Are we becoming a mindless and flickering society?

23 May

An interesting presentation in ‘ Slideshare ‘ about the decreasing levels of attention span of human beings with the advent of internet and social networks is the inspiration in this post. Initially I tried to find evidence negating this observation. May be we can rephrase it by saying that we are becoming connected to so many things, be it physical or cognitive. This creates a kind of cognitive overload such that we tend to be having lesser focus on an idea. Still we cannot completely be pessimistic about this happening. Why is it so?

This presentation made me ponder on the two directions. It is true that our attentions pan is diminishing at a fast pace and we may become a mindless or a spinning mind generation. At the same time, we are become more connected and innovative and versatile in our professional and personal lives. This is because of the parallelism in our ways of thinking. At the same time, it is always good have the capability to think about the deeper aspects.

Is moving away from devices, terminals and computer interfaces a viable thing, even if supposed to be ideal? Not necessarily. Buddhism says that emptying out the mind is a way out from the mindless ways of life and various methods of meditation offers a remedy to this. How can we think of meditating with devices and our life patterns? Writing habits and physical activity at workplace is a good solution to this challenge. This is not a comprehensive or universal solution. You need to choose this based on your creative and physical prowess.

Being mobile and social at the same moment!

20 May

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Since my early encounters with Lotus Connections enterprise social network platform, I know that being social and mobile at the same time is very challenging yet a rewarding experience. Being mobile nowadays means being connected to one of the mobile devices and able to transact, communicate and collaborate in this state. Being social now means being to be in touch with their spheres of influence and spheres of interest. Can we be in these two states truly in all the times?

My first observation is that there will be a threshold limit to being mobile and social at the same time. There is a cognitive limit to being ambivalent to the needs of mobility and socialization at the same time. When you tend to be mobile, your emphasis will be on the spatial and temporal aspects of the communication. In the case of social imperatives, the prime mover will be the ability to influence others while being interesting to the self and the maximum possible people in your circle!

Someone just passed away teaching me how to live last 17 years gracefully

1 May

As I see most of us living a life quite happening and eventful, this sketchy note is about a person who spend most of her last 17 years just inside her home, where she lived the previous odd 20 years or more, quite eventfully. I am writing about the demise of my grandmother who has shaped all the social skills of my character. If I could attribute any single nature to her self, it is the thirst for knowledge and child like curiosity. Right from my brother’s M.Phil. thesis to my wedding invitation, she used to read anything that passes near by her carefully, through her frail spectacles and firm eyes.

When I saw her last time alive, her remaining connection to this happening world was just in terms of scanty exchanges of breath. Her eyes were closed so firm, cheek was stubborn as it were always, jaw was strong as it was, and all the body other than the head a mere extension of self. At the age of 92 odd years, her face reflected all the firmness in her character for the last 17 years. In that sense she was never senile.

I am sure not many of us who belong to this generation of X and Y happenings can think of living the next 17 years disconnected from all the affluence and social events. I am sure we all will be changed souls for better if we meet such a fate. She never ran away from facades of deception or burdens of relations.  Hope we all can surf the passages of time skillfully like her. No remorse or regrets, just a faint by never fading smile to every soul in this universe. I am sure she finished this passage also quite gracefully.

What do you learn by living ‘Device full’ over one full weekend?

19 Apr

Till date, I believed that a day away from the electronic devices creates a kind of freedom and relaxation and it is essential to recharge your mind and body. I have personally experienced this momentary gleefulness in the past. It was during my journey to Thrissur in Kerala to attend a marriage. I remember every moment of the time I spend with the people and nature.  No doubt, it is good. But a question arises loud and loud. How many people will have the luxury to be device free over the weekend.

May be as we go up in the career ladder we can keep ourselves device free for a weekend or a week or a month or even an year. I know a vice president of a company who resigned from his job and climbed the mountains for an year. Being device free thus becomes a luxury or a status symbol or pride for a limited few. What happens to those people who are bottomed in this pyramid of work life balance? They carry the stress and strain of the limited but heavy few. For them freedom from device is equivalent to the freedom from their possibility to earn some additional penny to buy bred and daily life.

