Wednesday, June 28, 2006


We all dream dreams when we are young.
But somewhere on the path of growing up, the dreams seem to get lost
or lie untouched in the attic, gathering a layer of dust.
We face real life. And think it has no room for dreams.
Only cynicism.
And yet, whenever I have let go of a dream,
and tried to tell myself to be happy with what I have,
I have found myself unhappy, unfulfilled.
Because even if a dream never comes true, holding on to it gives you hope.

We think that life is not perfect - which is true.
and we think that justifies giving up on our dreams, and settling for what we have.

Settling for being unsatisfied, unhappy.
Settling for less than what we want.
and being less than what we are.
but it is only when you have a dream
that you have something to look forward to,
you have something to improve, something to realise.
You may never have something perfect,
but with each step, you are closer.

Keep dreaming.

Monday, June 26, 2006


I have been happy these last few months - mostly quietly, sometimes deliriously. But now I have the only thing needed to make my life complete. My mom has come home to me.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I Love My Boss!

It must be frustrating to work under a boss you don't like, to take orders from someone you don't respect. I am grateful I've been lucky in this regard. My first full-time job was as an analyst at a business research firm. With great luck, my first project was in the very domain I'd have chosen if I'd been given a choice - consumer goods. In that very first project, I also found a senior who would become my best friend at work, a girl with whom I not only shared many moments of chatting and girl-talk, but from I also learnt a great deal, whom I not only cared for as a friend but also - perhaps more importantly - respected as a good worker, colleague and senior.

But also, the leader of my first team at work was a woman whom I will simply name as V. In my first team meeting (an informal affair in which we perched on desks around V's seat) I - the newest member of the team - argued vehemently against something I did not agree with, and hardly noticed when everyone else shut up and listened to me. In the next meeting too, I was free with my ideas. I seemed to impress V, for she took the ideas seriously and asked me and my friend to work on them.

Not much later, V was made my career manager. And she was the best I could have had. Not only was she a mentor to me, advising me on personal and career decisions, concerned about my future in the company and eager to help me improve, but she was also an enthusiastic advocate, arguing my case before management during appraisals. (How do I know? Well, word gets around.) I loved working with her - not least because she had extremely high standards and expected the best out of her subordinates - and learnt a lot from her example and guidance. Even today, V is an ideal I look up to and follow.

We also became friends, having not only meetings but also coffee breaks and lunches together. By a strange quirk of fate, I moved into a flat near hers, and she often gave me a ride home from work. She was pregnant: the first person I had seen through that state at close range. She won my everlasting admiration by the way she carried herself through her pregnancy, refusing to be confined, working till the night before her baby was born. Yes, she cribbed - royally - but only to me, and that did not reduce my respect for her. And she did not shirk any of her responsibilities, being as meticulous a manager as she had ever been.

Ah, but the birth of V junior required that my friend V stay at home for a few months. My other friend had already left the company - and the country - and I felt strangely friendless and headless. There was no one any more to ask advice from, to go to with problems, to share girly talk with. It was during this time that I began thinking of leaving - because even apart from the absence of my two friends, there was little that I was enjoying at work.

My luck held more true than I could have hoped. I got a dream job - in my boyfriend's city. I jumped at the offer.

The first time I talked to my new boss was when he interviewed me over the phone. He is based in the USA, so we would never meet, only communicate through email, telephone, and videoconference. It was a novel arrangement, but I looked forward to the freedom it entailed.

My first day at work seemed ominous - I was warned about my boss and informed that he might not be easy to get along with. Importantly, he was also my mentor - and so responsible for my evaluations as well.

So I was surprised to see the way he chatted with me - within a couple of days of my joining, he was regaling me with long funny stories about himself. This was not a flash in the pan - we got more chummy as the days passed, and after getting past reporting (on my side) and assigning work (on his), we would often chat about our personal lives.

So much so that I look forward to these chats with him - look forward to his funny and clever comments and to laughing with him (across those thousands of miles!) at the end of my day (and the beginning of his).

But that is not all. I also deeply respect his abilities, his intelligence, and his knowledge. I have to constantly live up to his standards, and I learn from him - both of which make my work challenging and interesting. He is twice my age, has ample experience, and sometimes comes across as a kindly father-figure - and yet he always treats me with the utmost politeness and respect.

