Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 - An year in rewind!

So.. An year has rolled by swiftly, pushing a truckload of memories, triumphs, pitfalls, moments of cheers and tears onto my arms. The year 2017 has been a roller-coaster much like any other year. However, this year will be cherished as an important year because I did so much more than what I've done in the last 27 years of existence. I want to put the essence of it all into a write-up, so that maybe, two or three decades later I'll come back and read these thoughts with a smile twitching on my face. The older me would perhaps want to pat myself on the back for thinking so much for this age, compared to what came much later. As the saying goes.. Every level upped in life demands a different version of you. True to that, I discovered a different me in this year. I have done my best to condense the life that I lived and the learning that came with it. 

Lesson # 1 - Take the risks. The great adventure is out there. 

At the start of the year, I bid the most stubborn Goodbye to my ex-company. Not many would know the back-story: Driven by my wounded self-esteem, I had put my papers in my former organization and had started looking out during the three-months notice period. I was lucky enough to find a company/ a team which took me in, believing me when I myself wasn't able to see my worth. When the notice period was officially up, I went to Bangalore shortly before Pongal and formally closed the chapter with the ex-organization. Unlike the TCS chapter, where I welled up and cried all the way home on the last working day and the next day, this was a dry, uneventful farewell. Oh, I didn't even get a cake. I was glad I was done with this part of my career, and I suspect to this day that they were equally relieved too. 

When you're brave enough to say a Goodbye, life rewards you with an unexpected Hello! 

That's how my new company opened up to me. The initial days/ months were tough. It was a new job and a new role - which demanded a new me. I was still shaky and doubtful of myself, as from the older days. My self-doubt hadn't completely vanished. I would still get nightmares from my time with the old org where I was told time and again that I wasn't good. In my new position, I have dealt with some important / hair-pulling/ amusing/ exasperating assignments in the last eleven months. The work basket was never short of variety. With all the assignments, I learned and grew. I was noticed as the new chic in the block. I was slowly but surely getting my confidence and the self-assured air back. A year can do wonders when you're in the right place, with the right set of people, doing what works best for you. I am glad I took the risk and dived head-first without knowing what was coming. It's paid off, and well! 

Lesson # 2 - It's all about timing. 

I kept solo-company with myself in the new org for the initial six months. A video-making exercise brought me close to a group of team folks/ friends who hung out together. I was invited to join them, and slowly.. I became a part of the gang. Personally, I believe this is the best group dynamics friendship which happened to me after DAMN in TCS. Good friends at work make you look forward to coming to work, for the company and assurances, for the care and support you derive, and to sit and talk the problems out - if nothing else can help. Work sometimes gets so unreasonable and irritating. I still dress up and come to work anyway because I can talk with my lifelines at office. (you know who you are!) I didn't chase to be a part of this group from Day-1. I was fine by my own company. I didn't look around, though this might shock anyone used to being around in groups. I gradually and casually became a part of the gang when the time came. It took me 6-7 months to thaw in and I am grateful I managed to do that. 

Everything comes to you when the time is right. Be patient

People who make me want to come to work no matter what! 

Lesson # 3 - Life's too short. Do the things that you love. 

This is the first year where I put my inhibitions aside. One of the best compliments received from the Aatha was: I see a different you now. I don't see you being scared to take decisions any more. You've always worried if you're doing it right or wrong in the past. Today, I see none of that restlessness. I see a calm, self-confident person in front of me. 

I entertained my intuitions and made/ joined impromptu trips and plans. I vacationed for a short while at Delhi, which is the farthest I've ever traveled in my life - leave alone the fact that I went solo. The Delhi trip was an invigorating experience, spiced with some unexpected jolts and twists like the red-flowers blooming at the Taj Mahal (wink wink). I went to visit my best friend in Bangalore, then as part of the office gang I visited Shimoga, joined an informal gang trip to Pondicherry.. The list can be extrapolated to record some more significant memories, but I'll stop here. Every travel experience came with a bag of amazing moments and treasured memories. I am positive that I will have more such travel experiences to record for 2018. #BringItON

Hello, Taj Mahal! 

One fine day, I suddenly had this distinct desire to have full-on mehendi for my hands and that's what I got done too. I walked around to amused people asking if I'd gotten engaged, went for a family function or a friend's wedding for which I patiently said No, and smiled. 

I shopped within my limits at Pantheon Road. Visited Sowcarpet for the first time and did food-hopping there. Made myself happy by buying a new phone to record quality photos. Welcomed Aatha into the world of Facebook, WhatsApp and smartphones. Taped a tempered glass on to phone by myself (new skill, bro!). Discovered some refreshing and soul-stirring music from Naveen, Roopa Revathi, Sabareesh Prabhakar et al. Watched many good movies which were critically acclaimed and lesser known to the box office. Started reading books with an intent to continue reading for pleasure. It was a year filled with impulse-driven acts. 

Sowcarpet Trails! 

