Relationship Dummies 101 – By Another Dummy

Strong relationships are built on the concept of a marathon, not a sprint.

Its a lazy Saturday evening here and I am trying to watch an episode of “Whose Line is it Anyway” while regretting that I had probably too many potatoes for dinner last night. Going through all this and I realize maybe the best way to divert myself is probably write. So there’s my motivation: lazy weekend, a comedy show, and some potatoes. That’s what does it for me. It scares me that I don’t find this weird.

Anyway, unlike before where I focus on one specific topic to write about, I would be focusing on 2 things. Both revolve around the same concept though, personal relationships.

1)The remedy for a breakup

For the last 3 months (4 maybe) I have been thinking and analyzing how do we manage to deal with personal calamities like heartbreaks/breakups, and moreover how do we survive them? Is there any specific factor which makes a contribution? Is it time? It could be time but then again, it depends from case to case. I have personally gone through something from which I still haven’t healed, even after almost a decade. So then what is it? Is there really something out there which helps us tackle these situations? It boggled with my mind so much that I actually stopped eating my potatoes last night and went into deep analysis.

And then it finally struck me. The answer is us, the people. We are the remedy. The planet has over 7 billion people. Which would mean for someone to interact with even 1/7th of the entire population, it would take us a lifetime which would also mean that in one lifetime we will never run out of people to interact, bond, and socialize with. If we do manage to survive the initial phase of a breakup, we will fortunately enter the next phase, epiphany. This is the phase where we realize that there are other people in this world with whom we can connect. Even if we don’t want to jump into another relationship we can always talk to other people, make a connection with them. It is this amazing reality which hits us like a soft pillow and makes us perceive that there are so many people out there that we haven’t interacted with. Think about it, if time was really the healing factor then what would happen if there was no one around, a place where we are all alone. Would time still heal our scars? That’s a rhetorical question, you don’t really have to think of an answer here. Even if we don’t want to interact immediately, we can take our sweet time to do it later. We know that no matter how many people we know, there is always someone new, always. I think that’s how businesses work. Besides the price increase, the reason for their incremental revenue is that they keep adding new customers to their business every year. So if anyone of you is going through a breakup right now, you should know that time might not be so much of a healing factor as people glorify it to be. It is the certainty that there will always be someone new out there who could be your next point of interest.

 

2)Maintenance

Personally, there are people I know who have been with their significant other for several decades, happily committed and still going strong. And then I know those who usually give up when they stop feeling the “magic” or “passion” in their relationship. I will try to give an analysis from what I know, even though I am a novice when it comes to long term commitments.

I strongly believe that love is a choice. It’s not a pit that you fall into. It’s a decision you make. And it’s not a one-time decision either, it’s one you have to get up and make every morning. It’s a commitment, and while it does take strength, it’s worth it. When you think love and passion are the same thing, that is when you write a death sentence to your relationship. Mistaking passion for love is the reason so many relationships fail to survive today, the reason so many children grow up in broken families, often committing the same mistakes as their parents with the similar misconceptions.

If people think they no longer “love” someone, then I think they probably confuse love with passionPassion is the pit that you fall into, the fire that gets kindled and rekindled. This mistake is surprisingly common. Personally, I blame romantic movies. They give people some extremely idealistic expectations and commonly use the word “Love” to define passion, emotions, sexual attraction, and apparently anything and everything but actual love.

Passion is what makes you look at them in admiration, it’s what attracts you to them, it’s all the feel-good that people lust after in a relationship. And like lots of things that feel good, passion is dangerous, addictive, momentary, and should be enjoyed, but with caution. It is intense, but often short-lived, and lacks the stability and relentless endurance of love.

Love is what empowers you to work for your relationship, instead of expecting it to come easily. It’s what allows them to help us navigate through the clusterfuck of emotions we feel transitioning to a new job or environment, even though in the moment we are not any kind of fun or exciting to be around. It’s what keeps you up for hours on end holding them when they are overwhelmed and inconsolable. Love, not the glamorized notion of a sizzling fleeting passion, but real, true, enduring love, is security. It’s the only thing that has the power to make a relationship last. If you abandon years of enduring love for a momentary lack of passion, you will look upon it with regret for the rest of your life.

So that’s why I strongly encourage people to revisit their decision and think if they are really mistaking love for passion. Its really important that they think about it.

 

And now that I have conveyed my point, I will get back to eating my potatoes and watch another episode of “Whose Line is it Anyway”. I am really starting to like Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie, their comic timing and sense of humor is epic!

Bellissimo

Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman

If it’s more than a month since I wrote here, my blogger friends ask me when would I write again, or my friends ask me when would they get to read another one of my highly overdramatic blogs. I tell them that I am trying to find my zeal to write and looking for the passion which is hidden somewhere in my inner closet, and that when the ideas start running in my mind I will start pouring my thoughts on wordpress, once again. Yes these are the fancy words which I use. Truth is, I am just lazy.

I don’t think I am ever going to be asked again. Anyways, moving on.

