A Letter to my 12 year old self

17th September, 2019

Dearest Shrey,

How are you doing? I hope you are in good health and enjoying the innocence and bliss that comes attached with childhood, oblivious of the vices and problems that exist in this beautiful and amazing journey we call life.

Today, I’m writing to you my first letter (I’m sure this won’t be the last) after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, primarily because I thought that I must and lastly also because I though I must. So..Yes, ten years down the line, you will prove to the world and everyone in it, that you can and you will accomplish everything that you ever set your eyes upon (Be proud, but don’t let that turn into vanity).

Read the next part of this letter very carefully. It contains some of my learnings over the years and advices that I’ve received and experiences that I’ve lived. These are as much a part of me as they will become a part of you in your journey.

Right now, you are naive. You understand things but you don’t pursue them aggressively and looking at myself, it will be fair to say that the only things you’ll ever pursue aggressively will be those on which your life depends. You will fail in a French exam once and then pursue it aggressively to score an unbelievable 97 in an exam which will matter. You’ll have to listen to a lot of naysayers before aggressively pursuing and acing the CA final examination. While all this is good, it is my sincere advice that you’ll have to learn to pursue even the important things in life, not just those on which life depends.

You will develop a habit of leaving majority tasks midway and passing it on to others. I don’t blame you. I have always lived like a manager- possessing the art of getting things done through others. While it may not be bad to possess such a valuable art, but you’ll have to eventually understand the hard fact of life that before getting work done through others, one needs to know how to do it himself. I can proudly say that I learnt it, albeit the hard way. I can also assure you that you’ll learn it too, but it would be better if you took cue right now and start working over it rather than going down my path.

Discipline is of paramount importance. I was taught this at school. You have also been taught this at the very same school. The problem with me is that I didn’t realise it’s importance till recently. Look, in your future, there will come a time when you’ll have to sit at home for six months at a stretch and prepare- to turn a dream into reality. I have done it too, trust me it’s not as bad as it sounds. However, let me tell you one interesting incident- I used to do a major chunk of my studies during the night and sleep till late in the morning. Though this has always helped me while studying but there came a time when I was all jumbled up about the days of the week or for that matter, I couldn’t recollect whether a particular event had occurred a day before or two days before. Six months is a long time and I’m thankful that I faced such situations. It taught me one thing very clearly- Discipline is the keyword. I had to incorporate it in my life at all costs and I did. You’ll be surprised and happy to know that bringing my life into a routine helped me focus more, grasp a little bit more and also recollect a little bit more (okay, a lot more :p ).

My dear Shrey, there is one area in which you’ll suck. You will have a really hard time keeping in touch with the people, whom you love and care. Most of your friends will complain about this to you. You might even end up losing a few good ones. But the worst part is that you won’t find anyone, who will teach you the nuances of this art. I, myself, am struggling with it even now. I’m trying nevertheless and hopefully, in some future letter, I might even handover the key to you, but for now- you are on your own, buddy!

Technology is the buzzword right now and it’s highly unlikely that this trend shall recede anytime soon. Discoveries are made everyday and consequently, you’ll have to keep yourself abreast of the changes regularly. You will need to keep an eye out for new things and latest developments in this field. There will soon come a time, if it hasn’t already, when our very life- mine and your’s, will depend largely on technology. Also, this is my benign attempt to make you understand the importance of recognising which way the wind blows and adjusting your sails accordingly.

You have a very bright life ahead of you and in this, you’ll come across a handful of luminaries, who will have a lasting impact on your life. These people will inspire you, they will motivate you, but they will leave a big hole in your life too. You will desperately want to and try to become like them. At times, you will feel the frustration because no matter what you do, you will realise that you wouldn’t have moved an inch towards those idols among men. Let me tell you, the way is very simple and clear-Spend more time on growing yourself, on grooming yourself and practising. Everyone can touch those towering heights of greatness and fame but a very few people ever do and those are the ones who have understood the axiom that the body grows with age and time but greatness only dwells where there is uncompromised practise and a willingness to grow, not on a physical plane (over time this happens anyway), but on a psychological plane.

