Years to life or Life to years?

SUMANA SAHA

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life.

We’ve added years to life not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour.

We conquered outer space but not inner space.

We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.

We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less.

We plan more, but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

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Shaunak Das from Serampore reaches Google headquarters, Courtesy: Google Local Guides

‘Local Guides’ is a program hosted by Google, which invites its users to help them make the map better, by asking them to review, add photo, answer questions regarding any location in the NASA satellite-aided map. Even one can add places, rectify incorrect information and can claim his/her business placed in the map.

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After Google launched this feature in public, it got a huge response from all over the world, and different people from different cities went on to contribute their known locations to improve the world map provided by Google. Local Guides from a same region regularly arranged meetups to discuss about it. India was not unaware of it, although initially, it got not much response. The interest of public over it took new heights after a doctor from Serampore, Hooghly, West Bengal, got chance to represent India at the prestigious annual Local Guides Summit arranged by Google at its headquarters at San Fransisco, California, United States of America.

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Today, we will listen to his story, and would of course gain some motivation from the hard work he did to attain success. Before that, we must introduce this young, vivacious man to our readers. His name is Shaunak Das, or we should say, Dr. Shaunak Das, a doctor who is currently associated with a private company at Salt Lake, Kolkata. Dr. Das had been invited by Google to visit their annual summit which took place from 12th to 15th September, 2016, after a tough selection process involving numerous other Local Guides.

Here is what he said about this journey in his own words:-

Introduction to Maps

I started keeping my eyes on this initiative from 2000, when there was no Google Maps, but Panoramio, which used the NASA copyrighted satellite images to locate the positions. I was eager to know if I can locate my position in it too, so that the world can find me. I was an active user in Panoramio during 2002-2003, and I regularly contributed for them. In 2005, Google started its mapping service called the ‘Google Maps’, for which they had to tie up with NASA, since Google had no own satellites. At that time, the maps were very ordinary, we could mark the roads, meadows and the water bodies through the Polygon.14894578_10157638946640333_959729963_o

I was doing it actively, meanwhile I was busy studying the BHMS course (Dr. Shaunak Das is a doctor). Unfortunately, some group of hackers attacked Google Maps, and damaged this Polygon system, forcing Google to disable this feature completely. Following this incident, the current Local Guides feature evolved out.

Equipment Used

It’s a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, which I brought from the Rhode Island, U.S.A. I downloaded ‘Google Street View’ app from the Play Store, which has a feature of 360 degree camera, which allows one to capture the 360 degree image of a place. Earlier, Google did not allow users other than USA residents to access this feature on this app, but I was surprised to see that I could access it even in India. Later I asked Google, they said since I brought this phone from USA, and its address is registered there, I’d have no problem using it. It was very advantageous to me, and I started roaming around the city and capture 360 degree images. Other photographers also asked me how to capture these images. I think, I was the only 360 degree photographer in India that time, and this feature appeared as an X-factor, while Google selected me for their LG Summit among thousands of applicants.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

The Selection Process

Yes, it was a tricky form actually. We were completely unaware of the fields of this form, and maximum people put their name as ‘XYZ’ to proceed to next pages to know what Google actually wanted from the applicants, but in this process, they could not proceed further. Google said we’d need 20-25 minutes to fill the complete form, but in reality, it took around 1 hour. On one Sunday, I sat to do it, and I was puzzled instantly. After asking about country, Visa information, they asked what had I done as a local guide, and what have I done for my regional forum of Google Guides.

This Local Guides program is not very popular in Bengal, and we had a small forum called ‘West Bengal Local Guides Community’ created by Amitesh Gayen, our fellow Local Guide. I had to provide information about a Local Guide meetup we organized last year at Eco Park, and how a hospital in Uttarpara helped me in this activity. And finally came the hardest demand ever – they asked me to send a 1-minute video explaining why I want to visit the summit.

