Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty

Five stories. Fifty words each. Inspiration Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty.

A fifty paise coin

I am a fifty paise coin from India. Earlier i was a prized possession. I could buy a meal, a ride or even a movie ticket a few decades ago. However today i am good for nothing, although i am legal. Even beggars and bus conductors refuse to accept me.

coin

Fiftieth Anniversary

They cut a multi-tier chocolate cake on the beach on their Golden Anniversary. As they looked back through the photographs, it seemed as though is was just yesterday when they married. It seemed as though time had flown. Hand in hand they promised to be together till their last breath.

cake

Fiftieth Test Century

The stadium was shouting “Sachin! Sachin!”. He was patiently waiting for the right ball. And finally in one stroke he completed his fiftieth century in test cricket. Sachin became the first Indian to set this record. Complete stadium was cheering and saluting the master blaster. Indeed a moment to treasure!

sachin

Fiftieth Birthday

Today i have completed 5 decades on Earth. Its a day to retrospect and rejoice. I dreamt, planned, worked hard and achieved most dreams. Grew wiser and smarted. I achieved everything i wished and more. I promise to spend my life ahead helping others achieve their dreams, like i did!

birthday

A Question

100 Units of cash. Two players. You decide the ratio of distribution of cash among the two and the opponent either agrees or disagrees. If he agrees, cash is divided as suggested. If he disagrees, then roles are swapped and process continues. How will you divide? Fifty-Fifty? Or someway else?

Fifty_Fifty

Road of Life

One may wish a road to go on and on,
And to keep moving ahead smoothly,
Singing all the way along,
Enjoying every moment spent,
But in reality, life is different,
Road is unpredictable and ever-changing,
Having both smooth and bumpy patches,
It may be lined with green shady forests,
And sometimes it may be dry, hot and dusty,
Or slippery after the heavy rains,
It may be a fast multi-lane highway,
Or just a steep narrow pathway.
There are no maps or GPS to guide,
Just stride forward or enjoy the ride.

Sometimes a road may diverge into multiple roads,
Whether you like it or not,
Whether you want it or not,
It is the time to make a choice,
To stand at the cross-roads and decide,
To choose one road and reject others aside,
This decision however hard needs to be made,
Turning back is not an option,
Moving ahead is the only solution.

The current choice may affect the choices ahead,
Opening new ways and closing some doors,
This may further complicate the decision,
But this is the way how things are,
So think coolly and take your time,
Ask others, read the signboards,
And then just choose the road which seems best,
Opt for the one which your instinct tells you,
Past experiences and lessons may help,
But then nothing is guaranteed anyway,
The decision has to be taken,
However risky and insecure it may be,
Hoping for the best ahead.

One may sometimes regret past decisions,
But remember it was the best road that you had chosen,
So instead of repenting on past choices,
Foresee and listen to inner voices,
One may recall roads traveled in past,
And dream of the roads ahead,
But then one can just move along the road,
Enjoying and learning from each moment spent,
If you are lucky, the road may connect to your dream road,
Till then, don’t stop, anticipate & just move ahead.

the-road-ahead

 

Discover Yourself – MBTI Test

Since the time i can remember, i always knew that i was different. My parents tell me as a 4-5 year old kid, before buying a new board-game, i would ask them if one needed “brain” to play that game. I would rather not play a game which did not require using one’s brain. And i used to look down at others who played such (brainless) games! I liked playing with boxes and puzzles more than playing with dolls and kitchen sets. Since childhood i always wanted to be independent. My Dad tells me i used to spend around 15 minutes trying to tie my shoelaces myself when i was 4 even if i was getting late for school. As a kid i hated holding my parent’s hands while walking. Reading has been by favorite hobby ever since i can remember. I still have those hard bound books like The three bears, Puss in Boots etc which i read in childhood. Train journeys were always special because i would get a window seat and a Champak (a kids magazine) to read (later i progressed to Readers’ Digest).

Fast forward few years … I always had very few friends. One or atmost two at a time. It was always difficult for me to make friends. I remember during schooldays when most of my classmates sat under the neem trees and gossiped, i preferred playing basketball. I always had a strong aversion to gossip and small talk. I was never interested in the stories of my classmates’ crushes and heartbreaks and thus probably they were never interested in me. Library was the coolest place in school and i used to eagerly wait for the day when i could get new books issued. I always preferred watching NGC and Discovery instead of daily soaps and music videos.

Fast forward to the present … I know that its difficult for me to mix with people. Being a single child i am always happy being alone. Although i effectively interact with others when required, i always prefer being by myself. I am a good listener. I avoid phone-calls as much as possible (my grandpa’s trait). I mostly make better friends with people who are elder to me. I take a lot of time to fall asleep as thousands of thoughts keep me engaged. And thus i publish most of my blog posts after midnight. If i start something, i cannot just leave is half done. I am never satisfied with what i do, as i always see that i could have done better in hindsight. I think i am crazy, but then i am not too sure :P

In short, i know i am different. There are very few out there who are like me. I prefer to be with myself than with people who are largely different from me. But all these were my assumptions about myself till now. This is what i thought about myself. Then i came to know about he MBTI test. It categorizes people into sixteen categories on the basis of the following characteristics – introversion / extroversion, sensing / intuition, thinking / feeling, judging / perceiving. You can take this test online here. There are no right or wrong answers. Just answer what YOU think is correct. The test is a bit long and time consuming but its worth trying. Although we behave differently in different situations depending on various factors, however there is a dominant characteristic that determines our personality.

