Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire

Just finished reading this biography on George Soros. The book is well written and covers his parent's life, his childhood survival against the Nazis in Hungary, his days in London where he graduated from London School of Economics, his move to United States, his days as trader and currency speculator, his interest in Philosophy, his Philanthropic activities... Along with my own views, I have reproduced a few things in the author's own words, as it would be appropriate and clearly convey the real Soros.

The first part talks a lot about his father Tivadar who spent years in a prison camp during first world war in Siberia before escaping. Probably that experience helped him a lot during II world war, when he managed to keep his family and lot of jews alive, using false identities. he believed that the rules could be broken when survival is at stake..

At the London School of Economics, Soros became acquainted with the work of the philosopher Karl Popper, whose ideas on open society had a profound influence on his intellectual development. Specifically, Soros's experience of Nazi and Communist rule attracted him to Popper’s critique of totalitarianism, The Open Society and Its Enemies, in which he maintained that societies can only flourish when they allow democratic governance, freedom of expression, a diverse range of opinion, and respect for individual rights.
Ralf Dahrendorf says "Lke other great men he(Popper) stood for one simple but infinitely fertile idea: In a world of uncertainity, we cannot know the truth, we can only guess. No amount of evidence will prove our guesses right, but often one fact suffices to prove them wrong. We have to try again to make better guesses." Though it sounds familiar and common sense when we read it, I have never thought in these lines.. Interesting..
The author describes Soros' never-ending pursuit of universal truths. Despite his achievements as a remarkable money manager and generous philanthropist, Soros's lifelong dream was to become a noted philosopher. Having studied philosophy, Soros aspired to create a new philosophical discipline based on the thought of Karl Popper, but, he could not convert his ideologies into words, as most of the reviewers did not find his work on Philosophy that great.
Though the author talks about Soros' interest in Philosophy, he did not take into account the possibility of the readers ignorance about the topics such as Open Society, Fallibility, Totalitarian etc.,

The other interesting incident that happened during his midlife, is as, Soros usually critisizes Freud's view of science, and says, "Freudian theory presupposes not only that there is a reality outside the human mind, but also that if only thinking were fully rational that reality could be fully understood." Soros concurs with the first premise but cannot accept the second. Freud, along with his scientific contemporaries, he insisted, was wrong in believing that science could and ought to provide a complete explanation of all phenomena. What was needed to temper his methods was the convention of incomplete determinism that Soros declared "maintains that we must proceed on the assumption that a pre-determined pattern of human behavior, even if it existed, would be beyond our ability to comprehend." However, in regard to Freud, Soros's most open-minded and characteristically self-critical response was to come seventeen years after he wrote his critique. At that point, spurred by a severe crisis of spirit, identity, and ambition, he pragmatically turned to psychoanalysis for help. :-) His own arguments had not ossified into dogma that would prevent him from recognizing the utility of therapy in that moment. Truth, after all, was a moving target, and just as in finance, what was unacceptable in one instance could become attractive, or even necessary, in another.

When we talk about George Soros, the discussion would not be complete without the Quantum fund and Bank of England.. :-) Druckenmiller, who with Soros's backing pulled the trigger in the fund's most famous speculation - a bet against the British Pound that in 1992 earned more than a billion dollars - claims this capacity to maximize stakes and payoffs is very hard to find. "There are thousands of people who are good at analysis and hundreds who are good at predicting trends, but when you get down to using that information, pulling that trigger, putting it on the line to make what you are supposed to make, you are down to less than a handful." "I told him why I thought the pound could collapse and the reasons I had and I told him the amount I was going to do. I did not get a scolding, but I got something colse to a scolding, which was, well, if you believe all that, why are you betting only two or three billion." With Soros' encouragement, Druckenmiller more than tripped the original stake. And about Soros'loss taking ability, he says, no one in his business endures loss well. The pain, he says, can be unbearable. "A lot of people won't take a loss when they should. Their ego just cannot deal with it. George is a magnificent loss taker. He just gets rid of it and doesnot worry about his ego or what the world is going to say.". I believe these things like leveraging to this extent and risking a lot, and enduring loss when he thinks he should, are two important qualities to multiple money, in this business.. no, no, I know what you are thinking.. don't talk about Warren Buffet and the likes here.. I think there are fundamental differences between the businesses of Buffett and Soros, though they are operating in the same field, and the way they think and operate.

