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Wisdom worth $250.. February 2, 2011

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“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men, and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory is a benediction.”

This passage is often said to be by Ralph Waldo Emerson or Robert Louis Stevenson. In fact, it was written by Bessie A. Stanley of Lincoln, Kansas, in 1905. She earned $250 as the first-prize winner in a contest sponsored by the magazineModern Women.

(Credits – Anonymous was a woman – Yale university Alumni Magazine)

 

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RIP “SBS”… January 16, 2011

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Place: Delhi LTG Auditorium

Event: English Play “Are you Single?”

Date & Time: December 25th 2010, 7:00 pm

Neel had invited me to watch the English comedy, trying to bring some spice in my otherwise mundane weekends, in an attempt to get me back to my interest in theatre..And I didn’t think twice. Just booked the ticket, caught the metro and headed off to Delhi in the evening. I was a little anxious about finding my way to the auditorium from the station, that being an extremely cold night.

After almost 200 metres of walking alone in the night, I managed to find Neel and felt so protected in that moment. (I mean I am not a kid, but never sure of the Delhi streets) We headed to the auditorium and I took my pass. A single middle corner, next to a stranger and I had no intention of sitting there. So after a few exchanges, I managed to find a place next to Neel herself. And then he came from behind. The same tall figure, unshaven and the monkey cap, the same curious smile.  I had seen him almost 5 years back, when I was receiving my Engineering degree in college. The same guy.

I was surprised. It was unexpected to see him again. Then we said our regular hellos and I got back to watching the play. He was sitting in the last rows, and I was still thinking about, how time doesn’t seem to have an impact on some people. That was the first thought I had when I saw him.

The play started and we abruptly stopped our chatter. Good performance, a nice light evening, I was thinking about how I would go back home, and Neel helped me find some people who would drop me back to Gurgaon.

When I left the auditorium, I bumped into him again.

SBS- “Hey, so what have you been doing?”

Me-“ Just the usual, MBA and the job thereafter. What about you?

SBS- “Me went to Europe, travelled a lot, studied Rocket science, now I want to do an MBA so I am back….(some more)…hey where’s your husband?”

Me (totally taken aback with an unexpected question) – “What husband? I don’t have one yet “     (grinning and looking out for my companions on the way back to escape the conversation)

“Come on Niks, lets go”, came the much awaited call for me, and I ran from the scene, saying good bye to SBS, thinking will I ever see him again in my life or what?

On my way back,I thought about this strange encounter. I remembered the guy in the Publicity team in college, who would create great paintings, who would come up with weird dressing styles, who would roam around alone, smiling to people, humble and honest, no malice. I remembered, talking to him in college, I remembered some of my friends laughing at me when I spoke to him. I remembered myself laughing at him many a times. I remembered, not valuing the creative genius he was, and I remembered envying him sometimes for just being himself, for just being SBS.

And then life came back to its normal scheme. I forgot the play, the experience took a back seat, work took over and so did other things. Until today when I realised he is no more.

The feeling when I go to know was weird today. There was so much he wanted to do, the child was still there in him, daring to do what he wanted and it all ended.

I don’t know SBS what happened, that you left the world for a new journey ahead, I don’t know why it had to happen now when you had so much to do.. But I know that wherever you are, you will bring an air of freshness.  May you Rest in Peace SBS. And may God give strength to your family to bear this loss.

There is nothing certain in this world. I don’t know if I will see the dawn of 2012 or even the next month or tomorrow for that matter, I don’t know if people who I care about would be with me for long, then why do I need to be sad about things I don’t have. I don’t have to.. I did rather value the moments I have and live them fullest.

This is an ode to you SBS, for being the child you were and the creative genius. I wish I would have known you more. God Bless you!! I am happy that I met you again after such a long time..

 

Oh Dear Good Lord, December 31, 2010

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I know you are up there and watching us all down all here. Some of my friends believe you do not exist, some debate your existence but look upto you in sad times, I somehow believe, that you are there, somewhere ( Mom says, you are always there, and I kind of believe her – for lack of a good reason to not do so). But thats not the point here. The closest image I get when I get think of you is an old man with a big beard..similar to Dumbledore actually… ( I wonder why I never think, God can be a female,)

Some of us would be sleeping now, under the hangover of the New Year Eve Party, some still partying till they drop dead, and some like me are sitting in a cozy blanket on this foggy (actually, not so foggy) December ending -January beginning night in my room, writing to you.

