Friday, January 31, 2014

For the joy of teething puppies (and safety of your toes and fingers)

I have a 2 month old puppy. He arrived home when he had just incisors, so though we got him a teether, he preferred gnawing at our fingers. But as the rest of his teeth started coming, this seemed to be a bad idea. Their first set of teeth start to appear somewhere between 4-6 weeks and they start loosing their first set, depending on the breed, between the 4th and 6th month. By the 7th or 8th month, they will have their adult set of teeth. This will bring an end to their interest in gnawing at you and your furniture. I read up as much as I could - it is natural for them to nip and bite during the teething period, but we have to discourage biting inappropriate things as much as possible. Redirect their need to nip and chew to other things as early as you can, this will ensure they take lesser interest in biting you. Here are some simple things your puppies will love to sink his/her teeth into:
1) Slices of apple
2) Slices of beetroot or carrots
3) Corn cobs after you have taken the kernels off
* Increase the thickness of the slices as their sharp teeth surface

Mine like these too:
1) De-husking coconuts
2) Socks
3) toothbrush
4) Shoe brush
5) Chewing on coriander or curry leaves ( He must have been a pan-chewing oldie in his last life)

To know more about rawhide chews:

Toys they love at this age:
1) Tennis ball
2) Teether
3) chews made of rawhide
4) Squeaky balls with protrusions

I had made a few toys at home, will share them over the coming days.

Friday, March 08, 2013

I will be fine

My brother posted this on his Facebook wall today:
"And end a beginning. A life and its meaning, The simplicity of it. And its Complexity. Randomness and Directness. From beginning to end. I had the most interesting 2 years of my life, Most fascinating 2 years. So much happened in it. I was amazed to even think that I would be finally be able to live life. It was as though I was doomed to a existence that I had come to wear as my own. Is it right. Is it wrong. The now and what we have right now is all that is . And everything else. doesn't even begin to add. Time to disappear. Into the shadows of my past. Dive deep into that dark night I had once left behind for the bright dazzling hopeful lights. Back to home as i used to call it once. But back then I had something more. And now I return all alone. Good night to a bright beginning. You arrived late. Lasted for an instant of my memory and you will dwindle into my past. But you will always be the moment that changed me. Taught me. From which I took soo much out of. My joy. My sadness. My pleasure, Love. Passion. and everything in between, You burnt me . Made me whole. Destroyed me , Like i've ever known. I never knew that it were possible for me to find an ego within me. But to even my surprise i did. Thank you for changing me. Thank you for bringing me a full circle. Now I head into the unknown again. Into a darkness from which I do not know if i'd ever return to see light again. But all alone. And i know this might be the end of my run. I have had enough with false hope. And only few shall ever read this. And even those who might not. Pleasure meeting you in my journey. Planned or not. In a world of hearts and wits I remain alone. tried and tested . on my own. Good bye to that new beginning and to embrace and old friend. The end is has met its beginning and beginning its end. - Thank you"

After I read it, I copied a small piece of it and ran it in google to see if was someone else's work. From what I could find, I think i can conclude its an original by my brother. My initial reaction was some uncomfortable fear. But i tried to keep that aside and went back and read it again and again and again... but i still could only feel a negative sense of it.  I knew he is feeling stuck in his work and think that feeling is translating into his life. He is being over worked at his company and is being harassed/exploited, in my opinion.

