A feel good post

Have always looked at the downside of things. This for a change, a post in which I am trying to look at the bright side. I am not going to worry about being coherent. Maybe I will edit the post after putting down my thoughts into this post. Here goes nothing.

Disclaimers ahead of the post. This post is not to brag. Only to state the good things that I have had in my life, take a moment to pause, look back and appreciate.

I am 28 years old. I have a 4 year engineering degree and a 2 year full time masters(from an IIT) and 6 years of work experience as on date. I have completed 1 year of another masters (read as dropped out of masters after one year). Have completed an additional masters in business through distance education. Cleared a level of an eastern language as well. Crossed half a million views on Quora. Have started shooting videos for work and have had a reasonable reception of the same. Have made very limited, but brilliant friends. Friends who understand, who empathise, with absolutely no drama. Have clocked 50000 kms in the last 4 years. Life is beautiful. I guess Appa will be proud. The list looks good.

It is dreadful at times. there is no meaning at times. But end of the day, there are things to look up to. There are people who like what I pen down. I'm thankful for them. There are people who offer a shoulder, a warm hug, an empty seat besides them, for me to just sit there, and be in their quiet company, when I need it.

A great friend got into a (great) college that she wanted to. Another friend got into a great job. Another friend is exploring the world. Another friend is on his way to get his doctorate. I wish them all the love and peace and everything that they wish in their lives. I get to teach a lot, as a part of my job. Love that part of my job. The other parts are super interesting as well. Everyday brings about a new challenge, new projects, ever changing business landscape, tech and whatnot. Keeping myself abreast of changes is good. Getting to read everyday as a part of my job is fabulous. Getting a window to pour my thoughts into words makes me exhilarated. I get to manage a business in it's entirety, and I am glad that someone has enough trust on me to let me do that.

Been through few bad patches in life. Happy that I had gone through them, and grateful for all the humility that has taught me, thankful for all the wonderful souls who where there for me all through this arduous path. Have done enough things to actually feel that I have done something significant, at least as an individual. Hoping to learn and explore all my life.

Like my boss says, I still haven't thrown the towel in. I still have a good day's fight left in me. I shall wake up to fight another day.

How to Find the Right Job, A Job I won't hate?

This article is due to a conversation with a colleague who claimed that he is starting to mildly dislike his job, and wants to don another role. Thing to be noted in this context is that he is working in a creative role and not a run of the mill Job, for the last 4 months or so, with loads of freedom, and almost no intervention from others. 

Routine or Not?

There are always exceptions to this question. Exceptional answers or examples if I may. But for a vast majority, it's going to be repetitive. You could be a diploma holder, machining the same part through a CNC machine for 3 years straight, unless the product changes, or you are promoted; You could be an MBA grad, working in Data Analytics, working with datasets using a set of tools over and over; You could be a person running a venture of your own. After one point, things do get repetitive. You answer the same questions over and over, you do the same sales pitch over and over, you create a personalised presentation for different companies over and over. It really does not change at most levels (I would prefer to say at any level, at the risk of generalising). 

Mundane it is!

Who's Fault it is?

This is no one's direct fault from a lay man's point of view. That is how our society is structured to function well. People learn a skill, they specialise in that skill, they perhaps continue to specialise as long as the skill is relevant, and they retire. If anything, they grow in their career ladder and get to don different roles, become a manager, or a boss and manage people for most parts that remain of their career. Some even get lucky and teach what they have learnt to the next generation.

What could one do? 

One could think of giving back to the society in some form or the other (maybe help for a cause that one believe's in). 
One could also think about creating a legacy. 
One could think about doing something that they actually love and not give a damn about the society at all. (believe me, several, even if they get to choose what they want to do, still end up feeling bored in one's job). 

Grass is Always Greener on the other side!

Luck or Skill? 

I for one, have donned 5 or so roles in 3 companies in the short span of 6 years of my career in various capacities. I have hated the politics that comes along with the job, however, have always loved what I had to do as my core job demanded. Maybe I'm an exception, maybe I've been lucky. 

