Monday, October 10, 2011

Nuggets of wisdom

They aren’t big chunks, nuggets they are, and small ones at that. But these are the random thoughts that have stirred my mind from time to time. Recently triggered from some heated discussions with various entities that I have chosen to call “friends” I decided to jot them down for the benefit of that far-off day when I shall not remember my own justification for having done or not done certain things. I actually wrote the headers as and when the thought struck me, and then thought it might be a good idea to elaborate, for my own good. Hence they might seem random to you, actually they do to me too. But sometimes random things, just like the sunscreen song, make sense when someday you can look back and join the dots. So let this be random for now.. till that someday when I do look back:

Everybody is somebody’s weirdo.

You are somebody’s weirdo too, so stop judging others. A lot of people genuinely don’t believe this. They genuinely believe that they are “normal”. I live in a country which has a culture of “lagom” which in Swedish means to do everything in moderation in order not to be “abnormal” in anyway. Except that they don’t understand that the entire concept of “normal” is relative. And its inevitable that the way you are, no matter just how impeccably you have behaved and existed as per your code of conduct, is still extremely weird for someone somewhere. Because the code of conduct varies. And stop thinking that you are in the majority. You have NO clue how many people live in China, or India.. or Africa for that matter.

Wishes and aspirations are exciting only till you achieve/get them

I was recently told someone that that person is envious of me. Envious of certain aspects about my life. It has not been the first time this has happened. I have been told to consider myself lucky. There are people who would give a hand and a leg to be where I am. To live abroad, to be able to travel around the world on such a frequent basis. To be financially so stable, to have a job I love so much and I am good at, etc etc. I have talked about this at length in a previous post, that I do appreciate the fact that I have all these things. But somehow, all of this is not as exciting now as it was when I was trying to achieve these things. Maybe I state the obvious, but hey, I didn’t know this, honestly. I thought that once I reach this point, I would have achieved the pinnacle of satisfaction and would not want anything else in life. Its quite the contrary. At least for some people, the mountain peak seems like a dream place from down below, and loses the charm of its superior height not too long after it has been scaled. Does this happen with everyone, or am I the weirdo here? The lesson here is, it’s so not worth being envious of anyone. Because only when you reach there, you will realize it wasn’t such a big deal.

You dont have to be a die-hard rock fan to appreciate rock music, though being a die-hard fan of anything always helps

Sounds weird to me now, this sentence, when I read it. Weird but true. I wanna go and shake up every person who is a die-hard fan of something and who doesn’t allow anyone else, who is not a die-hard fan, an opinion on the subject. The message is simple – yes, everyone appreciates passion, I look up to “die-hard-fan ship” but for heavens sake, stop monopolizing a topic of conversation or a discussion just because you are a die-hard fan. I am an IT management geek, and totally understand that non-IT folks might also have an opinion, I hope others do too!

People change, beliefs change, and there aren’t always tangible reasons you can put down in bullet points

I don’t know why there is always a big deal made out of this, or regarding the reasons for the change. For heavens sake people, grow up, and accept it as a fact of life. I am tired of being accused of changing. I am sorry but I do not have the aspirations I had when I was 10, and I don’t laugh at the same jokes as I did when I was 16. I am sorry if I do not harbour the same notions as I did when I was 20 or, gawk at blondes the way I did when I was 22. Oh yes, my beliefs about culture, people and life changed when I was in engineering college, then when I joined a job, then again when I pursued MBA and changed all over when I came to live in a foreign country. And yet they might not be the exact reason you might be looking for about why I changed. Maybe there are no reasons. Maybe time is the only reason. So stop giving me those accusatory looks when you seem me wearing a suit, because at some point of time I hated formal clothes. Stop laughing when I say I am a one-woman guy, just because I had a wild phase. Accept it, people change. And no, I will not highlight the negative changes in me as examples when I am talking about change :P

Enough of gyaan. It was more of a venting really. And a random one at that I must say. More interesting posts to come. Oh but wait, I keep forgetting that I have lost all my followers, this blog, for better or for worse, is all for me only :).

Picture reference:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Answer!

