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Leaning in

Ten years ago I sent a video message to my future self. For the past 10 years, I have lived precariously close to jumping off with my whims, but I held onto the ladder. But of what use is climbing on a ladder if it is leaning against the wrong wall?

So I have decided to lean into rather than away from my whims. It may not be for the next ten years, it may be for the next two, or for a life time, but what I do is that I do not want to keep living this way. If I go back further in time then this is not the life my seventeen year old self would have chosen. Listening to a seventeen year old for life advice may not be the most adult like thing to do, but then who said that the adult thing to do is the right thing to do anyway. That seventeen year old self was the no nonsense, fearless, careless and naive young man who had more to look forward to in life than his future self. I have shut him up and imposed rules and restrictions on him long enough.

I quit! I am done! Imagine having a harpoon stuck between your ribs. That is what it has felt like. It is time for me to let go of a life which I never wanted.

I am closing my business, Okinara Consulting Services for good. It started as a ‘for the time being project while I figure things out” after a failed start up. This side quest has lasted over 10 years. A side quest that in all honestly has had at best moments of “I guess this is okay”. If you spent too much time on side quests, your main story line remains incomplete.

It is safer to remain in your comfort zone goes the feeling for most people. Your job, your business, your career becomes a means to an end. Have-tos and need-tos govern most of our lives. Ironically staying in my ‘comfort zone’ has been the most unbaringly uncomfortable thing that I have ever done and I have been doing it a large portion of my life; time that I will never and can never get back.

As for what my ten-years-younger-self said to me, most of the things that he thought would have happened, never did. But I also realize how different my priorities were. I no longer want some of those things. There are still things that I do want. To quote myself.

No matter what you have achieved up until now in 2022, know that you must keep going on. You get only one chance to live so live it fully. Over the years you may have lost touch with yourself. I hope you have not. But if you have, you can reconnect to yourself, with your true nature again. Remember you are here to help others. You have a purpose to be fulfilled. I hope you are fulfilling your purpose. There is so much you have to do. Keep on going. Just keep swimming. Keep on going. I hope you have lived your life with passion and honestly. Satyameva jayate.

This abstract concept of purpose is something I no longer believe in. We are a product of cause and effect and other random events. There is no purpose in life. There is no purpose of life. It is a lie that we tell ourselves because that is what gives us meaning. Purpose of life would mean an intention. No one intended life to begin. It happened because a random series of events occurred in that specific order.

I do believe that there are true natures to people. What you decide to do with that nature becomes your purpose. Purpose is decision, not destiny.

So here I go, leaning into my every whims.



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Kindle Or Kobo in Canada?

Why is Kindle Paperwhite the perfect Kindle?

Price! It was on sale on Black Friday and is again on sale now for $115CAD. The new version has a modern flash design. It does not have physical page turn buttons but the touchscreen is perfectly capable of easy navigation. It also has a dark mode for reading at night. I personally would not have bought one if it did not have a dark mode. It also has a warm light and brightness adjuster so it is pleasant to read in various light settings.

The other feature that I really like is Kindle’s integration with gooreads, and that is to be expected because both companies are own by Amazon. I also like the X-ray feature which is a boom for someone like me who reads multiple books at the same time. Integration with a dictionary and wikipedia is also great.

The only thing I wish Kindle had was flexibility in the format of the ebooks. I do not like getting tied to one company for anything. The greater a company’s openness, the higher is my personal rating. This is the very reason, I use open source software like firefox, linux, nextcloud, libre office etc..

Disadvantage of Kindle

The other disadvantage of owning a Kindle ereader is the lack of integration with public libraries. Currently, Kindle does not support local libraries in Canada( or is is that local libraries do not support Kindle ereaders. Either way, it is a no-go).

Kobo – The more open Kindle Alternative

Kobo on the other hand does work well with local libraries. Most public libraries in Canada support Overdrive which has tight integration with Kobo. You can browse and borrow books from public libraries that support Overdrive directly from Kobo ereaders. Again, this is to be expected because Kobo and Overdrive are owned by Rakuten.

Another advantage of Kobo is that it is more open and can read ebooks from multiple sources because it uses the ePub format. This way you are not locked into one store like what Amazon does with Kindle.

My Choice?

Kindle

My choice a is a bit complicated. I subscribe to Amazon Prime, which no doubt is a great service. It includes free shipping for most orders on Amazon, Prime Video and Prime Reading, which provides you with free books that you can read without waiting for holds or having an time limits. Also, I really do love the Goodreads integration and X-ray integration.

