2009: the year that was...

I am at Delhi airport. Waiting to take the flight to Mumbai. Like most thing in my life, there is no agenda for this trip to Mumbai. And like all other things, this trip was planned at the last minute. There are no specifics, no reasons why I wanted to see Mumbai. Only a vague sense of reason and some amount of gut feel. In fact, think of it, most things I do, I do because of these two.

Anyways the idea of the post is recap things that I did in 2009. Mumbai is a different and longish rant. Lets keep it pending for some other time.

So, here is a quick and dirty list of things I did and things I did not in 2009.. In no particular order.
  1. I resigned from my job (July). Second resignation in three years post MBA. GE Money and now Creativeland Asia. Both for different reasons. Both times, trying to chase hope and dream big.
  2. I did Vipassana (Sep). This is the first time I was quiet for 9 days on the trot. Last time I was this quite, it would have been the time when I was still a toddler and hadnt learnt talking. I am told I took 2 years to start talking. No wonder I am catching up on the lost time by all the talking that I do.
  3. I finally took the Mensa test and got the membership (June).
  4. I applied for TED fellowship and I did not get it. I knew and still know that I deserve it as much as rest of the 100 fellows who got it. But as they say, life aint no fair. Shall keep trying.
  5. I started a company with Kunal (Aug). 10 years after we started working together and dreaming about owning businesses. This one is nothing to write home about but our pipeline is full.
  6. I finally started teaching full time (Aug). Although what I teach is inconsequential but it still is addressing a batch of students none the less. And I now know that I enjoy teaching. Need to think more and take this forward.
  7. I started writing a book. A piece of fiction. But left it midway for reasons that I dont know myself. I dont even know where those chapters are.
  8. I realized that I could be wrong. And more importantly, I realized that its ok to be wrong. As long as you tried.
  9. I discovered that I love advertising, media, entertainment, design and technology businesses. Of course I am an outsider, young, incompetent, inexperienced, "un"talented, dreamer, naive et al. Along with these disadvantages and more, I do have all the advantages that outsiders have. I can look at things from unbiased perspective. I can slaughter the sacred cows. I can dare. I can change. I can improve. I am the new.
  10. I moved back to Delhi. Though I do miss Mumbai and all the fun I had in Mumbai. Is it the people that I miss? Or the place? I shall never know. It sucks how friends drift apart with passage of time.
  11. I got my Royal Enfield Bullet Electra 5S (April). I have been thinking of buying it for about 15 years (not exaggerating). And its one of the best decisions that I have made in my life.
  12. I learnt how to fold a paper into a crane (April), juggle three balls at the same time, drive a car, be diplomatic and live with a bald head.
  13. I started watching movies (Dec). Of all the ones that I saw in 2009, the Shawshank Redemption impressed me most.
  14. Met tons and tons of people. I got their contacts from Twitter, Facebook, MDIJFK, friends, family etc. Most have been helpful. Wish they could actually DO rather than just talking.
  15. Discovered the world of Poker (Sep). I am not good as it as yet but I am practicing. Plan to be a part of WPT some day.
And few insignificant numbers (I do love numbers, especially when they are useless).
  • 147 - number of blogposts in 2009 till date. At the rate, I should end the year with 150.
  • 6 - number of years I have been blogging now.
  • 27 - my age
  • 1722 - time on my laptop. My flight takes off at 1820. I need to board at 1740.
  • 2 - number of bags I am carrying.
  • 3 - number of tabs I have open on my Google Chrome.
  • 126, 415 - number of chips I have on Zynga Poker. And that is what I am going to do till my flight is announced.
See you in Mumbai.

P.S.: Now that I am reviewing the post, I should have done this in a chronological order with months adding to the structure.

The Secret Sauce

Its been quite some time that I have been thinking of what makes people tick. I mean what makes an Aamir Khan make movies and go all out to make them hit? What makes a Manmohan Singh wake up in the morning and go about governing the country? What makes a Sachin Tendulkar go out and hit centuries after centuries? What makes an A. R. Rahman create those soulful melodies? What is it that makes a soldier to toil in extreme conditions and protect our country? What makes a bus driver drive that same DTC bus? What makes a liftman shuttle between floors in a high rise? The liftman, cant even see the sun, the moon or any of those million wonderful things that the world has to offer. What is that makes all my friends and family go about their mundane lives? What the fuck ... what is making me write this? When I know that no one cares what random gibberish I am generating (except Google Ads perhaps) and when I know that I this would serve no purpose. What makes human beings do things they do?

What is the secret sauce? What is their mojo?

The conspiracy theorist in me speculates that it is the want of money, fame, power, sex, acceptance, affirmation or more than one of these, that makes humans do what they do. Like I told a friend yesterday, all this (the life) is a game, we are mere players ("All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players" anyone?). We are chasing things that we think will give us happiness. For some people, its about winning the game. For some its the chase (I belong to the chase category). For some its the mere understanding that they are in the game. And then some, dont even realize that they are in it (till they reach their level of happiness/dissatisfaction).

Apart from this, I havent been able to find an answer. I have been able to spot some patterns though. For starters, the ones who seem to be exited about what they do are redefining things that they do. Warren Buffett. Bill Gates. Steve Jobs. Sachin. Michael Phelps. Name them and you would know that they are the ones that are redefining things that they are doing. They define new paradigms. They change things. They push the human race forward. And more importantly, they know that they are doing it.

And then, correlated it may seem, the thing that they do becomes synonymous with them. Sachin. Batting. Batting. Sachin. Investing. Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett. Investing. So on and so forth.

They dont seem to do it for money. Money comes as a byproduct. They seemed to have spent years honing the art/craft/science. They do what ticks them. They do what they enjoy doing. And by sheer hardwork, they have been able to get so good at it that money has started following them.

And, IMHO, the challenge is not getting good at it. But challenge is to identify it. To understand your "it". Once you know "what", its a matter of "when". I havent been able to identify it as yet. I do have some clues. Do they excite me? Yes, right now, they do. Can I redefine them? I am not sure. Can they define me? I dont know. I am putting together the ingredients for my secret sauce. Mind it, my secret sauce is personal, tastes very different from anyone elses (even different from WEB's, SRT's etc.), satisfies just me and no one else. And most importantly, I relish it. And the best part? Even if I shared the recipe, no one would be able to steal my secret sauce. The taste remains with me.

And that brings me to these three questions. What is your secret sauce? What defines you? What are you redefining?

Review: Avatar


Alert: This is more of a rant than the review.

I just came back from a screening of Avatar. Apparently they spent about 4 years and USD 200 mn on making this movie. And they created software and hardware (cameras et al) specifically for this film. And they had to push the release date so that theaters across the world could install 3d screens. And not to mention the special language and culture that was created for the inhabitants of Pandora.

Avatar probably got more hype than any other movie ever. I have never wanted to watch a film so much. All friends on FB, contacts on twitter and other assorted certified happening people had been raving about it. How could I miss it? And be left out on the impending discussions?

So, coming to the movie, the movie is very long. It seemed like eternity before the intermission came. In one of the scenes, I almost wagered my hair that a rain dance - transparent clothes - romantic song was around the corner. And the movie ended in too much of melodrama.

I do have some questions though. Why is that the hero never dies? Why is that the good always wins? Why is that the hero gets the bet weapons and hottest girl? And finally, towards the end, they allow couple of humans to stay back. Both are men. I wonder ...

Amazing ideas. Brilliant execution. Only thing that lacked was the story and the screenplay. Every kid knows that in the battle between good and evil, good always wins. Even before the movie ended, you could predict that good would win. The predictable could have been made unpredictable but it was too predictable. I could predict the predictable predictable. And that my friends, is a grammatically correct sentence.