I have so many things to tell you and yet it feels like I’ve said enough for one letter. Also, I require some content for my successive letters too, right :p

So here is one final piece of advice before I end this letter with which I’ve become so attached:
Be inquisitive- be curious, in short never ever stop being You!!

And PFA your future self in the attachment which I’m adding herewith.

Keep smiling like always 🙂
Lots of love,
Shreylockholmes
[you will get this name somewhere in these ten years;)]

Alive Enough?

I’m alive today but what guarantee do I have that I’ll wake up to see tomorrow’s Sun? Guarantee- I have none. It’s just faith that I have and Hope that I cling on to before going to sleep that I’ll wake up to see another morning.

How fickle is our being. Alive in this moment- in all glory and naught in the next. Even the thought of it brings jitters and send a cold chill down my spine.

Everyday we keep making plans about the things we will do and the things we will be. We sew together an elaborate dream each night, a dream in which we are what we have always wanted to be. And day after day, everyday- we keep deferring those plans and those things thinking that we have our entire life ahead of us for fulfilling our dreams and desires. We believe that right now, it is time to become someone, to prove to the world that “I am also a force to be reckoned with!”

Well, honestly, I am not against the mentality of becoming something and sacrificing my present for a better future, but what has recently begun to haunt me is not future but “uncertain” future. The thought that- what if I’m not supposed to live till the average age and that, this time now, which I’m sacrificing in becoming something worthwhile is actually God’s gift to me, which I’m wasting because I won’t have time left afterall, when I’ve indeed become something.

(Actually these are the moments when I really believe that Ignorance is Bliss. But that’s not the point right now.)

I do say that ZNMD is my all time favourite movie but I must also supplement my above claim by adding that societal pressure is a tad too much, to actually follow the tenets that are so beautifully portrayed in the movie. Even I want to live the high life, but for that I have to study. If I study now, that means that I’m sacrificing my present. And time once lost, is lost forever. Plus I have the added risk that I might not make it afterall or maybe even if I do make it, I don’t sustain it for too long or worse yet, even if I make it and I am able to sustain it, my body won’t support me well at that point in time because I neglected it in the present. This is such a vicious circle and as I put in more factors, this circle will only enlarge.

So then, how do we break this deadlock? We can’t abandon education and adopt a carefree life. We can’t even let ourselves entirely into studies because then we would be back to square one. So what to do? How to tend both the things? The answer is simple. We need to make daily plans (like we all do and I even mentioned that earlier) and we also need to ensure that these plans are executed.

Just as we take out time for television and mobile phones from our “busy lives”; we must, as well, take out time for the things which truly matter to us. The things which will make us feel alive. Small and everyday things like tending to a small plant or catching up with friends- old and new alike. Things1 like playing the guitar, or staying in the shower for five extra minutes so that we can showcase our singing talents, not to the soap and the shampoo bottles, but to our own selves.

As it is we are already surrounded by walls and screens, insomnia and assignments, papers and reviews, deadlines and bosses; so I don’t think that it might really be a big deal if we were to add a few more variables into the equation. In fact, these are the variables which we are fond of, which we feel pleasure in performing. For these things, we only need to have the will to do it and Time will automatically adjust for it.

I have decided to do the things which I like doing along with the ‘oh-so-important’ things of life. Just as I have hope and faith that I’ll wake up see the sun shines tomorrow, I have the same hope and faith (let’s not get into the discussion of being in control, because that is a myth) that Time will create a leeway for the things that matter to me NOW!

And the good news, my dear friends, is that it always does.

~S.S

Is stress required in life?  

Well, most of the readers will obviously say a big NO. I mean, why take stress and bring home all the diseases which accompany stress. Only a fool would believe stress is not bad. And mind you, such fools do exist. 

I am one among them. Personally, I believe that stress is as important in life as salt is in food. Just as food without salt is useless, so is life without stress. It is in moments of stress and pressure that the mind functions optimally. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that stress acts as a stimulus for greater efficiency. 