Amazon locks you into the Kindle bookstore. Kindle also does not support overdrive in Canada, which normally would be a big knock against Kindle, however,

Kobo

I live in Brampton, and 2 years ago Brampton Library decided to remove Overdrive support. So buying a Kobo, just does not make sense for me. I am very disappointed that Brampton Library no longer supports Overdrive.

But there are other good things about Kobo, like the fact that it is more open than Kindle, and Brampton Library still does support Kobo with CloudLibrary, but there are extra steps involved, which for someone like me, reading itself is an extra step IN LIFE, is a big no no.

Kobo also supports Mozilla’s Pocket, and even though I have an account and have the plugin enabled, I never really use it, but just like reading books included with my prime membership was not read by me until I got a Kindle, who knows, I might start using Pocket more if I got a Kobo.

One more thing that pulls me towards Kobo is its Canadian roots. And because it supports overdrive, I am even thinking of paying $120/year to get non-resident access to Toronto Library – oh how I miss living in Toronto.

Final Decision?

If I am honest, I am leaning more towards Kindle. What it has going for itself is:

  • Goodreads Integration
  • Amazon Audibles integration
  • X-ray feature
  • Prime Reading
  • You can sort of, kind of, may be if you are willing to go through some hoops and charter into territory of using a software like Calibre to convert books borrowed from public libraries to read them on a Kindle ereader.

If Amazon decided to open up its doors to Overdrive, then Kindle will be a nobrainer, but until then, I still need to consider Kobo as an alternative.

I am thinking of purchasing the Kobo Libra 2 to see if I like it better than the Kindle Paperwhite.

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Never Too Late to Start Reading

It may be unfathomable to most that anyone who loves to write, not share the same sentiment towards reading. I am such a person, or rather, and might I delightedly correct myself – I was such a person. In retrospect perhaps this was a sign on my unwillingness to listening before I spoke. Being a natural introvert, I never thought that that was a problem I had. But speaking less does not equate to listening more.

Listening before you wanting to be heard is something that I have learned from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Normally, I would not be reading this or any other such book. Any book that I have read in my life was because I had to for school or for a work project. However, most of my work project reading fell under technical documentation or wikis.

The only reason, I started reading the book was because, it was free for Amazon Prime members, and since I had in the past from multiple sources, heard good things about the book. I had started reading it in May of this year. A week ago, I was not even half way through the book. Reading to me was an idea imagined to be worth pursuing, but lacking the same allure of…um.. anything but reading.

This Black Firday, I made an impulse purchase of a Kindle Paperwhite. It was heavily discounted, and I thought, “oh what the heck.” and the next think I knew was it was in my cart. A week later, I had it in my hands. I still waited 2 days before I opened it. My skepticism of my sudden urge to start reading was warranted. This was not my first kindle. I think I still have my first kindle in the deep recesses of my box, or boxes of neglected momentary passions.

This time, however, it feels different. For one, the first generation kindle has nothing on the newer kindles or any book modern ereaders for that matter. For the most part, ereaders have remained the same, but their speed and touch capabilities have increase hundredfold. Of course, they are not as snappy as smartphones or tablets, but no one needs those speeds when reading anyway. At least not until some company decides to ‘do it anyway’.

So after I finally decided to open the new kindle, the first book I decided to read was The Seven Habits…. I completed it in around a week. And not only that, I am currently reading and listening to 7 books. Opening the kindle package, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that Amazon had decided to go for a mimal packaging approach which according to Amazon: “95% of this device’s packaging is made of wood fiber-based materials from responsibly managed forests or recycled sources.” Go figure.

One obvious and important reason why I like ebooks is that ebooks are environment friendly. You are not cutting down treas to produce ebooks. Also, ebooks will not get torn, or damaged. Technically ebooks will never die. Of course, there is the possibility that vendors like Amazon or Kobo will decide to not support it in the future or do something dubious like stop supporting older version of ereaders, and this does happen in pretty much every industry now, but that is a topic of discussion for another time.

But the biggest advantage is that you can carry literally hundreds and even thousands of books on one single ereader. Not only that, if you lose your ereader, you can always purchase a new one and download all your books within minutes. Not to mention, the social aspect of reading ebooks. You can share quote and highlights from ereader.