In the end, is the movie worth watching? It is. For the colors, images, imagination. Is the movie great? No. Could they have spent those 200 mn dollars and 4 year better? Definitely Yes.

And the best part? Dinner at McDonalds and drive back home!

Wishlist for 2010

Apart from Money, Travel, Peace and Happyness, there are few things that I really want to acquire/buy/steal/own/use in 2010.
  • A dictaphone. There are times when I want to take notes. And more than using a paper and a pen, I want to speak them out. Like when I am riding @sgElectra. Or may be when I am about to sleep. A dictaphone can come in handy for all these occasions.
  • An Urdu/Hindi/English Pocket dictionary. I so want to learn new words in all these three languages. Wish there was a tool available (apart from wordlists and all that). A good dictionary is one of those few solutions that I have been able to think of. Anything else?
  • A point and click basic camera. I really want to revive my photoblog. I know I can click good pictures. I have an eye for interestingness. And at times things that I find interesting catch attention of others. I had a Canon A 75 but its almost dead. Need to buy another one.
  • An ebook reader. A Kindle perhaps? May be, may be not. I like reading in my free time and an ebok reader saves me weight and time.
  • A bag. To carry all of the above.
These things are more functional than lifestyle. More to do with randomness and mental masturbation.

What is Therapeutic?

And you know what I find therapeutic? when you are in your car and there is a thin layer of dust on the windscreen, you spray water on the screen and the vipers clean that thin layer of dust. that my friends is therapeutic!

Written originally as a reply to a friends' email.

Looking forward...

Next few days would be exciting. Things are happening. I can feel it. Something is just around the corner. No, not THE JATC. Wahan to Keera rehta hai. I mean bas kuch hone wala hai. Kuch bada. Something that will make me happy. I dont know if its work, or that new secret project, or the NR/NS, or the the planned rides on @sgElectra, or the upcoming Mumbai trip, or something that I dont know yet.

I am looking forward to ...

to couple of new assignments that are falling in place, hopefully they do
to the see documentary that I am downloading right now
to the upcoming Mumbai trip, either late this Dec, or early Jan
to the new secret project with Dhoomketu and Byomkesh
to riding sgElectra with kAgE and kgElectra, after we get the machines serviced on Monday
to the gym that I have shortlisted, havent joined though!

to 2010.
to a new life.

Quotes from Shawshank Redemption

Finally I saw it. And yes I like it. Here are few quotes that I loved.

Dufrense to Red, in the letter
Dear Red, If you're reading this, you've gotten out. And if you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further. You remember the name of the town, don't you? I could use a good man to help me get my project on wheels. I'll keep an eye out for you and the chessboard ready. Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Your friend, Andy.

Red on Dufrense's escape
I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright and when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice, but still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone.

Red after reading the letter
I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

Dufresne on Music
Forget that... there are places in this world that aren't made out of stone. That there's something inside... that they can't get to, that they can't touch. That's yours.

Copied liberally from wikiquote and IMDB. BTW did you know IMDB was owned by Amazon?

And like Dufresne I like to have projects. I do have one right now.

Its over.

Its over. Finally. Look forward to the next.

And as a result of all that travel in last few days, few trivialities/random facts/obscure truths/pieces of fiction/stories worth talking about are ...
  • Hrithik Rosan with a H is now the Provouge ambassador. What happened to FardeenSonofFeroz Khan? Suddenly Provouge is not as oppressive a brand it used to be with Mr. Minor Khan.
  • No more long queues at the Gurgaon Toll Road. Average Waiting Time is less than 2 mins.
  • People who are big, who want to be big and who are almost big like names. They throw names at the drop of the hat. Its amazing how to they know every other famous man. More surprising is how everyone seems to be a close friend.
  • Yet again I was thinking who has been most influential on my impressionable mind. Apart from Raj, its AnathEma. Ya you.
  • I finally submitted my application to
  • I have made 4 trips to Shipra Mall in last 5 days. Thats more than all my other trips combined. Blame it on the real people and the nose ring I spoke about in the last post. And, good thing, I found a short cut. Its 5 KMs lesser than the usual route. Nice. Save fuel.
  • Copenhagen is proving to be a hogwash. I made this video for a contest by Oxfam. Thanks to J for his idea and his handwriting.
  • Airtel's customer service sucks. And it does badly. They are incompetent. They cant understand simple things. If I had an alternative, I would never pay them anything.
  • My fav youtube video is this. This was shot in Vashi with a Nokia e51. Me, Gawri and Jeetu/Gandhi were returning after an all night pool party and hunting for food. I miss Mumbai and Vashi. I hate to admit this but I do. And I miss people more than the place. I miss the independence and freedom. Wonder what makes people in jails tick. What would be going through Dufresne's mind for all those 20 years in Shawshank? And come to think of it, I dont mind being at Zihuatanejo.
  • Its Monu's birthday on 18th. Gandhi's on 20th. None of the two will ever read the blog.
  • I opened my bookcase after ages and I realized that there are more unread books in it than the read ones. And I dont know the books that were stacked behind the books that were stacked in front of the books that were stacked behind the ones that are stacked in front of ... English can be funny if you abuse it ;P
  • Last few days, every morning, I listen to Hey Bhagwan by Raghu Dixit. And then I listen to my playist. The top five tracks sored by playcount on my iTunes are Sweet Home Alabama, Kadi To Has Bole Ve, Bittersweet Symphony, When You Say Nothing At All, No Man Will Ever Love You.
  • I saw The Recruit. Nice movie. Al Pachino is awesome.
  • And I realized I am making my life public, one blog post at a time. And to do things differently, I have thought of a way. If you are meant to be reading what I have thought, you would be invited. If you are not, you will not see any change. Change is a funny thing. Its moving all the time and yet there are some people who refuse to acknowledge it.
  • And in the end, family run businesses are nice for families that run them. Apart from that, they suck big time.
Aaj kay samachar yahin samapt hue.

Detox!

Move to Delhi has been a roller coaster ride. There have been ups and downs (actually more ups than downs). Anyways, so all this while I have tried to juggle so many things at the same time. And as a result, I was perpetually short of time. So much so that I dint have time to eat. I was eating my meals in the car, en route to meetings/classes etc. I was always cribbing. I was unhappy. I was dissatisfied. I was hungry. And funny thing was that, unhappier I got, more unhappy I wanted to be.

Come to think of it, last three years have been funny. Every single day (except for those ten days of Viapssana), I have lived a life where hyper-connectivity is as important as breathing. My daily routine would include reading those 700 or so sources on my Google Reader, reading 4 newspapers cover to cover (excluding Delhi Times, Brunch, Lounge etc. and including classifieds), tracking my 500 or so “friends” and their lives on FB and twitter.

But for a change, last few days, somehow, I have lived in the real world. I spent time with REAL people. The ones I could touch. The ones I could have the company of. The ones I could debate, argue and share gyaan with.

I watched few movies on television (Seven, Leon, Wanted, Shawshank Redemption). I attended a concert (The Raghu Dixit Project – loved them. They are now my new favorite band. After Faridkot). I gave gyaan to a kid (Hope it helps him. He is as lost as I am. Just that he is 21). I spoke about myself to friends without the fear of being judged (no comments on this one). I met a stranger and fell in love with her nose ring (Havent heard from her after that meeting :|). I slept peacefully (for hours). I re-read bits of English August (and loved it as much I loved it when I read it the first time). I read Then We Came To The End. I started playing pool again (though I suck at it). And I drove my car (at least 2000 KMs in last 5 months) . And I dint ride my bike all this while (poor thing).

In short, I did not do things that I typically do. I did not chase things that I normally chase. I was not bothered about what others were doing in life (and how rich they were getting while I was/am stuck figuring out what to do). I was not living the borrowed life.