George was good at not only making money, but he is good at heart, having a moral dimension on things he does. The third part of the book covers his philanthropic activies. The author says, according to Soros, Financial Speculation was an amoral pursuit, where choices were validated and vidicated only by the bottom line. But thinking about the real world and acting on those thoughts to make things better involved very different criteria. What was at stake went beyond the rations of supply and demand and profit and loss to murkier issues of right and wrong and good and evil. Here, the moral dimension was unavoidable.

In one of his report entitled "The International Debt Problem, Diagnosis and Prognosis" Soros described how a decade earlier (early 1980s) the poorest of debtor nations had been victimized when banks eager to recycle petrodollar deposits aggressively offered them loans. Unrestricted by regulations, the epidemic of lending expanded credit to a point that jeopardized the liquidity of the international banking system. Then the international monetary institutions stepped in to shore up the system with rescue packages. In the process, the flow of credit to the most indebted nations was choked off, leaging them and their populations to face years of suffering and underdevelopment. While Soros lauded the international cooperation involved in easing the cirsis of 1982, he was among the first to claim that the banks should acknowledge responsibility for the flood of indiscriminate loans that had precipitated the crisis. He also called for new international efforts to provide credit to the debt-beleaguered countries, saying that without it "we are liable to hover on the brink of disaster for an extended period." "It is unfair that the debts were contracted when dollars were cheap and have to be repaid when dollars are expensive. It is unjust that the United States should prosper while Latin America wallows in depression." He also appealed for the establishment for a new international institution he called the International Lending Agency, which would help indebted countries deal with balance-of-payment problems when banks, reversing earlier patterns of generosity, tightened or or withheld credit. It may be viewed as somewhat utopian, but even so, in publicly addressing the issue he sounded much more like his hero Keynes than the world's successful hedge-fund operator!

The books covers in detail about a lot of projects including - $100 million toward internet infrastructure for regional Russian universities; $50 million to help the citizens of Sarajevo endure the city’s siege during the Bosnian war, funding among other projects a water-filtration plant that allowed residents to avoid having to draw water from distribution points targeted by Serb snipers.

He has given away more than $6 billion worldwide through his Open Society foundations and other projects, undermining the kind of totalitarianism he knew in his youth. Kaufman reveals how Soros became a key figure in accelerating the collapse of communism, while minimizing the trauma of transition.

Thought there are people who wants to do something for mankind, we need to see the percentage of wealthy coming forward to contribute and participate. Its good to see people like Soros, Buffett and like.. But in general, what happens is this, when there is enough money only to feed themselves, we claim that we would do this and that for the society, and when we have enough, we lift our standard of lives, and still claim we do not have enough to pay back to the society. Or we complain about deservingness and wait to know about more deserving people, than helping the one who is in front of our eyes.. We need to consider what Soros says, "It was better to err on the side of generosity.."

Was an interesting and worthwhile read, to know about one of the great men of our times, who wants to be identified as "George Soros, a financial, philantrophic, and philosophical speculator." You can close the book believing it is possible to be a really rich man and a really good man after all, as NY Times reviews the book.

quotes abt him:
The "only private citizen who had his own foriegn policy"
"The Man Who Broke the Bank of England"

Devanahalli Fort......

