Monday, September 15, 2008

Learning is the Law of Life

This semester, the beginning of the fourth year of Ph.D has marked the beginning of a different time for me. Earlier, it merely used to be just another year coming and then eventually passing by, but this time somehow it was different. Since the past one month I have been trying to analyze what has really made the difference; because I believe the difference has been for the better!

I think mid of this year marks the end of the "mid-phase" of Ph.D, a seemingly slow, sometimes depressing phase. However, each year of Ph.D has brought something more, new and nice to me - I never really had the "mid-phase" problem, probably because I was never short of the bigger motivation or the goal. It kept me going.

Despite this, keepng ambitious and short-term targets have been keeping me busy. While this good on one hand, that it doesn't let your attention lurk the dark allys of philosophical thoughts about life (note, I used to write a lot about "life" etc earlier!), yet, at times, it can be stressful. And this is what had been happening to me since sometime. Peer pressure, desire to be better and work and short-term targets seemed to leave me so stressed that I started getting sleeplessness at night.

However, now I realize one thing. All this has happened for the better, as usual, as they say! I have become so used to the stress levels now, and the work pressure now only makes me work harder, while the philosophical "life" talks are just some residue at some remote corner!

What is learned is that time makes up for everything. We are extremely manoeuverable individuals, time and the course of life evens out all the rough undualations we have had in the past. And of the ruggest road of present, it makes us fit enough to face it. Time takes care of everything...

However, I have also learnt from my experience that it is very necessary to rediscover and redefine ourselves every now and then. Only that can affect the strength we need to match up with the healing over time. And this self-discovery or refinement could be anything. For me, I learnt a ne way to define life altogether. I also found an immense source of pleasure in learning new things, be it research or life.

Learning brings us in contact with new ideas, new thoughts, and even sometimes a newer self inside us altogether. Learning has no end and it is one area where nothing is ever enough! And by learning I mean anything under the Sun which enhances ourselves, and our lives for a better tomorrow.

So to wind up, I believe there is no good time or apt age to learn about something. It only enriches us, enables to cope up with the changes in life and lets us tide over certain chapters of the past. All of us learn some bit about life everyday, however, learning something you cherish makes a lot of difference. Hence this is a blog for those friends who are looking for a motivation to learn, to do something in life; who think their present life is not upto the mark. My suggestion says, go out there are discover what you want to learn, and then trust me, there won't be any looking back! There doesn't need to be a clear materialistic goal for learning, learning can make differences larger than life and wider than perception-evident Earthly goals.

Learning is the law of life...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Some Ramblings...

I am excited about my trip to Colorado early October, more because it has been a while I had driven out of Tempe! Colorado would be a new state for me, and one where there is so much Nature to enjoy! I plan to spend half a day at Denver, and then a day in Aspen; and then drive to the Keystone resort where the conference is. Just to keep track of my traveling, which I love so much, here goes a list of the states visited yet:

Arizona, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, California, Utah, Virginia, Illinois

And drove through these:

Ohio, Delaware, West Virginia


I attended the ISA (Indian Students' Association) Freshers yesterday evening and I was thinking one thing - how fast time flies, it just seemed to me that only "that" day I attended the Freshers, and already it has been an year! Several things have changed since the last time, especially the research pace, which has rather been very positive for me, in turn been an artifact of some other things and happenings in the past one year, especially early this year. And while its fun on one hand, that probably it's not too long I have to be in Arizona, on the other hand it sometimes feels scary - so much to do in so less time! Time flies, and life is short!


I am trying to implement the "law of conservation of sleep" - wherein I plan to sleep less during the weekdays and get work done; and then relax in the weekend - less of partying, more of cooking, and some good sleep (ref. probably is Quarter-life crisis effect :P). Also I have realized I am doing less of my favorite pastimes: photography, writing, reading and watching movies. I think all of them are much needed in life for self-evaluation, to broaden the perspective, to reach out to alternative thoughts and to re-invent yourself and thoughts.


Whenever you lose something, you are bound to gain something else! And I think this is what defines life - the choices that we make, and the choices we are obliged to make due to circumstances. Finally, hopefully it all ends well - something which I always tell myself and friends, "whatever happens, probably happens for the better!" And probably that's why I am happy with everything, no complains about the past whatsoever! Things have turned out to be pretty positive yet; and hopefully life won't let me down to disbelieve this philosophy in the future too!


I have always had several smart, intelligent, hard-working and competitive people around me. And I would say, while sometimes this can be stressful, it is actually good, since positive competition makes you better, extracting the best out of you. Since I came to ASU, having competitive people around me has let me work harder and harder, learn things and try to get the best out of me. And it has worked for my own good!


And finally cherish life - it's a golden opportunity - a truth I realize every morning I get up!

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Grass on Your Side is Always Greener!

This blog is dedicated to all the readers who think something somewhere in their life is missing! Hope you enjoy it and get the message :)

The other day I was flipping through some people's pages (read my contemporaries / social contacts, not necessarily friends) when I was elated to see them happy with their significant other, an-apparently-good-looking-well-paying-job, and a decently nice car. Though I am far away from knowing what they think, yet it did appear to me that to them, life was full upto the brim, with all the necessary elements needed for a good life defined in the societal terms.

Contrast me. Not quite sure where the "significant-other" chapter is heading to; rather, to be precise haven't been looking out, for reasons more than one, and lessons beyond simple popular notions. And I am happy the way things are regarding this - after all, who can parallel a girl like me? ;-) Oh yeah, I am a little too proud when it comes to finding that "significant other". And I don't see a reason why I shouldn't be!

Jokes apart, about the apparently-good-looking-well-paying-job, I don't believe in the entire concept of working for the sake of money, or doing something which "people" around you consider fulfilling, yet leaving you go back home thinking "what the heck I am doing with my life?". I live a life which I can enjoy, work on stuff which intrigue me, so that the next morning when I get up, I can look back at yesterday and feel ecstatic about the little accomplishments I made, the little differences I could make to a much larger goal.

A loving partner, a well-paying job and other material comfort are necessary in life, no doubt. But are they sufficient as well? I am sure most of you would think no! And this is what exactly defines the way my life is.

Life doesn't have to be exactly the way other people lead it as. Rather life should be led the way you think it makes you happy. Having a relationship is good, but not a necessary element for happiness in life. I know so many friends (and I was also one of them at one point of time) who think that their life is so incomplete because that "significant other" is missing. However, they don't realize that being in a relationship is not the end of the world, or the attainment of Nirvana. The reason you are not in a relationship is because either you haven't met that "right" person, or the ones whom you have met, weren't "right" for you - whichever way, or whatever the reason for the past not working, it's good you are not a part of that mess anymore.

And of course the realm of job, money and satisfaction, or the opportunity to do what you want to or love to do. Honestly, there are very few people bold or courageous enough to tread a risky path as to go ahead and find that job or that work which leaves them satisfied. And the ones who do tread that thorny path, are warded away from the societal definitions of a so-called comfortable life. Yet, to all of those like me, who are set on a journey to make a difference to the world, in some way, small or big, I would say, kudos! May be you feel something somewhere in your life is missing, yet you know whatever you have, it is the best you could do to yourself. And definitely that defines why you are better than all the other commonplace crowd!

Life is too short anyway, note, I am 26, and time seems to be flying! Then why wither away time thinking and comparing yourself with others, being morose imagining how your life could have been? It is foolish to do so.

I sometimes feel so bad that I want to do so much in life; so many things which could make me happy (note, I am very happy with my current life, I have no grudges, no complains whatsoever!) and could make others happy; things which could affect another person's life positively; things which could impact the world a little bit. There are so many things I want to do, and yet so less time!

I agree, probably my life is so very different from many others, when you evaluate it in the popular societal terms of having a good partner, good paying job, big house and elegant car, yet I feel this is the way my life should have been; even if given a chance to go back, I would still wish my life to be this way: however much stress it might involve! And about the societal material happiness, it is often a matter of time and a method of personal evaluation - and as long as you pass your own test, you don't need someone else' certificate of happiness!

So keep living each day, like a live happy person, who thinks the grass she has is the best she could have then, and work and hope that it will be greener, more lush and better with each new day!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Welcome back to my blog, after a span of 13 days of not blogging! It has been really really hectic at school, with all the research and everything. After all the reason being, the PhD years are closing in. And the thought itself runs a streamy blood down me - the magnanimity of a lifetime's dream to make a difference. Specifically, I have been stressed about several research and research-related issues. And my night-owlish habits have also been giving me a tough time live up to normal human schedules!

Well, excuse is not a good option especially when it comes to the best of someone's pastimes, I am talking about writing, which I always enjoy to the fullest. It is a way to better understand myself. It provides an affordance to tide over difficult times. And nevertheless it is a platform to instantiate my online presence, as someone rightly said, "The Web is really the last resort where you can exercise Freedom of Speech"!

However, all this time not blogging has taught me a lesson. That, you don't need a medium to tread a difficult path. You need to have the confidence that you can make it till the end. After every sunset, there is a sunrise.

There have been several things running on my mind everyday, each day that I was not blogging. Most of them were related to my research, which goaded me to revisit my desire of starting a "brainstorming" social research blog. Let's see when that finally happens.

I encountered an interesting idea in the Wired magazine last week. And it was how there has been an inherent shift in the way we tackle scientific research now-a-days, especially armed with zillions of data. Have you heard of PetaByte? It is as of now the biggest sized information defined! And what the magazine said was how the profuse online data is changing our basic methods.

I felt research, for example, a hundred years back was linear and unidirectional. Scientists would form a hypothesis, develop a mathematical framework, test or simulate it on some data and thereby validate the hypothesis. However, with those overwhelming data, research paradigm appears to be circular. We observe a phenonmenon, form hypothesis, check if the data fits that hypothesis, formalize a model and then test and validate; which is followed recursively given the data, resulting in a circular paradigm.

With this interesting thought, I would leave. Hopefully, given the same amount of stress at work, I would be more regular with the blogs from now on!