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A book and its cover

I’ve struggled with this notion for sometime. I know people and have people around me who do this most of the time. Heck, there are times when I fall into the trap of doing the same. I do not want to be the same. I want to improve my thinking. Why? Because I have been a victim of misunderstanding. I have also been misunderstood. No one likes that. It is not optimal.


What does it mean?

Whenever we look at someone our mind makes up its own mind. Yes, that sounded funny but that’s what happens. At least, loosely speaking. We have largely two sections inside our brain. The first one, evolved through the ages yet contains remnants of the animal brain. It is quick to get excited and quick to draw conclusions. There are several examples of this, some familiar, others not. There is a predator in the bush. One in hand is also better than two in the bush. My friend’s enemy is my enemy. I see the lightening, don’t understand it, hence, God. The second section within the brain, which is more careful, slow and appreciates tedious calculations. Yes, indeed it does, despite the popular notion of slow is easy, easy is good. Turning the examples above on their head… The predator in the bush can be my meal and perhaps a delicious one if I can subdue it. Do I have any tools handy? How do I invent tools? Oh, physics and math! The enemy of my friend can push my friend to do better things in life because no-one wants to suffer and hard work needs motivation. Maybe my friend’s enemy can motivate him to do better. Hence, social psychology. Indeed, the second brain is scheming, manipulation, understanding yet slow to process outcomes.

So when we look at someone, something or are thrown into a situation, our animal mind (the cerebellum) already has cast its judgment. We arrive at a conclusion and are more confident than not. This is usually the case if you don’t flight the immediate impulse to draw conclusions. The more (sic) evolved part of our brain (the cerebrum) has yet to even evaluate the situation. The more time we spend in the situation, with the person, engaged with something, the more complicated the situation begins to look. We are conscious creatures but there is more evaluation taking place subconsciously than current science has managed to record.


Alternatives and a semi-conclusion

The best way to think about things is mechanically. Time-box everything. Even a thought process to think about things. Time-box it. You have to plan a trip half way around the world? Time-box it. The plan to make the plan? Time-box it. Anything that needs thought and action needs to be time boxed. That will more times than not lead thought to forced into a structure. So when you are in an unfamiliar situation or facing an unfamiliar audience the best way to evaluate it is to time box the thought process to evaluate the situation. More than restricting the time to evaluate the situation this will force you to use a framework to evaluate the situation. Ironically, the choice of the structure and framework will take time. One needs to lend their mind to reading about reading, writing, understanding culture, looking for results, using goals and objectives. This should be guidance to an end goal. Knowing about things helps to avoid being blindsided by unfamiliar situations and people. Blindsided by people, occurrences, science, and sometimes facts that have already discovered among other things. Awareness about things helps build good frameworks. Awareness comes from reading about things and sometimes being in the situation. Unfortunately the latter which is sometimes called experience needs failure for things to be understood entirely.

The run after the dream made me think about things. Sunrise, Sunrise!

More about this in another blog post. Despite a fantastic dream today that made me think about things and a bit emotional and when I woke up I decided two things. One, that this post will never be finished and two I should go out for a long run like old times. So I decided to time-box the drafting of this post and that now is just as good a time to finish it up and post it. At the end I just have one thing to say. Read Mental Models by Shane Parrish and listen to The Knowledge Project. Don’t judge the book and the podcast by either of their covers. In all honesty I have listened to him in a while. But that wasn’t always the case. I did, very frequently in the past. Alright that’s all for now. Mental models. Don’t forget.

A Deliberate Post

I’ve started to migrate. No it doesn’t feel too great. But this post today isn’t about that. It’s about structure, meditation and relationships. Aren’t those things related? Structure is important and helps to provide flow to the story. Setting up a context makes it easier for the reader but it also helps the author to gather content and give shape to the story.


Talking about structure let’s start with Notion. I didn’t realise this before but as I’m getting used to Notion templates and the interface (it has been languishing on different computers for some time now) it might be helpful to craft a story and easier to write content for the blog.

Now that I’m coming back to this draft I realise that something about the environment around me is pushing me to use structure and become better at writing. That said, this post will lack structure. So will twenty or so posts after this one. But you will see improvement.

