Thursday, January 27, 2011

Murphy’s Laws & Serendipity:

I have seen my life is fond of following Murphy’s laws. Laws, corollaries everything!!
I invest in a particular stock and it goes down. I buy gold and its price drops. 
Even on day to day basis – the day I decide to go home early, there is heavy traffic on roads when I leave the office earlier than usual and I end up reaching home later than a usual day. When I drive to work (and this happens practically every day), the lane I am in is the slowest.
If I change lanes, then the earlier lane starts moving faster. Of course, if I don’t change the lane, it keeps being the slowest.
If I decide to sleep early, either I get a phone call late in the night or there is a movie of the TV that I have been meaning to watch for a very long time!
When I decide to start exercising regularly, either I get stuck in something or better still, I get sick!!
I had missed my connecting flight from Washington DC to Seattle, the first time I traveled to US. I have missed Mumbai - Bangalore flight because the taxi came late. And I once got stuck in London for 2 days while flying from Seattle to Mumbai since there was a security scare at the Heathrow airport. They grounded all the flights and put us all through a lot of trouble.
You see, Murphy's laws are followed all the time!!
However, I have also seen Serendipity playing a part in my life – on a regular basis.
I end up meeting the right people at the right time, by chance. I find the information I need, by chance. Sometimes I get some information and find that I need to put it to use soon afterwards. I end up seeing the right kind of programs on TV even though I do not watch a whole lot of TV and don’t watch anything particular at any particular time.
So, I wonder if, even when the life seems to be following Murphy’s laws, it is actually serendipity at play in some form. And maybe I am not able to see it as such because I am looking only for obvious outcomes or for specific outcome I am looking for….

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My other blog

So, now that I have started blogging, one blog does not seem enough. And since I want to write about a particular topic apart from various thoughts, ideas and views, I have started another blog.

Check it out. Feedback is most welcome -

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why do I want to write....

I recently started blogging and right now I am struggling to write on a regular basis. And I have been thinking about why I have not been writing so far.
1.      One major reason was not having the time. But I have come to realize that, that is really just an excuse. It is a combination of laziness and not being very serious about the intention. The laziness is of the mind – to put in the effort to do something new, give it the time and effort required to make sure that the outcome is of good quality. And that effort is put in only when we are serious about doing something.
2.      Another reason has been not being confident about being able to write well. The fear that what I write would not be good or readable. But then, that will change only if I keep writing and keep refining what I write. After all, like everything else, writing too can improve only with practice.
3.      Yet another reason – who will be interested in reading what I write? Maybe many may be none. But not writing is no way to find out if anyone is interested or not.
So I finally had this nice little discussion with myself on the above points and making very logical argument about each, I told myself that you (that is I J) have to write – that is start writing regularly.
As for why do I basically want to write? It is simply because I feel like writing, because I think I have things to say and share.
Of course there is a more interesting answer to this question.  Here goes – I want to write a lot and become very famous. I should become so famous that when I die, if someone goes to a publisher with material that I had written but that I didn’t dare publish while I was alive, publishers should be really interested in publishing that material. For I have a lot of stuff that I would like to tell the world that I don’t dare to while I am alive. J