The 2010 that I left behind,  has been a mix of spice, adventure, highs and lows. Many a times I stopped believing that you are there, and sometimes I just wanted you to be by my side..And I think you did not disappoint me then. So thanks for that. I made new friends, lost a few in the race. Reinforced the broken bonds with a few who meant more than just name cards in my phonebook and added more for the heck of it.. all in all,my mind has more people, more moments to remember and yes , ofcourse, I grew older..

I may have done some blunders, hurt some people, made a few of them furious and some hate me. For all those I hurt and troubled, here is a public acceptance of my mistakes and apology to you all. I will be a better person this year. Promise you that. And I wont repeat the mistakes I made in 2010. Man, thats so uncool..

Thank you() for giving me time to spend with my family, and the chance to make my mom and dad smile more. Thank you for not letting me loose myself in the ever changing crazy world and letting me have “some” sanity in me. Thank you for the strength. Thank you for the courage. Thank you for the smiles and laughter. Thank you for the tears as well ( I guess I would have deserved them at some point)

I am not making any resolutions for this year. I am thinking of what has gone by and I want the future to be brighter, happier and better. I have hope that it will be and the courage to make it, in case you decide to ditch me…But in any case, I know we are going to kick ass.. 🙂

Thank you for Harry Potter, Zuckerberg , Jobs and our very own Shiela. Wiki Leaks and CWG kept the entertainment going for us in 2010 and I want more interesting things to look forward to.. Thank you so so much for Sachin Tendulkar. We need more like him to make your presence felt..

I am taking the liberty of passing your blessings to family, friends(distant and near), relatives ( close and not so close) for a healthy, peaceful and happy new year..

I don’t know if we are all dying in 2012 or you have planned something else more dangerous or adventurous for us. Whatever it is, I am going to look forward to every new day with you by my side.

See you 🙂

For the rest of you somewhere, everywhere, a Merry 2011 full of hopes and dreams.

Cheeers!!

 

Character.. August 12, 2010

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Recently I was reading a book which put an interesting question, what is your character? And I started thinking do I have any character at all? And how do I find what is my character?

They say life teaches us many things and how we take those experiences determine our character or rather strength of it. I met a person who has been defeated or turned down on his career front but he still goes out and works every day with the same zeal knows the purpose of his job and fulfills it.

I met a small 4 year old kid, who is very naughty and doesn’t listen to what his parents tell him but the day he sees his mom is sick, he changes into a very responsible boy and behaves himself.

Two totally different people in different contexts but showing great character.

Then there is a league of those who are after the big names, the big titles, the big money attached and the big boost to the ego in being associated with all those biggies, but losing out on giving their parents the much needed support in this age. I know a family whose sons are very well accomplished in their careers but do not have the time to talk to their parents in the house. They have a big bank balance but no one to share it with. They have the biggest names of the industry speaking to them, but no time to look at their kids and how they are growing up. They have the best medical facilities at their doors and all the diseases of this lifestyle with them. And talking of character, all they have is the hollow sense of pride, of how big they are, how successful they are, how accomplished their lives are.

Mom tells me what is the point of all the ambition, when all you get back home is stress, illness and arrogance. A recent jolt was enough to teach me the importance of good health, loved ones, friends, family and most importantly it taught me what it is to have some character in life.

This might sound too preachy but I realized my mistake. And I am happy to accept it and set it right..

At times all we need is a fresh perspective…

And it rains again today and heavily so.I sometimes think that I think more ( or rather think at all) when it rains..:D

The Big Kahuna August 8, 2010

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I loved watching this movie and the monologue that ends it..Here goes ..

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You are NOT as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance. Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

Gurgaon Chronicles June 24, 2010

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Living in one of the beautiful cities in India has made it difficult for me to adjust anywhere else.

Be it the weather, the people, the city, more importantly the way of life in Gurgaon, there is something or rather a lot of things which I have to crib about…and what better place do I have.

