dillo day;3000 friends;an epic turn of events

In my unusually involved life, I am rarely bored. But these past few weekends, and the weekend to come has and will be extravagantly exciting for me. Tomorrow is Dillo Day. The Day Northwestern becomes a State School; the Day where we become a community again; the Day where this school realises how fortunate they are . Joining Mayfest in the Fall was initially a dip into a pool I never expected to eventually delve so deep. There was so much to learn, so much to do, and such a great community of people to be around.

I am consistently excited by the level of skill and talent brought to Dillo Day by the people organising it, and even more thrilled by the fact that this festival is truly truly put together by the students. There’s very little work outsourced, and that makes Mayfest and the month of May such a joy. As is my philosophy, I put myself out there. I made friends, committed to tasks out of my purview to learn and indulge in the background of the festivities, and got dealt a dish so sweet I couldn’t stop digging in.

Today we had our pre-production, where as a crew we had to help set up everything. I was appointed the KeyMaster, a role extremely involved for a newcomer but so very intimate with the movements of the festival. I had earned the trust of the people around me, but more importantly I was able to do something meaningful for this event. I was able to be of value, and I was a wildcard – probably one of the few, if not only , international students on the board. Then again, I never allowed my background to disrupt who I am and what I am to offer , and I’m happy it was the case here again.

Tomorrow is going to be a rollercoaster. But as with every ride, you walk up wanting to get back again, and feel the ups and downs. I’m glad I made the friends I made here – some of my favorite people on campus are in Mayfest now, and I’m fortunate to meet the likes of them.

I hit 3000 friends on Facebook yesterday. I know only because Facebook sent me a notification, and I almost wanted to do a Facebook cleaning to remove the friends who were simply ‘fake’ friend requests. I went through my list and then realised I couldn’t find many people who I  didn’t actually know and have memories with. It’s an interesting moment then to realise you’ve truly reached a point in life, at such a young age, where you have a widespread network of friends and companions around the world, in almost every continent.

I value my friends and networks a lot. One could even say, it’s been one of my key strengths – relating to people. There’s just so much to add to one’s life by understanding someone else’s – no matter their background or ability. Their stories inspire your stories, and you share in the knowledge that life has a common message for everyone – You are breathing now, so live.

To the people that have made my days and nights spectacular – thank you.

After this quarter, I’m finally ready to start making moves on the Big Idea. I’ve decided to spend as much time in Summer upgrading myself again, and learning new skills and building new relations.  Something epic will come soon. I promise.

stay excited everyone.

geronimo.

rovik.

if i was a communications major

As of 3 years ago, I discovered my passion in marketing and communication work. It was YouTube at first, and then slowly event planning and then finally brand management and advocacy.

Yet as much as I continued and developed myself in the field of communications, I still never majored in it, nor sought to formally educate myself in the field. Perhaps it’s due to a larger philosophy that I subscribe to, or even because the area of communications that I ultimately want to be in doesn’t formally exist yet but the truth is that it’s honestly a combination of various factors.

Firstly, I’ve always believed myself to be a maverick. I refuse to accept the norms as granted ; there has to be an evaluative process at every iteration questioning the decisions made. In the same way, indoctrination of a set curriculum becomes the greatest enemy to the mind. GroupThink sets in subtly even if not actively encouraged. Industry norms, Networks and Best Practices become jargon that are easily assimilated as cultural values. I don’t want that. I want my work in the field of communications to be effective, powerful and influential. I prefer to gain knowledge from mentors, whose honest advice can be critically discussed and the essence of knowledge can be squeezed out of. I prefer the School of Hard Knocks – environments that teach you through reality.The same philosophy applies probably across different fields of study, with the exception of most technical fields. Technical fields depend on the learning of knowledge, of understanding things that could perhaps be best described as static in the larger scheme of things. That’s why I’m comfortable learning Computer Science – it’s so knowledge driven , the possibility for GroupThink is only at the very top , where thought is abstract and less nimble. I’m not in any way devaluing the work Comm. Studies major put in however – I just don’t think I fit in that well there.

