The world with No Boundaries!

This is a beautiful song from Hindi movie Refugee (Year 2000) beautifully sung by Sonu Nigam and Alka Yagnik.   

youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nvTzT5hhD0&w=521&h=391

The lyrics are just superb. Birds, rivers and the breeze can never be stopped by any borders between the two nations. Borders are for us, humans! But my friend, give a thought, what you and me have achieved by being humans!  

Similarly, our life has gone under a major change; it has happened discretely over the last 10 to 15 years. Our world has become Cyberabad! Now “the world is a village” term fits aptly to our universe. In the late ’90s of the last century, the internet came into the public domain. Before this, it was being used by the scientific community since the early ’70s.  

But in the initial period, it was a special space, independent of our normal life. In those days, we went to our computers and entered the world of mystery. But the real revolution started with the advent of Smart Phones. A smartphone is a device which makes phones, sends a text message; but it is a computer. The first PC that I bought at home, in 1989 had 20 MB hard disc (Yes, MB!) and 640 kb RAM. My current smartphone has 128 GB storage and 6 GB RAM.   

With the smartphone, our life started changing and cyberspace started becoming our appendage! People must have their device with them all the time; they may go to the washroom, they may be taking a bath, they may be in bed with the wife but the phone will be there like a सवत or co-wife! It is applicable to both sexes!  

Consider an example of a piece of paper and a pen, which helps us remember things, a duty otherwise performed by the brain. The shopping list becomes part of our memory, this list helps us in not taxing our brain.  

On the same lines idea that our self is expanding through our phones is plausible, and that’s because our phones, and our digital devices generally – our smartwatches, our iPads – all these things have become a really intimate part of how we go about our daily lives. Intimate in the sense in which they’re not only on our body, but we sleep with them, we wake up with them, and the air we breathe is filled, in both a literal and figurative sense, with the trails of ones and zeros that these devices leave behind.”  

One of the essential differences between a smartphone and a piece of paper is that our relationship with our phones is reciprocal; we not only put information into the device, we also receive information from it, and, in that sense, it shapes our lives far more actively than would a shopping list. The shopping list isn’t suggesting to us, based on algorithmic responses to our past and current shopping behaviour, what we should buy; the phone can suggest.  

Everything has two sides good and bad! Our life has changed very much due to the internet. There is no point in comparing current life with pre-internet days. Life Before Internet (LBI) and Life After Internet (LAI) are two different species. Many of the day to day activities, like banking, purchasing, communication, photos have changed completely. Some things which were almost impossible during LBI are now possible after LAI! Camera has become democratic as it is available to almost everyone. Locating old friends, communicating with people living in different places, countries is just a click away. With the internet being available on flights, that dark connection less tunnel is slowly becoming history. You are now connected 24/7/365!   

But LAI has its downside too! We forget that we are supposed to rest, we are supposed to sleep soundly every night. If you get up to go to the washroom at night, you go with your cell phone. During that window of wakefulness, you see the WhatsApp messages, Email and Instagram! Whatever notification you have received from any App, you access it! As if not seeing these will cause a tsunami in your life! This many time results in insufficient sleep!  

Since childhood, we have been taught basic rules. LAI is full of breaking rules, making foul in the language of my granddaughter. She is being taught the importance of remaining away from “screens” as much as possible. When eating food, no screen, got nothing to do, no screen; screen time is limited, and  has to be earned. But do we adults follow the same rules? If we manage to come to the dining table together, everybody is looking at his/her screen. We make these fouls without fail. We have hundreds of “friends” but we don’t know most of the people in our condo, including our neighbours!

PDA (Public Display of Affection) is a new phenomenon. It has become fashionable to display how much you love your spouse! This includes photos kissing each other! Honestly who else cares about your affections? Why these things are shared publicly when that person is next to you, probably with you in the bed!   

You have been always taught since childhood not to accept chocolates or biscuits from strangers or never to talk with them. Here you become friends with hundreds of them whom you may have just met, and share your very intimate details with the whole world. People share their cell number on FB wall! Is it not risky in the cyber world? Fraudsters can cheat you, with your money; some people use this information for stalking! We raised a hue and cry when the government collected our data in the form of the Aadhar card. Most of the same data is shared by us easily with big fives of this world, including biometrics. Of course, I am talking of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon. They not only have our data but also have the wherewithal to use analytical tools and understand everything about us.

I am techno-savvy and have used social media regularly for years. I have reached a conclusion that I need to do social media detox, in fact, everybody needs to do that. Social Media has some fantastic usages, by all means, use them. I use it these days mainly to make my blogs available to as many people as possible. Some people are surprised that I am on the detox but SMS is also equally good if you want to exchange messages, using WA is too addictive!   