Reading has been somewhat of a stress buster. All my worries and other nagging thoughts just fade away as I melt into a good book. One good book that I am reading is “Sold on A Monday”. Normally, I would read books like these, just the description would turn me away. Also, I do not think I have ever willingly read a fiction book, apart from The Alchemist because it is so revered the world over. But because Sold on A Monday was available for free with Kindle Unlimited and I had a free trial, I decided to download it. I am so captivated by what is happening in the book. I am about half way through the book.

The other book that I am reading is 1984 – a classic, but bares so much resemblance to over time, expect the signs are not so obvious. Big brother lurks in the shadows of the digital world.

I was clueless to the fantastic ability of authors to create characters and worlds in the minds of their readers. Perhaps, I merely forgot what it was like to read stories. I did enjoy books like Treasure Island, The Swiss Family Robinson and Making Good, as a child in Primary school. Those books were the last books I remember reading because I had no choice, but to date they bring back fondest of memories. I remember those vivid worlds more than the movies and TV shows that I have watched.

But at last I have begun my journey in reading. I hope I can continue this same level of excitement for many more books to come. I want to start with classics, the Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne books.

It is never too late to start.

Categories
Philosophy

A Better meaning of Kali Chaudas

While growing up in an Indian Hindu family, my sister and I and other Hindu kids in the neighborhood were frightened into waking up before sun rise, bathing and getting dressed and doing pooja else face some very dark and evil happenings. Kali Chaudas was always portrayed as something bad.

The festival is also called as “Kali Chaudas”, where Kali means dark (eternal) and Chaudas means fourteenth, this is celebrated on the 14th day of the dark half of [[Aaso month)]. In some regions of India, Kali Chaudas is the day allotted to the worship of Mahakali or Shakti and is believed that on this day Kali killed the asura (demon) Narakasura. Hence also referred to as Naraka-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is day to abolish laziness and evil which create hell in our life and shine light on life. Narak Chaturdashi, celebrated just one day before Diwali, is also known as small Diwali.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naraka_Chaturdashi

Destroy Your Demons

Kali is the destroyer of Demons. Why not be inspired by Kali an destroy your demons? In the west we have the concept of “New Year’s Resolution”; it is when people decide that they are going to make some positive changes in their lives, which usually means exercising and eating healthy for most people. In some regions of India, New Year’s is the day after Diwali, and it is when people start something new to bring good luck to their new ventures.

If the Nutan Varsha (new year) is to start something new and good, then I say make Kali Chaudas to end something old and bad. Get inspired by Kali,the demon slayer to end your own demons, and lets face it, we do have our demons as individuals and as a society.

Say no to fireworks

How about start with deciding that you are not going to light firecrackers, which only pollutes the ground with the air around you. Our environment needs all the help that it can get.

Be Vegan

And speaking of the environment, how about adopting a vegan life style. Did you know:

“It[Animal Agriculture] is responsible for somewhere between 20 and 33% of the fresh water usage in the world”

“…livestock, and the production of feed for them, occupy about a third of the earth’s ice-free land.”

“animal husbandry is responsible for up to 91% of the deforestation in the Amazon region.”

“Cows produce from 35 to 40% of the overall methane emissions of the planet”

“Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of the powerful and long-lived greenhouse gas nitrous oxide.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_husbandry

What are you Demons?

What other vices would you like to destroy? Perhaps it is something personal, like anger and greed, or cruelty towards yourself in the form of self doubt, fear and negative thoughts, or perhaps it is holding onto painful memories.

Maybe there is clutter in your house or at work that you would like to destroy, or those extra pounds that you have gained because of the pandemic ( I know I have). Have you abused yourself with addictions like alcohol, processed sugars or gambling? Maybe it is time to destroy those demons.

I cannot tell you what your demons are. You may not even want to share with others, but you know what they are. It is Kali Chaudas – it is time to destroy your demons.

Categories
Philosophy

Things the World Does not Need(or Needs Less of)

I have a tendency of writing my thoughts and ideas down, and that is why I am a big fan of note taking apps and services. I have used Google Keep, OneNote, Evernote, QOwnNotes, Apple’s Note app, Joplin and others that I may have used in the past but do not remember now. I currently use my own program called mynotes. It uses vim, bash shell script and markdown. You can download mynotes for free from github.

