Sunday, December 8, 2013

2013...In retrospect

Before every article out there starts throwing in the top 20, 10, 5, 3 lists of the year in every possible arena, I figured I'd give it an early start. I mostly do this analysis every other year but this time I thought it's worth noting down given the mix of things in the year past. The special thing about this year was that there was nothing big or life changing yet I learnt a lots of life lessons.

The year started in my home land so couldn't ask for a better beginning. Visited some good old friends and had a blast with them making the trip sweeter. Then came a little bump with a foot injury which taught me to value what I have. Nothing major but these small hiccups remind you to cherish every moment because you don't know what the next one might bring. It is difficult to express how much more appreciative of life it has made me but I can definitely say that I look at life through a different lens now.

There has been an immense amount of energy around me this year. I've had days when I couldn't stop dancing for hours and then those when I couldn't get anything done for weeks. Random emotions, spontaneous decisions and unreasonable rage have all been a part of the fun. Also had those various professional moments of highs and lows. It seems like a lot to happen in a year yet nothing big enough not to fit into one.

Experiences are what make life what it's worth and there wasn't a dearth of those too in the year gone by. Be it some amazing get away with family or a simple dinner with friends - these pleasures came in small wonderful packages. Not that there weren't some unpleasant ones but my brain has a great optimistic filter so let's stick with the good ones.

It will be unfair if I do not talk about my cyber life given the hyper-activity out there as well. It has been instrumental in catching up with some childhood friends and of course the new found pass time of sharing pictures and enjoying the reactions that follow.

Music makes fifty percent of my life so it definitely deserves a special mention. I've fallen in love with many tracks through the months and some even stood the test of time. I could probably survive without food and water for a few days but life without music seems close to impossible.

All-in-all a great year so far with much to be thankful about including the tough times. Looking forward to many more such years that I can look back to without regrets and confidently say that I've grown wiser by a year :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A part of the world..yet a world apart !

Having lived in this part of the world for a few years now I' have a lots of thoughts to share. It takes a lot of time to really understand people, culture and appreciate it but it takes a very few seconds to form the first impression. So let's start with first impressions - this is a place with freedom in the true sense. I started as a student so it's fair to say you're free to choose what you study and how you do it. There is so much structural flexibility which is quite evident if I tell you that they have take-home exams and even open book exams :)

The part I've enjoyed most is the freedom to study wherever and whenever you like ! I've studied at every hour of the day and at every possible place in the campus - be it the bench in the park, the building stairs, the couch at starbucks or on top of the wall outside the lab. All you need is a laptop(if you're a fellow computer science geek) and a good wi-fi connection which existed every possible place on campus. It's not just the liberty that comes with amenities, there's no social one judges you or at least does not bother you with their opinion unless asked for.

Too much freedom can hurt you sometimes but I'll not walk that tangent; lets focus on the brighter side for now. This reminds me of another great quality people around here have and that is the wonderful habit to always greet with a bright smile and exchange pleasantries. It's true that most of it is superficial but you know sometimes a "Hi ! Have a nice day :)" from a stranger can make your day ! They know how to talk - they really do. It's no surprise how they make the best sales and marketing people in the world.

And yes they have an amazing sense of humour.You'll be glad to know I've recently figured out what makes them so funny - they make fun of themselves and once they have won over the audience they crack a few on the listeners as well. For example: I was at an event recently where the speaker was talking about his career and these were his exact words "I change my team every 2 years before people know what a fraud I am !". Even politicians in this country make jokes on themselves...infact they have an official dinner every year where they invite a famous witty guy to make fun of everyone including the President who sits there and laughs along.

Lastly, unlike our perception they also care and spend time with their families. They might not know every distant relative but there is a close bond that exists within their immediate family. The ideologies and customs are sure different but that's a part of the culture. At the end of the day it is yet another way of life !

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Count your blessings name them one by one :)

Life is like a sine wave with lots of ups and downs. There are times in life when you are on top of the curve and do not realize what you've got. You're happy with tons of achievements and success becomes the new normal. It is when you are on the lower end of the curve that you understand the value of the happier times.

I believe it is the balance of nature to bring you to the lows so that you can appreciate your accomplishments. Just envision yourself sitting at the bottom of a hill mesmerized with the beauty there must be at the peak. The thought of the breathtaking views at the summit can be almost dreamy and inspiration enough to keep going.

I can proudly say that I have been through a few periods of 2 pi of these curves (geeks can chuckle :P). My experience says that to make the best of the time when you are moving along the negative Y-axis is to look back and enjoy what you missed when you were busy winning the game of life. It is very important for you to savour the blessed days and stay motivated to go uphill again. Take this opportunity to thank those who have been by your side all along.

Back in school we used to sing a hymn in the morning prayers which now makes so much more sense.
"Count your blessings name them one by one....and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done"