A world of connections! 

I’m a sucker for digging out relationships. I can spend hours on  “A is the daughter of B , and B is an uncle to C. D is the father of B. C is the son of E, who is the daughter of D…” sort of logic problems without wanting to bang my head.  Wasting a good half of a movie putting together two random actors and googling if they’ve worked together , is SO satisfying ! Why, I don’t know !  Like that priceless moment when one of my favourite Disney characters- Genie, met an amazing voice- Robin Williams. See what I mean ? There are fantastic connections all over. It’s a small world, after all !

Imagine writing your name on a $5 note and passing it on. What are the odds that the note comes back into your family decades later ? The network of the connections formed intermediately must be unfathomable! Agreed , most of these thoughts are not very productive. But I daydream a lot and make my life more interesting with these eccentricities. And this compulsive need to find connections is what draws me to data analysis as well.

I recently analysed a dataset of National Soils as part of a course assignment. To begin with, I knew nothing about soils. At least not more than what I knew through science class at school. Haha, it was a shameful revelation. Who knew soil had so many types and subtypes ? And not to mention how its properties change depending on how one uses the land. It’s safe to say- soil is one big pushover. However, the coolest thing about this analysis was – I got to know a lot about soil mechanics while trying to interpret the relationship between two variables.

Interestingly, I learnt about a method called CPT or the cone penetration test, used to measure moisture content in the soil at a certain depth. This procedure is used to check for seismic activity, sublayer temperatures in geothermal areas and possibility of soil liquefaction. Extremely technical and I won’t delve into it, but this process is a big deal in countries like New Zealand and Japan, with history of massive earthquakes and volcanic activities.

For a person who loves knowing about something new everyday , analytics is perhaps one of the most fascinating areas to work in ! The possibilities to learn are endless and resources, countless. There are numerous tools at one’s disposal- from something as simplistic as the pivot table to the more complex regression analysis and machine learning. I am very excited to be on this journey and hope to take my love of finding connections further, through my passion for this field!

Sanctum Sanctorum

I dislike company on the train . No, don’t get me wrong. I am affable in most situations. I smile at random strangers, greet people I’m acquainted with, attend meetups and seminars, network with people… the usual things.

Most people sympathise with me when I mention my two-hour trip to and from CBD everyday. Others, living close to the university campus, usually mock me. Why, you ask ? Beats me. The travel is , in fact, one of those things that I look forward to every day. It is my sanctum from the mundane activities of my life.  I’ll tell you why.

Mumbai, my hometown, is one of those places where you’ve got to wage war on your co-passengers to simply get in and out of the train. People are known to have lost grinworthy items in the tussle. Glasses, bag,  phones, jewellery and shoes. Not kidding , I’ve occasionally seen people lose one shoe to the incoming army and yell at everyone while hopping on the other foot. And then to stay put in that rapidly diminishing floor space of 5 square inches, while trying not to smell someone else’s armpit, is another struggle that you learn to conquer from absolute need. Not like you can help it though.  Mumbai is after all one of the most crowded cities in a crowded country.

Perhaps you can now understand why everyday train travel to Melbourne CBD is thoroughly blissful and comfortable. I get to the starting station, the train is out there waiting to depart. I get to choose my own seat (something unattainable on Mumbai local trains), and then move on to doing everything I can in that one hour. Learn something new, doodle out my goals in my diary, write about things that I’m grateful for , observe people and wonder about their life stories. Anything is possible in that one hour. I feel invincible in that one hour! Dramatic, yes. But so true.

Within a few days of my arrival here, I met this elderly guy on the train. He kept telling me stories about his life elsewhere before migration.  Partly due to my hesitation to interact with a complete stranger and majorly due to my irritation on having him intrude on my “me” time, I did not quite partake in his monologue. I ohed and ahed in all intermittent pauses and he was more than happy with my monosyllabic responses. I enjoyed listening to his experiences – at least the ones I paid attention to. Besides getting to know his life story, I realised something else as well.

Interacting with people on the train is also a great way to learn new things. You get to observe them on a personal level and share experiences with them. You might get to know about that great place to shop for clothes with student discounts, or get info on a new job opening somewhere. Networking is always beneficial.

So.. I basically started with absolutely hating company on the train. Now I merely dislike it. Still interferes with my sanctum sanctorum.