Destiny’s child

•September 22, 2008 • 3 Comments

The vicissitudes of life are such. The grass is always greener on the other side. It is lame and such a cliche to avoid than say that the grass is greener on the other side. For the longest time I yearned for what I have now – a satisfying job with a promise of a bright career. In other words, stability. The job that would have me not think about what I am to do in the next year. The job that would keep me occupied.  I am cognizant of how much of a better position I am in than many others. Yet, life now seems mundane. A programmed life with full knowledge of what the next day and all the days thereafter is to give. 

The pursuit of happiness, I realize, is in the struggle to achieve all that is hard to attain. Right now, I want a challenge. At the least, I have a need to work hard for something.  I have chalked up a list of things that might spark my interest. Renew my interest in learning Spanish. Take up certifications. May be both. 🙂

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A landmark decision is made by the fed today. There are no longer going to be independent investment banks. It fundamentally changes the structure of the wallstreet. Boy, Am I happy to be in New York in the wake of all this. To be a spectator, a mute one at that, nevertheless from such closeness, is to me a privilege.  I have seen the frowns on every person in the trains. I have seen the frustration on people who lost jobs. A few I know who lost jobs and the severity it caused them. To watch the system which I am a part of go through such turbulent times is the best experience ever. It has taught me to respect a lot of things in life. Going back to my previous thoughts, it reminds me nothing is stable. If it is, it is not right.  There is always a hard time to go through afterwhich everything brightens up. Like the clear skies after storms. 

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“A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day” -Calvin & Hobbes

Parting thoughts. How CnH helps me put so many of my thoughts in perspective! It is amazing. And it sounds so simple.

The most powerful influence

•August 1, 2008 • 5 Comments

Think deep down and tell me. What is the most powerful influence today? Here are a few popular quotes to help you get the deal:

“God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need” – Fight Club

“Happiness is a myth. It was invented to make us buy things” – Shantaram

There is always so much stuff in my closet that I can get away with. Squandering, to me, has become habitual. Yet, the power of advertisements and the idea of living an extravagant life gets the better of me. Inflation or no inflation, I spend! Bad market?  It did not make a difference to my spending habits.  You see, that is the power of advertisements and the likes. Spending habits are ruled by these ads. They teach you everything. A lifetime seems to go down in attaining these elated heights by means of shopping.

The “cool” factor! Boy oh boy, this rules us. What makes us cooler? Labels? Gadgets? Takes us right back to shopping. A less than a minute gig makes us spend all that we earn. All I know is earn and spend. So when I think about why I work, it brings me back an answer amounting to “How else will I buy all that I need(read all that is advertised and makes me cooler)?”

Are we missing something? Quite a bit. A part of us that wants to experience the world in its innocence and unpretentious colors is totally lost. Advertisements, labels, spending habits rule us all and leave behind indelible impressions and paint them in colors of pretence. We are slaves to the consumer markets that popularise and sell us things we can do without!

When will I get this point?!

Enticed!

•July 24, 2008 • 7 Comments

Blogger was fun. It was my first foray into blogging. Not to say that I was a committed blogger. I did not pour out blogs speaking all of my mind and the world. Yet, whatever that I wrote, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the interaction that came along. Other writers that I often visited ignited my rather lethargic mind many a times. In the process, it set me thinking of all the varied perspectives that would be left in oblivion if not for blogs.One is left to wonder, now, how alike all men and women are and yet how our perspectives and thinking sets us apart. It is this very opportunity to understand what our minds speak that the world of blogging has provided us. How else on earth can I get a peek into all the mind of the common man? So yes, blogger gave me all that as I started as a novice in the blogging space.

Now, I am enticed by wordpress. I rest assured that my experience will all be the same as what I mentioned. They say new water drains out the old water. Just the prospect of something new drew me into wordpress. I had no reasons to quit blogger. I had a yearning to try out something new in the laps of wordpress. I think that is a fair reason. The restless mind always seeks adventurous and a different experience.

Crossroads

•May 22, 2008 • 6 Comments

I have the choice between living life in my comfort zone and growing(read:just stay put!) or I could just hit the roads and see the world(I mean – literally). What would you do when confronted with a situation as such? No amount of profound sayings and preachings help. Ye, I see you nod.