And for some reason I have that peace of mind that I have always craved for. Wonder how. May be I am happy when I am doing things at my own pace? May be I am happy when I am not thinking? May be I am happy when I am occupied?

I know I dont have the money. I know am not rich. I know I am not getting anywhere with this. I know this wont last forever but I am truly living in the moment. I am enjoying this bit. Does this mean that I stop chasing success/money/fame/happiness? Does this mean all these 27 years that I spent, chasing interestingness were a waste? I dont know. And I am ok with this ambiguity. Lets go with the flow. And when you know that the time it right, turn it. I like playing the armchair activist.

And in between, I realized that people make me happy. I have this pressing need to have people around me. And not just anyone but they should be special. I should be proud of the fact that they are my friends. The ones who allow me to be what I want to be. I ones who dont ask me questions. The ones who don't expect any answers. The ones who back me up when I need them. The ones who trust me. The ones who are good at heart. The one who allow me to drive their cars (I want to believe that I am an awesome driver btw).

Someone said, ignorants are the most blessed. Last few days I have largely been ignorant. Ignorant of life, so called news (Google and the new search features - I mean why the fuck was I even tracking that in the first place?), happenings (again, why do I want to make an event a corner-piece of my life?), socialite gossip (that girl on twitter is a known attention hog - I mean fine, its her life, let her hog onto anything she wants to. How does it affect me? Why do I want to know about it? What would I do if I know about it?) and other updates. I did not bother myself with any of that.

I wonder why and when did I start chasing these things? And as a result I made myself unhappy. I am sure these things made me feel "connected". I felt I knew the pulse of the world (by reading some 1000 news/views/articles/blogs everyday, by following some 500 strangers on twitter and by tracking status updates of people on FB etc). It was like reading 500 novels at the same time. I could draw family/friends trees for all these 500 people. All of them as temporary as that blip on the radar. I think keeping track of strangers on social network reflects few basic human needs. Of eavesdropping. Of belonging. And its like reading fiction. 500 books at a time. Or watching a large movie (The Truman Show or Life: a Users Manual anyone?) where each character comes with a story and is somehow related. Is this the essence of all this social media hoopla? But what about all those great men and women who apparently are creating a fortune for themselves and their clients in the process? Where people, human beings are treated as mere numbers?

And the worst bit is that to be able to track these seemingly important things, I was ignoring myself. And why? Because I "had" to keep a tab. How could I? That was so mean and selfish. I should have divorced myself years ago ;P

Anyways, next few days, before I enter 2010, I am going to decide on few things that I will do in next few years. I have some clarity on what moves me, what excites me and what would keep me happy. The easy part would be to put it on paper. The tough part, would be to actually live it.

Application for Bakarland

Suna hai ki aaj kal Govt. of India is being very generous with giving out new states. It is a great victory for Telangana. And now lets wait for Purvanchal, Garhwal, Gorkhaland, Jaatland and all the other states.

It would be awesome to see the country divided into 1000 states. Each asking for autonomy. Each fighting for control. Each wanting to be better than others. Each trying to grow bigger. And thus fighting with each other. And this is good only. After all more we fight, more oied the machinery would be. And better we would be equipped to prevent ourselves from terror strikes from outside. Ghar main to jo bhi ladai hogi we can tackle them. After all bhai bhai sey nahin ladega to kissay ladega.

We dont need to look at future. Lets go back to the times when India was a nation of princely states. That was so cool. Everyone would have large quilas and hamams and their own forces to prevent invasion. Lets get back to those anarchic times. Rich would get richer. Poor will get poorer. Lets do it. Lets file application for our own states. I want a state and I want to call it Bakarland. I already have few people agreeing to it. I want to start a petition on one of those websites and create campaigns on FB, twitter etc.

Lekin what about all the problems that new states would create? The geography books are going to be so heavy. Thicker than the bible. I cant even imagine the hard time that class 5 students would have remembering the number of states (leave alone capitals and their chief ministers) that India has. I myself dont know. Last count it was 28. Or was it 29? What about the ones who make those maps? We would have new maps every month. Nice. I remember as a kid I used to buy political and geographical maps of India. For 50 paise each. We were given assignments to mark rivers and states and I always used to get them right. I knew where was which river and I knew names of all seven sisters. Right now I can only think of Arunachal, Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur. It sucks. There are 3 more states and I dont even know their names. And then imagine how easy it would be for people to play that Name Place Animal Thing with so many new places to think of. And then we would have Bakarland Navnirman Sena. We would fight for every one interested in Bakar. We would take out processions and seek reservations in companies for Bakarians.

Possibilities are endless. Lets fight for our rights. Lets stand united for the cause Together we can. Together we will. Reminds me of Suhaib Illyasi's India's most wanted!

And while writing this, I was listening to Harivansh Rai Bachchan's Madhushala. And uncanny how I was on these lines ...
musalamaan aur hindoo hai do, ek magar unkaa pyala,
ek magar unkaa madiralay ek magar unkii hala,
donon rahate ek n jab tak masjid mandir main jaate,
bair badaate masjid mandir, mel karaatii madhushala!

What sucks more?

The fact that you know that she still loves you?

OR

The fact that she knows that you know that she still loves you?

OR

The fact that you know that she knows that you know that she still loves you?

CTU Ringtone

And finally I took the CTU Ringtone from KG. I love the tone so much that ever since I put it as my SMS alert tone, I have been sending random messages to people, hoping that they would return the favour.




Download your beeps from here or here.

Juvenile. And wicked. And cool.

I want out.

Right now.

Phase 1, 2 and 3

NOTE: After my last post, Couple of people asked me to repost this. Here is the post. Verbatim. Havent changed anything.

When you are on a trip, there are three phases that you go through. More mental than physical, these phases are what it makes riding so special.

So Phase 1 is when you have just started the trip and you are dreaming of all the good things that you would go through during the course of the ride. You already start dreaming of time when your thoughts are racing ahead of your bike that fast that your mind becomes numb, the road blurs and the roar of the bike is no longer there. The bike becomes a part of your body and its sound, your heartbeat. You can feel it. You can feel it coming. You are anticipating for the happy times.

Phase 2 is the actual state of bliss. The state that you dream of when you just set out to ride. This phase lasts just about few minutes before you are interrupted but these minutes are something that make the entire ordeal worth it. Some might want to compare this pleasure with orgasm. This is the time when your thoughts actually start to flow. This is that mental state that all the sages try to achieve. The state when they say they have attained nirvana. When everything else ceases to matter. Everything is put on hold. You ignore everything. All things big and all things small. You live in the now. You become part of it. You are now. You don’t make any grandiose plans. Things become clear. Clouds start parting.

And then the Phase 3. It’s like coming back from heaven. Or from hell for that matter. This is the time when you start thinking what to do next. About the next destination and the next journey. This is when you start reflecting on things. And most of your introspection happens. This is where you think about things that you are running away from and things that you are running towards. This is where you decide you want to change jobs, marry her, create a company, get rich, quit, restart, change world. This is where you actually plan it. First. Thoughts just pop up. You never thought you would think about those things. You never imagined you could think about those things. They suddenly appear out of nowhere.

That’s a different story that most of them are gone by the time the dust settles down. Some people do get lucky. They remember what they have been thinking about. What they need to do once they are back.

About me, I am about 2 rides old. Both of them less than 100 Kms. And I cant even imagine the joy and pain of an overnight ride. What would motivate someone to ride an entire day, sleep with a stiff back and get up next morning to go through the ordeal all over again. And with no one around to boast about this ride. No certificates to show. No titles to chase or defend. The entire idea looks anti-civilization to me. Weren't we suppose to settle down? Weren’t we supposed to be a part of a never-ending rat race? Weren't we supposed to slog and slog till one day when we realize we are 80 and we did everything but know ourselves better? And come to think of it, why exactly would one want to know himself better?

