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A Junkyard of random stuff

Even everything is nothing…

Happy anniversary my love..

Ten years ago today, you came into my life. I had a few flings with others before you came, but sooner or later I got bored and ditched them. To be honest, when we first started, I didn’t think we would last this long. But today, you are the window into my soul, a part of my very essence.

We have been through some difficult times. I have ignored you for months on several occasions but thankfully you never complained. And of course, I would always come back to you sooner or later. You always patiently let me pour my thoughts and feelings out and you brought out the poet in me.

Now, I can hardly imagine my life without you. So, please be assured that, though I am not spending as much time with you as I have been in the past, you are the only inanimate and intangible thing that I get very emotional about.

As a gift, I am going to give you a new outfit. Hope you like the new dress. Thank you my blog, for the last 10 wonderful years.

It’s so weird that I never cared for any of my possessions – clothes, gadgets, motorbike, cars but I am so attached to this piece of intangible bytes of storage.

My first post in this blog – https://thejkumar.wordpress.com/2005/08/15/an-indian-afterall/

Applying Prospect Theory on Emotions

Prospect theory is generally used to describe the investment habits and in short it says that people are more likely to negatively value losses than positively value gains of similar value. Yes, I know I lost you there. So let me explain with the below graph.

Graph

So the pain you feel at the loss of 50 dollars is a lot more than the pleasure you get for the same gain. In terms of investments, let me quote an example from Investopedia

Say one investor was presented with the same mutual fund by two different financial advisors. The first tells the investor that the mutual fund has had an average return of 7% over the past five years. The second advisor tells the investor that the mutual fund has seen above-average returns in the past 10 years but has been declining in recent years. According to prospect theory, even though the investor is presented with the same mutual fund, he or she is more likely to buy the mutual fund from the first advisor, who expressed the rate of return as an overall 7% gain, rather a combination of both high returns and losses. [1]

Most of my readers are smart and already know where I am going with this in terms of personal relationships but let me finish it anyhow. I promise you, I will try to make this as interesting as possible.

In relationships, especially when there is a fight, each person shouts out all the bad things that the other one has done. It is so weird that they remember each negative incident so well and the good ones maybe not that well. In essence, being the best person you have ever been can easily be negated by being an asshole for a single day. Because people tend to judge you positively very slowly but negatively almost instantly.

Not just personal relationships, even in an employee/manager situation, the list of negative feedbacks usually exceeds the list of positive ones. Another example, is when you are about to write anonymous feedback about a product that you used, the first things that enter your mind are all the problems with it. Why do we tend to focus much more on negative things than on positive things? It could be a human nature but the question is can we train ourselves to judge more positively or at least be neutral? (Treat positives and negatives on the same scale). I have been exploring this for the last few months and I still am not where I want to be but now, people are very less capable of annoying me because when someone is irritating me, I don’t remember all the help that person has done for me and realize that a momentary situation cannot speak or weigh down on long term closeness. All the best to me.

Hmm, should this go on Facebook or LinkedIn? It has both professional and personal aspects to this, so I guess I will post it in both places.

[1] http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/prospecttheory.asp#ixzz3bnMZRCJ4

Partying in Poland

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A journey has to begin with a bang and in my case, bang usually means something bad happening to me. This time, two incidents happened

  1. I was super hungry at the airport. So went into a    store and bought some cake and came back and sat near the boarding gate. Some lady was announcing something in the loudspeaker at the airport and I was like, who the hell even listens to that. Then comes Raksheet who said he heard my name being called in a very bad pronunciation over the speaker and that I was supposed to visit the information centre. Well, that can’t be good. I quickly went through the checklist – Passport, check; Residence permit – check, boarding pass – check, debit card –check.. oh wait.. no check. Can’t find it. I run back to the information centre the poor lady had already announced my name three times by that time. I apologized took my card and came back.
  2. Well that wasn’t the only airport incident. The next one happened in Krakow while exiting the airport, I left my second bag at a place where we were standing for a while. So I entered through the exit gate, running in full speed (obviously I didn’t want someone to steal it) and the security ran towards me and stopped me. It took me a second before I realized what must be going on their minds and I assured that I wasn’t a bad person, showed them my boarding pass and explained that I forgot my bag. They were kind enough to be understanding.

We got our cars, drove towards the salt mines which were amazing. At 130 meters deep, I was reminded of Assasin’s creed game and the hobbit movie. The tour guide was a cute polish girl, trust me, polish people are beautiful. And one other thing I remember here was that Daniel and I had a tough time explaining Jera how 65 divided by 2 was approximately 32.