Going back the song mentioned above, it’s great to have borderless life but to me, there are more pitfalls than advantages. The life after LAI is as addictive as cocaine or maybe worse. To get drugs, you need an unlimited supply of money but for cyber addiction you only need the latest drug that has come on Indian cyberspace called “Jio” and let me assure you it is inexpensive. To detox is like joining AA (Alcoholic Anonymous), discipline yourself along with your child and but is tough. To not share very personal intimate personal thing is as tough as giving up smoking. Use this borderless space like birds take the flights at random (भरारी), rivers simply don’t bother about borders and meander, like the breeze which cannot be prevented by a thousand feet tall wall to cross the border! But don’t forget that birds can get caught in the crossfire generated by cyber wars and cyber thieves!   

  

  

  

  

  

 

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Busy, busy busy!

I was having a cup of coffee with a friend of mine. He was the CMD of an organization. One of the GM’s came to meet him about some crisis that had cropped up. They discussed it quickly and my friend told him, “You give this assignment to so and so!”. The GM said that the suggested person was very busy so he will give it to another person. But the boss told him to give such assignments to the busiest person. Busy persons are very organized and efficient hence will finish  the assignment in a jiffy! Half an hour later the GM informed him that the issue was resolved. He said, “This fellow came up with a unique solution and everything is back to normal!”  

Busy2

It is always said that the busiest person has the maximum time with him. We should not take literal meaning of the statement. What it means is that the person who is busy is generally well organized. That person knows the importance of work-life balance. My classmate Hemant Nerurkar was MD of Tata Steel and was a very busy person. He and I used to keep in touch on phone a few times in a year. He handled it this way. Generally, I would call; he would pick the phone if possible but if he were busy, which was by default, whenever he got some free time, he would text a message to me, “Pramod, I will call you on Thursday, 7.30 pm if it is ok with you”. He would call 100% of the times on the day and time given. It was simple, he probably just put it in his calendar and be done with it! He had to be well organized with so much work to do; at the same time, he also understood the importance of “me time”.   

Being busy is a state of mind. People do get busy and many times they get overloaded. Many people have a lot of work. The situation becomes complex in the case of modern families. Along with ladies, some men have also started taking home responsibilities. Office work, home chores, socializing, holidays can be a handful for everybody. But then that is modern life. We should learn to handle modern life and its pressures, things do get busy. But there are pitfalls in this situation.   How can we avoid them?

Stop showing off  

Some of us have the habit of showing how busy we are. But probably there are more people who are equally busy or busier. Showing off does not really help because only a few others are really concerned about you. Nobody is really bothered about your being busy. In your profession, you may be very good but there are equally competent people around. If you become famous for not being available, people simply stop coming to you. I know of a professional who used to go to foreign countries for a couple of months at a time for some assignments. Over a period, he reduced such assignments but his reputation had spread that he is not available most of the times. He took a few years to establish that he is readily available for consultations.

Prioritize the work but don’t procrastinate  

Above two messages show the importance of not being too busy!

Everybody has a list of “To Do” things. Everybody makes his or her list as per their method. But we should remember what must be done and what may be done on that day. Everything cannot be in the must do list. In office situation there can be routine replies to communications; all are not must do! There are some things which can be done the next day but at the same time do not procrastinate and push things forward. In this list, there are some occasional events which are a must. We need to budget for these. For example, birthdays of colleagues. In some offices, birthdays are celebrated with a small get together. One must budget for these events. Never skip such events as these are absolute must-do events. At home, you have decided to do spring cleaning. But somehow on that day many other things have popped up and you cannot do it; your child may fall sick so going to the doctor is a must. Some guests arrive uninformed, they need to be attended to! Its ok do spring cleaning some other day. Don’t fret over not being able to do the spring cleaning. But mind you, cleaning has to be done at some stage. Don’t procrastinate!  

Declog your schedules  

Sometimes we make our schedules so complex that we are not able to give justice to any assignment or a chore. Our mind is clogged and this reduces our ability to think properly and we tend to make errors. Errors put more pressure on your time and our schedules are further clogged. There is, of course, a side effect, a lecture from the boss or the wife! Make sure that you keep sufficient time between events (sometimes it is not in our hands) so that you get a break from the hectic schedule as well as time to prepare for the next event.   