I didnt want to judge what he wrote but i still wanted to share something with him, so i wrote this in the comments:
"We all are born to be sponges that absorb anything and everything that comes our way. The world comprises of ppl we love, ppl who love us, ppl who dont care, ppl who dont love us,ppl we dont love. The world keeps sending us messages .. sometimes these messages get so loud and constant that it doesnt not give us the time to really think before we can accept or ignore it or we never grew out of unconditional absorbing. Messages can be positive or negative, and then there are ones that look positive and are intended to be positive, but deep within fail to do just that. Vice versa is true too. The way we absorb and process these messages determines the strength of the light in which we view ourselves. Sometimes these messages will have a negative undertone - it will be surprising to observe that some of these messages, esp the ones that you took to heart, were well intentioned and came from ppl who you love and love you. But the way we absorb and the way we process the message is the key to our self image, self confidence, rational thinking...among many other things. And if we keep repeating the wrong methods for too long.. the pain turns into a constant darkness, even without us knowing.. slowly and steadily we are sucked in. Long exposure to darkness can do a lot of damage... it can strip us off our dignity, honour, robs us off our hopes, turns us blind to opportunities, steals from us the ability to experience joy even at times when it is warranted, magnifies sorrows and pains and our flaws, substitutes honour with false honour, masquerades inferiority complex as a superiority complex, enforces the victim in us, finds and amplify the faults of the world.
We have found comfort in the discomfort of the darkness for so long that we dont know the difference. And sometimes, we do all that we can to remain in the darkness, though not on purpose - cos that is what we have known for too long. It has cast its spell. but it isnt one that cant be broken.
I now believe that there is a purpose devastation and chaos plays, it can snap you out of that comfort zone, put you thru more pain and suffering, but you should keep questioning through this excruciating pain or else you will plunge further into darkness. Dont question the validity of your questions, your search for answers will tell you that. But you should be relentless and shouldnt stop asking if you realise any of your questions to be invalid/pointless. The right questions, constructive ones, will lead you to a point where you have to choose btwn the known - comforting darkness or the unknown ... but a feeling inside you ... the core of the truth that you have known always, will show you the way... the truth that 'I have always wanted to be out of this darkness'... and hopefully you will pick the unknown... sacred like shit, unsure, apprehensive,not knowing what you have to do after making this choice, you push thru working on yourself as you go along... knowing that there will be a lot of hurt and pain and it will be worse than what you had been thru in the darkness... the fear of the unknown itself adds to the pain. As the journey moves ahead you will realise you are alone and no one will understand what you are attempting to do... and how could they, this is about you and you finding answers and fixing things for youself, it would be too much to expect that anyone else would understand... which in itself adds to the difficulty considering that you dont have a clarity over the answers to their questions but you only get to know along the way what you need to do as you find answers to your questions, and that in no way helps you answering theirs... so you might be truely handicapped when trying to providing some relief... some answers... realising that handicap will churn you, make you question the worth of this whole effort... but stay on course... soon will have to admit it to yourself that you will not be able to answer these questions and you will not be able to provide any relief when you dont have any. it doenst have to be this difficult for everyone who makes this journey, some will have it easy, some will have it tough. but never the less... its will be a journey that has to be made and you will have to stay on course. Soon you will realise you are in your own focus and you might be a little out of touch with the world, somewhat distant, but yet in the moment. You might be able to hear your mind like you never did before. You will be driven .. not by will power but the sheer need to find answers and act upon them. You will be tempted to go back to the known darkness ... back into its familiar discomfort... back to a state which could give everyone relief...but stay on course.
It is worth it... at the end of it... at the end is a light... in which you will become weightless, you will be free of shackles, you will discover the flaws in the way you looked at things... you will see the mistakes in the way you absorbed and the way you processed the world's messages... you will know all that pain and drama you felt were all an elaborate lie. A lie you built, meant to cocoon yourself in a slow aching and nurturing comfort and peace, which was a simple defense mechanism that kicked in ages ago. You will realise you can let go of being a victim - of someone's actions or circumstances... you were the result of a chain of subconscious choices you made... nothing of which you need to accept blamed for or be ashamed about or curse yourself for. You will be able to let it be.
You would have found an awareness on how to be conscious and deliberate about how YOU want to take all that which comes to you...a new self awareness will be born, cos YOU should matter the most to YOURSELF. You might matter to people more that you matter to yourself, but that will not help you and will only further enchain you. You are no longer burdened by the need to be right or ashamed to be wrong or needy or week. Failure will no longer bog you down just as success will not keep you afloat. you will be at peace thru good times and bad. And you instinctively know when to lie on your back and turn into a leaf and go with the flow.... and when to sit up right and use your strength to steer. You will know that not matter what...good or bad... right or wrong... you will be fine."

Its true. You will be fine no matter what.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Deepika and I

Draft Written on the 27th June 2012: Deepika is the first friend I made when I came to live in India. I was just wondering about her and her groom hunt a couple days ago and voila yesterday morning she calls to inform me of the wonderful news that she has found her match! This soothing news made my otherwise difficult day so much more easier. Deepika is such a great human being and someone in the world had to deserve being with such a simple and sweet person. This brings me back to a wish, once a friend's Dad gave me on my friend's engagement day. He asked me how my parents search for a match for me was going. After listening to my usual answer, he held my hand and said, "Molu (daughter in my mother tongue), don't worry you will find someone to match the goodness of your heart." That by far is the most beautiful wish I had ever received on this topic. And ever since then, I have always wished this for my unmarried friends too. I am so glad that someone is out there who deserved the goodness of her magnificent heart.
After she told me the news and filled me in on the details, she asked me the question I had anticipated, "So are you seeing someone?" I have never been in a time where a relationship had mattered this much, but I lied to her. That kept the topic to a minimum. After all the talking, I sat down to reflect on my situation. Just the previous night, L and I discussed and arrived to an agreement to postpone the engagement for us to know if we still wanted to go ahead with this. That morning I had just told my parents about our decision and thats when I received her call. Later that night I called off the engagement for no major fault of L. I couldn't take the stress anymore and thought I was contributing to an already difficult situation and thought it was best for both of us if we ended it here. I had given up on us, while he was sure that the problems we were facing wasn't because of us but rather these were typical symptoms of a long distance relationship and it could be sorted out once we met in person. I was already tired and thought walking away was the better. Despite the ease at the cost of tremendous pain I was adamant. L hadn't given up on us, I can imagine what it would have taken him to call me in the morning today and I had not made it any easier when I answered his call. We talked, he held out the mirror to us, we apologized to each other. We agreed we will give us another chance and take this to be another learning experience. We agreed to meet one last time to see if we still find that partner, confidant, critique, believer, comrade, lover in each other. But with every step ahead we will be facing more challenges than ever. We have to address each others concerns, gain confidence and trust as we move ahead. With the good will and blessings of people who love us, like Deepika, Joshi, L's music teacher, my friend's dad and many others, may we rise above this experience together or otherwise.

Update 8th Mar 2013 - I did try to meet Deeps after her wedding while is still hadnt got over the pain of my engagement mess. And something she said over the call left me feeling that I shouldnt meet her. I sat at the mall i was supposed to meet her, and cried for an hour or so while trying to sip away at a couple of teas and then went back home. And My friend's dad, sadly passed away on the 30th Dec 2012 of a heart attack. It sounds silly but i burst into tears while i was speaking to my friend after i got to know about it months later! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Poem: A Worker Reads History

A Worker Reads History   (1936)

By Bertolt Brecht   (1898 – 1956)


Who built the seven gates of Thebes?

The books are filled with names of kings.

Was it kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?

And Babylon, so many times destroyed,

Who built the city up each time?  In which of Lima’s houses, 5

That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?

In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished

Where did the masons go?  Imperial Rome

Is full of arcs of triumph.  Who reared them up?   Over whom

Did the Caesars triumph?  Byzantium lives in song, 10

Were all her dwellings palaces?  And even in Atlantis of the legend

The night the sea rushed in,

The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

Young Alexander conquered India.

He alone? 15

Caesar beat the Gauls.

Was there not even a cook in his army?

Philip of Spain wept as his fleet

Was sunk and destroyed.  Were there no other tears?

Frederick the Great triumphed in the Seven Years War.  Who 20

Triumphed with him?

Each page a victory,

At whose expense the victory ball?

Every ten years a great man,

Who paid the piper? 25

So many particulars.

So many questions.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

For those going the entrepreneurial way

Though its mostly written for people who might be running or working for establishments that are into technology, the essence is relevant in any business.

9 Ways to Make Your Developer's Life Easier

As a co-founder and an occasional freelance product manager, designer, and developer, I've worked on both sides of the table: as a developer being managed, and as a manager working with a developer.

So, if you're a founder, product manager, or anyone working with a technical team—I want to share a few things to do to keep your employees happy and make their lives easier.
Why bother? Well, aside from simply wanting to be a good boss, the easier your developer's life is, the faster and more efficiently she'll be able to implement features. And on the internet, where time moves at the speed of dog years, that's definitely an advantage.
Here are the keys to success when working with your technical team.

Understand the Difference Between a CTO and Lead Engineer
You'll either be working with a CTO or a Lead Engineer, and it's important to understand that they're not necessarily the same person.