When we used to be kids, we had all the time in the world to do things that we liked, because we didn’t have the constraint to worry about the future. Most of us had the luxury (I mean freedom, not money) to do anything we want. Then we grew up and started having responsibilities. And before we could realize we started losing track of the things we wanted to do and instead do things we have to do for a sustainable life. At least I did. But even in these situations, we do manage to stick with at least one hobby or something which takes the load off our minds. That “something” could be playing a game of football, going for hiking/mountain climbing, or even indoor activities like cooking or a weekend barbecue. For me, it’s music. I could always relax myself by listening to really good instruments played beautifully by tremendously gifted people. One such musician is the famous pianist from Italy, Ludovico Einaudi.

I discovered his music in 2012 while browsing ads on Youtube. I saw his name on the video credits, looked him up, and couldn’t believe myself that something so beautiful, so peaceful, so light-hearted yet incredibly energetic ever existed. For those who have a favorite band, or a favorite sports team: when you hear them perform live or watch their game in the stadium, do you feel the adrenaline rushing through your body, the fire running inside warming you up with excitement? Do you? That’s probably how I feel when I hear his music.

Now imagine this. You listen to someone playing multiple instruments, you listen to them on internet. You listen to them like you’ve never listened before, and you keep listening till you give up and have absolutely no energy left. But you don’t give up, because you never are tired, because if anything, that music only gives you more and more energy, so much energy that it brings tears to your eyes (Yes men can cry too). You listen to them for 5 years on the internet, and then you hear that they are coming to perform live near your city.

You go crazy and lose your shit.

I got to see him perform live in October 2017 in Philadelphia. I never felt so much energy and adrenaline in me before. I listened to him, only him. I ignored the army of attractive classy women sitting near me, around the theater. All I could see and hear was him and his music, and I drowned myself in the rhythm. And that’s when I realized: Despite my busy schedule, I still have managed to hold onto something which makes me feel alive and energetic. And I was happy, so happy that I was blissfully smiling before realizing I was sniveling in happiness. I can bet you with my life that when such a thing happens to you, there is nothing which can bring you down at that moment.

I don’t think this man has ever written a piece of music I do not love.  When I want to get away from the world and all the endless thoughts that run through my mind, I put his music on, find a comfortable chair, put my headphones on and close my eyes.  Within a few minutes, I have been drawn so far into his music that everything around me disappears.  I just follow wherever the music wants to take me and it always takes be to a place of peace and incredible musical brilliance. Like I said, we all need to get away from ourselves once in a while, and this is the only thing I know that can do it.

And I just realized I got carried away writing this blog. That is exactly what I am trying to say here. We should be able to make time for something which can get us so deeply involved, something which can drain all our frustration and stress and replace it with chemicals of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins (Look them up if you want). I hope you got the memorandum.

Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend, ever. It is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents. Music truly is a higher revelation than wisdom and philosophy. Don’t believe me? Take out 6 minutes of your life and put them here:

 

 

Simplification of “Absolute Harmony”

Medicine, law,business,engineering: these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, friendships, romance and love…these are what we stay alive for

One of the reasons why introverts exist is because they believe in having few people in their lives they can always count on, than to have a large circle of people who don’t really mean anything to them. These introverts don’t hate people, they just hate shallow socializing. I’m not an introvert. I’m not an extrovert either. I’m just somewhere in the middle.

Over the years, I have started developing random thoughts when I’m all by myself. Thoughts like, what is the purpose of our existence? What is the benefit of all the advanced technologies we are having today? What do we really need to live a stable life? While I can’t answer all of them, I do know the answer to the 3rd question. To live a stable peaceful life, we need to stay away from bullshit. That stabilized pill can come in the form of family, job, skills, or friends, especially friends, because they are the ones who can make or break your youth (Spouses can do that too, but they arrive later). And I sincerely believe that everyone of us, no matter who we are, where we are, should have at least 2 to 3 people with us who for all the good reasons become a part of our existence. Fortunately I have few such people in my life, who by society norms are called “Friends”, but for me, they are more like family.

Like almost every other bond of friendship, we started our story by being acquaintances to each other, which developed at a slow and steady pace. We went through different stages which include preparing for college midterms, dating women for the first time, bunking lectures to see a first-day-first-show movie, etc. We did all this and we did it together. The core of our friendship developed from experiences, and probably hardships. We all have changed over the years, probably not the same identities we used to have. Most people (including me) do not change when you give them an option. They change when there is no option. But we’re still together, and that’s what matters. We did however make one small pact in college : To go to Vegas. That trip with a few other stops, happened a few weeks ago. I am not gonna go towards the details about what we did and how much money we won (Haha!) But we were happy throughout. Even though we did two 12+ hours road trips, we weren’t really tired because we were in each other’s company. It’s all about those chemicals reacting inside our body. Our heart and mind works better when we are at absolute tranquility, and I am mostly at peace when I’m with these guys.