Finally....... We managed to release the product to the QA last Friday. :-) We have been waiting for this day for at least a week now. We meaning Me, Bali, Ishita and Beemal,,, GoF as referred by Beemal. Actually, we initiated the build on saturday early morning only.. After a sanity test and with lots of undocumented bugs the build was initiated and we three (bali, ishita) felt like going for a walk and have something to eat. So, we started walking towards Barista in Leela palace.. of course, with the usual cuttings, vettings and other welding works only... Bali and Ishita were properly cutting each other, mocking like anything. In between, there was a discussion about how to spend the weekend. Ishita's eyes were begging for a good sleep.. She deserves it after all the night outs and weekends in office for the past three months.. but, she was interested in an outing and readily agreed.. Bali anyways was the one who was most interested. We discussed abt lota places/movies etc., and decided that we go to Bali's place the next day morning, have our lunch there and then decide.. Wait yaar, abt that special lunch later.. Every one agreed.. We spent around an hour or so in barista, and then left to office to see what had happened to the build. It was going fine. With a great sigh, everyone left home, only to find out India was losing its do or die battle on the cricket battle in the world cup.. Not a perfect way to start the day.. -(( Its okay, I was convinced that the team did not deserve a place in the super eight, anyways... :P

Next day morning, woke up at around 9'o clock only.. got ready to go to Bali's place (dont know the route also, its okay, we can manage, i think) called up the kid and bimmal to fix on a meeting place. I went to bimmal's room and agreed with ishita to meet in front of the office @ airport road. The plan was to reach Rajaji Nagar via Majestic station and then call bali, get the route. Unfortunately, my bike's petrol tube had a small problem, so it took our valuable 15/20 minutes to fix it before we started.

We managed to find our way till rajaji nagar, and then called bali, with his directions we easily reached his home. His mom and fluffy(his pet dog) gave a warm welcome to us.. (did i tell u abt the special affection fluffy had for bimmal :P It was barking continuously at him.. dunno why.. have to discuss with bimmal in private abt this enemity!!!)

It was like noon time, when we reached there, so after chatting for a while, and going thru the book collection, his mom called us upon for what we were eagerly waiting for. The previous day, we were supposed to go to his house for dinner.. His mom took all the pain to prepare food for us, only for that plan to get cancelled. We did not expect the product release to take time till midnight. -:( except feeling sad about our bad luck, what else can we do, i thought.. But, the next day's plan showed me some light to taste his mom's delight/delicacies.

It was a special lunch, I must say.. yummy delicious food with potato curry, payasam(geer) etc., We tried to finish off everything, only to find out that we were not even able to complete half of what his mom has cooked. drooling is the word to describe it on thinking of it. The funniest part happened after that only.. I was going through the photo albums of balu, when ishita was taking a nap in one corner and bimmal was catching some Z's in the other.. Though he claims he is an amateur photographer, I would allow him to take the snaps of any special event/function.. his works seem professional. In a few minutes ishita got up only to find bimmal snoring.. She started her work....... started capturing him snoring.. meantime, she wanted to capture him smiling in his sleep, so starting making faces and calling him 'biiiimmmmmmmmmmmmmaaaaallllllllllllllllllll' and all like a kid.. what like a kid.. kid only.. The funny thing was not the video, but the audio that had ishita calling bimmal like this :P :P :P On replaying the video, ishita almost became pale faced.. hahaha... God, i can not explain how it sounded and the whole team made fun of her on hearing this, the next day in the office....

Mean while, we decided to go to the Devanahalli fort. Devanahalli is supposed to be the birth place of tippu sultan. It was something around 30 kms from Bangalore i guess. Balu drove all the way, and we reached the place at around 5'o clock, lil late than balu expected.. he wanted to be there for the sunset so that he can take a few snaps in the orangish background. A dried up stond pond welcomed us, and the area was surrounded by coconut and banana plantations. To know more about the fort visit wiki. It was not that much damaged from one side, and we had a proper view from the top of the fort. Balu started taking photographs of each and every corner, and ishita started firing at the (i)enemies thru the small gun fire points.. It was quite a fun imagining how tipu would have controlled the fort and the soldiers have defended it, that too, putting ourselves in their shoes and discussing some imaginary stories.. hahaha, felt like a kid or as watching 'the sword of tipu' in DD.. :-))

U can have a look at all the photos taken during the trip here

Oh, its getting dark this soon.. we didnt want to, but have to get back to the city :-( we drove back and reached rajaji nagar at around 2015hrs and it was literally dark, credit, the usual power cut.
We spend some time there chatting with balu's mom about her 12 post graduation degrees and the on going 13th one, on tourism management, we started to home.. (of course, each one with atleast one book from his collection) dropped ishita at her home, and reached my home at around 2200..

