atul jha

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2016: some learnings

2016 is coming to an end and we are ready to welcome the next year.  These are some of my learnings this year.

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  1. Parents and family should get priority over everything else.
  2. Health is the key to a successful life.
  3. Brain needs more care than any other part of our body.
  4. Exercise, Yoga, and taking break from internet can do wonders.
  5. Having a small group of close friends is better than 1000+ followers on social media platforms.
  6. Avoiding sugar can do wonders to productivity.
  7. Reading leads to happy present and future.
  8. Having an ego free life changes perspective on everything and everyone around you.
  9. Running/Chasing for true love is like looking for black swan.
  10. Learning can come from every corner of society, not only from certain class of people.
  11. Social media, TV,  and newspapers are good reasons for depression. Avoid them as much as you can.
  12. Judging people or having prejudice can only ruin our relationships.
  13. Having some time for yourself can heal you and do wonders.
  14. Try to be in company of good, honest and intelligent people.
  15. Speak less and listen more for getting good at conversations.
  16. Time is now. Do what interests you and makes you happy.
  17. Be grateful and appreciate the life you have.
  18. Find mentors and seek advice.
  19. Be kind to everyone.

Notes from reading: Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda

Autobiography of a Yogi  was in my reading list for the past few months.  Last week I was able to finish reading it. The book as the title says is an autobiography of Paramhansa Yogananda.

Paramhansa Yogananda with his teachings and  Kriya Yoga  changed life of many of us. He spent most of his time in spreading meditation practice via Kriya Yoga to the western world.  

Content of the book is divided into various stages of Yogananda’s life, his meetings with auspicious sadhus, trip to Europe, self realization and guru/sishya relationship.  

I enjoyed reading the book and especially the part where he encounters various sages like the lady who survives on air, a saint who had a vegetable eating tiger as pet etc. It also provides glimpse of India &  pre-independence era.

I would like to add my notes from the chapter where Yoganandaji  met  Mahatma Gandhi

  1. The perfect state on non-violence is reached when only the mind, body & speech are in proper coordination.
  2. Someday people will learn that material things do not bring happiness and are of little use in making men and women creative and powerful.
  3. Forgiveness is holiness: by forgiveness the universe is held together.
  4. It appears that misery, starvation and diseases are whips of our karma that ultimately drive us to seek the true meaning of life.
  5. Death is not a blotting out of existence, a final escape from life, nor is death the door to immortality.                 

I understand we are too busy with our life but if you could spare some time buy this book & read it, you don’t have to thank me for the advice. 🙂

 

 

Notes from reading:  How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams

Scott Adams, the famous cartoonist behind Dilbert is a genius. My respect for him has increased multifold after his commentary around US election. Like many other successful people he too did it  with his hard work.He was not born with  a silver spoon.

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His book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big talks about his failure, success & systems. I will recommend everyone to buy and read this book.

These are my top 10 learnings after reading the book.

  1. Your food intake and diet plays important role in your  life.
  2. Exercise is what keeps you active, healthy & going.
  3. Believe in systems not goals. Hence work  on making a successful system instead of building imaginary castles around a goal.
  4. You don’t have to be an egoistic asshole in any aspect of life.
  5. Timing is equally important as luck.
  6. Acquiring skills like writing, reading, public speaking makes our life much smoother. We  are able to communicate well with society & people around us.
  7. Failure is a part of life, learn from it and move on.
  8. Learning Human Psychology is wonderful. It helps us in minimizing all the bias we have cultivated because of our past, our society or our upbringing.
  9. Affirmations are like magic, practice them and they can do wonders.
  10. Smile often. It costs nothing but makes the world around you beautiful.

If you have read this book, feel free to let me know what all parts of it I missed adding here?

Social media and Brain FUCK!!

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Social media was on fire last week.It was almost buzzing & it had too much of information/opinion/emotion overflow.

Two important things happened:

USA

Donald Trump won the presidential election of United States by defeating Hillary Clinton.  This means he will replace Obama to become next President of United States.

                       This result followed mixed reaction from my friends in America. Some were super sad while few were happy. Social media and mainstream media also reported incident of racism in less than 24 hours after the election result. Some folks in silicon valley are  so outraged that they are signing petition to make it as separate country  while students are carrying march against the result.

I was brain fucked and could not handle my feeds on  twitter/facebook.

       I am an Indian and not the one to judge either Hillary or Trump. As per my friends they had a choice to make between a racist/bigot and a liar who been hiding truth and making secret  deals for own good.

India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made surprising announcement by demonetizing 500/100 Rupees notes.  According to him this measure will curb on black money and make country grow further. New 2000 Rupees notes have been introduced and currency exchange is capped.

