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Looking back at 25 October 12, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in landmark-post, life, reminisces-1990s.
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I received this birthday note from Vineeta Rao, a schoolmate, the actuary I referred to in my earlier post ! A quote she mentioned goes :

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened.

Amazing, isnt it. How so true ! Recent weeks have brought some truly unprecedented perspectives that, I believe, come with growing up. There is no better occasion to put this on record than now as I turn 25. There is no worse occasion than now to attempt it though, its going to take a while and I am tired ; I hope to have something put up here by the end of the month.

For now, a short little note will substitute.

I have now been a student ( in a literal sense of the term ) for 21 years now, but dont consider myself good enough at any single or more subject to single-handedly author and maintain a blog dedicated to it. There has been dabling with different things – deep academic passions – physics (1997-2000), Electronics (2000-01), Signal processing (2001-04) and mathematics and statistics ( 2004-present) and there have been deep non-academic passions – self-improvement (1994-1998), philosophy and psychology (1996-2000), popular science and culture (2001-present), Politics and international diplomacy ( 1995-present), Old Hindi music (1993-present), writing ( 1994-present ) , and economics (2005-present).

There is a problem however. Firstly, the durations I mention in the context of non-academic pursuits can be misleading for they dont refer to periods of dedicated study. They havent been intellectual hot pursuits with an eye on becoming an expert. Instead, these refer to periods when there was a honest and often a flippant interest in reading material on these subjects. So nothing really special, we are all involved in a bunch of things we dont mind reading stuff about. Secondly, as I was telling Kavya, a friend of mine from school, there has been no formal recognition whatsoever and for a good reason – there is nothing definitely solid about many of these indulgences – there are just bits of facts, opinions ( prejudices ??) and perspectives strewn around the mind like a things in a room that has just been burgled. And for this reason, there are so many occasions when I am in a position to say – “I am not an expert on the subject but this is what I read….”.

Maybe “being good enough to write a blog on a subject” is too high a standard to judge one’s knowledge. Maybe depth is just one of the criterions out there and the economist in me reminds me of the tradeoffs between depth and breath that are invariably involved. What is important is whether the process of flirtation with varied interests has been enjoyable at all. No question about it.

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