One Year stand with ISB

This Blog aims to capture my affair with ISB and beyond.

Location: Hyderabad, India

I promise not to make this a chronicle of events unfolding in ISB or the world in general. These posts will generally qualify those events with my thoughts. At the same time I promise it will be enjoyable :-)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Reply to Shantaram

Visit for Gregory David Roberts' site. (thanks to Mon). His is a great story of the triumph of the human spirit. Especially read his seminars under the philosophy link on his site. Before that a brief stop at Author facts will give you a snapshot of what I am talking about.

The purpose of this post is not to introduce Shantaram (Well I am sure most of you must have heard about him) but to put forward my thoughts on his philosophy. I had written a mail to him a few months back after reading his engaging seminars and am putting it here just for record purposes:

Hi Greg,
Your site was introduced to me by a very good friend as a mustread. My friend and I both share a common love for melbourne as we have been there in different points in time and whenever we talk, Melbourne always features one way or the other. I havent read your novel yet but went thru the seminars posted on the site and was mesmerised by your thoughts. You seem to be strong character who after having gone thru so much in life came a full circle and made a success out of it. I am not sure whether you will ever read this mail but if you ever read I would be highly obliged.

Well, coming back to your seminars I absolutely agree with most of your thoughts and the concepts that you have explained so lucidly. This world is finite and imperfect. Nothing
can be more closer to the truth than the above statement. All sorrow and joy is present due to its imperfections. The dichotomously variable continuum (DVC) is also a great concept and I am looking forward to how we can apply it to decipher the all encompassing and ubiquitous questions of life as you have promised on your website.

But I had a specific reason to write you this mail and not just to make an acquaintance. This is because I found an inherent contradiction in your dichotomously variable continuum and the stmt that 'Nothing is absolute and perfect'. Also forgive me in assuming that this musnt have crossed your mind before but the basis of my assumption is that what I am going to say doesnt occur on your seminars. You might have planned to take up this point in your later seminars but still here it goes:

Well the statement 'nothing is absolute and perfect' is in itself an absolute statement in the sense that you are going to the extremes of the continuum. Lets consider this for a moment. If we take a sample of entities, measurements and concepts and try to fit them in a Bell Curve then again we will get a distribution in which things which are not absolute at all at the left end, the absolute things at the right end and things with varying degrees of absolutism (forgive the
word) in the middle. Also dont you think this fits in the concept of dichotomously variable continuum. But again you would argue that things are either absolute or not. Its discrete. we
cant have varying degrees of it. But just as the other concepts become continuous or discrete based on relativity or within a specific context, I think this concept also holds water. I quote your example of falling from a tall building. Only when you change the context and give the person a parachute or other such contraption does the person fall and does not die.

But what are the extremes of this dichotomously variable continuum. Do we have real examples in life which are absolute and those which are not. There are many examples and I guess almost everything under the sun is not an absolute which corroborates your statement. Infact I can even say with confidence that the bell curve must be actually left skewed instead of perfectly bell shaped. The best example of an absolute is the concept of absolute zero (0 degree
Kelvin or -273 degree celcius). This is the temperature at which all activity(energy) ceases and we have an absolute. This is true for all things in the universe. This is the absoulte and terminal
reference from which the activity level (energy) of everything is measured. So dont you think the absolute zero is absolute (derived from your dichotomously variable continuum concept) but contradicting the 'nothing is absolute and perfect' statement. You must be glad to see that I have already used your tool and a little of my non existent intellect to decipher some truths from this universe :-). Also the concepts of minus and plus infinity will come next on the absolute zero of temperature on the absolute continuum. Though there is no particular number
assigned to these concepts they represent some form of an absolute which is high on the absolute scale.

Again I think you are getting what I am trying to say. I would like to refer to your third limit to the intellect that of language (or communication) if at all I was not able to explain properly. It has been my long held belief that language as we know it, is the most primitive and most imperfect way of expressing ourselves that we have chosen. If we refer to the DVC for communication, language (especially the english language) will fall on the leftmost end of the continuum. No matter how hard we try to communicate what we want it is always subjectively interpreted by all the subjects who receive that communication.

Most of the times the interpretation is negative and this is again due to human imperfections. I am reminded of Ayn Rand's chapter topics in Atlas Shrugged. 'A is A' and 'Either-OR'. A is always A no matter who reads it. I cannot say that I choose to interpret A as B because thats how I am. So there are some perfect absolute thruths or axioms in this world which are true
for everybody and not subject to context or individual interpretation. Similarly light can be Either a wave Or a particle. It cannot be both at a particular time while explaining a given concept. Like while we are talking about photoelectricity light cannot be both a particle or a wave. It has to be a particle. This is just an add on to your example.

I am ofcourse talking from a granular perspective and it is not meant to contradict your philosophy of 'nothing is absolutely or perfectly true'. The seemingly inherent (but non
existent) contradictions are again due to the third limit to intellect. I am again reminded of Ayn Rand'd words regarding condradictions:

'Contradictions dont exist. Whenever you are faced with a contradiction, check you premises. One of them will be wrong'.

Another example of an absolute? :-)))

Coming back to communications I think mathematics is the near perfect language that the human mind has invented. 1 can never be equal to or interpreted as 2. It is 1 for everone
and everywhere (an absolute granular truth). And science and other fields have made progress and achieved higher amount of maturity only because of the maturity that has been
achieved in mathematics. Just imagine what the state of the world would have been if humans had relied only on the primitive concept of language. Tower of Babble? Each one interpreting A (or B for that matter) as he pleased. There would have been no intellect and no philosophy.