Don’t give too much importance to being busy  

Keep your life simple. Do your work seriously but do not take yourself seriously. Everybody has a lot of things to do at the office as well as at home. But never check your emails while having food. Look at the food while eating. This will create good gastric juices and your digestion will be good. Always keep a bit of free time for your coffee break and enjoy banter with colleagues. Keep free time at home for family members including spouse, kids and parents. TV, FB and WA can always wait. Make the rule of no work in the bedroom. Social media is the main killer of your free time and reducing social media usage will increase your free time. This free time can be used for declogging your schedules and enjoy the banter!   

I will share one more story of how busy people find the time. One of our family friends was a personal friend of Narayan Murthy. The friend had called Murthy’s PA to find when Murthy could be available. Luckily both were in the same city. The PA called and said, ” Mr Murthy can meet you around 6.30 pm at xyz location. Then he can have half an hour of gupshup time with you in the car, as he is going to the airport. The car will drop you back to your hotel.”

Let me say Sayonara with a lovely message.  

Busy4

I will attempt to translate this Marathi message. 

I would have so much loved to write  

But you don’t have time to read 

We could have chatted for hours together 

But you have no time to listen 

We could have walked into the horizon 

But you have no time to walk 

My ears are very eager to listen to you 

But you have no time to talk 

        

 

Declog your Mind!

Clogging and declogging are the terms used by Cardiac Experts and Plumbers. The blocks formed in arteries reduce the flow of blood and depending on severity can cause the heart attack. Similarly, when we don’t take care of the home or city plumbing system, the pipelines clog and cause problems. At some stage both need to be attended to or there can be catastrophic results.

But we forget that same logic applies to our mind. When our mind is clogged, we don’t think properly. Different thoughts keep on coming in our mind in a cyclic manner and we are not able to attend to the problem that needs urgent attention. We are simply not able to concentrate.

 

You know the terms thinking, worrying, stressing, freaking out — call it whatever you want. I call it preoccupied mind. And with what? I feel that 99% of our thoughts are useless. Many people think that they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices in their mind. Many moons back a friend had a breakup. We were both young. We had full night sessions on what to do next. On the third night when we met, I asked my friend what he really wants to do. We thought that we had discussed a lot but had never come up with any plan or conclusion about what to do next. Most of the time the friend was ranting how he was cheated, and he will do this and that! I asked him a blunt question, “Is there any chance of reconciliation? Has the lady really cheated you?” He then did not speak for a few minutes. Then he said, “I am a damn fool; the situation is neither her fault nor mine! Why am I thinking in such a harsh way?” Then again, he became quiet for ten minutes. Really concentrated and said, “The subject matter is over! I will let go! She will remain close to my heart all my life; what a fool I was to think about her the way I did”! Friends, this was the effect of declogging of mind!

Clogged mind creates a lot of stress. The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. Pragmatism believes that a mind is a tool. Your mind should work for you, not against you. People who don’t master their mind, don’t believe it’s possible to do so. They will always keep saying, “I can’t help but think of these things.”

Well, you can stop thinking on a subject but with enough practice. It’s a skill. You have the ability to decide what you think. Or, you can choose NOT to think.

What is the downside of thinking too much? I will tell you my example. When I am writing, some thoughts are very clear in my mind. I am able to complete my basic blog writing in a couple of hours, then I spend an hour on proofreading, refining, fine-tuning, changing a few things. I generally do the latter part, early morning. When I get up in the morning after my quota of sleep, there are not many thoughts in mind other than completing the blog. My mind is fresh. Since I get up early, I feel a little hungry. But I plan what I am going to eat on the previous night. I don’t like to overload my mind to decide what to eat! Sometimes, I do do the basic writing also, early in the morning. (See my mind wavered a bit and wrote “do” twice) For me, this time is quite productive.

When I was working full-fledged, my early mornings were used to writing important emails or creating documents. Sometimes, I used this time to read important things received on the previous day. I will share with you a very important experience. During a business telephone meeting with a customer, years back, one of the officers, from the customer side, who was close to us, took a very awkward stance. This would cause us a financial hit for no fault of ours. At the end of the meeting, he also told me that he was being transferred to another country. I was upset and wrote a very nasty mail. I read it a couple of times and saved it as a draft, instead of sending it. I slept over the meeting. When I read the draft mail again early morning with a de-clogged mind, I realized that the mail would not serve any purpose, looking at the long-term relationship. I created an internal mail on how to avoid such situations in future. I deleted the draft and sent our friend a two-liner mail. In the mail, I thanked him and also registered our mild protest against the decision.

