Saturday, June 20, 2009

An Update on Life

It has been ages since my last post...something which I deeply regret. A lot of things have taken place in the past year, which I assume would have changed me and my perspective. I regret not blogging regularly so I could look back figure the change in thinking. Anyway, better late than never I guess.

Most people have a fascination towards the world of finance nowadays. I too am a part of that lot. And to satisfy my curiosity, off late I have been trying to discover the secret knowledge that everyone my age is looking to seek - to have an idea of what it is that these movers and shakers actually do. And have I? To some extent yes. But the funny part of discovering things is that you always want to know more... and there are more questions to ask than answers to give, aren't there? And so it is these new set of questions that I'm now pondering over.

The world of finance is undoubtedly complicated, exciting, highly mathematical and relationship based at the same time and very, very interesting. The risks taken are enormous, the gains and losses even more so. From the professional setup to the high profile meetings, from the millions of dollars to the bitter competition, it really is a kick for those who are of that mould. But in the past few months, there is one thing that seems missing in the whole system. And the something is empathy.

Now dont get me wrong, I love what I see. There is something about this world that just draws you in. I cant explain it, but I sure as hell can feel it. And don't assume that I'm saying the place is devoid of ethics either. Its a highly ethical industry. Well, at least the professional ones whom we associate the financial industry with are. But being ethically right sometimes does not mean being morally right. Being ethically right may not be being sympathetic or empathetic either.
Though not clearly, I now can relate to why most successful people turn toward philanthropy at the later stages of their life. The speeches by Bill Gates and the story about high profile CEO's quitting their jobs and turning to non-profit organizations make some sense now.

There are people who are ambitious and there are people who have a passion to do something for the society. And then there are those who are both. Isn't it a real challenge when your job doesn't satisfy both these aspects of your personality? I'm not talking about a situation where the job requires to do something against your principles and the likes. That would make things back and white, far too easy. The question arises when you end up in a job that is challenging, extremely satisfying, something you love to do and have a bright future with but doesn't involve other aspects of your personality. For example, say you have an amazing job that is really stimulating and challenging and you love it but it does not have an impact on the society per se, which really matters to you. Or you are doing a socially meaningful job but it doesn't have the future or career path or remuneration that you are comfortable with. I think these are the questions that will matter the most a couple of years down the line when we get out of college life and the first couple of months of earning and spending recklessly. I guess people don't really want a single thing in life. Each one of us has a certain expectation of himself, and would like to be satisfies that he is able to tap his potential to the maximum. But there are hardly such tailor made jobs and even so, then comes the question of taking the risk to make that jump from one job to another. Sometimes it may involve shifting fields, taking risks like never before.

Another thing that I noticed, something which is quite an obvious statement to make, is that theory is not the same as practice. But another observation that I made is that the difference between theory and practice can be made up for in many ways. In case it isn't, it may result on one not being successful or being just a little successful. In some cases it is made up with assumptions, based on historical data. "This had happened before so it may most probably happen again". More often than not it is made up for by learning, through books, keeping aware or through relationships(professional or personal). But the most successful and beautiful way to make up for this difference is to use all these methods and combine it with a not so common thing called creativity. And I guess most of us will agree to the fact that the more we seem to acquire knowledge and grow old, the more we also feel that we are losing our innate creativity at the same time. Its a peculiarly funny problem to which there seems to be no perfect solution. One just hopes to keep a little bit of both and make up for it with another substitute known as experience.

I have a feeling this post is going to seem like a really vague one to all of you, but its something to ponder about. I hope all of you can relate to it with your lives as well. It may make way for some really interesting introspection and discussion.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Music to my ears

Have you ever traveled in a really noisy bus. Though initially the noise pisses you off, after a while you tend to find a sort of rhythm in the noise the bus is making.

I think that is the basis of music.Patterns!
The first thing that attracts us to music is something distinct that we can identify it with. Some people love basic chords, some have a fascination for crazy guitar solos, some are suckers for an amazing voice hitting a really high note. Each one of us may have different tastes, but all the interests have one thing in common. We love a certain pattern and that is the prime reason for us liking a particular kind of music.

Why do some people like rock? I think initially everyone takes a little bit of time to adjust to rock from soft music because it takes time to identify the pattern. It takes time to get used to finding the beautiful sequences that lie buried in the heavy base and distorted chords. But once you get it, the respect you have for the inherent beauty of the creation is so overwhelming that you want to listen to more and more music of the same genre. There are some songs which get more and more addictive as you hear them, just because each time you do there is some pattern you have never heard before. The depth of the music overwhelms you, and you feel that you can associate and identify with these patterns in a manner that no one else can. That it is something tat only you and the creator of the song can understand, and that means so much. You are so thrilled at being able to identify these patterns and connect with them so much that you start un-liking the previous music you used to admire as a by product of this new found enthusiasm. And then there are those who love heavy metal, thrash metal ,grunge metal etc. The heavier it gets, the tougher the pattern is to recognise.
But the beauty of the entire thing is that it just isnt about identifying hidden patterns. Its about the music you love to listen to. Its not about whether your ears are capable of bearing the harshest music. Its about whether you enjoy it.

Whats music to ones ears and noise to another is just a matter of perspective. But this perspective is a good indicator of you, of what you are, how you feel and what you believe in. How else could one explain wy people grow out of some genre's of music and get enticed into some others as the grow. I believe it is true when one says that you can tell a lot about a person from the music he listens to. But the problem is that how you judge the person would depend a lot on the kind of music you love as well.

And so I have evolved from loving Backstreet Boys to Linkin Park, from Metallica to Iron Maiden, from Black Sabbath to Rasmus, From 3 doors down to Jimi Hendrix, from Pink Floyd to Red Hot CHilli Peppers, From Dire Straits to Bob Dylan.And I feel Ive only just begun.......