I hope I was able to convey my thoughts to you within the third limit of the intellect. Again let me reiterate that I perfectly agree with your thoughts and they reflect what I have also experienced and evaluated in my life till date. It was really great knowing you through your website and considering that you are such a great celebrity I dont expect to receive an answer to this mail (If I get I will be highly delighted though). I am basically from Mumbai and I
think we both share a deep love for this city as do so many mumbaiites inspite of
its filthy trains and burgeoning popluation and other problems blah blah blah... (this part is not relevant)

Warm Regards,
Bonet Lobo

Monday, July 24, 2006

Term 2 exams, vacations and the blasts

This brief hiatus was a result of - as most of you must have realised - term end exams and 4 days of vacation. Well the exams were terrible and then I visited dear ol rain ravaged mumbai to cool my heels. There it was raining cats dogs and mice and the hugh humidity made sure that if you are not wetted by the rain you will atleast be wetted by sweat. While coming back to the airport I deliberately took the local to find out if anything was changed after the blasts. It was a Sunday afternoon and I could see atleast 3 to 5 men in uniforms in almost all the 5 odd stations I had to pass. So the number would definitely go up during peak hours on weekdays. But does it help now? The damage has already been done...

It was another lazy Sunday afternoon, more than 1 year back and I had come down from my apartment to take some fresh air, when I saw this man from my building. I had seen him before but hadnt spoken. We smiled and started a conversation. He told me about his job, his family and I told him about mine. It was a casual acquaintance after that and the usual smiles and hellos during society meetings etc.

He regularly used to take the evening local train from Churchgate to Borivili and always used to travel in a first class compartment. On 11th July too, he took the local, but never returned home...

This post is dedicated to him

Friday, July 07, 2006


Please bear with this post...

There comes a stage in life when you know exactly what you want. You have done retrospection and evaluation of all that has happened in the past and know what is relevant and what is futile. You know that running after concretes and symbols in this life leaves you high and dry. You have been there done that. But all good things come to an end. Still you hold on to it and when it leaves you eventually, you become sad and go in search of other symbols. Approval from peers, praise and friendship, the desire to lead, to be on top of things, all come and go. You keep wondering why all these things end. Why they are all temporary. Why cant they last.

And then you realize that they are not meant to last. They are ephemeral. Tiny specks on the fabric of time. The spotlight. Today its on you. Tomorrow it will be on somebody else. Then you will go in search of other spotlights, bask in the glory, again forgetting that it is temporary and in the process hurting yourself. Then you blame the entire world for making the spotlight temporary. Why is it not lasting?

But if you think a little deeper you will realize. That you shouldn’t run after concretes and symbols. Go for the abstract, delve deeper into your heart and find out what it is that you are after. Beyond the concrete, beyond the symbols. There is a very good analogy. In the Marketing class that day, the professor said something that was very illuminating. It still rings in my years: Think beyond the product, think not what product to design, think what is the customer need, how can you satisfy the customer’s need. Go beyond the concrete ie the product, look at the customer need, the abstract and then map and create the concrete. Don’t get too overwhelmed or attached to the concrete that you lose sight of the abstract.

The English language is a very poor method of conveying one’s thoughts. You can quote anything out of context, read between the lines, dot the i’s and dash the t’s. This is also a result of focusing too much on the concrete rather than on the abstract. I am not saying this is done all the time but that it is possible. When it is done deliberately then it cannot be pardoned. When it is done with ignorance then it is immaturity.

I have now stopped running after symbols, after people, grades, recognition, praise, a specific job, the spotlight, rewards, I have stopped being passionate about the concretes in life. I have stopped being a fanatic. I don’t feel strongly about anything concrete anymore. But I am diehard passionate about the abstracts. I am not passionate about people, but I am passionate about love and friendship, and about striking a chord. I am not passionate about grades but I am a fanatic when it comes to gaining knowledge and finding out how the world works. I am not passionate about a specific job but really passsionate about my career. I don’t want the spotlight anymore but am more focused on my contribution when I am under a spotlight. Low grades, lost people, a job rejection, temporary spotlights will still continue to pain me, but that’s because I have still not fully come out of the concrete (and after all I am flesh and blood). The metal is still being formed and each blow is forming it harder and one day I am sure I will stop connecting, like a throbbing vein which was clipped, clots and the pain eases. Or will I?

I ve been tagged

I ve been tagged! I ve been tagged, by Arun. I guess I need to fill this up...

I am thinking
how did man succeed in messing up this beautiful world. Of course he s not been entirely successful.

I said
leave me alone and see what I can do

I want
to change myself so that I can change something greater

I wish
people were robots

I miss
something deep which I will never talk about

I hear
the horns of the vehicles behind me and let them pass. I am in no hurry.

I wonder
where life goes from here, why the people closest to you hurt you the most and why the world is the way it is.

I regret

I am
still building myself

I dance
to my own tune

I sing
'You used to think that it was so easy, You used to say that it was so easy, but you re trying, your re trying now...
Another year and then you ll be happy, just one more year and then you ll be happy, but you re crying , you re crying now...' from Jerry Rafferty's Baker Street

I cry
whenever i feel like.

I am not
going to stop dreaming.

I hate
procrastination and complacency

I confuse
life. It must be wondering where I am taking it. :-)

I should
blog more frequently, watch my weight more religiously and enjoy things more completely

I finish
everything on my plate, atleast try to

I tag:
This was the most time consuming post I guess. But enjoyed writing it. I tag: