Sunday, March 31, 2013

Global Sounds

I am sure that sounds have a direct trigger of memories and associations that works faster than our logical brains can function. There must be a lot of research surrounding this already done. Music definitely triggers moods in us associated with memories of the sounds of the playing song. But right now i realized this phenomena in reference to cellphone ringtones. There is a particular samsung ringtone that is on my wife's phone and it has a strong association in my mind with my wife and her phone. So sitting here far away from her in a coffee shop in Philadelphia it felt weird to hear the same samsung ringtone on someone else's phone nearby. My mind got super confused for a few seconds. My mind will surely work at modifying the algorithm associated with the sound and will be cautious in its association the next time i hear the sounds. But it was fascinating, realizing that sounds like the ringtones that are preloaded on the Nokia and Samsung phone have so many different associations for so many different people.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Creating a design identity

A note to the youngsters at the Department of Design IIT Guwahati.

Design Identity: i am not sure if we need one. I would be perfectly happy if the world says that DOD is a place from where its not exactly designers that graduate but gamechangers. What makes us different - each one of use believe that we have superpowers (the JEE gave us those). Add to this a designers perspective, that ability to not just analyse and solve practical problems but to be a dreamer, to be able to visualise a bright and wonderful future. Our USP is that we have it in us to be the integration point between various domains. We need to know as much of as many things as we can. So for those in college, i would say 'Go Play'. Don't restrict yourself. Read. Explore. Collaborate with people from other departments. Create insane ideas. insane prototypes. Check out things like MIT media labs if you want inspiration. Your IIT tag will get you a job, so don't worry too much about that. But you will never get back that college time. Create as many insane things as you can, try to expand the boundaries of your knowledge and with that of all others around you as well. And soon when enough of us tread this path of exploration, we will create an very unique identity for ourselves.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How should designers tackle when the developer says - "No, this feature cannot be implemented"

Answer to the question recently asked by a junior on a forum (putting it here so that i have it for my future reference)
there are 2-3 ways to about this .. 1) you go about in a polite way, give them examples of where else it is done as well as maybe samples you find on the internet to do similar things .. make sure you just give them hints and not complete solution .. if the developer is one who is proud of his coding he wont take complete solutions and would like to research it himself .. if he is one who likes ready baked stuff then he will be all ears if you give him references where he can find similar stuff .. 2) you try to figure out what is it stopping him from implementing it? Is it is time, or the effort or he just cant understand the need for the feature or he cant understand how to implement it. If its pure lazyness then you cant do much .. get it implemented by somebody else. If its the complexity, then it becomes your duty to break that requirement down into easy consumable chunks that the developer can work upon .. let it be known that the development can be iterative .. get out a rough version with some thing working and then slowly improve upon it. In the end it depends on the developer you r dealing with, there is no one type of them. Each has his own incentive that drives him to work .. figure that out and you might have a better chance of conving them ..

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Written for a friend's business presentation today:

Another complex riddle without a clue, 
like the impregnable looking chakravyu,

But Arjun looks at the problem from every view, 
sure and focused on breaking through,

If the tale of yore is any true,
i think i know what to do.

Monday, November 7, 2011

One of those rare days when people are misinterpreting what i am saying and actually that misinterpretation is much more awesome than what i actually intended to mean.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finding purpose

try to help people find their purpose in life .. 
and in the process find your own ..

try to inspire people to follow their heart ..
and from them find the courage to follow your own ..

try to spread happiness around ..
and in that happiness find your own ..

Saturday, February 5, 2011

When something goes wrong

when something goes wrong .. 
stop, close your eyes, 
take a deep breath, 
and think that you are nothing more than a spec in the universe, 
that events are temporary and this time too will pass. 
then think of all the beautiful things you want to happen around you,
all the best and surreal things you can imagine. 
and if u have taken a deep enuf breath, 
you surely will forget the difference between the real and the imaginary
and the dream will become the reality of that moment :)


To whosoever it concerns,

I think I have never appreciated all that you have done for me, all that you have been to me. You define friendship, what it means to be caring, and what it means to be there when you are needed. I can surely say (though i would never want to admit it :D) that you have successfully changed a small bit of me for the better, and i hope that i have influenced a bit of you in a small positive way. And i guess that is what friends are for, to bring about positivity and happyness in the lives of each other.

Our the past so many years, we have seen our high, lows, our share of fights, and our share of fun .. and as i see it in its current state we did pretty well to sail through the low times. Life is a journey, and everything is temporary. But these temporary moments sometimes weave together such beautiful stories which shall forever be a perpetual source of happyness.

I am sure when i will turn back in the future to look back to the chapter on this phase of life, our friendship shall prominently figure in those pages.

Thank you for everything. And believe me, I won't forget you, evaaaaa (i mean ever)... :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The reflective mind

"Our mind is probably like a container with a coating of reflective material (a concave mirror). The goal of thought evolution (or of gaining knowledge) would then be to make this container from a closed one (which traps light inside it) to an open faced one, and to make the surface more reflective.

The more flatter the surface, the further away is the focal point, more is the amount of light/knowledge you can gain, more is the amount of knowledge you can reflect and further ahead in the universal space is the focal point of you thought. Eventually there will come a point when your mind become a flat mirror with 100% reflectivity, and the focal point goes to infinity. Then you become a true mirror, unattached, non judgmental and pure."

This above thought has its own flaw, like what happens to storage for future reference, and what happens to thought interactions when everything is reflected straight on ... i don't have answers, but nevertheless this does seems like an interesting thought.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rhythm Creatures

We are rhythm creatures ... 

external music sometimes resonates with our internal rhythm and creates excitation or pacification ..

giving dream like characteristics to real otherwise mundane moments ...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Inception review

“I specialize in a very special kind of security. Sub conscious security”.

I heard this line in one of the trailers and it ensured that I was going to watch Inception. And the trailers also raised my expectations a notch.

 I am huge Matrix fan. And I expected Inception to go a step further in wowing me. But I was disappointed on that front. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Inception’ is a spectacular movie, definitely worth watching at least once. But somewhere it lacked the intensity, characterization and the ‘new’ element of the Matrix. But to Inception’s credit it was more understandable by the larger set of people than the first part of Matrix. And i absolutely loved the idea of doing an Inception, the idea that you could change the future if you plant a different idea.

The movie flows in a pace that ensures that the audience is first given time to understand the basic premises, the concept of dreams and then increase the pace to take the audience on a ride through a real inception, or the planting of an idea into another person's mind. And the technique is summarized well when Leonardo says “We bring subjects into dreams and then they fill it with their secrets”.

Good movies are defined by the discussions that follow them. Christopher Nolan made sure he ends ‘Inception’ with a scene to spark these discussions. Leonardo DiCaprio’s totem revolving unwaveringly till the last second when it just shows a sign of a slight wobble, as the movie ends, ensured the audience were in a state of some confusion as to whether or not diCaprio was still in a dream world. 

There were some really cool concepts like, if you go a level deeper into dream levels then the time span increases, 1 minute at level 1 could be years in level 4. Or the concept of ‘limbo’, where you get lost in a dream, or the concept of the 'kick' that needs to be synchronized so that you don’t get lost in one of the levels of a dream.

 If nothing else, this movie will surely give you a better insight into your world of dreams, and at-least for a few days after the movie you will be talking about the level of dreams. The movie was awesome in its technical detailing but where I think it wasn’t impactful, was in its characters. The characters probably didn’t connect with the audience at any deep level. It was close knit beautiful script which could have been awesome had the casting been better and acting been slightly more intense and had the relationships between people been better explored.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Realizing realization

"Each should discover the truth by themselves. " and this discovery can be painful for some and joyful for other... but nevertheless an important one and you are lucky if you find someone to guide you through it.

Here i am jotting down some of my view of life .. right or wrong .. but my sense of things till now, of what i have realized.

I am ready to accept things and believe in GOD, but then there is no discussion. To me the joy comes from integrating the different theories that exist and reaching the same conclusion is different forms. Like some people like things to be explained scientifically, lets help the form the scientific or mathematical model which explains GOD, maybe not call it god (how does the name matter what matters is the understanding), or there are other who see GOD in idols, fine, lets help then understand the meaning of all the stories ever written (like the epics) cause they can understand stories more than concepts. The point i am trying to make is that may be there is one reality, but that one reality can be represented in multiple ways. And if we are able to help each find that reality in HIS form representation (which could include his religion, his thought process and his level of understanding), then probably we have helped the world reach a state of greater stability and joy.

At present (when i am still working on the integration theories) i believe in GOD but not as the creator but instead as the collective consciousness or the whole .. as the dot from where it all began to the dot it will all end in ... i am not independent of this whole .. because i am as much a part of this whole as is anybody else ... and this whole is shaping me all the time . I am just one of the nodes of a recursive pattern, a fractal. Like a river, which has tributaries and the tributaries then again have tributaries and so on, or like the tree that have branches and the branches again have branches. The whole looks exactly like the part, behaves exactly like the part and hence the part in itself is a whole.

The best thing about our being is that we can consciously choose the PLAY we want to be part of, and each PLAY that is being played (at a lots of level) has the potential to tell the whole story or explain the whole creation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Gandhi we love, the Gandhi we hate

I was recently reading an article about Gandhi ( which got me thinking as to what has gone wrong with the phenomena of Gandhi. Strangely though i agreed with a lot of things that people say about Gandhi, like him being wily, i could not find myself  disliking him.

Gandhi's role, i agree, has been overplayed at a lot of places at the expense of a lot of other people like Bose.

But taking down Gandhi because the other freedom fighters have not been given there dues, is like taking down Cricket, because Hockey is not famous. Why cant we focus on rebuilding Hockey. Similarly why cant we focus on understanding and spreading the word around about other leaders rather than trying to bring down Gandhi.

According to me Gandhi is idolized because he was 'phenomena'. He wasn't perfect but he was unique, innovative and experimental in his approach. And all experiments don't succeed, but the most unique ones do get famous. He found in 'non violence' an ideology that could empower the weakest of the weak. An ideology that could actually make the supressed feel 'greater' than the oppressor, in moral terms. Going by the brick for brick philosophy according to him just ended up creating more demons and more wars in the world.

Gandhi's was a perspective that influenced a lot of people not just in India but the world over. He re-looked at the way battles can be fought. He brought to popular notice concepts that were unheard in the times of the world wars. Not for no reason have people like MLK and Einstein been influenced  by Gandhi's philosophy.

His approach towards Bose, as i think of it, was like that of a conservative father whose son wanted to make a career in sports. Now the disagreement of the father doesn't stem for his disliking of his son but from the fact that he hasn't seen or doesn't believe that sports have any future. Now this scenario doesn't make the son or the father wrong, 'cause the father wants him to have a safe future while the son sees his passion and success in sports. It just different perspectives.

The carefully created image that we often talk about is the only Gandhi we know, and probably need to care about, because that 'image' was what brought the country together in many ways. Even Steve Jobs is ego maniacal, but that doesn't stop us from praising him for the paradigm-shift he has brought about in the tech industry.

Gandhi surely was not without his issues, but like it or not he was the focal point which had the charisma to create a truly national movement which brought everyone into its fold, women and children included. As i see it Gandhi, may be was more pro-peace than pro-independence.

Making each individual believe that in him or her is the strength and the weapon to fight an empire, is no easy task. He was what people created of him. Even Sachin Tendulkar has a carefully crafted public image. He has been part of many individual valiant efforts in games that India lost. But still we love him, cause he was our first super hero. Similarly Gandhi was the first out of the world 'phenomena' that could speak and argue with the British in their language sitting across a table while also being able to empathize with a harijan and think about his upliftment. On a side-note, one of his most important contributions to India (though surely there were people before him that had done this) was trying to break down the rigid walls of caste-ism in India.

Today we can look back at history and say that many of the decisions he made were wrong and that he is overhyped. But that does not take away from the man that he was.
We probably need to look at him as a scientist who was experimenting in a new philosophy, trying to create a formula for peace, or as an ordinary human finding his mojo in giving hope to millions of people through his philosophy, aura and oratory or if may be as a pink floydish musician who could play awesome experimental rock which mesmerized the masses but didn't quite mean much to the death metal fans.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

fragility of existence

Yesterday i lost a friend.

Some incidents are so beyond words. Incidents that make you reconsider how you are living your own life, and are you really doing the things that you should be doing.

The news of the accident came from another friend over gtalk.

Life. We think we are in control, but there is so much beyond control. How else can someone die, falling from the top of Nandi Hills that too not riding, but probably while taking photographs!
So much for the fragility of our existence.

Vimal was one of thee most jovial guys in our batch. I have never seen him sad. Always cracking jokes and having fun. Always ready for an adventure or two. Always there to help. Back in the old times, I remember he was so happy when he led our batch to winning the Manthan trophy. And he was always great with girls. I still remember his friend from NERIST, back in our second or third year in college, or all the stories that i heard about his exploits from 'pappa' or 'loco' while the three lived together in Indira Nagar.

I'll always remember him for his characteristic, 'aur bhaeei godddddh'. We had been to the ISB interviews together, shared a lot of input with each other while writing our applications. And we both got rejected for some weird reasons, so we got to spend quite a while bitching about MBA applications in general.

It pains, to having to write in this way about someone who was just about to blossom. The wings were almost grown, the real flight was about to happen. But seems the universe had some other plans for him and his family.

Last night I could not sleep. I can't even imagine what his family must be going through. I can only wish that his family and close friends gets the strength to get over this huge tragedy and may his soul rest in the most heavenly of abodes in peace.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Palindrome Day

'i like it that your name is a palindrome..nitin'.

These words just came back while reading a tweet from Deepak Chopra. He says that today is the Palindrome Day and his favorite one is 'do geese see god'. Well it seems there is a day for that (in lines of the iphone campaign, there is an app for that).

As for the quote above that was Kym. Kym who? Well someone from somewhere that i met for sometime while i was drinking something in the middle of some super cool place. So much for details :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

floating in the sea

while writing a letter to someone close, this emotional part just flowed out :)

There are only so many things in life that are under control,
and i don't want to regret not having done some things in future.

I learn from others, but at times you have this feeling that you are not like the others,
and may be you can pull this through.

This life is fleeting and happiness is so temporary.
I feel a certain disconnect from everything at times,
and a overwhelming connection with everything at others.
And it is possibly all this fuzziness that makes it all so worth it,
that makes life interesting, where surprises happen everyday,

And you are left yourself floating in the sea,
because the waves never take you anywhere,
they just come and go, you grow rougher, stronger,
better at understanding how to encounter the waves.

I do feel its much better than anchoring yourself to the seabed,
as that would only make it more difficult to float freely in the sea.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Getaway

No one can escape from fate, from their deeds, from karma.

The last episode 'The Getaway' of Dexter left me in state of unsettlement. Rita, in a pool of blood, right when everythings seemed to be over, was the stoke of a master storyteller. It left a emotional disrupt in the flow, a sudden 'Oh No', something i could hold onto for a while more than if it had been a plain happy ending.

When Dexter killed Trinity, it seemed too mild to be the climax of the last episode of a happening season. The final scene explained it all. Can't wait for Dexter to back in the next season with revenge in his mind. Its a pity though he has already killed Trinity.

The Dark passenger grows darker hereon....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kite Runner

Few stories are written well enough to make the reader empathize with the characters. Kite Runner is one of those.

The beauty of Kite Runner lies in the rendering of its characters, detailed finely and realistically. Amir is the character in transformation with whom the story moves, at times representing human weaknesses, of jealousy and cowardice and at others valor and compassion. He justifies the thought that 'Some transformations happen in minutes, and others take a lifetime'. Hassan on the other hand is the undercurrent in the story's flow, that bringd it the tension and depth. He represents loyalty and maturity, with a very straight and simple outlook to life.

Amir wallowed for a lifetime, in his own guilt of not being courageous enough to stop Hassan from being savaged. This was a story of Amir's journey to finally learning to stand up for those he cared about.

For me the best moment of kite runner came towards the end when Amir runs after the kite to get it for Hassan's son Shohrab and turns back to say, "for you a thousand times over".

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

TV Serials

Sarah Jessica Parker just earned a new fan. She has a uniquely cute smile, an innocent look and a disarming french'ed accent where she at time rolls her tongue. While the rest of the cast of 'Sex and the city' doesn't make such a connection, Sarah's character just makes me fall in love with it. Confused and naughty at times, thoughtful, pensive at others and a New Yorker to the core. The back to back episodes of the serial portray New York in a very 'happening' light, with Sarah's character defining the city as her love interest. Guess I'll now make a conscious effort to fulfill the thought of visiting New York in January.

So what are you gonna do the rest of the day? and Sarah says "Who knows, it's New York".

Let me put in a disclaimer here, I have only seen 2 episodes of the serial till now.

Talking of serials, Dexter keeps me gripped and looking forward to watching TV on Sunday evenings. Dexter Morgan played by Michael Hall is a layered character which is a contortion of brutality, innocence, intelligence, compassion and disconnect all at once. The serial is one of the best i have come across after 'Prison Break'. But while Michael Scofield played by Wentworth Miller was very Supermanish in actions and intelligence, Dexter Morgan still feels human.

On the onset, one thing that struck me as common between Dexter and Sex and the City was that both the serials have a background narrative in the voice of the main protagonist, which helps in driving the flow and emotion to the user powerfully.