The purpose of this blog isn’t really to target the specific story of me and my friends. It’s rather inclined towards that one part of our lives which has the potential to give us immense satisfaction and keep us in complete harmony. No matter how busy your life gets, how much you get involved in your corporate/professional/academic world, you can (and should) always make time for people who really matter to you. Remember, no one is really busy, it’s all about priorities. I do it to maintain an equilibrium in my life, and I’m sure you do it for similar reasons.

Great friendships are made up of people who are willing to get their hands dirty (as long as it’s for a good cause) and pick each other up. This is as true with development as it is with pretty much any other type of bond.

In the end what matters is that you’re happy, because if you aren’t then there is really no point of doing what you do. This is not my best piece, not even close. And I don’t really care. What really matters is I wrote and shaped up this blog exactly the way I wanted, and I am content with that.

On a closing note, here’s something which was useful for me and can be useful for you:

Happiness is a state of mind, not a destination – Looking back on my life, the most unhappiest moments of my life occurred when I always thought I had to achieve a certain goal to be happy. That’s not the way happiness works. You can be happy right now.

Farewell, My Hangover

Time to wake up from my sleep paralysis

Whatever step I’ve taken for participating in social media, there has always been someone in my life accounting for it. Facebook, Instagram, Quora, 9GAG, you name it, I started using them because it was bridge to connect me and a specific person. Girlfriend, best friend, old friend, all of them were behind my introduction to social networking sites. 10 months, 2 weeks, 2 days and 2 hours later I realized that ‘someone’ for which I started blogging was entirely me.

What I am doing now, right at this moment, is that I’m writing here on this platform, for me, my satisfaction, and for those 10-12 people living in a different city, country, and continent, who want to know about my whereabouts and have been meaning to read my blogs for a long time. I often have a language barrier. My english isn’t that great usually, and god help me when I’m so philosophically deep. I myself don’t understand what the fuck am I writing when I’m pouring my heart out. But those who want to make an effort to understand my blogs, will ultimately know what I want to convey.

First and foremost, thank you to those who persuaded me to write again. I will always be grateful to you. I think I’ve gained much more wisdom in these past 10 months, than I have in my entire life. And one of the most important things I realized is that you can never undo your past. You will make mistakes, and will probably make more. But you should continue to make efforts to learn from it. Learn to forgive and let go. Because regrets suck the life out of you. You see, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, obviously. But when life gave me lemons, I squeezed it in alcohol and sat in a corner drinking and thinking where did I go wrong. I probably was at my lowest point last year, I was pretty much fucked. You don’t want to know the story, because it’s the usual.

I was however, mentally relaxed in mid year 2016 since I had a stable internship, so whatever side I was showing to people wasn’t really me since I was guarded by a thick metal armor of financial security. But my true identity came out when my internship got over and I was a student once again in last quarter of 2016. It is when we are under pressure that our true colors come out, when the ego’s ass is put to the fire and we become the gateway between our survival self and doing what is humane and expressing integrity. If you think about it, it is really easy to be a nice person when there is no pressure in your life. It is easy to give money to those in need when you have it in your wallet. It is easy to smile when you’re already laughing. It is easy to dance when you are in love with someone or with life itself. You don’t mind donating money or doing extra favors when you have the time. Even arguing is ok when you are feeling fine otherwise. But, put some pressure on the same person and you may be face to face with a demon, a nasty one to be precise.

Here’s a summary of what I went through in the last few quarters:

  • Got my heart broken, and assumed I would successfully deal with it like my previous ones. Needless to say, I was wrong
  • Made new friends while I was in Atlanta, had a really good experience working in a company called Verizon
  • Exercised like an animal to lose the fat and bullshit I had filled myself with
  • Started reading Quora, a lot. I was breathing it day and night.
  • Went through a series of mentally stressful situations due to my academics, job search and my wonderful past
  • Isolated myself from everyone and everywhere for 3 months after graduation

And then I did what I do best. I unfucked myself. I started being who I was before all that stuff happened that dimed my fucking shine. Just like you warriors, I gave multiple shots to get back on track. And after going through a series of disastrous and unstoppable attempts to recover myself, I managed to sail through. Only this time, I am far more prepared to deal with my future. I’m now a corporate individual, working as an analyst in the financial industry doing what I’ve always loved: crunching numbers.

Out of all this, there is one valuable piece of wisdom which I have jotted down in my mind: Relationships are not necessarily meant to last forever, and that it’s possible to have a successful one that runs its course and leaves behind two people who are better for having been a part of it. In other words, “Forever” is not a measure for success.

This is not a trend and I don’t expect to write on a weekly basis. I will do it when it should be done. By writing this blog tonight, I don’t expect people to like or comment here. I don’t even know if anyone is going to read it. What I do expect is that I will sleep peacefully tonight knowing that I’ve at least started somewhere, by writing again.

This epilogue is for you, October Woman. Thank you for making me realize my mistakes and unknowingly making me a better person. I’ve learnt a lot of from you, and us. And for that, I raise you a glass of the finest Glenlivet Scotch!