Take any list which contains influential people. You will not find even one person in that list, who reached where he/ she is now before undergoing a period of stress and utmost pressure. There is an old adage which goes: every carbon molecule can get converted into a diamond, but very few, which take on the pressure finally become one. 

However, just as a lot of salt can poison the entire food, similarly, a lot of stress can harm a person. One should not keep on taking stressful tasks one after the other. Stress is just a part of our life, and yet we tend to make it our life. This can have  serious implications across various dimensions of life. 

To conclude, I would like to urge the fellow readers to remove the perception that stress has a very negative connotation. We must learn to use stress to our advantage. We need to learn, how to use it to navigate through unfavourable situations and turnaround our losses into our gains. And be very sure, this is quite possible. In fact, not just possible but rather probable! 
Happy Reading !! 

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Reflections- the December kid.

A December born man (me) is someone who is truthful, freaky a little bit, seeking for freedom and a fan of diversity. Trips are his thing. Overall, he is someone you need to watch out for. The truth of the matter is a December born man is someone who is moody quite a bit. Sometimes he doesn’t care at all, other times he follows your every single move. There is a never ending desire in him to fix everything. Sometimes it is agitating even!
Another fact about this guy is that he is always surrounded by the creations of his own world, so if you want to contact him, you need to find your way through all of those creations. Don’t even be pessimistic when it comes to him. He is the most optimistic you will ever see in your life. You have my word. His rose eyed glasses work all the time. Even when his enemy does something to hurt him, he will think about many reasons why he is acting like this!

Of course, living for these people is pretty tough since they see the best in everything and they almost trust everyone. The only place where can be the safe zone for them is the family. Good thing is that he brings luck with himself wherever he goes. This luck follows him everywhere.

He is not the most sociable person on planet earth. He will not speak a word to you before you start to speak with him. But once if you begin speaking to him, you shall realise that it is pretty difficult to shut him out. Also, there is a collection of friends that he possesses in every single field, so you probably won’t have any problems pulling some strings here and there. These are surprisingly all true friends because before making friends, this guy makes sure that they are actual human beings deep down. He cares more about how people are personality wise rather than how they look outside.

He doesn’t even have many enemies and rivals. Sometimes his straightforwardness hurts people and he ends up turning his friends into enemies but soon they will realize that he wanted the best for them and that was the reason why he expressed the bitter truth and spoke his mind. That is just the way he is. He doesn’t think things through before saying them but he doesn’t mean bad. It just never occurs to his mind that maybe he will hurt the one with what he will say.

His words cut deeper than a knife. Without sugar coating or any background, bluntly he says what he thinks. To have a fine friendship with this guy, you need to cut him some slack and deal with all the thing he says because as it goes further, you will be so grateful for having someone in your life who is not fake and actually speaks his mind out.

Freedom is what he needs even if he is in a hopeless nightmare. If there is something that is worth mentioning, he will let you know so you can only trust him and learn to accept and love him the way that he is. Be sure that if he is with you, that means he cares for you and will try his best to save you from any impending disaster- personal or social.

Most of December born men are petrified when it comes to family. Just like any other month borns, he loves his family and cares about them but he never lets them interfere in his private, personal life. If you are friends with a December born, make sure that you are always packed and ready to go on a trip. Having said all that, as I always say, people’s way of living and their attitude changes according to the circumstances they are in.
(Okay, this is not 100% my creation but what is contained in it is 100% me and many others like me – the December kids) 😁 

Bitcoin – The New Age Revolution

Bitcoin is a word most of us have heard somewhere or the other. However, most of us have only a minuscule knowledge about it. Through this blog, I would like to throw some light on this latest revolution.

What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a crypto currency. Simply put, it is a digital form of money. It was designed by Satoshi Nakamoto. Interestingly, no one knows whether Satoshi Nakamoto is a real person or a group of programmers using this pseudonym.

