The spark that runs lives

Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012. Teaming up with IndiBlogger this is a multi-in-one entry for The Idea Caravan focusing on the several issues which each speaker spoke about respectively all with the basic backing power of today’s technology – The spark that runs today’s lives. (spark comes from electricity, though I didn’t have to explain that, did I?)

The beginning is in closing the gaps

“We didn’t knew what it was for, or why we want this but we knew it was definitely interesting.” – Matt Johnson

After seeing this talk, just one word reaction – WOW! This is called hitting several birds issues with one shot. Right from a child to an artist, engineer, educator or anyone else, anyone can be an innovator! The possibilities of having people of several expertise coming together and creating wonders is infinite. This is nothing short of magic, literally d rawing stuff our of paper and making it spring out alive!

Not only you are creating many wonderful products, but creating a platform for many to come up with innovation multiplying the end result. Everyone has an artist and an engineer in themselves, of varying proportions. But now both of them can come together with their best strengths and compliment each other.

Bringing out the innovator and entrepreneur in one which is wonderful (and required) right from an early age is what we need. How wonderful will the world be when we can have posters of our favourite artists which can actually sing for us and children & disabled drawing things which come out alive? To start something with the future unknown, just as everyone begins their lives, to endless possibilities?

We need such a world, people ready to dare beyond the horizon. And it all begins with simple steps. As promptly said “To discover the purpose of things is the work of history.”

Challenging and overcoming the failing system

“I truly love circumventing limitations.” – Angad Nadkarni

Hacking as well described by the speaker, is just about 3 things.

  • Cutting through the noise
  • Identifying the patterns
  • Questioning these patterns

Being a computer enthusiast myself, what I would like to add no this is hacking isn’t about getting just into computers and systems, but rather extended to everything in and around our lives. There many who indulge in it without even realizing it themselves. And there are those whom we call ‘life hackers’. The above 3 simple principles can be applied in any other scenario in life (and bonus, you don’t need to write thousands of lines of code too!)

In this context, when growing up, the next phase of a person’s life – Education, which can last a lifetime, is sadly growing to be a joke here. That too a bad one. Students are burdened with too much than required (torture will be a mild word here)

Children are taught what to think instead of how to think. They grow on to become mechanical beings following orders than becoming innovators.

The speaker devised an app called examify, based on few simple principles, figuring out what is needed among the demo-graph, devising something simple and effective and eliminating what is unnecessary, precisely what the aforementioned 3 points are. Not only you are doing a service, but also exercising entrepreneurship lessons and overcoming a failing system, here being the current education system.

People are afraid to get out of their comfort zone, stand up and challenge and establish order. You will be criticized, and given crap, but that’s what the world does, drag you down (that is debatable but generally speaking) one has to stand up for themselves and bring about to change. This problem extends from an personal/individual right to the national and as a human level, but time and again in history it’s all about stepping up in the game.
And, from the talk, you also learn how to make a cool exit. 😀

Self-learn and Experiment

“I had no choice but the Internet itself to be my teacher.”

– Usman Riaz

We are a generation, especially those were born in the ’80s and ’90s are fortunate to witness the rise of technology and the Internet revolution, just like those back in history witnessed the Renaissance and Industrial revolution. We live in a strange time where we have no appropriate means of learning due to many flaws and reasons, and yet, thanks to improving technology and the Internet we have information and resources at our finger tips. The above talk is a classic example of this.

The speaker not only learned to play the guitar, but also other instruments (YAY YouTube! and Google), became a TED fellow and performed with his own inspiration! That is the power of today’s tools at our disposal, we only need to be willing and brave enough to use them. What is also very much needed is access to Internet (good connections moreover, we are a laughing stock at one of the worst speeds in the world) to be made available to everyone at affordable rates so that all can make use of it, from farmers to students to industrialists.

The Power of Human Connection

“I knew I had to do something about it.”

– Karthik Naralasetty

In the past 5 years, the rise of social media was tremendous and continues to be so. For many that is a big part of the Internet, if not the Internet itself! And they are factually not wrong either, just look at the numbers. Staying in touch with people from your day to day colleagues to people you have not met in years and miles or even countries across the world apart. As much as we keep hearing about all the negativism among all the bad happenings, because only the complainers and cribbers are more vocal. The very reason why we have ‘complaint centers’ nicely dubbed as ‘customer care’ while for ‘appreciation and feedback’ there is only a box compared to whole venues of the former…

Today, than just few years ago, thanks to social media we get almost everything on a daily basis, ranging from news, entertainment, networking and much more, all structured around staying connected. Trailers, campaign movements, events, you name it. When used right, this is one of the most powerful mediums of expression and sharing we have. That’s how this speaker created another product but very important and helpful, a facebook hack as you might put it, called Socialblood which he shares and talks about in his story. This is just one of many brilliant innovative ideas sprung out of two things – creativity and a thinking of helping others.