What else one can ask for.
A perfect saturday after a looong time .. :-)

How to get there
Travel on Bellary Road (NH-7) and move towards Mekhri circle, 9 kms from Bangalore is Yelahanka satellite town. Proceed straight ahead for another 29 kms to reach the outskirts of Devanahalli town. Turn left at the entrance of the town and half-a-km from here is Tipu’s birth place and fort. As you enter, on the right side, the fort and temple are the first large structures which are visible.

Super saturday!!

As usual, we were in the office when the day started for us!! I should not call that the day started, rather, the previous day had not ended... :-(( That second i didnot know that thats going to be such an eventful day... I was ezcaping for a loong loong time from the kicks by these iWeb animals.. these guys have this BRUTAL habit of kicking a guy on his special occasions, or for that matter, whenever they feel like kicking him.. I would believe a guy if he says he escaped from Alcatraz, but not an iweb-ian who said he actually escaped the kicks..Grrrrrrrr...

Bali is forcing me to give control of the next paragraph, so pls skip to the third paragraph.. pls...

ahem.., ahem..., time to abuse Superman's blog... ;-) [Wicked smile...] Back to that eventful night..., after a long day's and half a night's work..., Superman cracked a APJ (Attempt @ a poor joke) @ 12.30 in the morning..., since half the team was there.., they burnt their ire on him and the poor sod got kicked black, blue and red...
[Pause.., Superman is taking time off to recover from the beatings..] and the next thing he was sitting next to me and debugging some Ant Task.., some minor issue.., when my GMail header told me that my I20 status had been updated.... So @ around 1 in the morning, I convinced Superman and Ishita to finish off the work next day and leave for the day......, it was dramatic journey back..., after dropping Ishita.., the vehicle started stuttering due to lack of fuel...., on the last few drops left.., I managed to make it to the MG road bunk all the while wondering what had happened to my I20....
2 a.m. in the morning.., I am jumping around in the house with fluffy running behind me..., while the entire household woke up in shock as I was running around in happiness of my I20 getting processed successfully... Back to Superman!! The saviour of the JAVA world...

In a few minutes after reaching home, got the SMS from Bali about his I20 status... HE GOT IT!! how fortunate we are !! hee hee .. just kidding... was hoping for the message from the moment we left the office... Atleast, some thing happened to cheer after all what happened so far in the office.. (I dont want to embarass myself again by saying something abt the kicks..)

The next day morning, woke up a lil early at around 0800 hrs, as it was a saturday.. wait wait wait.. dont assume anything.. it was just another day in paradise..err, office. As the release was approaching, we worked on that saturday, OFFICIALLY.


1. THE AMAZING TREAT as follows. Superman no 16, Ishita no 12, Bali and Vimal no 13... To be explained in detail by ishita.

2. THE DRIVE -- Bali (The Taxi Driver)

3. THE PHONE CALL -- Senthil (The Phone Guy)


White water rafting...

Interesting weekend after a looong time.. We went for rafting on saturday @cauvery river - Bheemeshwari.. It was a one day trip and kangkan took the initiative and organized it..

Uma did not come, for whatever reason.. Sharadha(vidyasankar's sister) was interested.. so that makes us four with vidyasankar and vijay.. Most of the other guys are from karnataka or north india and speak fluent hindi :-( We got the chance to meet lota new faces, friends of colleagues.
We started here as planned 8:40AM IPT.. (For those who are unaware IPT - Indian PUNCTUAL TIME.. grrrr.. The plan was to start here in the office by 8.00AM.. )

We occupied the front seats in the bus, which reminded me of my school days.. hee hee.. the real reason is vidya was not comfortable travelling by bus, and he had to sit near the driver and watch the road, to avoid the dizziness and the vomiting sensation..