 

Robin Williams/Kulbhushan Kharbanda

If there’s one thing that I will always cherish, it’s the fact that I had a very colorful and awesome childhood. I grew up with lots of love from my family and friends. My parents gave me all the toys, showed me all those amazing childhood movies which I still love. I will always be indebted to them, both of them, equally. I was never pampered too much though, only the required amount. They both made sure I wasn’t influenced by high tech stuff which would otherwise spoil my habits. I used to play outside a lot, every chance I got. While there are many reasons to prove my evergreen innocent days, one of them was Robin Williams, the famous actor known widely for his roles in multiple epic Hollywood movies.

I grew up watching many of his pieces such as Mrs Doubtfire and Jumanji, in addition to his dubbed cartoons. As I grew up, I began to see a father figure in him. To date, I still can’t figure out why I used to feel that way. But it was love and affection, which doesn’t have to make sense or logic, it just happens, be it any kind. I used to smile innocently every time I watched him on television, and wished one day I would meet him. Now like Hollywood in USA, we have Bollywood in India. And while the world of Hollywood is really emerging in India, Bollywood hasn’t matured that much in USA. So I don’t really know if my Non-Indian friends would know about the next person I am going to talk about, Kulbhushan Kharbanda. He is another famous actor in the Indian Film Industry, known for his diversified roles. He is mostly known for movies where he portrays a  loving father. I loved watching him on screen where he played the strict but loving father of Aamir Khan (another great actor in Bollywood) in the famous Indian Sports Movie ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar‘. And that was all I needed to see a father figure in him as well. I really don’t know if it’s the way they deliver their dialogues, or the way they look, but these 2 actors always remind me of my father.

Now coming to my father, he was my hero, still is. For the record, I do love every member of my family. My father left no stone unturned to put a smile on my face. I remember when I was about 5-6 years old, I was crazy about trains, and he used to get me some of the finest toy train sets on my birthday. Whenever I used to come home in the afternoon from school with the water bottle hanging on my neck, he used to come home from work for lunch, and made sure he arrived when I was home. Every time I came home, I saw him watching television. I used to see him, he used to see me, and we both exchanged smiles. Then I went to the other room where he already had prepared the toy train set for me, I just needed to switch it on. He used to do it every single day. Then for lunch, he used to make me eat my favorite ‘Dal Chawal Bhindi’ (Lentil Soup, Rice, Okhra) (Sorry for acting Western). In the night, I used to sleep with him while my elder brother used to sleep with my mother. Sometimes, and this is my favorite part, while sleeping when I used to be a trouble maker, he used to scold me for that. I used to cry and run to my mom. I kept crying until he called me back and apologized by telling me different stories of animal kingdom. My actual reason for crying was not his scolding, it was for him to get the signal to call me back and tell me those awesome stories. He literally was there for me every time when I needed him. Like I said, he is my hero.

Fast forwarding to 2009, I witnessed the biggest loss of my life when he passed away in front of me. It was a train accident. While I still like trains, most of my enthusiasm for it has gone down the drain because of his demise. I had no idea how was I going to continue from there, but somehow I managed. While there were many things which reminded me of him, movies of Robin Williams and Kulbhushan Kharbanda always used to put a smile on my face, and they still do. I started watching movies of these two actors more than I did in my childhood, and I used to think my father is still alive in them, which is why I had another setback when I heard the news of Robin Williams passing away in 2014. I won’t lie, a little part of me died that day, not just because Robin Williams passed away, but because there were speculations that the reason of his death was depression. I shed some manly tears that day. Nevertheless, I still watch his movies, and I will keep relating him to my father for the rest of my life. Now I mean no disrespect to anyone, but I fear the day when I hear the news of the second actor passing away, for he is the only person alive with whom I can relate my father to. I would rather not think about that, and just focus in the present.

We really can’t figure out how some people can influence us so much that we store them forever within us. But like I said in one of my previous blogs, love is 5th dimensional, and is truly the only thing we are capable of perceiving which transcends the dimensions of time and space. It doesn’t matter whatever I do, where ever I go, my father, Robin Williams and Kulbhushan Kharbanda will forever be important parts of my life. And I will always be sure that the latter two would never fail to put a smile on my face, the same smile which I used to share with my father when I came home from school, with the water bottle hanging on my neck.

Challenge Accepted

No No No, I ain’t referring to Barney Stinson from ‘How I Met Your Mother'(If only I had a nickel every time I mentioned this sitcom). This is something else. Recently I received a challenge from my dear friend and blogger Patty to select and post three quotes regarding adventure. Since I am well aware of the ‘adventures’ of my past and present, I gladly accepted her challenge.

However, the challenge comes with some rules:

1.) Either once a day for three days, post a quotation, or post all 3 quotations at one time. It is your choice.
2.) Nominate and notify three other bloggers of the challenge.
3.) Thank the blogger who nominated you.

