Thursday, April 17, 2014

Being Citizen

I usually take note on Google Keep but thought will share this.

People fighting about who to vote for everywhere and I see is no one wants to vote for congress, well fine I dont blame you. There are for AAP and for BJP people. I did vote today and it was not easy but I guess little bit of design process helped me in solving the issue. As I have said this lot of times earlier that design is not about finding the solution it is about finding the right problem and then solving it. I guess most of people would agree to that.

Now look at India's current situation. A country filled with corrupt people(not just politicians) and still no where close to be a developed nation. Economy not growing, and no body wants to stay in India, forget the people who want to come from outside. We feel proud bout "indian origin" people doing great deal all over the world. I dont see it as a reason to be proud. I feel ashamed that our country has lost the great talent and people are working to develop other countries rather than their own. But I dont blame them. They definitely do not have the resources and support in India what they would have there, but I feel bad for India to have such talent and then just lose it because we could not give them the opportunity what they deserve. This is just one of the many scenarios which we see around us. Why is it that almost 70% of my friends going out to do the post graduation? Why is it that 90% of the people I know would like to work out of the country? This is the state of India as I see today.

I am very much for experimentation and trying new solutions to a problem, given the problems found are right. "yeh chor hai, Woh chor hai, Isko jail me dalo, usko jail me dalo, Isko challenge karo Usko challenge karo. Humari mange poori karo" this is what I see one of the party doing on the other side I see people saying that voting for one party shall bring end to free thinking and riots will happen and people will die. If you look at it carefully and logically we all know why riots happen. Mostly it is a political issue to show the other party down, by spreading this fear amongst people what the parties do is not anything to help the country but actually make it happen. It's like inception, they plant the idea in your head. This leads to riots, not just one person. So I totally discard the fear of having riots in the country because of a political party. (On other hand I also understand what being secular is. There is a huge difference between being secular and promoting minorities. Using secularism to get votes buy striking fear amongst people saying you will die if you dont vote for us is shit, I dont think that is being secular). So a quick recap, we have angry people and a guy(not saying a party) with a plan.

What do angry people do? They yell either peacefully or they get violent, when they calm down they carry on. That is the problem I see in AAP. They are angry and they want to take the charge, but they dont know what to do when they get the chance. If you tell me giving away free water and electricity is the solution to a developed India, I will think of you as a fool. We all know why brands give their products for free, it is to lure people to buy shit. Giving countries wealth(talking of essentials like electricity and water) for free is not a solution to long term problems. It will give rise to even more problems in future when we run out of these resources. What will angry people do then? they will yell at earth to give more resources or they will talk about change once again. Giving free resources is not the solution, building dams and using the talent in india to develop alternative energy on the other hand could be a better solution. This is where the other other party BJP or I might say Mr. Modi comes into picture.
I have not travelled much in Gujarat but just been to the villages(not cities) near Maharashtra border for research. I was trying to cope with my motion sickness(where even a tiny pothole feels like a valley) on the roads of Maharashtra and we then entered the state of Gujarat. Suddenly the roads are good and by good I dont mean no potholes but also there are lanes and signage all over. The change would be obvious to even a blind man. It was not just the roads but even the surrounding suddenly changes and everything was so much greener and pleasant that I even forgot about the motion sickness within minutes of entering Gujarat. I have also interacted with lot of people from Gujarat and I have seen them talk about things. They are passionate and they are proud to belong to that state. They dont care if they say hall or hole, They are just proud to be from Gujarat. I know for a fact that the girls there during navratri travel late nights alone, without being worried about creeps following. That is what a government has done in a state and wants to implement the same in the country.
So we have one party who is not sure of what they will do, which came to Delhi and quit in 49 days after realising that they can also try to get some seats in general election if they dont have to worry about Delhi. Their claim to fame is giving free water, half prices for electricity and a CM who slept on street(can you imagine if a PM keeps sleeping on street because no one listen to him?) and on the other side there is this party/person who has a plan and has shown what he is capable of (even the dollar prices go down just when they declare him as a PM candidate)

After looking at things from these viewpoints it was not much difficult to vote. I like the concept of AAP and giving the power to people but I think this is not the time to do that. If it would have been last elections or maybe next elections my choice would have been different but this time I could not let my country take a "chance". All of this I thought till the time I pressed that blue coloured button on that EVM and a red arrow lit up making a really loud sound.