Are you preparing for CAT and you feel you are in a dead end job? believe me, a job after MBA is not going to be much different. We are trained to idolise things that we do not have ready access to. The society is also brilliant in a way where it sucks anyone into the credit spending world, where one ends up buying something because that's how you establish your stature in the society and end up working in a job all your life, because you have an EMI to pay at the end of the month. 

It was funny when I had approached the bank branch manager with an intention of repaying my educational loan, and he asked for my monthly take home pay and wanted me to approach him in six months so that he could sanction me a Car loan (which I never asked for). He also wanted me to come back 2 years later to obtain a housing loan as well. This is how the system sucks one in, and holds them fettered. Maybe it is right, maybe it is wrong. I don't know though. 

Maybe it is right in a way, people work with different kinds of motivation, some need carrot, some need stick. Whatever works for one! 

What Do I do?

I am happy with what I do. I am exceptionally glad when I have to teach for a class. I think my boss also loves teaching, and that keeps him going. I've seen another boss of mine, who was teaching for a small class, where he looked so happy that he was almost glowing. "That" is the person I want to be in my life. Maybe I will. Only time will tell. 

One last thing to remember

We are all paid for our time. To reiterate the same: In exchange of our time, we get money from the society in some form or the other. It's ok to believe that the skills are what I am paid for. If you cannot be replaced then maybe it's partly true, but if in a few weeks someone can replace you, then it is not. And that is not the entire picture, and an individual needs certain level of maturity to agree that this part (that I am being paid for my time) exists.

Continually people have worked in things that are mundane. In the 1900's people worked in assembly lines. In the 2000's people worked in Information Technology. The role has changed. The time has changed. What was expected out of a employee is changed. However, what has stuck all these years is mundane nature of most jobs. We transitioned from Agriculture to Industrial to Services era. But this one nature of the masses and society has not changed at all. So maybe there is no Job that never gets boring at all!

The Answer? 

And Oh, the answer to the question? There is no one right answer. Most of us will end up having a job that becomes routine after a point, in certain ways. There is no way to escape that. Learning to live with it might help. If you are one among the very few select ones who get to do what you like, Fantastic! But yeah, that is the truth. There is no silver bullet & the sooner one realises this, the better. 

Winding Roads - Unwinding oneself!

3 day bike trip to Coorg from Chennai.

Started as a rough plan for a long trip through a whatsapp chat. Before I know was booking stay, getting leaves approved, servicing my trip companion.

6th October - Day 1

Started at 5.45am from Madhavaram.
Maduravoyal Bridge
Reached Vellore by 8.30. Eventless journey with mild traffic. Had breakfast at Vellore. Mesmerized by clouds around Ambur. Spent close to half an hour just staring at the skies(and clicking lots of pics).
Cloud, clouds everywhere!
mesmerizing is just not sufficient to explain the feels!

Click on the pic to enlarge and enjoy!

 Reached Bangalore by 1 pm. Took the wrong bridge (the ten km bridge) and ended up taking left at Silk board, entering BTM layout. Finally moved through snail pace traffic, took left went along Madivala lake(do not remember the places after that) and finally reached Nice Outer ring road. Paid toll to travel all 48 kms and got off the road at the second junction. Total delay due to Bang traffic and detours - two and half hours.
on Nice Outer Ring road!

Approx 120 kms to reach Mysore, Columbia Asia hospital. Stopped at KFC around 4 for light lunch.! Intermittent rains before reaching mysore. Reached mysore around 6.30 pm. Wonderful roads between Bangalore to Hunsur. With good barriers mechanism to slow down traffic, but not affecting as much as moronic speed breakers do.  From mysore to hunsur, the travel was again eventless. Mild, consistent traffic. Total distance between Kushalnagar and mysore - 90 kms. The first 57 km stretch was easier to cover. After that point, no lights other than headlights. Intermittent rains to add to that. Travelled at around 80~90 ish range. Learnt a lot about how well the thunderbird handles corners, brakes and how powerful is the projector headlamp. The difference in lighting between classic 350 and a thunderbird was so apparent in pitch black roads.

the only photo after 7 pm. Nirvana!