खयालोंमें is an appropriate word in Hindi, which fits our state of mind when our mind is clogged. We really don’t know what we are thinking about. Our mind whirs like a motor and jumps from one thought to another and to another! But we need to be pragmatic on how to handle this!

While writing this particular paragraph my mind was खयालोंमें, and I was thinking of our groups’ lunch next month, the work to be done in the bank today and about a probable business meeting tomorrow. When we are in खयालोंमें state, we need to pinch ourselves and ask “Are you back to reality? Do you feel your eyes are reading the letters on your screen? Do you feel your phone in your hand? Are you thinking about how to complete the blog?”

When should we think at all is a question that comes to mind these days. With waterfall type information flow that each individual gets and new entities like WA groups, FB groups and so on have formed. To me, these are mainly for entertainment or even worse, time-pass. What happens should be treated at the same value; if one is an admin he should try and keep a semblance of control. Do your work seriously, don’t take yourself seriously!  Don’t think too much about it! Unless you are personally involved in correcting status of the world, leave it a that. Use your mind for better things and pursuits.

You use your mind, and don’t let it be the other way around. Now, keep using that brain of yours. It is the best tool we have, make use of it! As my friend Vijay said the other day, your brain gets sharpened by more use; use it in the right place and time! I hope you don’t MIND this bit of advice from me!

My friend Dhananjay shared the link of this Marathi Poem मन वढाळ वढाळ …….  by Bahinabai Choaudhary, which is very appropriate for this blog! Thanks Dhananjay!

https://www.aathavanitli-gani.com/Song/Man_Vadhay_Vadhay

 

What to do with galloping Technology?

Exponential

The curve above is representative of how technology is developing at a breakneck speed. The title is neither a rhetorical question nor a controversial statement. This thought came to my mind while I was reading about the galloping speed of progress in many areas the humans are making. In the movie “Back to the Future” (1985) the person goes back to the year 1955 using a time machine. The differences he sees are interesting but not surprising. There was nothing exceptionally different or path-breaking in those 30 years. Had the movie been produced in 2015, the time machine would have taken the person to 1985, with 30-year logic. That change would have been exceptional for the person to guess!  What is the meaning of life with no PC’s, no Cell phones, no Internet, no WA, no FB? The person would not believe that life only 30 years back was so different.  

Just imagine that a human being was transported from 12000 years back, pre-farming era, to the year 1500. The cities, the carriageways, farming equipment would be such a big change that this person suddenly exposed to so many changes, might die of shock. A person from the year 1500, will be reasonably shocked to be taken to the year 1750 but he won’t die! How much change can human mind accept and absorb at a time? The rate of change is really galloping in the recent past. Change from the year 1500 to the year 1750 and the change from 1750 to 2015 cannot be compared. Change of scene that we see in the year 2015 compared to the year 1985 is really vast. But the human mind will not be able to accept changes from 1750 to 2015, the person could also simply die! It initially took 12000 plus years for such deadly changes to occur but later it took only 250 plus years for similar deadly changes. We can call such changes as “Deadly Change” (DC).

This comparison tells us that the rate of change is dependent on how advanced the society is at that time, it is the datum level that is important. For obvious reasons, we see terrific changes happening in the Bay area in the USA. We know that such change was happening in the area of Electronics, Computers and the Internet; but along with these changes, it appears that this area may also surge ahead in Car manufacturing as indicated by Tesla! We really don’t know where Apple and Google are the car domain but one thing is sure, they have technical wherewithal, passion and money. All changes are not DC type but the rate of change is galloping.  

If such changes have happened in the first 18 years of 21st century itself, what is lying ahead, we simply do not know. The changes that happened between the year 2000 to the year 2015 could get squeezed to seven years between the year 2015 and year 2022! Enormous changes can happen initially in 7 seven years, then in 3 years and then one year and then one month and then one day! Friends you may think that Pramod is dreaming and writing a fictional scenario of how things will change. But I get a feeling that changes that are going to happen in future will take an exponential curve.

The curve shown above displays the rapid speed at which things are moving.

  1. The rate of change can be represented up to the year 2000 by the slope at value –1 on X axis! What we are going to get in future will be slope after that! The high growth slope at +1 value is due to Microsoft, Google, Facebook coming in the picture during that time period between years 2000 and 2005. 
  2. Our historical perspective has been up to –1 value so we keep on thinking and expecting that the change will always be gradual and slow!  
  3. We are “Old people” of the gone era and I am talking of people in 50’s too! We are stubborn and we say that change can happen only so fast! How can change happen exponentially?  

