Kill Perfectionism

I love engineering. It has been by dream since my childhood days to be an engineer. To create something so perfect that it is almost metaphysical. I used to build bridges using twigs and leaves in my garden after the rains and watch the ants pass through them for hours.

I have no illusions about the works I create: coding, writing, presentations, some hardware with stepper motor which turns left when I press a button or the bridges which I build using twigs. Most of them just work, sometimes barely. But once in a while I would create something which would really make me proud. Not even close to perfection I agree, but decent enough to keep me going.

What bothers me is not the failure itself, but the indolence that breeds inside me due to the fear of failure. The procrastination that gets exhibited because I don’t want to create something worse than the last jewel I managed to create.

I am good at making things that work. I am good at finding the problems and fixing bugs. Maybe I should just stick to what I am good at. Maybe I should just build the foundation and let someone else build the highway.

There is a direct co-relation between my inactivity and the number of unread mails in my inbox. I just swept my inbox empty. I hope the causation follows.

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My Sparkly, Shining Kitchen: Thanks Sachin

I know that was tacky. A despicable way to attract your attention. But now that you are here, why not just read on?

Yesterday was a momentous day in my life. My friends who have easy access to the delicacies of “pani-puri” and “chat”, please remember the yesterday I am talking about just ended and so most of the significant events happened in your “Today”. Timezones, huh! And rest of my friends, feel free to join me in whining about how badly I miss pani-puri here.

This might be quite surprising to hard-core Sachin fans(or can I generalize it to Indians?), but Sachin’s retirement was not the most significant event yesterday. For starters it was my mom’s birthday which I did not forget. And the most significant event: I cleaned my kitchen.

Lets go to the Sachin thing first. He has been a phenomenon and I feel lucky to be of the generation that was born in the year Sachin debuted. He has completed 200 test matches in 24 years of his career which surprise, surprise is exactly my age now. He is the first one to score 200 in ODIs, a feat that he achieved in Gwalior within 2 kms radius of my house(that should escalate the real estate prices right!), a fact that I never fail to brag about. Now I would like to stop here as I am out of things that I could tell boastfully.

My mom’s birthday. I did not forget. Inspite of the fact that I live in a place which depending upon the day of the year, is either 12 and a half or 13 and a half hours behind my hometown. Facebook fails here, because until it shows you the list of birthdays; half a day is already past. I am usually good at remembering birthdays so I am not so surprised.

Now comes the most significant event: I cleaned up my kitchen and it was not easy owing to how hard the oil stains are to remove. Having the luxury of my mom and dad cleaning at my home and my maid cleaning in Delhi for the past couple of years, this was the first time I embarked upon such an endeavour. And before I run the risk of being considered crazy, I would like to mention that the significance is not attached to the sparkling shining kitchen, which by the way looks a lot better now but its attached to something more subtle, yet powerful.

I don’t remember the last time, if ever, I was so assiduously engaged in a job delivering it to near-perfection. I had lost all hopes of ever doing so but this feat, however mundane it might seem, reinstated my faith in myself. I attributed all the failures of my life to lack of motivation, but never had the courage to do something that actually motivated me. The reason being the fear of breaking this bubble. But now, I have a proof that I can actually get things done, and hope this motivates me in other more important spheres of my life.

On other note, I just went to wikipedia to read about Sachin and the first line read “Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is a former Indian Cricketer…”. It broke my heart.

 

 

The Perfectionist

‘Perfection’ is a word that intrigues me. Here and there I can see a lot many, if not all people pursuing their goal to attain perfection, but the more they try, the more it eludes them. However, the use of the word ‘elude’ is a bit unfair here, as these people are actually getting better at whatever they are trying to master, its just that the more they get to know about their own capabilities the more they aspire to attain in future.

Interestingly, when I look at the ‘near-perfect’ things around my life, I kind of get nervous. I hate monotony, and once build all the near perfect things acquire monotony. Consider the ‘Delhi Metro’ for example. Will it keep running till eternity with the same announcements, same opening and closing of doors without any accidents? Not that I wish this brilliant system to fail but the thought makes me sick that it will keep on running forever.

The words ‘infinity’ and ‘eternity’ scare me. And though I admit that I am a disappointment when it comes to¬† maths, but thats not the only reason. I cannot comprehend that fact that this universe will last for eternity, that the empty space around us is infinity, and that owing to the aftereffects of the big bang, our universe will keep on expanding into that infinite empty space. Its just makes me feel so insignificant.

Perhaps thats the reason why people believe in god. They dont want to be left alone as a tiny insignificant piece of hydrocarbon but need to feel that they have been created for a purpose. I agree that I dont have the intellect to decide whether god exists or not, because if he/she does exist and he/she did indeed create this universe, then we are no more than subjects bounded within the framework of his/her experiments. Debating about god’s existence would like the following scenario.

In the context of Operating Systems(a field in computer science)

Process 1 to Process 2: Do you believe in Operating Systems?

Process 2: yes.

Process 1: Do you believe that there is an almighty power that allocates you memory, cpu, when you require and takes them away at its discretion without any consideration for your opinions. If that is true, explain me why there is so much inequality in this system, why are most of the processes idle waiting for CPU or many of them have been swapped out due to lack of pages. Does this reflect the fairness of you Operating System?

What I believe is in the end nothing matters. If there’s an afterlife, I wont be remembering any of the stuffs I did in this life in the same way I dont remember what all I did in the previous life if it existed. So practically I have just one life to live, a life of just 50-70 more years. Now, I could live this life convincing myself that there is no god and I am solely responsible for my actions and punishing myself for my failures even though I might not deserve the punishment, thus making my life miserable. Also in this case I miss upon the opportunity of being grateful to someone, which to my experience is the most satisfying act of all. And the other extreme is to rely totally upon god for each and every decision of life, and trivially making the life worthless for myself and even others (as followed by religious fanatics). But there is a third option that I follow(and which most of the common people do with or without realising). The option is to believe in god, to thank him/her my for successes, to blame him/her my for failure, but not to an extent where my actions are compromised. I try to do the best I can for what I aspire, the result, I leave it on the uncontrolled circumstances, i.e. GOD.

And believe me when I say this, “I am a happy soul.”!