I’m not sure what it is yet, but I also want to be working at the frontiers of the field I pursue. This world is growing so much in the amount of knowledge available, and in order to truly work on  making it bigger, not only must one appreciate the vast amount of information currently available but understand how to use it intelligently to push forward the next leap in knowledge. I’m not comfortable working in the present. In fact, as per my character trait, I live in the future. Computer Science to me, as do other future-oriented skills, represents the ability to leap into the future. Understanding how it works lets me jump to the frontier and apply my principles of communication and influence to do more good in this society.

It’s a very weird place to be, I agree. It’s just that with the number of people who in recent days have been encouraging me to consider pursuing a major in communication, I had to strongly consider the whys and whats of how I make my decisions. We live in a world that only understands volatility as a fact of life. The master then is not one who learns how to stay afloat, but the one who learns to ride the waves.

Let the waves come then, hard and strong or meek and little. I will ride them, and I will ride them like a rockstar.

geronimo.

the story of icarus

“Never regret thy fall,
O Icarus of the fearless flight
For the greatest tragedy of them all
Is never to feel the burning light.”

―    Oscar Wilde

I knew this was coming at some point, but I was completely unprepared for it. I completely burned out this weekend. I went out with my friends for a birthday celebration at the club, and ended up losing my phone, getting completely sick and losing all momentum I had so preciously gained over the past few months.

Humility is a powerful hammer, smashing down fast and hard, such that the very notion of glory was but a memory. It’s an interesting past few months, maybe past few years. I’ve said this many times, I’m on a good trajectory and have always been happy with the way things were going.

But I’m an egotistical animal. Hubris slumbers in me and when it is fed it starts to growl louder to come out. I had thought I had learnt to tame it, letting myself humblebrag, or give presentations – all with the intent of using the ego to at least benefit something external without putting myself up for failure.

As someone driven to solve problems and make power-moves, ego is a natural composite of my character. Hubris was tamed, and I was learning to grow without letting my ego overwhelm me. In the past few weeks though, that went out  of control. I went too hard, too fast. I accelerated through many hurdles, knocked down milestones successfully and was making incredible gains in various aspects of my life. I felt nearly supernatural. Nearly.

It took one night of crossing the line, to remind myself I live within physical constraints. It reminded me that I have to keep myself in check, and to listen to my friends when they tell me to.

I read a quote about humility once.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

I liked that a lot. I was once and always a problem-solver. I wanted to solve problems and create beautiful things. I didn’t stray too far , but I definitely wasn’t going in the right direction for a while. I became so involved in indulging in this new setting, that I forgot to think more about the societies I cared about  so much.

I’m glad humility took me down a notch. Humility doesn’t make you subservient – it merely reminds you of your relation to the rest of the world. I had taken too many steps ahead of my pace.

I recovered quickly, tapping into reserves and recoveries the smarter younger me had prepared, and got back to the grind. I’m back with momentum, and fighting strong.

Icarus flew way too close to the sun, and lost his life.

There’s still way too much I want to do before I die.

Don’t even bother.

Life is a long lesson in humility.
– James Barrie

geronimo.

Rovik

tell me a story babe

It’s coming again. The itch.

I’ve got an idea and it’s coming to life. The same feeling when I started The Hidden Good. The surge of energy, the excitement of possibilities. Oh the beautiful sensation to be glad to be alive.

Spring Quarter is proving to be a lot tougher than I expected. Everything’s starting to culminate, the year is coming to a close and symbolically (just the way I like it) – I will be ending with a spectacular bang.

Watermelon Bust. Dillo Day. Thiel Summit. Singapore. Birthday. Bangkok. Kuala Lumpur. India. MP3 Experiment. China. International Orientation.Wildcat Welcome. The Big Idea. Germany.

And there’s so much in between.