I am not going to ask you to vote for any particular party but this is for those who get carried away with masses and dont think of the possible consequences.  You people are wise enough, dont be angry just be calm, think all options through and then vote. Be nervous while you vote, I was trembling when the person in the election booth put that ink on my finger(I actually had to place it on the desk as I didnt want to spoil the instagram picture of my finger) I could feel that the entire country's future is dependant on my finger tip. That is the power of the biggest democracy in the world. Once I(also noticed for everyone else) was out of the voting centre I had a smile on my face and this sense of pride. This is how patriotism feels in new age democracy, a vote that matters.

Though am done, if you have not given your vote and still have an option to do so then make sure you think it through and look at what you want your country to be after 5 years from now. Then vote. Above all, DO VOTE.

- Citizen of India

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The colours are coming

Working on new identity which will be a comeback to blogger and a new age of I cuboid

Friday, March 8, 2013

Where is all the happiness in this world? Part 2 Mumbai

Just like the bangalore experiment I today tried looking for people on street who are happy and smiling. If you haven't read the earlier part then lemme give you an idea of what experiment was in Bangalore. While travelling to office and back I would search for people who are smiling on street. And I have seen max of 2 people smiling on my way in Bangalore. Today I did the same experiment in Mumbai. Only unlike 7 KM way in Bangalore I had only 1.5 KM distance in mumbai. So my expectations were low. Within few meters I saw twice the amount of people smiling than that on Bangalore street. And in total distance I counted 26 people who were smiling on the road. In just 1.5 km there were 26 people smiling. And then I realized that the number was not 26 but 27 as I myself was smiling by the end of it. Looking at someone smile just gives you a different joy. I was happy to see that Mumbai a city of struggle people are happy. This is what I always meant that the city has its character, persona. Will try and do this again on a longer stretch of road and see again. But Mumbai beat Bangalore in this test by huge margin. Happy to be here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Keeping up with the resolution

As spoken earlier, I need to write more. And to do this I have realized I should just start blogging from the phone as its much easy and can be done on the go. Life has taken new turn and lot of interesting things to talk about. But this is just a test post so let's see how this turns out to be.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Communication Breakdown

Sometimes I wonder if I am actually designed to work at night. The best ideas, the most random thoughts, the best solution happens when I should be actually sleeping. It is already 3.20 AM and am here writing this blog. Now if you happen to read this post(most likely it will be myself reading it after ages) you should be thinking why in the world am I awake at this time when I was really tired and should have slept 4 hours ago. Well I was reading my old blog posts on this blog. I realized how well connected I was to what I was doing back then. Every thought every instance is captured. It's been 5 years since I been stating that world is a cube. YES, 5 years since this blog started. What happened in these 5 years? shit loads. I became a designer, I started working, I questioned my passion and right now I read through most of the posts on this blog. Reading all the old posts feels so good. I feels so connected to myself. I used to think about things. Design was not something i did, design was life. think about design, link things to design, everything had to have something about design.


What is happening now? Why is it that the connection is lost? Why dont I think about the things i used to think about earlier. Why the puzzles of design are not that interesting? Why is the curiosity in knowing the answers to simple things missing? What the heck is happening? NO CLUE. But then I read all these posts here. I realized one difference in then and now. Then there was some motivation to do things. There was this i-cuboid to update. Though not many would read it, it has always been a way to connect to self. That is what has changed. Now that the people are missing and life is not just about design, but about thousands of different things, there is this disconnect with the thoughts. The reason to learn new things which was to share the learning is somewhat missing. That is why I wanted to teach someplace. This will not just get me closer to people who are like minded but also help me pedal my thoughts and think more. There are so many things to do in life. What we do is waste most of the time in tasks we dont even know how are they (not) helping us. Why do we lose passion is when we dont look at the things we are doing as not tasks but stories to be told someday or to be written on your blog. If I have to tell this moment as a story like I am doing right now, It will be so much better than saying "yeah one day i was awake late at night and i thought i should write my blog". No, Stories are the things you will leave behind. These are the things that gives your life some sense, a meaning and if not recorded these stories are lost. If not for this blog how would i remember how my 5th semester jury went? How will i know what I learnt from my past experiences. The only way to do that is to note these experiences and then try to make sense out of it.

"Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever—because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference." -Steve Jobs

Cant imagine a dull life like now with such a wonderful thing as design. The beauty of it lies in not just making new things but understanding what it is that is making something the way it is. Without design I would have never had i-cuboid, Without i-cuboid I would have never collected so many memories and experiences, without these experiences I would be nothing. Design has shown me how to analyze things and it has given me a mindset to look at things from different perspective. Life might be dull but it is design that gives me the ability to sit back and look at my life and see what is it that is going wrong. The purpose, the GOAL, the reason, i-cuboid. The only way to know what is going on with my life will be to connect to my thoughts and the best way to that will be none other than to keep updating this blog. Recreate the identity of i-cuboid in me. Awaken the thinker/designer and connect the dots in future.

Though the new year is still almost 20 days away, I think I already have a new year resolution, To connect to myself and write more* so later it makes sense like all these posts are making sense now.

*If the world does not end like Mayans thought it would.

PS - Its almost 4:00 AM now. Already feels like good old college days. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The driving force behind my work at Embrace

How often do you get to experience something magical? Magic for me is something which is unbelievable but its true. There are lot of phases in life and we change a lot as a person as we become a part of new experience. We grow. We learn new things and we forget few things. Experiences are unique, what I make out of same experience would be completely different from you would. Life to me  is all about these experiences.

About six months back when I graduated from my design school, little I knew about what my life is going to be like. All I knew was I will be working with Embrace, a medical device company which makes low cost infant warmers. Being fresh out of college I did not know what job is, Internships are different. I didn't even know what I will be working on. I did not know what I have learnt in past 4 years, how will it help me do what I am going to do. Then I came to bangalore and joined Embrace knowing only one thing, save those babies.

I have completed 5 months at Embrace and what I see now is what I mentioned earlier, Magical. I was a part of development team of Embrace Care, a "lower" cost infant warmer than Nest which works on hot water. This product which has been in development for 3 years have gone through multiple changes and is very much different from the initial concepts. I joined in 4 months before the product launch but I have seen different versions of this product. Making tens of prototypes in single day, after building 50+ prototypes I have seen this product take shape as it stands today and is used in market. What used to be just prototypes in college were now actual steps to save a baby's life in future. What seemed to be boring parts specs are now assuring that there is a quality product which is out there and which will make sure that a baby is sleeping in warmth which it's parents can provide for it.

When I visited the user of this product in a village in Tamil Nadu. I could recognize the product packaging from a tiny wrinkle on it's box. The bubble wrap used for packaging seem to communicate with me saying "hey, remember how you put this tape on me so I hold the heater better?" The print on funnel, the print on the product, the instruction pamphlet all of it, even the serial number stamped on the product comes alive and talks to you. What is even more important and amazing is they all seem to be happy. They are happy that they are there with that family and they all play a part in keeping the tiny 1.6KG baby warm. When I see 4 months of work talking to me and communicating with me, I can just imagine how people who have been working on this for years would feel like. But I am glad I can at least feel a part of they are feeling when they see the product out there as I can say now I know what it feels like. It feels MAGICAL.

After a day's work when you go back and see a video about the place you work for and how it is impacting the lives of so many around the globe you feel privileged and also you feel proud to be associated with them

Embrace 2012 from Embrace on Vimeo.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Where is all the happiness in this world?

Past 3 months in Bangalore I been travelling a lot by local public transport. Bus number 201 takes me to my destination daily. Rarely I get a place to sit in the bus, but what I do get is 45 mins to think about the things around me. For past about one week I been trying to see how many people are smiling while they travel or even while they wait for bus. The subjects also include the people outside the bus in their own vehicle. Before we go further, lets understand this experiment.