Here he rightfully points out, we have a global compassion crisis. As much as we like to think how good we are, actually many are more apathetic than they know. We live in a time where pizza gets delivered quicker than an ambulance. But now, thanks to the tools we have, it just needs a common will of working for the greater good.

Giving Back

“I have a great debt to the planet.” – João Lammoglia

If I were to summarize this talk, the speaker already did it, winning the room:

“The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the force.” – Darth Vader

These words from one of the most iconic figures in pop culture is very much in resonance with our reality. Here, the metaphor to the force is the human energy. The human spirit. Mankind together as one. If you have seen the The Matrix (or simply paid attention in science class when you were) then you might know how much energy our human body itself is capable of generating. So much that in the movie the AI beings didn’t even bother about the sun anymore and held humans captive for energy and mass breed them.

Although we aren’t in such a terrible state (yet?), after learning from since kid to growing up, how much we can progress ourselves thanks to technological advancement, helping not only ourselves but each other, it’s naturally a two way street – we owe it to nature, or as geeks fondly know it as ‘the force’. Plus it’s for our own good as well. We can charge our various gadgets we depend on so much today and get exercise, which many of us evidently need.

As he pointed out, what’s more important than the product itself, is the concept, the idea – that we can be the part of the solution when many of the problems are the direct result of our advancement. We have been learning about boring environmental lessons since we were kids in school but the fact remains as citizens it’s our responsibility to be aware and make others aware as  well, and help get the governments and other bodies to implement non-renewable sources of energy to work to an everyday practical extent.

Summing it up:

So these were 5 videos which spoke to me a lot when I saw each speaker sharing their tales and their work. As you might have read by now, a very common theme ran among all of them, and quite ironically, they seem to be a step-by-step guide (as I listed and posted) since when you are kid to growing up and rather than a linear line, it forms a cycle as on needs to be tackled

  • Venture beyond the comfort zone. As Steve Job once said (back in ’94) “Get up, make a phone call. Get out of your comfort zone. Ask for help. I haven’t met anyone who genuinely didn’t want to help me when I asked for it.” The world has lot of opportunities to be faced.
  • Stand up and stand out. Dare to challenge the established order. Another of my inspirations, Bruce Lee said, “Use no way as a way, have no limitation as a limitation.”
  • Identify what is needed and what isn’t. Work towards them. Question things. Rinse and Repeat.
  • Think out of the box. Go the other way.
  • There is more good to things than it seems, since this voice isn’t loud as the other.
  • Self-learn. Experiment. Don’t be afraid to try something new and what you want. There is more tools at our disposal than ever. Just need to make the right use of them
  • Also, help those who are not fortunate.
  • Give back. Ideas and kindness only grow.

If you are reading this, than congrats! You’re already capable of doing everything mentioned above. So just go for it! The spark does run lives. Both figuratively and literally. I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

Rains and Reliance with Pizza and Superman

It was just another day, just this one however was awaited because of The Reliance Digital Experience thanks to IndiBlogger at Infiniti Mall, Malad. Since it being a relatively new one and moreover not much visited by yours truly, I looked forward to spending some nice time. Just the bloody headache was the rains (which is being dubbed as #MumbaiRains everywhere). This place is one of the highest rainfall regions in the world and I think as if the spirit of the city itself takes some pride in it and makes traveling/living miserable at this time of the year (well when it isn’t?) and it’s not even July yet!

Anyways I left the house, got a print out of the e-mail (wasn’t sure why since at this age most of us carry it in our pockets with us, but still followed as per instructions regardless) and through a auto-rickshaw headed to above mentioned place and searched for the Reliance Digital outlet, after a bit confusion as this was on the second floor directly above two other Reliance Trends which were clothing outlets which looked stacked one above the other. It was quite interesting as I meet some other bloggers who were leaving when I was en route and met some more whom had planned to meet up in the morning which I overslept. But in any case I was there, the store manager had finished briefing them while I was greeted by another co-coordinator who added my e-mail invitation print-out to the stack in his hand (people are not so lazy on Saturdays after-all) and then came the apparently awkward moment, when he asked my name. I didn’t respond and just told him I’ll save him the trouble and searched it myself on the list, and he had his share of giggling after he checked my name – The Nameless One. Yeah, that’s my name. While I’m used to it, but still such lists can actually have real names and aliases together. But guess IndiBlogger likes to troll people like me. Oh well.