Not an advertisement and not sponsored either!

Meditation

My Waking Up app tells me that I’ve been meditating for 300+ days now. Even if that’s not accurate I know that on average I’ve meditated for 9+ minutes everyday for the past eight months. How has that changed me? It probably has not. At least not in a perceivable way. However, I can tell that I am looking at things differently. Even if folks around me don’t see a change. This will sound ridiculous. In fact if i heard what I’m about to write I would ridicule it immediately but I need to say it nonetheless. I can feel the universe around me is working with me on this. The book I’m reading, the energy I’m feeling, and the passages that are coming my way. What now? On to 20 minutes a day. It’s not a goal or a target but something feels right about it as I say it or think about it.

Meditating in a relationship about the relationship

Relationships

If I think about this two things come to mind. One, I could write a book about this topic or two, I don’t have anything to say about this topic. Very contradictory! Or maybe that is how all great topics are in reality. We have so much to say about them that we usually get overwhelmed when we begin to think about them.

This passage was primarily prompted because of a picture. The picture illustrated happiness. It prompted memories and left me with a bitter taste. I could have said so much and done things differently but relationships are not straightforward. A mother loves her children dearly but is human after all. A father can stake his reputation and health on his family. Children love their parents in a pure way beyond anything they have known in life, perhaps their first loves.

The wrath of a mother’s anger can leave devastation in its wake. It can bruise. A bruise that sometimes can take a lifetime to heal. A father gets involved in interests that prove to be damaging to the family. Children eventually leave their nest and find their next ‘true love’. So, yes, and image can tell a story worth a thousand words. That story though isn’t the only interpretation and the story perhaps can be told in a thousand ways.

Disjointed threads… again

Gratitude and Humility, while not part of the Virtues should be or perhaps they are outcomes of Veritas, Garvitas and Honor

I felt like talking to you today and then wrote this (what was supposed to be a short post). This is a compilation of broken notes across a few hours over a couple of days. As context I was watching Kanye’s documentary throughout most of it besides the arguments between meals and other happenings at home. However, I am grateful for many things in life and want to be the ideal version of myself but I’m also struck by the amount of failure in my life. Failure on my part to evaluate situations, failure on the part of my parents, friends, society. Is this what life is? I hope not. I look at the sacrifices of people and the work they put in to achieve success and it exhilarates me.

A virtuous dog or a scheming dog

A few conversations I watched by way of podcasts or videos. The first one was JP’s conversation with Lex Fridman. I hadn’t heard a complete Lex conversation in sometime but this guest was important for me. A part of me wanted him to redeem himself and I felt he did ultimately. Jordan Peterson’s conversation with Lex Fridman was really great overall. I enjoyed the peeling of the scabs and the delving into different understandings of things. Scabs that had formed mostly for Jordan Peterson I think. While he is an introvert and has put himself out there at his volition, he does receive a fair share of bashing from the entities on the social networks (bots or not!). A few hours later I wasn’t in the greatest of moods right now and I’m feeling ridiculous. Even ‘ridiculous’ is not a genuine emotion. Maybe shame would be better. I hope I can be honest on this platform. What is the reason for this? Maybe home?

Then I also listened to Seth Dillon on Joe Rogan. Something that was said at the start of the conversation was to the effect that any comedy (or anything else) with an agenda becomes irritating. This guy (the “CEO” of Babylon Bee) seems he’s come on with so much going on. He seems disturbed and distracted and even looked defensive from the get go in the conversation. Maybe Joe does that to people in person perhaps because Joe is an imposing personality, I’m sure he is. Maybe it was just that Seth was nervous because this was a large platform. He was fidgety and jumped around on a lot of things to defend himself. A part of me also feels like I would perhaps be the same in some situations. I do unfortunately feel like he’s much like me with regard to the nervousness. Though the lack of eye contact though isn’t really much of my thing. Anyway, I don’t have the bandwidth to watch something that I’m not resonating with. And it’s not the ideas, I didn’t agree with the ideas from the get go. I wanted to see a strong defence of his position and that was not happening so I stopped watching it. Maybe I should continue exploring that thread about changes in my demeanour/ home. More on that later.

