Writing

⚡ Check out my 📓 2018 Reading Notes, filled with the best content I read online everyday.

On keeping calm and carrying on
Jan 8 2018 | How people keep their cool

Recently, I asked some friends how they manage their cool in heated situations. Situations with loved ones – a parent, a sibling, a significant other, or a spouse. How did that go? What did they do to stay calm?

Everyone separated a heated situation at work from their personal life. As one friend mentioned, "At work you are less attached to your colleagues. You work together but you head home to separate lives. You know that the argument will get solved eventually and it stays at work.” So managing heated conversations at work is quite different from the ones at home.

Upon zooming in to the heated moment, we learned about their behaviors:

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Window men
Dec 18 2017 | Creators of a sparkling future

It is usually 10AM when I reach the office on the 22nd floor. I put my bag down, get out my breakfast, plug in my laptop and get some coffee. Sometimes when I return to begin my day, I hear a few thuds and thumps against the glass walls of our high-rise building.

The window men arrive.

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An ode to surgeons
May 5 2015 | Observations about another profession

You know how sometimes it's all too easy to web conference into an early morning meeting and be half-listening? It's early, the coffee is still brewing in the house, and the meeting has begun.It's the agenda being called out; it can get easy to zone out. While it might happen for a few minutes, most of the time it's easy to get back into the conversation. Least of all, it's not very dangerous to lose track. This is a meeting notice in the life of an engineer, or business person, or secretary.

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One shitshow per month
February 20 2015 | Random, messy, uncontrollable things happen sometimes

I'm not sure when my life went from pick-up volleyball and coffee shops to consultations over my visa, career, and health. In the last 12 months, my life and the things around it have forced me to change a lot. I went from skating by to fighting fires.

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Unpacking fear
February 2 2015 | Taking off the bandages

Recently, I learned something about myself that caused me some distress. Distress turned into panic, then worry, then fear. It continues to evolve; some days, I feel determined and I turn that fear into confidence. On other days, I look around trying to find control.

The mind is a powerful place. It's hard to understand that when life is smooth. Bills are being paid, work is calm, and friends are coming over. Everything feels great. You get to focus on other things: do some writing, have a coffee, and read a book.

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It's Uber, it's the Indian government, and ultimately, it's education.
December 14 2014 | An Uber driver's unfortunate incident in India

There is an uproar over Uber in Delhi. One of their drivers is alleged to have raped a young woman who took his cab to go home late at night. Uber claimed that every driver passed a government background check before being hired. They had not forseen this problem in their India operations. The Indian government used this incident to blame a foreign company for piling another issue into the bucket of social woes. Sadly, I think both parties are at fault. Our country, our companies, and our systems need to make fundamental process changes if they want citizens to feel safe.

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Detroit and entrepreneurship
December 7 2014 | A growing startup environment in the city

This weekend I was in Detroit and it reminded me why this is the startup scene of the Midwest. As I live in a suburb and commute to another for work, it's easy to forget the rebounding city on the side. This weekend I was visiting for my favorite coffee place, an urban crafts fair, and a walk.

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23 things I learned by 23
November 30 2014 | Published on Thought Catalog

I've spent a little over the past year in a new place, on my first job, and with new friends. The people I've met in Michigan have taught me lessons that I never imagined to learn in a year. They have supported me, lifted me up, and offered their kindness. In turn, they gave me the opportunity to listen when they had to vent, encourage when they weren't sure, and speak when they needed for advice. Together we are learning to find comfort in discomfort.

I've been mentally collecting samples of I've learned by allowing my friends to help me in my journey and becoming a part of theirs. Here are some things I've come to terms with in my daily life.

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5 things I am thankful for
November 29 2014 | Practicing gratefulness

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The Theory of Everthing explained one thing
November 23 2014 | Takeaways from the movie

There are days when you watch a movie. And there are days when you watch a movie. Yesterday I finally got to watch The Theory of Everything, a biopic on the life of Dr. Stephen Hawking. I think my eyes started tearing up 10 minutes into the film and didn't stop till the credits.

For a man who very early on confirmed with his doctor that his brain would not be affected by ALS, he marched on to prove just that. I thought that was so wonderful about this story. The actors and storyline don't pity the scientist for his disorder. Instead they emphasize that it is an active part of his life but there is a bigger purpose to his life, tougher things to address.

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Help goes around and comes around
November 19 2014 | Giving and taking

When you offer to - or are tasked to - help someone with a predicament, it doesn't always come back to you right away. But I find it beautiful that somehow one day you will need help, and someone - whether it's them or not - will be there to reciprocate it. What goes around does come around.