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010: Last Year in my life

2010 is over. It went by very fast. It seemed to have zoomed off ever faster than the earlier years. As one grows older, I think the years really speed up.  But in this first week of 2011, I really feel like reviewing 2010 – the year that is over.
2010, I thought was a good year. It was a year of new beginnings for me. I started living alone after a long time. I also created my blog and now hope to write regularly.
2009 had been a bad year for me in many ways, so 2010 was that much more special. 2009 was marred by some serious health problems and I was unhappy at work too. In 2010 both those things changed in my favor. My treatment got over by March 2010 and my role at work changed in April 2010. My illness forced me to do some introspection (or was it the medication that I felt had taken away my clarity of thought? J) and so in 2010 I was able to decide on a few things I want to do going forward. And this “year in retrospect” is a result of one of those things I want to do regularly – write, blog…
A few things happened in April 2010 – my parents, who had been living with me, moved back to their house in the city. And it was a big move for them but also for me. I too moved with them so that work could be done at my flat (kitchen and bathrooms to be redone and painting). As soon as my parents moved back, the stray cats came back too – they had not forgotten my parents. There is a small difference of course, earlier my parents fed them milk, now they feed them cat food!
In that same month my parent, Ojas my 10 year old nephew and I went to Mahabaleshwar (a hill station) for some R&R. we spent 4 wonderful days there. Ojas and I went for early morning bike ride and went hiking a little at various points there. Sometimes we all just sat in the veranda eating berries, chatting, or listening to prayers in the temple on the estate. It was good, relaxing time…
In May 2010, I went to US on work. I was going to US after a gap of 2.5 years, so I was quite looking forward to it. Like most of my US trips, this too was a wonderful trip. I met a lot of friends and some family, visited various places, shopped at some of my favorite places and ate the kind of food I miss in India. This was the first time when I was in bay area for over 2 weeks. I stayed in Santa Clara, near the train station and quite loved the surround area. I also took the train from Santa Clara to San Francisco and back.
Some major highlights of the bay area were –
·         Meeting Neeti, my dear friend from University days after a real long time (18 years?!) We spent a day together talking about everything under the sun – just like the old times. And of course remembering people from the past and laughing about incidents.
·         Day trip to San Francisco – took the caltrain from Santa Clara in the morning, spent the whole day in Frisco and after dinner with Matt, Sydney, and Rob I took the same train back to Santa Clara.  Matt was my guide in the de Young museum. I love going to art museums anyway, but going with someone like Matt, is really a great experience. He knows a lot; he can give you the history and explain how to look at different works. And he can even criticize supposedly great works. You do learn to see art in more depth. We also went over the GG Bridge to the other side, and to see the bridge from the view point on the hill. It was windy and did get kind of chilly. But it also was a beautiful and clear day; perfect for taking some pictures.  It is always a pleasure to spend time with them. They all are such warm people and Rob is very funny.
·         I also met Ram & Manisha at their place – Ram is still super funny! And both of them are still so simple, down to earth and warm people. Its very comfortable at their place.
·         Went over to Hemangi’s place couple of times – once when other cousins too were there and once just the night before flying back.  Both the times were fun but different kinds of fun.
·         Spent one evening with Chris & his beautiful wife Ina – the dinner at the nice Italian restaurant was good and conversation interesting…

I landed in Seattle on a clear, sunny and beautiful Saturday afternoon, (yes, strange, especially for a Saturday to be so sunny there! J)and spent about 4 days in the Puget Sound.

The same evening I met bunch of friends from my Microsoft days. Scott & Leanne were there, Dan was there with his girlfriend, Lawrence was there and Marion too. And of course, Rob & Viv who arranged the get together and their two adorable sons! It was a wonderful evening of catching up on each other’s stories as well as remembering old times.