But something is already happening in the background; you, me and the general public think that AI is something that is shown in Sci-Fi movies. It is for graduate students to take up the projects as a requirement, it is not real life! When we talk of AI, we always think of Robots; Robots are containers for AI stuff. AI is the brain and Robots is the body. When we talk of AI, we always think of computers but do not forget that another area which is making progress in leaps and bounds is biotechnology. The progress in this area is the result of tremendous progress made in the last 30 years; along with this terrific progress is made in the medical field too! These technologies are going to be the drivers of rapid change.

All this lead leads to a question of how much is the shelf life of technology? To me, some will evolve slowly and the concept will continue for a long time. For example, aeroplanes. Aeroplanes have been there for more than hundred years, only major has been jet engine! But no other path-breaking stuff is visualized. The telephone also has been around for a similar time but this technology has also changed slowly. The change now is faster after cell phones arrived on the scene. But now cell phone is really evolving in a different animal, fast! It is getting converted into a personal tool which might do everything for you, from phones to camera, to photo repository, to the music system, to chat system, to a chequebook and a bank! This change has really happened fast in the last 15 years and what form and shape it will take, only God knows. 

Biotechnology and medical fields are progressing rapidly! Last hundred years have seen some major breakthroughs in reining in epidemics. People dying in hundreds of thousands or in millions due to illnesses,  was a norm, in old days! There was plague, there was black death. The systems and the doctors just could not contain them and the way was you die or you run away elsewhere! Medicines and cures were, more prayer and faith-based than science-based. Last fifty years have seen the dramatic change in this scenario; when AIDs became rampant, doctors found basic details about it, in 2 years and now they know that it is an Auto Immune thing and per se is not as dangerous as it looks. A person with AIDs dies with other infections! Had AIDs appeared 500 years back, half the then population of the world could have been wiped out. Ebola came but was reasonably well controlled, quickly!  

This speed is good for humans but technology changes in day to day stuff can be difficult to handle with galloping speed. We have seen in front of our eyes, pagers come and go, so did fax! Cameras with the film are a history and music pieces can be composed in two different continents and a song gets created in the third continent.  

Some of these changes, humans will handle well and others can be tough to absorb. The working population will have to get themselves reskilled every ten years (am I too optimistic?) or perish. You can’t become a banker and a chartered accountant and work lifelong in the same career. Block Chain technology may eliminate such concepts! Experts may make a lot of money by the time they are 40 and may want to retire! And do what? Some young friends of ours are already contemplating this scenario.

Average Deepak or a John did not have face Cancer or Heart Attack because he never lived that long. With better products, diagnostics tools,  and cures, better solutions from biotechnology, the lifespan of Deepak and John is increasing rapidly. With better cures, these dangerous diseases are also more controllable and many times curable. Now more people die of old age instead of dying due to illnesses.  

Friends, I am very positive that humans will find a way to handle these galloping changes but some thoughts and concepts will change on their heads! Don’t be surprised if you meet a banker friend of yours after ten years and find him growing organic farms or has become potter of beautiful ceramics! We always find our path, some find it quickly, some find it late and some don’t find at all! Darwin’s theory of “Survival of the fittest” is one thing that will never change!  

 

 

 

Does this generation have time?

The other day, a school time friend, Pradeep wrote a comment on Facebook, after reading my blog, “Who has time for Snails & Tortoises?”

This blog was about the thoughts that came to my mind, how we are losing the art of taking things easy. Some things are beyond our control but some are not; like the information and data that we get is enormous and because of that we tend to process everything fast and continue with that habit all the time! But we can take some things easy if we want! It’s up to us!

Pradeep said in his comment, “Pramod, you have written a great blog but do people have time to read such a long piece?” In today’s time, reading 1200 to 1400 words is a lot of time to give to something which shows no tangible returns. If one had to read the 10000-word document for next day’s office meeting, after reaching home at midnight, it is Ok to give time for it. Next day’s meeting is a crucial meeting and there are direct tangible returns.

There are friends like Vijay, Ganesh and Arun who consistently give their opinion on what I write. Friends like Dilip also share an adverse opinion with me. This contemplates me to think, review and sometimes make minor changes in style which to me is essential. Shrikant feels that my blogs sometimes become too conversational. I also read many blogs and I also read about blogging. I have found that this method suits my style better. I feel that I am basically a storyteller. The human brain is a very interesting thing; I think that HE has designed an unlimited archives section in our brains. Once I go into writing mode, my hard disc starts whirring fast and suddenly a right story is accessed. I was writing a blog a couple of days back, “Man and the Machine”.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2018/11/13/man-and-the-machine/

Suddenly from the archive, I remembered the event called Gimli Glider, Air Canada incident. I had read about it a few years back. But HIS design is such that the appropriate address in the archive section was accessed, instantly. This story enhanced what I wanted to say in that blog.