We had to travel about 100 kms from our office via kanagapura where we had breakfast (God knows who paid, I only remember the fact that the server didnot give me that plate of idli-vada till everyone almost finished their cup of tea, even.. grrr...) As vidya didnot share his cup of tea with sharadha (pretending as if he forgot.. ;) ), she ordered for another cup of tea.. the chai cup was so small that there was barely any tea.. she said the tea was good and somehow managed to share even that little cup of tea with me.. On finishing the chai, i looked around for vijay and he was thollafying vikram to find out the bus timings to mysore from there.. more on this mysore later..

On the way, a special trip (tourist) bus crossed us, and vijay jumped and asked the driver if it was going to mysore.. I knew he had to leave to sathyamangalam that evening, and he planned to go directly from there via mysore.. On seeing this bus, vijay got so excited that he would have left then itself.. thank God, the bus didnot stop there leaving vijay wondering as if everyone were concocting a plot against him. thaanga mudiala, vijay..

We reached that place by around 12.15 (the speedometer of the bus was always showing that we were travelling at more than 60 kms per hour.. with that speed, we should have reached coimbatore by then.. the mechanic has altered it that way to motivate the driver, i guess... hm..) I was thinkin the rafting was for three hours only to find out that it was only for a little more than one hour.. :-( so, we were roaming here and there till they bring back the rafts used by the previous batch.. played football (if u can call it so, frankly, some three or four people were just kicking the ball here and there) had lunch, waited, waited and waited for them to bring back rafts. They didnot allow us to roam after a certain distance, as that would be disturbing for the people in the cottages, and for the crocodiles.. am not goin to tell u the nose-cut i got from sharadha when we were discussing abt the crocs.... no, am telling u na, wont tell...............

Just before we lose all our enthu, the rafts came @ around 2.15.. It was kinda rowing only.. as there was lot of water flowing, the rafting was smooth and it wasnot even close to the adventurous level i was hoping for.. but, it was fun.. the instructors made it fun by splashing water on the team members and provoking the other rafts to fight..and all..

thats it... after this fun-filled one and half hours, we were so tired and thought if only the rafting was for more hours as we were thinking, I would be happy to jump into the river midway and be a prey for the crocodiles, if there are any..

The return journey was uneventful.. some slept on the way, some were playing dumb charades.. Vijay got down on the way to go to sathyamangalam. Sharadha was sleeping most of the time, and woke up a few times on the way.. when she was awake the only thing she was complaining about her shoulder pain.. am sure the very thought of getting up next morning and start cleaning up the mess in her house with the shoulder pain would have scared her out of sleep.. :-))

Its 20.30 when we reached the office and said bye to the new friends.. We three went to adayar ananda bavan to have dinner.. I dont remember much after that, except that i woke up very late the next morning, at 9.30 :P

Madurai trip

Back in the office after a long weekend..
Vidya's chitappa had come to bangalore and was staying with them for close to three weeks.. Apparently he reached his limit(vidya, sharadha kooda priya-vum serthuta ketka venuma) and could not stand any further of their tortures(just kidding.. :) ) their actual plan was to return on thursday evening (Tuticorin-Mysore express). I didnot had any plans for that weekend and would have to spend time in the office only.. So, I readily agreed when asked if i could accompany them..

Once we reached the station, Vidya went to that bookstall to buy tinkles, as usual.. he usually buys these books tinkles and other children's books for around 400-500 rupees.. guess he is already preparing himself for fatherhood.. hee hee.. but guess what, this time he bought only one tinkle and one another book(God knows what, and who cares ;) ).. I was wondering what had happened to him, just to get the reply that there was no more of that kind in that bookshop which he hadn't read and he had to suffice with just those two books.. haha.. Chitappa was asking abt the company and the projects.. and he was more interested in knowing about vidya's short-temperedness(when he was not around, ofcourse)

The train was late as usual and came at around 10.20 only.. nobody bothered as it came at the expected time(!!!) we chatted for a while and when chitappa went to sleep, vidya got engrossed in his tinkle, and I continued my jack welch auto-bio, as i didnot know what else todo..

