Friday, December 9, 2016

Net worth or slack!

You earn and save . You save and you invest. The more money you have the safer you feel about the future.

Net worth of a person or a company or a country can be seen in various ways.

One of the most common assumptions of capitalism is that net worth of a person is equal to the value he/ she has contributed to the society. whether it is true or false or where it is true and where it is false is a different debate.

This post is about a second interpretation.

Your current net worth is like a buffer or inventory you keep because of the uncertainty of the future demand of money in your life or that of your family. money is a store of value which you can exchange later.

Now imagine a factory which keeps a lot of inventory in between its processes. would you call it an efficient factory. of course it is less susciptible to overall breakdown because every machine in the work line has enough inventory in betwwen them so that even if one part breaks down others continue to work on their buffer inventory. so it is safe but not efficient.

similarly in an economic system if each person becomes a saver of net worth and not a utilizer then the system becomes slow and heavy and not efficient. i guess that is why most advanced economies try to make future spendings for your life deterministic with low inflation, insurance for everything government support for the mis fortunate etc. if you take care of the uncertainties people will save less and the money cycle will flourish.

Friday, January 22, 2016

reverse example-theory order in education

While looking at various wikipedia articles day in and day out, I figured it is really difficult to grasp a concept if i start reading from line one. I always scroll through for some examples down there of the concept and then look for the generalisation at the top.

similar approach should be followed in teaching. The idea of a school is not to thrust knowledge but to create an environment where students seek learning. Its like recreating the atmosphere again to recreate the eureka moment for the students.

So start with a simple example then ask why questions to reach the generalization. because that is how learning happens.

Monday, November 30, 2015


Recently a lot of events that I am thinking about have boiled down to one important lesson for life. On accountability.


"Tu idhar udhar ki na baat kar
ye bata ki kafila kyun luta
humein reh zanon se gila nahi
teri rehbari ka sawaal hai"

a huge laid out project at work is flailing and there is no one who is accountable because everyone was true to its incentives and no one had the accountability.


nitpicking and complaining about what other has done is easy. advising is easy but what is difficult is to hold the pressure of accountability and responsibility on your head and do the deed, accomplish the task. So if you want to get the work done your way you also have to face the stress of accountability or your advise may or maynot be heeded.

self taken accountability is better than given because when taken it is generally taken with a knowledge that one could do it better than it is done right now.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Move and unmove

I think there is an ideal state for everything; static or dynamic. Some things are better if firm, unmoving and non-volatile, while some others are good when dynamic and ever changing. This thinking model is a special case of the yin yang model.

Some examples:
Examinations ( any filtering, screening, measuring, interviewing, appraisal... ) A stationery system of measurement is subject to gaming, If the objective is to get the best, and the variables of being best are many, then it makes sense to keep changing the screening patters every time. A stationery system will be gamed and if diamonds are what you are looking for any stone can be shaped to look like it given sufficient time.

In the other direction things like fundamental principles or resolutions or the big goal of life need to be firmed up real soon. As harivansh rai bachchan said " rah pakad tu ek chala chal..paa jayega madhushala " There is accomplishment at the end of all roads, but you get to walk on just one road per lifetime. If we keep changing the ultimate goal, we end up farthest from any one goal.

So we need to be observant of aspects in life which should be stationery but which we changing, based on fads or peer pressures. And then there are things which we need to keep moving which we have made stationery because of a comfort zone, fear of unknown, closed mind or pure laziness.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar trek

Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar Trek, Nepal with Jatin Pasrija and Rohit Singla

In March 2013, as soon as it was thought that the course was clear, I went for the trek of my life, to enjoy the pristine, untouched snowclad mountains. It was a trek to the first base camp of the revered Mount Everest.

If I only show you photos from the trek, they would appear as just another set of wallpapers. If I write about my experience it would feel dramatic. If I just give you numbers like -20 degrees centigrade, 5365 meters, 450 Pascal thin air, etc. you may understand that I am talking extremes here, but I may still not be able to tell you what I experienced. So if you are fascinated by anything that I mention below, stop and allow yourself to be.

Lets start the story from Kathmandu as it will be the common starting point for anyone wanting to attempt this trek from any country. I went on this trek with 2 of my old buddies, without a guide or an agency. However, if it is your first trek in the Himalayas, I would suggest not being rash about it and hiring someone.