The background to this post was Kanye’s documentary… it was something that I watched and delighted me but left me in a dark state of mind. I will be biased in my reactions because I already appreciated the guy for his entrepreneurial spirit. However, it also left me sad because I was left drained by the reaction of the world around him. I remember a few years ago when I asked a close friend to watch one of his videos for what he had to say they were disappointed. They said “Don’t ever ask me to watch such a misogynist again”. This was a couple of years before the BLM walks throughout the US, during which the world came to terms with their lack of understanding of the various cultures around them. I don’t think misogyny has place irrespective of any culture and there are no ifs or buts about it. However, what might seem like misogyny might be a cultural misunderstanding. It might just be a lack of context to understand what the person is saying. At any rate the documentary jee-yuhs was really great. It highlighting an interesting take on a life that is going to be remembered for sometime and since this was one of the other things I watched I thought I should write about it.

Recently browsing through HackerNews I saw this post by an Indian entrepreneur who talked about how not getting the H1-B visa was one of the best things that happened to him. While that might have been a fair statement for him personally a lot of commentators on social media were commenting about how that is true and the tide is changing for India. India is now becoming a challenger to Silicon Valley. While reading all this all I could think about what the garbage dump right next to my house where people keep piling on just because. So then, I wrote a small revert which should be somewhere on the interwebs. So here goes… ‘Balaji recently wrote about a version of startup communities in his book The Network State. Although, he talked about first creating virtual communities and then agglomerating enough critical mass to enable people to demand physical changes in the infrastructure/ affect government in the real world. He also speaks highly of India in a related context because of the proliferation of technology supported by the fact that major technology shapers hail from India among other things.

I don’t agree with many of the views and feel like India is missing a key piece. We are not a single country (never have been as goes popular meme goes). It is hard for us as a nation to optimise for success because we have too many competing priorities at the local, state and lower levels. The exaggerated impact of diversity stemming from diverse cultures is too much to handle and optimise for one country’s leadership in my humble opinion. I want to think differently but unfortunately the ground reality is telling for e.g., if you only look at the garbage dumps across various cities despite a national campaign of cleanliness. We as a people needed to be made aware in 50+ languages that we should hesitate from destroying our surroundings and not trash them.

It is easy to think that a 5Gbps connection with air conditioning and organic rations just arrive out of nowhere as it sometimes does in many industrialised/developed countries in the West. There is basic infrastructure that is needed not just to stimulate the economy but also allows for those lowest in the social rungs to benefit and operate like normal human beings do in the West. This is nothing new of course and we all have seen the disparities in large Indian cities. Some even tend to compare it to what is happening in SF and other large cities in the US. My experience is that the environment I was in, both in Singapore and US brought out the best in me. I could spend my intellectual bandwidth on things that actually mattered to the larger society around me. One could say that the return on investment (action/thought ratio) was much higher because I was enabled by basic infrastructure. I didn’t have to care about rowdy neighbours or worms in chocolates or dysfunctional municipal services (comparing the occurrence of these disturbances among others to problems like gun violence is a bit ridiculous in terms of the impact they cause on day to day life for an average common person).

All this is not to say that India is doomed and there is nothing happening here or possible in the long term future. I’m just opining that it takes a lot of basic needs to be satisfied for a society to operate optimally. Without being too cynical, Kunal Bahl had a basic foundation to leave MS and build Snapdeal (after pursuing a great education in the US). It’s not impossible and is a worthy dream that many if not all should pursue but the popular narrative that India is now ripe to be the next Silicon Valley is not realistic. And to me it feels like most technology (only) solutions to societal challenges are like a band-aid. The solutions need to be deeper and cultural, and as much of a curmudgeon this might make me seem, Government needs to be involved in those solutions. Not just government marketing and branding as has become popular these days but actual government action. It will be hard for a large part of the population to see beyond the marketing so yes, it will be an uphill battle.’