The recent Metro trials have been successful to connect the city to Delhi, but this will still take time. While China is conducting tests for a layered platform structure where trains don’t stop at the stations at all to save the waiting time, DMRC proudly flaunts the few metro trials they have done. (Not forgetting the innumerable traffic chaos that has occurred during the construction of the same)Come October and the Commonwealth Games and the hustle bustle will know no bounds in NCR. I am sure I will get to see a lot of new things coming up by then. (Something I am really looking forward to)

But there is something about this place which is not comfortable. Life is a struggle here. Unlike my last one year in Hyderabad where I managed to find houses and shift home, cover the city, roam around safely even all by myself, living here seems like a fight everyday.  Fight with the traffic, fight against the Gods for the high temperature and no rain, fight with the “fighter max” population who don’t think twice in killing the other person for their benefit, fight with the municipal corporation for power and water and the overhanging cloud of dust everywhere in the name of new construction projects, fight with oneself in motivating oneself to fight again.

So many builders are constructing sky scrapers and the bounds of the NCR are just increasing everyday. But for those who are excited about this, I would sincerely advise that having a house in one part of the NCR and work in other is calling for a lot of trouble. You will lose your life travelling across 3 states, arguing with Auto Rickshaw wallas on the rules of going from one state to the other, or end up standing in the crowded Metro (feeling proud of the achievement that you made it from among/ with the 1000s like you) with the ear phones of your cell phone plugged (playing the Radio) waiting for your destination.

And by the time you end your day, it is time to sleep to recharge for the next day of fight.

But there is one thing I am happy here for. And that is the fact that I go back home to my family at the end of the day. There is awesome food to eat, at home, on the street, in the restaurants, everywhere. I have never been disappointed for food here..

I guess one doesn’t get everything one wants. But there is nothing wrong in wanting more.  🙂

As of now I do miss the simpler and peaceful life in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ludhiana, Patiala where I did not have to fight for a living…

Fresh !! May 24, 2010

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The word itself makes me smile. Like does the look of the trees when it rains, the smell of the wet soil just splashed with water, the morning dew, a child’s smile. They are all fresh. Sometimes fresh fruits and vegetables as well J

So what does it take to be fresh in life.   See a new place, find a new color, meet a new person, find something new about myself, think/ create something new in my thoughts or in reality.  It is about being a new version of yourself every day with new things added.

And what do I get rid of at the same time? Opinions, baggage, grudges, negatives to fill myself with something fresh everyday.. It is easy to learn a lot of things but difficult to unlearn and let go.

Yes, that’s the way I like it more. So many changes are in store and I am looking forward to the freshness ahead.. and its all there, just that I dint see it all this while.

And it rains as I write..

Fresh again.. !!

Circle of life.. March 8, 2010

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As I stand at this crossroad,
Waiting to choose my direction
I recall I was here, not very long ago,
As if it were some reflection

It’s like the chorus of a song,
The sound of the chime
Life is one full circle
Comes back with time

I chose the path most trodden
Not knowing where it would lead
Nurture hopes of the world around me
Apprehensive whether I would succeed

But didn’t take much time to realize
That it was a misfit
And trust & honesty were,
But meaningless words
I moved on with my set of wounds
Longing for a pair of wings
Jealous of birds

To fly away in the vastness
To go to the land I want
Where nobody questions me
Sans past memories to haunt

But such is the irony of fate
I am brought back to the same gate
The time and context has changed
And so has the emotional state
It all seems same on the outside
“Which way to go now”, echoing inside

Like the chorus of a song, like the sound of the chime
Life is a circle, comes back with time!
Hoping this time I won’t make a mistake
I’ll choose a new path, and call it mine

Accounting in real life.. February 21, 2010

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I have never been so good at financial accounting in my college and honestly if people asked me my view of companies, stocks etc for investment purposes, I had to think many times before coming up with an answer. The other thing I felt I struggled with was balancing the asset and liabilities side of the balance sheet. So basically and no “Fin” person and had no qualms in accepting this as well.

But then sometimes it makes sense to apply those fundae in real life. Especially in relationships be it any, romantic, not so romantic, with friends et al.  (This might not be interesting for those who look at the economic value of every move they make)  But for the “not so ambitious” and more people oriented, may be it might make some sense.

So, if I look at a relationship as a company – an entity which is constituted of people (2 in this case) with a common motive of deriving happiness from being with each other.