How Bitcoin works?
Bitcoin is different from the app based wallets that we are used to, like Paytm and Freecharge. While these apps use actual currency for carrying out transactions, Bitcoin is the currency through which we can transact. Bitcoin itself is a store of value.
To understand this, we first need to know the history of our current system of currency.
Remember the olden days, when there was no money. People used barter system for carrying out transactions. But doing transactions in barter system was cumbersome. There arose a need to have a common denominator which could be used for the simple act of buying and selling. This lead to the invention of money. First it took the form of any and every item which was perceived as precious- shells, precious stones, metals, even animal dung in certain places.
With the advent of civilisations, there arose a need to have a standardised denominator which could be used for trade throughout the empire. First coins were minted. Coins prevailed during the dark ages. But as civilisations grew, demand for currency grew too.
Soon demand for coins-far outstriped its supply. There just wasn’t enough metal to keep up with the supply. The solution- Notes were conceived. And today, we have a mixture of coins and notes as the drivers of world economy.

Importance of Bitcoin

People have faith in their currency. But these coins and notes are not true money. They are merely representative money. If you have a 2000 rupees note, it doesn’t mean you have 2000 rupees. What you have rather, is a promise by the government of the day, that they will pay you 2000 rupees worth of true currency (in most cases Gold) whenever you demand it.
If you are able to understand this, you will surely understand what a bitcoin is. Bitcoin is in essence that Gold, figuratively. It holds value by itself. It does not derive its value from any source.
Also, it does away with major flaws of Gold as a store of value. It is infinitely divisible (8 decimal places normally, more with consensus of the network).
It is a decentralised currency. This is a very big statement. It means that no one has the right to create bitcoins. Our paper currency decisions are taken by bankers and governments, but in case of bitcoins, there is a fixed supply limited at 21 million. Moreover, these are not just there. These have to mined.
The mining process involves compiling recent transactions into blocks and trying to solve a computationally difficult puzzle. The first participant who solves the puzzle gets to place the next block on the block chain and claim the rewards. The rewards incentivize mining and include both the transaction fees (paid to the miner in the form of Bitcoin) as well as the newly released Bitcoin.

More about Blockchain

Investment source

What particularly caught my attention is the investment opportunity in Bitcoins. Past reports have shown a 30,000 times rise in the price of bitcoins since its inception. Infact, in the short term, its price has risen astronomically. Over the past one year, it has increased almost four fold from less than $500 to $2072 (21-05-2017).
Rather than only speculation, this increase is also based on one of the most fundamental law of Economics- the law of Demand and Supply.
There will only be 21 million bitcoins in existence at any point of time- neither one less, nor one more. And when demand is not met with supply, the prices are bound to increase.
Many well known analysts have bet that the price of one bitcoin can easily touch $100,000. Some opportunists claim the amount to be $500,000. As a CA student, it wouldn’t hurt me if I were to assume it to rise to just $3000, for that would roughly translate to a 33.33% profit.
Just FYI- @$100,000 – profit would be 4900%
and @$500,000 – profit would be a whopping 24,900%.

Cons
The universe prefers balance. The same applies to Bitcoins too. Till now, you just read about the bright side of bitcoins. You were only shown the rosy picture. But now prepare yourself for the anticlimax.
Most of the exchanges which allow trading of bitcoins charge a certain percent as fees. It can vary from 0.3% to as high as 10%.
Secondly, these exchanges are not always safe. Classic example of this is Mt.Gox- the $460 million disaster of bitcoins. The underlying blockchain which powers bitcoins transactions cannot be hacked but the exchanges can be hacked into.
Thirdly, many illegal activities and terrorist fundings are done through bitcoins. The Ransomware is most recent example of how hackers can use this technology and yet remain incognito.
Conclusion
Bitcoin is the technology of future. It has the potential to overthrow all the existing currencies of the world. Taransparency and decentralization are its forte. Just imagine a world where power to create money is not in the hands of a few select individuals but can be mined by anyone who has the required hardware and software.
Truly, a revolution has begun. Not the conventional revolution but one which has the potential to disrupt the power balance of the world without even firing a single bullet!