Being back home has been a rainy trip

Coming back closer to more personal things, life has started to become not be easy at home. It never was, but I had been away from home to have an objective perspective. Remember when I was yet to come home? I remember it. I was so very much looking forward to it and I realise that even now it is a fleeting moment and I should cherish each moment of it but things are starting to get to me. These things are assumptions, ways of thinking, reactions to occurrences, etc. I know that this time will be gone and I will miss it but what of it right now? The mistakes one makes are mostly exclusive of what anyone else has done with/to/for you in life. It takes a little bit of self reflection, which also depends on very personal situations. Yes, externalities impact our lives but there are always options and sometimes we need to make choices whatever hand we are dealt. Sometimes when I listen to people around me talk it feels like an unreal conversation. Not bad, not good, just unreal and disconnect from real life. Opinions and realisations framed by personal takes that are so far from reality and sometimes just seem so bizarre. Empathy isn’t only a method for feeling kindness for another person it also is method to maintain one’s sanity. If gratitude and reality is forgotten life can become hard. There needs to be an effort to see situations from different perspectives in order to not get completely delusional.

A large part of my circle is not curious about many things. Maybe life has taken a toll on them and it has made them this way but it feels like they have just been living… They don’t understand how the world works and don’t endeavour to understand it either. Sometime it feels like they don’t want to understand and don’t really have the intellectual bandwidth to push themselves either. To them people are good or bad based on how they look, their family name or something of the sort defines others around them. Maybe it’s alright because they are a product of their environment and their environment has not been very conducive. I want to give them the benefit of doubt because they are family. A characteristic that I’m not too please about is when a strong willed person is not very bold but is aggressive. It can lead to streaks where enough conviction can lead ridiculous conclusions that are fed by self belief and it becomes a self perpetual cycle.

Contemplating the choices in life, mostly bad and fortune of having been in the right places

I was reminiscing about my first few weeks in ATL when I had just started with my first role post MBA. Yes, I was excited but I knew for sure that I wanted to start BJJ as well. I didn’t ask anyone about it and I was just drawn to it because of everything I followed on social media and otherwise. It wasn’t easy. I had a massive (relatively, by my standards) loan to pay off and I also wanted to send money back home. The pay wasn’t the greatest but it was something much more than I had ever been paid. The net effect of everything was that I decided to start BJJ and I remember the first few months when I used the local bus to move around. I caught the local bus down in ATL just to get to the BJJ gym right after work. Work wasn’t easy either. It was good office work that wasn’t paying as much as I should have been paid but whatever I still grit my teeth and made sure that I was doing what I needed to do… After all I was only going to get to the gym to get beat up. Haha… now three years later as a blue belt I can say it was all worth it. The bike falls, the broken ankle, the bruises and all the rest. Feels good to have achieved something. At least that’s the story I’m telling myself, what is your story?

The Chat, Challenges and Changes

This post was supposed to come to you and my blog from an airport. Things have been hectic but there are signs of growth. I have been back home or the past 72 days now and it’s been great mostly. When I say mostly I am including things that are not part of the home. Things like worry about the work visa, prospective work, etc.

Now I’m getting back to this draft after about two weeks and I desperately feel like I have to get something out. Things have started to tend towards the mean again. I think that’s what happens at home or when you’re surrounded by people that make you feel comfortable. You start to become comfortable and you tend to stop pushing yourself, both mentally and physically. I am not blaming anyone I myself because I have not held myself to account. If I don’t take control today I will consider myself to be slacking but this post is an effort for me to get moving forward. I am almost about the complete the second book in a month so there’s that. Personally, I’ve slacked but I’ll give myself this one chance.

Things are not easy in a family with children that are grown adults. Things are not easy in a family that has a fractured core. Things are not easy in a(ny) family. It’s a unit where people get together for some reasons they feel they understand when they are younger and then again they start to feel the same when they grow older. Sometimes these things are pressures, while other times they are desires but at the end of it all it is all the consequence of Life trying to prosper through us. Everyone attaches a different meaning to aspects of their life without realising they are just a vessel for Life. Perhaps people that involve themselves with the trivialities of religion understand this better because for them the entity is not Life it’s a God. In popular culture this is the Force. If you are conducive to the propagation of Life you are assisted with direction and guidance, otherwise you have to trudge through the misery and suffering that is life. When living within a unit that is a family combine all of the above to consider individual ambitions, fears, concerns, and emotions. It is not easy.