At the same time, freedom from devices and experience are logical advises to the selected few who can carry on their life with the wages and labor on the sweet five days of labor. We tend to wear this hat of seven days of labor and life in between our eventful career. We need to enjoy this as well. Some times, we need to be busy like a devil than lazy like a God. Let people decide what suit their life rather than their ‘lifestyle’.

Inspired by metro traffic miseries: A BOT model for Transport stations

12 Apr

Off to the family visits in Ernakulam, I had no wild imaginations of a beautiful journey through the lovely landscapes and paddyfields of Kerala. However, in between Kollam and Cherthala, I could see plenty of lovely pathways and smaller towns on the way. Hence I was taken away by vivid thoughts of greener pastures of Kerala and how much blessed this land is in terms of abundance of a natural habitat. Though these places were densely populated, people could still conserve the trees. This was a pleasant surprise to me. The ride though Ambalapuzha, Haripad, Alapuzha could evoke a lot of childhood memories of my village life.

You may find this a little stretched as many of firmly believe that there are not many villages left in Kerala altogether. It is not so. Village does not mean an undeveloped habitat. Instead, a village is a kind of living ecosystem self sufficient with human and natural resources. Things changed drastically as we neared Ernakulam. Roads became narrow, glowing shoppes, grand lights and ofcourse this miserable traffic bottlenecks all over. It has become quite ordinary these days. Hence my post is not about the traffic problem, instead a suggestion to solve this.

Why can’t we keep the transport stations in a BOT ( Build, Operate, Transfer ) model. It means traffic stations will be built in some place in the city which is lesser occupied by markets, educational and governmental institutions. This will initiate some kind of increased social participation in that place. Once the place becomes very much populated with busy roads, markets and offices, the transport stations will be relocated to another part in the city where the road traffic and populations is relatively lesser. The cost of logistics will be met by the profit from the real estate development in the present area.  The old transport station can be modernized to become a shopping mall or some profitable venture, as the real estate price in this area has risen. When the transport station is relocated to a lesser developed area, it can initiate a new wave of development in this new area as well.

If you can’t see a hypermarket in your hometown, go search for a beetle shop!

23 Mar

Searching for a lemon and a piece of light bulb has never been a big deal, nor will be a big deal. This will be the case when you live in a metro city or a village. What about those cities which fall in the middle category? These days we may call them as ‘tier two’ cities. Last night I had to buy these items. When I went to the nearest market place, to my curiosity I found the place in a state of wild mixture of people and things. Shops everywhere! However there is no definite order or arrangement of shops and services. I could have checked at least a half dozen shops for this light bulb lemon. There were so many stationary shops. However these two items did not fall in any  stationary category for them.

Lastly I came back to the traffic signal at the junction and saw a small shop where they sell beetle leaves.  It is otherwise known in India as ‘pan’. As per our modern standards, this shop may not qualify to be called a proper stationary shop at all. With no hope left, I inquired there as well. To my bewilderment, I could find both lemon and light bulb in this shop.  I had to wait there for a couple of minutes as the shop keeper was making ‘pan’ for the customer all by herself. I was ready to wait there with no complaints as she confirmed the items. Thus in our days of specialization of products and personalization of services, I left this small market realizing that we have quite a lot to learn from our age old practices of service design.

When I gazed at a bird’s eye view of Kerala backwaters!

14 Mar

More than anything, water waves resemble human emotions. I still vividly remember one of my dear friend told me that whenever you feel tensed or upside down, look at the trees, countless leaves and their collective green scenic. It will take away the flurry of thoughts in thin air.

A glance at the below picture of Kerala back waters, I am still amazed at the confluence of this vivid nature: water that ripples in and out, green scenic that soothes mind and body alike, nature that binds us deeper, people who blend deeper and dearer with the land …

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Anyone will feel envious to the flocking birds who can absorb this beautiful abundance in their own little wings for a free ride!. Seeing from a bird’s eye, these pictures will lure you into the in-lands and the water ways of this natural narrative, for sure ! Let the journey begin!