Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Ice-Breaker Speech at LatentView "Leader's Voice" Programme

The scene was set in 1988. On August 15th that year, India was celebrating its 41st Independence Day. That afternoon, when the city of Bangalore had finished the jubilation, at 1545hrs, a young mother, in the labour ward of a hospital, gave birth to her first child. A healthy, chubby baby boy.

At 1630hrs, a close relative rushed to the father and said "Gopi, I have the perfect name for your son. To celebrate the day and occasion, you should call him Swathanthr Kumar".
To this very day, I am thankful that my parents chose not to.

Good evening all,  I am Avinash Gopinathan and am here today to share a few memories of my humble, beautiful and adventurous life in timelines that I believe were my milestones.
I was born to middle class parents and have had a happy story growing up. Back then, we lived in a colony of 13 houses where I was the youngest. Pampered with love and care, I learnt some important lessons very early which have influenced my personality in a big way.

Fast forward to the year 2000.
I was in 8th standard, a juncture where I had to decide what I wanted to be. I had three choices.
1) I just finished four years of learning Carnatic Music and had given my first Thyagaraja Aradhana Concert.
2) I had cleared an entrance test for IITJEE foundation course at Visakhapatnam's best institute.
3) I was selected for District under 15 Basketball team summer camp,
My father chose IITJEE - Safe and Secure. "Mera Beta Engineer Banega"

Fast forward to the year 2006.
11th and 12th standard in Andhra Pradesh are a special experience. 7hrs of continuous classes that start at 5:30 am followed by 7hrs of study sessions. Endless tests. Countless problems. My idols at that stage were the HC Vermas, the RS Aggarwals and the Irodoves. My blood pumped physics, my heart beat chemistry and my mind only processed math.
After 2 years of this relentless ordeal, the results were out.
IITJEE Rank 20,000+
AIEEE Rank 20,000+
VIT Rank 20,000+
My teachers were shocked, my parents were speechless. They couldn't believe it and neither could I.
Then, like a ray of hope BITS-Pilani happened.
I was excited and overjoyed. Surprisingly my relatives very not. They were held back and skeptical about the location of my campus. The location that I now call my second home. The location that would change the rest of my life for the rest. Goa.

5 years of college stories, experiences, highs and lows that I cannot summarise in 6 or 60 or even 600 minutes. Goa has been my biggest pilgrimage yet. It turned my 12th standard idols from HC Verma to Metallica, from RS Aggarwal to George Carlin and from Irodov to Johnny Walker.
It was the best preparation that I could have asked for as it gave and taught me everything and beyond.

Fast forward to the year 2012.
6 months after I passed out of college, LatentView happened. I would honestly admit that I didn't choose Analytics, Analytics chose me. LatentView in many ways has been my college after college. The learnings are different but the best part is the personality of the people are the same. This part of my journey is open and continuous. I wish to keep building bigger and better stories here.

Looking back on all these years and moments, I am happy at where I am. I made my fair share of mistakes and have cherished my share of victories. I am optimistic about my road ahead.
From Swathanthr Kumar to Coaching Classes, from Goa Beaches to LatentView Analytics, I wish to continue to add, not moments I breathe but memories that take my breath away. Thank you.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Innocent Smile- Really?

Every since I clicked this picture (months ago), I have not been able to get this kid's smile from my head. I keep going to back to it on my computer and almost instantly, all the thoughts racing in my head come to a halt. I feel my cheek muscles involuntarily smile back at this kid. I wonder will I ever be able to smile like he is?

You see it all the time, be it from your loved ones or your close friends or your neighbor(whom you hardly talk to or even see) or your colleagues or just some stranger on the street, every day there is at least one if not many smiles that greet you. Most times, it is like a passing cloud, goes by unnoticed . At other times, when you can pause for a second and process that smile- the interpretation could be endless.

The Loved Ones- 
Well, I guess this is the easiest of them lot. You can bet your life that you know exactly what that smile meant. You know it has no hidden agenda, they give it to you because they care and love you. Unless you have been talking out of your line and they smile because they understand. That is a 'hold-on-son' or a 'take-your-time-dear' smile.

The Close Friend- 
This is a slightly more tricky lot but with the best intention for you. Often it is a 'good-going-mate' or a 'happy-for-you' kinda smile. But if you could take that second or two and watch closely, it could also mean 'are-you-sure-about-that-my-friend' or a 'I-know-you-will-comeback-to-me-crying-about-this-choice'. You can be assured though that he/she only means for your good.

The Neighbor-
Ahh! The only neighbor smiles I have got are those that meant 'awake-so-early-are-you' or 'these-crazy-bachelors-and-their-midnight-music' or 'do-they-ever-think-this-is-a-residential-place' or in worst cases 'the-guy-whose-house-smells'.

The Colleague- 
For obvious reasons, I would not comment on this one on a public forum <wink><wink>.

The Stranger- 
Well, now this is a gold mine. The interpretations are limitless. From the lady at the bus-stop with her 'oh-my-god-please-stop-starring' smile, to the random barber's 'do-you-ever-bathe', the auto-driver's 'jackpot-he-is-non-local' smirk, the restaurant waiter's 'this-lousy-tipper-again', the branded clothes shop attendant's 'aapke-pocket-ki-aukaat-mein-nahin-hein', the tailor's 'how-did-you-manage-to-tear-at-this-place', the pizza delivery guy's secret 'lift-nahi-hein-kya<angry smile>' (since, I live on the fourth floor), the second hand furniture guy's 'haha!-what-a-fool', your friend's 'dude-click-the-pic-man-my-cheeks-are-hurting'smile. The list can go on and on. 

Well, the best smile for me, apart from a loved one's smile, is the one that kid in the picture is sporting. An innocent one. He had no agenda folks. He smiled for the sake of smiling. And that is the rarest kind and I was lucky to get that. That is the kind of smile that would be infectious and will not let go of you until you give one back.
The next time you have been lucky enough to get a smile from someone- take a pause, smile back, and think. It can mean so much more.!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Midnight Verses-Part 1

The best words come out at the most unexpected times and here are a few that managed to get jotted down during one of the 'friday night- sessions'.

The credits of these words should go to the thoughts that race in the head of two middle working class, male, engineer-turned-consultancy service providing bachelors over a cup of <let's say> coffee.
Disclaimer- When the going gets tough, the tough get lazy and drunk<again, let's say on coffee>.

Verse 1:<hindi mein joh baatein hoti hein, dil koh bade pyaar se choothi hein>

Chotti si ummar hein ,
Dil me joh junnoon hein,
Ankho ne joh sapne dekein,
Mann mein kayin nayein ummeedko jagayein.

Ki choole chaand sitaroon ko tum,
Ki udthe jaoon badhaloon se bhi upar tum,
Ek pal bhi ab khone ko na raha,
Har kadham peh aaghe badna hein meri jaan.

Verse 2:- <switching to Angrez>

I was high and I looked up the sky....
You saw me laughing but I wondered why....
I cherished every moment, as the times flew by...
Is this love or hate, I shed a tear and cry...

Verse 3:- <this was the last one of the night(4am)>

Neither love nor friendship ..nor all the hatred..
Made you ever doubt that sanctity of the life sacred..
You chose to believe in the purity of love..
And like everybody else, simply trusted that there was a God above.