An attempt to paint a picture, in a very familiar setting he is oblivious to his own actions and she is too engaged in her own thought process oblivious to the impact it has on her own actions. She over-thinks it while he forgets to think about it. ‘It’ can be anything. To understand how lost we all are takes some amount of thinking, bandwidth and planning to have the spare intellect to think about thinking. I am aware that I am indebted to my family for where I am but then I have come to realise that I too have made some decisions by myself along the way. Not too many but some that have had some impact on outcomes. I was born into privilege. I have the privilege of thinking about thinking because some of the burden of survival was taken away from me followed by a lot of other burdens, which are perhaps not as tribal. This allowed me to thrive (i.e., spend time on thinking among other things). However despite all the privilege that I was born into, I cannot be oblivious about the shortcomings of others for whatever reasons they were ingrained into them.

The “beauty” of the hill station that is Shimla

Travel back home even before I was home was not easy. Balaji has a lot of hope in Indians if not in India. My trip back and specifically the part that started after I collected my bags at the luggage belt on arrival at IGI shed some light on and reminded me why my extremely bearish on the individuals within this country. The individuals in this country are doing great things no doubt but there is a dearth of a need to struggle. I don’t know if struggle is important to succeed but many who are in the limelight right now are not necessarily a product of the struggle in the sense that a large part of India understands struggle. The large part of India being the segment of the population that lives under a $1/day. I’m not from that segment of society either and I don’t want this to come across as sour grapes. I don’t think my story is complete yet. A large part of India is struggling and doesn’t have the most basic infrastructure that many smaller nations boast about. Yes, a large country comes with its own challenges but even a large number of people in this nation seem oblivious of its challenges.

It’s not a prerogative of the individuals to keep abreast of the challenges in their society. One individual can only investigate and/or be aware of so much in the 24 hours they spend in one day. There is a dearth of leadership in our country. Individuals reeling under the burden of a failing leadership cannot be blamed completely. For the past 75 years we have had a fragmented society or Disjointed States of India as they were originally intended. Perhaps leadership of a such a vibrant collection of states is a challenge in itself. Keeping aside the corruption and the general tendency of laxity in people (that may have arisen due to geographical benefits) there is a variance in culture of the peoples. Different cultures, languages, styles of living has rendered a variation unlike many other around the world.

Diversity is a great thing… Here are the ethnic diversity scores of a few countries (Source: worldatlas.com)

However, looking at the number of challenges all the way from the unit of the family to society at large is not easy and doesn’t occupy my mindspace all the time. This was just an attempt to quantify the emotion about the fact that life is a struggle. Among other things I’ve wondered how meditation fits into all this. It fits well and has helped me as I’ve practiced (consistently) over the past six months. I don’t think it matters which app or practice you follow but the action to practice is what is important. I’ve started to realise that I’m present in some thing that is way larger and encompasses a space beyond me and my epoch, whatever name one wants to give it but that also means that my actions are consequential for a very small part of the universe around me. It does by no means imply that I am relegated of responsibility. Quite the contrary, the responsibility to observe my actions as causes and then my reactions to other things is more important if I have a need to understand how this works.

On another note and in a very contorted and abstracted way feeling hurt by some of the closest people feels … hurtful. The poison and the pain are disproportionate not because of the actions of the other person but because of the level of expectations that one builds up. There are times when some of these closest people are selfish not consciously but out of a need for self preservation. In such a state their definitions of what is right and wrong gets contorted and they lose the ability to evaluate their decisions. It happens to me and the best of us. This is just human. Meditation might make you realise this sense of loss of control when the person is in the moment but I think it only takes a significant amount of practice to overcome these human instincts. Add to this the fact that sometimes these people may not have the best intellectual capabilities and then it only pushes these issues and their resulting arguments and disagreements more downhill. Perhaps, more compassion and that’s the lesson I need to derive.

Things I need to be grateful for:

  • the awareness to avoid the feeling of victimhood
  • the good that has been bestowed upon me by people that were in my life when I was born and the people I got to know along the way
  • the amount of goodness in everyday that is serendipitous

Much has changed and much needs to be written about but this draft needs to go out now. Signing out of this disjointed post to do something more irrelevant but hey I salvaged the day despite all the hurdles.

