By-Two Kaapi in an oilfield

The weblog of Abhilash Ravishankar, India.

Here I blog about my personal experiences [posting rarely]

At my tumblelog Intoxicated by possibility I blog about my opinions/likes/dislikes [posting heavily]

And I would give myself away...

Kahlil Gibran said:

"You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."

Dream. Dream. Dream. Period.

That's all I have been doing since I was a child. And yes, in the twists and turns that my life has taken since then, I have achieved some of my dreams, and many have just remained dreams. But, I believe that everything's happened for the good. A major part of my BITSian life (after I metamorphosed into who I am today), is chronicled in this blog (many of them esoteric as Aravind rightly pointed out).

And here is one more.

As I am about to kiss goodbye to being 19, and turn 20 in a couple of months, I stare at the clear summer sky in Pilani and ponder. What am I going to do in life? Out there in the quick, fast world away from the security that BITS offered, will I be the man I want to be?

I remember the days in my freshman year at BITS when I dreamt of doing a PhD in a top US University and spend the rest of my life doing research in some R&D organization. The sands of time trickled. I changed. The very first taste of the world of entrepreneurship was too lip-smacking. And I've never looked back. I'd blogged about it here.

And then came, what people here call the crux of a BITSian life (academically atleast!) - the dreaded CDC year, where one is made to writh in pain under the harshest of courses and schedules. And me being a EEE student, made matters worse (worst is the right word!). Considered a litmus test for one's academic acumen, every course in this year got the better of me. I was reduced to an average student in every course. A slight correction in grammar would incorporate the fact that I am still being reduced so. And there goes my R&D dream! I found out that I am not a EEE guy. Worse off, I fared well in most of my projects, giving me a contrasting feeling that I am actually good at what I like. As of now, I love doing technical projects which are closer to my area of interest (which is hardly EEE or pure CS), but with an excellent(!) record as mine, I am sure not to get quality admits for a MS or a PhD in a reputed US University. (Reminds me of Aravind cribbing about the same)

Then the ugly demon raises its head again - What next? My heart yearns to start-up on my own with a few pals of mine. A startup in any industry - tech, non-tech, social, whatever - I am game! But then, the issue of family responsibilities crops up. The responsibility of becoming financially independent, of being to live on bread that I earn, is pretty heavy on the shoulders. The fear of not being financially sound by the time Dad retires, and atleast till little bro begins to make his living. And I sulk. Being born in a middle-class Indian family has its own highs and lows.

Left with nowhere else to wander, I can think only of two alternatives - CAT or a job. It's been my steadfast principle that I will not do an MBA till I have about 2-3 years of work experience on my resume. And I stick by it. So, CAT goes to the dogs.

Ah! Choice is an illusion, my son. You are left with no choice but to take up a job just as any other average batchmate of yours would. And that hurts. For somebody who always dreamt to be different, for somebody whose parents wished that their son would study atleast a couple of degrees and then join a job to earn a sound salary, for somebody who hates mediocrity - the very thought of sounding mediocre for a couple of years, burns a hole in the intestines. But, there is nothing good, nothing bad, there is just life!

To summarize, for the next 10 years or so, I will be joining Tom, Dick & Harry in their daily activities and routine life. But, I know what I want to be.

Over a year, I have seen it grown in one of the corners of my heart, slowly, silently, yet strongly - the urge to give back to the society what it actually deserves - the best of me. I blogged about it once after a train journey from Banglaore to Mysore, and also once after I visited a neighbouring village. And the feeling has grown stronger ever since.

Over the past few months, I have wept at the poverty and suffering of people around me. Everytime I step outside the BITS campus, into the town of Pilani, into the rural heartland of Rajasthan, an empty feeling in my stomach greets me. Back in the room, I sit and code, I sit and cram, I sit and surf the net, I sit and devour a packet of Lays - but out there I see nothing but mountains of hope and courage amidst crushing poverty. I know that this is how the society is - there is always a gap between the rich and the poor - but am I doing anything, any goddamn thing to make the society more equitable? Would my scoring an 'A' grade in the Analog & Digital VLSI Design course help them directly? Yes, you might scorn at me for what might seem as bullshit. You might argue that you are doing the best to seek good education so that you can give back to the society. Agreed. You would one day become a top-notch Engineer at Google and earn thousands of dollars, you would set up charity funds, you would donate them to help people. But, you just end up at a higher strata of the society and try to extend your hand of help from there. Won't help as much as it would have if you could stay with these people and push them up. And that is what I want to do in life.