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Small experiments that may go somewhere
November 4 2014 | Testing the theory of habits

I recently started several small projects to see what I learn about myself.

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5 year reunion
October 26 2014 | Meeting high school friends again

I'm on an Amtrak train heading back from Chicago - sleepy, tired, but fulfilled. This (short) weekend trip was to see several of my high school friends. And as one of them pointed out, it was our 5-year reunion since graduation. That comment made the trip more significant and I think contributed to how long we all hung out together on Saturday. (Normally in these get-togethers, people have other chores to run, friends to see, some shopping to do.)

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Distractions never end
October 22 2014 | In the name of procrastination

This has been bothering me for quite some time now and it's about time that I address it. It being the act of collecting objects - clothes, shoes, furniture, empty Starbucks cups, some more clothes. As a writer put it, "the things we fear [that] we have the least of, tend to surround us the most." Enough never feels like enough. We seek more of the same thing and it builds up - but doesn't add up - to any emotion.

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The bigness of big data
October 15 2014 | Help people create data stories

Recently I read an article about the thoughts of Nest CEO, Tony Fadell. When asked whether he thought that the 'home of the future' would resemble the Jetsons TV show (glowing buttons in the wall, intelligence that can open the garage or start the coffee maker), he called it "bonkers". And he very neatly described why.

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Of phones and watches
September 27 2014 | Smart watches, really?

Smart watches are the new trend today. About two years ago it began with wearable activity trackers, but once Motorola, Samsung, and Apple came into the picture, the watch took the attention off of FitBit and Jawbone.

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Packing and moving on
September 14 2014 | First time with a U-Haul

This weekend I moved-on from my 2-bedroom apartment I shared with my roommate, RR (initials). We lived in Troy, Michigan - a town about 20 minutes north of Detroit. It commonly houses young families (early to mid-30s) and is an apartment-complex and independent housing style area. There are strip malls, large department stores,...you get the idea.

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Questions that tell you who you are
September 4 2014 | Some of those standard "discover yourself" questions

I am currently reading The Truth About Everything by Brianna Wiest, a ThoughtCatalog writer. Her ambitiously-titled book is a collection of her best essays at ThoughtCatalog. I enjoy the articles, as they speak about living for the self, investing in who you are, being the creator of your experiences, and accepting challenges as turning points and lessons. One of her articles is titled 7 Questions That Tell You Who You Are. She answers the 7 questions and encourages readers to answer them as well.

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My review of Balsamiq Mockups
August 23 2014 | An online wireframing tool

I've been using Balsamiq Mockups pretty diligently for the past few months now. I use them for prototyping personal ideas and work ideas. Balsamiq is great for several reasons. Below is a screenshot of a Balsamiq mockup I made when I first started learning the tool. It's a website mockup for a restaurant. The left panel contains the controls and the right panel contains your mockup. Components are drag-and-drop, place them on your mockup, and edit the content. Each component can be used as a link to another mockup.

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Having a temporary limp
August 17 2014 | The setbacks of a knee injury :\

Last week I unfortunately ran into a slight hiccup in my physical health. I was playing the usual Tuesday evening drop-in volleyball. I guess I didn't stretch enough or decided to do a different run-up. But as I was making my first spike of our first game, I remember: being in the air, I had jumped quite high, hitting the ball with my palm, and as I was on my way down, I suddenly felt like someone behind me kicked me really hard in the back of the knee. Falling further, I wondered, "Why would anyone do that?" As I hit the floor, I realized my knee had acted on its own will and I couldn't move. The others eventually carried me to the side, and after some ice and sitting through pain, I was able to limp into my car and back home.

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A running list of recent reads
August 12 2014 | And the best quotes from them

It seems that I have scribbles, sticky notes with comments, and several notebooks where I write down some of the best quotes I read online. I thought it was time to start consolidating those sentences into a single place. The following are well-written sentences that beautifully express complicated realizations of the mind. I am in complete admiration of these writers and how they can describe ambiguous thoughts in concrete words.

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Living vicariously
August 7 2014 | Personal struggles in humans

In the past few months, I've been learning a lot about the experiences of people around me. One friend made great progress in her career, another friend had his heart broken, and a third lost a loved one. A fourth found a stable job and supportive significant other, a fifth realized that when you get a second chance you must work so hard as to not give it up again.

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What I learned from owning something big: My MINI
July 23 2014 | Responsibiities of being a car owner

A few months ago, I took my MINI Cooper to the dealership to get the 50k miles servicing done. They did a bunch of things (some of which I don't know their importance), and charged me a good $700. That was alright. It had to be done - the drive belt replacement will save me a headaches if anything terrible happened in the future. Somewhat of an insurance measure.

