Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quarter Life Crisis

I will be honest. I was browsing through the tonnes of material on the net I usually end up reading on a lazy Sunday and I stumbled across THIS ARTICLE, and this post is inspired by it (recommendation: READ the article). Well I am kinda on the other side of quarter life, but I guess I was in such a rush during my early 20s that I completely forgot about the whole crisis thing and completely forgot to have it, and it hit me a bit late. So, I am in kind of a quarter life crisis now. And maybe because it has come late in my life, it has come in with a vengeance. I know, I know, its just a phase and it will go by, but what the ****, it stinks, and I do hope it goes by faster than I think.

So I can imagine all you 40+ guys laughing hysterically at the idea of a quarter life crisis. Sirs, ma’ms… do not laugh, the world was kind of different when you were 25. There was no PS3, (or PS2 for that matter) to aspire for and to play against. There were no internet romances, or break-ups. And if you are an Indian, I am sure there are very little chances that you would be dealing with a relationship with a girl from a different state, or a different country, or her parents. Very little chance also that you would be wondering which country to settle in, and if you should be in the gaming industry, the IT industry, the ITES industry or a regular conventional industry like the Travel industry. Whether you should change jobs when your job pays more than it should and is more exciting than you thought a job would be, but you are still getting bored. So ladies and gentlemen, do not laugh. Take a step back and let the new generation endure their quarter life with grace.

And for all the below 20 guys (do below 20 guys even read blogs?), brace for the impact, its going to be bigger and worse for you guys *evil snigger*. And for those between 25 and 30, hold my hand, I empathize with you.. it shalt pass, and we shall come out of it stronger and more stable than ever before!

I have cribbed about this a number of times and I will crib about it again. In my current phase of life it is SO difficult to find people who are the same age as me. At work, EVERYBODY is older to me.. don’t ask me why, I have no clue. And in my social circles also, people are either AT LEAST 10 years older to me, or are in the age range between 4 and 13 (the offspring of my ‘friends’). Hence it is SO tough to find someone to relate to within my physical circles of friends. In my virtual circle, which transcends all geographical boundaries on earth, of course I have a zillion friends in the same phase and stage of life. But it’s a completely different feeling to sit over a beer and crib about how your life sucks because everything seems to be a dilemma. This I cant do with a friend settled in the US or working in the UK or those back in India. And so I take my only other alternative, to blog about my rants.

Of course, at quarter life (ok ok.. I am not 25 and I don’t pretend to be, so lets call it a couple of years after quarter life), one has much more fun than say in your childhood, teenage or adolescence. I can eat all I want, have all the excesses that I ever dreamed of and spend all the money I want to on all the stupid things that were earlier forbidden. But the million dilemmas in life just kill me. If I could I wish I’d not have to take a single more decision in life, but till people turn 40, life is all about decisions (or maybe it haunts you even after you’re 40). Whom to date, whom to marry, where to study, what to study, where to work, which industry, what job profile, which company, which city/country to settle in, when to have kids, how many kids to have, when to change your job, prioritize gf/wife over job or vica versa, balance parents with in-laws etc etc. And when you start having more than 2 of these dilemmas, well, God bless you, your quarter life crisis has arrived.

A few days back I was talking to a few ladies who are close friends of mine from school/college. They happen to be 1 to 2 years elder to me or my age, and all of them were totally PSYCHED out about turning 30. And I totally couldn’t relate to either one of them. Is it that I am kind of abnormal that I am totally at ease about growing older, or does it have something to do with “men become more attractive as they get older” phenomenon? But unlike Joey in FRIENDS, I have absolutely no qualms about turning 30 and cannot understand why people make such a big deal of it. And maybe this has something to do with being the youngest guy in my workplace :sigh: !!

This reminds me of the FRIENDS episode : TOW They All Turn 30:

And with this note, I bid thee farewell for now. The weeks have been busy, but the next week is a short work week and a long holiday stint, and I need to tell you about my ventures in research and publication (boring), my upcoming trip to Barcelona (exciting), my parents visit (really exciting), and a probable road trip to Norway… but all of this next time :).

P.S. Have put a cute FB sharing gadget on the right hand column under Archives, and am really excited about it, even though I never write anything worth sharing :).

Image courtesy:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Itz mah birfday!

My blog completes one year. This day, one year back I started this blog. I was kind of sure that it wont last, my other "ventures" into web designing, online management research paper publishing and similar other internet frenzies fizzled out. But like I always say... blogging is my therapy.. it heals me. And so I lingered on in this space.

It has been quite a journey, not as impressive as the other 'blog celebrities' I know, but decently satisfying for me. 365 days, 83 posts, 13 followers and 2200 + hits (excluding my own). I would say - not bad. I just went back and read my first 3 posts, and it was nostalgia all over again. Things have changed so much, and then again, some things havent changed at all! Loved the first 3 posts HERE, HERE and HERE. I hope I feel the same things after one year when I reflect back on this post.

For those regular followers out here, yes, you have seen the same title and picture before, on MY birfday :), this is a repeat coz I love lolcatz so much!

Cheers, and I shalt celebrate this today!!