When I see this kid on the desktop wallpaper of my computer everyday, I shuffle in my seat, and the resolve grows much stronger. The resolve to see that kid educated to the best extent possible. IMHO, a longdrawn but safe and smooth way of reducing the inequities in the society would be to educate the present generation of kids.

One fine day, when dentures hang in my mouth, bifocals cover my eyes, a walking stick lazes around by my side, and a cup of steaming coffee waits in my hand, I want to tell my grandchildren playing in the garden in front of me, that this is the India I dreamt to live in - a country where every citizen is empowered and every citizen knows how to make the best use of it.


  1. Anonymous said...
    hey abhilash,

    Just landed on your blog during my usual hour of random browsing.. I haven't read anything about your idea of mental planes and stuff.. But i have read and thought enough about intelligence and languages (this was in an attempt to teach these computers to make sense on their own.. and i realized that these machines make much more sense than we humans do and what we have to teach them is the ability to make some non-sense) to have formed a belief that .. what something is or is not .. depends on the context and perspective..

    here i would like to refer to your statement: Choice is an illusion..
    I was totally with you in the begining .. the whole wanting to do something on your own and stuff.. and then i was kind of
    disappointed to read what followed..
    A to-be-20 year old building (or rather i shud say choosing) a context and perspective that wud make him conclude that his dreams might just remain.. dreams

    I guess it also has to do a lot with how we as humans think when we already have a belief (in your case "Choice is an illusion" and in my case you can say "depends on perspective and context").. we are just so tempted to test our belief in any situation that we tend to follow a certain path of reasoning that wud lead us to conclude what we want believe..

    If i may point out.. just to reach the conclusion (i must add.. this may be very subconscious.) that choice is an illusion .. for every choice you have.. you have built ( or chosen) a context and perspecitve that will lead that choice to be cancelled and finally you remain with just one thing.. just one option.. in this case may be take up a job but more importantly the conclusion that choice is an illusion.. VOILA!! you have achieved it.. once again you have tested your belief .. and have won.. (have you ??)

    Please take this comment in the right spirit.. i am not trying to make assumptions about your background and family responsibilities.. Its just that i think your belief that choice is an illusion might just work against you.. cause everytime you win the arguement you actually might be losing a part of the person you are and want to be..

    I know even i am trying to do the same here, in this long comment... following a path of reasoning that wud lead me to conclude that everything depends on context and perspective.. guess can't help it .. have a human brain..

    We know each other.. and let me tell you that i do know all about CDCs and stuff..

    What are your plans for summers.. Do tell me.. jst write a comment in your own blog.. and you can ofcourse write "Get Lost"

    take care
    Abhilash Ravishankar said...

    First of all, thanks a lot, mate! I was having a very boring day here trying to cram some stuff for a test 'morrow - and your comment was a welcome break!

    You are actually right in your argument. But, before I get into that, let me tell you that probably you mistook my post and took it that I have concluded that my dreams might just remain...dreams. NO. Right now, what I see is - yup, I am left with no choice but a job. But, me starting up in the future, well, that's a dream, and I'd give myself away to do that.

    Yes, we think in terms of context and perspective. That makes us narrow down our choices. And ultimately, we would be left with but one choice - seemingly making choice an illusion. I partially concur.

    It depends on how you look at it. IMO, choice is an illusion. The whole process of thought that goes into making one, is but a illusion that our mind has created. It is just another way to boost our ego - 'Hey! I chose to do so!'. But, when we think with respect to the context and the perspective, we will be left with just one choice, which was the only 'true' choice'.

    So, in a way, both of us are right!

    PS: Summer - Internship @ Bangalore. Btw couldn't figure out who you are! Could make out you are a BITSian. Mostly a passout. Someone from Karnataka probably. You've done some work on AI or related stuff.
    Ah! Come on - shoot in a mail.

Post a Comment


This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.


This blog and me


Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds