Thursday, April 05, 2012

Day 1 @ IIMA!

Well, finally I am here @ IIMA Campus.. Its been quite a journey (Nope,
not the getting admission here part but the actual travel from Bangalore to
Ahmedabad…J travelled about 34 hours by train from Bangalore and what a
journey it was!). I cant remember when was the last time I took a long distance
train but in retrospect this seemed like a pretty good decision. It gave me all
the time in the world to read a book, ponder over things and wonder over how
Indians live/behave…I tell you, no place better than a train to have that
analysis done..:)

First impression of the city was actually pretty sober..:) Nothing
great or nothing spectacular (but what can I say? I travelled at 8AM and that
too for what looked like few kms)… It looked like any other city to me except
that its going to be my home for the next 1 year (atleast?!?)
After heavy negotiations with my porter and then with my Auto
driver I ended up in IIMA. Reaching the campus was kind of an overwhelming
feeling. The journey was indeed long, eventful, exciting with many twists and turns
(nope this time not the train journey, but the actual journey of getting
admitted here..:D). And I hope the future will be few notches above of what it
was before. There are so possibilities and so many opportunities (or so I presume!)
that right now I have no clue where I would be 1 year down the line.
At the reception, I got the keys to my dorm room. The room
unfortunately happens to be on the top most floor! As soon as I enter the room,
I could feel hot air blowing on my face and had to just run out to the safety
of the outside cool air. At 8 in the morning if the situation is going to be
like this, I can imagine how it would be the rest of the day. Also, imagine the
next three months when the peak summer hits Ahmedabad! The only solace was the
AC in the room but then I think I will have to start borrowing money from
friends and relatives to pay its bill…:)
Apart from the heat, today has been great so far - meeting my
batch mates and getting to know them. Quite a few of the people I met today are
already Entrepreneurs or are kind of stalwarts from different industries. So
the interaction has been great and it kind of makes me feel excited to be here,
to be part of this group and to hopefully survive together for the next year.:P
My registration eventually happened around 5:15 PM without much hassles.
After getting my internet setup I went for a jog and got lost in the main
campus. Couldn’t believe the faculty quarters was that huge or for that matter
had so many twists and turns..(maybe they have tried to simulate the life in this
campus :))
After a good dinner with some of newly formed friends we went on a
long walk again. Exploring the place took its times as we were more talking
than walking.:) Found the gym, sports complex and the jogging tracks. Most of
us showed interest but lets see how many actually find time for these things.
Because when it comes to sacrificing something to manage time, these are the activities
first in the list to be scratched..:)
Anyway for now some of us plan to run at 6:30 in the morning, lets
see how it goes..:)
There is an unofficial kick-off party on Saturday evening (day
after tomorrow) arranged by my enthusiastic batch mates, but the official one
is on Sunday evening (arranged by PGPX - was supposed to be on Monday but maybe
they thought why waste a day, so they pulled it to Sunday..:)). Looking
forward to both these events..
I am happy so far and I hope I remain so for the next year..
Cheers,
Dilip

PS: I thought my blog has been dead for the last few months and
would be so for the next year. Though there have been quite a few
trips/activities/events there has been not much time/mood to update the blog.
So thought was losing my interest in blogging. But after coming here I hope to
keep it alive throughout the coming year. Hopefully it will become a small
chronicle of my journey here. I am not sure how many posts (it will be more
like twitter updates I think) will actually come out of this resolution, but
then one never knows..:)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Relief? Or Ecstasy?

There are certain things that are best learnt during childhood and swimming is one of them. Most people who know swimming say it’s so easy, all you have to do is just float! But that’s easier said than done when you have lived most part of your life fearing deep waters and avoided them like its been shark infected. Suddenly you are told to deep dive into it and tame it, love it, float on it, and relax like there is no worry in this world. How do you undergo this transformation? Again the same ‘people’ ask you get into the water, get wet and start learning.. There is no other way… As I found out its easier said than done..

For almost three weeks while trying to learn I have taken in enough chlorine water to fill an overhead tank, my confidence has been beaten to the core, and it felt that somehow the forces around me were making sure I drown even with a learning board.

Believe me! Learning swimming does take a toll.. You see toddlers swimming in the pool and you cant even float it takes a toll. You cant breathe-in air and suddenly start looking at finding the ground/floor beneath you, it takes a toll. You start regretting so much that you start cursing yourself, for having taken this step, it takes a toll… Finally a time comes when you think of quitting and saying “Is it really important for me to learn this? Cant I live without it?” Its just a matter of time before one comes to such a state. In fact it took me about three weeks to reach there and was almost at the verge of quitting.

But I finally swam today.. :) More than anything else, it was relief…

I had thought of giving up so many times especially last week when I couldn’t even swim properly with a board. There was actually not much of progress and the motivation levels really dropped off. After a lot of thought of giving up I asked my trainer to come today morning.. The day started in a usual manner. Struggled with my techniques. Drank enough chlorine water and was getting tired very easily (which shouldn’t happen ideally if you breathe properly).

However, today for whatever reason we kept pushing and trying various things. Finally, I was able to manage my first proper swimming lap. I am far away from proclaiming that I know swimming but now the ‘belief’ is back and I know I can do this. I might not want to swim in the sea but swimming in a pool is a must have according to me (as of now..:)) and I see that I can reach that stage before the end of the month.

Maybe my case was a bit extreme or maybe people do learn it very easily but let me tell you, for me running the ultra-marathon was easier than learning to swim! The ‘belief’ was just wasn’t there.. And that ‘belief’ goes for a nose dive everytime there was a failed attempt. So it takes a herculean task to get into the swimming pool the next time. It’s all interconnected you see..

Like most things in life that makes you happy or the things that you actually want, this too is going through its cycle of ups and downs, and there were times when giving up was the easier option but finally I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it makes be relieved, happy and ecstatic at the same time..

Here’s to hoping my love affair continues with the wonderful water..

Happy Valentine’s day everyone!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Target!

During my first 10K run I was feeling exhausted by the time I finished 6K. At my first Half Marathon, I was feeling exhausted and tired by the time I reached 16K, during my first Full Marathon I was down and out by the time I reached 34Km and was not able to put one step forward after 42Km! The irony was when I tried my first Ultra marathon of 75Km, I hadn’t run beyond a Full Marathon until then, and was really not sure whether I could complete it. But when I ran the Ultra, I could easily make it until 60Km and then struggled to finish the rest of the 75KM! What does it tell us?

A lot of things in life is psychological and what one thinks is achievable or doable is mostly in the minds. Really, the importance of accessing and placing a target is of utmost importance. Since we all are prone to procrastination its very much necessary to have targets that push us to achieve more. Being safe, is no longer an option if we want to achieve anything beyond the norm.

Its even more important for people like me who cant work without a target and most often than not things anyway get done at the last moment. I have come to realize that the best way to overcome this is to divide the bigger goal into smaller goals with shorter durations. That way its not only continuously calibrated but also accessed.

Like a marathon, unless we try to do something more than the norm one will never know whether that’s even a possibility. Our realm of possibilities to a major extent is a figment of our imagination. And that’s what I have learned.


Thursday, January 05, 2012

What if?

There are times when we ask ourselves the ever-lasting and unanswerable questions that start with ‘what if’? Times in life when you are in that contemplating mode and wonder how you would be and what you would be ‘if only ...’.

But is there any point to these questions? Should one be even entertaining such thoughts? The only positive/good thing that ‘can’ come out of it is to make sure the present and the future is not filled with instances that will rise to more ‘What if’ questions.. Though not many such instances in the past, I still have a few - enough to be vary of the next two months..

Every second we make a choice and that’s what makes our life.

The next couple of months will be a testament of things to come. Excitingly and happily looking forward to it like a child with a new toy everyday! And here I come..


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bring it on!


Traveling through the years,
Overcoming doomsdays and naysayers,
Clinging onto hope,
Like an addict on dope,
Looking across space,
Finally, the gate in my gaze.

Too bright and decorated fa├žade,
To really see through the maze,
But does it really matter?
When you know you can wade through the clutter,
Muddled in my thoughts,
Planning the next path.

A course set, that might take me years or decades,
Testing my tenacity, overcoming impuissance,
Patience and uncertainties my shortcomings,
But, first things to be conquered for this undertaking,
I know I will be there,
And one day a blog post it will make!


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Happy B'day!

Sands on the beach side
Rocks chiseled by the tides
Running as fast as a deer
Gaining an extra inch over your peer
Splattering sand leaving a foot mark
It was never a walk in the park
Watching friends in various combo
An unimaginable portrait not so long ago
Suddenly the realization dawns
You are just a pawn
Half a marathon gone
Her paranoia blaming the scheming faun
Another half to go
To complete the panorama

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The secret of the Nagas

I have never written book reviews as far as I can remember. But, there is always a first time and no better book than the “Secret of Nagas”. Amish the author of “Shiva Triology” has a unique gift of imagination, the art of storytelling and an amazing ability to blend mythology with fiction. How many authors you have read, can boast of such talents?

"The Secret of the Nagas" is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The way Amish has brought in the innumerable aspects of our mythology to bring one of the most amazingly written gripping story speaks volumes of his artistry in writing.

Growing up I had always been fascinated with Lord Ganesha. The combination of a human and Elephant made him my favorite Gods. His deformity, if you can call that, was what actually made him the most attractive. And I still remember how I used to listen to stories from my parents about his life, how he was born and how he managed to get an elephant head for himself. It always intrigued me, mesmerized me and captivated my imagination. Over time my curiosity, my thought process et al got the better of me and that’s when questioning all these concepts and stories started. It led to what I now understand about the great ‘Hindu’ culture, its practices and its way of life.

But what has that got to do with Amish’s “Shiva Triology”? It has everything to do with that. The whole assumption of Gods and their supernatural powers is thrown out and he starts with the simple concepts of how these characters were plain humans with extraordinary thought process, determination, ability to fight against all odds, but still make mistakes and correct them along the way. It talks about how Shiva is born in a remote Himalayan Mountain (Mt. Kailash) as a son of a tribal chief and had to fight mortal enemies (other tribal chiefs) just to survive and live.

The flow of events makes him to choose a path that will ultimately led him to a land called “Meluha” – a perfect society following the rules formed by Lord Rama. These people were the Suryavanshi’s and the their enemies were the Chandravanshi’s. And, they believed the only way peace can be restored in “India” was to force the people of Chandravanshi’s to follow their way of life. The whole crux of the book is that ultimately “Evil needs to be destroyed”. But the fun part is that the definition of Evil is something that changes among various people based on their perceptions.

And these perceptions within an individual change too. This is seen even in the great Shiva as he tries to find and destroy evil. The ‘Nagas’ add a third element in the entire story bringing in all facets of our community and inturn our various Gods into the story. What makes the book simply beautiful is the way Sati, Shiva, Ganesh, Kali and other Gods, are introduced in the story and how they behave, their characters and their perceptions of good and evil. And all this is brought together by a great story.

According to the author its all fiction. But who said mythology is not? But by bringing the gods to the level of humans and then making them extraordinary through their actions, thoughts and sometimes mistakes makes it much more believable than the actual/original stories of God. This story epitomizes the philosophy of a way of life. It brings in philosophy and morals in a way that no story does. It makes you believe on why there is a God in each one of us. Makes you question why we can’t be Gods and makes you ponder on your decisions and the way you lead your life.