I am going with all 3 in one day:

  1. Often when I faced my fears, I actually conquered it and came out as the victor, unscathed:

942aca19b525c326a0ebbd1b57b98809

 

2) Unpredictability in life might be good, might be bad. But it certainly brings the excitement I need

quotes-about-adventure-16

 

3) Some of the most beautiful things happened to me when I least expected it

dccd5d5895a7b1349967979900a14e53

 

 

Now I would like to know the definition of adventure from Da Al from Happiness Between Tails, Clever Idiot Blog, and I just look bad on paper.The latter two haven’t really revealed their names. I don’t want to keep this mandatory. Feel free to accept or reject the challenge. But the important thing for the three nominations is to at least think of 3 quotes which would perfectly define your life.

 

And thank you so much Patty. You made me think a lot while I was searching for the quotes.

Have a great day!

Personal Analytics

And you guys thought I started dipping interest in blogging

Hey everyone. I feel like home whenever I come here, because home is where your heart is. But quite frankly, besides analytics, I may now think of turning blogging into a secondary profession, soon. Speaking of analytics, I have so far completed the 3 most epic weeks in my company, hectic weeks, but still epic. Its been about 2 weeks I guess since I blogged about Atlanta. I was actually waiting for the right time and right topic to write my next piece, which is why I will be revolving around a rather unusual topic today, and which I strongly feel can be related to our personal lives. But before that, you need to understand the foundation of this blog.

I work in the Market Intelligence department of my company handling CRM (Customer Relations Management). I am responsible for doing lots and lots of Customer and Marketing Analytics thereby doing predictive analytics (make predictions based on historic data) which are really useful for avoiding the customers from quitting the service or stop using the product, and improve their satisfaction towards the usage of products and services. Sounds little complicated? Don’t worry you’re not here to analyze, you’re here to read and criticize. Anyways, in order to conduct a thorough analysis on the customers, I use a lot of techniques using the analytical tool SPSS. One of the techniques I use is logistic regression (LR), which will be the primary scope in this blog. I will simplify it so don’t worry. LR in simple terms is used to do predictive analytics by taking one DEPENDENT variable and many other INDEPENDENT variables, which means the outcome of that one variable will be dependent upon all those independent variables. But the LR model has to be strong in logic, with an accuracy of 70% or more. It can however, never be 100% (Remember this accuracy theory when you reach the end of the blog). For my work, that dependent variable is ‘whether a customer will stop using the product in the future or not’, and the independent variables would be that customer’s demographic information, their gender, their total purchase they made on our product, their mode of payments, etc. Thinking of hitting me with a baseball bat? Don’t worry you’re not the only one. Be rest assured, my work won’t be the center of topic, but my theory of LR will be.

I am doing my Masters in Business Analytics, so I tend to apply analytics in the business of my company. But I have applied analytics in my personal life as well. Have you? The way I implement predictive analytics in my personal life is that I use the same LR model in the ongoing events happening in my life and I use “whether I will be happy or not” as my dependent variable, while my independent variables would be the decisions I make in my life and the things I do in my life. After the first tragedy which happened to me many years ago, I started thinking of ways (independent variables) which would make me happy. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, because I really couldn’t figure out the weightage or the ‘importance’  or the level of impact of those variables on my happiness (dependent variables (okay I am gonna stop including brackets now)). But over the years, I learnt to know the level of impact of those things and used them correctly, in a logical manner. This ‘logic’ can be also seen in one of my previous blogs The ‘Charlie Harper’ version , where I mentioned how I used logic to be happy. I agree that while I am proud of some of the things I have done on my life, I am not content with the way I used to be happy before, by keeping myself emotionally guarded all the time, and I certainly regret the ridiculously unbelievable algorithms I made in my life during that time to be happy. But like they say, it’s never too late to start over. So now I still use the LR model in my life but my ‘independent variables’ have changed, and with that I am now well aware of the level of impact those variables will have on my happiness. I have been using LR for the past 3 years now, and needless to say, my LR model has only been increasing in accuracy, because as I move forward with my life, I gain wisdom and experiences, two of the most important things which help me make my model more accurate. To be more simple, I now revolve around those things which make me happy. But when it comes to people, I don’t revolve around those where I am forced to be happy with them even though their intentions are positive, I revolve around those people where I want to be happy with them with my consent, and they want to be happy with me, a 2-sided balanced bonding is what I use here, and it works correctly. I have used this theory for every event which has happened in the past few years of my life. Obviously, there are a lot other variables you need to define however, these two are primary.

You may not know it, but you have applied LR in your life too, you just don’t know how accurate the model is. What I mentioned in “The ‘Charlie Harper’ version” was that I had cracked the theory to be happy, when in reality what I really did was crack the theory of ‘not being sad’. The element of ‘happiness’ was never there. But now with a better sense of knowledge, the accuracy of my LR model has reached about 85% (Sometimes even I ROFL on the things I say around here). Starting from January 2015, I had begun to feel, to love, to be loved, and sometimes the love can boost up the accuracy by a large margin. Quite frankly, it did. But like I said before, it can never reach 100%, because you can never be completely content and happy in your life with no issues whatsoever. And if analytics, being a subset of math itself can’t reach 100%, who in the flying flip are we to think we can be perfect?

I hope you guys don’t take this too seriously. Like I said, just read and criticize. As for me, I believe I would hope to reach 100% after 3 years.