Haven’t you had the feeling that everything, in the end, comes to be monotonous and commonplace? I do. I don’t want to know if it is the right thing or not. Partly because I have seen my friends and others live life without complaining of doing the same thing over and over again and yet being as happy or happier than I am. Oh well.

If I put myself in the shoes of a third person to observe me, I would have to say ( from his/her view) – “Hmm, she doesn’t lead a bad life. Much better than many indeed”. But you see, there is only so much you can do in your day to day life when you have timetable to follow. My job grounds me in as much as I like it. 3 weeks of holidays a year! Its amazing how millions of people have come to accept that. Is there anything else to life at all!?

Me and my meanderings. God, give me the will to cut chase tha rat race. And see the world in all its beauty. Let me get a life! Amen.

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Talking of God, here’s food for thought –

House: “You can have all the faith you want in spirits, and the afterlife, and heaven and hell, but when it comes to this world, don’t be an idiot. Cause you can tell me you put your faith in God to put you through the day, but when it comes time to cross the road, I know you look both ways.”

From the popular medical drama House MD. Also, my current fixation!!

The Selfish Gene

•May 7, 2008 • 4 Comments

Thursday, May 8

We the selfish gene!

I had the opportunity to witness “homeless” people in New York City! Not that I had not seen them or was not aware of their existence around in here. It only struck me yesterday that I never thought of what they actually do for shelter and food. Here I was at a charity missionary, that provided shelter and food for a few homeless people in Soho, serving their dinner. It was an experience.

Six of us(all my colleagues) went down to this place in Soho around 6 after work while the sun still shone bright. When my colleague asked me if I would like to volunteer, I only saw this as a good opportunity to be outside on a beautiful day like this(Summer is around! Yay!). Not that we did a whole lot there. All we did was clean up the place, set the table for serving dinner, serve dinner and clean up all the vessels, trays and the place. I was amazed to see the kind of people who come in as homeless. My friend had warned me about this. Looks do not qualify them so at the least. What was commendable was how generous we were allowed to be when serving. We were told that we can serve as much as they ask. I was serving the desserts, there were three kinds of them. Sometimes they asked for all three, sometimes 2 of the same and nothing too. The food was great, not to forget. Obviously as expected owing to the good food, there were a few students there too.

What surprised me at the end was when a whole lot of food was thrown after it was all done. When we asked, we were told there is never dearth of food to serve. Food and food materials keep coming in. There is only so much you can serve and store. So, food gets thrown away. And them all in quite an amount!

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I am so out of the age when I sat and analyzed all that a guy would tell me!! “what’d he mean?!, was that a hint!.. blah blah”. Guess I am coming of age. Times that pass by have taught me, I know for a fact that in the end I am the one who should be convinced of it all. Not naive, not dumb for the sweet nothings! I look back and laugh at how naive I was and now I am glad how I have grown up to be. How secure and comfortable I am now can only be explained by how much fun I have without taking anything seriously and analyzing all that happens around me. It is indeed comforting to reach the stage when you can know that if something has to happen, it will happen irresepective of any number of analysis! So yeah, I love not to do that anymore and just have fun while it lasts! Boy! Am I happy.

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13 May

The path lady

So everyday when I take the path back home from office I see the old lady, homeless, who gets food from the burgerking or McD in the underground station. She lies down in a pile of worn out comforters with a trunk. Needless to say, felt pity. Not anymore! Yesterday, she was chatting away to glory on her cell phone! Can you believe that! How is that you beg for food and yet have money to support your mobile phone bills?! Beyond me!

It reminds me of freakonomics. Awesome book! Wait until I finsih it and write about how much I love it and why!

So long…

New York

•April 8, 2008 • 10 Comments

I got out of the subway and started walking up the stairs towards the street. It was about 8:20 in the morning. The perfect New York cold morning. People still in the very professional black jackets, scarves(many Burberry), with the blackberry in hand and a laptop hanging down the shoulder; they all walked along. It was an ant line, a very co-ordinated one. Everybody knew the rules of the game. Don’t stop anywhere – it is the behavior of knowing your business. You are out of the train and your business is to walk to your office as quickly as possible. It is religious.