Incomplete Reflection

Escher vicariously pondering about himself through you way after he stopped breathing

Ukraine got attacked by Russia and I can’t necessarily pinpoint the date because there had to be ongoing operations before the day that things became apparent publicly. This just looks like another event in the world that I’m not completely sure would impact everyone in the world but it is just another event that exposes the fragility of the human condition or the human experience, depending upon how you look at life. People will suffer, and many will even die on both sides of the war. Unfortunately, it is not the heartbreaking loss of life but how those lives are lost. For no particular reason and the will of a deluded leader of one side. Even if it was the other way around or my own country was involved I don’t think war is ever the solution to a problem. It is a thing to get everyone involved and mired in debate but it doesn’t solve many problems. It only pushes out the necessary decisions that need to be made. Also, now that people have moved away from the conversations about COVID it looks like there is another even to distract the world from their day-to-day life. Perhaps from my own life? I think the world is looking at the events like I am looking at life. In aggregate everything averages out. This last sentence isn’t the most simple way of saying this but I think as one goes through the posts here it will seem as if this life was just another human trying to understand things and that is what I mean. Now that I have veered this conversation into myself now is a good time to talk about what is going on with me.

I just got done with a few conversations about opportunities outside of my current firm. It was not the easiest but I managed to go through the conversations. In all honestly, I don’t think it went well. It felt like I touched upon all the topics that I should have during my conversations but my audience that is the people I was talking to felt like they were a little blank and lost, perhaps even disappointed with the answers to the issues. However, I will say that it was a good conversation and it was genuinely a conversation to get to know me unlike ‘interviews’ back in my homeland and many post-colonial regions in the world. Here is a short excerpt from a life long gone.

Six years ago I interviewed for an MBA school in Singapore. It was one of the leading schools that is usually featured on global lists of best schools in the world and I was excited about the conversation. Unfortunately, since the school is based in a country that continues to derive its processes from the English ways of life an interview is less of a conversation and more of an interrogation. Someone that comes from one of the countries that were previously a colony will relate to this sentiment. Interviews in the west are more like “conversations”. Interviewers will often even refer to them as conversations. This was one of the first things that caught me by surprise when I started my journey of applications to the schools in the US. At any rate, this interview was an evaluation and I thought I was ready. Somewhere in the conversations the interviewer’s second hand ( who I later realized was a second-year student) asked me what about other interests of mine, you know like outside of wanting to pursue an MBA? Innocently and in a rather forward manner I stated that I’ve always wanted to start a podcast. The moment I uttered the ‘t’ in the podcast I realized I had made an error. He raised his eyebrow and said “Oh! Podcast… Interesting. What do you like to podcast about? Can you share it with us?” I said it was an interest and I had not yet started publishing the episodes. 

Now in retrospect, I realize that many people can potentially give such an answer and use it simply as a filler or just as an excuse when you have nothing else to do. I could perhaps convince someone that I was genuine and I was true in my answer. I was genuinely interested in starting a podcast but no, I will not do that right now. All I remember about this incident is that the person asking the questions felt victorious. He had now cracked the accused in the interrogation. He had found out a fake and had a reason to eliminate the person from the roster. After all, that’s what the interviews are there for in the first place in those colonies. They understand the way to eliminate, dehumanize and demoralize. Heavy words for a simple conversation but worthy categorization that anyone who has been through a similar interview will relate to well. Interviews in most firms today, even those hedge funds which proclaim “pressure” interviews aren’t personally demeaning to the extent of my interactions with employers in the subcontinent and around. Maybe I just didn’t come across the best ones and hopefully, they have now changed their practices.

Back to the present, I realize the blog didn’t have a lot of posts recently. I had to stay away from the blog for a few days and it looks like the ‘muscle’ to write about things has atrophied which is why I had to force myself to get here. Not like in the previous times it wasn’t a struggle but it was more of a struggle this time. I tried external factors like coffee, music, and, location however nothing seemed to work until I got to Chris Hitchens. I don’t know if any specific combinations or everything I tried out worked but here I am writing away. Perhaps time to take a look at my drafts but now that I have talked about Hitchens perhaps a little bit about his impact or just him. But before I get to more about Hitch a little bit about my experience at the IBJJF Atlanta Open that took place on February 12th.