How can one tell if someone is happy without even talking to them. So I assume if someone is smiling they must be happy. So I start looking for smiling people on street. What I saw was bit alarming. I get to see maximum of 2 people who are smiling amongst hundreds of people I get to see. I am not sure why the number is so low but then if someone else is doing similar experiment and happens to see me, even I wont be smiling. Is the reason for this the environment we live in and the kind of effect it has? I remember people in Pune much happier and smiling than those in Bangalore. Is it something to do with the atmosphere or the work culture? or is it you cant see happiness if you not happy? there are lot of possibilities and I see lot of opportunity where city can take initiative to make the residents happy.

Maybe this can a be new way to design, design for happiness. I should contact some design competition organizers to organize a competition which has a topic "design for happiness". 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hello World. (again)

Yes it's bout time we say hello to the world outside the Institute of Design. I can call myself a Designer now and trust me it still does not feel any different from earlier. The curiosity still remains the obsessions still remains and the cluelessness about what is design also still remains.

So what is gone? asked the part of me.

Gone are the days of staying up in studio, gone are the people, gone is the student discount. My graduation was a big thing for my parents. FINALLY they must have said in their mind trying to calculate the amount of money they can now save by not paying the huge tuition fees and the hostel fees. More than that they must be happy that now he is an individual/grown up. This did not stop a mother from calling the "grown up" by the stupid pet name she has been calling him for years. But yeah she plans the wedding already, God save the graduate.

Life is different in some way. Not too sure how. Things do seem to be different. a certain maturity in thought and also the change in language can be seen. I don't know if this is just because of the graduation or is it due to something else. But there is certain excitement, to see the world, to explore options, to prove your worth, to live up to the expectations, to be known, etc. These things have been there for ages but still never felt they would matter. There is sudden urge to perform. Which I think is really good as it drives you to the extremes and makes you test your limits. It's only when you cross your limits you will know you can do better. Acceptance of failure and using it to perform better is the new way of thinking. "Ok, I did not perform to the mark, I know that myself, I can and should perform better tomorrow" these are the thoughts while I go off to bed now. What makes us think of all this? is it the graduation? or is it the surrounding we are in? It is not just you but you need some inspiration that tells you"boss you did something, fine.. but if it was good enough then it did not communicate well, as no one is ready to accept your idea." When you take this in, absorb it in yourself, then you know how much more you need to perform.

This is the world outside the design institute. The world that makes you perform, better than you did today. At least this is the world I am in right now and am already feeling luck for it to be like this. This is the only way I can set better standards for myself. If everyone appreciates me, how will I ever grow, I'll just do what I do, I will never learn.

All I'll say to the new life is, "Hello new life, show me what I can do."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Whats next?

Now that life in institute is over.. what comes next? 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Why exactly?

WHY? everything comes down to these stupid questions which start with "W". If you been following this blog from before then you would know this is not the first time that I have encountered this question. There have been many more "W"s in my life. What? When? these things keep bothering you.
Recently read somewhere that the key to be a good designer is to be curious and find answers  to your doubts. Its not something one can force themselves to do. It comes to you depending on your surrounding. Some people are like zombies, who take in anything without questioning. While some are like these curiosity freaks who spend hours and hours just trying to understand why there are 12 stars on some coin they just saw. Being curious has its own advantage. You might not accomplish the task you doing but you'll end up knowing a lot more.

All you need to do is try to ask yourself, WHY? 

This could be relating to anything around you. Why is there always a dot on the "F" and "J" key on keyboard? Why in mobile phones the same dot is on "5" button? Why do they use a certain font?

Ask yourself everything but avoid asking yourself "why am I asking so many questions? Why am so curious to know things?" cos there are 2 directions from here, one is you might appreciate your curiosity while other one will just disturb you as you might realize that you know nothing.

We say we know so many things. I know I know things, but is there any end to knowledge? There is SO much to learn in this world and we have so little time. How can one person who is hungry for knowledge ever be satisfied? I can be a good designer if I keep asking myself lot of questions, but will i ever be a perfect designer? as there is always something more to know. The information is never ending and is growing every micro seconds. Today they are about to prove Einstein wrong by finding a particle which is faster than the speed of light.Tomorrow someone else will prove something wrong. A day will come when someone will just prove that laws of physics are just crap. When will one exactly know everything.