Just like in a company the partners invest money to gain monetary gains in the end. In a relationship the partners invest emotions and time and the returns come back in the form of happiness, emotional security etc etc. So I felt the comparison might look like that of “chalk and cheese” but the analogies did make sense. Just like there is a way to gauge the health of every company, there should be a way to measure the success of every relationship.

So a company’s success is measured by its balance sheet and the P&L statement. For this comparison, I would take the recent events and emotions as P&L and the long term or rather the fundamental beliefs of the 2 parties as the balance sheet. The basic idea I am trying to make here is that a relationship should be judged based on the overall time and emotions attached rather than one or two recent events.

Many a time partners in a relationship (company) have a rift (analogous with a loss in the P&L) and then base their next action (rather investment in the relationship) on the basis of the last event. This leads to a series of half hearted and biased  attempts at the growth of the company (relationship) and finally leaves both the parties abandoning the relationship ( closing the company).

But on the other hand, if the actions of both the parties are based on the long term balance sheet, the company will be healthier. A temporary rift ( loss in a quarter) should not be the basis of the next action. At the same time both should spend time in analyzing, what caused the rift(loss) so as to avoid such volatility again. The good thing is like a company’s performance is also dependent on the market, the success of the relationship actually depends on the two partners involved. The volatility of the market can be analogous to mood swings but there is a way to control and predict the latter unlike the market dynamics. Hence the chances of success are inherent in the 2 people.

So much of rant.. Well the point I tried to make was the decision to break a relationship or invest further in it should be based on the balance sheet ( the basic goals of the 2 people and the reason for them coming together) and not the recent immediate happenings.

Having said that, the health of any company (relationship) will be good only if all the partners ( two people in this case) invest in it with the purest intentions.  A relationship can never run by the efforts of one person alone.

Phew..  Enough.  I think  I already know the title for the next post 😉 . Watch this space for more.. 🙂  I hope my Finance professor never sees this.

Disclaimer : This has nothing to do with how finance is taught to B School students  : ) This is just a view of life based on my little knowledge of financial accounting and relationships.

Down the memory lane.. February 6, 2010

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Just got my hands onto this book called “Positive Living and Health” as a result of this old book shelf cleaning mission. And yeah I found some secrets to happiness and positive living.:). One of them that I sure liked was keeping an account of our thoughts and feelings in a diary. And the reason for this is that once we write what we feel, and then go through it in some days, may be we’ll realize what is making us happy and what is bothering us more and will know how to keep the positive things with us and leave the negativity behind. So in the same old book shelf I found an old diary which I had maintained when I was 14 years old, in school standard IXth and it was hilarious. Mind was so much simpler then and the heart knew just what it wanted.

Like I had a crush in school on the then vice captain and a glimpse of the guy in the day made my day shine. Meeting my favorite teacher in the morning and greeting her every morning used to be something I used to look forward to. Eating a “ret ki bhuji – challi” ( Corn boiled in the heat of the mud with its covering) every day after school was so satisfying. Sleeping in the afternoon after school and telling everything that happened to mom dad and sister at their own convenient times in various versions used to be a daily activity. Taking the shoe polishing task in return for the uniform ironing used to be my winning negotiation( at least I thought so) with my sister. Learning how to ride a geared scooter and taking my sister out for shopping on my “Sunny” used to be my proud boyish existence that I would take care of my sister like her brother. Cycling to the “halwai” every Sunday morning to fetch samosas and jalebis for our Sunday morning breakfast used to be my responsible value add to the household work. Dancing in the rain on the terrace without telling mom ( and getting thrashed later) used to be my moment of glory. Going for walks with the family in the university ahead of our house and playing with every pet dog I could on the way used to be my signal to my dad, that I want one in the house. But he never let me have one and said, keep it in your house. and I would give him a silent treatment for sometime and give up in the end. Till next day I would start again..

I never knew then that growing up will end those times. Yes, life was much more simple and beautiful. I loved to go sleep in the night everyday because, sister and me will talk for hours about arbit random happenings.. and waking up was fun because I would get ready and wear my favorite dress, the school uniform and go on for a day full of fun.

Yes, keeping an account of our daily lives does help. I almost re-lived those moments again.