Play music for better brains–So says TED

Dedicated to musicians, this is an amazing TED video explaining the connection between the level of analytical and problem-solving ability that musicians have.

This reminded me of all my musician friends and especially Rudra (Pandey) and Sunita (Tiwari). Rudra is a seasoned guitarist whereas Sunita was learning violin when we worked together (I hope Sunita has mastered the art of playing violin by now just as she has made everybody proud by winning the Nepal Chhatra Bidya Padak (Nepal Education Award to Girls)).

Music, as I have already expressed in my earlier posts, is my greatest passion. After watching this video, I want to play a musical instrument now. I have been practicing on harmonium during my early days of getting into vocal lessons. I will definitely have to learn to play harmonium once again, not only to train my voice, but also to train the brain.

 

 

 

Change your beliefs to change your life

Happy Faces

Happiness is an elusive state. It is. Nothing can define happiness, instead, it defines everything for us. Having followed Shawn Achor, a Harvard-trained positive psychologist, for some time now, I believe in the power and strength of positive thinking. Thinking positively can bring about miracles in one’s life.

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So, what’s Delhi all about?

IGIA
IGIA

I reached Delhi on the fourth of September. It was like any other day, however, it was something special for me to arrive at Delhi. This was the first time I was ever in the city. The city bore many attractions for me. Even slightest of hint of greenery was enough for me to feel special. Kathmandu has lost much of its charm with the felling of trees and forests to make way for tall buildings for humans to inhabit.

What I found as the most amazing thing in Delhi was the fact that it is so full of life. Buses, cars, taxis, “autos”, rickshaws and metro run 24/7 all the time. It works with a clockwork precision. Although I couldn’t visit the major landmarks of the city like Qutb Minar or Gate of India, the visit was still fruitful and enjoyable. What I found was that for one to enjoy, one need not visit the landmarks that other people visit. It all depends on one’s curiosity and energy to see the sights and feel the sounds of Delhi as is.

I cannot help but mention the man I met at Sewa Sadan (the place where we- my Aama, Aju dai and myself- stayed). The man was a person full of merry and he managed to entertain us despite his busy schedule of managing the place and the visitors. I could not get his name but I have his number with me. He gave me the number so that whenever I got lost in this vast city, I might be able to call him for help.

What intrigued me the most upon landing in the capital was the expanse and grandeur of Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA). My friend Bandana rightly pointed out in her blog post that people from Nepal would no doubt cringe when it comes to comparing our domestic airport with IGIA. With duty free shops selling you a variety of products from different varietals of wines to watches, chocolates to food stuffs, IGIA is definitely a haven or heaven for travelers. Not to mention the smoking areas there where I had this great opportunity of respite to go and take a few puffs from Marlboro lights which a traveler was happy to share.

Kutub Minar
Kutub Minar

What also intrigued me was the heat there. We are used to living in temperatures below 25 degrees Celsius. Delhi had to offer a temperature of 30-35 degrees Celsius. Nevertheless, it was fun to be in Delhi surviving in such a humid and dry weather. That’s the beauty of the place.

I ran into so many troubles in the city. Not to forget the small brawl I had with the hotel people who would not let me go without paying the rent. Not only this, I also had to face, an encounter with a Policeman at a PCO near the hotel. It was just horrible. However, the case was settled when my mother and brother came from Kathmandu and settled all the dues.

So far my trip to Delhi was full of ups and downs just like any other traveler’s would be. I would love to visit the place once again in the near future.

Thanks Delhi, thanks IGIA !!!

 

 

What would you like to see in my blog?

Please take a while from your precious time for this poll. It will help me tailor my future posts according to your interest and preference.

Thank you.

Cheers

Ayushma

 

Invictus: Keep me inspiring

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

***********************************

I have special attachment with this poem. This is primarily because the creator of this poem went through the same situation as I did. My legs were not amputated as the poet’s were but then I had a similar experience where I had to undergo major surgery of my right leg after a near-death accident in 2006.

I was unable to walk on my own for an entire year. Even then, I did not let this dampen my spirit. I wrote articles for an English-language national daily in Nepal to keep myself reminding that although I may be physically limited perform certain actions, I am perfectly all right when it came to keep myself moving.

I am sure this poem will keep on inspiring me for the rest of my life. I will be the most successful person on the planet if I will be able to pass on the message and importance of this poem to my progeny.

These technical geeks—from the perspective of a Sociology graduate

So, so you think you could tell the difference between a programmer’s life and that of a Sociology graduate?

24 hours is not enough for us,” says an avid Android developer at my office.

Geek

Photo Credits: ArrowSmithShoes

Here I am working for a software company irrespective of earning a degree in Sociology, and trying to figure out the intricacies and simplicity of the lives of programmers or developers.

We have a bunch of exceptionally well-talented “geeks” who, if not found coding and creating logic, can be busy with their pet projects. Some of the guys are so talented enough that they have built their own mobile apps (short for application) which are very intuitive and amazingly pro-people.

Here I sit musing most of the times at the life of these brilliant minds who have made our lives so much easier with the use of technology. Since I am primarily surrounded by these technical people for the most part of my day, I am naturally surprised at the speed at which their minds work!

Take for example this superb app called Yellow (in Beta version for now). Developed by a group of enthusiastic developers Yellow has made it easy for people, especially working ones, to find nearby restaurants, go there and have a hearty meal at a discounted rate just for showing to the restaurant people that you have Yellow installed on your Android smartphone (More on this app in my later posts).

It will be difficult for me to sit in front of the computer conjuring images of logic and ill-logic. However, for these guys computers are their safe haven or perhaps their home.