Most riders, including myself don’t think all this when they plan a ride. They just do it. They just want to get away. They want to run. They want to see places. They want to explore. Each trip brings with itself its own set of discoveries. And each trip creates its own set of memories.

Like this Rabbi Shergill song … “jaddon na kujh agge disse tahiyon bandaa vekhe picche”. Literally translated, “When you can’t see ahead, that is when you think about your past”.

I read somewhere that us humans work towards only one thing – that we would be missed when we are not around. I think everyone is trying to be immortal. We are trying not to die. We are trying to stay here forever. The rides are probably a step closer to that ever-elusive immortality. Some get it, when they are riding. And some unlucky ones don’t. The lucky ones get their bragging rights. And unlucky ones, get to ride another ride. Not much to chose between the two if you ask me.

We live our lives trying to be someone we are not. We look at all the wonderful things around us and suddenly we think we are supermen. We can do everything that everyone else is doing. And excel at it. And compete with people who have spent their lives working towards getting just a slight edge over you. We are not born with biking in our DNA. We grow up and along the way see someone or experience something that tilts our needles towards biking. I think, like all the trips, this post needs to be left hanging in air. In anticipation.

Of what?
I don't know. Yet.

Ten Minutes

I wrote this while going for a meeting to Faridabad (some 35 KMs from where I stay). I was driving in my dad's car and like always, had put on a CD with my favorite music on it.

First ten mins. OMG. Its very far. Next ten. Nice music. Next ten. Yawn, bored of listening to the same music again and again. Next ten you curse the traffic. Wonder why you dint notice the traffic all this while. Next ten you realize its close to an hour since you started. And you are surprised that you managed to kill yet another hour of your life while driving. And you never realized it. And next ten, you dread the next thirty or so minutes that you will take to reach your destination.


Compare this to this post I wrote on three phases that you go through while you are biking.

Late Night Shifts

Love working at nights. No phone calls. No pesky bosses. No door bells. No girlfriends. No traffic. No Aaj Tak. No breaking news. No where to go. Nothing else to do. Work. And bliss.

While writing this, I was in the middle of composing a long email (to VP and RK), working on a sitemap (for SS), a phone call (from VG) and a session of poker (on FB).

Written at 1:31 AM, Friday, December the 4th, 2009.

Then We Came To The End


Joshua, in his painfully funny book, Then we came to the end, says
Some people would never forget certain people, a few people would remember everyone, and most of us would mostly be forgotten.

How true. The quote.

Links

84 Fucking Lakhs


This day on, my blog will start featuring adult content. Reader discretion advised. If you think am getting offensive with what I write, please move on.

I am pissed. Very pissed. Furious. Raged. And all those adjectives that the creators of English language created to express an emotion of extreme anger, frustration and helplessness. I am all of that. And more. More than words can express. More that I can put in shape of words. Wish I could write better.

And why is that I am all of the above? Because I just came back from a wedding where the groom was "gifted" a BMW. From what I heard, the car is about 84 lakhs INR in Delhi. Can you believe it? 84 lakhs? A gift. I dint even know a car could cost that much. Not even in my dreams.

I thought people like that only existed on Page 3s. And if they were for real, they had to be bollywood stars, cricketers and/or politicians. But now I officially know a guy, firsthand, who has received a preposterous amount as gift. For his wedding.

I have always know that world is unfair but it suddenly looks lot more depressing. The battle with myself look pointless. The reason to exist and go though all the agony look pointless. All the effort that I am putting in, all those things that I am doing, all the flak that I have been taking from friends, family, neighbors etc seems going down the drain. All the promises I made to myself look like mirages.

Imagine there are some people, that have enough free cash to be able to gift their daughters 84 lakhs. I am not even talking about other expenses that a wedding entails. Fuuck!!!

In my 27 years, my total earnings, ever, collectively is less than half of that. And I am an MBA from one of the top ten BSchools in India. Come to think of it me, my dad, my sis put together do not make that kind of money.

How the fuck am I supposed to compete with people who have all the money to do what they want to do? I couldn't launch a business for want of bloody 10, 000 rupees. 84 lakhs is 8400 ten thousands. This dude can launch 8400 of these businesses before I even dream.

And if I asked that guy to make that much money without using any influence, power, contacts, friends, how many years, wait, how many lives would he need to reach a tenth of that amount? O, this is debateable. Forget this line. But its unreal the kind of opulence that some people live in.

How did guys like Dhirubhai Ambani manage things? How? Some divine intervention? May be. Mera kya hoga? Suddenly I am worried. And how.

Life suddenly looks so so unfair and so meaningless. Why the fuck am I even trying? fuck. One of those days I guess ...

Initially written on 3rd Dec 2009. Gave myself a break of few day before posting this to be able to look at things rationally. But more I think about it, more sick I get.

Sweet Home Alabama

One of those night outs with guys from MML, MDI introduced me to Lynyrd Skynyrd (wiki) and Sweet Home Alabama (wiki). Awesome song. Pure bliss. Here is a video.



And after thoughts, I think I went into a mini-depression when I read that the lyricist and the lead singer died in a plane crash. And they crashed because they ran out of fuel. I mean WTF !! He was all of 29.

All items (1000+)


All items (1000 +) is what Google Reader tells me when I have more than 1000 items that I haven't read.

I use Google Reader to track news, blogs, friends, updates et al. I am subscribed to 465 sources (blogs, magazines, websites etc), divided in 66 categories (or tags, folders). Whoa! Till the time I was with CLA, it was all fine. I could read as many items as the reader would have because I had that disciple of sitting in office for 8 hours and I could read at my convenience.

Ever since I moved out, things have been different. I spend most of my time meeting people and traveling. And this leaves me with very limited time to spend online. And as a result the time I spend on Google Reader has also reduced proportionately. Like few days ago I was cribbing on twitter that my Google Reader has more than 1000 unread items. Today, morning I was surprised to see yet another update with 1000+ unread items. Wish there was a job that required me to gather, categorize and collate all this info.

And coming back, I think I need to trim down my reading lists. Why so many? I believe I should not miss out on any news. Information after all is the edge. I need to be able to know things happening around me, to be able to harness em.

All said and one, there is no way I can keep doing this for very long. I need to trim the lists.

Acer = Awesomeness

Kunal and me Cyntax were looking for cheap laptops. He had killed his desktop with all the overclocking and CS kills. My Thinkpad finally died on me after 4 years of painful struggle. And since we dont have a lot of money, we were looking for cheap machines that would work for next year or so. After some bit of research, we settled on Acer 5738. It cost us about INR 32 000 each. Bought two machines from Nehru Place.

Very very happy with the purchase. Its got 4 gigs of RAM. More than enough to run CS and Q3. And obviously it can run *other* software. The keypad is awesome. As good as Macbook's. Added feature is the Numpad. Helps while working with spreadsheets. Has 4 USB ports. I can now connect my pendrive, external hard drive and a mouse at the same time. Then the sound quality is super awesome. Has got 8 channel output. Coupled with my Sennheiser (love their logo) earplugs, its awesomeness. Right now I am listening to Sweet Home Alabama.

So, coming back to Acer, as life has it, my machine had some manufacturing defect. I was told to contact Acer support call center. The staff their was knowledgeable, courteous and was able to give a solution quickly. I was asked to visit the Acer service center to get the part replaced. Even at this franchised service center, staff understood the problem fast. They gave me a deadline and delivered by that date. In fact I picked the machine after business hours and they dint mind that at all. They dint create any fuss and bent to help me with the machine.

This is a typical case where I had not expected a brand to perform and it surprised me with its performance, customer service, willingness to understand a customer's view point, deadlines and host of other things.