Lesson # 4 - The importance of being with and contributing to family. 

An important plane to everyone's existence is their family and the upbringing. I am no different. We work, earn and aspire for the Good Life - just so that we're happy with whomever we identify as family. One of the prime reasons for my job shift this year was the slightest possibility of returning back to Bangalore on the old job. After 1.5 years spent on a professional life that I wasn't exactly excited with, a probable relocation back to Bangalore was the proverbial last straw which broke the camel's back. 2017 was a year spent fully and well with family. Being in those shoes, my responsibilities never ceased. I played an important role in stabilizing their health and wellness, yet again. Every time things go right on the health front at the home ministry, I feel rewarded. I know I've made a contribution for the right cause. Sometimes, I do my part begrudgingly feeling over burdened by the duties. Some things go my way; Some don't. I learned to plod on this time, because tough situations can change and family support doesn't. I am happy for being present and being part of the highs and lows, nevertheless. 

Lesson # 5 - It's good to fail. 

There's an experience close to my heart, which needs to be spoken. Not because it's heavy, but because I'm glad of who I am and what I did. I told someone that I liked them, only to hear their rejection at the prospect of the idea. I am mighty proud of the act, never mind the consequences. It is the single most thrilling and the least expected act I did for this year, what with the adrenaline rush. It took me a few days of moping from there on, to finally learn to let go and lift the sensation off. It will be amusing how the days ahead pan out. 

While I was crushed by the verdict, hearing it out loud did me good, for I no longer go through the delirium of what-if's. I feel clear now that I've discussed the idea, the possibility with him. Sitting and thinking now, I wonder how I did it - to go there and put it out in the open. That's really not me. I'm the lady who harbors hope and wishes against all odds that it somehow works out without making the first move. I am the one constantly harboring hopes. What I did was an act of courage and an attempt to clear the grey clouds hovering in my head. For all that it was, it was worth it. Nobody warned me the aftermath would be painful and it'll take some time to feel better. I am allowing the wound to heal and close by itself with time. It's his loss, not mine. That's what I constantly reassure myself. Life's too short to keep everything pent up within. I don't want to be that person. I will use the chances I have to get the results I'm looking for. Sometimes, I trundle into unexpected corners, but that's OK. It's important to keep trying; to keep looking. This year was about stepping on to the light at the end of the tunnel. 

With so much of what has happened this year, I sign off on 2017 with plenty of peace. My soul feels relaxed for the good things that happened and acts of courage executed, and I await more experiences in 2018 with open arms. Good vibes and positive thoughts only! 

Until I see you in another post, I am signing off. Happy New Year 2018, everyone! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Summer of '14

It's quite normal when people associate summer season with heat, sweat, harsh weather, the blistering sun and of course, all related ailments like sores, sunburns, dry skin and dehydration! However, what I'm going to write here will not cover ANY of the above points. This is MY take of how this summer went. Unlike the harsh ones I've faced before, it was satisfying and heart warming by itself. Why? I'll tell you.

I did my internship during the months of April and May in Chennai. Having worked in a corporate environment before, I always knew what it was like to work in an office. Oh yes! Could it get any worse than where I'd worked earlier? :-P The 9-to-6 monotony and the unending tasks were not new. I knew how absolutely boring it really was! But what was unexpected in its own way, was the HR Trainee experience for a Mineral Extraction & Mining company. On my first day at work (April 1st) - I was ushered in and to my surprise, I discovered that I've joined an extremely traditional organization. There they were, distributing sweets and vibhoothi/ kumkumam to all the employees to mark auspicious start to the financial year. But what was far more alluring was the COFFEE! Yes, you heard it right. The company served machine-vended coffee, morning and evening, right at the employees' desk. In fact, I remember feeling Whoop! when I was placed with a steaming cup of coffee at my desk on Day-1. Just as I was going to take a sip, the boss called me to discuss on the internship work details. :-( With my mind firmly stuck on the coffee mug, I must confess that I had a tough time catching up with his thoughts during that meeting. Thus, what could've stretched for an hour was shortened to 30 mins of quick discussion, thanks to my eagerness to get back to desk. But alas, what pity! The mugs had been cleared away from everyone's desks when I returned. All I could do was stare at my pristine workstation - without its coffee in place. Sob! :'( So that's how the very first coffee experience turned to be - disappointing and elusive. :-p