I hope this helps in making India a better economy and curbs black money. But at same time, this measure has hit hard on ordinary citizens of India. Those who do not have a bank account cannot exchange the notes. Also the government machinery has failed to implement this whole operation, series of reports coming from part of country where people are in ATM queue for hours to withdraw money while most ATM’s in city are not operation. I also saw tweet mentioning how a boy died because hospital did not accept the cash.

Some other news suggests the black money hoarders have already found one or the way out.

  1. Whole village is in queue depositing 2.5 lakhs rupees on behalf of someone.
  2. Politician in Karnataka state started distributing his money as loan to locals
  3. People are buying gold with their black money
  4. People are buying Train and Flight tickets
  5. Temples and other religious affiliates are turning into black to white money conversion centre

Rise of Lies, rumors, Hatred and Propaganda

This is a perfect time for fear mongers and propaganda drivers to create an impact & make use of public sentiments and anger.

  1. Demonetization to help Indian Fintech startups and online  payment wallets
  2. Essential goods price will get increased because of crackdown
  3. Newly introduced 2000 Rs notes has GPS tracking feature

I wasted good hours on firefighting and putting my views as well, I know some of my friends would have hated it. 🙂

I am working on controlling my appetite and engagement on social media.Will I be successful or not time will tell.

Random thoughts: Weight loss and all.

Before you go further, this post is not about Keto diet or Crossfit.

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Losing weight requires:

  1. Running daily say 1-2 km.
  2. Avoiding Sugar/Rice.
  3. Giving up on alcohol/soda.
  4. A goodnight sleep 6-8 hrs.
  5.  Eating boiled veg or sprouts post 7 pm.
  6. Having a 30 minutes light workout in gym followed by 20 mins abs exercise.
  7. Having company of fit friends who keep motivating you to stay healthy.
  8. Having more fruits & dry fruits minus cashew in daily intake.
  9. Having more faith & love for yourself than rest.

I have lost 18 kg since February following the above mentioned steps. 

Motivation: 4 people get credit for this my current boss Anand Babu    my previous boss Ajay Shah  & one of my close friends[we are no more in touch] & Razique.

Random Thoughts: Our Problems

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Just got to know about maid’s daughter health condition, she went through heart surgery.

Returned to work after 3 months & all those smiling security guards and house keeping staffs are replaced by new faces. I was told entire management got replaced by new vendor because they were cheaper.

The hawker selling used cloths was no more there, his 9 year old grandson in new master.  He met with an accident and died on spot, further details cited some young folks in early 20’s responsible & yes they were drunk.

The photo framing guy has not delivered those paintings on time and am mad at him. 

 

Learning after turning 30+ some lessons & life forward.

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I celebrated my 30 birthday last month & yes, I am three decades old now.

Few of the lessons were learnt willingly but most of them forcefully imposed/taught the hard way.

 

  1.  Family comes first
  2. Avoiding alcohol can do magic to your health
  3. Run & exercise regularly for better physical and mental health
  4. Keep your heart open.Let love seek you instead of running after it
  5. Distinguish between great mentors and teachers. keep  upgrading yourself time to time
  6. Be very careful of what you read and what you learn out of that. And needless to say, the source.
  7. A daily to-do list to be practiced on a hard form. Once a task is accomplished, strike it off the list.
  8. Being empathetic to others for your mind and heart to be at peace.
  9. Most of the things around us are temporary including current state of mind, the weather, our pains. Permanent decisions should not be made giving importance to temporary things.
  10. Pen down everyday about anything and everything. Mastering the art will take time but venting out thoughts on the paper brings sanity.
  11. Don’t be ashamed of taking feedback from those whom you respect for your own development.
  12. Life is no cake walk. Failures/Criticism/Happiness, all of them are a part and parcel of the deal called life, stay equanimous.
  13.  Rectify your eating habits to stay disease free.
  14. Watch and observe patiently at times. Fighting everything doesn’t help always.
  15. Learn one new activity/skill every month. It can be painting, dancing, or even a foreign language.
  16. Having a huge circle is great but make a  few friends who accept you the way you are.
  17. Happiness is a state of mind & requires thinking beyond materialistic world.

Some learnings to follow this year.

  1. 6-7 hours of daily sleep
  2. At least one day in a week without Internet
  3. Adding more salads & vegetables to daily meals
  4. Talk only when required
  5. Spending more time with self
  6. Finish watching every season of Star Trek
  7. Spending less time on social media & being careful of what to broadcast
  8. Getting into the habit of daily reading that we have been procrastinate.

 

This blog is inspired from  Madhav’s  post.

 

Random Thoughts: We have stopped being grateful

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We are living in a hyper-converged world, smart phones & social media taking more time than family/friends/nature/surrounding.

