Oh me!

We are so small between the stars & so large against the sky. and lost in subway croud, I try to catch your eye …..

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish


RG asked me a couple of days back,” How come you know so much about so many things? How come your GK is good and how come you have some cogent points on so many diverse topics?”
Even I thought about the issue, and then I traced myself to this …

When I was 14 years old, a question that had been in my mind since I read about human life in class 2 got finally answered। I always wondered,” how are humans different from animals? We both are just multicellular organisms who have the same sensations and physical needs. We both are driven by same desires of food, water, air & sexual needs. We both are afraid of death and pain. We have everything common, except that probably Homo Sapiens are a more sophisticated form of life. So are we no different from animals at all?” I remember asking mummy the same question. She said that humans are humans and animals are animals. She said that they are different but her answer couldn’t satisfy me.

After thinking about the issue at various levels of consciousness, I arrived at the same conclusion that Descartes did in the 17th century. Cogito, Ergo Sum. Obviously I was blissfully unaware of the exact meaning and originator of the phrase at that time. However I realized that the ‘desire to learn, the wish to improve and the zeal to know’ are the central reason that humans are different from animals. And I think that when I was in my early teens, this answer dictated the manner in which I saw education ad learning. I think this, coupled with another incident, transformed me from a back bencher and last rankers in school to the topper in board exams. (The first time that I stood first or even amongst the top 5 in class was in boards exams, 1999)
The principle was simple। I decided that I shall leave no stone unturned in the persual of education. I wanted to know more about this world. About everything. I wanted to know about science. How the solar system was created? How does the human body work? How are colors created? I wanted to know about history. How are nations made? Why does a country succeed or fail? Who created the beautiful monuments? Who went to war with whom? I wanted to know about philosophy. About relations, about literature, about each and every damn idea, tangible/intangible thing. And to accomplish this I started reading. I read EVERYTHING. From comics to newspapers to hand outs to posters on walls to even government reports and legal cases files (in revenue board’s library). And still I wanted to read more.

People would get bored in engineering classes. They would say,” क्या फालतू कि चीज़ है engineering? कितनी boring है !” Sometimes I found things tough (GD/AECD) but NEVER did I found them boring। I used to ask each and every doubt that crossed my mind in class, however Naïve or foolish it might sound to others। I participated in almost all extra curricular activities. I made innumerate friends. I tasted wine from so so many cups.

Then I came to MBA। Those classes that interested me, I attended them by sitting on the first bench. And so many things interested me. I liked statistics, QMDM, Economics, Saikat’s Marketing, ITO, and ITL amongst others. And then when I had finished with them, I would sit with the juniors to attend their courses. I even took some marketing classes. None of them gave me any marks. None of them show on my mark sheet. But I think in the persual of knowledge, I learnt even more.

My Montage (people write things about their classmates at the end of MBA course) says, “No one knows what he wants. Not he and not even God. Believes in networking only with great people”. I smile. Probably only I amongst my classmates know what I want, right from the time when I was 14 years old.

4 Comments to

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”

  1. On May 3rd, 2008 at 6:25 am Ruhani Says:

    Awesome blog.I completely agree with u. I wish i had the same quest for knowledge. But tht also reminds me of one incident. Remember, when we were comin bck from noida and u started asking innumerable questions to an unknown person about the ways to reach ggn and all tht followed 😉 hihi. n thanks to ur contagious company. i m also an inquisitive person now(though not as much as you).

  2. On May 3rd, 2008 at 11:29 pm pilot-pooja Says:

    Amazing mind…

    You seem to have a lot inside Varun..
    Keep pouring in..

    And yah..we surely have one idol in common.Steve Jobs..)

    Stay Hungry, stay fooli$h..!

  3. On March 9th, 2011 at 1:13 am Anurag Says:

    Hi Varun

    Sorry for commenting on such an old post of yours. I stumbled to your website quite recently. I was just going through your old posts. Let me first start by saying that I mostly agree with whatever you write. But I guess this post has churned something inside me and forced me to comment.

    Quest for knowledge is good and it is great to know many things but in my opinion learning just for the sake of learning hardly helps. Studying a lot is good for giving references and making fine points in discussions but in my opinion true knowledge only comes from having an independent sense of vision and many times reading too much just colors your vision where you stop thinking independently and become incapable of solving any challenging problems.

    Since you are such a big fan of reading and knowing stuff, I recommend reading, Prof Hamming’s seminal speech


    which talks about the stereotype I have mentioned. People who only read but never solve any problems.

    I hope you understand the point I am trying to make.


  4. On March 9th, 2011 at 1:43 am bhaiyyu Says:

    Hi Anurag,

    When some one takes out the time to comment on what i write, I feel honored. so no need to say sorry.

    I fully agree with your viewpoint. Knowledge is no good if you can’t use it to produce/implement/forecast something. An encyclopedia is only worth $1000, nothing more.
    But my point in this post was a bit different. It starts with the fact that one should be inquisitive. One should questions thing around him/her. One should always think – why this, why not that and if ‘this’ does it mean ‘that’? For a curious mind is the precursor of thinking indipendently and hence solving challenging problems.

    This is like maths, if one keeps on mugging sin(30′) = cos(60′) without understanding that sin and cosine are one and the same thing, what use is that?

    Appreciate your interest. Will read your referenced talk after my mid term tomorrow.



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