Sometimes you have an amazing CTO who's not only technical, but also a great manager, communicator, and delegator. These types likely want to know everything about what you're building, what the end goal is for the user, and your overall business goals. That's great! Believe me, it's an asset. Nurture it.
Most of the time, though—especially in this developer-scarce economy—you'll have a Lead Engineer: a person who is amazing at engineering a product, but doesn't necessarily have the skills (or the desire) to manage a team and product.

The faster you realize what kind of person you need (or have hired), the better prepared you'll be to manage that person and the product.

Care About How Things Are Made (Not Just That They Work)
Developers are makers, not machines. So listen to their ideas and make sure you consider them—even if you have no idea what the hell they're talking about when they start throwing around technical terms. Don't know the difference between this and that stack? Ask. Use it as an opportunity to learn. You should have at least a basic understanding of the technical side of your product.

Be Specific
It's much more helpful to your technical team to assign them specific, small tasks—don't just hand off a bunch of mock-ups and tell them to be done by Friday. In fact, you should be the one managing the project for them. Learn how to use project management software like Pivotal Tracker or Trello and track the progress of feature development by day or per work session.
And check in often, both in person and via your project management software. It's much easier to prevent things from going down the wrong path if you can catch them at the fork.

Don't Change Your Mind Every Day
I know, you think this sounds obvious. But when you're out pitching and selling your productevery day, hearing feedback and brainstorming ways to make it better—it's really easy to come back with new ideas all the time. Don't do this to your team.
Define a specific and small thing you want to build: a Minimum Viable Product (or "MVP"). Have your MVP spec'ed out and ready to be built.? And make it small. If you designed a giant app, break it down and start with one part. Ship your MVP—and then change your mind based on data.
Also, if you haven't already, read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Follow it—don't just throw around cool jargon at networking events.

Set Goals, Not Deadlines
In the technical world, deadlines don't always work. Even the most experienced developer breaks stuff, and estimating how long it will take to fix things is hard.

I'm really into Tracker's idea of breaking down features and assigning difficulty points, not hours. Mark a problem as "easy," "medium," or "difficult," and track progress rather than stick to deadlines. Assigning mostly difficult tasks? They probably can be broken down further.

Get a Great Designer
Designers solve problems and can make the product build process a whole lot easier. Especially UX/UI (user experience and user interface) designers. They help you figure out what your product should look and act like—pixel by pixel, user interaction by user interaction (think: What button does the user click next? Where is it on the page? Where does it take her?).

This is not your developer's job. I'm serious. Your developer's job is to write code—not design the product. A great designer will actually help you save on development costs, because they'll help the team think through and catch things that others may have overlooked. They can also suggest make simple but powerful changes that will make your product more intuitive and easier to use.

At the same time—make sure your designer is lean. Sometimes it's not worth the cost to build custom everything. There is a difference between attention to detail and being a diva. If your developer is complaining about a design—that's a sign that you need to stop, discuss it, tweak it, and compromise.

Test, Test, Test
If you care at all about your product—help your developer test it. She's been staring at this for hours. Give her a new set of eyes. Praise her for what she did right, and give her specific tasks for what still needs to be done or fixed.

Developers often complain to me that they spent tons of time on something and then it launched with things broken because nobody saw them. Remember, it's your product. And nobody wants to work for someone who doesn't care about the product they're putting out there.

Compensate Fairly?
You're a business person, and business people negotiate. Usually, much better than non-business people.
So, be careful.

You can negotiate with a developer on her rate, but if it sounds reasonable, it probably is. Keep in mind that there are plenty of other people out there willing and able to hire her for what she quoted. And, if she feels like she's been out-negotiated and she's not being compensated what she's worth, chances are she won't prioritize your work over other work (or over other, more fun things). Or, she'll find someone else who will pay her rate, then leave you hanging. I've seen it over and over again.

An alternative is to negotiate a rate for a trial period for a small feature, and tell her you'll pay the full rate if the project goes well.

Trust Your Team
Are you suspicious of your developer padding hours or slacking off by going to the nearest biergarten? Remember that if you're not hiring people who you trust and who are better than you at something, then you are not hiring the right people.
Trust the experts you have hired to do their job. Give them the tools they need to do it, including direction, flexibility, breathing room, and authority. And check in often.


Adventurous Vacation in Space

Now here is a vacation that is truly out of this world … for those of us who can afford it.

Miss you, till you fall out of the sky,