Sunday, May 13, 2012

How to appreciate art (canvas)

I love art and always find it fascinating. This medium of using canvas appeals mostly to our visual senses (I will explain why I say mostly in sometime) and hence can be appreciated just like one can appreciate good food (sense of taste) or good smell (sense of smell).

If you've ever been to an art gallery, many a times you might've thought what's so special about drawing a few random lines here and there and find it absolutely insane having seen the 6-digit price tag!
Well, you're not alone!
Many small things, if we're not looking deliberately, can be missed or overlooked. A well made piece of art has much to offer to its admirer.
Let me guide you through some of those traits from my rudimentary knowledge.

Look for the following things:

4 Major properties:

#1 Emotion
#2 Theme or idea conveyed
#3 Color-scheme
#4 Use and amalgamation of various shapes/lines/figures

A few other properties to look at:

#5 Use of various materials
#6 Sense of smell
#7 Artist/his background/his history

Let us go in a little deeper

Emotion: Great art like all other creative forms be it music, cinema, sculpture or food(even) should evoke a basic emotion of love, fear, curiosity, disillusion, anger, ignorance etc. When you're standing there and looking at the painting, ask yourself, what emotion does it evoke? Why it does so? Find those answers. That is where the beautiful and intriguing journey of art appreciation begins. One of the most important factors to appreciate any art as it comes from the gut feeling of the admirer.

Theme or idea conveyed: Next look at what is the art about. What idea is being conveyed? What do all those random looking figures/shapes mean? What is the artist trying to tell us? What is the story behind this painting? Does it find a relevance in my life? Once you realise this idea/theme, next analyse how well has it been conveyed. Are there other ways to convey this idea? Take help from your emotions. See where they guide you! It will be fun and challenging.

Color-scheme: Color scheme is pretty much part of the 'Emotion' depicted. According to color theory, certain colors depict/evoke certain emotions. Eg red evokes anger/panic/danger, green/white evokes tranquility, blue evokes sensibility, maturity, trust, purple evokes majesticness, royalty, yellow evokes happiness, joy etc etc Many artists like to defy these set rules. Its neither right nor wrong. Art is not supposed to follow any rules. One should see what colors are used. Are they used to depict/evoke certain emotions? How harmonically do they all merge together to create one stunning visual in totality? How deep are they? Are they used sparingly or in vast amounts?

 Use and amalgamation of various shapes/lines/figures: Various shapes are also associated with the thought they show. Rigid lines may represent toughness, stiffness of the mind, bullheadedness, stubbornness etc whereas free flowing lines may represent free thinking or loss of control etc. Same is the case with shapes. Hard shapes or soft shapes, use of loops, long/short/big/small shapes.

Use of various materials: Most canvas artists use oil/acrylic paints. But many a times, artists like to experiment with various materials and these materials are only limited by imagination. They can be anything from the simple paper to the more complex food items or flowers or glass or metals or anything in between. Whatever gets your story told! This also includes the fabric on which it is painted. One should look at what fabric is used? Its roughness, dryness or shine. Likewise with other materials. Many a times, looking carefully at each miniscule small particle while looking closely gives you great joy, a sense of curiosity and happiness. Looking at those brush strokes, their direction, amount of color used with every stroke, length of those strokes make the viewing very pleasurable and interesting. When looking closely, you will be able to see the crests and troughs created by the material on a flat canvas and various shadows those small particles cast.

Sense of smell:  This is as weird as it sounds. Rarely an artist may try to engage in involving your olfactory bulbs as well along with your visual senses. Not much can be said than to appreciate this effort subjectively. One can also feel the various paints and fabric and how their smell reach your nose.

Artist/his background/his history: An artist's history should hold little relevance in many regards. An artist's work should speak for himself/herself but sometimes this helps to complete the story which the artist is trying to tell. Has the artist been through a period of humiliation as a child? Was he from an impoverished background? If so, is he trying to show his state of mind at one of those down moments of his life? Does this make you move? Was this painting made at an important point in the history of this artist? Did he make this painting while he was suicidal? Or Was this made when he was going through a relationship breakup? is the artist gay or lesbian? How old is he? Did he see the days of World War II and The Great Depression and that is why you see a certain gloom in this work? All these things help to understand the right perspective and make the artwork that much more valuable to the admirer.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Entrepreneurial life

Well, these days I'm in process of starting my own company and certainly some days are better than other. Some days are exciting(usually the ones with any miniscule development, either positive or negative) like getting a positive mail from prospective tech transfer company or getting a letter of intent from a client/customer or getting mail from advisors on future potential strategy or meeting and trying to convince a new customer about the benefits of our technology or updates on company registration process etc etc. But rather most days are boring. Like one day, when you send a set of mails and 9 out of 10 don't even acknowledge the mail. The one or two who reply do so after a week and they say they need a week to think over it and will reply by next week. Or when you call somebody and they ask you to call them tomorrow or next week just because they're busy or don't return your calls. Or when you need to meet some important person, they say "how about next week?". I'm through with much of my planning stage and am currently implementing the idea. So I can't use much of my free time.

