28 July, 2009

Would you change anything?

Today is the last day of me as a twenty something. It is vaguely depressing.In fact, it is quite depressing. I remember a conversation from five years ago. I had been in London for about 6 weeks and found myself having drinks with the few friends that I had from office. One of them was a very pretty, absolutely dreamy looking content writer. When she found out it was my birthday, she asked me how old I was and shared her age with me. She expressed surprise at my age (always wonder why) while I felt a bit sorry for her becauseof hers.
Tomorrow, I will have a significant amount of pity and sorry-feeling for myself. 

A few days back, RG and I were at drinks at SS's place, when he asked me if I would like to change things in my life. I took a deep breath and started talking about all the things I would like to change. He stopped me and said he wanted a longer term view. Were there things in my life I would do differently?
It is quite a lethal question to answer for a thirty year old. A 'yes' means that  you are not happy with 10 years of your life - which is pretty much most of all you have got, given that life begins at about 15 years of age. And you can not really say no, because that would mean having a perfect life. 
There are plenty of things I would like to change in my life. I would have tried to be less lazy (though I think such things are hardwired biologically and I am not to blame for the genes I possess), been a bit smarter during college and MBA, taken certain decisions differently soon after, listened more to my parents and less to myself, used my time at ebookers/London more wisely and overall played more sports.
At the same time, I would not like to change broadly where I am at now with all the non-ideal bits as well. I just hope that such questions let me learn what I need to from the past without pulling me down!
That is what I answered - No.

And I found this, so I feel much better in the fact that I am not alone.

(image courtesy - Sirdrinkalot)

27 July, 2009

And it all came pouring down....

Rainfall and I have something going. I am sure Assam and Meghalaya had some record breaking years between 1987 and 1994 when I was living there. I won't be surprised to find out that there were record south westerly monsoons when most of it used to fly over my head during my years at Suratkal between 1997 and 2001. Similarly, I am certain that the repeated flooding in the UK in the past few years was no El nino.
(There was a character called McKenna in the HHGTTG who was the rain god and had similar characteristics, his hit rate was 100%, I am not anywhere close thankfully).
With such a history, when people talk about strange weather and untimely rains in Delhi and Gurgaon, I just shrug. The monsoons are in full swing now, so rains are not unexpected, but the 18mm we got yesterday was close to an all time record. 

I think that Delhi looks very pretty just after the rains stop. Waterlogged streets with water receding, traffic reclaiming the streets, the freshly washed look of everything and so on. So many things happens at once. Traffic moves through like a stream  - It is an obstacle course and it finds the path of least resistance -   punctuated with pools of water, groups of two-wheelers waiting out the rain, broken down cars and buses, parked animals and so on. Last night was great that way - my personal traffic stream was undulating as any but the traffic was light and I was home in regular time.
So many things happening at once - this is life... and living in India during the monsoons is life at its fluctuating, pulsating, vibrant best.
(Images courtesy: soumik, evrensahin)

(The tone of the above paragraph would have been much different had it taken me a few hours to get home while walking through waist deep slush, but I did not)

An individual's life is sometimes only a by-product of so many macro changes that have happened or are happening, so much so that it would be depressing as it leaves little to no credit for him to relish and relate to his friends.
My entire life reads like one. I have parents who were educated in institutes set up at the eve of this country gaining independence. My father found employment in the 70s with TELCO (now Tata Motors) building trucks and then with Escorts (building tractors). In the mid 80s, we found ourselves in Assam with my father working in plywood. Economically, India was also just about chugging along with a hindu rate of growth and very little political initiative. (I think that the fifteen years from emergency onwards were a colossal loss for India). We then moved to Delhi in the 1990s which was the roaring decade for India's manufacturing sector and my father was back into the thick of it. I also went to colleges set up by the government in the 1950s - now coming of age and having a vintage respected widely in industry both in India and elsewhere. So many of my friends moved to the West (very able and products of some of the most competitive exams in the world, educated on government subsidised education, all of them will do well - their competence will enrich India only as remittances and not as managerial or entrepreneurial inputs). Some of us came back for very personal reasons, but also because economically, India now offers much more fun and opportunity than some of the countries in the west (me included). My penchant with rainfall I think can be explained by this cute little thing we call climate change.