I m k! Hw r u? I lv u 😘. This is the language the young gang uses. But to me, they use this language in their personal communications. Formal communications do remain formal. I was trying to remember from my school time. I was a reasonably good leader, but I was zero in elocution, the writing was only meant to get through in the exams. I had classmates who could paint, write stories and poems, take part in elocution and do so many things. But this percentage was small. I am sure that in today’s young generation too, this percentage may not be high but I can tell you that it has increased. This is due to the exposure and resultant confidence that kids acquire. Like me, there could be late bloomers.

So, Pradeep, “Don’t worry! There will be bloggers, story writers, novelists and painters AND readers.” Each generation has its own specialities, its own expertise. To me basic things don’t change, what changes is the way it is done, the way it is produced and the way it is distributed and expressed. I have understood the modern vehicles like FB, WA, Instagram, LinkedIn pretty well. I use them as my tool for distributing what I write, long or short, serious or funny! Subjects may change, topics may be different. I have full confidence in the young gang. They will read what they like and they will do what they want. Don’t underestimate them. In cricketing parlance, we wondered who will replace Tendulkar. But in came Kohli, now that Kohli is reaching 30, there is Shroff on the horizon, Rishabh Pant is also there!

I am lucky to be neighbours with my daughter and granddaughter, Rhea. All of five years old. I have watched Rhea grow and I am sure everything is fine with this world, as long as we allow it to be! Rhea loves stories. She wants to listen to stories while going to sleep while eating food. She makes stories and tells stories. She plays games where she holds a pencil as a mike and makes announcements, copying her teacher. Her imagination is flying sky high, all the time, because we let it fly. Let there be a thousand butterflies in the world, let there be hundreds of bright stars in the world. She sketches, paints and draws because she is taught and encouraged. Yesterday at the airport she and I played races for some time; suddenly she said, “Now let us play a race, who reaches that pole the last wins the race!” Look at her different way of thinking. I am sure such incidents must be happening in homes where the parents the grandparents find time for the kids and enrich their life! Yes, my 18-year grandson also reads my blogs once in a while!

So Pradeep, the speed of life has gone up exponentially but to channelize the energy of the young ones in the right direction is in our hands. So let us do it. I know all is well this world. This is about a young painter Manasi from Nashik, (about 26 years of age). She had written about how intensely she felt about doing nude paintings. But as she could not get find models; this simple middle-class girl showed fantastic courage to use her own body as a nude model! In times of shortages, we share with others what we have. This generation and ones afterwards will be short on time but they will find ways and methods to share it with others to enrich life. After all, there is life after FB and WA!

I have started this journey of writing after the age of 65, it is the journey taken up for enjoyment; I don’t expect any commercial returns. I am sure encouragement from friends like you and Sukanya on FB, my encourager in chief Jaya will always keep me writing. There some friends who always read but don’t comment. But whenever I speak with them on phone, they discuss my writings, give encouragement and suggestions. And there are some friends, who used to comment once in a while but now have gone on silent mode! But thanks to WordPress, I know you guys read my blogs! Thanks a million!

Blogging is a big deal! Nah…

Today on my engineering college WhatsApp group, a close friend Vijay, shared a blog about his journey to Sri Lanka! Vijay is an accomplished photographer; I am hoping to get his guidance in photography, at some stage. There was a discussion on the group about what a blog is! Of course, friends pulled my leg too, which is the norm among our group, when discussion veers towards blogging!

A blog is defined as a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style. I started blogging way back in 2011 with a few blogs in the first year, 2nd and 3rd years were also not very productive. In those days there was huge audience of three people, all from family and hence captive! Jaya, my son Sachin and my daughter Priya. They were all told to appreciate my blogs! In mid 2014, after my illness in the first part of the year, I suddenly became more productive and since last year I write 10 to 15 blogs in a month!