It also shows that first one needs to believe in oneself before one can even try to succeed (Even Shiva faces this problem). One needs to learn from ones mistakes and have the humility to accept the mistakes. One needs to work hard for everything one does and nothing comes easy.

So in short, the characters in the book are all from actual mythology but the story isnt. At the end of the day it’s the aspects of philosophy, human behavior and its contradictions that makes you think. All this he does by making the story a page-turner for even a layman. And that’s the best part according to me.

It goes without saying that I highly recommend this book but would recommend that you read the first book "The Immortals of Meluha" before reading this one.

I am eagerly awaiting ‘The Oath of the Vayuputras’ - the final book in the series.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Supporting Anna Hazare..? Why?


I have been following posts/opinions on Anna Hazare at FB, Blogs and other places. After reading a post from a friend of mine I thought it’s better to put my thoughts in place and come up with reasons why anyone should support Anna..:)

Before I go to my points, I want you to read this..

http://in.news.yahoo.com/blogs/opinions/where-anna-hazare-gets-wrong-20110413-224657-743.html

This was a post written by Amit Verma (whom I greatly admire for his opinions/articles) back in April and he had made very good points. Do i disagree with him on the points raised? Nope, they are perfectly valid and correct.. However, do i completely agree with him? Nope again..

There are certain aspects I beg to differ..

We are at a point where corruption is so deep rooted that something needs to be done.. Whatever that is.. Until a few months back, there was no avenue for anyone to fight back and now people have found it in Anna Hazare.. And that’s the difference..

Even though I wholeheartedly agree with "reforms" as a way to go, i have no freaking way to ensure that happens.. Now you tell me what a common man is supposed to do? Wait for next 30 years to see if anyone will start a fast on reforms and then support him? I believe inaction/no-action is worse than not trying at all..

So until there is someone out there who can take up the mantle of reforms, there is no way that will become the strategy to fight against corruption (My reasons on why i support him later).. And do you think people like Dr. Manmohan Singh doesn’t know about it? Sorry, he deserves more credit than that.. He knows but the lust for power (or whatever that makes him to continue to be PM) has made him to keep quiet.. If he had any semblance of Integrity left he would have resigned long time back..

Anyway coming back to the point, so where do 'I' go from here? Since i dont have anyone to support the right method, and since I don’t want to give up my 'lifestyle' and dedicate my life to fight corruption (this is why Sathyaghraha works – it’s a easier method than violent movement and one need not need too much capital for this kind of protest. People can relate, understand and support it without losing much) i will go ahead and support Anna on his fast, whom I credit for atleast shaking the system. This would definitely bring another powerhouse in place but then most regulatory bodies in this world can be considered as an "alternative powerhouse'. The question would then come whether it will be misused, now that I do not have an answer to... But unlike people who oppose Anna, I am optimistic about it and want to give it a try.. If it doesn’t work maybe 20 years (just an approx number) down the line people would do another Sathyaghraha to abolish it and bring in reforms..

But i am willing to give it a shot mainly because I don’t have any other option and i want to break the current shackles..What do you say to that? As an informed supporter i wish to give it a try..

Either way, i don’t want the bill to get passed in its current form.. It really doesn’t make any sense.. One more layer of bill which is not applicable to people at the top..?

You know how a organizations culture/character is built? Its ridiculous to say its just the employees who build the character...Because that’s totally wrong.. Its the character of the CEO/Leader who builds the culture in an organization... If he is lethargic and corrupt the rest will be the same.. If he is thinking out of the box and encourages entrepreneurial activity, then the organization will pick up that culture over a period of time.. Look around for any company and you will see what I mean.. So now that I have a bill that can potentially reduce the corruption at highest places then I think it might actually work.. Lets give it a shot, its better than not doing anything..