As the news about Mr. Jobs passing away hit me, I was tempted to go back to the one video which I have seen a zillion times over the last 5 years, a video that was the guiding light during times in my life when nothing made sense. And as I watched that video for the zillionth time, it suddenly hit me. I could suddenly join the dots. I knew that most of the things he talked about was an answer to "the dilemma" which I talked about in my previous post

This post will only make sense if you read the post and watch the video below: :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Filling the gap...

So I thought that I might as well fill the gap... regarding what happened since the time I went underground up till now. You have probably given up on me anyway. And I have no followers :P The few who follow me, also talk to me in real life... so that is no fun. But what the hell, when did I ever care about who is reading my blog (kidding... kidding...).

But hey, there's all this talk about pictures being worth a thousand words and what not. So, in spite of having being accused of being a "man of words" I shall give this a try. Fill you in with all that has happened in my life since I left blogosphere. I think I owe this blog that much. After all what is the point of it all, if you don't know what has been happening in Merlin's world :). So here goes.....

The Indian Apartment:

Somewhere in the middle of last year, I impulsively bought an apartment. An expensive one, oh yes its darn expensive, the most expensive thing I have ever purchased. And I did it sitting here in Stockholm. No planning, no cracking my head about investment risks, just in the middle of a Sunday... wham... and in a week, I had paid the booking amount. All my life's savings, plus a loan. That's Merlin for you :P. But hey, its swanky. Swimming pools, skating rinks, tennis and basketball courts, a gym and sauna... the works. 14th Floor, 3 bedrooms, 1700 sq feet. I feel rich :P

And the Stockholm one:

Nope, I didn't buy this one. Now now, don't get carried away, I mean I am not THAT rich :P. But this is where I have been living for the past more than one year, and me likes this place. When I rent apartments the deciding factor is always the bathroom and the kitchen.. I know.. its weird :P. Pics below are the hall and the kitchen/bar. I wont make you jealous by showing you the awesome shower cabinet :P

Oh, and then I travelled to New York. It was a business trip to Las Vegas, but I did a stopover at NY. I realized I know too many people who live in and around NYC. Stayed over with J and G, they are the "awesomest"!! Wanted to meet D, but was there for only 2 days and couldn't make it. Did manage to meet P and her newly acquired husband. Damn, a few years from now I wonder if I will know whom I am talking about :P.

Above is the Brooklyn Bridge, I love this photograph and the place, and gave myself a pat on the back for this click :). It was so charming just standing there looking out!

The classic "Hey I was in NYC" pic. And the SOL is captivating!

When I said "a picture speaks a thousand words" I meant something like this pic :). On FB I captioned this as "So what if my dog doesn't pee, it still needs to go for a walk" :)

And then I went over to Vegas for my conference. 5 days in Vegas was quite an experience. And the conference was awesome. And my clients were just the best. One of those trips where the universe conspires to make life awesome for you :)

That is Luxor on the Strip

This is the view from The Venetian where I was staying. It is the largest hotel in the world.

And it is called "The Venetian" for a reason. There are Venetian canals inside the hotel. This canal is on the 3rd floor of the hotel, and the "sky" is fake. Even when there one tends to forget that one is not in the open. The gondolas are electronically steered, thought the person does pretend to row.

Oh, and did I mention that I didn't get an ordinary room so I was erm.. kinda "forced" to stay in the Luxury "honeymoon" suite. This pic is not from the hotel website, it is taken from my automatic camera :P

And now you know why I didn't put up a pic of my apartment bathroom, I didn't want it to be compared with this. Oh, and there was a TV on the left hand top corner, which is not visible... but of course watching CNN while you brush your teeth is a basic necessity, isn't it?

And somewhere towards the end of 2010, I made it to India. I planned out a road trip to a few places (now I remember only Yercaud). The highlight was driving the automatic Mitsubishi Outlander, its an awesome beast. And stop calling it a SUV, its not, this thing is called a "crossover" :)

And then, sometime in spring, we went to Narvik. It was an awesome trip with P and C along with us. I had always wanted to go to see the Norwegian fjords. And it was a dream come true. This pic is a View from the Fagernesfjellet restuarant

This is a view from the train.. the awesome norwegian fjords!!

