The Fiery Mirror

Where do I begin? Where do I start?
What is my purpose here? What is my part?
Why do I sometimes feel stupid and sometimes feel very smart?
Why am I sometimes calm as ice and sometimes simply falling apart?

Something I am thinking about,
This question does cast some doubt.

Do we really know what it is we see and perceive?
Or does our mind with our prejudices over Reality cast a weave?
And what we call reality is pure make believe?

I have a take,
Hear the case I make.

The world we see is only in our head,
And Reality is something else instead.

We have limited ourselves to our senses,
Created a make believe world on false pretenses.

I may not make sense to You yet; read ahead I insist,
Something in your mind will mount a defense and resist.

Yet Your Heart can discern that there is something here that makes sense,
Even when you read this through a distorted lens.

The world you see is a distorted mirror; where you see all reflect see are illusions,
And in this strange world, you sometimes see love, sometimes anger and most times delusions.

Look at your distorted mirror, they are your assumptions you are forcing on Reality,
Your assumptions & judgements drive you away from actuality to a world filled sorrow, hate, pain and brutality.

Imagine a fiery mirror, put all your assumptions, judgements in the great Healing Fire,
It may feel disorienting, frightening, scary and midway you may just want to retire.

Yet there is a strength in You that is not Yours that will see You through,
But after this journey will emerge The Real You!

The Real You is Perfect & Eternal & Timeless,
It is Here & Now & Tireless, without Beginning; it is Ceaseless

Welcome to Reality,
That which is beyond Duality

Unbound Eternity

Tick tock goes the clock, the pendulum swings from left to right,
Wonder over the pair of opposites, good and bad,beautiful and ugly, sadness and delight

Tick tock goes the clock, the pendulum swings from right to left,
Wonder again how everything has an opposite; big and small, right and wrong, skillful and inept.

Now a question I ask!
Nay, let’s call it a leisurely task!
Imagine that all you are is a mask!

An accumulation of memory, prejudices, thoughts and fears,
All perhaps concentrated, stored in the organ you call the brain; located between your ears.

Your perceptions and all your definitions,
Your thoughts and all your emotions,
Your fears, gripes and all your and hesitations
All color the World in which you see so many commotions.

Think! Question! What observes the wearer of the mask?!
Who is the one who judges every pair of opposites, every action and every task?

The mask is your filter, the world you see is Your creation,
It shows a World in time, where everything ultimately ends in destruction.

Yet something beyond the mask, the filter there is something that must exist,
This We must explore; I vehemently insist,
You might refute the premise, you might feel angry or with a million other ways try to resist,
But in this quest, I urge you to persist,
Somewhere along the way, you will discover that Time does not exist!

A conclusion you will come to, there is no past, except in Your memories,
Neither is there a future, full of promise and hopes of exploration into unchartered territories,
They are all in your mind, all mere stories.

You only exist Here, you only exist Now is the only logical conclusion!
Other theories are Your masks attempt at generating and keeping alive this delusion!
Prod a little further! I urge you! Question the entire illusion!

Notice that there is a Observer in You, observing all this,unmoved, unalloyed, unmixed,
On Here and Now it stands affixed.

It observes everything, always, in all situation and circumstance,
Yet it remains happy, unmoved by the vagaries of chance.

Stay with the Observer for as long as you can, the call has been made,
Fear not you traverse this alone! You will receive all possible aid!
Mighty Companions stand ready to walk alongside you on this path; it is ready and laid!

Soon You and the Observer will merge;
You realise that All the Universe is One, even if it appears at different points to diverge,
The boundaries between You, the Observer & the entire Universe will purge,
And Reality in all its Oneness, Beauty, Love and Infinity will emerge!

Beyond The Veil

Drop all your mental defenses,
Question your pretenses,
Think beyond your body, beyond your senses,
Demolish your walls, uproot your fences.

Let the light and song of the Universe illuminate,
Beyond the opposites of love and hate,
There lies a gate.

Pass through the gate, you will find delight,
It may require all your might,
Pass through the gate You will, after a discomforting fight,
For a while nothing may seem right,
After a period, everything seems bright.

The period of discomfort may be long or it may be brief,
You may doubt all your preconceived ideas and question every cherished belief,
You just might realise that dropping them all, albeit hard; can be a relief.

Internally, you may question this voice; your will may stand divided.
Hear again within; there never is a moment you aren’t guided,
The Universe is ready to help, your Soul is delighted,
The path for You is laid and lighted.

Be glad! Rejoice!
Heed the Voice,

It leads you softly to a strength in You, but not yours,
It understands and speaks only love, not coercion or force,
And takes you to a place without sadness or remorse.

We’ll all meet on the other side,
Where we all eventually have to reside,
Where there are no imperfections, no fears; where there is nothing to hide,
Hear the Voice and, feel the Light, for they are gentle and happily Guide,

Only a small decision you have to take,
This Journey You will have to undertake,
Be glad, mighty companions you have on this Journey you will make!

