Tiny point in the present

06 January 2017

“Chill, Pratik! We have so much time. We can figure out the rest of our trip later” is what I had told my friend only a few hours ago. But now, suddenly, I am running out of time in the Himalayas. What changed in these few hours?

Rishikesh is still here. My Aunt is still in the ICU. I am still in my hostel bed. The only thing that seemed to have changed are my priorities. No longer is my holiday important. My presence in Chennai to lend a shoulder to my younger brothers seems to be more important now.

What have I learnt? Do whatever you can, as and when you can. Do not delay. You never know what tomorrow holds for you. Jump off that lazy mattress and do the things that have been lying on your bucket list. Tick all off them off. Tomorrow does not exist. Today and now is all you have.


PS. I was to stay back in the Himalayas till about 28th of January and venture out on an unplanned and adventure packed trip. However I got a call from my parents on the 5th of January and that’s when they broke to me that my Aunt is in the ICU.

PPS. My Aunt is recovering now, however her health continues to be at a critical state.

My Himalayan Odyssey are a series of posts from my travel to the Himalayas which took place between 30/12/2016 and 07/01/2017


Mountaineering Institutes in India


Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Mount Everest (8848M / 29,028ft.) along with Edmund Hillary, in 1953 provided the desired impetus to mountaineering as an organized sport in India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru then Prime Minister and a visionary, wanted to channelize the abundant energy of the youth of the nation into a constructive field of mountaineering and hence planned to open a Mountaineering Institute.The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) was founded in Darjeeling on 4th November 1954 by Pandit Nehru himself. In this manner Late Pandit Nehru ignited the spark of a new spirit for young Indians. The spark has already developed into a dazzling torch, lighting the path for those who accept the challenge of the Mountains and aspire to climb high.

Formation of Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF)

  • A Sponsoring Committee of the Cho Oyu Expedition was formed in 1957, the success of which on May 15, 1958, encouraged the Committee to sponsor…

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Leveraging Performance Appraisal bias for better marks in UPSC CSE Mains

Every evaluator / performance appraiser who is not trained well or is tired or bored of evaluating / appraising is a victim of the following four bias –

1) Primacy bias – The first impression affects the way the evaluator perceives the rest of your answer

2) Recency bias – The event occurring (conclusions) before the evaluator gives the marks determines the marks the candidate will get

3) Spill over bias – If the first answer is outstanding, the evaluator tends to perceive the candidate to be an excellent candidate, and hence the positiveness has a spill over effect on the rest of your answers

4) Centralising tendency bias- The evaluator who is bored of correcting or who hasn’t read your answer well or doesn’t understand your answer well will tend to give you a central score i.e. close to the average

How to use them to your advantage –

In Essay – Leverage the primacy and recency bias by writing excellent introduction and conclusion. Further, try writing Section A first so that the positives of it spills over to your second essay.
In GS and Optional – Leverage the Centralising tendency bias by attempting all the question with whatever little knowledge you have. Use the primacy bias to start your answer to the point and drift away from the question in case you have run out of points or you don’t know what else to write.

All the best!

Time to de-stress..

With only about 15 days left for the D-Day, all of us are stressed; mostly because we haven’t completed our syllabus and because our productivity has drastically fallen. That’s a really deadly combination.

Many of us would have made plans and targets. And tried to adjust them in the limited time we have. But are they really realistic? Whom are we fooling? Ourselves?

By keeping targets which are unachievable, only to satisfy our present, we are in effect planning stress (If I do not complete GS 1 by 20/11/16, I am screwed…).

Why have we set targets and deadlines? Why are we even studying now? Because they form the means to our ends. The ends being scoring well in Mains. But are they really your ends?

Our ends is nothing but happiness. And by replacing our means with our ends, we are breeding unhappiness for ourselves.

We might study for hours and hours together. But nothing will really enter our heads unless we study for the purpose of our lives and not for the sake of examination. When we do that, we will find that we will enjoy learning, we would be able to retain more of what we learn and we would become more productive. We would be at peace with ourselves…. and maybe clear UPSC CSE 2016.