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I asked my fellow Local Guides to help me shooting this video, but unfortunately majority of them refused to do so because they could not find any personal benefit from it. I did not rely on professional videographers too because they would edit the video themselves and I may not be satisfied with it. So finally I took my selfie stick bought from the Niagra falls, and went to Millennium Park and recorded my words with Howrah Bridge at the backdrop on my own, while people almost considered me a half-mad watching me talk alone like that. Thereafter I used Camtesia software to edit it into a 1-minute time frame, before uploading it in Youtube to send Google its link.

Google received almost 1000 such applications, among which only 75 Local Guides were invited for the summit. I came to know that I got a place in the list when Google announced the results on 20th May 2016.

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At the Summit

On the first day there (12th October), we had a reception party. We were staying at Hyatt, where Google booked 100 rooms for 75 of us and 25 Google employees. The next day, we visited the Google headquarters at Mountain View, Silicon Valley, where we had a private meeting regarding some of their internal issues. We boarded a special bus there, which could kneel down to ground level while exchanging passengers. There, the 75 guides were divided into 7 teams, and I got place in Team Yellow. The vice president of Google Geo, Jen Fitzpatrick gave a welcome speech to us, and mentioned the top 5 Local Guides who helped improvement of Google Maps to a large extent. In that top 5, apart from me, there was a Malaysian girl who uploaded 640 GB photos to the map, and another boy who showcased the physically disabled people on his video. A man from Nigeria also featured in that list who helped in the Google Local Business.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

Then they showed which Guide had to travel the most to reach there. A guy from the Reunion Island (French colony in Africa) was declared as the one who had to travel the highest distance. I was second in that list, although I had to cover greater distance through a break journey. We were asked to click unlimited photos and post it with #LGSummit16, they’d show those on local TV, and the best photographs would get prize. Then, we had a grand lunch session at the large Google canteen, before heading to the Merchandise store. We as well visited the Android garden, where all the sculptures of the existing Android OS are kept (Cupcake to Marshmallow). The next day, we visited another local office of Google and then, a bowling game center.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

That was the end of the Google tour, and 30 of the 75 of us visited the Alcatraz Island, which is quite similar to Cellular Jail at Port Blair, Andaman Islands. I met with the prison officer there, who was selling his autobiography to the visitors. Thereafter, I spent time with my relatives in U.S. and returned here on 18th October.

Any Special Moment

I wanted to get in acquaintance with as many as Local Guides from the world as I can. So, among all the 75 people who visited there, I have talked to at least 25 of them. I even calculated time to talk with each so that I could get enough time to talk to maximum number of people there. Meeting so many different people from different nations were the most special experience for me. Apart from that, getting into the Silicon Valley, which contains the headquarters of internet giants such as Google, Facebook, was also special.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

Tips for the Junior Local Guides

It’s easy for anyone to get 500 points and reach Level 5 in this program, but as it has some positive sides like one can give instance of his contributions in job opportunity, it has some negative sides too. People in India are too much competitive, and in a country like ours with 120 Crore population, lacs of people are using smartphone. Google hosts this summit annually, and hardly have they selected 2-3 local guides from a country, so if one contributes in the Google Maps with the particular aim to reach U.S.A. Google headquarters somehow, then that’s not a great idea. You should not leave your studies and do this all the day, to reach there. The people I met there said that they did it just for fun, at their leisure time, they clicked photos and submitted to Google Maps. An Indian guy even scored 10,000 points, and there were reports about him that how he could attain that much, and finally he was not even selected for this summit. I would suggest junior Local Guides not to take this thing as a competition, instead just enjoy doing it.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

Even I faced some bad experiences regarding this qualification process. When I got selected, my fellow Local Guides protested against my selection, and they even set up Facebook pages complaining against me. In a large country like India, if every top scorer from a state wants to go there, it’s totally absurd.

Do it as fun, and think about it from a completely different angle rather than setting an eye on the annual summit. If you add your home to the Google Maps, it’s your family who would get the advantages of it, maybe while returning at night from somewhere through private cabs which use Google Maps for navigation.