This reminds me of a theory by a good friend. about 4 kind of people
1. People who know that they know.
2. People who don't know that they know.
3. People who know that they don't know.
4. People who don't know that they don't know.

Interesting theory. I never knew what section would I come under. So I just prefer to put myself in 3rd, People who know that they don't know.

I keep telling some people to be curious and try to know as much as you can. Just look around you there is so much information. With Internet that information is available right here. All you need to do is be curious enough to actually search for it. Like now I know that there is no specific reason for 12 stars on Euro coin, It came from Euro zone flag, which has it for no specific reason but just cos 12 is the number common to lot of cultures and there are 12 hours on a watch. Similar is the 24 spokes on chakra in Indian flag. It represents 24 hours in a day. What it has to do with a country? nothing they just copied it from the Ashoka chakra.

Things like these take most of my days time. Do i need to worry about it? Apparently not. as the key to being a good designer is in being curious. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Einstein has his own theory which deals with physics.. I am not talk about that(mostly because I don't have sufficient knowledge about it). Lets start with the concept of scale. Humans felt the need to define things. in this process they realized that nothing can be defined as an individual by itself. it has to be compared to something else so as one can relate it to his experience and then get familiar with it. This is how the dictionary works. You look at certain word they will break it into a sentence. If you know the meaning of the words in that sentence then you will know the meaning of the first word you were looking for. So this is how the human experience links one experience to other and then conclude. To do this there had to be certain constants. If nothing is constant then nothing will be defined. So humans very conveniently defined the constants. These are things like time, distance, colors etc. Oh the entire science is based on these constants which are defined by humans to define other things.

Why I speak of this?

When trying to understand what one wants from life, the goal, THE aim in life, I always wondered how can one be so sure of what he wants. I could never tell that I wanna do this and this and that. Then after thinking bit(bit is general term and changes meaning according to people, used intentionally here.) more I got back to relativity in things. As in the scale we perceive things at. For some life is the life they have lived till date. For few life will be next 2 years. For some life will be all the time to come in future. For a very few, Life will be every moment as it happens(this i have seen only in movies). So the answer of what one want from life usually depends on the scale he looks at life as. the smaller the time period, more chances of having materialistic goals like winning an award or putting on some weight etc. This happens mostly because there is a fixed timeline and then setting goals is easy. Time though it might be a human defined parameter, it matters a lot in the way we think. but this again is because we are born in era where time was defined and well in use.

If you came here looking for design advice and couldn't figure out the link yet, then let me explain this again in terms of design. Every designer works on a design brief(mostly). This brief comes as an interpretation of what the client wants. That is his way of looking at things. You(designer) will take that brief and try to make sense of it in your own words and define it your own way. This is what you think the client wants. Then you will call this the specific problem statement. Some designers will look at what the users of the client want. You will do your research and then re-define the problem. This will be the your version of what you think the users of the client think they want from the client. Wow! that is confusing and yes in all this confusion no one ever understands what was exactly to be done. A way to designing a very effective, functioning product is to have a very focused user group.

But that is not what I wanted to say when I started writing this post. Confused soul I am.
Oh the answer to this problem is defined in this post itself, I don't define things within a frame of reference and that is why I end up writing about everything but not about what I thought I would.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Connection error

"Happiness is real only when shared - Into the wild"

A movie, song, person, or even few words make such a difference in the kind of person we are. What are we? Nothing different than a lump of mud on potters wheel and each experience we have mold us into the person we are. The same conversations i remember having with someone trying to tell them how you cant force a change in the kind of person you are you will never be what you wish to be. They tried.. I think they failed or just gave up, or even forgot about it. This time am not talking about people. Instead i am looking at my self in mirror (no not literally as that will just remind me that I need to shave and cut my hair) and trying to understand what all might have changed since I last wrote which happens to be almost one year back on Sept 12 2010. Well writing after one year is not easy. Though i wrote a 13 page colloquium paper on what is design and yet failed to find answer as usual the task to write is difficult not because there is nothing to write but there is too much and you don't know where to start. A friend, now in Indian Navy calls it "the piggy bank effect". Very creative theory he has. Thoughts in mind are like coins in a piggy back, if the piggy bank is full it is difficult to remove one thought without breaking it open. If there are very few coins then you can manage to remove it very easily(kids do not try this at home, its possible trust me.. that's all you need to know if you curios). Same is  with thoughts. Too many thoughts in your head, you cant think where to start. Same thing happens when you start your blog, so many things to say that you don't write at all for few days. but then comes a day when you forget everything and write.