Simple two lane roads with both side traffic occupying as much of real estate as and when possible. The ups and downs, twin speed breakers(at every village, town across the highway) opposing headlights, and most importantly, to rely on your gut and visual alertness to sail through tight bends, without light. Not to forget that it was the most thrilling part of the entire journey! When I totally forgot who I was, what was i doing, where was I, how am i going to cross the next dark, bend at 80kmph? It all became a blur and my existence was the blissful feeling, which cannot be comprehended/conveyed with words. Needless to say that now I believe in nirvana, and kind of know how it feels. Finally reached kushalnagar at 9. Crossed Dubare elephant camp, reached Orange county board, took left, followed all instructions of host to reach Chilipili. It was a refreshing experience staying at chilipili. Travel between kushalnagar and chilipili happened around 60kmph speeds. With all hairpin bends, no lights to assist, lots of pothholes to tackle, even with just the headlights, roads with all the greenery on the sides looked awesome, couldn't wait to get a glimpse of how the roads looked in natural lighting. A meal to remember by the host! Not uber expensive. Home made. Worth every penny.

Distance covered - 638 kms
Total time taken - 16 and half hours.

7th October - Day2

Winding roads. Unwinding oneself!
Didn't want to take up on a lot of places to visit. Planned to visit Dubare elephant camp and Golden temple aka Tibetian monastery at Koppa. Pretty event less travel. Had to do a small boating session to reach Dubare camp. Not many elephants. The very least, not as many as I had seen in Guruvayoor. Purchased few Spices for Mom!

beasts resting at Dubare
staring - happiness!
Reached Tibetian monastery by 2.00 in the afternoon. Monks were having a prayer session, which lasted for half an hour after we reached there. Their instruments(which I'm not familiar with) when injected in right combination, was soul stirring. It gets you in the mood. Had a half an hour soul searching meditation. 

Monks in Prayer

Stopped by a local shop for Coffee and pastries. Coffee that was capable of creating another soul stirring moment. Reached Chilipili before dark. Were drenched in rain during return journey!

Near Chilipili!
 Had dinner. The silence, and the cicada's cry. A thing to kill for. I don't remember how long I sat in the porch, absorbed in the silence and cries that alternated each other.
Another specialty of Chilipili - Coffee!
heartwarming coffee
Beans cultivated at Chilipili

Distance  covered - 81 kms

8th October - Day3

Had planned to start by 5 am. Started by 6 am due to rain. Cleaned and Lubed chains before heading out!  Reached Kushalnagar in less than an hour.

 Stopped for coffee. Reached Mysore by 9. Had breakfast at a roadside place that served idlis, the size of Uthappam.
Yes, Idly.
Started from mysore, reached Bang by 12.30, Hosur by 1 pm, Krishnagiri half an hour later. Stretch on nice outer ring road to Krishnagiri, scored 110 plus constantly. Had to slow down. Mental pressure of have i pushed it "that bit too far" started creeping in. Nice outer ring road reminds me of a track from Need for speed Most Wanted (the old edition). The road was wide, concrete, had such a big grass patch throughout in the middle of the road. It looked exactly like that.
the one that reminds me of nfsMW!

Self adoration!

Stopped at Ambur Star biryani for lunch by 3 pm. Reached Sriperumbudur by 5.30. As usual heavy tiring traffic till Maduravoyal. Reached home by 7.30. In the last bits, was surprised to by how well I could handle the bike. Being on the saddle for prolonged periods has it's own advantages.

Distance covered - 627 kms
Time - less than 14 hours.

Thanks to all souls that helped in putting this together (You know when you read this). Jowin Joseph for the plan, Mi4i for the Pics!

Those who are disappointed with what's been presented here. I know that I have not done enough justice, in translating my experience. But truth be told, there were lots of moments that I couldn't even begin to try expressing through words or pictures. Trying to convey them will not be just to the 1.experience that I had, and 2. to those who expect to see or experience the same through my eyes/words!

I just wish!

What would I do, If I had not known you?

Where would I be, if I had not known you?

Would I be alive, if I had not known you?

Even if I’m, would I be sane, if I had not known you?