      On Sunday, Sandhya and I went to see the Ice caves. Didn’t quite get to see the caves but it was a fun outing.
I went to Seattle downtown on work and had a parking nightmare, almost. It didn’t quite become the nightmare that it had all the promise of becoming but was good enough to scare me once again about me driving into downtown.
I went to the downtown once again with Anupam and Aditee and this time I was very happily not in the driver’s seat. Anupam managed to Parallel Park with such ease in a tight spot that I almost got mad at him!! They too took me to a Thai place for dinner - a veg only place – pretty cool. 
     Of course, as usual I spent one evening with Naomi and Henry at their house.  One of the things I always look forward to when I go to Seattle-Bellevue is spending time with Naomi & Henry. They are like my family there….
I also went over to Phoenix for a weekend. This was a fun weekend – time spent with Ritu, Manish and their very cute son Kush. It was wonderful to catch up with Ritu and also to discuss (argue?) capitalism with Manish and her. J And Kush is really a very loving child.  I came back to India all refreshed but also tired….
Soon after coming back from the US, I went to Bhopal in June 2010. There were about 10 of us from work – we went there for campus recruitment. We also managed a side trip to Sanchi to see the Stupa. This was a good trip – the museum also was worth the visit.
 The same evening, we went and saw the then newly released movie – “RajNeeti” primarily because good part of that movie was filmed on locations in Bhopal. The movie gave me quite a headache. I am OK with silly movies and fun movies and typical Hindi movies without logic but when movies that are supposed to be realistic defy logic my brain hurts!!
After coming back from Bhopal, I moved back in my own place on June 19th. My sister & brother-in-law moved into their flat almost at the same time. It was period of a lot of changes for our families. I moved in June but it started feeling like home only recently. These things take time – they take as much time as you give them… J
In July, I met a few of my school mates (Ashwini, Dhanashree, Shilpa, Deepa, Jayashree, Vaishali & Swati) after about 25 years. And we have to thank Mark Zuckerberg  for this gathering. In fact I need to thank Facebook for finding many, many friends…
I was supposed to go to Leh-Ladakh in August 2010. This was to be a Jeep Safari from Manali to Leh and then going across the Kahrdung –La to the Numbra Valley. Something I had really been looking forward to. But just a few days before we were to leave Pune, Leh had to face that disastrous cloud burst and the whole area became a victim of that calamity. We only had to cancel our trip but for many in the area, life changed forever…
In September 2010 I met more of my old friends. Manoj had come down from US and Shah, Sandeep Anand, Vishwas, Dhananjay Sapre and I met with him over lunch. It was a real long lunch that lasted over 3 hours.  Everyone had many stories to share – we were meeting after a long time. Manoj of course talked the most and Shah was really funny – like he used to be in Univ days. It really felt like being back in the Univ. The only thing different was that we weren’t at the OC (Old Canteen)…
On 27th October 2010 my Mama (my mother’s brother) turned 60. So my parents, two of my Maasis (mother’s sisters), my sister, my nephew and I went over to Nasik on this day to give him a surprise party. Another Maasi who lives in Nasik had arranged everything – like inviting the people over to Mama’s place in the evening, the food for the part, the cake etc. My Mama was definitely surprised. And I am not sure about how much fun he had, but we had a GREAT time! My sister shares her birthday with him and so we had 2 birthdays that day – though his was the big 6 O one…
In early November, my parents and I again went to Nasik – this time to spend Diwali with my uncle and grandmother who is very old and bed ridden.  Diwali turned out to be a lot of work. The maid at Mama’s place vanished and so my mom and I ended up doing lot of housework, including a long session of cleaning. But overall it was a good break. Nasik is always enjoyable and Mama’s place is very comforting…

Later in Nov, Arati and I went on a trip to see the Himalayas. We flew to Delhi on 20th morning and spent the day at Suchitra’s place. Harshavardhan, Suchitra’s five year old took care of the entertainment till evening when we left for our train. We got off at Ramnagar at around 5:30 AM on 21st – Arati’s birthday. Our Innova was waiting at the small station to take us to Pangot, which is a little north of Nainital. Our driver was a very nice person and a safe driver. He was quite knowledgeable about the state and that really helped. Next one week was spent in blissful serenity in Pangot, Binsar and then finally at Corbett national park. In Pangot and Binsar, the accommodations were very good; food was delicious and overall service was outstanding. Corbett was kind of disappointing but not really bad. It is just that by the time we went there our expectation were really high after Pangot & Binsar. This was a lovely one week away from the real world – no TV, no radio, no newspapers – the places we stayed were quite remote and so in Pangot and Corbett, there was no cell phone connectivity either. 

It used to get quite cold in the evenings and it used to be very dark too, since there were no city or even road lights. You could see so many stars that it seemed surreal… The sunrises and sunsets, the way the Nandadevi and surrounding mountains looked in early morning and late evening, the various species of local and migratory birds that we got to see – it all really felt like a different world or at least a different time…
In December we all gathered in Mumbai for my cousin Shirish’s wedding.We all gathered together on 24th since the wedding was on 26th. And for 4 days we lived life “Indian Wedding Size” – lots of relatives, lots of food, music and dancing, very little sleep and many rituals. It was hectic, of course, but so much fun too! On 27th night my parent, sister, nephew and I came back to Pune.
December turned out to be important for another reason. I had been thinking about blogging for a while but had not gotten down to doing it so far. But in December I finally created my blog and also managed to write a little.
My sister and I had already decided that we would quietly celebrate start of 2011 at my parents place – and that is what we did. We watched two of our favorite Shammi Kapoor movies, made coffee at 11:30 pm and cut the Irish cream cake at midnight. It was a perfect ushering in for a wonderful 2011, I thought.