2020! This year has given bittersweet experiences to each one of us and as we are entering the last month now, I feel it surely deserves a review. It was a kind of testing time for all of us. A year ago, I would not have imagined to even come across certain things that I explored this year and hence, I am more than willing to share some of these amazing things I experienced and learnt which has aided me in countless ways.
I finished reading 5 books this year. They are:
- The Alchemist
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
- The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
- The Unicorn Project: A Novel about Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data
- Wings of Fire: An Autobiography of Abdul Kalam
One particular change I experienced is that I have fallen in love with reading. In fact, I am even open to recommendations. I already have a bucket list of books that I intend to read in the upcoming years - namely:
- Dear Stranger, I Know How You Feel
- Love, Hope and Magic
- Digital Fortress
- 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
- Footprints on Zero Line
- A Poem a Day
- Talent Is Overrated
- Unspoken Feelings of a Gentleman
- The Tangled Web
- The Browser Hacker’s Handbook
- Building a Modern Security Program
- Software Security: Building Security In
Gazing at the current situation with the Coronavirus and it’s many many variants, I too have adapted myself into preparing this reading list. Feel free to check it out.
I had also started reading Surely you’re Joking Mr Feynman: Adventures of a Curious Character, but I found some of the topics/conversations in this book to be very much focused on science/engineering. So, I stopped reading after 2-3 chapters with an intention to definitely come back to it later.
I have always loved listening to storytelling/poems and was already following Tape A Tale. Last year, I remember attending one of their events in Pune and it was awesome. In 2020, I found 2 more youtube channels with similar content UnErase Poetry & Button Poetry and I have listed some of my personal favorites below:
- (Hindi) “Sahi Aur Galat” - Sainee Raj ft. Tig3rbabu
- (Hindi) Kya Tumhe Pata Hai | क्या तुम्हें पता है - Sainee Raj
- (Hindi & English) “Broken But Beautiful” - Priya Malik
- (Hindi & English) “Dear Mister Player” - Priya Malik
- (Hindi) Papa Please Preach More - Zakir khan
- (Hindi) Sab Sambhal Lete Hain Hum | Zakir Khan
- (English) He Will Never Text Back - Sylvina Jennifer
- (English) Princesses Don’t Make Chai, Do They? - Jhansi
- (Hindi) Gentleman kise kehte hai? - Ayushmann Khurrana
- (Hindi) “A Letter To My Younger Self” - Shweta Tripathi
- (Hindi)“Shayad Wo Pyaar Nahi”- Yahya Bootwala
- (Hindi) “Jallianwala Bagh” - Yahya Bootwala ft Samuel
- (Hindi) “Pyaar Hisso Mein Milega” - Ashish Bagrecha
- (English) Sabrina Benaim - “Explaining My Depression to My Mother”
- (English) Neil Hilborn - “OCD”
- (English) Neil Hilborn - “This Is Not the End of the World”
- (English) It is okay not to have a plan | Mithila Palkar
- (Hindi) “Meri Dastaan sunana” Zakir Khan
I am curating a playlist of beautiful poems and story telling, feel free to check it out here
When it comes to shayris, recently I am smitten with Gulzar Saahab. Some of his ‘nazm’ can be found here. Also, the youtube channel by Sidhant Sharma is worth checking out here. @GulzarPoetry is a tribute account on Twitter that should be followed. Out of so many, 3 of my favorites from him are:
आइना देख कर तसल्ली हुई, हमको इस घर में जानता है कोई
दौड़ दौड़ के क़दम मिलाता हूँ, ज़िन्दगी यह कितनी तेज़ चलती है
याद है इक दिन? मेरी मेज़ पे बैठे-बैठे सिगरेट की डिबिया पर तुमने एक स्केच बनाया था, आकर देखो उस पौधे पर फूल आया है !