Mudhal Coffee - Mudhal Ematram

While I did learn about the nuances of a HR role through on the job training, this space will only record the interesting events which happened while I was there. Oh, how can I forget my trips around the office block with another intern? That needs mentioning. On boring, hot afternoons when my intern friend and I had no intentions of getting back to work immediately after lunch, we took expeditions around office. Being a large complex, it was manned and guarded by over-zealous securities in every nook and corner. While the security officers around my office block knew us, it clearly wasn't enough to keep me rooted to the same spot. It was time to test my luck further. Thus, we ventured into the Corporate zone of my organization/ group, which was heavily guarded. I still remember how my friend and I faked conversations and kept walking, much to the shock and amusement of guards standing vigil within the building premises. Since it housed the CEO's, CFO's and MD's, this particular zone had extra security in place. Not to forget, the number of access-restricted doors were quite high too! But no, that wasn't going to keep us away. We ventured, floor by floor, not even leaving the restrooms out. The walks, the laughing and the exploration continued until we exhausted all the floors and buildings around the work complex. It was a fun experience, I would say! Oh I must mention here, to whomever is considering joining my awesome organization - the food is AWESOME! Their lunches are to die for. What variety and taste! Looking back, this was probably the highlight of my stay with the company. :-P

As a part of my work assignment, I was also entrusted with the task of working on the in-house magazine. I had to travel to Hosur and Bangalore on a business trip within a day for the same. The plan was to meet the business heads sitting in the offices situated there, interview them and prepare detailed write-ups. Was this amusing? Absolutely not. What was interesting was my boss who accompanied me in the trip. Here was a man fond of the Cows and Bulls game. He could play it at any time of the day, and he was constantly looking for a partner to play! The uninterested victim? Me, of course. :-D So despite my protests, pleas and begging, the boss made me play Cows and Bulls whenever he wanted someone to play with. Of course, he knew I was a sucker at it, and that made him even more excited to match against me. :-P The sensation of beating an evergreen loser at a game is priceless, as he said. I remember how I had to endure one of the worst games invented in the history of mankind on my return journey back to home from Hosur. When one game was enough, I told him I'm not playing any more and went to sleep. What did my boss do? He decides to let me sleep for an hour, and later wakes me up to watch Singham-2. Now, you decide. What's far more horrible? Is it Singham-2 or a game of Cows and Bulls? :-o Should I go to the Devil or the Deep Blue Sea, I was left wondering. :-D

A blood spilling experience. :-(

My office was located at the Northern tip of the city, and so it involved travelling between Tambaram and Chennai Beach everyday in electric train. One hard-to-digest fact which I eventually accepted was that Maddy did not stand in Tambaram railway station day in and day out, waiting for Shakthi. To everyone who believed he did, boo! He actually doesn't. And there I was, searching for Maddy every single day, only to be disappointed two months later by the fact that movies will always be movies. :-p It was in the same Tambaram railway station that I bumped into Sherryl by coincidence when I was in a hurry to reach my Beach train. There we were - behaving like insane, lunatic kids on the over-bridge, overjoyed to meet each other during the course of internship. :) Ah well, at least I met my girlfriend here, if not the guy. Hehe! One happy moment from the intern experience was the trip to Gujarat Chats with Divya. We didn't plan it as such, but eventually went there for a snack. It's one of the best chat shops to eat from, around Parrys Corner. :) I only missed visiting Sowcarpet while I was interning. Ah yes, how can I forget this one - We (the CUMI family) went to Marina beach on some random evening in April. It was fun, being at the beach. To me, the seashore is always a feel-good place which brings a lot of happy memories! :) The month of April also brought with it the unfortunate incident of my laptop's hard disk crash. Sadly, none of the data was adequately backed up. I lost all my personal data all over. It hurt for a day. Thanks to pep-talks from a friend, I eventually overcame the sensation of loss about it.

No matter how much I write about my internship experience, the Summer of 2014 is special and elevated [unlike the other summers] for an entirely different reason. It's because life decided to throw a unique surprise in form of a friend whom I never thought I would have. Especially since I was not really keen on meeting strangers after growing out of AII and OI trends. Ugh, not my type! If I should thank PagalGuy, it would be for this idiot who literally stormed into my life and created a tremendous impact. I am glad about his presence in my life and he's done every single thing to reaffirm that he's the best thing that happened to me in the Summer of 2014. It's alright that he's no longer LIBA. He is meant to be at a different level altogether. I miss him, but he is the kind of person who is meant to be at YIF rather than here. =) I only wish that YIF brings him the kind of learning and experience that he's always yearned for to fulfill his dreams. If he's reading this, he should know that he's a precious jewel that I've had the fortune to pick up along my path in life. Grumpy kid, you're adored and cherished. :) That's despite the eye-burning sensation every morning arising from screwing my sleep and of course, those innumerable call waiting moments which were both embarrassing as well as amusing. =D

Grumpy Kid! 
Summer of 2014 was beautiful indeed, thanks to the aura of people I truly love. Beside these treasured memories, I also enjoyed the perks of being at home, being pampered by Amma 24x7 and being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to. But going to office doesn't count here. :-p True, I did miss LIBA. I'm happy to be back here now. As I type this, I freaking can't believe I'm in second year. Time flies. I sure hope that I will make use of the year that's left to do all the things I've been intending to do. I've crossed off an item from the list already. Hehe! With this, I end my post. This is one long pending blog entry that I'd always wanted to write but never got myself to. Ah sweet procrastination, I'm done with you. Muhahaha! :-D