I would recommend Acer to anyone any given day. Thumbs Up guys. Other companies ought to learn from Acer.

I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure.

From @aparnaandhare
I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.
Marilyn Monroe

I (too) have (had) a dream

THIS IS A REAL STORY. Of a dream I saw. Yesterday night.

I am in a building attending some talk or something and suddenly a guy comes and whispers in the ears of someone important. Like they do in President's ears in most movies. And since I observe people, I understand that something is wrong. And then someone announces that we have been surrounded by terrorists. I guess (in the dream) that they might take us hostage but I get this feeling that I am going to die. I check out. There are two escape routes. I peek through the window on the left. I see one guy dressed in a pathan suit (images) and crouched near the wall of the courtyard. Yes there was a courtyard. And a wall. And yes I get these many details in my dreams. I get vivid dreams. (Not that vivid). So I see that there is a terrorist. And he was talking to someone on the phone (or was it a walkie-talkie?) and making gestures towards someone on the other side of the wall. I then go and check the other entrance/exit. I dont remember what I see there. And then I realize that I am going to die. I think that what a waste. A life where you promised a lot and ended by a gunshot. Without a warning. Aint that how most lives end? Anyways so once I realize I was going to die, I try to find places to hide (yes first thoughts were to find places to hide). I also think about possibilities of locking the building down. I also think of ways to control the people there and use their help to save ourselves. Now that I am writing, somehow the thought of calling for help dint come that time!. And then, I have no clue what happened. Next thing I remember is my cellphone buzzing and showing that its 5:30 AM and time to get up!

Thats it. Short and simple. Sans climax. Any interpretations?

Aaj Pehli Tareekh Hai

Nov 01, 2009.

In an ideal world, today would have been day 1 of a new month. And would have meant, amongst other things, salary. Ok, if not salary, the hopes of getting one (my salary usually came in the beginning of the second week). Salary meant that bank balance would be back to respectable levels (which IMHO is subjective). And that would mean midnight buffets with friends at five stars (and an opportunity to ogle at pseudo-celebrities, act rich and snobbish). And would mean a new gadget (that I would use for exactly four days. Ask my iPod, PSP, Kalieodoscope, Rubik's Cube, Dominoes, Juggling Balls etc.). And would mean a new pair of jeans/sneakers/tees etc (and bragging points for redefining desi "coolness"). And would mean plans to travel to yet another place (and once in a while those plans did work and me and Neo explored places, mountains, rivers, roads, people, ourselves) . And it would mean decisions of investing whatever is left in some penny stock (hoping that that might go up by 500% in one week and dreaming the vicious cycle of dreams). And it would initiate those conversations where you compared your paycheck with your classmates and colleagues (and you discovered that you earned the least among the lot).

Sigh! those were the days.

Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan

Another lyrics. After ages. Goosebumps material. From Chak De India (IMDB, wiki).
Teeja Tera Rang Tha Main To (2)
Jiya Tere Dhang Se Main To
Tu Hi Tha Maula, Tu Hi Aan
Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan (2)

Teeja Tera Rang Tha Main To (2)
Jiya Tere Dhang Se Main To
Tu Hi Tha Maula, Tu Hi Aan
Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan (2)

Tere Sang Kheli Holi
Tere Sang Thi Diwali
Tere Anganon Ki Chhaya
Tere Sang Sawan Aaya
Pher Le Tu Chahe Nazaren Chahe Chura Le
Laut Ke Tu Aayega Re Shart Laga Le

Teeja Tera Rang Tha Main To (2)
Jiya Tere Dhang Se Main To
Tu Hi Tha Maula, Tu Hi Aan
Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan (2)

Mitti Meri Bhi Guhi
Wohi Mere Ghee Aur Churi
Wohi Ranjhe Mere Wohi Heer
Wohi Sevaiyyan Wohi Kheer
Tujh Se Hi Rooth Na Re Tujhe Hi Manana
Tere Mera Naata Koi Dooja Na Jaana

Teeja Tera Rang Tha Main To (2)
Jiya Tere Dhang Se Main To
Tu Hi Tha Maula, Tu Hi Aan
Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan (4)

I would consider myself lucky if I could ever write something like this!

Credits: Copied lyrics from Chandani's youtube video.

RIP David Shepard

David Shepard, one of those few umpires who I still remember from the time I was a fan of the game.

You would be missed.

Bash

I bashed my car. Two time in two days. It sucks. Not the dents on the car but the thought that I cant drive it well enough to keep it on the road. And I hate the feeling.

And now I am being irrational. I am thinking maybe I don't deserve to drive. Maybe I am cursed. I am talking like superstitious person. I am tempted to pray to Vishwakara everytime before I touch my steering wheel. Blah.

Poor Santro. I treat her as a step child ever since @sgElectra happened to me.

Anyways, next time on, shall be careful.

Escape Perfectionism

Thanks to HN, I got link to this great post on the Harvard Business blog. Extracting a quote from there ...
Perfectionists have a hard time starting things and an even harder time finishing them. At the beginning, it's they who aren't ready. At the end, it's their product that's not. So either they don't start the screenplay or it sits in their drawer for ten years because they don't want to show it to anyone.

But the world doesn't reward perfection. It rewards productivity. And productivity can only be achieved through imperfection. Make a decision. Follow through. Learn from the outcome. Repeat over and over and over again. It's the scientific method of trial and error. Only by wading through the imperfect can we begin to achieve glimpses of the perfect.

Am not sure if the tips in the blog work but I could relate the note to my personal experience. Am sure many more would be able to. It took me three years to resign from a day job and start working for myself. All this because I was trying to put everything in place before I took the leap. I dint realize that I can never put everything in place without knowing what to put in place. Feedback loop (+ and -) you see. I was trying not to fail. And as a result, I wasn't even trying.

Any more people trapped in the "perfection" loop, please read the complete blog post. And resign and start up! Remember that shoe company that asks us to just do it?

Crossposted on Cyntax Blog

Bitter Sweet Symphony

Cos its a bitter sweet symphony .. this life.

Love this song. Here are the lyrics and vid ..



Lyrics
'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony this life
Trying to make ends meet, you're a slave to the money then you die
I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places where all the veins meet, yeah
No change, I can't change, I can't change, I can't change,
but I'm here in my mold , I am here in my mold
But I'm a million different people from one day to the next
I can't change my mold, no, no, no, no, no

Well, I've never prayed,
But tonight I'm on my knees, yeah
I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me, yeah
I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind , I feel free now
But the airwaves are clean and there's nobody singing to me now

No change, I can't change, I can't change, I can't change,
but I'm here in my mold , I am here with my mold
And I'm a million different people from one day to the next
I can't change my mold, no, no, no, no, no

(Well have you ever been down?)
(I can't change, I can't change...)
(Ooooohhhhh...)

'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony this life
Trying to make ends meet, trying to find some money then you die
I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places where all the veins meet, yeah
You know I can't change, I can't change, I can't change,
but I'm here in my mold, I am here in my mold
And I'm a million different people from one day to the next
I can't change my mold, no,no,no,no,no
I can't change my mold, no,no,no,no,no
I can't change my mold, no,no,no,no,no

(It justs sex and violence melody and silence)
(It justs sex and violence melody and silence)
(I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down)
(It justs sex and violence melody and silence)
(I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down)
(Been down)
(Ever been down)
(Ever been down)(Lalalalalalaaaaaaaa...)
(Ever been down)
(Ever been down)
(Have you ever been down?)
(Have you ever been down?)
(Have you ever been down?)

Lyrics from Lyrics 007.

Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera

Everytime I hear Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera, from Swades, my heart gets heavy. I want to escape. Go travel. Chuck everything behind. Move on. Do something.