-Harshil Shah


Do you know yourself, beyond your senses?
Or are your perceptions self imposed limits and fences?

Are we a speck in an infinite Universe?
A place where we experience our hopes, dreams & fears?

Maybe you too sense something is amiss!
Come on! Let’s explore this!

I make of you a small request!
I want you to take a little test!
I’m sure you’ll enjoy the quest!

Forget everything, forget every sensation!
With your past and the future, cut off all association!

Close your eyes, let them rest,
Take a deep breath, feel your chest,
I know you’re doing your best

A simple task I want you to do; with all your heart, ask from within!
I’m sure something will stir, something will shake; something will begin!

Reach out to all of existence with all your heart!
Do this and rest assured the Universe will do its part!

With your heart, reach out to everything! Reach out to everyone!
Friend and foe, big and small, weak and strong, leave out nothing, leave out no one!
Make no exceptions; absolutely none!
Don’t be serious, this is all for fun!
Ponder over this, try doing this often!

Something may change, something may stir, don’t worry there is nothing to fear!
Ask the Universe, I promise, its melody, its rhythm, its love with all your heart you will hear!

A Coming Shock To Education

“The future always comes too fast and in the wrong order.” 

Alvin Toffler, Future Shock 

The COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps the biggest catalyst to trends that have been around since broadband services became available. In 2 months, many of us have learned that it is possible to work out of home, that we can learn nearly anything from cooking recipes to programming languages by a simple search on YouTube, that the dressing up & commuting for a few hours is not really necessary to be productive. 

I believe that one industry that is being changed long term is education. I echo Naval Ravikant’s thought that schools are a form of day care. Schools are where we are dropping off kids for 7 hours a day 5 or 6 days a week in hopes they learn something. In the current schooling system, parents meet & evaluate the teachers once every 3-4 months and cannot truly judge their teachers. While some Indian startups like Byjus, Vedantu etc are trying to solve the problem, I think that they suffer from the all or nothing problem that schools also offer.  

What is the all or nothing problem you ask? 

The all or nothing problem is inherent to our current schooling structure and has 2 aspects, the teachers and the syllabus. If you pick a school, you pick all the teachers that come with it. A child cannot pick a teacher for a subject, and many a times, the feeling a student has towards a teacher gets transferred to the subject. The school also has a syllabus recommended by an authority. A teacher cannot go beyond the syllabus for a given year. A student who is excellent in math may not be able to learn more about his/her favorite as it is out of syllabus. 

With online classes as they are happening now, parents are seeing firsthand the quality of education their children are getting from schools. And they may or may not be impressed by the way a teacher teaches. 

The internet eliminates the all or nothing problem I mention above. With the internet, a child can their favorite teacher from a near endless list of teachers making & uploading their content on YouTube. You can break this down even further where the child can have 3 or 4 different “teachers” who teach different topics of that same subject. For example, a child may like one teachers’ explanation on trigonometry and another teacher’s explanation on quadratic equations. This helps kids learn better, learn on their schedule & understand concepts that perhaps their schoolteacher is doing a poor job of explaining. 

For teachers too, this opens large opportunities. Teachers can record themselves teaching, create interesting graphics to explain a point better and simply by monetizing their content with ads, can reach kids on the internet for virtually free, while getting paid by Google. There are many other ways that they can get remunerated, like having a subscription built in where the teacher can have a one on one session with every subscriber, or special questions or topics that only subscribing students can get. 

I understand that there will be concerns around how students will be able to socialize, learn soft skills, interact with others. I think we will be able to develop apps that let parents and children meet up based on the area of residence, age and even based on the topic of interest.  

I highly recommend you read Professor Scott Galloway’s blog on how the COVID-19 is going to change college education is as well.

Tuning In & Tuning Out

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

Groucho Marx

Everyday many of us come home from work and switch on our television sets; & nearly everyday we listen to the floating heads on TV and their rather binary view of the world. And everyday, we accept the outrage that the floating heads deliver to us via the media, whether it be Television News, Newspapers, Web Portals or any other medium.

Take TV for instance. We have 6 or more floating heads per news channel arguing it out, on prime time; debating (screaming) about something, with one floating head being with the anchor and the other against the anchor.

I find it amusing that the anchor decides in the span of 45 minutes (allowing for commercial breaks) which side is righteous & which side “wins”.

We also feel that the news anchors we choose are fighting for us. They are displaying the indignation we must be displaying to the “careless Government” & the “stupid opposition. After all the News Anchor and his other floating head “panelists” chastise Narendra Modi,Rahul Gandhi, Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, Vijay Mallya,Arundhati Roy, M.S. Dhoni, Hugo Chavez, Bill Gates, Batman, Iron Man, Mickey Mouse, The Greek God Zeus and anyone else the panelists can find.