Lot’s of existential questions. Answers do not look definitive.  

In a world filled with people who love others for the sake of society, for the sake of using others, for the sake of having a boyfriend or girlfriend to dump their emotional baggage, for the sake of having someone to let their world revolve around, for the sake of getting talktime credited(seriously, it happens),  How did I even find you? I’m still astonished by how much the universe pushed me to talk to you. You know this all too well. I’m not a talker. Not definitely to stranger’s from the fairer sex. Though we have never met in person,  I could say I’m not a stranger to you. I also hope you would say the same!

People say, love happens with reasons and expectations. It might be the case. But I would say, it might or might not overcome the regular idea of love and become something unconditional.(Love in it’s true sense is unconditional, but seriously who cares, we are all busy labeling things, emotions and ideas). It’s only when we don’t know what to label "this", When something has crossed the requirements of being labeled, and still stays close to heart, it is love in the true sense. I’m the guy who stays in his head a lot. There have been more times I have banged myself on someone or some pole, than the number of days I have existed in this planet. I seriously don’t know If it's a figment of my imagination or otherwise. I am seriously at a loss when it comes to understanding what others feel. It becomes overwhelming that it takes a lot of time to understand things as simple as sarcasm (not to term sarcasm as simple, but getting that becomes difficult when being under the influence of emotions). And because i have mentioned being in love, people will start questioning about my girlfriend. What society expects one to!

There have been times when I have considered myself as the knight in shining whatever. The intention was to stay by your side. Not to visit you on a imaginary horse and save you from this wretched environment. You are a strong woman. I admire you.  You need no saving. You are the one who saves others. All you need is someone to hold you still. Hope time will let me do that! 

There have been times when I hurt you. Times when you needed support and I let you down. Fights and misunderstandings makes the bond better. It definitely has. I know a lot on what to talk, and what not to. You were there holding my hand, like a strict parent.. letting me learn on you, correcting me. I would be a social illiterate without you. I used to expect to talk to you, not wanting to bother you would stay in my thoughts. I have stopped expecting to talk. Not that I don't want to, But that’s when I learnt that I have started loving you in the true sense. From all that I have learnt, the best is, "everything is ephemeral & This moment is eternity". Someone said, Eternity is not a long long time, it's absence of time. I just wish, we could fall in each others arms, hold the other still and stay for an eternity. Let this moment last forever... I just wish.!

Midnight rant!

Usually all my posts are rant of some kind or the other. Probably that’s the only thing I’m good at. Guess this one is “that” bit special. It’s a midnight rant! I’m angry on myself. Just couldn’t put my finger on the frickin reason. Toccata and Fugue on repeat. Grumpy. Feeling that, in addition to others, I’m continuously deceiving myself. Is there a dangling modifier in the last sentence?

You know the struggle is real when your desire to NOT DESIRE anything, becomes a desire. After all, I’m yet another confused soul trying to find its path. Once you hit a number of cul de sacs, your patience wears down. Unable to hold it together. Is this how a meltdown feels? Anxious, angry, empty, longing. Irritated with this font. Love using nice fonts, one like this. Life is good. Enjoying work. Life is fragmented. Like this post. Completely incoherent thoughts put together as a passage that makes no sense at all. Loving someone other than me is going to be an uphill task. It took prolonged efforts and patience to accept myself. I love myself. Which is a good start. To love someone, they say, charity begins at home, One start’s by loving oneself. Unless one can really love the self, love on others just can’t be true, or so I believe (if you could understand the last six sentences, welcome to the club my friend, the very least, you are half as mad as I am). The travel bug in me is itching to ride. 1910 kms on the odo, and the longest I’ve travelled in a day would be a few kms shy of a hundred. Maybe all I need is a long lonely ride. Maybe I will find lady love at the end of my journey, as if this is a fairy tale. Always been the guy who never worried about the destination, rather prioritized the experience. All these make no sense. None at all. Just like a madman’s words. 

Internet is a vast place. And someone is generous enough to provide me space to pour all my incomprehensible thoughts, and let it stay. A brilliantly meshed web! It's been long since I've felt this way, that "things have gotten way out of hand". Treated myself to a classic Assam tea, in the middle of night! There’s dopey shaggy on the mug. When in doubt go for a hot beverage. 