My test results told me that i am an INTJ (Introvert, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging). I did not know what it meant. The more i read about it, the more amazed i was. At some points i felt as if i was reading about myself. I was so happy. Mostly I could relate to what was written. It seemed as though, someone understood me and had written it specifically for me (for some points). Do you know the best part? Wikipedia tells that INTJs are one of the rarest of the sixteen personality types, and account for approximately 1-2% of the population (and only 0.8% in women). Finally i had a result to show why it was always difficult for me to make friends and why there are so few people of “my type” out there. This test has showed that there is nothing wrong in being different, and its my personality that i am the way i am! Also its good to be rare and different. For me, these test results have been like finding the proof of a hypothesis which i had assumed since a long time. It feels good :)

Plea of the Girl Child

I have big dreams in my heart,
I just want a push to start.
I will do everything i can,
Just let me go ahead with my plan.
Don’t pin me down, set me free,
Give me freedom, let me be me.

Give me your guidance and support,
I will be as strong as a huge fort.
Nurture me with love and care,
Even i can be your rightful heir.
Don’t pin me down, set me free,
Give me freedom, let me be me.

I am brave, I am strong,
I can tackle when things go wrong.
I can judge between wrong and right,
So trust me and have faith in my might.
Don’t pin me down, set me free,
Give me freedom, let me be me.

I will be there whenever you need,
With all my love and respect indeed.
Just one chance is all i ask,
To show my competence in my task.
Don’t pin me down, set me free,
Give me freedom, let me be me.

Don’t force me in a cage when i want to fly,
Don’t cut my wings when i want to soar high.
Don’t kill me as i want to live my dreams,
What will be achieved by silencing my screams?
Don’t pin me down, set me free,
Give me freedom, let me be me.

Book Review – The Power Law of Information

the_power_law_of _information

How many times have you read a non-fiction book and you were left amazed with reality ? Well, “The Power Law of Information” is one of those books. We are all so busy with the day-to-day happenings in our life that sometimes we fail to see how some things affect us so powerfully and literally change our lives. One of those things is “information”. 2.7 Zetabytes of data exists in the digital universe today and it is growing at a very fast rate. Earlier information was not available so easily and effortlessly.  But today the easy availability of information has transformed our lives. This book shows how the huge availability (and sometimes the unavailability) of information affects us in different ways.

The book has been written in lucid and easy-to-understand manner. For the technical people, there are mathematical equations and lots of graphs for a better and in-depth understanding. However the best thing which i liked was that, even if one is not familiar with the mathematical stuff, one can easily get the gist of what the author wants to convey. There are lots of practical, real life examples and anecdotes. There are some case studies to validate the point. All this makes the book an interesting read and an eye-opener about the impact of information in our life. This book can be specially useful for the people who are intrigued by the Internet, the world wide web, the social networks or about information in general

Earlier it was believed that information networks are similar to physical or material networks. However it is clearly shown here that information networks have unique and different properties like information can be reused, it can be easily replicated etc which are not found in the material network. Information follows the power law, i.e. a small number of entities have a high value and a large number of entities have a small value. It is such a unique and important property that it has its place in the title of the book. Information networks are non-linear since people in the network interact with each other and may be connected in loops. It is also friction-less since the feedback fully affects the information network. Studying and predicting outcomes in such networks can be extremely complex but that’s the way reality is !

In this book, ‘information’ has been analyzed from all the perspectives. Firstly information itself and its properties and how it affects us is discussed. Various parameters which affect information and different ways to model information are studied. Also how we as humans can make beneficial use of this information despite our fallacies, biases and bounded rationality makes an interesting read. Other social factors like herd mentality and satisficing behavior are analyzed with some interesting examples. Money is also in some sense, information. The book concludes on the topic how money affects the world. There is a detailed bibliography and further reading for the interested readers. Overall it’s an amazing book filled with lots of practical examples and a great read over the weekend.