I can sum up their lives as something revolved and hugely hovered over by supercomputers, avoiding all worldly distractions that I as a Sociology graduate would normally engage in.

Music is my passion, so is reading people’s lives. Hence this blog post where I am trying to understand the essence of these geeks. It may not be an exaggeration if I say that these technical individuals live, eat, breath and sleep with codes in their minds.

Not convinced? Ask Pradeep who says that if he gets “hang” for not being able to crack a code or create logic, he might be literally haunted that he will be able to decipher codes or develop one of his own in his dreams.

Wow! Wish I could do the same with my thoughts and my failed attempts at singing like a star.

Well, there’s definitely something I can learn a great deal from these people.

Eureka!

Punte Parade- A challenge from a team of young self-driven filmmakers

“Would you like to go to this charity screening of a Nepali movie,” asked Adwait ji, my supervisor.

At first, the prospect of going to watch a Nepali movie did not appeal to me that much. The last Nepali movie I had seen was “Loot“and I’m very picky about watching movies in the vernacular.

Loot was a superb flick showcasing the lives of “partners in crime” who collaborate just to loot a bank and then continue with their own life separately with the plunder.

However, of late, Nepali movies have started losing their charm and uniqueness because they tend to emulate Bollywood flicks.
Thanks to three of my buddies from work, Bikesh, Rabindra and Sudip, I changed my mind and finally went to see Punte Parade.

Nilu Doma Sherpa
Nilu, Founder of Nepal’s Most Desirable who inspired Punte Parade, with yours truly after the charity screening of the movie at Jai Nepal on 28 July 2014. 

Punte depicts a teenager who wants to grab the attention of those around him, or, in other words, he wants to be the center of attention of everything and everybody. Switching between reality and dreams of the teenager, the movie, for me, revolves around the psychology of most people of Punte’s age who have the strong desire to steal the show irrespective of the consequences.
Although the first half of the movie seems to be a bit boring with the boy pondering (wondering, rather) about his life.

The old adage “Grass is greener on the other side” comes alive in the life of the character who, in the second half of the flick, runs away from his family and friends just to prove his worth or make his kith and kin feel his absence.

What I really liked about the movie was the transition Punte experiences after he runs away and comes back to his home after spending some reckless moments roaming around the major parts of the Kathmandu city including the tourist hub Thamel.
At the end what Punte realizes is that life is more than just fantasies and then he comes to terms with the way people and circumstances present themselves. Carpe Diem is what the flick asks of all of us.

A child of a young team of self-driven personalities, Punte Parade is a message to Nepali filmmakers that they need to seriously start thinking about making movies with depth and meaning.

More photos and a ticket of the charity screening of Punte Parade

Fanta- Punte Parade

Fanta, a character from the movie Punte Parade, with yours truly

 

Ticket- Punte parade
This is my ticket. No. 444

Nilu

Baby steps to co-creating a symbiotic environment in my company

Our office meeting room was full to the brim (even overflowing) with eager individuals who wanted to learn something about how to speak powerfully to influence people at the very first talk program of Brown Bag Session. The day coincided with the birthday of the greatest enigma mankind has ever known, Nelson Mandela. Mandela, for me and for most of the world, is a source of great inspiration and admiration.

Let me talk about the first session in detail.

Borwn Bags

I circulated emails and reminders to each and every one of us in the company requesting them to attend the talk. Ours is a software company specializing in transaction banking and unfortunately I am not an engineer or a developer. Neither am I a business graduate. I am a Sociology major.

During the initial two months of joining F1Soft International, a feeling of being out of place crept inside me because neither IT nor banking was my cup of tea. Feelings of boredom, frustration and alienation gradually took over me in these two months so much so that I started dreading going to work. Seriously. The very thought of sitting in front of the computer or idling at my desk with nobody to talk to made me literally paranoid.

It was then that I felt there was a grave need for us to come together every once in a while and engage in co-creating behavior. What I felt was that we do not have human connection at the company. Everybody was working, yes, but then we worked as though we were mere machines toiling from early in the morning till late in the evening (sorry if I may sound rude to some).

There is this rule known as Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, which says 80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes. In other words, no matter how much we work, only 20% of our effort is going to bring about 80% better results.

Having worked in the company for the last 5 months now, I felt a communication and networking gap among people in our company. Just as they say “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy,” we were literally turning dull.

This is how Brown Bag session came into existence. But I’m not the only one who had this idea. I expressed my desire to have informal interaction sessions in the company to two of my colleagues who fortunately had thought of having similar programs at work.

Bingo!

Brown bag
Rajesh Sharma ji from CashOnAd interacting with the participants

So we kicked off our first session on 18 July 2014. Yours truly conducted the session and talked about the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) section of the human brain which helps us make important decisions in life and differentiate right from wrong. The talk revolved around fear and how it blocks our PFC when we try to address a mass of people or attend a job interview as an interviewee.

Brown bag session
Suresh Gautam ji from CashOnAd giving his introduction

Well, to my utter happiness, the program received rave reviews and great comments from the participants. The program did help me boost my self-confidence. More than that, it worked as an ice-breaker and participants got an opportunity to get to know each other. (Remind you we have more than 100 employees).

I look forward to having similar sessions in the days to come so as to enhance a co-creating environment and symbiosis throughout the company. I’m sure my colleagues, friends and bosses will help me achieve that.

More Photos from the Session

Participants
My friends from F1Soft International Pvt. Ltd.

 

Brown bag

 

 

Ayushma speaking

 

Brown bag session participants