Then there are some obvious problems of money. Why only money, I'm an entrepreneur who started with no money, no technology, no contacts and no experience. Sounds perfect! Well, in some sense it is. It gives you a clean board to start off with but it has got its fair share of problems. For the tech transfer that I'm looking forward to, I might need to travel to Norway for technology demonstrations and negotiations, which will require money. I will need to hire a decent lawyer which will require money. I will need to pay to my advisors or pay for my trips in India alongwith food and lodging bills, which all will cost money. And frankly, I don't feel comfortable in asking money from family. Its just not me. My sister recently got married, which may also be a reason. But the point is I've got fewer options than I would like to have.

That matter aside, I sometimes feel that am I missing something. I'm not having as much fun as I would want to have. My friends have more fun than me, basically just because they have more dispensible income and more friends from work, which I don't. But then, when I think about the future and my dreams, about setting up an international conglomerate, about creating a name, leaving behind a legacy and generate enormous wealth, i think its a much small price that I have to pay. If I want all that, I NEED to do all this and do it now, not tomorrow,not next year and so far I enjoy it. Well, my father didn't try to break this mould from being a simple middle class man to being an entrepreneur and create wealth for which you need a certain sustained momentum over a period of time to move on to a higher orbital, i will do it. You know, otherwise also I feel taking the decision of entrepreneurship was a good choice. Just yesterday, I was shocked to know the sad demise of the youngest CEO of India due to cardiac arrest due to lack of sleep(as suggested, making no claims). He was heading SAP India and was bright and smart and handled all the load and dirty hard chaotic work for the company while its founders must be sailing somewhere on a tropical island. Well, its true. Even if you're very smart, lucky enough to be recruited in a top organisation like Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Reliance or McKinsey, you'll no doubt work your ass off to get to the top and if you reach there, your life will only get more chaotic and stressful. And while you'll be travelling to meet customers the world over, your wife will be getting humped by a younger man at home, for whom she will leave you later. If you don't become sucessfull at en-ship , okay. Atleast you'll know you gave it a fair shot and be at peace with yourself.

But all these uncertainities is what makes this journey all the more adventourous with a few spells of boredness. I have to learn to deal with uncertainities and make decisions faster and better with limited information. I've started when I'm 22 and I feel it is a pretty good decision. I have a lot of time to experiment and learn. One of our advisors has recently showed interest in joining fulltime as CEO. This person, whom I respect very much, has 4 decades of experience in the power business and knows the thing inside out. If I work alongwith him, I'll have the unique opportunity to learn from a person much senior than me and gain that upper management wisdom which my friends at other companies are devoid of. Simultaneously, with this tech transfer deal, two european directors will come on board, which is again good for me. I can learn their best practises and know how to deal in international business which again is a big advantage for a person my age.

People from the "lucky sperm club" like Mukesh/Anil Ambani or Siddharth Mallya or Aditya Birla, who entered such an environment at much the same age, created by their fathers and forefathers to train them to take the baton helped them hone their business skills. Well, if I can pull my deals off, I would've created that environment for myself. Success or failure is a matter of time. You stick long enough, you're innovative and work smart, Success will be at your feet!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I don't know what to name this post

Sometimes some things are destined to happen! I believe in miracles but sometimes some things happen in such a way that you feel there is a third party planning all this.

You know for example, a few weeks back early morning I was preparing for an important meeting with one of our advisors. The meeting was scheduled at 11 A.M. and I left home at 9:30 A.M. to give me sometime to work out on some documents at the office. But when I reached there and opened the flap of my laptop, to my horror, the laptop screen had a huge black spot on it and a crack running through the whole screen. Apparently, I forgot my earphones between the flaps and closed the flap, which caused the crack.
For a moment, I was very disappointed at my luck and fearing how huge a bomb it might cost me to get it repaired. I wasn't earning then, I aint earning a single penny now, so it was quite a shock. I quickly recuperated and got the essential documents I needed for the meeting printed out from the e-mail attachments I had sent out. The meeting went well.