Wishful thinking.

Crib Crib Crib Contd

Crib Alert: Higher. Read at your own risk.

Continuing with the previous rant, next on agenda is the society of mutual admiration. I have spoken about this earlier as well. Its funny how it is self propagating till the egos reach an astronomical proportion. Initially cooperating and then eventually competing with each other. Right now, from what I can see, that transition from cooperating to competing has begun. And the games would get only interesting.

Next up is affinity to the Fourth Estate. All the experts, on the Internet, off the Internet, in our minds, in their minds are on one hand proclaiming that they are not here to get famous. And on the other hand, everyone wants their 15 seconds of fame. Even if those 15 seconds are buried on the nineteenth page in the bottom corner in microscopic font, it shall be put highest on the long list of similar achievements.

Achievements is yet another aspect. I have met people who have started three companies and hence they are experts on starting up. All three had to shut down is a different story. Then I have met people who have been blogging for 8 years now and hence they are India's first bloggers. Then I met this girl who is an awesome public speaker and her claim to fame is that she manages a school for the underprivileged. And this in her opinion makes her an authority on NGOs in India. If someone asked her where do NGOs file their returns, she would not know as she is not a "business person". Then my best friend is a property dealer in Greater NOIDA and hes been doing it for about 11 years now. And he thinks he is the next KP Singh. There are plenty of such examples. Reminds me of that book, Extraordinary popular delusions. In this case, they are not really popular delusions, but, personal ones. If Mr. MacKay was alive, I would have pleaded him to write a version.

Last agenda on this long rant is lack of opportunities to broaden my horizon that universities and companies in the west provide in abundance. For us Indians, education is something that you get over with in one stretch (typically end with a MBA, MCA, MTECH, MD etc). And then you start working. Studying for few years, taking a break, working, traveling, cooing back to study et al are alien concepts. If you are 27 and you did your MBA three years ago, sitting at home to figure out your next career step is nothing less than a cardinal sin that even a dip in holy Ganges might not help. One might argue there are people who are doing it now. But what percentage of the population? And why? This is a different tangent all together. Lets not go there.

Coming back, so once I start working, its an absolute no-no to stop, identify/learn/develop a new skill and change your industry etc. Even if I want to remain in the "industry" I am in (we don't look at life and work as separate entities), advancement means promotion. Thats it. We don't care if we advance the industry/profession or contribute something to it. All we want to do is reach the next level, faster than our peers. After all if pados kay sharmaji ka beta is a National Sales Manager at 28, there is no way I can be just a Regional Sales Manager. Universities here shrug you off moment they confer the degree/diploma on you. Universities abroad offer an environment where you can grow. Where you contribute. Where you learn even after you have been awarded that diploma.

Again, have to cut it short. Probably a part three might come soon. Like Moby asked, why does my heart, feel so bad?

Crib Crib Crib

Crib Alert: High. Proceed with caution.

Every person I meet in Delhi, or met in Mumbai while I was there, they start by asking a question. What do you do? And basis of that answer, they would create a character sketch for me and decide how open/close they would be with me while discussing things. So, when I was part of Creativeland Asia, it was far easier to get access to people and their thoughts. I would say that I belong to KM function at CLA and people would be falling head over heals to spill out even their bedroom secrets. Now that I am running Cyntax when I actually say that I am running a small web design business, they shun me out. They even take their websites offline, lest I read em!

I don't understand. Why is it not acceptable to people if you are confused? Or directionless? Or fickle-minded? Or chase dreams? Or have that poetic Bawra Man? I mean its my life. As long as I can deliver what I am promising, why cant they accept me being fickle? Dint these same people yell out in appreciation when Steve asked us to Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish? Or it is that they preach something and practice something else?

I was being a vegetable in my previous job and people thought I was the best thing to have happened to intellectual world since Dilbert!. And now that when I am actually thinking and trying to do interesting stuff, no one sees the pattern in chaos and I am dismissed as one of those million other mom and pop web designers who would work for cheap. GUYS, FOR CHRIST SAKE I AM NOT GOING TO REMAIN A WEB DESIGNER FOR REST OF MY LIFE. ITS A STOP-GAP ARRANGEMENT.

Coming onto the second issue at hand. Prestige. I mean what is it with people on the Internet and their egos? Why cant they for once talk without being diplomatic/political as if I issued them a Miranda ("Anything you say, can or will be used against you in a court of law .. ") before we agreed to speak? They want to be in good books of everyone they meet. I mean that is fine but if you keep doing that then you would some day hit a dead end. No advancements happened in the world when things were in accord. If everyone is content and praising everyone, you promote mediocrity. You return to the mean. You become average.

And what prestige are we talking about here folks? By definition, prestige is what other people think of you. And then not-by-definition, people think of you as something/someone, they say something else (read second issue above) when they meet you, they say something else when they dint meet you, do something else and in effect, something else happens. If I could summarize, prestige is what you think you have created in other people's mind and more often than not, it would not be what you wanted to create.

Guruji says and I concur, everything is temporary, Anichaya. You either move first and fast. Or you perish. (Darwin?). These people need to understand that till the time they hear negative feedback, they cant move ahead. Start accepting things guys. Take criticism well and improve.

Somethings wrong with me or what? Sigh. Waiting for Sweet November (imdb).

P.S.: This is not over. I need to rush for a client meeting. Will come back and add more ;P

5th guy got hitched!

My last post yesterday, where I spoke about 4 guys getting married in last one month, just got the news that my roomie from MDI is getting married. And wedding is happening in a month.

DUDE!! WTF is wrong with the world!!!

Wisdom of Ravana

From Dev's blog
The story goes that after firing the fatal arrow on the battlefield of Lanka, Ram told his brother, Lakshman, "Go to Ravan quickly before he dies and request him to share whatever knowledge he can. A brute he may be, but he is also a great scholar." The obedient Lakshman rushed across the battlefield to Ravan’s side and whispered in his ears, "Demon-king, do not let your knowledge die with you. Share it with us and wash away your sins." Ravan responded by simply turning away. An angry Lakshman went back to Ram, "He is as arrogant as he always was, too proud to share anything." Ram comforted his brother and asked him softly, "Where did you stand while asking Ravan for knowledge?" "Next to his head so that I hear what he had to say clearly." Ram smiled, placed his bow on the ground and walked to where Ravan lay. Lakshman watched in astonishment as his divine brother knelt at Ravan’s feet. With palms joined, with extreme humility, Ram said, "Lord of Lanka, you abducted my wife, a terrible crime for which I have been forced to punish you. Now, you are no more my enemy. I bow to you and request you to share your wisdom with me. Please do that for if you die without doing so, all your wisdom will be lost forever to the world." To Lakshman’s surprise, Ravan opened his eyes and raised his arms to salute Ram, "If only I had more time as your teacher than as your enemy. Standing at my feet as a student should, unlike your rude younger brother, you are a worthy recipient of my knowledge. I have very little time so I cannot share much but let me tell you one important lesson I have learnt in my life. Things that are bad for you seduce you easily; you run towards them impatiently. But things are actually good for you fail to attract you; you shun them creatively, finding powerful excuses to justify your procrastination. That is why I was impatient to abduct Sita but avoided meeting you. This is the wisdom of my life, Ram. My last words. I give it to you." With these words, Ravan died.
Nice.

Another one bites the dust

Yet another friend got engaged. This one is fourth in last one month alone to get hitched. And the funniest is that these are arranged marriages*. Guys who I thought weren't capable of tolerating any "arranged" arrangement!.

By the speed which they are falling, I think, very soon, I would be the last man standing.

Scary. Any company anyone?

*India has this concept of arranged marriages where parents of the guy/girl find a suitable match for you and you meet each other once/twice and get married.