The entire premise of most Television news is that only if these famous people clean up their lives, we can all live in unlimited utopia. And the Television Anchor and his Floating Head friends are delivering us this utopia, at least for one hour 45 minutes everyday.

I believe that the excitement of watching famous and powerful people getting bashed on live TV is what we crave.

|Television “debates” are the new Gladiator matches.|

If we are tired of the floating heads on “News Channels” we can simply press a few buttons and switch to other floating heads on TV soaps & movies. These floating heads are well dressed ( in a lot of or very little clothing) and lead generally exciting lives.

For instance, Tulsi Viranis husband dies, Ted Mosby is out looking for his soulmate, Alia Bhatt is solving boyfriend problems with a therapist, Sunny Deol is fighting the Pakistanis with a hand pump, James Bond is seducing 3 to 4 very good looking ladies, Jethalal is arguing with Bhide while eating Jalebis, Tom Cruise is saving the world and Robert Downey Jr. is saving the darned universe and all of this is happening every evening.

Compare that to our own lives. Most days of our lives are rather monotonous. We go to work, chit chat with colleagues, come back home and watch these larger than life stories and characters. We feel like we are missing out on something. We ask ourselves, “why is my life not so exciting?”

After all, not all of our days are exciting. Not everyday are we launching a new product or making a breakthrough. Not many of us are working on something that can change the world.

And to avoid the void, we turn to the idiot box with the floating heads.

But here is where it gets interesting, regardless of our profession or role, not everyday is going to be exciting.

I recommend that you decide for yourself what you want in and out of life. Once you do that, I think the floating heads will lose all relevance.

The ONE Lifehack You Need To Win

I wish I could give you a surefire formula for success, but life doesn’t work that way.

Scott Adams in How To Fail At Almost Everything & Still Win Big

We all come across ads like “Do these 5 things that ALL billionaires do.”, “3 life hacks you must know to retire by 40.”,”The ONE thing that you MUST DO to get ripped.” All such ads have a similar message, a quick, easy way that helps us find the one perfect solution to all our problems, the one perfect way to achieve all our goals & the one perfect way to never fail.

The green tea that you need to drink to lose weight, the protein powder that you must drink to get ripped, the bat you must own to bat like Sachin Tendulkar, the MLM scheme you must join to make big money very easily and countless other examples are all variants of the same.

And we are all enchanted, enchanted by the call that this one thing is all we need to make it in life. To use metaphor, we are all enchanted by the grail quest. It is seductive. It offers us a respite from all of our problems. We need only do the things recommended & everything else automagically falls in place.

And a part I find rather amusing is that we do not want people to point out flaws on what is being offered. We’d rather be ignorant about what the flaws in our wonder solution that have someone point them to us and destroy our dreams.

Why is it so?

My guess is that we are:

  1. Averse to hearing flaws in our own plans.
  2. Afraid to look within for answers.
  3. That we are always given solutions in school & college.

The negative news breaks the spell and we are forced to come back to reality. Our problems still exist. And that is rather psychologically painful. We are afraid to look within because then we need to confront our demons. Our own laziness, our own mistakes, our own lack of judgement. Add to this the fact that we are always given the one perfect solution in classrooms for 20 or so years. Everyday, for around 21 years, an authority figure tells us what we should do. How we should solve a math problem. How we should sit in class, how we should behave. School even defines what a winner is.

Overcoming years of conditioning , added with our own aversion to criticism from outsiders and lack of honesty with ourselves is (in my opinion) what leads to our quest of the perfect solution. After all, the solutions we are applying are most probably the ones taught in school & are no longer working. And if we fail, we are (gasp) losers!

So what is my LIFEHACK?

I believe that there is none. The only “lifehack” I recommend to people is to take complete responsibility for themselves & learn to trust their own judgement. I believe that if I really, really want someone to follow my instructions & ideas, then I need to live them.

Psst… if someone does have a lifehack on how I might improve my writing, I am all ears.

Plotting Normalised Charts in R

In order to compare the price action of 2 different stocks, we “normalise” them, i.e. use the percent change and then plot them. Quandl provides the option to do this when pulling in data. The notebook is available on my Public Dropbox Folder with a few other notebooks.


Plotting Indicators in R

In this R Notebook, we import the stock price of Lupin from 1 November 2010 till 12 October 2018 and plot the 50 & 200 day simple moving averages using the TTR function.

Check out the notebook for more!

Plotting Multiple Charts in R

Previously we have seen how we can import quotes into R & use it to plot stock prices.

Now we go one step forward & import multiple stock quotes & plot them along in different combinations.

The HTML file is available for your perusal. Simply plug in your Quandl API key and you can replicate these exact charts. Or pull in quotes of stocks you like!