Following the meeting, I called up Sony Vaio Service centre to know the potential lost it has caused me. They told me a visiting charge of Rs 1000 and a screen replacement charge of approx Rs 17000(gulp!). I was feeling so very screwed, for paying such a huge penalty for a seemingly small mistake of forgetting my earphones between the flap. I just casually asked the office wardboy, if the computer guy at IIM can repair it(trying to console myself although I knew the answer!). I took his number and called him to know what can be done.
After a day, he quoted me a price of Rs 8,500 for a non-sony screen, which I readily accepted after some hard negotiation bringing the cost to Rs 8000. Subsequently, I had to give away my laptop for repairing.
During these days, I used to sit in the computer centre at IIM. One day, I was sitting alone in the centre, when a gentleman arrived. Surprisingly, computer centres at IIM remain empty as compared to 60-70% occupancy rate back at IIT.
He came here for some computer related troubleshooting and as no-one was there, he asked me where the computer guy was. I said he'll be here in sometime and that you might like to wait. So, he started talking and we introduced ourselves. He told me he was working in the army as a strategist for 8 years, after which he worked in a consultancy firm as a managing partner and now was doing an MBA. The guy was good in strategy as well as quality processes( black-belt in Six Sigma). When I discussed my plans and told I was from IITG, he found them interesting and after some more time, he got his computer repaired and we said our goodbyes. One day, after a week or so, I was returning from office at about 10:30 in the night. I found him on a post-dinner walk enjoying the breeze. I recognised him and told him about the progress I made. He asked me for my business plan to give me better advise to which I said that I was looking for someone who could help me write one! He readily agreed. A few meetings with him have been good so far and his advices certainly add that 360 perspective to my thinking, in addition to the motivation he provides.

None of this would've ever happened, if I hadn't forgotten those earphones that day. Probably Rs 8000 is too low a fee for a great consultancy.

Second incident happened today, when again I came to computer lab to get my laptop formatted as I was fed up of vista. Instead of a simple windows xp installation, my laptop being the super-smart laptop that it is didn't function as normal laptops do. It instead didn't detect the installation CD and on further tweaking with the settings and all, somehow a critical file got deleted which resulted in its logging off as soon as it logs on. This happened at 8:30PM at which time I had to go to office for a conference call happening between three continents( California, Norway and Ahmedabad). Later the computer guy came back asking me to give him my laptop for the night and that I use the computer centre for tonight.
Again, in a twist of destiny, I was alone there and a guy came. he was looking for printout and matter-of-factly didn't have A4 papers. As fate would have it, he asked me for help to which I suggested to look for at the reception or the placement office which remain open till late in the night. He got the papers from the reception and came back to thank me. He then introduced himself, as a gesture of good attiquette. He said he was a Columbia graduate in Economics policy and was working in Clean Energy infrastructure finance projects and was associated with the second-largest bank in Japan for last 8 years. What could be better? Meeting a person with a policy and finance background and that too in clean energy. He heard my plans and agreed to give me a helping hand and asked me to send him a financial model. I would've never met him had my laptop had a successfull installation or if I hadn't come to the computer centre or came at a different time.

Sometimes things just happen. And as long as the results are good, all is well.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What strategy to follow with people!

Its a really crappy title to a really wonderful set of words coming ahead. I saw this on some website, I swear I couldn't have written this better myself. So I'm copy-pasting it :

Who makes difference in your life

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America Contest.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. They are not second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are NOT the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones who care.

A great lesson to follow at work or play! The point is if you want to get the best out of your employees, you need to care for them rather then treating them just another cog in the wheel. When you make a difference to their lives in a positive way, they'll be only happy to return the favour, which will mean higher employee morale, higher productivity, higher talent retention and willingness to make sacrifices like paycuts etc in times of downturn. All of which will make your company earn higher revenues and make a mark subsequently.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why are we here?

Some of the fundamental questions that have baffled the human civilizations ever since it appeared on this planet was 'Why are we here?' and 'What is the purpose of life?'.Well, I think I can try and answer it and I'm pretty convinced with my answer. Rest is upto you to decide. Leave your comments if you have any.

The answer is "to propagate and discover".

We are here to move forward in the evolutionary chain. Ever since we came on this planet,we've been trying to beat what all challenges nature has put forth in front of us and moved forward. Solving the problem of food,transportation,energy and communication with the path breaking inventions of farming,wheel,fire and language systems. This helped us collaborate with other humans to solve even bigger problems. As societies evolved,so did these basic inventions helping us collaborate with civilizations first in their vicinity and then on in other parts of the world.

Now the world civilizations are collaborated and they're going forward to accomplish bigger tasks like further exploration of other planets, solving the puzzle of ever lasting energy and giving home to ever increasing population. Soon,we'll be finding answers to warp speed which will help us travel between inter-galactic spaces,which will eventually help us to collaborate with other civilizations from various planets to help accomplish even bigger tasks like knowing the mysteries of life and the end of universe. When lifeforms will find answers to these questions,they will be posed with other challenges which cannot be comprehended now. There might be other universes at the end of our universe and lifeforms from different universes may collaborate to achieve challenges of their time and so on and so forth.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

30 before 30

Well endsems are over! and after a thesis presentation,I'll be done with my bachelors engineering education. Its ,needless to say, a new beginning for all of us. People have planned all sorts of stuff for their life ahead. And I am no exception.