1003122_10200948788138478_1803676265_nSome of the IndiBuddies with the nameless one.

Since I visit such electronic stores quite often and being a technology enthusiast, I didn’t actually need a tour (nor did I want one) and I fended off on my own. The place had a fresh new ambiance in it, and as I wandered around the store looking and taking photographs of course (which was apparently not allowed) many employees who were not engaged with some other customer offered their assistance (which I politely declined, of course I’m a nice guy!). Also their uniforms were a light blue, which was pleasant for the eyes. Actually that wasn’t a co-incidence, blue is one of the most pleasant colours for the human eye so in order to keep yours glued to something that’s why many products, even websites mostly facebook, twitter among others are in blue. There were different sections for each type of products and employees who were present to explain and guide customers who were interested in buying or looking for something in particular.

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971773_10151418865726968_1811548430_n 996730_10151418867881968_833993705_nThe place was spacious to move about and see things at a glance. After checking out various cameras, laptops, sound systems and TVs I went to the sections comprising of video games, movies and music. There were set ups of audio systems and gaming consoles which interested (and potential) customers could try out for themselves. Towards the end of the store, there was full dedicated section to books along with other home appliances like refrigerators etc.

WP_20130615_007WP_20130615_011 WP_20130615_012 WP_20130615_013WP_20130615_019 WP_20130615_018 WP_20130615_020In the end, conclusion is that this seems a great place to get your shopping done from. They just need to bring in more to their inventory, along with some great offers and deals. The thing is there are many such places out there, I need to be convinced that I need to get my stuff from here and not elsewhere, especially in a world today where many of it is done online. And not to forget, met Nihal and the one and only BlogwatiG there who had apparently finished doing some detective-giri there. I met her innocent(?) daughter too who seem to be afraid looking at me (am I so horrible?)

IMG_3642So after all was done, finished taking mental notes and photographs, left the place for the rest of the day. It was raining as you might have suspected, but at least not so much.



Write about what you did last weekend as though you’re a music critic reviewing a new album.

Well actually I already wrote a post on what I did last weekend (twice! sort of) which was awesome. Here is a direct link to that post which is on my other blog. As you can read, it was great, the saturday I mean. Spent the sunday lazing around.

So as a bonus I’ll say about today. In fact I’m glad that this weekend (I mean just saturday yet) was great too. My college festival started yesterday, which is called Iris and this year the theme is Iris ’13 Shuffle, Today was great, well known Bollywood actor (first time in history of my college and the festival) Boman Irani came in the afternoon and it was great. He enacted a bit from his hit movie 3 idiots and even sang the song loved by almost every student in the country Give me some sunshine playing the guitar and gave a motivating yet fun speech. Bit envy all the fuckers of the committee behind the fest for getting to take pictures with him and especially those who escorted him and spoke with him. Well not that much as I had my share too and still waiting to meet those who I actually love 😉

And the other best part was my college was the venue for the qualifying RAW Street B-boying battle of Mumbai by the Indian B-boying Federation. There were 64 B-boys (actually 63 guys and one b-girl)  battling and it was simple awesome. Being a fan of b-boying I enjoyed as hell. Not that I can do it even a bit, but I (along with most of the crowd)  were astonished by many things, most  being the skill performed/showed by the participants, a huge guy who had more fat than all the rest who showed off cuts and muscles (well apart from the average and skinny ones) reaching the top 16 and till a high spot, which showed size doesn’t matter, only dedication does. And the cherry of the cake, the youngest b-boyer who wouldn’t have been over 12 years old, not only was the most cheered of the day but ended up wining in the finals and the city qualifiers! That showed age doesn’t matter too. Well personally I (along with some of the remaining intellectuals left) felt the other finalist should have won, I was personally rooting for him and he did a great job too, he was practically in the air all the time showcasing awesome skills. Well the kid did have incredible talent no doubt, but well since he was a kid he got most of the support (or as I put it sympathy vote) and in the final he pulled off a move by pulling a chair, squeezing inside it and performing the same steps, and that won everyone’s heart, it was like in your face to the other guy. Well in the end glad for him, good to show support for upcoming generation and the art form itself.

And the day ended with a DJ party. Very tired coming home after a great day. I didn’t take any pictures or anything as I don’t have anything substantial with me for now, and I’m like on a break now sort of.

I guess like last weekend tomorrow will be another boring sunday, I just hope not.