Next we went to the hotel, checked in and then went out to the oldest restaurant in Krakow (built in 1600s I think) where we had a super expensive meal. Jun wanted vodka with nothing less than 100% alcohol in it and someone had to convince him that drinking ethyl alcohol (C2H6OH) was deadly. After that we walked towards the city centre and at 2 am in the night, the area was bustling with activity with food stalls, couples walking in arms etc. While we were already full, Jun bought some street food and I loved it.

I managed to wake up on time and was feeling proud that I was up so early despite sleeping so late when I get a whatsapp text that everyone was already ready and waiting for me. I quickly shower, go down, grab some food, steal some apples for lunch (it was a buffet and the apples were just lying around there) and then we drove out towards Auschwitz.

Stephan, Raksheet and I got into one car and we enjoyed a very manly drive (no talking, just sitting and staring at the road) with an occasional joke or two. I loved it, yep, sometimes you need peace. And as usual with me, by the time we reached the place, the tickets were sold out for the morning entry and we could only go there in the afternoon at 3.

Okay, we decided to go to the home town of Pope John Paul and eat his favourite dessert there. It was an okayish dessert and the most amazing part of the trip was Jera feeling nauseous because of the long road journey and still eating ice-cream, coffee and dessert together.

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We headed back to Auschwitz and I don’t want to talk much about this except that it was a very depressing place.

And yea, at some point before now, Nidhi, Saby’s wife joined as well. Now we drove towards Zakopane, where we had to trek. The road was super foggy and at one point I couldn’t see more than 10 meters ahead of me. Then we reached our hotel and boy was it a hotel. The easiest way to describe how amazing the hotel was by the number of “Oh my God”s that Binita said when she looked at it. I think I counted 23.

After checking in, we went to a restaurant to eat. One thing about these restaurants, there are people playing music, it’s warm and the food is amazing.

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The funniest part was when we ordered food. I found a meat platter which contained fish, pork, beef, chicken, eggs and almost every daily animal you could think of. I asked how many wanted to share and I counted 6 people. So I was going to order the 6 people one, when Federico in his Italian style, said “COMMON….. Order the 8 people one”. Well, here goes nothing, I thought and ordered and boy was it a meal.

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More amazing than the meal itself was the fact that we cleaned it. And more amazing than that was a look at Raksheet’s plate once he finished his turkey. Someone said, “that dead turkey can be proud of itself” and I couldn’t agree more. Only bones remained and they were squeaky clean.

That night we didn’t buy enough beers – only about 4 big cans for everyone and the obvious happened, we ran out of beer. Stephan called a taxi service on phone and told them we wanted beer. The lady on the other end politely told us that it was a taxi service and not a beer shop before hanging up. We looked around and found some more cans in the fridge which we finished before heading for bed.

The next day we went trekking. The long trek made us sweat a lot. I had to remove my jacket about half way through and carry it though it was very cold outside. Daniel saw an opportunity here – Binita hadn’t got her jacket and she was slightly cold. So he offered his jacket to her like a gentleman while the true story was that he was sweating too and wanted to get rid of the jacket. Damn, why didn’t I think of that first.

Unfortunately it was way too foggy and I couldn’t see the beautiful view that would be otherwise there. Now, if you are thinking no misadventure happened this day, you were wrong again. Saby, left the car lights on and it was dead by the time we reached back. Some friendly Polish tourists helped us kick-start the engine and for many of us this was the first time seeing it.

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We headed back to the hotel and then walked to another restaurant. This time it was vodka shots. We managed to find 75% alchohol and went crazy about it. But we weren’t the crazy ones. There was another group of girls who were extremely drunk and three girls were trying to lift one of their friends who wished to sleep on the pavement that day. I told Saby that maybe I should go help before he dragged me away. We walked back and we were walking in the middle talking loudly and making a lot of jokes. We were told that the “Police people arrest only the Polish people” so we didn’t calm down.

This time we had more than enough beer and I feel ashamed to admit that we couldn’t finish them all. Again, I couldn’t find my card holder (a small box which contains all my cards – debit, residence permit, license etc) and I was pretty sure I left it at a McDonalds where we stopped for a coffee the day before. But yea, the next day I found the box on the window pane. I swear there is a naughty ghost that stays beside and does all these things invisibily.

Well, on the final day, we finished our journey and headed back towards Rotterdam and if I remember correctly, by some amazing karmic intervention, nothing bad happened.

Thejeta – It’s over 9000

The blooper movie

Project Pakoda – Whatsapp style

It all started with me posting a picture of mirchi bajjis in the college whatsapp group.