I turned 22 today, and feel its an appropriate day for me to write my 30 before 30 list. It was in my mind from a long time but never got around to writing it,so here it goes( in no particular order):

1)Want to start a company and turn it into a fledgling venture which actually does something useful.
2)Want to learn Saxophone and perform for a huge audience.
3)Want to try various adventure sports(paragliding,sky-diving,snorkelling,scuba-diving,deep-sea diving,wind-surfing,anything crazy will do)
4)Want to go to Antarctica on an expedition and live a day like Bear Grylls.
5)Want to go to Iceland,Egypt,South Africa,Bora Bora and other untouched places.
6)Want to own a designer house.
7)Want to own a designer car.
8)Want to learn Kenjutsu.
9)Want to learn Clay Modelling.
10)Want to be in a very good shape.
11)Want to take up a village and transform it into a place where all people are educated,all have enough to eat and all have jobs.
12)Want to start making canvas art in my free time and showcase at a gallery.
13)Want to own a kickboxing bag and gloves and practice boxing.
14)Want to meet Aung San Suu Kyi.
15)Want to meet a famous hollywood/bollywood star.
16)Want to get listed in world's youngest billionaires list.
17)Want to meet a Korean movie actress.
18)Want to learn swimming.
19)Want to meet creators of South Park and go to their studio.
20)Want to make a movie on a shoe-string budget.
21)Want to learn cooking some exotic dishes.
22)Surprise my family.
23)Surprise my friends.
24)Drop at a really old friend's place after many years without giving him a hint.
25)Meet my old school teachers who taught me when I was very young.
26)Meet Bill gates and Richard Branson.
27)Fall in love.
28)Speak at a commencement of some big university.
29)Travel first class on a private jet.
30)Travel on a private yacht.

So that's about it.Sounds too utopian? Well 30 under 30 lists are utopian!
The list includes many things that many people want,so things like money/fame,no surprises there!
Anyways there are other things that I look forward to more.

Frequently used verbs : Learn,try,meet,to go/travel,own.

Will check back in another 8 years! Ciao for now!

Farewell and stuff

Ya,well like all the other colleges, we had our farewell too.It was pretty decent.

Some notable pointers :

*Only two faculty came( one was HOD due to his obligation,and other was a new faculty,so he came just to experience it).I guess all the other faculty is pissed or they don't care to say a final word to the batch they spent 4 years with.Nonetheless,I don't give a damn.Everbody has a right to do what they want.Expectations make this world somewhat less beautiful!

*Many juniors came but left after the food was done.No surprises there! Happens all the time but it hits you when its yours!

*Food was amazing and so were the host(3rd yr guys).My very best wishes to them and many thanks for keeping us company till the end and giving us a great farewell.

*The venue was horrible! No AC.Don't blame the juniors. IIT kind of tries to be very controlling of the use of its premises for apparently no sensible reasons.These guys are just not social or they think that giving a bare minimum of an AC room for a farewell is probably asking for too much!

*Night of confessions,revelations and experiences soon followed. Although many of the incidents discussed had a sexual overtone.Probably some hot topics never change.

The thing was followed by a t-shirt scribbling session. Somehow half the comments written on my t-shirt were related to 'balls' :D After this followed our DP where we got drunk and talked about business(Ravi said he was investing in some web company,goofy and sudhanshu wanted to take over our business),rajkiran,sudar and I talked about taking LSD and getting high and regretting why didn't we meet before,mayur didn't drink much,so we were devoid of his fundae on why our batch is the best batch.

Here are some of the comments I recieved(letter case/punctuations/abbreviations maintained) :

U got balls dude - G.Abhilash

U r irritating and u r fun buddy - Aditya Upadhyay aka Goofy

You wish you had his balls - Mayur


BOND - Anonymous

Never worried of being (called) a fool. - VENU


Junkie(wannabe) - Rajkiran

Cartman of Biotech - Mayur

I am an arrogant and selfish bastard - Mayur on behalf of someone else

MOST IRRITATING,U SUCK,IDIOT BT STILL U GOT THE BALLS! - Chandrashekar Singh alias Cool Chandu

JACK of all trades, still I rock :-) MISS YA BRO - Akshay alias Tau

I deeply appreciate your attitude & courage.Good Luck. - Garima

Great boobs dude - Ravi Shankar


LIFETIME PARTNER !!! - Mohit aka Commander

Overall,it was cool.Good times.