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This city is the perfect place to be. Well, almost. If you like surprises thrown at you when you least expect them. I got out of the office at about 5:oo in the evening. Early. Just as I was crossing one of the lights at Times Square(Yes, I my office is at Times Square), this car went past me, missing a few people by inches. Big crazy writing said “The wacky family” on the car. It had skeletons all over doing stupid stuff. Driving the car, popping out of the window – all the way out at that, popping out of the boot and what not! I almost laughed!

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The joys of living in New Jersey? Getting to view the wonderful Manhattan skyline everyday from the comfort of your bedroom and living room!! And boy, do I love it! I might have to move into another apartment in a couple of months that might not have a view.. Hmmmph 😦

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Elevator communication skills. Ever heard of that? I had not until I found out I have a course on that is part of an ongoing learning that helps acquire effective elevator communication skills. What with all the tall buildings! Chances of bumping into your seniors are very high. And yeah baby, in New York you got to make use of every minute! Funny! I won’t be surprised if a course called subway communication skills come up soon!

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Remember Sunscreen song? And what Baz Luhrmann has got to say about New York?
“Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard”
Somehow, I don’t concur with this! At least, so far, I haven’t met anyone who has been cold and hard on me!

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Kind of blanked out now! More later! So long…

"What I am not" and "What I am", Now!

•March 14, 2008 • 11 Comments

I don’t know why I wrote the heading of the post in that order. Wonder if the roller coaster ride so far has taught what really delusions are, and hell yeah, I am out of denial and hence I want to write them out first!

I am no more naive(which I think and not my friends) and idealistic. I don’t need everything the perfect way. Yeah, I have descended down to reality. All the mad romantic ideas have evaporated out of my mind. I don’t have a short temper(really!). I think at some stage we find religion. Get out of our cocoons, stop messing with it. And then, we get past the stage where we expect mom, dad, this friend, that friend to clean up the mess and fix things! In doing so we undo certain characteristics. I did. And all that is, what I am not today.

Oh and yeah, I am not reckless with my money. It is selfish, cause for as long as I was spending mom and dad’s money, I laundered! I really did. And now with my money, I am pretty organized. Or so I think.

I discovered over the weekend that I am no more playful, yes that is the way I used to be. Of course, this is just suppressed behavior. Adaption to your environment. The fittest survive you know! Need be, I will return to being myself!

And for what I am, it has all got to do with the fact that I seem to now have my feet not just firmly grounded but also in reality. RedQueen of Alice in Wonderland says – “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place”. Be it for your career or personal life, I truly believe in this. Work, work and work!

Coming of age? I like it this way too!
Did someone say it was fun being the kid that you were? I second with you too!

Obama, Stumbled upon and all the exciting jazz..

•February 21, 2008 • 9 Comments

That I was a Hillary supporter some time back does not surprise many of my friends. Many think I am a feminist (I will argue that later, much later). What you need to know is that, back then, I had not done myself the favor of reading(a lot, at that) about Hillary and Obama. In due course, I did follow all the debates, arduously read a lot. What seemed totally ridiculous was when people (read journalists and people) popped the question – “So, do you support Hillary(for she would be the first woman President) or Obama(for he would be the first African American president)?”. Seriously, are one of them chosen for these reasons? Sure, it sounds exciting. Woman president and African American president. I did give in to this in the beginning. But at the end of the day, we like what we like because it appeals to us. It appeals to us because it resonates with our perceptions of the world and the way we want it to be. With the democratic front-runners the same is true. Obama fires up people because he either knows what people want or he knows at the least what they want to hear. In all the debates and speeches I have seen, Hillary has been vanilla. On the contrary, when I watch and listen to Obama I get excited. He exudes the appeal that I have often only heard of- that of someone inspiring. There is really one thing that sets him apart from Hillary: It seems to me, in as much as Hillary speaks well to people, she does that to get up there in power. She gives me the impression that she only “performs” her “rosy” talks to get into power. Now that is not the impression Obama gives me. With him, its the opposite. He seems to want to get into power to perform on those tasks and deliver the promises. In as much as I want to support a would be woman president, I strongly feel she lacks the chutzpah that she needs. And Obama effortlessly exudes that a great deal.

It was not too long ago when people would gamely demur the candidacy of Obama against Hillary.Recently, when I was commuting back home in DC I got into a conversation with an NPR employee. Until then I thought NPR employees are well informed enough to make their decisions. This woman was meaning to vote for Hillary. Much to my delight, I managed to change her mind. Whether she did vote for Obama is a different issue. But hey, i can be a great campaign manager!