 

 

Atlanta, Home.

I’m not going to write a prologue this time, and there’s a reason why.

Good evening everyone! Love and blessings to all my readers. Today I am writing this blog with great level of enthusiasm, excitement, adrenaline, and little bit of intoxication. It’s been a week since I have shifted from Philadelphia, and there are so many reasons for me to feel the change. It’s a new home, a new place, new people, new workplace, but most importantly, an upgraded life. There’s this hypothesis which I have made: there’s always something in our life which we badly want to experience. And when we realize it’s going to happen, we grow ourselves happier and crazier waiting in anticipation for it to happen and day-dream about the feeling as to what it’s going to be like. And finally when it does happen, we don’t really feel the spark we are supposed to feel. But uncannigly, for the first time in my life (I think), that hypothesis has been proved wrong. I believed that when I move to Atlanta, the feeling is going to be outrageous. But at the same time I also believed the feeling would fade away when I reach and live Atlanta. Surprisingly, I did get to experience that feeling. Atlanta is not what I imagined. It went way beyond my anticipation and expectations.

This city, is the ideal city I always wanted to live in. The places are amazingly scenic, the atmosphere is incredibly beautiful, the people are surprisingly nice. Right at the moment when I stepped into my new house I met my new roommate and his friends, and within minutes it changed my perception towards ‘lukewarm socializing during Graduate life’. My roommate and his friends live, socialize, and bond with each other like family. Every alternate day they come over to someone’s house and talk about their daily routine, crack jokes, and have fun like there’s no tomorrow. It’s like I was living in an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. or How I Met Your Mother, it was like a dream, and yet reality. Again, it was something way beyond my expectations. The people welcomed me with so much gratitude, that I felt I was a part of it. When I was roaming on the streets, strangers approached me to ask me if I needed any help. It was like I was living in little Canada. And then the main event happened, Verizon. The company seriously values its employees and gives the new members like me the importance we’re supposed to get. Saying Verizon is ‘huge’ would be an understatement. The company has so many departments, and uncountable employees. Additionally, and fortunately for me, my department involves one of the best and strongly humored people. My manager herself is the queen of humor and sarcasm. Sadly, I never got to experience this atmosphere in Philadelphia. I never thought this part of America actually existed, and quite frankly I never imagined I would be fortunate enough to see and experience this part.

I know it’s just one week, but in this one week I got to experience what I actually imagined what it would be like to live in an ideal world. These people bond, socialize, and party like there’s no tomorrow, and yet maintain their dignity in friendship and humanity. This is literally all I could ask for. I am so intoxicated right now that I really can’t put all my thoughts to words at once. But yes I am currently content with my life, and it’s not the liquor talking. This blog is probably going to end here because I have to go back to the ‘house party’ I am having right now with 16 people (it’s a weekend!). So that is the reason I didn’t write a prologue this time, there’s possibly no past experience that I am supposed to relate here, except for the fact that Atlanta feels like I’ve always lived here! I’m loving every part of it. I am not a person with a great vocabulary, so I really can’t think of any fancy words to expose my emotions here, but I do know one thing:

I have finally arrived home.

Farewell, Philadelphia.

Harvard & The Big Giant of America – Part 2/2

Circa late 90’s

My father had received a prestigious award for his outstanding performance. He was one of the top performing employees in ONGC, and I believe the most honest and hardworking person I have seen in my life. He later continued to win many other awards, followed by ridiculously incredible promotions. Neighbors, colleagues and relatives had arrived at our house to convey their wishes.

Relative 1: I am so happy for you uncle, really you’ve made all of us so happy

Relative 2: Congratulations uncle, you’ve reached a milestone in your career and life by achieving this.

Neighbor 1: Absolutely stunning Mr Shukla. We all are very proud of you and the reputation you’ve built in ONGC

Colleague 1: Mr Shukla, you come from those rare bunch of people who have outperformed spectacularly. Now we only have to wait when your son reaches in your footsteps.

Colleague 2: Yes Mr Shukla, we all have high hopes from your son too. He is going to make you proud one day.

*The son is being referred to as my elder brother*

Circa 2004

Similar scenario. This time my brother has got an admit in a very prestigious college due to his outstanding performance in high school and entrance exams. Everybody had come to congratulate him. He was getting ‘attaboy’ from his friends, family, relatives, high school faculty. My father was really proud of him. I was really proud and happy for him.

Everybody who knew me and my family had nothing but pure respect for my father due to his simplistic nature and flawless attitude towards his work, for my brother due to his incredible intelligence and performance in high school and college, and for my mother for being a daredevil in literature, receiving many awards, including several National Awards for her work. And that’s when I realized, I had no role in this. Nobody really saw me as a shining example. Nobody really gave any ‘attaboy’ to me during those years. Maybe because I never really was an overachiever, couldn’t live up to the expectations of my parents. Everybody had an image of my elder brother , not me, becoming an example like my father. I was too little and innocent that time to realize these shortcomings in me. But few years later, I did.

