Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"shun"s

When it is too hard to take a decision, 
It stays put as an indecision.
Indecision leads to inaction.
Then, the only course of action 
Is to let Fate choose the direction.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Wishes That Never Came True

Here’s wishing Enginjo a happy married life and very best wishes…

I had said this in 2007, soon after her wedding.

And this weekend, I thought about her again, since she had her birthday.

Alas, my wishes never came true.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Second Child

My wife and I are at that stage of life where we are often asked about planning for the second child. We are not too much in favor of it, and unfortunately I guess we are denying Tontu a sibling in the process. All those fights and wars and secrets and love along with it.

Of course, it is great fun to have a baby and is definitely a life-altering experience. There I was, thinking Been There, Done That, little knowing, I hadn't been anywhere nor done nor seen anything! A baby in the family and parenthood changes every perspective of life. There is something new to look forward to everyday. A small yet significant milestone of the little one. And the rate at which the little one grows is both stunning and saddening. Here you are wishing, she would start crawling, and there you are seeing her already running. When did she crawl? How were her first steps? Gosh, things happen so fast - like in a movie. It is as if - today is the day when she will do this and tomorrow, she would have grown out of it, so enjoy and soak in all of these today, for you might never get to see this nor experience this ever again in your life!! Before long, you start forgetting what all your child went through until you see the snaps and recorded videos. And then, when you see the snaps and videos, comes the blissfulness and the pleasant smile of 'Ah! What a time we had!' With that, comes the next thought - "Want to live through it again?"

Whenever I think about this question or when this topic comes up amongst conversations with third parties, the reply is mostly in the negative. But sometimes I wonder what is the right thing to do. I guess, at my age, I want to have more of M, T and E to myself and my wife to enjoy the freedom. But, I fear, as I grow older, this perception might change. As one of my older colleagues recently remarked, she wished she had given birth to many children during her time because it is so nice for her to have them all for lunch or get-togethers during festivals and holidays. This, from a person, who already has 2 children.

Even when during my many interactions with my grandparents, one of the main things they used to repeat was how dearly they needed our (grandchildren in general) love and affection and attention because it meant so much for them. I guess as you grow older, you feel more lonely and insecure in the world. Unless, of course, if you are within a close-knit large family. And a family can only be large when there is more than one child to start with.

Hmmm. It sure is difficult to plan for the life ahead.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Additional Hour

After a long time, I felt there was lot of time at hand today. It was literally true. There was an additional hour gifted today because Time was pulled back by 1 hour at 2 am to get back into the standard time as today signified the end of daylight saving time. We did not change the time in the house clocks or watches so that each time we saw the time, we felt happy that it was actually an hour less. Imagine seeing time as 7 o’clock on a Sunday evening only to realize that it is actually 6 o’clock! Every additional minute is worth it on a day before the grueling week starts!

But a lot of things about changing the time doesn’t make sense to me. I read about it on the Wikipedia and it made some sense but the amount of complexity that a time change brings about in the world is enormous especially for those working on massive amount of data and related information-gathering. For folks who are monitoring a flight’s plan, lets say, the flight is at one location and altitude at 1:30 am. Now, the same flight will be in a different location and different altitude but at the same time 1:30 am! Many jobs processing output files will append file name with date and time considering that time is a unique fact. If these jobs are processing hourly, then there will be an issue of the second file overwriting the first file. A patient’s pulse monitoring between 1 am and 2 am will have two versions of truth for the same duration.

The scenarios are mind boggling and this concept of changing time twice a year is utterly unnecessary and self-complicated. Just to generate more employment, I guess. Like so many other things in this country.

Anyways, for now, let me enjoy the additional hour.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Weekend Workaholism

Nor did I in 2010.
Maybe couple of times in 2011.

But looks like it is all coming back with a vengeance now.
Already worked many weekends in 2012.

And currently working on the 7th consecutive weekend.
And have plans for working next weekend too.

:-(


Monday, October 01, 2012

Job Change Thoughts

As I said that day, I was having a myriad of thoughts. But it has now been 6 months since I quit my previous job and I can see a semblance of feelings: primarily being old habits, extraction, guilt, interactions and achievement.

Old Habits: My previous job was something that I had held for over 9 years. A user name which I had used for over 9 years to login to the computer – that is how my day in the office used to start every single day. So it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that sometimes even now I use the same login name to start my day only to realize that the mind has not fully accustomed to the fact that I am in a new job with a new login name and hence the old one is not valid anymore. The same happens to meeting audio conference number. The mind subconsciously tells the fingers to dial that same conference number which I was so used to all these years. After all, 9-year-old habits don’t die easily.

Extraction: It is amazing how much knowledge we would have gathered during our livelihood. We will only realize it when we quit and start transitioning it all to our substitute(s) in the job due to our departure. All the knowledge, all the processes, all the dependencies – it is like you are in the middle of a shrub that has fully grown and you need to now place this entire shrub onto someone else. Each time a piece of the shrub is extracted, there seems more to it than what it initially appeared. Finally when you feel you have done a good job transitioning, and on the last day you return the badge and the laptop and other official stuff, it is as if you are metaphorically dying – and leaving behind all you have known for decades. The next day is a new day, new job, new people, new place – as if it is a new life.

Guilt: I have to say that sometimes I feel guilty. Continuing the allegory - It is one thing to die naturally; it is another thing to end one’s own life. The same is with employment I guess. There will always be heaviness in one corner of the heart. For so many of the life-altering circumstances, for affording the luxury of life, for creating footprints in distant corners of the globe – one has to be eternally grateful to the company that provided the safety of the nest, taught the necessity of knowledge and gave the wings to fly.

Interactions: Colleagues, of course, matter a lot. All those wonderful people with whom you interacted for years together not only add to the guilt but almost stop the ultimate step to be taken. How much ever it is promised to ‘Keep in touch’, life will never be the same again. A high likelihood is that, you will never see your colleague-turned-friends never again in your life. That job and that office was the foundation for day-to-day interaction. Once that foundation is lost, there is no more interaction. And this interaction was the best part of the working life: be it time-pass chat over Instant Messaging or the discussion during the coffee break or the interesting conversation at lunch time. This interaction was what made the working day bright, and a stop to this chit-chat is a huge lump in the throat.

However, considering how everyone wishes you ‘Congrats!’ when you break the news to them, it is as if you have done an achievement and it makes you wonder why you have not done this often!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What is money to me?

Scene 1: Saturday; Around 11 am; Rest Area on I-5 South; 1 hour from San Diego:

I went to a cool drink dispensing machine and punched the number corresponding to coke. Then put in $1.25. I was expecting the coke to be delivered but nothing happened. I kept punching the “Done” button but nothing happened. I tried retrieving the amount I had paid but there was no option to do that too. I thought something was wrong with the vending machine. So I went to the neighbouring one. Somebody was there. I saw what he was doing. He input the dollars and then punched the number corresponding to the drink. The drink got delivered. So I realized I was trying the other way – punch the drink number and input money, when actually I had to input money and then punch the drink number. Now since I had already input money, all I had to do was to punch the number corresponding to the drink.

Just then, someone came to the vending machine where I had input my money and input his $5. So now the vending machine had $6.25 and still waiting for a drink to be delivered. This new person then punched a drink number that was costing $1.25, got the drink and the machine returned back the change $5 to this person. This person was surprised that he got a drink for free, grabbed the drink and his money and went smiling away, thanking his stars. While all this happened in front of me, my mind was too numb to assimilate the facts and it shocked me that I unwillingly, like a stupid moron, donated a $1.25 drink to perhaps a very affluent person.

It just pissed me off real bad and I felt like tearing out my hair.

***

Scene 2: The Same Saturday; Around 1 pm; An Indian Restaurant in San Diego:

Paavani had slept off in the car and we didn’t want to disturb her. So we parked the car in the parking lot near the restaurant and thought it was better to order a take-out instead of going for the buffet. After I ordered the bare minimum that would fill our stomach, I realized that if we had waited till Paavani had woken up (which could not have been more than 30 minutes anyways) and gone for the buffet, we all could have had unlimited food with wide variety and for half the price.

This too pissed me off real bad and I felt like tearing out my hair.

***

Scene 3: The Same Saturday; Around the same time; The same Indian Restaurant in the same San Diego:

While I was waiting in the car for our order to be processed, I saw my dad coming out of the restaurant with the food. Since I had not paid yet, I ran towards the restaurant to fulfill the bill but my dad mentioned he had paid in cash since I wasn’t in the vicinity. Now it had just so happened that I had registered for 5% cash back for billing in any restaurant through my credit card. The only solace for this seemingly enormous bill was my 5% cash back and, thanks to my dad, this hope of a meager saving too vanished. If only I was waiting in the lobby instead of in the car, I could have paid the bill myself.

This too pissed me off real bad and I felt like tearing out my hair.

***

Scene 4: The next day; Around 11 am; A barbershop in Tustin:

What with all the feeling of wanting to tear my hair out, I thought I had enough hair to be cut anyways. So I went to a barbershop near my home. While I was getting my hair cut, the barbers were talking in great animation. Apparently the previous customer had not paid the money and had gone missing for almost an hour, with the promise that he will return back as soon as he got hold off an ATM. Since this barbershop accepted only cash, and the customer just had a card, he had excused to go to the ATM, get the cash and pay the barber back. Considering that the ATM was right outside the barbershop and considering that he had not come back even though it was almost an hour, the suggestion was thrown around that the man had escaped with a free haircut. And this caused great anxiety to the barbers because they were all well beyond their 50s and not used to being cheated out of their money like this. Apparently this customer was an Indian too. So my barber asked me if there were many people who cheat like this in India. It is a tough question and ‘many’ is a relative adjective. I dodged the question saying that I was sure he is going to come back and pay his dues.

For the rest of my hair cut, I kept waiting (like all the barbers too, I am sure) but this customer never came. Finally I was done and it was time for me to go. I decided on the spot that I would pay for the previous customer too and funded the full dues despite the barber’s resistance. The barber said that I was a good man, standing for my countryman, and made me promise that I had to return the next month. As I made my way out, I felt light and happy with what I had done.

***

These four episodes made me wonder. There I was, getting pissed off on losing few dollars but here I am, not minding paying completely for someone else. On all the instances, I became lighter on the wallet but few made me sad and one made me happy. So, the question which I could not answer myself was:

What is money to me?


Post Script: About a month later when I returned to the same barbershop for my next haircut, I didn’t have to pay anything (apart from the tips), as the Indian customer had returned and paid his dues immediately after my departure…

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Just for the Love of the Granddaughter...

The first moments of their visits captured in video...

Paternal Granma; Aug 2011; Flew over 8130 miles.


Paternal Granpa; Jun 2012; Flew over 9025 miles.


Maternal Granma; Sep 2012; Flew over 9025 miles.


Such commendable love!!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

A Long Weekend Thought

It is a long weekend & this makes me wonder if...

Tough-work, burning-midnight-oil, "I-hate-office", good-pay, exotic-vacation is better.
Or.
Easy-work, 9-to-5, "I-love-my-job", mediocre-pay, unaffordable-vacation is better.

Exit line:
"...Sighh...They say nobody lies on his deathbed wishing he'd spent more time at the office."
- Bill Watterson (Said by Calvin's Dad)

PS: Ironical though it may seem, this long weekend constituted of ["Tough-work, burning-midnight-oil, 'I-hate-office', good-pay, no-vacation-due-to-work"]

:-(

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Middle of the Intellectual Spectrum

Sometimes I feel it is so important to have highly intellectual people all around you. Even a simple conversation with such folks can be so enchanting and enjoyable.

On the contrary, having to interact with intellectually-challenged folks gets so annoying at times; you have to keep repeating over and over again to make them understand, and it disturbs your own productivity.

At the same time, I wonder how many people with whom I have worked till date have felt annoyed for having to repeat things to me over and over again as I may have sounded as an intellectually-challenged individual!

Well, thats the advantage of being in the middle of the intellectual spectrum of people. You can experience the irritation of being with lower intellects and the wows of being with higher intellects!

:-)

Time-crunched

Now that my wife has become mad about MAD, for the past few weeks I am the baby sitter for Paavani for roughly 6-8 hours per week. One of the best pastimes is to take her to a park where she sits on the swing for a long time. During our recent ‘swinging’ session, a woman aged mid- to late- forties came with her toddler daughter and placed her on the neighboring swing. 
As I pondered on her age and having a toddler at such an advanced age, I imagined all sorts of issues that she may have gone through to successfully deliver this toddler finally. Subconsciously, for some unknown reason, my mind had placed this toddler as her first born. So it came as a pleasant surprise when I saw a girl in early teen come to the swing and play with her younger sister. 
This made some sense now. But I still wondered why there was almost a decade gap between the sisters and why the parents had not planned it properly. The bored mind keeps wandering I guess, so my mind kept running to find answers. Just then, another girl came near the swing. This girl was older than the toddler but younger than the teenager. Now it all panned out right. “Equi-gapped” three children. 
The effort of bringing up a child in the modern day world is tough mainly because the families are tending to be more nuclear in nature than extended. If the families are extended, then there are more people in the household to take care of, or even be with the infants and the chore of bringing up a child doesn’t seem accentuated as compared to the mother alone (or day cares) attending to the baby as in the case of most nuclear families. With such a scenario, having 3 babies would take a toll on the mother in specific and both parents in general for almost 2-3 decades. With one toddler, it has been years since we went to a movie theater and we have cut down on vacations to a trickle. With a children every once in 3 years, parents have to do so many sacrifices till the children are on their own. Much of prime life would be done with by then!  
I remember telling many folks that I am just drifting along on the River of Life, going where it takes me and making occasional minor adjustments with no major goals or targeted achievements. With one child, this river has suddenly become swift; and it is as if I am river rafting now – barely able to be aboard the raft with waves crashing all over. There is hardly enough time in the day to work, to sleep, to relax, to play. The To-Dos keep growing bigger and bigger. And it will become hectic and hectic, what with the daughter’s extra-curricular classes (yet to enroll!) and school and what-not. I am beginning to feel the middle-aged time-crunch.  
How ironical it sounds. I am in the park on a weekday at dusk swinging my child on the swing and playing with her, and yet I feel I am time-crunched.

The Death Song

This death song is one of the best songs I have ever heard.

It makes me feel how life is both worthless and invaluable at the same time.
It makes me remember those whom I knew and have died.
It makes me immensely sad yet I crave to listen to it over and over again.
For the sake of the departed...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Evaporation of a hope

Today morning at 5 am, I heard the sound of soft fall of water outside the apartment window on the road. Even at that hour, even though it was a Sunday, I could not lose the opportunity of what could only be rain. I have been in this city (Irvine, CA*) for nearly 5 months, and have hardly seen any rain. I, who like rain so much, am missing the pitter-patter of a downpour and the cool freshness that comes in its wake.

And so, I ran to the window to see if the last few weeks of summer heat finally welcomed the much-needed rain. Alas, the sound was only from a sprinkler outside my apartment balcony. Saddened, I made my way back to the bed with thoughts of Ghanana, ghanana

* City of Irvine belongs to The Irvine Company (a real estate development company) with average annual rainfall of 10-13 inches.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Reading Out

In my eleventh standard, the English teacher asked for volunteers to role-play a drama. Well, not really “role-play” but more of “read-out” the dialog from the book. There were multiple characters in the drama and each volunteer was asked to pick a character. I liked talking in accent and I chose to volunteer too. It was damn fun reading out my part and I enjoyed it thoroughly. In my “vocality” (!), I tried to bring about life and feeling into each sentence and the audience – I was later told - enjoyed it.

Cut to the present. Recently I was asked to read out a 30 page document that my team and I had authored as part of my project to a group of 20 odd senior executives within the stipulated one hour. I had to read out practically each word in the document to obtain the sign-off and approval from all the executives prior to moving ahead with the development and deployment of the software product. It went well and I was appreciated for finishing right on time.

It wasn’t all that fun though but when I was reading it, it brought out memories from that day 17 years ago…

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Rat-Race?

I saw a spiritual notice recently about how Man nowadays is keenly involved in rat-race and how useless it is to keep garnering the materialistic riches. I wondered if this is really so.

Most folks work to ensure that they can lead a decent lifestyle all the way till their lives’ end despite
(a) the number of offspring that they may plan and expenses incurred till their children are on their own,
(b) 30% - 40% of their lives being led in retirement and
(c) plan for any illnesses that may come their way.
Add to this the nemesis of Inflation and one feels any amount of money that is being earned is less at any point of time.

So, in reality, all that Man is doing is Surviving. Hence, more than it being a race amongst the rats, it is actually a game of mere survival. Right?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cousins

The other day when I was thinking about all the fun times I had had with my cousins in various parts of the country, I mused if and how my daughter will experience similar joy.

If the world tends towards a no-sibling “We Two, Ours One” policy, it further shrinks the sharing, caring and other affections that only a sibling can rouse.

Add to this is the geographical expansion of base location of many relatives – so, what was in our childhood, a sudden trip to a cousin staying 3 hours from home, will become “This year you come; Next year I will try” once-in-a-year international vacation.

So much of lost free "Love". Sigh.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Slow-Motion Tornado

Having a toddler at home is as equivalent as having a slow-motion tornado in progress inside the house every single day. Each night, the house is cleaned up and tidied but at the end of the very next day, it would seem as if the house had turned upside down. And again it is cleaned up at night just so that it can be rattled up during the following day. And the routine continues.

But unlike the aftermath of a tornado, the activities of a toddler inside the house bring a smile to the lips. After being used to seeing decades of neatness (quietly ignoring the years of staying with bachelors!), it is somewhat pleasant and nice to see someone innocently bring down the complete orderliness of a normal home to shatters.

It is fun to jump around the toys and books just to go from point A to point B. It is amazing to see the child take each toy each day as if it is her very first day with it. And within minutes, one toy is discarded mentally and physically in much the same manner just as soon as the eyes fall on another toy. If it is not a toy, it is any object that the parent is holding – whether it is a phone or the laptop or the remote or even utensils. The result?

A potato underneath the TV stand; a tomato on the bed; the car key in the bathroom shelf; the spoon inside the sofa cover; the cup fallen from the balcony grill; one shoe in the living room and its pair in the bed room; cards missing from the wallet, post-its unpostable anymore, 


Boy, it’s fun to be with this tornado!!

;-)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Aging


I was looking at some wedding snaps the other day, and I saw the youthfulness of the bride and the groom. But more than this pleasant sight, the picture of the fathers of the newly-weds made me sad.

These fathers, at the peak of their time, were pristine and in complete control of life but now they seemed to have shrunk and on the downward path. It is the ultimate truth of Life that Man ages and dies but, for some reason, when I saw many aging fathers in that wedding - a lot of whom I have been seeing since two decades - I felt an inexplicable pang. How elegant and how high these men would have been in their own weddings with joy profusely emanating but in such weddings, they seemed tired and old and worn out due to the rigors of Life with more relief written on their face of having finished another of their responsibilities than a hint of joy.

Ditto with many of my uncles. Since the time I have seen them, they have been energetic and dynamic and always dependable. But with passage of time - although it seems quite sudden - they seem to have grown so old that they need help from people like me and my cousins. When one is so used to being helped, it comes as a mild shock to actually being asked for help by the heretofore helper himself!

While it is good to see one's cousins grow up to become adults and get jobs abroad and/or become mothers, it is unsettling to see parents and uncles and aunts grow old and get white hair and become weak. Frankly I don't like this feeling.

:-(

Monday, July 09, 2012

14/18

The road from my home to office contains 18 traffic signal lights.
Last fourteen of those are on a single road that leads up to the office.
In the last 3 months, only thrice I have driven through those fourteen signal lights without stopping
As I got a green on all of them just as I neared the junction.

On days such as these, I remember how Truman felt when he got a red each time he tried to escape.
On days such as these, I feel special.
Each time I experience this, I feel I need to blog and dedicate it to my lucky stars.
Hence this web log post.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Project

A project is the single most widely used terminology in a man’s life. Unbeknownst to those like me who came from small-time little-known schools, it comes as a mild surprise how important a word it is! But I guess it is made very much apparent to those in developed countries at a very early age in schools and colleges. More than homework, it is “project” that counts. Every activity is considered as a small project that the child needs to deliver. Alas, the first time I heard about a ‘project’ was in my 21st year during Engineering. But once I joined employment, it was all about “projects”.

Been almost 10 years now since I became a salaried employee. So have experienced lot of projects and interacted with lot of people. I guess at this time, it kind of gives a holistic picture and in a way, it is interesting.

Each project that gets executed might contain individuals who are at different stages in their life. And yet, they are all brought together in that one project where everyone is trying to achieve the stated project goal. It is as equivalent to passengers commuting in any public transportation system such as a train or an airplane. Passengers can be equated to project team members and the transit mechanism (train or airplane) can be equated to the project. Different people from different walks of life are brought together by The Cosmic Time to move from one level of life to another and then they all depart to catch another train with different set of people moving from that level of life to another. So we all hop on and hop off and hop on and hop off. It is somewhat amusing, in a way.

Like in my previous project, there were team members such as a pregnant lady, a father who was searching a college for his daughter, a father whose son graduated from medical college, a son who had just lost his father, a father whose son had just started school, a bachelor, a husband whose wife was in a different country, a husband whose wife had just joined him, a wife whose husband was in a different country, a spinster in searching for a suitable groom, so on and so forth. It is not in order because life doesn’t make you meet folks in that order. It is all chaotic and yet there is a pattern.

As one dwells in a family, one can appreciate each of these changes that a man goes through. By bringing up my daughter, I can understand the pains (and joy too) my parents took in bringing me up. Each phase of life – womb, baby, infant, toddler, child, teen, adult all suddenly makes life seem so different: much different than the life of a bachelor. Responsibility, sharing, caring, being wanted adds a new dimension to life which heretofore would have been just work, work and chill. Suddenly, 24 hrs is so less in a day!

Projects seem so tiny when viewed from a Life dimension. And yet projects are important, challenging, irritating, annoying. Bread-earning, anyways! Still, at the end of any project, one always feels exhilarated. Happy. However hard or easy the project might have been, the memory of it all brings smile to the lips – either the hardships undertaken or the fun times in the project will always bring back happy thoughts. Like, however hard you might have struggled and cursed while climbing a mountain, you will always feel happy when you remember the attempt some time later – whether you were successful or not.

Its like when you are in train or an airplane on a long journey, you don’t like it so much. But when you finish the journey finally, you recollect the goings-on and will speak about it decades later with friends on what an experience it was. Ditto with school and college days – how we used to crib about going to college or school and attending those exams, And yet now, those days seem so heavenly!

I wonder why man was made in such a way that he always cribs during the struggle but remembers happily the bygone struggles!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Balanced Relationship

“Was the curry sufficient today in the lunch box for the 3 chapathis?”

“Actually I don’t know since I did not manage it properly. I started off having very little curry for the first two chapathis, and in the end I was left with lot of curry and very few pieces of chapathi.”

“You should do the other way. Have sufficient curry for first few chapathis and as you near the end, adjust curry intake accordingly.”

“I guess there are two types of people in this world. One set like me who start off cautiously and end up having unused chunks; another set like you who start off the way you want to and by the time you near the end, you balance it out so that you have minimal quantity remaining.”

“It makes up for the two sides of the coin, I guess.”

“And hence we are perfectly made for each other.”

:-)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The 25 That Never Happened


Sometime in late 1987, I remember sitting in an APSRTC bus with my maternal grandmother, going to Gadwal. My grandma asked me to suggest a name for her newest grandson. I was 7 years old then and my the then best friend's name was Keerthi. So I said "Keerthi". I don’t remember anything else of this trip apart from this short bit of conversation. I don’t remember seeing the new born baby. I don’t remember Gadwal. I don’t even remember returning back to Bangalore. But in the months that followed I was told that my cousin was named "Pradyumna".

The next thing that I remember about Pradyumna was that he was one of the cutest little toddler-babies that I had ever set my eyes upon. We still have his photo with a hat on and he looks oh-so-adorable. Unable to resist his cuteness, my mother once got him to our home (South Bangalore) away from his parents (North Bangalore) for a night. Next day, my mother said Pradyumna never slept the whole night as he kept searching the house for "Mamma" and "Pappa". I felt sorry for having kept his parents away from him for one whole night.

Pradyumna's father - the same uncle who drives like an artist - had a job that made him stay in one city (or in some cases, village or a town) for only 3 years at a stretch. So the next thing I remember about Pradyumna is him being in Nagamangala. A small village with a handful of houses. All of us cousins used to go to Nagamangala during summer holidays and had so much fun playing so many newly invented games. I being the "oldest" among the lot used to take classes on Mathematics and act pompously as if "I-know-it-all".

During summer of 1993, I visited New Delhi for the first time with my mother and another uncle. It was the longest train journeys that I had ever been on - lasting over 40 hours. I got out of the train onto the platform and my uncle and Pradyumna were there waiting for us. The first thing Pradyu whispered in my ear as I met him was "There is a serial called Derrick that comes on DD Metro. We watch it daily. It is great!" I was amused that the first thing he told me was about a detective serial which he - I am sure - hardly understood. But it also showed how innocent a 6-year-old mind is. Sure enough we watched Derrick throughout the summer holidays and I went on to become a great fan of Derrick.

Pradyumna and his parents used to stay in a 3-storeyed building on the 2nd floor in New Delhi. The owner was a - if I remember correctly - garment merchantman who never seemed to work. Whenever we saw him, he was lying on a bed watching TV. His door was always open and the bed was right opposite the door. Sometimes Pradyumna used to go to his house, rather shyly and watch TV in his house. The only Hindi words he had learnt back then was 'Mein Chal' - a rough translation for 'I will leave now, bye' to the owner. Snippets such as these, for some reason, I never forgot.