It rained properly for the first time since January and not just drizzle, proper India-wala rain. I wanted Mirchi Bhajji’s and Irani chai. And the rest is below. Read Left to right. There is one fake picture here.

 

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Sunk cost

Sunk Cost is the money that you have already spent on a venture which in no way can affect the future decisions you make. For example, let’s say you went to a movie and 20 minutes into the movie, you realize the movie sucks. You have two options – continue to suffer through the rest of the movie or understand that the ticket price was a sunk cost and walk out of the theatre to do something better. This applies in business context as well, for example, just because you spent so much money training an employee doesn’t mean you can’t fire him if he doesn’t perform well.

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Anyway, what I am going to talk about is how this sunk cost can be applicable to non-monetary cases as well. I wrote about how I messed up one of my open-book exams by not registering for a laptop and ended up writing it as a closed book exam. (FYI, I passed the test and didn’t do so horrible). When the examiner told me I couldn’t use my tablet because I hadn’t registered for it, I panicked for a second but the next instant, I realized what happened was sunk cost and I shouldn’t continue to spend time worrying about it. Before I came to the exam, my goal was to be able to score 80% something in the test but under the new circumstances, I re-adjusted my goal to just pass the test. Now thinking back, I am very proud of myself for being able to do that. (Yes I wanted to write about this back then itself and I waited till I get the actual grades before typing this out)

With the above example, I am trying to drive home the point about how powerful this concept is. In other words, you could extrapolate the sunk cost to things like emotions, luck, injury and many other things. You got dumped? Yes it would hurt, but what happened is sunk cost, no point worrying about it. You lost your wallet (and didn’t find it after a reasonable amount of time), it’s a sunk cost, get a new wallet. You injured your leg two before a marathon? Again sunk cost, stop feeling sad and see what else you can do instead.

Now before I conclude, let me give you my current situation which can be related to sunk cost. I bought a second hand bike for 75 euros. Now it’s broken and the repair guy is asking for 35 euros to fix it. Now even if do that, I am not sure what is going to happen in another couple of days. I asked him, how much he would give for the bike, he said 20 euros. Tomorrow, I am going to try and fix the bike myself and if I can’t, I am going to call it sunk cost and sell the bike for 20 euros instead of throwing good money after bad.

My first Video Log

The day the train stood still

It takes a superman to stop a moving train but yet an ordinary human being managed to do the same and she didn’t even use both her hands. I am filled with pride to be friends with her. But before we know more about these, I need to tell you guys about a day where sooo many things went wrong and yet we had the most fun ever…

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Me, Dye, Sonya, Chime, Nora, Jr. Monster and Hima had planned to go to Maastricht on Monday. The train ticket would cost 48 euros (to and fro) which was way expensive. Luckily they were selling discounted day passes (one day travel anywhere in Netherlands) at 17 euros. I bought one and told other to buy the same. The ticket you get is actually just a bar-code that you need to activate online, generate a ticket and print it out. Now, Monster and I printed out those tickets on Sunday itself. Chime, Nora and Sonya had planned to buy, activate and print out in the morning. Wow, that’s optimistic I thought. Anyway, Chime and Nora managed to buy those barcodes from Albert Heijn (shops that sell these discounted tickets) but it’s not easy to print a ticket (unlike India) unless you have a printer. So Chime and Nora walshed into a library and demanded that they print out the ticket for them. Either Chime managed to threaten them or Nora managed to charm them, I don’t know, but they managed to get a print out.

Now Sonya, well.. Sonya was altogether a different story. She had been running into a streak of super unluckiness lately, losing her passport, getting mugged and so on but she still hadn’t lost her optimism. She hoped to buy the discounted ticket in the train station itself. This will run into a number of pages, if I go on describing more about it. So, let me just shorten it. We went to the shop near blaak – closed, the shop in Central Station – they don’t sell the tickets there, a shop near Central Station – they ran out of tickets. And to add to all this, we took the wrong tram and ended up at about 2 km away from the station and had to walk back. She finally had to get the full priced ticket. The main point of discussion at this point was, whether or not, her bad luck had touched the rock bottom.

Well, everyone’s got their tickets and it was 10 am. We missed the train but the next train was at 10:20, so no worries. If you thought that, then you are wrong. Turns out during all the charming and threatening, Chime printed out the wrong tickets. We now had to find another place that can print these tickets. Luckily we found one finally and printed them out. Sonya and I at this point were wondering why Rotterdam loved us so much that it didn’t want us to leave the city. By the time we were out of the shop, it was 10:15. We ran back to the station but missed the train again. The next train was at 10:50 and we surprisingly managed to get into it.