Back from Vipassana

I am back. I went for Vipassana. I did a ten day course under the guidance of SN Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin at Dhamma Sota (map) and I loved every bit of it. I have never come across anything as professional, motivational and grounded in science as the course.

Thanks to Goenka Ji for Vipassana Meditation Centre. I would recommend the 10 day residential course at one of the Dhamma centres (more than 120 centres around the world) to everyone.

Should someone need more info, please write in. Will be more than happy to share details and experiences.

And if I was to summarize my learnings in one sentence, I would say, "This too, shall pass". And if I was to use one word, it is, Anichya (impermanent).

P.S: I cant say I have changed or learnt the art of living but as Goenkaji says, I am on my way of Dhamma.

Gone. With the wind.

??? is going for Gehan Aatmachintan for ten days, starting today. Would have no access to email/phone/sms/twitter/blog till 27th.

Goodbye world.

Cheap Bastard

I am addicted to phone and SMS. Blame it on super cheap tarrif plans that I had access to when I was at MDI and GE Money.

Now that I no longer work for someone else, I have to bear my phone bills myself. And they are killing me. I mean KILLING me. Ever since I left Mumbai, I have paid about 9000 bucks in phone bills. In just about two months. 45 odd days to be precise. And no, I am not exaggerating.

Damn. I dint know working for myself would be this hard :(

Sorry for the rant. Anyways, I my blog is read by bots, SEO experts, comment spammers and myself.

Hi, Poker.

Been some time since I picked a major hobby. Now sounds like a good time. And what better than Poker.

I was first introduced to poker way back in 2005 when I went to a trek with few classmates from MDI. There we met some guys from IIMA and they apparently were big on poker. We played for a while and it seemed interesting. Back from the trek, read bits about it and then lost interest as poker required other players and all.

Fast forward to 2009. Now that I work for myself, I have some bit of free time. And I plan to use this time in picking up a new hobby. Poker sounds like a good one. It teaches you discipline, odds, patientce, respect for competition, history, maths and lots of other things.

Kick started things by downloading these two (1, 2) documentaries on poker and starting this FB group. Any takers anyone?

And if this is a convincing enough a reason, WEB and Bill apparently are kick-ass poker players. May be I get to rub shoulders with them on a green table? :)

Crib crib crib

Sunday mornings. Ideal time to relax, read, watch movies, laze around, eat, get a massage, get my hair cut, sleep etc. Right now, its 10 AM, I have just woken up, already late for office, I can hear my parents watching TV, the phone ringing incessantly, a water bottle by side, and thinking about issues as random as life, the futility of it all, QLC, work, celebrities, silver spoons, people who have it easy,

A Sunday morning rant. At best.

P.S.: I have realized that I do now have a distinct writing style. All I need to do is find some people who like what and the way I write. Then chase a publisher. And then publish a book.

Good Afternoon Prof. Garg

So , it happened. After dreaming about it for years, I finally addressed a room full of students and gave them gyaan. I am aligned with one of the MBA coaching institutes here in Delhi and I am supposed to talk to MBA students about interviews and group discussions.

Today Yesterday was officially my first class. There were 32 students (but when I took attendance, I marked 36 as present :) reminds me of glorious MDI proxies and jokes). I gave them gyaan on group discussions. Most of it was from instructor's notes but I did add my learning over the years. Dint have enough time for their feedback but from what I can judge, they would have liked me. After all, only four people were yawning.

P.S.: Education and Teaching is something I am very keen on and will contribute to.

Competition for Cyntax

So Cyntax is now live. Thought the design is copied right now from a very famous CSS tutorial, we are working on a new one. And the good part (or may be bad part) is that we already are competing with some 6 businesses. I made this post over on the Cyntax blog couple of days ago.

If I told someone that I work with Cyntax, and if they found my pitch interesting, instinctively they would Google/Bing/Yahoo us and dig for more information. I did the same to see what the search engines think of us.

More than what search engines thought of us, I was surprised to know that there are atleast SIX more companies businesses called Cyntax. Yes six. Two of them are tax guys (1, 2), two are web design companies (1, 2), one is a website of a poet and thespian. And then there is a CyntaxGroup as well.

I dint know our choice of name would be this popular. Do you know any more Cyntaxes?

And next up is a post with their logos. BTW we are still looking for a logo for OUR cyntax. Any help?


Common sense and Business sense says that since your name is your identity, it should be unique and rememberable and trademarkable and remarkable and marketable and all the other ables. On the other hand, I argue that even though there are a million people called Saurabh, my identity IS Saurabh and I cant change it. Then why cant I stick on with Cyntax?

And then that guy (Shakespeare) also said,
What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

What do you think?

Dreams


Most of you must be aware of my take on QLC, work, futility of life, thoughts on existence and other such random ramblings. [Side note: I think I should weave them into a book :)]. Thank to Ankit, he pointed to this XKCD marvel.

Introducing Cyntax

Finally Cyntax is live. Took us ten years but we did it. Here is the post I made over at Cyntax blog introducing Cyntax.

It took us 10 years. To finally put those cogs together. And give that final nudge to our giant-wheel.

We first thought about Cyntax sometime in 1999/2000. We have been thinking on it off and on. At play, home and work. Officially and unofficially. Frivolously and seriously. Today, we are on.

We are working on the identity, website and service offerings right now. Keep watching this space for more. Subscribing to our blog feed would be a good idea.

And as always, appreciate all the help. Drop a line here and lets talk :)


I have spoken about Cyntax in the past on this blog. I am very excited about it. Lets see how it evolves. Please spread word and shower us with comments, work, ideas et al.

Everything is invented

From Maira Kalman's brilliant post.

@sgElectra got hurt

sgElectra got raped. I had to courier sgElectra from Mumbai to Delhi since I dint want to leave it alone in Mumbai. I wanted to ride it all the way but my parents dint like the decision. And now after looking at the shape of it, I dont like my parents decision.

From the looks of it, its very bad. I have been able to figure out these things so far ...
  1. The footrest got bent. I will have to hammer it back to get it right.
  2. The front indicators got bent. They cant be repaired. Will have to live without them.
  3. The battery got discharged. I can put some money to buy a battery. Kangali main aata geela.
  4. There is rust all over the bike. Apparently there was leakage while shipping and since it was packed they could not wipe the water. And hence the rust. I dont even know what can be done about it.
  5. The ignition is screwed. The wiring will have to be changed. I am hoping it can be done.
Come to think of it, the bike is just three odd months old and it already has so many scratches and injuries.

Brings me to another lesson. Never ever ship a vehicle. This is my second bike that got screwed while shipping. 2131 met the same fate when it was coming from Chennai to Delhi. It was beyond repair and it was sold without me even knowing it.

Anyways, next time on, I am driving/riding.

Har shaakh pay ulloo baithe hain

My sis sent me this ...
Barbaad chaman ko karne ko, jab ek hi ulloo kaafi hai,
anjaame gulistan kya hoga, har shaakh pay ulloo baithe hain
A teeshirt perhaps?

Love Aaj Kal

I had composed this when I saw the movie. Dated review.

Saw Love Aaj Kal. This is one of the most talked about, awaited movie of the season. Saif Ali Khan's first home production, with Deepika Padukone and directed by Imtiaj Ali (the Jab We Met guy).

And before I move on, please be warned that I will be talking about plot hereafter.

So the story goes like this. Saif Ali Khan (don't remember his onscreen name) is a typical gen-next who falls in and out of love as easily as people change clothes. But for some reason he sticks around with Meera (yes thats what Deepika Padukone is called). Then they have to move to different countries for their work and all. They get into this huge debate about practicality and love. Since both Saif and Meera are educated and think a lot, they decide that they need to part ways. Fair enough. I can relate to it. I have parted ways with someone with similar arguments (because we thought we cant work out things with emotions and if looked at practically, things wont work).