And now for what I stumble(d) upon!
If you use firefox, you have to, have to, have to, download the plug-in “Stumble upon”. Thanks to Kaku for introducing me to it. It is like Dig or del.icio.us but much more exciting. You can discover so many cool websites with the click of a button. Here are some fun sites I discovered:

All of George Orwell’s works
Diamonds
Paint it!
Horses can sing too
Pug doggie
London
The no buttons interface

Go ahead and install this plug-in. As my friend points out it is damn addictive. And I say its just too cool!

Not so trivial

•January 18, 2008 • 18 Comments

My bad. Networking is the buzz here! And, boy, did i fall prey! It was a not-so-quiet dinner in a posh restaurant. I look up the menu and all I could get was the vegetarian platter. Everything else had meat in it. So did I have a choice at all?!Besides I was terribly hungry! So I went ahead and did so. It was all good until I got my vegetarian platter which turned out to be a “badly cooked vegetables platter”. All the spoilt consultants around me gave the look! And pop came a question – “So what do you do for fun? Eat vegetables?”. (And this being part of my getting to know my colleagues) It was not my day alright. It is quite a deal being a vegetarian. Often asked am I, does your religion forbid you from eating cheese, milk blah blah.. Blahhhh blahh blahh! As if all that was not enough, they were sorry for me! Everytime I meet one of these colleagues who shared a table with me, I am greeted – ” Hey! there you are, the vegetarian!”. To these people, it is oh-so-hard to understand why I would be a vegetarian by choice at all!

Have been reading Shantaram. I had heard a million praises and read wonderful reviews. As the book unfolds I could not agree more how well the book is written. To me, it is not so much about the other side of Mumbai that is revealed as it is about how well the thoughts are articulated. Was I so narrow minded to think a convict could never write a thought provoking book? Well, yes, I guess. And now, I have a perspective. In a world that more or less clearly defines what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, I cannot help but be judgmental. Clearly, to me a convict so far was a person who could never dream big (and write so well). And here is this guy who has probably written the most moving and thought provocative lines. Boy, am I surprised to realize how narrow minded I am. I now do have another great book in my “Already read list”. What is more important is how it has radically changed my thinking to a certain extent – That there are no demarcations between good and bad and that they always certainly are subjective. And yeah, I realized how judgemental and wrong I am!

Did I mention that I have not really made American and European friends. I have been here for over 17 months now. Not that I have to, but I want to! Turns out that any town in US has so many Indians around that sub consciously I have hung out only with them. And while I am at that, New York – where I will be spending most of my next 2 years(hopefully!), is filled with Indians! (Alright, alright,I hear all the “Duh”s). Yet, I cant stress enough! I meet all my good old Bangalore friends every now and then. I have no hopes of making any new friends at all there! So much for living in the U.S. of A.

And when it rains it pours!

•December 4, 2007 • 12 Comments

Times were many when I had no clue where I was heading. And then, thoughts such as – “Did i make the right decision by coming here leaving my comfort zone?” always lingered around. Times change, and yes, I am in good stead to know where I am going now. All that matters! Hmmmm.. Oh well! I am graduating!! Yayy!

The feeling of gratuity and the realization of reason has suddenly dawned! My graduate studies are done. The benefits are reaped. And, ahead of me lies a life which knows what to expect. Much of the remaining period of rest and play until I start work has been planned out. Once work starts, it is probably going to be mundane. For a long time during graduation it was all about grades, then the period of job interviews ( which was a pain, I tell u!!) and then the time to choose between jobs. There was always excitement. Right now, I am a couch potato! Nothing to work for – I have almost graduated and I have the job which was the ulterior motive! It looks like I know the path ahead of me and yet there is some uncertainty lurking around it.

I have now realized, in so long as you have a risky and challenging task in hand life proves to be fun and exciting. I now wonder why people want to “settle down”. It is kinda boring. True to its literal meaning, I dont want to. I thoroughly believe it now – You should live on your edge! Jump the ridges and make a mistake, hurt yourself and rest a bit, wake up again and explore it all; of a world that you have not seen. I shall now say to thee my life – “Bring it on”