The train journey was all fun where everyone was saying whose country had the worst traffic rules. Point to note, India, Russia and Nigeria seem to be the worst. We switched trains at Eindhoven and got to Maastricht. All of us were super excited that we somehow managed to reach the place. The next task was to Find Dye and Hima who had reached the day before and we were supposed to meet them. I called Dye, he didn’t pick up. I called again, he didn’t pick up. Nora called him – he picked up on the first ring. I didn’t know what I did that made him not like me :-P . Anyway, he wanted to go to a book store and get a haircut and so couldn’t meet us then. He told us, he would meet us at the caves (famous in Maastricht) themselves. No idea, what book he wanted to buy that wasn’t sold anywhere else in the world and what hairstyle he wanted to get that no one in Rotterdam could do.

We reached the caves and Dye and Hima were no where to be found. We waited as long as we could and took the trip. It’s a train trip inside the caves with the driver slowing down and explaining everything. Monster and I wanted to sneak out of the moving train and wander ourselves. But the others forced us not too. Monster was super disappointed at not finding any ghosts or monsters in the cave. After the train trip there was a light show in the caves which was super amazing. There were dozens of projectors that were synchronized to light up every part of the cave and turned it into a colorful real life 3 dimensional art. More amazing than that was seeing Monster’s imagination at this point. Some of the things that she said – that looks a person who was a goat in his previous life, she is a ghost who is missing her lover…

In the meantime, there was whatsapp discussion going on about where we actually were. Dye was pinging asking where we are and we wanted to find out where he was. The best reply was by Sun, “this is beginning to sound like a rescue mission”. Now we came out and Dye was still not there. Then, both Sonya and I called him, he didn’t pick up the calls. We asked Nora to call him up and again he picks up on the first ring. So what happened they couldn’t find the caves and headed back to the Statdhuis. Now, we know that Stadhuis is a place in Rotterdam and were wondering how he managed to teleport to Rotterdam. Well turns out there is a place called Stadhuis in Maastricht as well. It took a huge amount of location sharing on whatsapp (including one which google pinned us at the middle of a river) before we managed to find him. We had dinner where I broke a glass and the Dutch lady said it was actually good luck to do so.

Now for the part you were all waiting for. We were all playing Mafia in the train. Some trends that emerged was – Monster was always the mafia, Nora was always the first casuality and Chime was the most suspicious one. Well anyway, we are all playing, Chime excused herself to visit the washroom and we continued playing. Suddenly, the train jams to a halt. I almost fell down. There was no station around us, so we were wondering what happened when Chime walks down and squeakily says “I did that”. Yea right, great joke. But she wasn’t smiling. The ticket guy comes over and she held out her arms so that she could be cuffed and said, “I am sorry, I did that. I wanted to open the washroom door”. Now as serious as she sounded, I couldn’t hold myself and burst out laughing and everyone else joined. That guy was cool about it and just said that it was no problem and the door to washroom was upstairs. Chime, you are a rockstar, the girl who stopped a train, someone should write a book about this. And next time you want to open a door, push it, don’t pull a lever…

We finally reached back at 11 pm and man what a day it was. I hadn’t laughed so much in a long long time. In fact in the tram station, I was standing alone waiting for the tram and was laughing like an uncontrollable idiot thinking about the train incident. Everyone around was pretty sure I was mad or high.

Note: Names changed to protect privacy :-). And this part fiction (more like exaggeration but that’s fun eh?)

Closed book in an open book exam.

So, I spend all Sunday typing out all the necessary stuff that I would need for my QPB test. I looked several at examples and typed the formulae used in them in my laptop. While I was still not 100% sure of the test, I was sure I could decent get marks especially because I had everything that I needed with me (in my laptop).

Day of the exam, I go to the hall, remember that my pen might be running of ink, so bought a new one and stepped into the exam hall 5 minutes before the test. Settled down, opened my laptop and powered it when I glance through the instructions on the exam sheet. No electronic media allowed. This must be a mistake, I talk to the invigilator who tells me that I should have registered by last Monday if I wanted to use the laptop and now it was too late. Okay, I still have 5 minutes, I can go and printout whatever I needed.

I go to the computer room, there was some examination happening over there and I wasn’t allowed to go in. Time – 2 mins left. I ask the IT guy for help and he allowed me to use his printer. I printed out the bare minimum I needed and rushed back to the exam hall in time. But as you might have guessed, those printout weren’t of much use. The worst part of this was, the exam was so easy, if I had my laptop, I would have aced it.

Right now, I am so angry with myself. I did well in my mid-term test, so hopefully I will pass (I need a minimum of 27/100 in this test to get an overall pass and trust me, without the textbook/laptop this is kind of iffy)

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