There were million other moments that I remember sharing with him. During his upanayanam in Mulbagal Mutt (family was then in Srinivasapura), he cried like hell for cutting his hair short as part of religious custom. He was then a high-school-going boy and hence was becoming increasingly conscious of looks and fashion. I saw 'Hum Aapke Hain Kaun' with him and his family in a theatre in Secunderabad and absolutely loved the atmosphere. I remember going with him to the daily Sanskrit-sloka reciting classes in the nearby Mutt in Lingampally, Hyderabad and what fun we had trying to memorize those tongue-twisting God-praising words!

Then in 2003 he asked me to help him with a C program for his college assignment. Just because people work in a software company, there is always an impression amongst non-IT folks that IT folks will be able to solve any software program in any software language. I was able to save my face by successfully programming it although I was never into coding in C in my the then new IT job. I think on that same day his father asked him if he wanted to study his masters in US. I remember him clearly saying that he would go to US on his own account and not with his father's help.

As the years passed, we got busy and the interactions decreased. Once a while we used to meet in some family function or during festival gatherings. Brief though these meetings were, it was built on the warmth of the foundation years of our relationship.

I remembered all these on that fateful day on Jan 21, 2012. Sitting in my Nashua, NH, USA apartment, numb and helpless with what I had just heard, I continued staring out on the falling snow. Snow always makes the world look surreal. I realized that he had never seen snow in his life nor now ever would. There were so many things in this world that he could have seen and experienced and yet....

I being a father of a year-old daughter can understand how the news would have hit my uncle. Only a parent will know about all those immeasurable sacrifices that are undertaken in bringing up one's child...

If only he was alive today, he would have been 25 years.

If only...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Where is the Mole?

Today we were showing moles to Paavani.
She has only one mole while both me and my wife have many.
She is fascinated by these black dots on the body and keeps asking to see them again and again.
In the process, she constructs her first three-word sentences:

"Elli Mamma mole?" Mamma shows the mole.
"Elli Pappa mole?" Pappa shows the mole.
"Elli Paani (read Paavani) mole?" She sees her own mole.
"Elli Barbie mole?" She searches for a mole on her doll! [PS: The doll was not actually a Barbie]

I was fascinated how a 19-month old mind caught an obvious natural feature missing on a man-made baby that would have been designed, implemented, tested and certified by numerous adults...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sleeping Hours

When Paavani was born, she used to sleep intermittently; But totaling almost 20 hrs a day.
When relatives came in expecting to see the newborn, they were disappointed to see her sleeping.

But with each passing day and month, this total sleep duration decreased.
When relatives continued to pour in, they were happy to see the bundle of joy active and kicking.

Between 6 months and an year, she fell into a standard pattern of complete sleep during night and two naps during the day: one in the morning at about 11 and one at about 2 in the noon, each lasting about 2 hrs.
Relatives were no longer in the picture now but the mother was grateful for the naps!

After she turned one, she no longer felt sleepy in the morning anymore. So she slept only after lunch for about 2 to 3 hrs.
The mother was still grateful as it gave her enough time to get the house back in order and attend to personal needs.

This last Saturday, after 19 months and 1 day, Paavani was awake for the first time straight from 8 in the morning to 10 in the night; and followed up on Sunday with 9 in the morning to 9 in the night.
Now, its scary!

:-)

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Indian Water

In one of the skype sessions, my mom mentioned that there is a severe water scarcity in Bangalore. Municipality had not released water for many days and people were forced to pay exorbitant rates to purchase water privately. After a few minutes, like a news channel, she changed the topic to something she had heard over the TV or read in the news: that there are millions of Indians in US.

After the skype session, I did some googling to discover the below facts:
- There are roughly 2 million Indians in US.
- An average Indian uses 135 liters of water every day in India.

Now if the 2 million Indians headed back from US one fine day, then the country would be short by 270 million liters of water per day more than the current shortage.
One almost gets the wry feeling what a tremendous help these 2 million NRIs are to their home land…

‘Children change your lives…’

I am very much what is popularly called a person from “old school”. I don’t keep up with the technological advances happening all around me. I generally don’t try something new – but stick to what works for me. Its not that I don’t like it but its just that I refuse to get out my boundaries and I always give one reason or the other. But when there is a need, or if I feel the necessity, or if I am just in the mood on a particular day, lo and behold, I am out of the antiques and well within the technological miracles, accepting it completely and fully, as if it is the obvious way of life.

This has been so since many, many years. When there was this wave of having a gmail account, I was of the opinion that its not needed because I already had yahoo and Hotmail. But eventually I did get myself a gmail account. Then I heard about Orkut and social networking. It was quite some time before I became an active member. Then, when I heard about facebook, I was thinking why do I need to be part of another social networking site when I am already part of Orkut. Eventually I did get into FB.

Once on gmail, my yahoo and Hotmail accounts got sunset. Once on FB, my Orkut account is almost unused. Now (?) that Google+ has come up (again I am thinking why - when there is FB) I wonder if I will become more active on G+ and if my logins to FB become rarer eventually.

Same was the case with many other things but eventually I get there. It took quite a bit of coercing for me to finally open a blogger account. Now, I have over 1200 posts. I became familiar with Reader, Latitude, Google Voice, Chrome, Picasa, Google Docs – all of which I now use quite often.

It is not just everything on the web. Applies to gadgets as well. The camera that I bought satisfied the bare minimum necessity. There were newer versions available by the time I got my hands on iPod and GPS (took many, many years to convince myself on the usefulness of GPS). But I am still holding up on the smart phone, iPad, Kindle, LCD TV – the list goes on and on.

Just the other day in office I overheard an elderly gentleman saying how his wife still never used a cell phone. But apparently his 2-year old grandson was teaching granma how to use Kindle.

This alarmed me. Paavani is going to be 2 years very soon. With a parent like me and antiques all around, I wonder if she will lose her technological competitive edge with her peers. So…..

Just goes to show what it means when someone says ‘Children change your lives…’ If not for our sake, at least for their's…

Monday, April 30, 2012

Numbers

onn
tooo
fiee
ixxx
senn
TENN!!

The urge to reach the goal as early as possible - by whatever means - starts as early as 18 months!!

:-)

Friday, March 30, 2012

9 Years, 4 Months, 13 Days

Well, well, well and well. One blog topic less in November from now on!

