VIDEO: Engineering in India

Engineering is one of the most popular fields in India but many of them do not choose it for themselves. In this video, I talk about Engineering in India along with some hard hitting truths about Indian country! Watch the video and let me know what you think!

The L word

Learning is about inspiration, not information!

You are never really “done” learning. Learning is a constant process that keeps your mind alive and functioning. It can be thought of as breathing for your brain, once you stop doing it, your brain becomes dead<so to speak!> Idle mind is a devils playground. And when you stop assimilating knowledge, your brain becomes idle and starts wandering off in unproductive directions with you having no control over them!

When you do not feed your mind important, informative, intellectual <and other words starting from i that’ll make you think I’m smart> things to think about, it’ll usually result in you pondering over problems and overthinking, which is not healthy for either you or your brain. Keep your mind busy enough so it does not have time to think and worry about all the things that do not exist. Overthinking causes you to worry about the most unlikely scenarios <Imagine some witty example of why overthinking is a mess!>

We can all agree that education system, which says it is teaching something to kids, is heavily flawed. A bunch of kids — each definitely unique in their own ways, with obviously different interests, and who will all take varied amounts of time to comprehend and learn something are taught the same thing over a same period of time and are tested on the basis of their understanding of that! In my opinion, these tests determine the ability of the teacher to convey the information more than the student’s intellectual ability. <Many Indians nodding furiously in approval>

Since the obvious choice of learning seems to be below par, what do we do? Well, the Internet is a wonderful place to turn to at this time. We are fortunate to be a part of a world where you can Google anything and information about it appears for free, at your convenience.

Think about it, Internet is like your portable library+personal advisor+intellectual partner in crime.

In a world where information is so easily and readily available, the irony is that not many access and make use of it. We instead use the Internet for social media stalking and validation purposes. There’s nothing wrong with that but I urge you to take one small break from that routine and to focus on learning something new. It is a very small change in your life that could lead to many good things.


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Overcome Bias

We have lived in a society that feeds on prejudice. All of us, at some point in life,  have come to conclusions about people we don’t know based on what we see and hear about them. While a few of us acknowledge that this is wrong, a great majority doesn’t. There are plenty of people talking about that great majority but I am going to talk about the few of us who realise the wrongness and still choose to do it anyway!

We convince ourselves that we are good people and we choose to be good people. While this seems like a noble thing, it is actually the root cause of problem. Because the first step to solving problems is to acknowledge their existence. This set of people want to be unbiased and unprejudiced when faced with a new person and/or situation but somehow that subconscious bias overrides their ‘wants’ and they come to a conclusion.

So, here’s a system you can employ to overcome bias:

1. Acknowledge the bias

You need to understand that if you intend on solving the problem, you have to first choose to see the problem. Recognising bias doesn’t make you a bad person. Sometimes we lean on biases we didn’t even know we had and that causes us to question our beliefs. So, make an active effort to understand your perspective instead of denying it.

“Stop trying to be good people, and be real people” – Vernā Myers

2. Speak about it even if it makes you uncomfortable

This is important, if you truly want to improve then you have to speak about it, be open to learning and being challenged by learned folks. Speak about it, seek help and choose to be better than before. It is no shame to reach out and ask for help. Try to get more people talking and if they are struggling with same issues, help them get over theirs as well. Do not run away from conversations, which are necessary simply because you’re uncomfortable.

3. Move forward with it

After you have understood what biases you have, then move forward carrying them and try to change. When you are trying to understand how your bias system works, you can tell you mind when it is doing something wrong. And  repeatedly being told what is wrong will make your brain believe; because that is how bias is formed in the first place — repetition! This will work far better than being in denial about the bias and being biased. Make a conscious effort to bring a change in the way your brain jumps to conclusions you don’t want to!


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Mental Fitness

If you have access to the internet, which you probably do, then you could not have missed the plethora of articles about mindfulness and awareness. Mental health is finally getting its share of attention that it so rightly deserves. For far too long, we have made a big deal out of physical health— exercises, diet plans, regimes and coaches are easily available to achieve and maintain a good physical well-being and little to no attention was given to mental health. But things are changing now; people are talking a lot about meditation and its positive effect on the mind.

Mental health should be the most important aspect of a healthy life but so often we ignore it. The first step to being helpful is to understand that mental problems are real problems too. We need to stop saying “It’s all in your head, just shake it off!”; imagine you fractured your leg and I say “It’s all in your leg, just shake it off”, that’s ridiculous, isn’t it! Mental disorders are substantial problems and we shouldn’t just ignore it as simply ‘all in the head’. Acceptance that these disorders are genuine is the first step to helping people who are struggling. Once you have accepted it, be open to talking about it and creating an awareness among your family & friends about it and encourage them to speak openly about it, as well. By doing this, you are creating a safe space for anyone in your life who is having a difficult time speaking up about their problems. If someone does come to you, don’t try to fix them, just be there for them. As someone who has been through extended spells of loneliness, I can tell you I didn’t want to speak; just having a shoulder to rest my head on was sufficient— no words were needed.