So, Meera moves to India. Saif bumps into Veer Singh (aka Rishi Kapoor). Veer Ji, once upon a time, had fallen into love with one Harleen Kaur (aka who?) at first sight. Ms Kaur moves to Kolkatta, VeerJiloans money, sits in the Punjab-Kolkatta train and follows her there, apparently to have one last look. All this happen and they dont even exchange words except some mush encounters.

Now Veer Ji tells his story to Saif and then a lot of mumbo jumbo later, Saif and Meera get together. And they live happily ever after.

I wish I could critically review the movie (as good as 2s does for mutiny) but since I cant, I can only point at good things and bad things.

Good things to start with
  • Rishi Kapoor
  • Ms. Padukone. She looks stunning in her shaadi outfit.
  • Music. Chor Bazari, Aaj Din Chhadeya are simply awesome. If you cant buy the music and give two hoots to piracy, you might want to download songs from here.
  • Last scene of the movie when Harleen has grown up into Neetu Singh.
And bad things
  • Ms. Padukone cant dance or act.
  • Harleen cant act.
  • There was only one moment that made me laugh. Otherwise humor is drab and flat.
And final rating? 1.5 on 5. And this does not comes from a professional reviewer (if there is a breed like that). I am an armchair activist at best.

And btw I am not sure how Imtiaj Ali wrote our story without meeting us.

Private and/or Public

So, after my last few posts, someone very special asked me what is the merit in having a public blog that anyone can read. What kicks do I get by sharing my life with strangers? I was told that I share things that are very private in nature and yet allow everyone to read them.

I think blogging helps me. It helps me put structure to my thoughts. I helps me take a stock of situations. I helps me with vital feedback and links me to the outside world. And obviously its a great marketing tool. I cant imagine not having a blog. A vent. A window to the world. A place where gyaan, bakar and conversations flow.

However, I do realize that I tend to get personal when I am writing and I need to stop that. Since writing is such an integral part of me, I shall start a new blog, private, strictly for myself and few very dear friends.

On War of Words, I shall only share random interestingness and oddities. I will talk about things like Bing's and Yahoo's "merger" in the search business, Manmohan Singh's reply in the Parliament, Bangladesh winning a cricket series over West Indies and so on so forth. And obviously I would keep writing fiction and posting one word posts. Hoping that they are cryptic enough to hide things ;P

And for the other blog, lemme know if you want access to that. There ARE early bird prizes.

Life 2.0. Part 1: Work

So after ab0ut a week of rest/leisure/running-around/buying-computers/explaining-to-mom-why-i-resigned/thinking/procrastinating and hazaar other things, I am back to action. I started work. No, I did not join any company but I started thinking about life and what I want to do next.

Working for myself is way different from working for someone else (GE Money or Creativeland Asia). Let me write them down in bullet points.
  1. Home Sweet Home. While working for self, I work out of home. This means I have to tolerate door bells, telephone bells, courier deliveries, maids and other such sundry things. I also have to be polite to mother India who is trying to feed me with her best preparations. I have to get creative while answering questions from relatives (in some cases lying to them). There, no one wanted to know how much I earned, how bald am I, how long does it take to reach from CP to East Delhi etc. No questions asked, easy life.
  2. Money. Not to mention that constant worry of where that next rupee would come from. After all I am used to an extravagant life style. In Mumbai, I knew my paycheck (not that fat) would arrive by the first week and I could splurge it on gifts, knick-knacks (all those tiny obscure things that I got for P, rruts, random people), pool (lost most of the times to Gandhi and won most of the times from Gawri), restaurants (next time you are in Mumbai, try Caravan Serai) and teeshirts (white/black, one large block on print on chest and thats about it).
  3. Place. While working for someone else, I could concentrate. There was tea/coffee/soup (which sucked btw) on demand. The loo was always clean (ok not always, but mostly). I had a place that no one else could take. My desk. My drawer. Here in Delhi, I dont even have a room to myself. The things that my "almost girlfriend" gave me when I was leaving Mumbai, I dont have a place to put them up (show off). P.S. I hope you ARE reading this and you now know why I haven't unpacked gift #5 :).
  4. Computer. I did not share my Macbook with anyone. Although it was company property but the company had entrusted it to me and it meant I could customize it the way I want, it had my music on it, my passwords were saved onto it and so on and so forth Here I share my desktop with my dad and my cousin. Thankfully my sis is still in Mumbai. And since they belong to the Garg clan, they are curious by nature and on top of everything else, they know how to access hidden folders in Windows.
  5. Media. I had access to printed copies of ten newspapers, 20 odd periodicals including Wired (which IMHO is one of the greatest publications ever). Now I have to rely on RSS feeds and a electronic screen to know what is happening in the world. I have a fetish for printed material. I dont think as long as people like me are alive, printed media is ever going to run out of business. Here I get three newspapers that I don't even read. I have no clue why I dont.
  6. Time. Time management is an issue. Not trying to brag but I loved reaching office before anyone and playing my music out loud (Hindi songs mostly). And here, I wake up at leisure, laze around, roll in my bed, dream, snooze etc before I even get out of my bed. Leave alone computers. That sense of discipline has vanished. Though I used to work strictly till 5:30 PM, I somehow had time for reading, writing, blogging, meeting people, coming up with ideas and all that. Here I am always short of time. I haven't read my RSS in days, replied to my mails, twittered, FBed, Linkedined or even blogging.
  7. Resources. I could use copious amounts of pens, pencils, pantone books, notepads, staplers, post-its and other items of miscellany. Now I need to scavenge a pencil, write on the edges of newspapers, buy my own post-its and keep the use in check.
  8. People. I had access to tons of wonderful people. They had brains, talents, ideas and they were my window to the world. Every individual was special and taught me something. Now, only people I have access to are people I meet for cyntax and thats about it.
There are like another 12,334,233 items in this list but since time is somewhat precious now, I shall not delve on em. And then there is rant on Mumbai vs Delhi. On similar lines. But again, tonight is not the right time. Any thoughts anyone on how to fix these things?

P.S.: While ending, got an idea. I will make this a multi-part list. Since I am effectively restarting my life (and hopefully this is that reset button we always talked about), in each part, I will rant about my life on one specific thing. Today it was on work. Next would be Mumbai/Delhi. Will think about the third when am there.

15 August 1947

Got this from a friend.

Indias First News Paper After Independence

Settling down

Finally dust has began to settle. I am finding my groove. Will be going on full steam in few days. Keep watching.

Moved On.

For the record, I am no longer employed with Creativeland Asia. The decision to move on was a personal and I am glad I am still very good friends with the entire team back at CLA.

The two years went past in a jiffy. Little more than two years ago, I joined CLA from GE Money and things couldn't have worked out better. While I was there,
  • CLA grew from a dining table to two offices (thought I dint play any part in that growth),
  • I was given a lot of room to learn, experiment, make mistakes and grow,
  • I learnt how is it to work on brands like Frooti, Appy Fizz, Cafe Coffee Day (amongst others),
  • I made many good friends (and almost found the love of my life),
  • I travelled and explored Mumbai and Maharashtra extensively
  • And finally I grew by miles as a person.
I wish I could have stayed on but as they say, all good things, come to an end.

Creativeland IMHO is one of the best places to work at. Apart from coming up with great work time after time for all brands, CLA is a collection of few of the finest minds and interesting people. Everyone is handpicked (even our receptionist - Prakash Jee aka Yogi Bear) and its a lot of fuin being there.

If anyone is keen, I would be glad to setup a meeting.

P.S.: Just for the curious few, I dont know what I would be doing now. Would post here moment something is finalized.

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?