Finally the saga comes to an end. My mind is scripting pages and pages of thoughts, but I guess it is sufficient to pen Wooo hooo what a ride!"

Amen.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Ripple Effect


Imagine a pond.
The water in the pond is still.
There is no wind.
There are small floating objects on the surface.
Serenity and peacefulness everywhere.

Now imagine an object falling in the midst of the pond.
The falling of the object causes concentric waves.
The ripple effect of the waves is felt all through the pond.
Some of the floating objects get displaced.
This causes agitation and anxiousness.

I was once a floating object that had got displaced.
But this time, I am that object that caused the waves.
I somehow feel sorry for causing all the brouhaha but yet,
As many people wisely informed me,
“You gotta do what you gotta do.”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

And 3 years later...

32
69.5

:)

The Weighing Machine - II

Whenever my wife stands on the weighing machine and see the scale go lower than she expected, she grimaces.

Whenever I stand on the weighing machine and see the scale go lower than I expect, I smile.

It is strange how lives change in diametrically opposite directions.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Barbershops


The earliest memory of a barbershop that I have is a small posh rectangular shop in Jayanagar 8th block, way back in mid 1980s. Posh because it was filled with grand mirrors on all the walls, and a visit once in a month was a much sought-after event. Usually I was accompanied by my father and since I was too small to be seated on the grand cushion chair, I was elevated to the mirror-level with the help of a wooden plank. I didn’t mind missing out on the cushion nor the wooden hardness as long as I was compensated by being able to see myself as well as the neighbourhood goings-on in the mirror.

When we moved to Jayanagar 4th block in 1989, I guess I was tall enough to enjoy the cushion. It was a different barbershop though, the one closer to the new home. It was called “OK Hair Dressers”.  Funny name, and I never forgot it. Amongst its peers, it was considered to be the “poshest” of all. Very expensive too, I believe. Mainly attributed to the presence of a television set on the upper far left corner of the establishment. Considering that hair cut was a Sunday morning ritual (had school on Saturdays too), and the most popular cartoons and Chitrahaar being aired at the same time (whole of India had only one channel at that time), the extra bucks seemed worth it. Slowly, when the craze of the cartoons and Chitrahaar ebbed, the extra money seemed unnecessary, and I started experimenting with lower classed establishments.

Names of many of these establishments escape me but I distinctly remember their locations. There was one on the 18th main street that I vividly recollect. Although there was no issue with the actual hair-cut, the crowd and the behavior within the shop was jarring. I felt as I was in the midst of rowdies. Added to this was the issue of door never being closed. This somewhat embarrassed me. Perhaps I was always used to the barbershop’s door being closed that an open-door barbershop never gelled well with me. I decided that it was my first and last. After experimenting in and around all the barbershops and complaining about the rates (which was more or less started at INR 20 and steeped up to INR 40 due to inflation) in deep detail with my grandfather every one Sunday of the month, I decided that time was now an important factor than money. So I decided to stick to the nearest, whatever be the rate. As it turned out the nearest was a decent establishment with moderate rate and I stuck to it loyally until a barbershop opened just a few yards from my home.

This newbie opened the shop in a grandiose scale with respect to the art of haircutting. Although the establishment in itself was so tiny that only 2-3 people could wait on the sofa, the uniform of the barber, the exquisite dentist-like chair with elongated moving-leg-rest and the range of barber-paraphernalia were overwhelming. The AC was unheard of in Bangalore barbershop, although I knew that in other Indian metropolitan cities, an AC barbershop was a common thing due to the extreme heat. Rumour had it that this barber himself was from a 5-star hotel. When my turn came, he used a rummy tool on my head which stunned me. All these years I was used to the synchronized snip-snip of the comb and the scissors and now, for the first time, a machine was being used on my hair. That was it. I went back to my previous barber.

I guess that barber near my home never got on well with others in my neighbourhood too because soon he went off and someone else took over from him. This guy was an elderly gentleman with a dedicated teenage grandson, who learnt the art of “barberhood” and customer satisfaction very soon. The elderly gentleman just took over the finances, remodeled the hair salon to slightly bigger size, and made it much more common-man friendly whereas the teenager roped in some of his pals to perform the ‘Service-with-a-smile’ act. He encouraged friendly banter, spoke about recent Kannada movies and songs, offered coffee during breaks and returned change with both hands giving respect completely. He thanked profusely for the visit and spoke about how he wanted to expand this business.

This setting worked best for me. It was the nearest to my home – just a few steps. It was moderately charged (touched the INR 50 in late 2000s) and I was just a few years elder than the barber which added a twist to the barber-client relationship. This went on for a long time until it was time for me to travel to the United States.

Marlborough, USA. My first haircut in US was a disaster. She asked me to pick a number. Before I knew it, I said 3 and to my horror I realized later that lower the number, smaller will be the hair. I missed the snip-snip of the comb and the scissor. Instead it was a mix of the machine, of somewhat awkwardly holding the hair in a fist and then snipping. It was mildly irritating during the process but the end was even worse. It took many months for the hair to grow back and I always wondered why I had to tip a barber. It was a small establishment, near to my apt and for the first time in my life, my hair was cut by an opposite gender. It was a strange experience. To be fair to her though, she did her job well. Just that it was an unknown pitch to me. Once I realized my mistake, I changed gears accordingly.

Woburn, MA, USA, 2011. There was a barbershop right opposite my apartment but it was closed on Sundays and hence I could never visit it. But it just so happened that twenty feet here or there in Woburn Main Street, and one ends up with a barbershop. The one I chose was the one that was open on Sundays. The lady who attended to me was from Brazil, and her home was adjacent to the shop. In fact, to go to her house, one had to walk through the store! And then, there I was thinking about the variety of barbershops that I have experienced, when I met the best of the lot in Nashua, NH, USA, 2012.

As part of move-in mailers, I received a $4.99 coupon from a nearby barbershop called Great Clips. It was the first time I had heard of them. I never had had a hair-cut in US for less than $12, and I thought $4.99 was a very good deal. When I did more research, I found out they have a web-site, was franchised and also had online check-in, something that I thought was done only with respect to airlines! Anyways, when I entered, all the barbers exclaimed “Welcome to Great Clips!” Now, isn’t that a warm welcome or what! It is something that is done for each customer entering the store!

