Archive for May, 2007

This is to inform all you people who doubted me – I finally finished Atlas Shrugged!
Woohoo !!!

Okay, I shamelessly took 2 years and 2 attempts (the first time I gave up mid way at the John Galt speech) to finish it, but I finally did it last week and just wanted to pat my back a bit for the achievement …

Honestly, Atlas Shrugged is not a page turner per se …
It requires a good amount of dedicated reading and a lot of effort to get through some pages sometimes.
But saying that, its an awesome, awesome book – and a definite read if you had read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and liked it.

I am not going to do a book review here (because I am pretty sure I’ll suck at it) but if you have sometime to spare and want to get into the entire philosophical reading mode (without reading absolutely boring theoretical stuff), I suggest this book would be a good read.

The scope of the book is quite far fetched and exaggerated – and yet you wish such things could happen. You wish one person could stand up and stop the functioning of the world.

The name comes from the question about Atlas.
Atlas is shown carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders … What would happen to the world if he shrugged?

One of the most powerful lines from the book and my favourite (which is kinda clichéd) is by John Galt – the main protagonist of the book. It goes like this:

“I swear—by my life and my love of it—that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 83.]

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I am generally a pretty punctual guy (though results may vary sometimes)
I do get to places within a couple of minutes of the scheduled time – and then spend 30 minutes waiting for other people to show up …
All this waiting experience, has given me qualities of a saint and one thing I can do for eons is wait for people to show up …
Though it is absolutely frustrating sitting somewhere “alone” and looking like an idiot waiting for people to show up, I guess I have gotten used to it …

Some people from my college group of friends (you know who you are) are so often, so obnoxiously late that they believe that you would be stupid to expect them to be anywhere within 30 minutes of the scheduled time. (An exception to this is Mr. Mayank Tripathi who actually turns up much before the scheduled time)

After all these years and with the friends that God has gifted me, I have learnt that it is entirely stupid of me to actually get to the place “before” time – so I am trying to devise ways and prediction algorithms to get to the place “exactly” on time – give or take a few minutes.
(In my definition a few minutes = not more than 5)

So how do I do it you ask?
Well, what I am now going to share with you are years of careful observations and conclusions …

[Step 1]
First you figure out who are you going to meet and check whether these people have a history of being punctual. If yes, keep the scheduled time as it is.
If I am meeting my school friends (who are generally mostly on time), I add about 5 minutes.
If I am meeting my college group of friends, unless I have called one of the attendees up and made him solemnly swear to be on time – so that I can have company – I add about 20 minutes.

And when you are going to meet really important people, you MUST always be on time.
This has two benefits.
If the really important people are prospective clients or people you meet for business, there is nothing more pathetic than turning up late and wasting the other person’s time …

When the really important person is not a someone from the above category, it makes sense turning up on time because when she turns up later, you can make her feel guilty for having to make you wait for so long … :)

[Step 2]
After you have properly selected your end goal time, you have to move backwards.
You first figure out how much time it would take you to get to that place given perfect roads, no traffic and no signals.
Then you add all factors in …

[Step 3]
If you are going to face bad traffic, add that much time to it.
Other things to consider:

  • Time of day (early mornings and late nights have less traffic and all signals are turned off).
  • Bad and potholed roads (reduction in speed of travel)
  • Whether you will be riding with a pillion (can’t drive like a maniac then)
  • Whether there are some excruciatingly long signals on the way
  • The vehicle you are traveling in (cars take 50% more time than bikes in traffic)
  • etc etc

[Step 4]
Once you have considered all these points, and gotten the estimated time of travel, you have to start calculating the time it will take you to get ready and leave the house.
Other factors that come into play in this scenario are whether you will be alone at home while leaving – because in that case locking all the doors and gates would throw in an additional 5 minutes before you can get out …

Putting all these steps into use (1-4) you will come across a time at which you have to stop doing whatever you were and start getting ready.

I shall explain with an example:
Say I need to meet school friends at 6:30 for coffee in Camp which is about 9 kms from my place.
Mode of travel – bike.

[Step 1] – Umm … I guess I could reach on time (some of the guys come on time) – so 6:30 it is.
If I was meeting college friends, this would slip to 6:50 (You get the workings …)

[Step 2] – Perfect roads, it takes me 15 mins to get there on bike.

[Step 3] – Adding the time of day, signals, bad roads and traffic, it would take me 8 mins more.

[Step 4] – Time to leave the chair and get ready to leave in the evening – about 10 mins.
No body at home – so have to lock up – 5 mins more.

Putting it to a total of 15+8+15 = 38 minutes to get to the place from my chair.
Rounded off to 40 minutes.
So, I gotta stop doing whatever I was and start getting ready at about 5:50 in order to make the appointment on time.

So there! Now you know …

I hope this extremely nerdy, though very insightful article will inspire some of you to get to places – more on time. (Yeah! You know who you are! Don’t make me spell it out)


[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 84.]

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