Another work of art which I liked was from Salim Khan Saahab -
आँसू आये तो खुद पोछना, लोग पोछने आयेंगे तो सौदा करेंगे
On this note, I will recommend everybody to check out one of my friend’s initiative on similar grounds - Hindinama
I also explored some youtube channels where YouTubers interviewed some celebrities who had very humble personalities. Instead of talking about their current work/films, I was fascinated and inspired when they spoke about their struggles, and the lessons they learnt from those struggles. Below are some of the playlist/videos that will surely become your everyday’s go-to motivational kick:
- The Slow Interview with Neelesh Misra - The ones I really liked here are interviews with Sanjay Mishra, Salim Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Pankaj Tripathi, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Piyush Mishra, and Nawazuddin Siddique.
One of the things I took from Nawaz’s interview is
"This is just a phase, this too shall pass!". He relates this to a very beautiful story in his interview.
- Rohit Shetty | FC Unfiltered | Anupama Chopra | Film Companion - This interview is more from a Bollywood perspective, but Rohit also talks about some important lessons about life and work management
- Pankaj Tripathi Interview With Anupama Chopra | Stree | FC Unfiltered
- Nawazuddin Siddiqui Interview With Anupama Chopra | FC Unfiltered | Film Companion
- ScoopWhoop Townhall - The ones with Anubhav Sinha, Kajol, Jimmy Shergill, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Rana Daggubati, Pankaj Tripathi, and Sanjay Mishra are a must-watch.
Recently, I came across this super-cool channel called We Are Yuvaa, and I must say that they are coming up with some really good content.
I started following some people on Twitter who regularly tweet beautiful things that get you through the day. This made me realize how soothing it can be to come across some simple, yet meaningful words in the world of memes and trolls.
I also found these beautiful articles which talk about work, life-lessons, and advice
- The days are long but the decades are short
- Life Lessons Learned in My 40’s That I Wish I Could Tell My 20-Year Old Self
- Friends, let’s slow down and take breaks
- 20 Things I Wish Someone Told Me The Day I Started My Career As An Analyst On Wall Street
On the technical front, I finally got myself this website which was long due. I joined AppDirect as an Application Security Engineer and I am working with some incredible people. I completed a certification on DevSecOps and also spent a good amount of time learning Kubernetes, Golang, and solving the Web Security Academy. Currently, I am learning about application security, engineering, and automation.
After unraveling so many new paths, going into detail about each one might end up being overkill to this blogpost. But I also feel, it would be unfair to end this blog without sharing some of my learnings throughout:
- From Sir A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, apart from his well-known team management and leadership mantra, I learnt how to always be grateful to the people who helped you in your journey and to stay grounded no matter whichever level you stand upon
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck taught me to prioritize things in life and how to care less about unimportant things
- The Phoenix and the Unicorn project are two superb books that depicts a very simple yet powerful message that if all the teams in your organization work together as one team, you can surely be able to achieve and maintain a secure and solid software ecosystem
- Importance of mental health and peace: Apart from the things I explored, I realized the importance of mental health and how it should be equated with physical well being. Some experiences I faced on a personal level this year, made me affirm to the fact that no matter how much you love someone or have known someone, they can end up leaving or hurting you and some might even go to an extent to pull you down. On this note, it would be appropriate to quote,
"Not everyone deserves to know the real you. Let them criticize who they think you are" - The Spy, Paulo Coelho
- Work-Life balance: This one is really important because I never liked the remote work idea but thankfully, I have been able to keep the walls strict between my work and personal life. This goes both ways - first, remember the fact that you can always be replaced in your company so don’t compromise on your health. Take regular leaves and breaks when it comes to working. Secondly, it is also important to ensure to get your work done in an efficient way and give your best
- Stand and Speak up for yourself: In the end, all that matters is you and yourself. So, there is no need to do anything which doesn’t make you happy no matter who it is coming from. Everyone is entitled to say ‘NO’. Once again quoting my favorite Paulo Coelho,
"If it costs you your peace, it's too expensive"
I am guessing you all have an impression by now that I have explored a lot of things this year but I am a firm believer of the statement, “Less is more, More is less.” Adhering to this statement, I am all set to bid farewell to this year and heartily welcome 2021 with an expectation to learn more and embark on yet an amazing journey that will transform me into a better person. To conclude, I will say live with gratitude, laugh, and appreciate the goodness even in little things because that goes a long, long way…