3rd March
The first leg is a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla and is in itself a unique experience. Flying in a 15-seated Dornier aircraft with amazing views of snow clad mountain peaks on the left serves as an amazing trailer for the things to come. The landing is an adventurous one too. It is a one shot landing, as the runway has a mountain on front and a 2000-meter fall on the back. The runway itself is just 450 meters with visible backward slope.

After landing and quickly heaving a sigh of relief, the trekking journey just starts like that. First target: Phakding. This is to get things started. You actually descend 200 meters on this day to 2600 mts. Altitude.

4th March
Even though it was just the second day, it was one of the toughest day of our trek. Each of us was carrying around 15kgs backpack. We started with relatively simple walk to Monju but the stretch from here to Namache gave us our first headaches, body aches and doubts whether our desk jobs have spoiled us. We trekked for a grueling 8 hours with limited water. I also had a hint of fever. In spite of this on reaching Namache (3440 mfrs.) and watching the Amadablam peak reflect the last sunrays of the day made us believe that the effort was worth it.

5th March
It is advisable that after climbing around 600 meters, you take an acclimatization day before attempting the next 600 meters. On this day if possible you should climb a steep hill nearby for about 400-500 meters and come back down and sleep at a lower altitude. This is to avoid a condition called Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). So on this day we climbed to Everest View point near Namache. It was a very steep climb but we reached the top of the hill. We could not see Mt. Everest from here though owing to the cloud cover. We were happy nonetheless because none of us was having any symptoms of AMS at a height close to the 4000mts mark.

Namache Bazaar is an established market, where you would be surprised to see things like Pringles and wine for sale, though at inflated prices. There were snooker tables too.

6th March
Every blog we read mentioned that the trek to Namache was going to be tough and we were prepared for it. None, however, mentioned that the trek from Namache to Tyngboche was going to be another challenge. We had left a considerable redundant stuff we were carrying at Namache to reduce our weights to around 13kgs each. But the climb made us give up and we hired a porter to share 5kgs from each of us, making our bags weigh 8kgs each, still difficult but manageable.

We reached Tyngboche(3870 mts) on time. It has a beautiful Buddhist Monastery, which has scheduled prayers at 3pm. We got our first view of Everest from here. We could see it from inside our lodge’s window. And was it beautiful! That night the temperatures dropped below zero.

7th March
It had snowed the previous night and we knew that the first half of our days trek was going to be steep downhill for about 200 meters. We had a tough time on the descent with snow and settled ice making it worse. Slipping and falling we made it through Deboche, Pengboche, Somary and eventually reaching Dingboche(4530 mts.)

On the way we crossed the 4000mts altitude mark. This altitude is crucial because it aligns with the tree line. Beyond this point vegetation is sparse and so is oxygen. Chilling cold, low oxygen and strong winds were going to be our major problems henceforth.

8th March
We had breached the 600mtrs ‘acclimatization rule’ as we came from 3400 mts to 4500mts in a single stretch. Hence we decided to acclimatize at Dingboche. We attempted a climb to 5100mtrs on a nearby mountain peak named Nagarsan. I have been trekking around but I had never crossed 4300mts before, so with every step I took, that day, I was breaking my own altitude record.

We were able to reach 4800 mts and stayed there for a while to enjoy the panorama. We were surrounded by as many as 7-8 peaks each measuring more than 6000 mts in height. Standing among the giants and defending ourselves from chilling winds, we each had our moment of awe and each admitted that this was one of the best views they had seen of the mountains. And to imagine we still had 3 more days to go! Thinking about what awesomeness may lie ahead we went to sleep.

On the way to Lobuche, we practically walked the whole day on snow. Sometimes we even walked over frozen rivers. Actually we were trekking on the region were glaciers just start melting and where river streams are just starting to take birth. It was beautiful as we saw small amount of water flowing under the thick layer of transparent ice, over which we were walking.

As we reached Lobuche(4940mts), all of us hit our first symptoms of AMS together: A nagging pain in the head and loss of appetite. We were not sure whether it was AMS or intense cold that was causing it so we decided to drink hot garlic soup and take rest. Luckily for us, in 4-5 hours, the headache started fading and we were ready for the next day.

10th March
Lobuche to Gorak Shep was the most beautiful single day journey of my life. We left early and from step one were mesmerized by the beauty around us. The clouds came early on that day. The clouds made the beautiful landscapes surreal, but at the same time they prophesied a tough day ahead with expected snowfall with no ease of temperature, as the sun was not to be seen.