I’m no SJW to fight for the good of the society. I’m selfish. Selfish enough to take care of personal ambitions, and nothing else. Still not sure if anyone else can look at this and still think I’m alright! Not sure if I’m ready to show this to anybody I know. What’s the purpose of posting this? Seeking approval? To show I’m a rebel?(Who am I kidding?, call this rebel?) Should everything have a purpose? Can’t things stay purposeless, like this one?
 Maybe end of the day all I want is to someone to hug me and say it’s all going to be okay!

Do I really look like a guy with a plan?

Tough Choice!

Been 3 months since my last post. Things are going great. My best buddy got into his dream institution. One more is struggling. Future looks hopeful.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This is a gist of my experiences with bikes. Learnt riding dad's CD100SS at 11, progressed to Bajaj Caliber 115 at 14 (if you remember the hoodibaba ad from 2003 Cricket worldcup). Bought my first bike in 2011, when I had to do a 38 kilometer highway commute to office on a daily basis. A 2010 Yamaha ss125, which is pretty much a great ride in city, however loses that "edge" on highways because of small engine capacity. Except for occasional punctures, my ride has never ever let me down in the last 4 years. Great pickup, pathetic mileage, cool looks even before fz's started storming the city! The longest ride i had was the one from Chennai to Vellore, which was a good experience with a 125cc.

SS125 2011~2015
It's been four years since I started planning for a bike, decent city handling and good touring capabilities were primary requirements.
I had returned to Chennai, got into a startup, started living my dream. There are few more bits and pieces that would complete the jigsaw. A powerful bike and a good camera are worth mentioning. Started analyzing all that's available on market. There were limited options based on price band. My max budget was not exceeding 2.5 lakhs. I had to go through a lot before I could decide on something. 

Was very keen on elder siblings from KTM's stables. However had to decide against them as their riding position was bit off for me and had stiff suspension, which I felt uncomfortable. Liked the ABS part though. Next came CBR 250 ABS version. Called  all the showrooms across Chennai out of which 2 gave very vague answers and wanted me to deposit 5000 in cash and they "Might" get bikes in future and they will allot that to me. Remaining denied flat out that one cannot just get hold of that bike. It's not available was the answer to my queries. They were bidding hard to sell a 150 CBR, any colour, immediate delivery. But it didn't just strike the chord! (while this is being written, news is that Honda supremo almost confirms facelift 250 and 150). 

 Hyosung was the next choice. Aquila is a proven name, been in this country for ten years or so. Twin cylinder 250cc, wonderful cruising abilities. But price tag was on the other side of my budget. So Nope. And my friend was wary of their spares and service capabilities. There was no sign of R25 or R3 anywhere near, looks like may be in distant future(again while this piece is being put together, there are rumors that it might be R3, and definitely in a few months). A biking enthusiast friend suggested Karizma. I have been in NCR for so long that I couldn't bring myself to consider one, let alone purchase. I even went to the extent of considering the infamous “Inazuma”. Price works for me. Looks didn’t score well. Twin cylinder, which actually should mean good touring capabilities. But the downside, they had sold like 300 odd bikes in the last financial year. And it gets better. When I actually started considering that, there came an announcement that finally Suzuki axed INAZUMA.

 Honestly till this point of time I wasn't even considering a Royal Enfield. Had to look through all their models. Read reviews, feedbacks, pros and cons. Finally decided I would have to choose between desert storm(classic 500) and thunderbird 500. Test ride of both showed me the small differences, and riding position. Riding is more upright in the classic, more relaxed in the thunderbird. Initially I thought thunderbird 350 will do fine. When I came to know that 500 has a fuel injection, there’s no turning back on that. Some might feel what’s the big deal? But choosing between carburetor and FI made the deciding point. Enquired at i-speed motors Ayanavaram.
day out with showroom TB500!
Staff were responsible and courteous. Read on a forum that RE offers experience rides. Inquired about the same and took a thunderbird 500 for a full day. Definitely wanted a experience ride, because had my reservations on the thumper’s wading through capabilities. Wanted a bike that would be nimble as well. A big one as big as thunderbird 500 , tipping the scales at 196kgs? I didn’t imagine it would be nimble in any possible way. But a day’s ride proved me wrong. It zipped through traffic. Bike was so nimble that I could practically swoosh through any bend that I wanted to, only disadvantage being the breadth of the vehicle, which warrants caution while tackling hard twists. 