If…

SUMANA SAHA

 

If you can start the day without caffeine,

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

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If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,

If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,

If you can ignore a friend’s limited education and never correct him/her,

If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,

If you can face the world without lies and deceit,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,

If you can relax without liquor,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

If you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, colour, religion or politics,

 

 

 

Then, you have ALMOST reached the same level of development as your dog.

 

Slow Dance

SUMANA SAHA

Image result for guy walking and listening to music

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,”hi”
You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

A reason, a season or a lifetime?

SUMANA SAHA

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON. . . It is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

Then people come into your life for a SEASON. Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons: things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

The drive to change…

SUMANA SAHA

According to the research of Dr. Anders Ericsson, motivation is the most significant predictor of success. In simple terms, Dr. Ericsson found that experts in many walks of life, whether sport, music, chess, dance, or business, had put in the most hours at their craft. He coined the phrase, “It takes 10 years and 10,000 hours to become an expert.” Other research has shown that the longer someone is in a career, the less important innate ability (i.e., intelligence) is and the more important motivation becomes. In other words, the most successful people just keep plugging away longer than others. Why is the relationship between motivation and success so robust? Because high motivation will ensure total preparation which will, in turn, ensure maximum performance and results.

This same concept of motivation applies to making changes in your life. The reality is that change is difficult because, in all likelihood, you have been the way you currently are for a long time and your habits are deeply ingrained. Your ability to find and maintain your motivation for meaningful and long-lasting change will ultimately determine whether you’re able to break long-standing habits and patterns.

All else being equal, whatever you put into your change efforts is what you will get out of them. A problem I see among many people who say they want to change is a disconnect between their efforts and their goals. People say they really want to change, but their efforts don’t reflect that stated motivation. What this tells me is that there is often a gap between the goals many people have and the effort they are putting into those goals. It’s easy to say that you want to change. It is much more difficult to actually make that happen. If you have this kind of disconnect, you have two choices. You can either lower your change goals to match your efforts or you can raise your efforts to match your goals. There is no right choice. But if you’re truly motivated to change, you better make sure you’re doing the work necessary to achieve your goals.

The Grind : The difficult nature of making changes means that you will likely be putting in effort that will take you far beyond the point at which it is inspiring or fun. This junction is what is called The Grind, which starts when actions necessary to produce meaningful change become stressful, tiring, and tedious. The Grind is also the point at which your efforts toward change really count. The Grind is what separates those who are able to change from those who are not. Many people who reach this point in the process of change either ease or give up because change is just too darned hard. But truly motivated people reach The Grind and keep on going.

Many self-help gurus will say that you have to love The Grind. I feel that, except for a very few hyper-motivated people, love isn’t in the cards because there’s not much to love in The Grind. But how you respond to The Grind lies along a continuum. Loving the Grind is rare. At the other end of the continuum is “I hate The Grind.” If you feel this way, you are not likely to stay motivated to change. I am of the opinion that you neither love nor hate The Grind; simply accept it as part of the deal in striving toward a better you. The Grind may not feel very good, but what does feel good is seeing your efforts pay off with the changes you want.

Finding the motivation to change means maintaining your efforts consistently when it would be easy to give up. It involves doing everything possible to achieve your change goals.

Motivation to change begins with what is called the three D’s. The first D stands for direction. Before you can begin the process of change, you must first consider the different directions you can go in your life. You could continue your life as it is now, make immediate and dramatic changes, or take a slower route to change.

The second D represents decision. With these three choices of direction, you must decide on one direction in which to go. None of these directions is necessarily right or wrong, better or worse, they’re simply your options. Your choice will dictate whether you make changes in your life and the amount of time and effort you put into those changes.

The third D stands for dedication. Once you’ve made your decision, you must dedicate yourself to it. If your decision is to makes significant changes in your life, whether quickly or slowly, then this last step will determine whether those changes are realized. Your decision to change will then become a top priority in your life. Only by being completely dedicated to your direction and decision will you ensure that you have the motivation you will need to achieve your change goals.