Kicha(vidya's dad, hee hee) and paati were eagerly waiting for them and welcomed us. once the usual visaripugal are over, paati immediately asked vidya abt his wishlist(vera enna, samaiyal thaan) and left to kitchen.. We were chatting for a while(thats what we thought, but actually we crossed the breakfast time itself), and we went to take a shower before having our brunch with all that paati has specially prepared. Hmm, yum yum and yhaaaaaaaav(just yawning, I could only sleep after such a hefty BF/meal)

But what to do.. we had an appointment(for good only, i will explain) at aravind eye hospital, for eye checkup for chitappa and vidya(he says he sometimes has this itch in his left eye, whenever some pretty girl passes thru him.. serious problem na )

luckily, the lady doc who attended him was young and cute (by any standard).. I can only fume, as i had to tolerate his boastings for the next two days.. Sharadha and co were travelling to Coimbatore(hometown of Priya), so would not be reachable, so, I immediately SMSed uma to bring him down to earth.. She conciously avoided calling him, as we were in the hospital(hmmm, bad timing, appo thaana avalukku ithellam thonanum..) HE ESCAPED & SURVIVED....

Then we spent a long time selecting a glass frame for chitappa.. he has stubbornly told that he would select that frame only if Sharadha approves it.. Vidya captured him with his new frame, in his camera phone, and sent that thru MMS.. but, it didnot reach them for a long time, as they were travelling and GPRS coverage was not that good in what ever area they were.. So, we finalized on that frame, and told that we would confirm the order by phone the next day..

It was an eventful day, I must say.. after this lady doc matter, Vidya must have felt nostalgic about his pretty girl friends in his College.. So, he took me to Madura college, where he did his UG and PG.. he met his HOD and a few others.. I dont want to remember the other incident.. In between, Rama(QA for our product in July Systems) called and got clarifications in the new release, which apparently, they have deployed for the live setup, without us knowing that.. anyways, everything went on well.

We had our dinner at Murugan idli kadai.. When we returned, "kalakka povathu yaaru" was being telecasted in Vijay TV.. one of the TV shows I like to watch.. everybody liked this episode particularly, as crazy mohan and others made it a special one..

We didnot do much on saturday.. Vidya's dad wanted us to stay at home as we would be leaving back to blr that evening itself.. so, we cancelled our plan to visit his school.. Didnt know how those two days flew, we were in the train, back to blr..

Yesterday, I felt a little feverish.. my entire sunday was wasted in the bed.. thought for a while, if i had to go to office, the next day.. but, now feeling fine.

In the morning, spoke to Uma, only to find out she is also suffering of cold.. nalla vela, ava ithuku ellam same sweet ketkala... :-))

The Alchemist

I had a chance to read Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist".

Got this book from Geetha last week.. Apparently, Caritor (where Ramesh works) has a library and they have got non-tech books like this.. that reminded me of the sad situation at July systems, where they keep employees happy by someother 'so-called' employee-friendly policies, rich looks etc., and ignore these useful ideas.. everybody has got something to crib about their workplace.. Sure you dont to hear about it now!.. :-)

The novel tells the tale of Santiago, a young Andalusian (a region of Spain) shepherd who has a repeating dream that leads him to Northern Africa on a quest of discovery. This story speaks of the "Soul of the World" and that the Earth itself wants us to be happy, and to realize one's Personal Legend, their deepest desire, is one's only real obligation. This story tells how each of us have a single mission or goal in life, a Personal Legend, though most of us don't realize it. But most importantly it speaks of how doing good deeds for others is eventually rewarded and though we don't know what our treasure will be, or where and how we will receive it, if we follow our heart, we will find it.

This story teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life's path and above all following our dreams..

Extracts from the book:

page 16: That was made traveling appeal to him -- he always made new friends, and he didn't need to spend all of his time with them. When someone sees the same people everyday, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person's life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

page 41: When the boy was cheated by a stranger and his dreams of finding his treasure has been thrashed, he thinks this way : When I had my sheep, I was happy, and I made those around me happy. People saw me coming and welcomed me, he thought. But now I'm sad and alone. I'm going to become bitter and distrustful of people because one persona betrayed me. I'm going to hate those who have found their treasure because I never found mine. And I'm going to hold on to what little I have, because I'm too insignificant to conquer the world.

page 42: "I'm like everyone else -- I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does."

page 71: He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But, he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.

page 88: The camel driver, though, seemed not to be very concerned with the threat of war. "I'm alive," he said to the boy, as they ate a bunch of dates onenight, with no fires and no moon. "When I'm eating, that's all I think about. If I'm on the march, I just concentrate on marching. If I have to fight, it will be just as good a day to die as any other.