Let us make mental well-being a priority and help people around us and ourselves become healthier beings.

Some useful tools/tips for mindfulness I follow/use:

  • Headspace — An excellent app for easy on the go meditation.
  • Writing — Writing about your fears and insecurities help you understand yourself better and this leads to awareness.
  • Two minute challenge — Whenever you find yourself wandering off, focus on the seconds hand of an analog watch/clock for exactly two minutes.
  • Mental commands — Before starting a task, tell yourself “Start” to get your mind to be fully aware of what you are doing!

It is not a piece of cake to learn mindfulness, it is a journey and once you begin this, you will realise how wonderful your mind can be and discover some amazing things about yourself.

Staring at the ocean

An old song, a familiar voice, a far-flung question

Oceans, train travels, waterfalls, mountains are all very evocative — they bring out a feeling of nostalgia. They somehow make us think about life in depth and scrutinise the things we are doing and why we are doing it. They provoke us to question our orenda. They do the same for me. I feel exactly those things and then some…

I often see myself as a luftmensch, some may even call me an ingénue but I’m often unfazed by that. While it is fine to be devoted to understanding yourself and the purpose, one must realise there is not definite answer for this. At least, not as far as I know. There’s no ONE purpose — at least not for me and my life, there are so many things that I can do and that I want to do; confining myself to one purpose seems inane to me.

It is often quite fascinating how I have a revelation every time I am in such places. We’re all so busy going after that perfect life — a job, a house, a car, kids — we just turn a blind eye to the present. To ourselves. To the endless possibilities of things that we could be achieving. Don’t get me wrong, if those are the things you actually want, then I completely respect your choice but if it isn’t.. I urge you make a change. Be different. Be bold. Stop thinking about the what ifs, the ‘Damn! I wish I did that’ and start doing. Because the regret will eat you alive and make you hate your life. There are a number of surveys that are conducted across the working class on whether they are happy with their job — and the result was overwhelmingly they hated their jobs but are sticking with it to feed themselves and their family.

You must work your ass off to do anything, don’t mistake that. Following your dream sounds very ebullient but it is a steep mountain to climb. And I know for sure that you have what it takes to go to the top and beyond. Getaways are good, but hustle is the real deal. So, go out there and work your ass off for whatever it is that you want. And when someone tells you ‘It is time to get married and have kids’ smile at their propinquity towards the stereotypes and get back to hustle. You don’t need someone to tell you when it is right for your to start your family — that is totally upto you and only you. You don’t need someone to remind you of what you want to do, that comes from within and your eternal desire to reach your goal is what is real. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.


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Planning for a distant future

Of late, I’ve been planning for a life that I’m want to embark. I’m almost 20 and I feel like I’m ready to start planning my life. I could be so wrong for all I know. I mean, I have been wrong before. Multiple times. On numerous occasions. For various reasons.

But!! I have started planning out what my life should look like. I’ve made a rough sketch of what I’ll be doing in five years from now. It all looks good on paper. Very tantalizing, failing to give a true idea of how hard it is going to be. Then, I started thinking about what needs to be done in order to be able to do everything I have planned to do. And that’s where the problem started…

Now, don’t mistake me, I think hard work is the only route to success and there are absolutely no shortcuts but man, hard work is hard (hence, the name, I suppose). Planning was so much fun, listing out all the things I’d own and all things this I’d do and all the people I’ll be surrounded with; was all so blissfully planned without thinking of the amount of hard work that goes in it. This life I’ve imagined for myself is something I truly want because I seemed really happy in it. Sure, that’s always not the case and there’ll always be ups and downs but is that going to stop me living this crazy awesome life I’ve planned for myself. Now that I’ve ideated my future and there’s something to look forward to for the next couple of years, I know exactly how to monitor, track and assess my progress (all of the three words used mean the same thing).

I’m ready to put in the hard work, I’ve slacked off enough and procrastinated much more than I should have and I’m done doing those unproductive things that have led me to believe I’m useless and cannot achieve anything.. Bill Gates, the famous entrepreneur and the founder of Microsoft was known for a famous quote

“I never took a day off in my twenties.” – Bill Gates

That explains why he’s a billionaire and is such a respected and admired entrepreneur. Now, I’m not 20 yet but I’m very close (one week till I’m twenty) so I want to try to follow this as much as possible. I’m going to make a poster of that quote and hang it on the wall in my room (will post a picture soon) and look at it every time I feel like taking a break; that is, every SINGLE day. But that’s okay, if I have to remind myself this every day in order to be the person I want to be, then I will remind myself every single day.

By following the principles of the successful people, through their days of failure, especially, you learn more than any book could ever teach you. So, be wise while choosing your rock stars and follow them and their principles that got them to where they are today. Make plans for your future and picture yourself in a place you are truly happy. Make sure you follow up with the work necessary to achieve what you have pictured. It ain’t gonna be easy, but it’ll be worth every bit, trust me.

Work hard. Be great.