The price of silence

I can keep a secret pretty well. There are a lot of things that people have told me that I would never repeat to anyone, just because I was told to keep it a secret. There are things I have done in the past that I will not talk about to anyone, because it’s my secret.

Most people though do not have the ability to keep a secret. I always found it strange; until now. There is something I wish to talk about publicly, but then I was told not to do that for some very valid reasons.

So here I’m all. All restless and twitchy, because I’m now carrying a secret that I no longer want to hold on to. I wish the mind-erasing technology in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was around. I guess, I’m missing the point of the movie. I wish for a perfect version of that. I could really do with it right now.

Aside

Analogy

I hate analogies. They raise more questions than it answers and never fully explains a scenario. This makes me believe that there are no good analogies. There are bad analogies and those that make sense in an ELI5 scenario. Please avoid them if you can. Understand the issue for what it is instead of comparing apples and oranges.

Resolutions

Keeping it simple this year.  I quit smoking last year though I had no plans to when the year started. That’s great. So this year I decided to make some actual resolutions.

  1. Learn how to code
  2. Save more money

I have already started on the first one. The second one is always more complicated.

The point

What’s the point of being literate if you don’t read?
What’s the point of reading if you don’t understand?
What’s the point of understanding if you don’t learn from it?
What’s the point of learning if you don’t do anything with it?
What’s the point even if you do it anyway?

Something emotional

I promised to myself not to write anything too emotional for a few days, but then I felt like writing about music.

How can you NOT feel emotional about music when there are a lot of emotions that go into making one? Then there are emotions conveyed, some perceived by us listeners, but most importantly there are the feelings that are generated within us on listening to one. Overall, a song is an emotional bomb; or at least it can be.

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I was going through a phase of depression a few months back and only then did I look at music for the meaning it conveyed and its tone. Till then it was all about the genre, artist, generation or some other categorization.

The results were fantastic and it now makes me wonder why songs are not classified on such a basis by more people. There are so many sub-genres and people get so stuck up on certain genres that they don’t even listen to anything outside it.

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I was picky about the genre of movies I liked to watch as a kid. I did not know the word genre back then, but horror movies were a strict no no. Dramas just didn’t make much sense. Action movies were ohkay, but the best kind of movies back then involved some detective work. Oh boy I couldn’t get enough of them. I don’t remember much about any of those movies except how much I looked forward to one. Strange right?

Following music by genre is somewhat like that. You look forward to it and enjoy it as well, but in the long term may be you’re missing out on something.

Wow that analogy makes no sense that it is close to being nonsense. Actually that’s how I feel about most analogies. They are so flawed.  So frustrating!

So here are a few songs I heard today that you might like. Cheers!

 

 

Narration

In my opinion, what makes a good story great is its narration. Look at the epics like Mahabharatha or Ramayana, there is something special about the way the stories are built up and narrated that makes them so… epic.

When it comes to modern storytelling, technology has helped us tell stories better, while increasing its accessibility around the world. Take the podcast Serial for example. We waited and listened to each and every episode put out by the legendary Sarah Koenig and her team as she tried to piece together a crime based on the oral history of the people involved. Much has been written about the first season that set and broke records in the podcasting industry. The second season of the show started last week and she has me hooked. Again. Just like last year.

Think about that for a moment What a time to be a alive. We wait eagerly for a journalist sitting in the other side of the globe to talk about the story of an American soldier that was reportedly abducted by Taliban while deployed in Afghanistan. If not for a hundred thousand factors coming together I would have never been able to hear this story.

That makes me wonder about all the stories that I will never get to hear. The great narratives that were killed by time, dictators and misplaced priorities. Is there any way to bring them back? How can we ensure that the stories of our generation are never forgotten?

 

Leave me alone; or not

I like silence. I really enjoy doing things on my own. Most importantly I love the feeling of not doing anything at all. There are times when I really have to force myself to talk. It just doesn’t come to me naturally. Biswa’s video expresses my mindset pretty well.

That sounds simple enough, except when it isn’t. Sometimes I like to hear people talk, to work or play along with others or even the feeling of having a random conversation with a stranger. This is not easy when your mind fluctuates between both these extremes.

I always assumed that it would become easier for me to find this balance as I grew older, but that hasn’t happened yet. If anything, it has become even more complicated. Sometimes I get tired of that happy face I have to put on and I revert to the “WTF is this” face. This used to happen rarely earlier, but now it’s the norm.

I’m not sure what I expect from the world or even if I want anything anymore at all. Either way, leave me alone; or not.

 

Progress

  1. Center is creating a plan for EV cars.
  2. Delhi is in talks with UP govt over the pollution from Dadri powerplant.
  3. Supreme Court wants to ban Diesel cars in Delhi
  4. Trucks older than 15 years will be taken off the roads across India starting April.

All good news. Now here I am hoping the machinery that drives this country will implement these steps effectively and without further delay. It’s already late.

PS: I bought a Vogmask; now I can cycle without getting a runny nose and rough throat by the time I reach my office.

 

 

YouTube ads: Can anyone do it right?

YouTube ads; the thing we all hate more than the term “bae“. It’s a necessary evil that we put up with, as the creators of those videos need to be paid somehow. This will change once YouTube launches their paid plans in India, but that’s not happening any time soon.

The problem with YouTube ads is the sheer thoughtlessness on the part of the advertiser and the agency that creates the content. In almost all scenarios, I see the same TV ad being used as an unskippable ad ahead of YouTube videos. That sucks. Ad guys will tell you that it will improve recall value. Yes it does, I recall those annoying ads and decided never to buy your product ever again!

If you’re making a video ad for YouTube here’s a short set of questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Would this video be interesting when I HEAR it for the fifth time?
  2. Would I want to sit through this ad before watching the new trailer of a movie I have been waiting for?
  3. Would I want to sit through this video if it plays in between an amazing music playlist I was listening to?

If you’re an ad guy, please do pass this on to all the relevant decision makers. “Do the needful”, because bad YouTube ads even makes people want to punch screens.

Metrics

How do you measure your life? To some the money in the bank is the definite metric of success. At least, it is used as an indication for the direction your life is headed. I’m not too convinced.

Happiness would be a better metric, but how do you express it numerically and programmatically? If money can buy happiness, can it be used that as a metric? What other factor would you add to a happiness meter? How do you factor in dissatisfaction, depression, envy, all factors that can affect your happiness meter? What other metric do you use? How do you measure them? We have self driving cars now. Cars were invented 100 years ago. Why haven’t we figured out the metric for defining happiness yet?

Why are the smartest people of our generation working on the algorithm to figure out the video we are likely to watch the most, or trying to make a gadget last a few hours longer while shrinking the size of a battery? Priorities.

Emotions are always pushed to the side. It is somehow the needs that are given more focus. Will that change? Should that change?