Why did I start blogging? Honestly, I do not know but probably it might have something to do with my being comfortable using computers. I bought my first PC in the year 1989, at home! During my school and college days, I was never a part of elocution competitions, singing, art or magazine stuff. I was busy in sports! Only thing I used do was a bit of logistics, behind the drama stage. I have never been a good photographer nor a painter, basically I am not an art and literature person! One thing I used to like since those days was chatting with friends, lot of gupshup, more of time pass which we enjoyed during engineering college hostel days. I used to be in a gang which would celebrate end of term with a bit of drinking alcohol; I and another friend (both non-drinkers) would be policemen to handle them when gang went our dinner after drinks! Maybe, I was a sponge all these years absorbing experiences, stories and anecdotes during the journey. Maybe this is helping me in blogging. Another thing I picked up on the way during professional years was creating good documents and writing mails which perfectly depicted my thoughts.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/random-thoughts/

This is my first blog written on 7th February 2011. When I went through it, I could see the rawness in me. There were three major spelling errors which I have corrected. (I am ashamed!) But other than that, I have not done any changes. Now I see that I had not even done formatting! It was really written randomly as per the title of the blog. Why I am writing this is because I feel that many of my friends are more talented than me and can be more productive and enrich their own and others lives by blogging. Sudhakar is a painter and writer par excellence, Vijay is a fantastic photographer, Pravin is a good singer, Shriniwas and Shashi have great flair for solving complex puzzles along with Shrikant and Sudhakar. I am sure many others have talents which are not known to others. There are some social workers in the group doing a great job, there are story writers like Kishor! Hey come on guys write something about your expertise, how you achieve end results, how you prepare and all such things. Write about your experiences.

Slowly I meandered towards blogs about human behaviour and relationships. This is my favourite topic for blogging. Sometimes I write about technical things but I make sure that it is not a technical document; my blogs are also read by non -technical people.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/dance-of-civilization/

This is my most favorite blog written on 19th January 2016. For me this was a path breaking blog which was ready in my mind the moment I thought what I should write. This happens to me in some blogs and my blog is ready in an hour and half! For some reason there is clarity of thoughts, the beginning and end is also ready. You must have observed that in my blogs there are always some anecdotes but, in this blog, it is full of small stories in the form of observations. About 30% of my blogs are written this way. Appropriate thoughts and the stories that I have absorbed over a period, somehow are accessed instantly from my hard disc in the mind.

Later, I have written blogs based on personalities, some based on poems or songs, some are based on real life events. Some were just based on a sentence I had read somewhere! It appears that over a period I improved my skills into expanding my thoughts from something small into a blog.

My favourite blog on personalities is of course the one on Shashi Kapoor when he passed away! He was in commercial films but never looked comfortable. He had the looks, charisma and family background with him!  But he was more humane than many other stars!

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/shashi-kapoor-the-british-punjabi/

Most favourite or all time favourite blog that my friends have liked is

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/paranormal-behavior-or-angat-yene-or-devi-ana/

It is miles ahead of all other blogs for number of views. This was written from a personal experience of someone from family, who had this effect on her during a religious function in the family. I had heard about this aspect and I had assumed that this happens to people I don’t know! But that it was real was proved when the lady came out of the trance, she was totally drenched in sweat!

Another blog that is dear to my heart is  Brave Art!

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/brave-art/

It is about a young girl, maybe 26/27 years old, from Nasik who dared to break the social norms and did nude paintings of self! I was reading a poem by Kedarnath Singhji when my friend Sudhakar shared all details about Mansi and her background! I combined the brave girl’s act with the poem that I was reading on the subject of woman’s nudity! Both subjects have gelled beautifully to create a satisfactory blog.

From 21 views in the first year, I have already crossed a figure of 10,500 in the year 2018. Let me tell you this helps! I am not writing for praise only,  but the comments made by friends, telephonic discussions add to my enthusiasm!  I have 65 regular followers and they are from different countries. India, US, Australia, Canada and UK are the countries where I have friends so it is no surprise that my viewers are from these countries. But I get surprised when there are sometimes viewers from non-English speaking countries like Germany, Hungary whereas Ireland, Hongkong is also a surprise to me.

Only reason I have written this blog is to tell people the real inside story! When we were younger such technology did not exist. Friends, make use of technology, don’t go by what I have written about blogs. Read on the net and interpret the meaning of blogs in your own way but start playing with it. Another important aspect is that writing a blog is your own product whereas pushing forwards on WA/FB is like service industry, sharing someone else’s work. I prefer own product, anytime! There are always hidden gems in the society, they only need a bit of cut and polish! You could be one of them! Don’t forget we all have a lot of stories and anecdotes to share, it’s a matter of pulling them out at the right time!

AF and BF!

 

The caricatures will indicate the subject of my blog!

