Sunday, December 31, 2006

The New MacBook. Post #1 :)

This is the first of many posts coming up from my new macbook :) It truly is a beautiful machine and definately a work of art. I look forward to a great time with this laptop.

Wish all of you a very very happy new year from me. May all your dreams come true this coming year and in the years ahead :)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Come... Come... Come Into My World

Another year whizzes by...

- I was in training with my new company at the start of the year.
- I am working abroad for my company by the end of the year.

- I started the year at 22 years of age.
- I am finishing the year at 23 years of age.

- I learnt to put the past behind.
- I went back to a point in the past to partially rollback life.

- I made many new friends, learnt so much about life from them, enjoyed their zest for life and joie-de-vivre, and learnt to enjoy myself and just do things and live in the present always.
- I also looked into myself and saw a solitude that is an essential part of me. A part of me meant for no one in the world.

- I was fortunate to be in iCE, organizing events, meeting new interesting people.
- I am fortunate to be in Tokyo, planning to goto Roppongi for New Year's eve.

- I learnt that somewhere inside me, there is someone who CAN love...
- I also learnt that it is not time to share that yet...

- I learnt that I miss people. I am concerned for them. I should be more vocal about it to them.
- I learnt it after going away.

- I learnt to enjoy life. Be a little carefree. Not be analytical about all that is there in this world.
- I learnt that the only way forward is through careful planning and proper execution along with a healthy dash of luck.

- I lost a dear part of my family.
- ...

- I started learning to play music, something I had been waiting for 6 years to do.
- I had to give it up after 2 classes due to my trip to Japan.

- I had great mentors to guide me, to teach me, to show me the way forward. And I owe them all that I have today and will have in future...
- ...

- My mother turned 50 and we had a divine day, arranging Poojai for her birthday and the welfare of the family.
- The same day, I let out my pent up emotions after one and a half years for an irreplacable loss and an absent member of the family, feeling gutted that they could not be with us to enjoy such a divine, god-given day.

- I am starting this post on my office desktop.
- I shall finish the year with a post on my new Apple MacBook :)

Wish all of you a very very happy new year :) May God grace you with all the happiness you deserve and many many great experiences in the year to come :)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What Is Love?

There was this song that I probably heard on some casette a long time back. It was a song called "What Is Love?" by Haddaway and the only words I remember are:

What is love
Oh baby, don't hurt me
Don't hurt me no more...

I don't really remember the rest of the song and probably this might seem like a very senti or emotional start towards a long, teary, "heartfelt" :) sermon.

As a writer, I myself read my pieces in third person as a detached entity and that entity is right now rolling his eyes at the words of the song. But again, I must be truthful enough to say that these lyrics keep coming to mind quite often as a tune that plays in your head sometimes and refuses to go away :)

What is love? Do any of us know? Do ALL of us know? Do any of us care? Do ALL of us care? Do we need it? Can we live without it? Why are there some conditional loves and yet some unconditional loves, all in this same world?

Distances make the heart grow fonder, it is said... I think whoever said it is quite true. Atleast in my case. Coming away from home has probably made me appreciate the people in my life to the best of my ability. It is not to say that I didn't love them. Probably, now it has taken the form of not taking their presence in my life for granted.

Probably, I now sit back and think: Have I treated them well? Have I given them happiness? Have I been what they might have wanted me to become? Have I managed to fulfill their dreams and ambitions that they wanted to live through me? (whether that's good or bad, let's leave that debate for another day...)

Various circumstances and events have made me very paranoid... I get up each morning hoping that the day goes well and I go bed at night with a silent prayer thanking the Lord for the day having gone well... Why do I feel anxiety? sorrow? emotions???

I look back on a lot of times when I could have shown it, but I didn't. I expected them to understand, and probably they did too.

Is love a simple concept or a complicated manifestation? Is it pure or selfish? Is it need-based or respect-based? Is it all of us experience in our lives or just a chosen few?

And amidst all these questions, I look back at the unconditional and pure love I have received. From those around me, who didn't need to do it. From those who never would get anything in return from me. From those, who were and are my "farishtas"... I have received more than any man has a right to expect...

And at the end of it all, I ask myself: "Was It Love?" :)

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's A New Day, It's A New Start...

Almost a month gone and still I am somehow unable to comprehend the difference between being in India and being here. Being amidst i-flex colleagues and many more Indians, it seems pretty much like home. There are even a lot of Tamilians here, though with my accent and way of speaking, they do doubt whether I am real or a fake Tamilian :) People here say that I don't look like a South Indian and instead look like a pucca Mumbaikar.