Anyways, the lady at the counter asked me to register (name, number, etc) and it was a pleasant experience all around, especially because when I checked out I was given another coupon (more than current but less than actual). Nice way of customer retention, I felt. So, there I go again. This time, even before I could specify how I need my hair cut, the barber (this lady was different from before) asked me if I wanted same way as the last time, and I said yes. Since this was a mystery, I asked her how she knew my previous choice. Apparently a record goes into each registered user on the user’s preferences so that the user need not specify each time what he wants. Only thing he needs to say or confirm if it is the same way as previous and the barber is all set. Wow. That’s all I could think. A simple thing as hair-cutting can be advanced to such heights of professionalism as Gift cards, Haircut reminders, etc. The first two times I had come to Great Clips due to the coupons but the third time – although Cost Cutters and Supercuts was nearer to my house – I still preferred GC because I needn’t had to specify how I wanted my hair cut! What an amazing way of holding onto new customers such as me! But if I thought that was the best of my experience with “barbership”, I was wrong.

It was time for the first haircut for my daughter who is almost a year and half old. Thanks to my wife who had done some research on the topic, we went to Snip-Its. This is a barbershop exclusively for kids, and the atmosphere is as if you are entering into a Disneyland. Cutting infants and toddlers’ hair is so difficult and hence the ambience is made conducive to kids to divert the attention from the actual snip-snip. Be it personalized robotic-looking PCs portraying cartoonic ads of Snip-its or a horde of toys and goodies at arm’s length, it seemed as if hair-cut was the last thing on the agenda! The icing on the top of the cake was a complete set of souvenir for the first hair cut: A bravery certificate, a comb, few strands of hair, a toy and a picture!


My, my! It just keeps getting better and better – Man continues to exceed Himself and it is this thing in Life that is enchanting and enriching! I only hope that that teenage barber near my home in Jayanagar also achieves such impressive feats in his chosen profession…

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Natural Pattern


There is a guy
Who stays in the same apartment complex where I stay
And also works in the same office campus where I work.

I possess a silver Honda Civic
Whereas he a brown Honda Civic.

Today morning, the silver left the apartment complex first
Only to be followed by the brown
All the way to the office.

Today evening, the brown left the office campus first
Only to be followed by the silver
All the way to the home.

Neither he nor I spoke to one another
About leaving home or office.

And yet Nature created this nice little coincidental pattern
Which made me agog
And made me blog!

:-)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Pink Honda Civic


There is a community college very close to my house. Each day on my way to office or on my back home from office (that’s four times a day considering I come home for lunch), I have to pass by this college in my car. There is no compound or partition that separates the parking lot from the road and hence there is complete visibility of all cars in the parking lot.

On couple of instances when I was passing through the college, I noticed a pink Honda Civic car entering into the college campus. The striking color boggled me because I had not seen a pink car before in my life. As can be guessed, there were few gals in the car and no doubt the car belonged to one of them. I was intrigued about the obsession of the color pink with gals. In fact, I happened to see this particular car enter the campus a couple of times at the same time I was passing through the college campus.

After this incident, perhaps because it was easy to distinguish it amongst 100 visible cars or perhaps because i wanted to humor myself daily, each time I passed through the college I gave a quick glance over all the cars in the parking lot and searched for that pink Honda civic. Usually I found it within a few seconds. This became a game of sorts. I would only get about 4-5 seconds for scanning through the parking lot, and I would be driving at about 25 mph on a single-lane two-way road. So, with these slight challenges, it was a quirky self-made game with no gain no loss, and yet this tiny desire to win. Something to make life interesting, that wee bit more.

As it happened, it was not this quest for pink Honda Civic that eventually gave me joy. This search for a vehicle-in-the-parking-lot, in fact, brought back memories from a distant past. During my college days, I had a crush on a girl. I was too shy to talk to her anyways but I knew the two-wheeler in which she used to come to college. She wasn’t in my class so the only way I knew if she had come to college or not was to quickly glance through the parking lot once a day to check if her two-wheeler was present. Seeing her vehicle in the parking lot was almost as good as seeing her, some kind of an assurance that the day might turn favorably so for me to get a glimpse of her. It was like a hope, daily. Something that made me look forward to in life. It was a special moment – this searching through the parking lot. It was a tense moment too. No vehicle meant she either hadn’t yet come to college or would not come. Which meant there was no hope of seeing her that day. Which meant, it was a boring day!

Now, when I search for this pink car, I am remembered of all this teenage emotions and how strange it all felt then. I don’t get all that excited now when my eyes finally latch on to the car in the parking lot but I surely feel nice remembering those good old days back in college when my eyes latched on to that two-wheeler!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sharing


Paavani was in great hunger. She kept repeating 'Mommom, mommom'. So, my wife got some snacks for all three of us. We all sat down. Paavani was in utter excitement. She kept reaching towards the snacks, and not taking her eyes off it. My wife and I asked her to wait till the snacks were placed in the plate. She waited impatiently, all through jumping and trying to grab the eateries. Finally, we gave her the plate.

First thing she did was to take what she could in her tiny fingers and put it in my mouth.
My wife and I realized that she has already grown enough to reciprocate feelings such as love and sharing.
We were speechless. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day Thought

A spouse can either make a life or break a life.
I am glad my valentine made my life.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

More or Less...


I got my first salary over nine years ago.
I could not figure out what to do with so much money suddenly.
It covered up an entire year of my four-year Engineering course fees.
It amazed me that within a year of employment,
I could repay back my parents financially whatever they had spent on me for 22 years of my life.
My salary gave me immense happiness and amazement.

My salary now is pretty much the same as my first salary,
But in a currency that is almost fifty times more than my first salary’s currency.
But after filling in the EMI, family maintenance and other expenses,
I ponder if my savings can satisfy my child’s complete education and
If I can lead a comfortable post-retirement life with growing inflation.
My salary now makes me think and ponder.

Less was More then...
More is Less now...

Strange, more or less!

"Universal" Relationships


Astrophysics explains Big Bang and Metric expansion of space in clearer detail (but wiki will do for now!). The concept, anyways, if I understand correctly, is that each particle in the universe is moving away from one another constantly. The phrase ‘moving away from one another’ somehow struck me as something that can be related to our lives too.

When we are infants, we are so close to our parents. So much so that they are our everything. Then there are siblings with whom we start sharing. Right then, our universe has expanded. Couple of years later when we start going to school, we make new relationships. We get to know our teachers, we make friends. Our universe has further expanded. We share secrets with our friends and hence parents have got distanced. When we change schools or when our friends change schools, that’s when our universe expands further. True, we are still friends, but the common ground (school, in this case) is no longer common. We go to college and make more new friends. The ‘school’ friends became a past while the ‘college’ friends became closer. Then we go to work. Our day-to-day interaction with colleagues makes them as our new friends and the ‘college’ friends are now a past. Colleagues quit, people join other companies, more and more new relationships, at the cost of old relationships distancing itself – very much like the Universe and its expansion theory.