AD‘ is the initials of the Latin words anno domini, which means “Year of the Lord” – in other words, (approximately) the number of years since the birth of Jesus. The modern equivalent is ‘CE’, which means “Common Era”. ‘BC” is the initials of the English words “before Christ” – a way of counting backwards in time before the current era. But now new terminologies have come up, BF is Before Facebook and AF is After Facebook. Facebook started in 2004 February and WhatsApp in Jan 2009. They have made a great revolution in our lives.

These technologies churned out because of two behemoths of the modern technology, Internet and Cell phone. As normally happens, FB &WA changed our methods of communications totally. These helped us to locate old friends, long lost pals! Everybody was thrilled. We got controls in our hands and we could communicate with anybody and everybody, anytime, be it midnight or be it noon!

In 70’s the communication with each other was by mail and telephones; telephones in our part of the world were a rarity. There was methodology and etiquettes, in their usage,  which were established over a period of time. There were certain etiquettes for business letters and there were some for personal letters. World over, the postal departments were doing the job of delivering the mail. This conventional mail slowly came to be known as snail mail as the time taken for a letters to reach was 3 to 6 days within the country and 3 to 4 weeks in foreign countries.

Slowly with internet came e mail, personal telephones called cell phones became available. But these technologies also came up slowly in nineties! In the 21st century two technologies started galloping and these proliferated world over. In India cell phone usage has increased at the break neck speed. From the same two technologies were born FB and later WhatsApp! Once people realized how easy it is to use FB &WA, the numbers simply became billions! Another thing that helped was increase in Internet speed and Bandwidth, added to it was the local language availability. Video calls became possible as easily like voice calls. We think that these developments happened suddenly but technology does not work this way. These developments of Video on cell phone had started in the year 2000/2001. In 15 years, better hardware, software and Internet changed the face of the technology.

How was this useful to human race? I can say that, had this technology been available before 2nd world war, it was possible that Hitler could have won the war. He had a very fierce propaganda machine led by Goebbels but with FB & WA his reach could have been global. There were enough desperados in this world, who would have joined Hitler!

I don’t want to flood you with statistics about usage of these two apps and all apps in general. From what I have checked on the net the time spent is between 2 to 4 hours in working and retired people; the same use is even more in student community.

https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/whatsapp-statistics/

I have noted that usage of these apps has increased during the time in offices, office time which is supposed to be productive. I go to various industries and the new trend is that people still seem to be busy, but many are busy looking at their cell phones. These organizations prohibit access to the social media apps on their office computers but with smart phone prices spiraling down, large number of people can afford smart phones. Access to these apps on personal phones cannot be stopped. Once we were waiting to meet a senior officer in an organization. We were told that he is busy in a conference call. He was sitting in a designated area. We passed by that area two or three times; every time he was busy on his cell phone screen. Never saw him talking on phone.

Social issues created by these apps are worse (loss of productivity, loss of family time) than the advantages offered by them. Out of 3 to 4 hrs time spent on these apps, important time is eaten away from “family time”, after reaching home.  Of course, the whole family is busy looking at the screen! The so-called group usage of WA is a curse. More than 90% messages are forwards! This facility has been used for spreading rumors and has resulted in killings of people, based on rumors in India. WA is struggling to prevent this from happening, under government pressure!

 

I will share some experiences with you. The above caricatures show how today’s lovers enjoy, they don’t look into each others eyes but.. at their own cell phone screen! The other day a couple came home for coffee. After usual, hi and hellos the gentleman got busy on his cell phone. After more than five minutes he had to be bluntly asked if he came to our home to check his WA messages? Once we had gone out for a family dinner with young family gang. One of the kids, 20 years old was addicted to her cell phone. She was sitting opposite me. After 15 minutes or so, I told her to put the cell phone away as we were having a lovely dinner. After that episode she avoids me in family get togethers. How do we resolve this?

Now I am semi-retired so it hardly is going to make any difference if I wasted time on FB/WA. But, I have decided that in future, I will access Facebook only on days when I publish my blog. (All these days publishing was automatic but FB does not allow automatic publishing from WordPress from 1/8/2018) I will communicate with friends on their birthdays/ and some special events privately, never on the wall.

On WhatsApp, I may be required to react on a couple of groups as I am Admin in one, and the other is our society group where I am the chairman. So, I will be accessing WhatsApp only once in a day, early mornings. Similarly, I will use WhatsApp to circulate my blogs only!

There was a movie called “Back to the future” which took the hero back to his parent’s school time zone. I am going “Back to Pre FB-days”. I have been trying it for last week or so and I am happy.

Please forward this blog or like it! My purpose for writing this is just to communicate with you by “New or maybe OLD” method of communication in future. After all there is life beyond Facebook and WhatsApp!