I can try but I don’t have words to describe the sight of The Khumbu Glacier. “Divine Magnificence” comes to my mind. Standing on 5200mtrs, breathing thin air, with snow falling around us and the thermometer reading close to -20 degrees celcius; we could not have enough of the sight ahead.

We reached Gorakshep and it is nothing but 3-4 small plywood lodges completely covered in snow.

11th March
As expected from the cloud cover the previous morning, it snowed crazy. It had snowed for 13 hours straight. We were advised not to go to Everest Base Camp which was just a 3 hours walk from there. We were heartbroken. After all this 3 hours were what was separating us from a spectacular view of Mt. Everest and a personal record of crossing 5300mtrs.

We discussed and decided to attempt the Kala Patthar climb instead. It is a 5545 mts summit. We decided to reach at least a height of 5360mts, which is precisely the height of Everest Base Camp.

We saw the revered Mt. Everest and also saw Mt. Lotse, Mt. Nuptse, the beautiful Mt. Pumari and others. For me personally, The Khumbu glacier was still stealing the show.

12th March onwards
The descent was not much eventful, except that the previous day’s snowfall had changed the landscape beyond recognition. Also with the long-term goal of reaching the top now gone, we noticed the daily lives of the native Sherpas more keenly. We took 4 days to reach Lukla and took the flight back to Kathmandu.

Trek of a lifetime!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Manner and Substance

Am not going to say anything new, just jotting down my thoughts on this idea.

So I have been thinking that every thought has a life , just like any organism. It is born in the head of a person in the form of an idea. It only takes life if right kind of thoughts mix in a conducive environment. There is a limited nutrition that the brain can provide to thoughts and so many of them die very early on. some which survive and become strong, then grow out and use other parts of the brain and the human body as a whole to reach out to the world and grow beyond just one mind. They become strong enough to narrate the mandate of this brain henceforth and gain enough power to determine the state of the new thoughts being born later.

...So I have been thinking.

Now given the above idea there is a different direction in which I extend the analogy whenever i sit down to ponder. For instance today i was wondering while a thought/idea is being propagated through the population how important it is for the idea to be dressed properly to be accepted. Just like it is important for human beings to conform to the norms of manner in order to be accepted in a society.

This led me to consider two extreme cases. a thought with substance and no mannerism. A thought with mannerism and no substance. Both kinds exist in the real world and both survive. There are minds which accept thoughts with substance without the glamour and there are minds which accept thoughts without substance but just because they are interesting/ glamorous.

There is a "the hindu" for every "times of india". there is a blue for every pop song. there is a print ad for every academic paper. there is a gossip for every insightful epiphany.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Car latch idea

I have some ideas now and then which just die without making it to the i have decided to at least give them a chance of life by throwing it out to the cyberspace.

If by chance someone happens to land on this and get inspired or are already working on something similar. I would love to hear from you.

One of such ideas:

The roads when clogged have bumper to bumper traffic. in such a scenario even if the traffic if moving without a roadblock, there is a wave like nature that develops because of many degrees of freedom, one with each car. these lead to long periods of stalling then movement for a couple of feet and then stalling again for each of the cars. this then leads to inefficient usage of time and fuel.

more details here.

and here

so one suggestion is to latch a car onto one another. doing it mechanically is not feasible because in cities cars need to change course now and then as each one is going on a different route. so latching and de latching is difficult. but then it can be done by making the cars smarter.

An electronic latch.

So lets say the car's central electronic system has two sensors and communicators , one at the front and one at the back.
each car can communicate with the computer on the car in front and on the back.
lets say in the above video if all the cars had that facility.
now as soon as a stretch of road is encountered, these cars latch onto each other i.e. they all try to maintain the same distance between each other and thus travel at the same speed,  thus reducing the shockwave.,  each car knows what is the most efficient speed for itself. they communicate within themselves and an overall decision is reached about what the speed should be for the next stretch of road.
thus, they lock the speeds of different cars to a certain speed, which it can calculate on the go.
now this would be a loose lock in the sense there is a manual override if someone wants to stop or say turn. so the car delatches when you turn on the indicator ..suddenly, all cars behind it will stop owing to the electronic communication, in fact the information about sudden stop will reach the car n positions behind much faster and the brakes will be applied for it earlier. avoiding a second type of shockwave. similarly a delay in starting a car is avoided because lets say if n cars are standing still and the first one decides to move (lets say when the signal turns green) all the cars behind it start moving simultaneously because they have the information now.

so its like a temporary railway train.

it is a challenging engineering project but could save lot of fossil fuel and man hours.