Lastly, people talk too lightly on him going fast or they take offense when this is compared to the next freedom struggle.. Please bear in mind that fasts have been a method of protest in India for many years and a lot of people go on fast on many issues (Telangana, Ganga cleansing etc).. But why is that in this case it has caused so much of a stir?!? That’s because people are fed up with what they are seeing and they want a change.. And Anna is giving them an avenue.. Without the support of the people this wouldn’t have become such a big issue (and of course not to discount our so call ‘media’)..

When Barrack Obama made all those speeches about 'Change' people thought another Jesus was born, but most see what he has done now apart from talking.. But you know what? they atleast tried and gave him a chance.. They are better because of that.. An inaction is worse than a wrong action is what i feel..

This bill may not lead us anywhere and it might even worsen it, but atleast we would have tried it rather than just ranting.. It’s a path/risk I am willing to take..

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Pains

I can feel the pressure building, and can sense the steam charting its escape route, the heat creating a painful degree of smolder and the temperature is soaring. Sometimes you feel its just the beginning while other times you wish it had all ended. You are hungry for more and at the same time you really don’t want the same thing day and night. Life could have been more simpler but then it wouldn’t have been this fun, isn’t it? You ask yourself why does it take so damn long and it whistles right back at you asking you to have patience. Patience and graceful handling of uncertainties are virtues that I am yet to master and life has a tendency to always test you on things that you are yet to master on!!

Ohh, my dear pressure cooker, please finish cooking that rice. I am starving!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Days!

Some days a lot gets done and yet at the end of the day instead of feeling tired, you are refreshed and you want do more. It’s not that everything goes like clockwork, it’s not that the net result is perfect (infact it will far from it!), it’s not that you have achieved success at the end of it, but still you are happier and life seems simpler. Those are the days you have tried the hardest, slept the least, worked towards a goal and made that day count!
Those are the days you wonder why can’t every day be like this? Some days are just like this.. And lately most days are becoming like this...Sign of good and hard times to come?




Friday, July 29, 2011

Path ahead?

Running fever
Sweltering room
Churning stomach
Aching intestine

Spurting everything out
Washing off its existence
Yet, that fear and twinge
Falling off that crevice

Procrastinating the action
Forced to believe the thoughts
Reducing the achievement
Nullifying the impact

Clearing the throat
Serving the words
Cutting the spleen
Pushing the thoughts

Defending once stance
Trying to move the pang
Nothing is easy
But it can be done

And it will be.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Unknown Caller

Running along the sea shore
Walking through the green boulevard in the fore
Sleeping on the cozy bed
And while eating my daily bread
A ‘smart’ phone held in my hand
Waiting for it to vibrate and sing a song
Always giving a chintzy thrill
While some times dreading it’s shrill
Curious of who it might be
Cautious of what it could mean
Hoping for the best
But fearing the worst
Emotions bundled in a core
‘The distance’ causing it to manifest multifold
Ingenious and smart is what they say
But nothing could tell what the call exemplify
However smart it might be
It cannot beat the uncertainty.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tiger Tiger burning bright, In the temple of Thailand!

One of the good things about reading or researching on a country/place that you plan to visit is that you don’t miss on the best things that the place has to offer. My research on Thailand led me to what eventually turned out to be once in a lifetime experience - a visit to the ‘Tiger Temple’ at Kanchanaburi near Bangkok, Thailand, and playing with Tigers there.


The entire Thailand trip was built around this event. I had almost four and half days there to spend and the only thing I was really looking forward to was touching a tiger. I had spent so much of time and money back in India going on treks, wild-life camps and nature resorts to catch a glimpse a tiger in full flow that I had almost given up on seeing one. So when this opportunity was available I grabbed it and booked a day trip to the ‘Tiger Temple’.


This temple is located about 2.5 hours drive from Bangkok and I had a booked a Taxi and a guide for the whole trip. The guide was about 3 years younger to me and was once a volunteer to this temple too. It was very nice to hear her life’s journey, which was quite interesting and was an excellent way to spend those hours on the road. She herself was quite a traveler having spent few months in and around Europe. She had also travelled around Thailand a lot and that helped me get a good perspective of the country, its history and its current state of affairs. She had come back to her hometown to be with her ailing mother and thus completing a full circle in her life.