The question about blue is always lingering in my head. I know it’s not about the level but about whether or not I am capable of something on the mat. This test of being able to be tested without the nerves has always been there with me right from the start. I have started to believe it is more genetic but perhaps there are many things I can do about it. The net of it all is that I still need to grow in a lot of areas in life.

So I competed in yet another IBJJF competition. I wonder if I should say competed because the match lasted hardly 5 minutes. I struggled during the scramble but the nerves weren’t as bad as the last time or as bad as I had thought they would be. If I’m being perfectly honest with you I don’t remember if there weren’t nerves but I remember being confident about the scramble. I call it a scramble because in my head now it’s almost like a blur. Tugging and tearing at the opponent’s gi while trying to get a grip to pull him onto the ground.

What actually happened was that 2 minutes into the scramble I felt myself curve into a ball but, not a ball like defensive move and instead a very confident ball knowing exactly where I need to place my foot to get the next transition. I wish I could say that I won but perhaps it is not yet meant to be. Perhaps the lessons I am destined to learn are from the losses. 

I spoke to my opponent later and I was emotional about his state in life. He had a grown son who was at least 15 and he was proud to show me his family. He also mentioned his background in wrestling which my mind was quick to pick up on and justify as the reason for his strong sprawl. Oh no, now I know it wasn’t my weak arms tugging at him, it was his superior wrestling background. No, I won’t deceive you here, I was pathetic at it physically but my mentality was different this time. It was this latter part that I have come to take as my experience and learning from the match and experience. It is exhilarating to see people coming to terms with their challenges in life, getting out of their comfort zone, and trying to do something to prove to themselves that they will not just sit on the sidelines waiting for something good to happen to them.

I don’t want to fool myself or you by assuming that there aren’t harder challenges in life or that I would have achieved a grand accomplishment had I won this tournament. There isn’t much more deceptive than to say that this is one of the hardest things in life. The challenge is to set aside those hard things in life and make progress in multiple aspects at the same time. Now back to my inspiration about Hitch and how I feel about the world in this later part of February.

“It is only when you have grazed on the lower slopes of your own ignorance and began to understand the grand vistas of non-knowledge that you have, that you can claim to be educated at all”

Christopher Hitchens, Reddit AMA, 2009

As always, one thing that has disturbed me is the ignorance and attitude of people towards subjects. In school I wanted to spend time admiring the history behind the person who came up with the theories. The beauty of the equation impressed me more than the race to solve the equations at the end of the chapter. I sometimes took pride in being the first to come up with the answer but soon I found myself distracted from the subject by the stories behind the subject. People in general however are not interested in most things. Neither the outcomes nor the process and nor the process to come up with the process seems to be of interest to them. And yet they come to the stage with a confidence even if they are sometimes not aware of the subject completely. Even while writing this I am completely aware that the fault is perhaps completely mine because I am asking too much from un-interrogative minds. Perhaps they are not meant to be asking any questions in the first case. Among all of this Christopher Hitchens comes across as a balm – healing my soul and my intellect. I do not understand how much one needs to stretch themselves to match that intellect or the intellect of someone similar (for example Peter Thiel). I guess one things that I can do is calm myself to thing about one thing at a time and here is where my efforts to meditate come in to the picture. 

One hundred and eighteen days and I’ve not necessarily felt anything different. I have abandoned the the need to feel like I’m waiting for something to happen next. Sam Harris calls it waiting like a cat for something to happen next. I am making progress in visualizing myself floating through the ether with things happening all around me. At the same time I’m also facing a weird sort of degradation in my faculties operating as a sane member of society. I’m losing my strength of will and losing control over flow of my own conversations. Maybe there are many things going on at the same time or I’m not able to keep track of things or prioritize them. 

I have to keep trudging along and making sure that I don’t let my ship sink until all the tasks are done. There are miles to go before I sleep and the choice of the road in front of me is not even binary. Sometimes I think ignorance was bliss but then I quickly realize that if I was ignorant. I wouldn’t have had the realization that I’m ignorant. So perhaps if now that I think I’m not ignorant I’m more ignorant than ever? Perhaps a question for Escher!