It’s not been easy, balancing all the commitments and taking five subjects and having to maintain the GPA requirements by EDB (3.8 is a lot harder than I thought). I’ve kept pace though, and I have so many of the people around me to thank.

I keep getting letters and postcards from all over the world; I have phone calls and Skype calls with friends from places I wish I could go back to; I have conversations with different personalities on campus. It’s the stories that drive me. I’m just grateful that people have kept me in their hearts and memories to keep in touch.

See, the thing about stories is that while you’re making them, you can get so absorbed in the moment you get tired out. What keeps me going then is the stories of others. Yes, I read back through my blog and energize myself by seeing what I used to do , but I get more excited when I hear the adventures others are on. I’m happy for them, and at the same time driven to make my own stories.

___

‘…and that everyone, is the story of The Hidden Good. Does anyone have any questions?’

The floor is silent. A teacher raises his hand.

‘Oh sure, go ahead’

‘I’m very impressed.’

‘Oh thanks’

‘Yupp, it’s definitely a lot of work you’ve done. And you’re helping so many people. You may not realize this, but the work you’re doing is going to help this country so much more than you see right now.’

‘Thanks, I really appreciate that.’

‘I just want to hear why you’re doing this. When I was your age, I didn’t think of spending my time like this. I was wasting my time. Looking back, I wish I had done things differently’

___

That wasn’t the first time I had heard that line. Yet, it was at that moment , it struck me hard. I was not going to look back and regret my decisions.

I was going to tell more stories as I grew up. These stories are made with others though; the magic of the moment is mostly seen with the light of a few others.

So tell me your story, and make me excited.

and then i’ll make you go wild.

geronimo.

 

 

learning to mourn

My paternal grandfather passed away two days ago.

It sounds so absolute, and it actually is. I was shocked when my mom called me and told me about it. I was scared and then silent.

This was the first time someone close to me had passed away. My grandfather, someone I could honestly say I loved, was now no longer with us. I called my father, who I imagined would be the mostly deeply affected in our family , but could not reach him.

That’s when I realised for the first time since I left home that I was alone. I had registered the news in my head, but was struggling to mourn. I had never mourned outwardly before, and without the comfort of my family, I was angry at myself for not breaking down in tears. What was I supposed to do at this point?

Was I sad? Terribly. Did I wish my grandfather was still alive? Definitely, I was supposed to visit him in July and now the heavens had snagged him away. Yet, that grief was matched with a level of calmness I had recognised in myself in almost any difficult situation. I knew things were going to be okay. My grandfather was an amazing , loving person. When I think about him, I think about his compassion. I remember everytime I sat next to him, he would hold my hand and talk to me. The conversation didn’t matter as much as the fact that we were in contact. We were in touch.

I opened up to three of my friends on campus, and indulged in their comfort. I talked about what I remembered about my grandfather and regretted how I didn’t make an effort to hear more stories from him. They quickly reminded me that my stories will be his stories as well. Every person owes a significant gratitude to his forefathers for putting him in the position he is now. My grandfather is no different – the resilience he instilled in my father was passed on to me.

For the first time, I took a slow week. I was so intent on making every second count this quarter that I was always out, distracting myself with one activity after another. Making stories, creating memories. Yet, now I wanted to stop for a while. I wanted to focus on remembering my grandfather, and his place in my life.

There’s a lot of things that’s private and doesn’t need to be shared with regards to this. Yet, for all my efforts to be respectful, I realised this is the best way I know to be respectful. I wanted to remember my grandfather the same way I remember anything meaningful in my life – by recording it here, in my blog. It helps me process my thoughts, and it helps me articulate my feelings – without needing to be excessive in sharing.

Mourning is not easy. It’s painful. But we choose to mourn, because we choose that the pain in remembering this person is worth it. We choose, because the pain isn’t difficult pain, but pain derived out of good memories.

I loved my grandfather. He was a great person, and I want to live my life in a way that honors him . I may be 22, but this is definitely a growing up moment for me.

Rest in Peace Thatta.

rovik.