I miss Mumbai a lot. Watching Munnabhai, watching other movies set in Mumbai, I am reminded of those kopchas and small time restaurants that I used to go into not so long back. Marine drive, where I used to sit on the parapet with friends and enjoy the breeze till late nights :)

After the initial enthusiasm of keeping a clean home and being organized, I now give higher priority to getting as much sleep as possible :) I have also borrowed "Made in America" by Sam Walton and purchased "Good to Great" by Jim Collins. I am almost through with "Made in America" and will finish it tonight.

I call home every day and it feels great to be speaking to the people I love the most in this world. Somehow, though there is also a heavy weight on my heart about the future, given the circumstances that have been prevalant. I also wonder why unlike almost everyone else, I seem to value people, life with them and their presence in my life only after they are far away from me.

Que sera sera - whatever will be will be...

In times of illogical thinking, downcast minds or loss of hope... thats where I believe my belief in HIM takes me through. I am not overtly religious, not overtly ritualistic, but yet my belief in Swamigal is strong and that is the belief that I shall carry forever.

Song For Tonight

My Father's Eyes - Eric Clapton

This entire week, this song has played in my head and I just had to listen to it somehow. The video is not Eric Clapton's, but it was the best and full song that I got, so I have put it up.

Final words: It's lovely to see friends fall in love and well... I am very happy hearing what I heard today :)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Japan Notes - Dwitiya

The joke doing the rounds at my site is that sending me to work is like Child Labour. Thats because I am the youngest person onsite here in terms of age and also the least experienced in the industry. My PM said that he passed out in 1998 and I make it seem like he is from another generation :)

Work has like always been hectic. Long hours at office under immense pressure to deliver results quickly. I faced my first such test on the last working day at 1 am in the night. Boy! I was unnerved and also calm at the same time. Unnerved by the fact that my application failed at a crucial stage and the impact it would have. And calm that my application was made well and that an external entity was causing it to break. All in all, we managed to do the required job and complete it. But that was the sign of things to come, I suppose.

It has been a case of long hours all the way through. This seems to be the work culture here and a norm rather than the exception. However, on weekends, I go to play Badminton at a club in an area called Tamachi. It is a sport I used to play during my Junior College days and was keen to restart to keep fit. It's another matter that I never got round to doing it while in India and am doing it after travelling so many miles.

The day goes in working and parallelly chatting with pals from the office PC. The office PC is my window to the outside world, since I don't have a computer at home yet. Am planning to buy a laptop soon and am looking at a Thinkpad as my to-buy option, even though it is very expensive, since this is a one-time investment for me, and the Thinkpad is the best there is. I should be going to Akihabara to do some research, even though that plan has been postponed a couple of times already.

I have taken a calling card and manage to speak to my family almost daily. Also have called up a few pals and spoken to them so far. Coming here has taught me to value the communication items that I have at home, because here there is a severe ration on communication :)

In the midst of the various discussions I have with pals on Gtalk and Yahoo Messenger, I observe that I seem to have become a more self-confident, self-aware and much less temperamental personality over time. It's not been a conscious effort. Just an evolution with time, I guess, as happens with everyone. But old habits do die hard and I chewed off someone yesterday for unprofessionalism. It wasn't intentional and I have tried very hard to suppress the irritation I feel when people expect to be spoon-fed, but it has been going on for some time since I was in the offshore team and somehow, yesterday I just said it straight to the person and he didn't take it too well, which isn't surprising, because when I talk straight, I myself know that I am very rude.

In other developments, I have submitted my papers for various processes and if all goes according to plan, I should be working here till end-2007 or beginning-2008.

I ask myself often, if I deserve this opportunity, if I am capable, if someone who deserves it more than me should have been given this opportunity? I can't seem to find the right answers to these questions. I can't claim to be the best there is in the IT industry in terms of knowledge or experience or even ability to grasp things. However I feel that my attitude towards work is second to none and I have always given work atleast my best shot, each time and every time, irrespective of the rewards waiting at the end of it or the lack thereof.

I remember the time during my Engineering days, when I have sat up all night to complete projects just for the love of it :) I really enjoyed trying out new programming things and learning new technologies. I used to turn on the FM radio all night long and work :) and a lot of times, my sleeping time would coincide with my dad's waking up time :) And after a few hours of sleep, I would be on my way to college.

Aah! Those days when the heart was pure and the mind fearless of people and circumstances... I truly know that I flew without wings...