Lolcat picture references:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Barometer shows “High”

Blogging is like my barometer. You can judge the kind of pressure I am in just by looking at my blog. I use it to gauge how things are with me. When I write an “angry Merlin” or “sad Merlin” blog, you know how its gonna be. And when I don’t write at all you know the pressure has gone over the edge.

So that’s how it has been for the last few months. Over the edge. Waking up in the morning to a ringing phone.. escalation, urgent meeting or something. Dragging my laptop to my bed to see what is the latest catastrophe to strike my area. Stumbling out of bed and brushing my teeth while on a conference call and getting very embarrassed when I am asked a question and I have to spit out the toothpaste and answer. Thinking of strategies to appease the clients while showering and then answering mails while gulping a cup of coffee and breakfast… and sliding down the stairs and waving at the bus driver till he feels sorry for me and waits while I run to the bus stop. Getting dirty looks from fellow passengers as I try to check mails on the laptop on a crowded metro train.. and literally running into the office to be on time for a meeting. Hectic meetings, mails, phone calls, customer escalations… and then walking back home.. ready to collapse as soon as I reach home. Hit the couch, have some tea.. check the late night shift of mails (the US team is up and working), create some documents, dinner and then crash into bed. So if I say I didn’t have time to blog it would be an understatement.

Every culture has their own kind of PC… and it varies enormously. For the uninitiated, PC is “Polite Conversation” (please read THIS previous blog post for more info on PC), the stuff you do when you meet a person and don’t exactly know how to fill up the awkward silences. In India when you want to do PC, you ask “so how many children do you have” or “do you have family” (read as ‘are you married’) or "is your wife working or a housewife?" or "is your daughter/son married?". No kidding, these are NOT personal questions in India, its PC. Any stranger can ask you this stuff on their first meeting with you. At office, at the mall, on the bus. Its THAT impersonal. In most of Europe, you can risk offending a person you know if you ask these questions unless you know the person well. Well, in the UK, the most popular topic of conversation for PC is the weather, probably because its so crappy throughout the year. If you have ever been to the UK you’d know how much time the English people spend on pondering and analyzing the weather, or simply cribbing about it. The Swedes I think like PCing about weekends, vacations and trips to Thailand. So their favorite PC will be “How was your weekend?” or “What are your plans for the weekend” or “So howz your weekend progressing?” or “So how was Thailand?” or “When are you next going to Thailand?” etc etc. Sometimes its lost on me, because a) I don’t plan my weekend in advance, neither my upcoming vacation.. or the vacation the year after next b) I have never gone to Thailand, and do not plan to in the near future. So when people ask me about my weekend I wonder if I should get offended because a lot of stuff I did over the weekend was pretty personal, I wouldn’t like to share it with the guy who is from my competitor company at work. Strange, how PC can vary so much with different cultures.

So when everyone asked me “What plans for the weekend?” I simply said “nothing”. When Swedes have a hectic week, they try to have a more hectic weekend to compensate for it. I don’t understand the logic. When I have a hectic week, I simply cancel all activities for the weekend and spend it sleeping, taking long showers, cooking, watching Big Bang Theory, Simpsons, Two and a half men and lazing around. It rejuvenates me more than doing cross country skiing or visiting new countries or taking a trekking to the Norway fjords. I mean, I do all of that stuff (except the cross country skiing) but not to recover from a killing week. There's nothing like lazing around to rejuvenate a person. If this was India, I’d throw in a Kerela massage and ‘adda’ (chitchat session) at a relatives place. :sigh:

I was browsing through Facebook and noticed that one of my colleagues son has just turned one year old. Its strange how priorities change so fast for people. Not so long ago in college all we could think of was type of future job, starting salary, career, role... then it became boss, promotion, increment. Very soon the whole job fever went out of our lives. People started talking about marriage. So there was a lot of worrying about marrying the current girlfriend, worrying about arranged marriage, worrying about love marriage and loveless marriages and worrying about not getting married at all. Now, most of us are beyond this point (word to note here is "most", some are still talking jobs) So now the next phase of discussions are babies. Honestly, it makes me feel old. Not because I refuse to grow up, or “adopt” the passing of time, but I somehow am still stuck in the job mode (that’s the reason I am still having those hectic weeks remember?). Its funny because I made a passing remark to a younger friend (read as 25) who was shifting apartments… noting that this was the last time he would be shifting alone. And on being asked for the reason I told him, “next time it will probably be with a wife and a kid”. The look on his face was of absolute horror and disgust, as if I had just violated some sacrosanct rule by mentioning the unmentionable. After a few seconds of speechlessness, he just flippantly remarked, “Bah, it’s a LONG time before that’s going to happen”. What’s it with these 22 to 25 year olds thinking that they are going to be bachelors and enjoy their carefree youth till eternity. Guys.. open your eyes. Embrace the real world. You are an Indian. If you have not been Europeanized or Americanized by now, in a span of 2 to 4 years, ou will be married (you can hope its a love marriage, it could also be arranged) and in another 1 to 3 years you would be changing nappies. That’s not a long time off now, is it? Stop pretending its never gonna happen. Stop pretending that you will be “surfing” around till eternity. And stop making it look as if marriage means the end of the world. Do not forget the sliver linig. As our beloved SRK always says “Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost!”

If the next week is not as hectic as this one (I hope it wont be) you will be seeing more of me out here!