As we neared our destination she gave me a brief introduction on the temple. She also gave me a list of things that I am not supposed to do when I was in the company of the tigers. All set and done these animals were ‘wild animals’ and one can never be able to predict their behavior. So it was imperative to follow all the instructions bombarded on you. But the more I listened to her the more scared I was getting. From things like not standing or walking directly in front of the tiger to not showing one’s back to any tiger around I was asked to follow many instructions. Also, I was told it was considered sacred by the monks if you get hurt and blood is spilled by a tiger and in such a scenario you would have to stay in the temple for few days. That scared me even more as I saw it as a mechanism to make sure you don’t go out of the temple until you are recovered completely.

The temple in itself was never started as a Tiger temple. It was more of an abode to the Buddhists monks. But one day some villagers not knowing what to do with an injured tiger (after getting caught in a poachers trap) asked these monks to take care of it and they agreed. And so a journey began from 1 to 91 tigers now. Tigers were sent to this place from various places and soon the tigers started breeding there (which shows that the tigers must be quite happy as they apparently don’t breed unless they are happy!). I would term their facility to be better than any of the breeding program as I myself saw about 20 cubs. And this was without any effort in the direction of making these tigers breed…


On the way we (myself and my guide) stopped at a supermarket to buy some food for giving alms to the monks and that’s how my day started at the temple. I had left my hostel at around 5 AM and had reached the temple around 7.30AM. There were already a group of 10 people waiting for the monks. Once the formality of giving alms was done all of us were ushered in to the temple were we met the cubs. It was feeding time and all of us got a chance to feed the cubs, played with them and cuddled them. The whole experience was too exciting to be described in words. The first half an hour with these cubs were the scariest. Imagine someone who is scared of dogs playing with Tiger cubs! But things started improving once I gained more confidence in the volunteers there..:) (Because I had no confidence in the behavior of the tigers there..:))


By this time the monks had finished their prayers, we had breakfast with them. We were then led to a Tiger shelter where we bathed and washed few full grown tigers. I even fed one of them with Chicken. I was dead scared that the tiger would eat my hand but thankfully the hand is intact and I am typing my experience here..:)

We then moved inside a huge den that had a pond. Either the tigers should be outside the enclosed territory and we inside or the tigers inside and we outside…But in this case both we and the tigers were inside. Again, we were all asked to strictly follow the rules that were stated earlier else we were told we would be either thrown out by the volunteers or be eaten by the tigers. It was not funny in the beginning but later found the experience to be really awesome. It was great to play with them in the pool and the presence of volunteers there really helped, as they knew how to take care of these tigers when situation went out of hand. It was not just the tigers (which like all animals the play sometimes slowly turned into fights) but the people there who sometime in their over zeal didn’t follow the instructions endangering not only themselves but others around.


At the end of the trip we walked two fully grown tigers back to their den and had photographs taken with them. All along the way we were asked to never show our back to them and never go in front of them. Both the tigers marked their territory along the way and they apparently do that daily!


After a heavy lunch my guide took me to the “Bridge on the river kwai”. The bridge in itself was not too big or long but the circumstances under which it was built made it special and once again I got a very good history lesson from her. By the time I landed back at my hostel it was late evening. The rest of the trip comprised of visiting The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho - The oldest and largest temple (housing the reclining Buddha), Wat Arun - Temple of Dawn, the famous floating markets of Bangkok and of-course the beaches of Pattaya.


I had never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would play with tigers, feed them, pet them and walk them and be alive at the end of it to tell the tale. But here I am doing exactly that and it makes me feel really good and special that I could do all this. Overall it was such a great experience that the rest of my trip became a mere footnote in my post.


Some snaps can be found here...