2013 Review

2013 has been a wonderful year for me. Now when i look back, i feel as if it just zoomed away. I learnt new lessons, met new people, increased my friends circle. Some of major highlights of the year 2013 which i can recall are as follows -

  • It has been a year of learning. 2013 was the last year when i studied formal courses of M.Tech at IIIT-B.  Learnt many new and interesting concepts. Some of them actually left me amazed ! Worked with many Profs. Did some interesting projects. Gave the last exam !
  • Took the decision of doing thesis instead of internship in the final semester of M.Tech. It has been one of the best decision i have made. I am enjoying every moment of the work i am doing. This is the most amazing work i have ever done ! Hope to get some new and interesting results. Looking forward to the next six months of research. I have realized that doing what we love, can give us maximum happiness, maximum satisfaction.
  • A year of firsts – I did many things for the first time in 2013. Tried new things, had new experiences. The ones that i can recall now are as follows – Watched the first 3D movie (Frozen, it was amazing !), attended the first conference, published the first paper, presented first poster (at Open House), first time went on a tour without parents, first birthday away from home (but also one of the best), first time traveled in a metro, got my first job …
  • I gave the best gift to my parents on their 25th marriage anniversary, a “Gold Medal” for being first in B.E. in the Computer Engineering department of Gujarat Technological University (GTU). The best thing was that my convocation was on their anniversary day (19th Jan). Mom and Dad, I am proud to be your daughter. It is because of you both, i am, what i am today :) I know thanks is too small a word but still, thanks a lot for everything !!!
  • Increased my friends circle. Our gang of girls increased from 5 to 7. It has been a great support system. A family away from home. These are people whom you can call even at 2 AM to talk. I will miss our long mid-night walks and then sandwiches + fruit juice in canteen, our shopping trips, our study sessions together, our meals in canteen. Thanks a lot guys for being there ! Lets all be friends forever :) This year brought us all closer and bonded us even better. I also realized that it can be very difficult to wave goodbye to your close friends.
  • This was the year when most of the festivals were celebrated away from home. Be it lighting up the hostel on Diwali, or the colorful fun with colors on Holi or the beautiful flower rangoli on Onam or the most awaited three-day long Spandan-The Sports Fest at IIIT-B or the ethnic day celebrations. Celebrating festivals can be fun with friends.
  • I have always believed that its better to be alone than to be with people who don’t match your values and ethics. I have been an introvert in some ways, and never initiated conversations with strangers for example while travelling or at other public places. Thus i have a small close-knit friend circle of a few close friends. I have always enjoyed my own company and hence i can say with full confidence that being alone can be also be fun ! However, this year i have also realized that making friends can be easy if the wavelength of the other person matches yours.
  • This has been a musical year for me. Thanks to the SpicMacay events at IIIT-B, other performances and lots and lots of YouTube musical videos, it has been an enchanting and euphonious year. I am planning to learn a new musical instrument next year. I will update about it later. Music is food for soul. It has the magical power to transcend us to a new different world. Music can refresh the brain even after a long and tiring day.
  • This year for the first time a visited a home for physically and mentally challenged girl child, Swanthana. All i can say is that, i was completely moved. Our problems, our setbacks, our challenges, our sorrows are nothing, yes believe me NOTHING once you see their life. But still they SMILE (and it can bring tears in anyone’s eyes). To read my full experience, click here.

I am looking forward to 2014. I hope it is a great year full of new ideas, new experiences, new lessons, new friends and new learning. Wishing all of you a very happy and prosperous new year 2014 ! May all your dreams come true. May you get all that you deserve and more !

Age is just a number

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” ~Mark Twain

Days, weeks, months and years pass. And so do birthdays ! But does anyone feel “grown up” with each passing birthday ? Atleast i don’t. If you do please let me know what it feels like. A birthday is like a milestone for me. An indicator of the amount of time i have spent on Earth (in this lifetime ;) ). A reason to celebrate, enjoy and party ! But i don’t feel anything different from my previous birthdays. May be next year i will, or probably not. No idea. Probably for me age will always be just a number !

I think more than the birthdays, its those special moments of wisdom which make us feel big. For example, when we help someone, when we face our fears, when we make BIG decisions, when we follow our heart/brain and not what others say, when we find happiness in doing things and so on … I think these moments make us wiser and older. It is the experience we have from these moments that makes us mature. And thus due to this reason i think it is possible that people celebrating bigger birthdays may not always be mature and in similar way, sometimes the young ones may be. It all depends on the experiences we have had. The people we have met. The friends (and enemies) we have made. The books we have read. The lessons we have learnt. The choices we have made. The decisions we have taken. The roads we have walked.

On a lighter note, when i was small and innocent and didn’t know the ‘reality’, i believed that i would grow taller on my birthday :P My parents tell me that i would ask them to measure my height before the birthday night as i would be taller the next day. Seriously we as children can have strange and funny beliefs.

My friends liked this idea, so i thought i would share it with all. How many of you feel that the day for which you waited so long, i.e. your birthday just flies away ? The next day, it feels like a dream. And then you have to wait for whole one year to celebrate it again ! So the idea is to celebrate “Birthday Month” instead of just “Birthday”. For the whole month, daily do something you like doing. Make each day special in its own way. Also celebrate the birthday. In this way, you won’t feel that your birthday just zoomed away. You will be enjoy each and every moment of the entire birthday month. Thanks to Mom and Dad for this wonderful idea :) Also how about celebrating “Birthday Year” ? Lets make every moment of our life special ! After all its OUR life !

Do you want to know what is your actual mental age ? Try this fun test online -> http://www.mbti123.com/mental/en/

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” ~Satchel Paige