What starts as physical distance becomes inherently a cosmic distance too. Well, I guess, nothing can be done about it, and it’s the way of life. The Universe is just mirroring our relationships. However, thanks to the onset of Social Networks, everyone whom we know (or knew in the past) has come a tad mentally closer. Surprisingly, there is a hypothesis about Universe shrinking too – and its called Big Crunch

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ajji - Paavani - Suprabhatam


My maternal grandma was a big devotee of Lord Venkateshwara. One of the celebrated slokas on His Highness is Shri Venkateshwara Suprabhatam. As I have already indicated in one of my previous posts, it was a daily ritual to hear this sloka in her house, while being busy with morning tasks.

As if by a strange cosmic connection, my daughter loves this sloka too. Although she is none too aware of the spirituality and divinity associated with the sloka, she is spellbound when she starts hearing it. Midway, the sloka changes its tone. At this, my daughter starts dancing in her own animated way.

I can’t help remembering ajji. If only she had lived a few more years, she would have been so happy seeing this spectacle. Perhaps she is seeing even now...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blame it on 2012?

As 2011 neared its end,
Workload reduced,
Morale raised.

As 2012 started,
Workload increased,
Morale dipped.

Hope Workload and Morale
Stop trapezing between
Zenith and Nadir.

I want a better 2012
Than the way it has started.
Amen.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The 5 Minutes


As I left my office cubicle today at about 7 pm to head home, the impending encounter with weather outside filled up my mind. Then, as I was walking towards the building exit, I realized that whatever is the weather outside (which was about 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit), the office temperature inside should always be around 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit even at 7 pm. Perhaps all through 24 hrs. Then I remembered someone rightly had pointed out that the colder regions are cons to the Global Warming because the thermostats have to up the temperature by about average 50 degrees during winter whereas in warmer regions, the air conditioners have to bring down the temperature down by average 30 degrees during summer. So, in all the colder regions, the energy utilization is more by average 20 degrees, which is bad for Global Warming. Meaning, if one has to fight for Global Warming, one has to move to a warmer region!

I had come out of the building now and was walking towards my car. The office where I work is really huge. It hosts about 1000 folks which roughly translate to over 900 cars. So the car park is much, much bigger than the office space. There are lots upon lots of parking and one can walk miles together just through the multitude of car parks. Whenever I am driving towards or leaving office, I can see one particular car which is parked right at the end of the last parking lot. Perhaps the reason why this person parks the car at the very end is to have an extra bit of walking. Me? I try to find the closest possible parking space just so that my time in the open air is as less as possible in this teeth-chattering chill.

This made me realize one more thing. As I finally started driving towards home, I recollected that my last few posts in the blog are all more or less talking about weather. But, in reality, the only time I experience the weather is from home to car, car to office, office to car and car to home.

In a 24 hour time period, this is less than 5 minutes...!

:-(

My location?
Search for second lowest.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Time is like a juggernaut. It stops at none. It neither slows nor speeds. It goes on its steady manner. It is man-made. But for time, each day would have been, well, just a day. Thanks to time, each day has a unique identity.

Days bundle up into months and months bundle up into an year. As each year ends and a new year dawns, people rejoice. Sometimes I wonder why we rejoice on the new year’s eve. After all, it is just another night, just another day. It is purely statistical. But Statistics and Numbers have a way of bringing joy to Man. And sadness and other emotions too. Bradman’s average being a jiffy short of 100 always gnaws. Sachin’s current long stint (how much more should we wait?!) at 99 international centuries keeps us on edge of the seat.

Yet, there is a sense of joie-di-vivre when the clock approaches midnight on the 31st of December. There is a sense of accomplishment, of having lived through one more year successfully. It brings out the bonhomie amongst one and all. Strangers wish one another ‘Happy New Year’ and flash a bright smile. Why is it that we do not smile at one another every single day? Wouldn’t this world be a great place if such camaraderie existed all 365 days a year! But then, I guess, it would have robbed the uniqueness of a New Year’s Day!

There are many days in a year that Man celebrates but it is only on the New Year’s Eve when the clock’s countdown is anticipated with such animation. And when the clock strikes twelve, there is hugging and kissing all around. People clap and laugh and sing and dance as if something great happened. But nothing really happens in this physical, practical world to cause any significant change. No one does anything spectacular. The world doesn’t achieve anything great. The clock ticks on just like on any other day. It has no feelings. It does not know the significance nor does it know that it is the one and only agent for this Earthly Nirvana. It does not even stop to celebrate. It goes on and by the time the festivities end, it would have already completed the first few hours of the New Year. 

Although nothing spectacular happens, the number in the year - a man-made counter -  gets incremented by one and this simple change gives so much joy to so many people. Many flock to metropolitan places to catch a glimpse of the city’s New Year’s Eve attractions such as Fireworks, concerts, parties, etc. Many go to special resorts or to parties to celebrate in small social gatherings. Many stay up at night till the clock strikes twelve enjoying the number of entertainment shows telecasted on the television or just plain news of the happenings across the world. 

I wish I could remember each of my 31 New Year’s Eves. For many years, it always was a party at my father’s office. After my father retired, it was mostly sitting in front of the TV and watching the world enjoy – many times sitting alone too with none to rejoice or walking around the block to see the festivities. Perhaps an occasional phone call or an sms to whosoever was nearest and dearest at that time of the year. But some occasions - especially the last few - are memorable. When the year turned 2007, I was 36000 feet above the world! I wanted to wish my neighbor in the Singapore Airlines but she was fast asleep. I was very cynical in 2008. 2009 was with wife in the midst of an unruly crowd in Brigade Road, Bangalore. I slept in 2010! 2011 was a very nice, warm gathering with my school friends and their families. And of course, my daughter’s first. 2006 and 2012 are those spent in US and both have been very special. 2006 was with friends in New York Times Square to see the ball drop. It was an unforgettable experience. 2012 was awesome too, with wife and daughter, in the White Mountain Region in New Hampshire amidst snow-covered mountains.

All in all, it is a time of universal happiness. It is the only day that gives immense joy to humanity and brings smile to one and all, regardless of caste, religion, sex, age and innumerous other man-made distinctions. 

It is like a new chapter in each person’s life. A brand new set of blank pages that one can author in one’s own way as one wishes. 

Here’s me wishing 2012 to be filled with joy, happiness, health and prosperity. 

Happy New Year!!

:-)