And then I celebrated my bday in July, I remember nearly blogging that day, I tend to get philosophical on bdays, and this bday was kind of a...erm... landmark :P

And then sometime in Spring we managed to visit Göteborg, a city in Sweden which is not as big as Stockholm, but yet a very serene city. We liked the architecture there, more interesting than Stockholm :)

Then, from Göteborg we also went to a place called Trandansen, near Hornborgasjön where hundreds of cranes come once a year on their way back north for the summer. It is called "The crane dance" and it is a sight to watch!

And then the lovely Swedish summer was on!! Had an awesome time in summer. I kinda now believe that in Sweden you tolerate 7 months of harsh dark winter only to see those 2 months of awesome summer... believe me, its worth it!

More of summer at the beach...

This is A and P's house in Danderyd, the place we spend weekends. Love biking around Danderyd whenever I am at their place, reminds me of biking in Jamshedpur!

And that, in a nutshell is what I have been upto since I left. Some more progress, things like I got two promotions, and a much better salary, but then, I have never had complaints in my professional life, you wont hear me cribbing much there :P. I continue to be a guest lecturer in Stockholm University (did I blog about that?) and have been offered a position in their PhD programme, which I am told, is not an easy task. But the professor with whom I deliver lectures is keen to have me as a scholar, and made the arrangements. Considering that it takes 8 years for an "industrial" PhD, I am not sure I will join, but more about that later.

Phew, this has been tough, explaining my life in the past 1 year in one post. Of course there will be spillovers... so more in some other posts!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The "Breed"

I don’t know if everyone feels this, but I strongly feel that we are a breed. The definition of “we” is vague, but you know, people like me, the ones who think like me, who like what I like, who loathe what I loathe.. we are a breed. We have similar aspirations... and similar disappointments when we get what we aspired for. We have similar dreams, and similar difficulties coping with how fast these dreams change. We have the same desire to scale large mountains and the same feeling of “now what” once we have reached the peak. Somehow, somewhere in my mind, I have the feeling that we are a breed. We don’t have a name, or a classification. We don’t look similar, or live in the same geography, or wear badges that identify us. The world doesn’t know we are there as a group, they probably think we are just a few scattered individuals. But sometimes I come across more of me... and I look at them, I hear them talk, I seem them smile, and I know they are from the same breed.

I go back and think about all that I have wanted from life and from myself. The teenybopper-dom, the wild crazy “single” philandering lifestyle, the smartass arrogant business school phase, the corporate hoopla, the travel backpacking roaming-the-world nomad life, and I wonder how lucky I have been. And I wonder why I am still not satisfied. It’s like drinking a lot of water and still feeling terribly thirsty. Its like looking at a blurry image, its like wanting something and yet not knowing what you want. It is difficult to explain. And I feel I am not the only one on this ship. There are more of me. And we are all equally, utterly, profoundly confused.

In my thirst which refuses to be quenched, in the destination-less journey, I sometimes feel guilty. Guilty because somewhere deep inside I know I have been lucky. Lucky to have had the right opportunities, lucky to have had the right platform, lucky to have had the right people in my life who pushed or pulled me in the right directions. Lucky not to be born on the pavement, lucky not to have been abducted by the beggar mafia as a kid. I have seen people who forget their roots, I am not one of them. And yet, amidst it all I still feel I am thirsty. And guilty. Guilty for not being satisfied in spite of all that I have been blessed with. Guilty for having had everything I wished for. Guilty for not knowing what I actually want in the end, guilty about wondering if there is an end at all. I take some solace in the fact that I am not alone, but it doesn’t take away the feeling of guilt, even if I am in the midst of more of the guilty breed.

Oh and btw, yes I am back in blogosphere. Don’t ask me the questions about why I have been away, it will take me too long to answer them, and the answers won’t satisfy you anyway. So let it be. I have made a slow transition back to the blogging world. And I can tell you that it has not been easy. And yes, I know it has been more than a year, and yes, I am kinda trying to play it down.

I also know that this is a horrible rant, and rants are the worst way to start. But then thoughtful posts what brings us back to the blogging world. So let me just rejoice in the warm feeling of being back where I belong. :)