How wonderful it is to do work I love under a boss like that!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Monsoon Shower

Sitting at my desk, looking out of the huge unopenable windows at the rain flowing down outside. The world outside is a blur, viewed through innumerable layers of falling raindrops. The sky is an opaque, slightly luminous, uneven white.

It was sunny when I left home, just a couple of hours ago, and I decided against bringing a raincoat. The streets will be awash with muddy water, jammed with honking vehicles, and I am sure to get splashed on my newly-washed clothes on my way home. So the sight of the rain beating down should depress me. Strangely, it doesn't.

The shower beats down upon the walls and the windowns and invades the quiet of the office. I can hear, as from a far distance, the peal of thunder. Nature's display of her power seems glorious. It fills me with a strange zest for life. Buoyed up by my small act of creation, I will go back to work with enthusiasm.

Happy Monsoons!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Midnight Rambles

It is around midnight, when we are thoroughly tired out and our bodies are longing for bed, that the Guy and I venture out for a walk. I make an unholy noise opening the iron door, and pray I haven't woken up any early-to-bed neighbours. The Guy (who, unlike me, is not a klutz) shuts and bolts it quietly. We walk down the stairs in single file (the stairs not being wide enough for us to go down hand-in-hand). When I take the last step down out of the arcade and feel the cool night air envelop me, the sensation I have is that of having escaped. The Guy catches up. I look around - it is too late for curious neighbours. We walk down the lane, hand in hand. He makes an inane comment, I laugh out too loud, try to check myself, and end up laughing louder. As we walk out of the gates, the guard shouts a greeting. I smile and reply, and walk on.

A few people are on the street - in large cars with blaring music, astride roaring bikes, on softly sliding bicycles, and a few - like us - on foot. The moon is a glowing disc on top and a little ahead of us. Everything is bathed in moonlight. We stop before a large house - a villa - we pass often but never notice. The moonlight on its white and green and red facade make it look like a fairytale castle. We stop for a moment and wish it was ours.

We keep walking. The Guy keeps coming up with more of his absurd remarks, reminding me of the friend he was a couple of years ago, when that was his overruling characteristic. I laugh, but wish aloud that I could exchange this version of him with the perhaps rarer more serious, romantic version. He acts offended, but refuses to change. I resign myself to the present company and decide it is quite pleasant after all.

We find the coffee shop closed - as we expected. But it was our finish line, and we turn back. The moon is behind us now, but the romance is still heavy in the air. Tired, I drag my steps, and the Guy slows down his steps to match mine. We pass the fairytale castle again. This time, we do not stop to covet it. They may have the castle, but we have the fairy tale.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Guy and me!

This time, I'll leave this picture to do all the talking... Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 05, 2006

Weekend Update

Another lazy, quiet weekend. But this time, there were a number of small achievements.

Have made my way through most of 'Atlas Shrugged'. Very disappointing, after the mindblowing 'Fountainhead' - but I can't let it go, and so I want to put it through quickly. It disturbs me, though - while I don't agree with Ayn Rand's idea of hell, the idea of selfish (my definition of 'selfish', not Rand's) stupid people leading a country to ruin seems all too well played out in India right now.

With the Guy's active encouragement and help, I made pakoras yesterday. Quite a success, for an initial venture.

AND we used the new washing machine - after growing tired of the company guy to come around and deciding to take back control of our life!

We also went for a nice walk and had a quiet dinner - and then a ride with the breeze cooling our faces. Lovely!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Here Come the Rains!

Drip, drip, drip. Not the intrusive sound of water dripping from a tap, but a quiet incessant murmur that you can hear if you hold your breath. It is only when you venture outside that you see the amount of damage - wet everywhere, dirty pools in the middle of the road, and not a spare rickshaw to be found. Welcome to the monsoons.

I had been cursing people who had sung eulogies of Pune's weather to me before I moved here: I had been waiting eagerly for the rains that would bring respite for the heat. A native of rain-infested Guwahati, I had overlooked the train of inconveniences that faithfully follow the rain god - dirty and water-logged roads, damp washing set out in the balcony, muddy footsteps on the stairs... Even worse in big cities like Delhi and Pune which appear surprised each time the rain god decides to unleash his fury. Combined with the fact that my washing machine still lies untouched in its cardboard box, the monsoons do not seem an inviting prospect.

I long to get hold of those 'friends' who had praised the city's weather.