"Because I don't live in either my past or my future. I'm interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you'll be a happy man. You'll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we're living right now."

page 121: when the alchemist poured wine in to the boy's cup, the boy asked "Isn't wine prohibited here"".
"It's not what enters men's mouths that's evil," said the alchemist. "It's what comes out of their mouth that is."

page 139: The alchemist answers the boy: "What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we've learned as we've moved toward that dream. That's the point at which most people give up. It's the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one 'dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.'

page 143: "Your eyes show the strength of your soul"

page 148: "don't give in to your fears," said the alchemist, in a strangely gentle voice. "If you do, you won't be able to talk to your heart."

"But I have no idea how to turn myself into the wind."

"If a person is living out his destiny, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure."

you could have a look at few more quotes from this book, here

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Geetha gave me this book couple of days ago saying it is a fable about a seagull learning about life and flight.. It is barely 120 odd pages long - and that includes many pages of seagull photos :P..

The novel tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is seized by a passion for flight. He pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion from his clan. An outcast, he continues to learn, becomes increasingly pleased with his abilities and leads an idyllic life.

One day, Jonathan is met by two seagulls, who take him to a “higher plane of existence”, where he meets other gulls who love to fly. He discovers that his sheer tenacity and desire to learn make him “a gull in a million”. Jonathan befriends the wisest gull in this new place, named Chiang, who takes him beyond his previous learning, teaching him how to move instantaneously to anywhere else in the universe. The secret, Chiang says, is to “begin by knowing that you have already arrived”.

Not satisfied with his new life, Jonathan returns to Earth to find others like him, to bring them his learning and to spread his love for flight. His mission is successful, gathering around him others who have been outlawed for not conforming. Ultimately, one of his students, Fletcher Lynd Seagull, becomes a teacher in his own right and Jonathan leaves to continue his learning. In some ways, this section is as much a story of Fletcher’s realization as of Jonathan’s continued learning.

For more info Wikipedia
Hm..... Its been a complicated thing for me for a long time, I tend to think as if I miss something when people say that they enjoy a particular situation and certain things that I dont..
I could think of a simple example for that.. I am not comfortable with a crowd of unfamiliar faces, when most of my friends enjoy the friday parties and gatherings.. Am I short of confidence?? I like to think that from my childhood days I preferred solitude and enjoy only companies of my friends/best friends....
For a different example, if we watch a blockbuster movie, people will talk great about it. Even if I think the movie is a bullshit, I would not pass my comment. I used to think people will not hear this single voice, especially when they all have prejudged the quality of the movie. Similarly, sometimes I watch a very nice movie, only to hear my friends comments that they didnot like it. I have to agree about my confusion if I have been just tring to be different and disagree with the crowd. It took a long time for me to find out that this is not the case, but, in most cases, people have different interests and a most wonderful thing for A would be the least important thing for B...

In my part of the country, children must study well and get into medical colleges or engineering colleges, get a job, (or get into the family business) settle down, build a home, ensure safety of your family and die without purpose.. I mean in most of the cases, if the kid is reluctant to get out of the circle.. So far, me too.. I have no regrets for my life so far, never have really hurt anyone. But, is that all?
I forgot to see things in life that I like or love to do. Do I have to care about others' opinion about my likings and dislikings? ..........No I guess. Certainly, I agree that they will have their own pastimes and I dont expect them to be like me. I think this is what happen in parenting generally. Parents tend to think that they know better what is good for their children, and dont give that much importance to their children's interests. If they dont like John Abraham, they wont let their daughter watch his movies.. For them they are just crappy lousy untouchable movies and want their children grow watching Sooraj Barjatya films.. :-)