Good evening everyone! Love and blessings to all my readers. This time I am not just writing this blog for myself, but for those people who have been jumping in anticipation for the second part. Few hours after I finished part 1, some of the readers became too eager to read part 2. Few of those ‘some’ sent me messages to upload the second part as soon as possible. And one of those few actually called me up and said, “You better finish the part 2 really fucking quick or I come down there and kick your ass”. All these comments, threats and anticipations has only made me happy. These people really love my writing. I am really very touched with the response I get for my blogs, especially this blog. Alright enough of the emo-talk, and back to business.

As I mentioned in part 1, after facing a series of issues and battling them during 2009-2013, I believed I had proved enough to myself. Unlike before, I started treating myself and my priorities with the required seriousness and maturity it deserved. Immediately after securing a job in a company which was almost on a totally different tangent from my field, I was under the impression that this would be my biggest achievement. It wasn’t. It never was, for there was something else, something bigger waiting to happen for me. After I began working in this firm, I learnt a lot of new things, on a personal as well as professional front. Shortly after working for a year, I got promoted in June for ‘outperforming’ for 5 consecutive months. And then next month I was surprisingly promoted again for performing even better. Working in the field of data analysis had me all pumped up for wanting to pursue a Master’s degree (MS) in Business Analytics. 6 months after I got the second promotion, I received a letter from Drexel University, located in Pennsylvania, USA. Based on my GRE, academic performance, and work experience , the university offered me admission in the MS Business Analytics program. My course was supposed to start from September 2015, which meant I had about 7 more months of work tenure remaining in my firm. On my final day in the firm my team manager, CEO, and VP of the firm called me in front of the entire office and congratulated me for my admission, and wished me all the best for my future endeavors. Before finishing their speech, they also added that I had become a valuable asset for the firm and that I had built a really good reputation in the firm. I had been waiting for so long to hear these words. And then I left for USA.

Shortly after beginning my masters in Business Analytics, I studied and grasped knowledge from subjects, those of which I never imagined I would be taking in my life. I went and am still going through a series of courses in Statistics such as data mining, mutlivariate analysis, customer analytics. I studied various courses in Operations Research such as sequencing models, network problems and game theory. And then I studied Management Information Systems from which I learnt to use analytical softwares like SAS for building those sequencing models. Yes as boring as these words may sound to you, these subjects are preciously valued in the field of technology and are responsible for the modernization of the society, and I am proud to be a part of it. After grasping some level of knowledge in analytics, I received an email from a company to which I had sent my resume. They were wanting me to give a series of interviews for an internship in Atlanta for a position they and I both wanted to fill. After a long run of video interviews, phone interviews, and HR interviews, I received the internship offer from them. That company is Verizon (circled in red in the featured image), or in other words ‘The Giant of America’. Verizon is known as an American broadband and telecommunications company, and is the largest U.S. wireless communications service provider. Few minutes after I received the offer from them, I sat on my bed, stunned for a few minutes. I was literally speechless and numb for sometime. I had got an opportunity to work in a company with an annual revenue of $ 132 Billion, having an annual profit of $ 18 Billion. I will never forget that day.

So now, the doubt arises. What is my biggest achievement?

Is it my 100 lbs weight loss I did 5 years ago? No.

Is it my will to start writing, creating this website? No

Is it me bagging a job in a company (not verizon) which was almost on a totally different tangent from my field? No

Is it the promotions I received from that company? No

Is it the admit I got from Drexel Univeristy? No

Is it my will to conquer every single disaster in my life? No

Is it Verizon? Well…..no

My biggest achievement actually, is The Big Giant Realization that there is literally no limit to what I can achieve in my life. Usually in our society if someone praises themselves, we consider them a jerk or someone we regard as ignorant, thereby taking them in a negative light. But I really don’t care about that. I am proud of my achievements, some of which I never actually believed would happen. And I realized there really is no limit to what I can conquer, and that truly is my biggest achievement because it gives me the will to move to greater heights. My elder brother, as expected has lived beyond everybody’s expectations and is now living a happy married life with a wonderful wife, a kick ass job, and a secured future. I couldn’t be more happy for him. But those people who rightly predicted my brother’s future, are somewhat dumbfounded to realize the potentials of me, the other son of Mr Shukla. Nevertheless, they wish me the best. I myself was dumbfounded when I came to know about this achievement. And now that I realize, I am going to make good use of it.

So with this piece, I finish my 10th blog, and will start preparing for my journey. I leave for Atlanta in a few days, all geared up and waiting to start a professional experience in Verizon. I have discovered my biggest achievement,but the question is, when will you?

Harvard and The Big Giant of America – Part 1/2

Circa March 2013

Interviewer: what do you know about ‘market research’. How much significance in your opinion does market research hold in today’s corporate world?

Me: market research would particularly mean a thorough research into a specific industry or a company in order to properly acquire knowledge of its business, hence try to locate loopholes, if any, and improve them.

Interviewer: and..its contribution?

Me: As an analyst I would be able to provide business reports with the development of a market leading database while dealing with various concepts such as market intelligence, data analysis, qualitative and quantitative research.