There was an empty highway and smashing rains on the return journey. Which had me fall hard in love with the thumper. Paid booking charges on the same night and delivery happened in 10 freakin days!

Thunderbird 500 Marine blue it is.

Looking forward - (s)miles ahead!

Being an Idealist

Being an idealist sucks and is awesome at the same time.

How to recognize one?

You were that kid, who was lost in a train of thoughts during classes. One look outside the window and end up being in a magical world. One stare at the wall, a movie(read : your own imaginative one) starts projecting on the wall, one look into numbers and you can weave a story involving the numbers, you do not read a book while you read a book, but you watch a movie inside your head while actually reading a book. You find reading fantasy genre extremely gripping. You find an unknown attraction towards movies, songs & books that make you experience slightly darker version of feelings. The likes of Tim burton's and Black swan. You can always think about the impossible without even having the slightest remorse of whether there is a possibility of that phenomenon happening or not (not all the above given points should be applicable, however a good number of them might be applicable).

Idealists are complained to be self absorbed, fit for nothing, selfish, dreamers. We imagine a lot. True. However imagination is something that lets us have our way with perfection in this imperfect world. I do not claim that perfection is the only thing to seek in life. I've learnt that "To recognize" perfection in imperfection, is what life is all about. Idealist never loses that sense of fascination, "THAT" glimmer in eyes when one sees something new. Anything can fascinate an idealist. A rainbow, starlit sky, dark sky, sunset, horizon, rain, an anime, a well created character in a fictitious production, be it in writing or in visual medium.

Idealism drives you crazy. It gives that itch in your brain,which you cannot scratch. Only those who have experienced it can feel how horrible it feels to have that itch. It makes you seek the impossible. Wants the best, not to settle for something less. It's very helpful when you need to plan for a long term vision, where being overambitious makes sense in the long run. Being a part of almost 10 percent of the population is no fun either, which in-turn causes being ridiculed, bullied and whatnot.

The downside is, having lots of unrealistic expectations might break you. One fine day, you will get to realize that the whole life you have been living is based on lies and there was nothing you could have done to change it. The most difficult moment is one when you have no other go, than to accept reality, by partly burying idealism for the sake of pragmatism. Too much of idealism is not a problem in itself. However idealism when not able to realize in real life, might cause serious repercussions like depression. All we need is a vent to channel through the idealism. Creativity is at it's best because of idealism. People become Mad genius when brimming with idealism. There is no stopping them as they don't care about the difference between reality and imagination while they have "zoned out". Some of the best creator's are claimed to be idealists.Vincent van Gogh, J.R.R. Tolkien(lord of the rings), C.S.Lewis(The Chronicles of Narnia), A.A.Milne(Winnie the pooh), Bill Watterson(Calvin and Hobbes), J.K.Rowling(Harry potter), Johnny Depp, Tim burton(movie's like Alice in wonderland, Frankenweenie, Nightmare before christmas, Charlie and the chocolate factory). For a more comprehensive list have a look at this link. The secret lies in always being in touch with that madness. which actually defines the person you are. 

Idealist's also dream about an Utopian state,where no poverty, no ignorance exists. They cannot digest the fact that, creation of such a state is impossible, and when they come to realize that it is impossible they get destroyed inside piece by piece. They would curse their own self for not being able to contribute to the society in a meaningful way.
Mainstream job's might not be pleasing for an idealist. That urge to do something different, try new things cannot be satiated by a well defined, process oriented job. If you are an idealist, seeking to come out of the routine, create a plan. Tomorrow might not be the day you execute them, however you can do it someday, and your idealism will be the driving force in actualizing this very plan.

All above views are personal and might contain factual inaccuracies!