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2500 miles, 4 days, 1 friend, and a 1998 Camry
July 6 2014 | Roadtrip across America, roadtrip of a lifetime

These were the parameters that defined my roadtrip across the country this week. I travelled from San Francisco, CA to Detroit MI. The trip took a total of 40 driving hours; from Wednesday to Saturday, my friend and I drove 10 hours per day.

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Telling good stories
June 20 2014 | How do you captivate someone's attention?

Recently, I've been struggling with the question of "How do you tell a good story?" I have friends that are able to keep my interest for many minutes as they tell a captivating story about...their coffee this morning. How does a person keep their audience engaged about the most mundane activities? When I go on a trip and I return with stories I want to tell, people start by listening and half way through, they zone out. It seems like a story about morning coffee is more interesting than the visit to Traverse City.

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This very day in 2015
June 9 2014 | How I imagine this day one year in the future

It was my supervisor's birthday today and he was kind to bring us donuts to work as a celebration. After I scarfed down the donut (which was my breakfast), I went into our 1:1 meeting for the week. My first question to him was whether he uses this day to reflect on his year past or his year ahead. He told me it was a great question, and proceeded to tell me a story about how his professor in an MBA class asked everyone to do a simple assignment last year. "Write about what you envision the day-in-your-life to be, exactly one year from today." And he told me that when he looks back on that assignment now, about 90% of that essay came true for him. And it is pretty wild to him. But it laid out his goals and he really worked to make them come true.

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Jobs outside of engineering
May 25 2014 | And what they can teach me in my profession

The other day I was talking to a friend about how I have friends in my life who aren't engineers. He laughed and said, "I use the opportunity to make fun of them." This didn't go well with me, because I learn a lot from people who aren't in my profession. They work in HR, finance, restaurants, and nursing. Their day-to-day job functions are so different from mine and it never ceases to remind me that there's more out there; I can choose to do anything with my life. Here are 9 things I've learned from people who aren't in the engineering field.

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From East to West
May 17 2014 | The globalization of local products

Today I was having a conversation with my mom about a cold that I caught last week. I'm still coughing and my nose is blocked, so she offered some traditional Indian practices that could help. One was to boil some water, add a pinch of tumeric, and breathe in the steam - sort of like a stove-top humidifier. With some research, I found that "turmeric has shown anti-inflammatory and decongestant, or stimulant, properties in clinical studies" (drugs.com). My mom mentioned that it was a normal thing to use in Indian households. It got me thinking about how some of these practices are unheard of in Western medicine and others have been excessively commercialized.

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Nike's ads team is phenomenal
April 26 2014 | They cultivate self-belief

Nike's most recent advertisement named 'Winner Stays' emphasizes the company's policy that every person is an athlete (whether they know it or not). Athletes dream big - so big that in this video, these everyday kids are placed on the soccer pitch with Rooney, Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo, and 10 others in a 4 min timespan. The plot flows naturally - it reminds me of conversations I had everyday playing soccer at my apartments growing up. Each of us would pretend we were Mia Hamm or Zinedine Zidane during the match. There was the trash talking, the analysis of every player's moves, the imitation of our player's celebration after scoring a goal. Nike captured most of it and it shows that they observe and respect their users. It makes me nostalgic of my days as a young athlete.

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Finding focus
April 22 2014 | What to do when it becomes tough

I've been struggling to keep focus on my assignments and my daily life for the past few months. At work - other things take over, or I check Facebook, and I'm unable to cross things off my To-Do list because they never get done. So I started getting to work earlier, tried to get coffee (because having a drink next to me helps), and I tried using the Pomodoro 25-min technique on my iPhone. Not much improvement. A lot more sleep loss.

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Facebook and Twitter
April 12 2014 | More noise, less sound

Recently, Twitter announced a redesign of their landing page. Check out the First Lady's Twitter. Now compare it to a Facebook profile page. They look eerily familiar.

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Putting written notes online
April 6 2014 | Do I want all my written notes scanned online?

I recently came across a product called Mod Notebooks. The company's claim-to-fame is that they will put your written journaled work on your personal cloud for you.

You get one of their notebooks (or you use your own and pay more for sending it to them), fill out the notebook, and mail it to the company. They scan your work onto Dropbox or Evernote or a cloud storage program of your choice. Then if you allow them to recycle the notebook, you get a discount on your purchase. Else, it is sent back in physical format.

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Our first-ever stop motion video
April 1 2014 | Submitted for an NAE contest

Along with a few of my friends at Ford, I helped create a stop-motion animation video for a National Academy of Engineering contest. We were strapped for time (we only heard about it 2 weeks before the deadline).

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