Interviewer: Why did you choose this field? Do you think you could make a difference?

Me: Although I come from an engineering background, I started doing website evaluation articles for brands such as ‘GAP’, ‘bet365’ and ‘Nascar’ as a hobby during my 3rd year of undergrad college in 2012. I explained briefly about the brand, gave the revenue statistics, and enlightened details about the website ranging from product viewing to customer feedback, using the 7 C’s framework model analysis: community, correctness, context, content, communication, consistency, and credibility. Since then, I have developed a keen interest in research, whether it is in the field of marketing or market, and I made it my aim to pursue my career in it.

*after asking me a couple of more batshit analytical questions*

Interviewer: Thank you for your time. We will let you know of the results in a week

Do you know the feeling you get when you’re told you are hired? Have you ever experienced it, the nervousness, the anxiety, the constant agitation or uneasiness you get thinking you might have goofed up in the interview? Yes? No? That’s what I was wondering 2 days ago while crunching on a protein bar, on my way to the gym. And also wondering how did I reach from ‘literally nothing’ to ‘adequately something’.

Usually some people have it easy for them. They are living a normal, sane life, then one day decide to give an interview for a company, and few weeks later, BAM! They got the job. But for people like me, who are familiar with making compromises on a daily basis, don’t have it so easy. I have made compromises in almost every aspect of my life. Actually to be honest, literally every aspect of my life. There isn’t a single thing god has bestowed upon me with the attitude “Bro, just take it”. No, I had to work pretty hard, for days, weeks, months, maybe years, and I still wouldn’t sure whether I would achieve it. It’s like I have been fighting a battle I cannot hope to win. Again to be honest, when I was doing my undergrad education from 2009 – 2013, I never believed I would be able to bag a job, because I never really believed that I would make a breakthrough in ‘Mechanical Engineering’. No seriously, I really didn’t. And that’s true, I never did any wonders, at least not in the core technical field of Mechanical. That’s the difference between the education system of India and other countries. In India, its when you’re about to complete your final year, that you realize what you actually want to do in life.

My journey from 2009 to 2013 wasn’t a smooth flow at all. In fact it was like a pattern of alternating currents (AC): fluctuations with lots and lots of ups and downs, mostly downs. Quite a few incidents and mistakes I committed led to my downward spiral during the first two years. These incidents motivated me later by kicking my ass in the upper direction so hard, that I reached for the stars. I had experienced a lot of things during those 4 years. How could I even begin to describe it. I never expected it to be so surprising and thrilling. The years which happened to be unexpected, which became life changing, which will forever be unforgettable.These years changed me from one form to another,both physically and mentally in multiple ways than I could imagine. The person I was when I entered the college in 2009 was a lot, lot, lot more different than the person I had evolved into when I left college in 2013. I firmly believe that many of us have had to fight hardcore battles, sometimes do the unthinkable in order to reach where we would normally wouldn’t dream of. I did too, really hard. I fought academic battles, friendship battles, commitment battles, depression battles, obesity battles, and in the end of 2011, I gained 2 things which no one could dare to take away from me: experience and wisdom. Starting 2012, I took my personal and academic matters pretty seriously. By that time, I had realized the amount of potential I had as a person who could exercise so much that he would able to shed 100 lbs (45 kgs) of weight, and the amount of potential I had as a person who could do wonders in the field of data analysis.

Yes, with a lot of developments which happened in my life during that time, this was the most bizzare. I, a student of Mechanical Engineering could never hope or imagine that I would see myself working as a ‘Research Analyst’ doing hardcore data analysis. But that’s how life works, it makes you do things you never imagined you would do. During the last stage of my final year in 2013 I had reached a level where I had proved enough to myself and everyone of my capabilities. I didn’t feel the need to prove any further. And that’s when I received the following phone call:

Circa April 2013

Me: Hello? Yea who’s this?

Interviewer: Hi, we are calling to let you know of the results of the interview you gave one week ago

Me: yes please, go on

Interviewer: Congratulations! The management is really impressed with your answers and view for data analysis in the field of market research. After going through your resume, we are pleased to offer you a position in our company. You will be joining our team of consulting handling materials and automotive industries.

An 18 year old guy with low self confidence who thought he could never convince any company to hire him, had now turned into a 22 year old guy with unmatched confidence, who managed to impress a management team to a level that they hired him, and this team wasn’t even from his domain. Not only did I got hired, I would be working in my desired field, which would compel me more and more to succeed in this field. I finally got to know what it felt like to have your first real job in your hand. I still remember how happy I was that day, really really happy. I don’t think I had experienced this much level of contentment before. And luckily for me, since I was in a public place everyone around me was smiling, which made the moment even more memorable.

I really thought, that bagging a job in a company which was almost on a totally different tangent from my field, would be my biggest achievement. But I was so wrong. And this is why this blog doesn’t end here. If you have the courage to survive this blog, you would be more than comfortable to read its sequel, because it is in the next part where I would want to tell you what my biggest achievement actually is. An achievement which would probably solve the puzzle of this blog’s title.