One concrete dream I did have was to experience life to the fullest and travel and be someone in life. Nothing else was planned. Nothing was desired. I didn't know how I would live my dream. I guess I am still searching... From searching for greatness, I have evolved to searching for getting better...

Life has been very kind to me... And I shall not forget it...

Thank you...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The World This Week

Growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, "The World This Week" was one of my most favourite programs on Television. It used to be hosted by Appan Menon and then Prannoy Roy. It talked about news from various cities of the world and in those pre-liberalisation days, I used to stay up at 10.30-11 pm in the night with my dad to watch it on Doordarshan. Some nights, I would fall asleep watching it. I was fascinated by the diverse range of people in this world. I followed some of the news. I did not follow some of the news. But I remember watching with bated breath as they showed pictures of the various cities. I loved seeing foreign cities.

Today, I complete my first week outside India. Well, almost...

A call from nowhere and a chance out of nowhere and bang! I landed in Tokyo, Japan.

I took the Singapore Airlines flight from Mumbai to Narita, Tokyo with a brief stopover/transit at Singapore. The flight was uneventful and I had decent company on the first flight, while I amused myself by learning Japanese number system on the second.

Singapore Changi and Narita, Tokyo airports are truly amazing airports. Big and systematic.

At Narita, I converted some foreign currency to local currency and booked a seat on the Limouzine bus to Shinagawa Prince in Meguro. The bus ride took 1.5 hours and get this: there were announcements on the bus apologizing that the driver was taking a different route to the one originally planned, owing to rush hour traffic :). Amazing... The drive was amazingly smooth and one didnt even feel the traffic jam...

From the Shinagawa Prince hotel, I had to take a cab to my apartment building at the Ichi Mast Life Apartment. I reached by around 8 PM. With loads of baggage, I was finding it difficult to carry it in. Megumi san, one of the representatives of the Ichi Corporation, which owns the Apartment block in which I live, helped me with the keys and with the baggage upto my apartment. She also told me about the ways to use the various appliances in the apartment. My apartment is a small one with a section for the kitchen, the bath and a bedroom. After living in a big house, this was something of a shock :)

The first night was rough. I was a bit homesick and being away from home for the first ever time in life, I decided that let's screw the future. Im getting out of here in 3 months flat. I missed my mom, my dad and my sis and just wanted to get back to living the way I had been. But the next morning onwards itself, I felt better and after some thinking, it struck me that one progresses through life and the only constant is change. And one cannot live forever in a protected environment. Anyways, I took it up as a challenge and decided (in my own arrogant way) that "No! I will not bow down to the circumstances. Come what may. I shall live out whatever time I have here, and live it well."

I can cook to save my life and generally can adjust wherever and in whichever manner needed. All that remained was learning to manage the house. One thing you learn as a Software Engineer is to pick up multiple skills very fast in a very short span of time. I shall always be very thankful to my field of work for that.

The first morning after itself was spent in purchasing household items and setting up the home :) My friend, Prakash, who has been living here for 3 months, was shocked by the amount of things I purchased on Day 1 itself. I must tell you that I have had very, very helpful and caring seniors here, which has lifted the pressure somewhat and made life a lot easier.

Thats all for now. Will definately post more in the coming days. This new phase of life is really exciting. Another step towards some goal that The One Above must have destined.

P.S: I started writing this post on the 1st of December and I am posting it on the 9th. I am having a great time in office :)

Song For Tonight

Papa Kehte Hain - QSQT

Papa kehte hain bada naam karega
Beta hamara aisa kaam karega
Magar yeh to koi na jaane
Ki meri manzil hai kahan

Papa kehte hain bada naam karega
Beta hamara aisa kaam karega
Magar yeh to koi na jaane
Ki meri manzil hai kahan
Papa kehte hain bada naam karega

Baithe hain milke sab yaar apne
Sabke dilon mein armaan yeh hai
Wo zindagi mein kal kya banega
Har ek nazar ka sapna yeh hai
Koi engineer ka kaam karega
Business mein koi apna naam karega
Magar yeh to koi na jaane
Ki meri manzil hai kahan
Papa kehte hain bada naam karega

Mera to sapna hai ek chehra
Dekhe jo usko jhoome bahar
Gaalon mein khilti kaliyon ka mausam
Aankhon mein jaadu honthon mein pyaar

Banda ye khoobsurat kaam karega
Dil ki duniya mein apna naam karega
Meri nazar se dekho to yaaron
Ki meri manzil hai kahan

Papa kehte hain bada naam karega

Periappa, I miss you very much... You were one of the kindest and most lively men I ever knew. I am sorry I wasn't there...