I was doing some reorganizing of my notes when I found a list of “Things the world does not need or needs less of”. I have included some here.

plastic bags

Plastic in general should be avoided almost always, but it still does have its place especially in places and products that are going to be used for a very very long time – think in terms of at least double digit years. However, plastic bags are a menace to the environment and should be BANNED everywhere in the world. They have a very short usage time, but a very long life span and causes havoc in our rivers, lakes, oceans and to aquatic life.

Antivaxers, Flat Earthers, Anti-everythingers, and Conspiracy Culture

The current Covid19 pandemic has shown something quite strange – the existence of a subclass of skeptics called antivaxers.

“Why do I need to take a vaccine for something that I do not have” is what most of them say. That is literally what vaccines are for; for something that you do not have, but in case if you do get it, your immune system is better prepared to fight it off, thereby avoiding hospitalization or worse – death!

Conspiracy culture has been brewing for some time, but the this Covid19 Pandemic has brought to light

The Caste System

Now this is specifically related to the Indian Culture, and I can talk about it because I am Indian. India has given the world yoga, pranayam, meditation, ayurveda. India is the birth place of religions like Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism with all these religions having non-violence and equality for all living things at its core simply by saying that every living thing has a soul, from humans right down the the smallest insects.

India has also been responsible for deep philosophical concepts like Dharma, Karma, Maya and Mokshya. India has given the world great epics like the Mahabharat and the Ramayan.

With everything that India has given the world that Indians should be proud of, there is also this one thing that all Indian should be ashamed of and that is the caste system!

No country and no culture is perfect, and every society has had its share of missteps in history. What bothers me and what frankly is unacceptable is that the caste system still exists in the minds and hearts of many Indians from big cities to small villages. The caste system makes no sense, and the only thing it is good for is prejudice and discrimination.

Petroleum Fuel Based Cars

I think every country should mandate the ban of petroleum fuel based cars by a certain date; the sooner the better. Brands like Tesla have already proven that electric cars are not only a viable alternative, but they are actually cool! Electric cars mean less air pollution, less lining up at gas stations, paying close nothing for a ‘fill up’, having the option of charging your cars at home, and adds to our global efforts of reducing our reliance of fossil fuel.

Poverty

When you have companies that are richer than entire countries, it is a big problem. The 1% of the richest people in the world have the wealth and power to lift people all around the world out of poverty. I am not talking about redistribution of wealth, I am merely talking about empowering people below to the poverty line to be lifted out of it. The only reason that the rich are not helping the poor is because of greed. I do not see any other reason.

Animal Agriculture

Just think about these facts:

“It[Animal Agriculture] is responsible for somewhere between 20 and 33% of the fresh water usage in the world”

“…livestock, and the production of feed for them, occupy about a third of the earth’s ice-free land.”

“animal husbandry is responsible for up to 91% of the deforestation in the Amazon region.”

“Cows produce from 35 to 40% of the overall methane emissions of the planet”

“Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of the powerful and long-lived greenhouse gas nitrous oxide.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_husbandry

Need I say more?

The best thing that you can do for the environment is to stop consuming animals.
You cannot be an environmentalist and not be a vegan.

Influencers, Reaction Videos, Fake Pranks and TicToc

I am honestly sick and tired of people who call themselves “influencers”. How is that a thing? At what point did we as a society decide that that is an actual career choice. A lot of the videos that I have seen on tictoc or Instagram Reels and now youtube shorts is mind numbingly annoying trash. Or maybe, I am just a “boomer” .

How is watching someone react to another person’s video entertaining. These people get millions of views for practically doing nothing. I consider this as stealing, being lazy and is detrimental to general creativity on any platform.

90% of the prank videos that I currently see on any platforms are fake. There was a time when people actually made an effort to prank people, and I mean genuinely prank people. Then there was an era when people faked the pranks but at least put genuine effort to make it convince; they were putting an effort to make their fraudulent and very fake pranks look genuine. I hated that era, but now sadly I kind of appreciate and miss those days when I had to think and figure out if these were fake or genuine. Nowadays, we inflicted with 15 second trash pranks – bad attacking, zero effort garbage.

Which brings me to platforms like tictoc, instagram reels and stories, and youtube shorts that make such things possible. This rapid descent of society started with Tictoc, but the downword spiral began much earlier with Facebook.

Just my Opinion

This is just my opinion and like me, you have opinions of your own. There are many other things that I can think about that we as a global society need less of, but if I write all of them down, I am afraid I will never be able to stop writing.

What are some of the things that you think the world needs less of?