I have been thinking. If I recollect my past, I have always tried to please everyone and I did not want anyone to think bad of me. People get back in multiples whether its love or hatred. I had been living my life as if a mirror of others. I tried to see things from their eyes, completely ignoring my perspective.I have always strived to give my best. And if some people are unhappy with me, it's not my problem. Somehow I get this feeling that if people look for your advice, they want you to tell them what they like(and what they have already decided, in most cases) and not what is right. What should we do?
Why am I thinking if i am disoriented or something... :-))
I think we need not agree with them, but understand them for what they are.. After all we are individuals....

So, what do I want to do in my short life???? There is a big question mark in front of me! What ever I think of, I am not so sure, if I want to pursue that... If I do that, it will affect certain things which I cannot ignore.. for example, I just want to runaway from my current job, but I just cannot do that, because I put my friends around here before my career.. I must mention my career is not my utmost priority in life, and I want to do a few things in life.. As we know, financially you must be in a sound position to realize your dreams, even if it is related to social service...... I find it difficult to prioritize things.. To reach my ultimate goal, I must earn well.. so, my current priority is to earn money.. What if few years down the line, I have to put my family in front of my other social commitments?? Am I determined to do what I mentioned or just another guy who is going to disappear without traces in the billions around?? Do I have a plan B for my life??

I owe me a decision and an answer soon.. very soon... we are mortals, right.. When I look back at my life, now or later, I do not want to regret for anything I have done.. So, I better maintain my personal integrity and spread love and joy. :-))

BSDL Specifications

Finally, our team has got the go ahead to define the BSDL specifications (based on the ART-ifact Theory).

We are into mobile data services, and our main product is a retailing platform that can be used to create services in matter of minutes. We have rolled out several services for several operators/retailers in different geographies including US, Germany, etc.,For the next release, we are extending our product to have a full-fledged recommendation engine. For that, We were analysing the industry standards defined to store and retrieve the customer profiles. We were expecting the specification to facilitate capturing granular details like the pattern of navigation of the particular user in web/wap portals, his purchasing history etc., only to find out that no such spec exists in reality.

So we decided to come up with a new set of specifications that defines the entire profile related stuff.

Behavioural Segmentation Definition Language (BSDL) defines the semantics to capture the behavioural pattern, inferred from the knowledge accumulated gradually over a period of time. We expect BSDL to capture systematically organized knowledge applicable in a 'relatively' wide variety of circumstances, especially a system of assumptions, accepted principles, and rules of procedures devised to analyze, predict or otherwise explain the nature of behaviour of a specified set of users.

Profile Definition Language (PDL) can be used to define/set the attributes of segment of users (captured using BSDL) that can be used to associate a certain catalog of products (in our context).

Profile Oriented Language (POL) defines the ontology query model to map a subscriber to a particular profile in a given context.

Our notion of behavioural segmentation is similar to ideal and real knowledge. Ideal knowledge includes knowledge about topologies of functional spaces and attribute spaces as well as mappings between them. The real knowledge includes knowledge about how to mediate between functional and attribute spaces, i.e., both to propose refinements as well as to evaluate them. We try to capture the ideal knowledge using artifact theory and real knowledge using PDL.

We have not decided yet whether to submit the specifications to W3C or to OASIS Committee for review. Once the specs are cleared by our internal review committee, we will decide on that.

Please dont think that BSDL stands for Bull-Shit Definition Language and please provide your valuable insights and inputs in the comments section to speed up the process.

Its a bit hectic now a days in the office.. I didnot realize it until the following things happened.

1) Sarvu's son akil has started calling him 'Uncle'. Yesterday akil supposedly asked his mom, 'Ma, who is this uncle who comes to our home once in a week?' !!!

2) Geetha's hubby Ramesh is seeing the photos in their wedding album, atleast once every other day. He says otherwise he would forget her face altogether...

Is this life and these relationships worth only this much?
Aren't we sacrificing too much??

PS: Who cares, just to avoid these, I haven't got married.... :)))