREAT work. Then there is Leo Babauta at Zen Habits, who teaches you to simplify, and hence improve, your life. There are of course many many more from whom I derived inspiration, and courage, from- Seth Godin, Tom Peters, Derek Sivers, Cal Newport and even an example closer home, the Doolally fellows.

But by far the craziest of them all would have to be Chris Guillebeau. Apart from being a genuinely nice fellow, the fact that his personal goals include visiting EACH and EVERY country in the world, puts him in my all-time-favourite people list straightaway! So far he has covered 122 out of 192 countries in the world. His blog “The Art of Non-conformity” is about “unconventional strategies for life, work and travel”. He writes about “how to change the world by achieving significant, personal goals while helping others at the same time.”

In his free ebook, A BRIEF GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION, he outlines his basic philosophy. In short –

  1. You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.
  2. If you don’t decide for yourself what you want to get out of life, someone else will probably end up deciding for you.
  3. There is usually more than one way to accomplish something.
  4. You can do good things for yourself and help other people at the same time.

In order to get you started, he asks 2 deceptively simple questions –

  1. What do you really want to get out of life?
  2. What can you offer the world that no one else can?

I have not been able to answer these to my satisfaction yet.

Can you?

“Hell yeah!” or “Hell why not!”

Posted in About me, Life. Or something like it., People with tags , , , , , on February 11, 2010 by samudranb

I recently came across these 2 life mantras- “Hell yeah!” and “Hell why not!” Although both seem to be contradictory, they can actually be quite complementary!

HELL YEAH, in short, is this – If you are not “HELL YEAH!” about something, then say NO.

It asks you to do what you love. Work on projects you believe in. Be passionate about everything you do – and don’t commit to anything you aren’t prepared to fully throw yourself into.

When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”

HELL WHY NOT, in short, is this – Even if you have something better to do, if its not life-altering, just say “Yes” to EVERYTHING!!

It asks you to experiment. To go to that unknown restaurant, and try that unknown dish. To go to that new band’s concert. To GET A LIFE!!! You never know what might lead from it.

(This mantra was also there in “Yes Man“. Good movie. I liked it 🙂 )

For me, a combination of both over the last few months has indeed made my life interesting.

What about you?

Na’vi and Naxals : Does Pandora (in Avatar) parallel India?

Posted in India, Society with tags , , on December 25, 2009 by samudranb
Avatar (2009)


I finally joined the legions of fans that James Cameron has picked up. I do not have any new words to describe “Avatar”, so I will repeat whatever others have said about it – marvellous, path breaking, jaw dropping, epic, yada yada.

But I could not help but draw parallels between what was happenning in the movie to the Na’vi, to what is happenning to the Naxals.

In the movie, the Na’vi are sitting on top of huge reserves of “Unobtainium”. Here, it is minerals.

In the movie, a big corporation tries to push out the Na’vi from their homes. Here, it is the government and big corporations (in their corrupt forms).

In the movie, the Na’vi use bows and arrows and spears. Here, the Adivasis use the same.

In the movie, the “civilized people” bring the heavy artillery, including air strikes and ground troops. Here, it is Chidambaram.

In the movie, the “civilized people” believe they are “developing” the Na’vi. Here it is all of us right leaning people.

In the movie, the Na’vi live in perfect harmony with nature. Here, the Adivasis depend on it for their survival.

I used to be firmly in the “development is good” camp. After watching Avatar, I am not so sure anymore. Are we becoming blind to reality, as soon as we take off the 3D glasses?