  1. We have enough to feed ourself unlike those laborers working in mine/rail/road constructions.
  2. We have enough to commute from one place to another in cab/car/taxi/auto unlike many others who still walk miles barefoot for work.
  3. We are free/independent to walk/eat/drink/talk/mingle the way we like unlike many other parts of the world.
  4. We have affordable medical care unlike many other part of the world, so we get sick, visit doctor, get medicine & come back.
  5. We were lucky unlike millions others whose parents were not rich enough to send kids to colleges/schools for Engineering/Medical/Science/Arts degree.

What has happened to us?

Most of us are turning into robots, turning into a angry box, frustrated, stressed & focusing about better future.

We have to live for now, feel every single moment of our life.

  1. When was the last time you spoke for over 20 minutes with your parents, considering they are not staying with you?
  2. When was the last time you took you siblings for lunch/dinner/coffee?
  3. When was the last time you told you wife/bf/gf like truly about how much they mean to you?
  4. Do you even remember the name of your gatekeeper who opens your colony gate and salutes saying namaste saheb or to the office boy who gets you tea?
  5. When was the last time you were out of internet for 24 hours because you wanted sometime with yourself or your family?
  6. When was the last time you slept without worrying about next month’s car/home EMI

Life is about living in present & feeling grateful with what you have currently not planning for uncertain future.

Surge pricing debate: Question nobody asks

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Surge pricing for taxi aggregators has been banned in Karnataka. While I have been reading the opinions of various people on different social media platforms on it, there are a few voices that are missing – taxi drivers. They’re the ones who really suffer from this ordeal, especially drivers who have bought cars on loan and work 14 to 15 hours continuously to complete enough trips to get a bonus.

It was in the news that in Bangalore  Uber and Ola cars were seized. Even the government of Maharashtra is thinking of coming up with legislature to ban surge pricing on  taxi aggregators.

In Delhi as well surge pricing is banned, many vehicles were seized. As a result if you are booking Uber/Ola from Noida or Gurgaon asking to travel to Delhi the drivers will ask you to cancel the trip. Mr Kejriwal said surge pricing equals “daylight robbery” and his government does not buy app based taxi aggregator arguments.

It’s not like surge pricing is new. It’s common practice and we have paid for it plenty of times before. Here are five examples.

 

  1. Happy Hour at your favorite pub: Why do they give you 1+1 beer during the afternoon? That is because they want to fill those tables and sell more. Remember, only drinks are free & hence restaurants makes enough from food to compensate on your beer/drinks offer.
  1. Airline reservation : Compare today’s fare to the fare next month. There will be a significant difference in price. Why do you book tickets in advance for your  destination? Is it because you’re getting a good deal from the airlines? The economic principle for supply and demand has existed for ages. We have paid premium fuel prices to black marketers selling fuel during strike. We have also paid 5-10 times more on onions a few years back because they were unavailable. Those who were not interested in paying the price for it ended up without having it in their plate.
  1. Your favorite band’s show :  Take example of any event you like, they have early bird tickets, almost half the price of the real ticket.
  1. Technology conferences : Tech big shots come here and talk about recent trends or make a product launch {Apple/Google events?}]  The early bird access you love? That’s surge pricing
  1. IRCTC Tatkal tickets:  Why are you paying almost double for booking same tickets 48 hours in advance and end up paying start to end destination fare?

These drivers are poor, which means that they don’t have a Twitter presence and are not competent enough to participate in hour long debates on various news channels [english/hindi/regional]. Is that why they are losing?

We should be changing the lives of these drivers instead of making them lose their incomes. Some may even be ridden with debt, because they took loans, migrated to Bangalore away from living with their families – and instead living inside their cars (true story).  

 

Instead of debating surge pricing, we should have been pondering over :-

  1. Why do car aggregators only pay 30-40% of the surge money they make to those poor drivers?
  2. What kind of health benefits are these drivers getting? Are taxi aggregators giving any health insurance?  
  3. How can we empower the families of these drivers so they can raise kids and family in better and more empowered ways?
  4. How can we stop local authorities,  police and administration from harassing them?

 

Random Thoughts: On reading Bhagwad Gita.

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I finally finised reading Bhagwad Gita,  a hindu holy book which is collection of over 700 verses. It’s a  discourse between Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.  I would strongly recommend almost everyone to read it, it has nothing to do with your race/religion.  We all can relate to one or the other  discourse provided, I made small list of sentences/lines which had great impact on me.

  1. Our expectation is root cause of unhappiness.
  2. We have to maintain equanimity in almost every aspect of life & treat it equally so neither be too happy or too sad.
  3. Karma is what defines our caste not what we got at birth.
  4. Our mind is an asset and if we let Maya/Illusion control it, we are slave to materialistic aspect of life. This will make us unhappy.
  5. Our gunas  satva , rajas and tamas should not act on us & affect our happiness.
  6. Some task in our life are not done for a purpose to return outcome in our favor, we just have to do it.

The simple thought of reading Bhagwad Gita came to me from one of the tweets from @Arpit  [See his notes]

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