There is a chain of thoughts running in your head. If you cant stick to it and don't shift from one thought then maybe you would still be writing about what you started off with. but that is not the case with Mr. Cuboid. I forget about what i was writing and go in to a topic totally different. Maybe that is why i could never understand what design is even after writing that colloquium and also thinking about it for years. Now i have a slight hint though about what design could be. If to define what is design now, I would say "design is everything.. at the same time design is nothing." Yes i can define design like that because I have written a paper on it. You have not. Design is the most prettiest thing you can think of, and design is the bullsh*t someone made you pay a bomb for. If you ever in a situation where someone asks you, "What is design?" Then take my advise and practice this in front of mirror(here literally mirror). First look that person in the eye and make them feel that you are wise, then give a sly smile and walk off. Yes! that is exactly what design is. Now that we know exactly what design could be we can analyse things like designers(oh so cool they are) do. 

Advantage MITID, The Design Process
Not really. More than design process its the interaction design course that helped in thinking like this called mind mapping. Named this section the design process just because it looks nice with bold serif font like a heading for some news paper. So what is this mind mapping? its exactly what I been doing whenever i write but never realized. You start at one point and then you follow your chain of thoughts and keep writing things till you run out of time or there is no space left on paper. This helps you map your thoughts and also shows you the problems that lie deep within which you would never realize. It helped me realize the connection between 'people in my institute not interacting and not being inspired' and 'dogs in the institute'. Yes mind map helps you analyse things in a way nothing else does. This is why designers get to be in italics, design is about looking at things differently. 

So why did i talk about this mind map while i started with talking about change in one year and not able to write? 

I was trying to understand what could be the reason that I cant(now couldn't) write. I came to a possibility. MUSIC. Oh music is much more awesome than designers so it gets all caps. So what is the connection between the music you listen to and writing blog? Here is an experiment you can try. Listen to some different music for few days and then see if you think in the same way as you did before. Music with lyrics(if you can understand them) is much more effective. Songs like people communicate to us. It molds us in the person we are. Some say people should not judge you by the kind of music  you listen to but then you ARE what you listen to. Likes and dislikes also depend on people we interact with. Everything in this world is so connected to each other. The butterfly effect is/can not be a myth. On thinking I saw that there was a huge change in the kind of music I listened to and the people I was close to in past one year. The whole thought process has changed. The approach to same situation is different. Tiny things which we never think about change us as a person. Small things get stuck in your head forever. Today itself I remembered one such thing which I saw when i was probably 5 or 6 year old. It stays in your head. If I do a mind map i might be able to understand the link between decisions I took till now and that tiny thing which was nothing but 4 mirrors as inside of a cube. 

I am about to graduate soon from this institute. The last semester which is industrial project is going on. After  this the society waits for me. Searching jobs and living a corporate life. that is the future not too far. I am not worried about it. That shall happen. I will be a designer. Was it the right choice to do design? Yes nothing else would be better. Design has not just given me possibility for bread and butter but also given the opportunity to think and analyse things(life included) at micro level without being called crazy. I can always say its occupational hazard. Design gave ability to link things. It also gave me the strength to face world and also gave some of the most awesome people i will ever know in my life.

where am I?

So anyway, this is what I was saying. I had lost connection with myself and I kind of realized maybe it is because I haven't written for long time. Then for past one week I tried to write but just could not get in this flow. Then i tried to understand what went wrong and this is what this post was about if you skipped the long post and jumped to the end para to get the essence of it. Now you can lie to me and say you read the post. 

I also illustrate and have a new liking for typography these days.

I've got this life
I'll be around to grow
Who I was before
I cannot recall
                     -Eddie Vedder (Long nights, Into the Wild)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

coffee is not a beverage its a universe - Alok Nanda

illustrations for the quote- coffee is not a beverage its a universe - Alok Nanda

and also

made this for institutes newsletter HIVE