Sunday, December 27, 2015 0 comments

2015 in review


Okay, yet another year gone by. I seem to have become an expert at all these year ending posts. Also, considering that I have hardly been writing anything in the past. Perhaps the zeal of writing is suspended for the time being. Nevertheless I feel like posting some of the Highs and Lows of this year as well. The hits and the misses. The lessons learnt and unlearnt. And with a vivid certainty, that no matter what happens, life continues to move on. Teaching us things on the way. In this way we all learn.

Some of my plus points for this year were:

1. The Europe Trip- My first ever international trip. And it was definitely worth it. A big thanks to my colleague Sovan, for coming along. Overall, it was definitely an enriching experience and an eye opener for me. I would definitely like to come back here soon in future.

2. Change in Work Profile- This was something I was desiring for a while, due to my lack of satisfaction in my previous role. And I am glad that I managed to get a transfer. I complete 2.5 years of work experience, and overall, I am not quite satisfied with the corporate life I have led so far.

3. Resumed the habit of Reading- I admit, in between I had given up my biggest passion- Reading. But I managed to get back to it, and purchased several books in different categories. I have also gone back to reading more of fiction. And I am glad to say that I am reading quite a lot these days. Books never betray.

4. Cycling- Finally, a checklist tick marked. I purchased a new bicycle, Firefox brand. And I do admit, it is definitely fun to cycle around, admiring the scenery around, and trying to be a bit close to nature. It keeps you fit as well. And am glad to say that even though being an amateur, I managed to consistently cycle 20+ kms in one trip. Even though am only getting time for this on weekends.

5. Japanese- I took the JLPT N5 exam, and unfortunately could not clear it. But am looking forward to taking it again. I need to give a bit more effort for this language, as Japan has always been my passion. Am looking forward to planning a Japan trip as well, in 2016.

6. Travelling to some new places such as Lucknow and Hyderabad this year, and looking forward to more next year.

7. Saw a lot of good movies, and played some decent video games, 2 of my major loves. Also saw some decent tv shows. While Avengers 2 might have disappointed a bit, Star Wars Episode 7 made up for it, and Bollywood too gave us some good shows in Badlapur, Talwar, Brothers, etc. Metal Gear Solid 5 was the biggest news in 2015, when it comes to gaming. True Detective season 2 did not live up to the mark, but Narcos was a pretty good discovery. Game of Thrones is going strong as usual. And I finally completed Breaking Bad(which I had started way back in July 2013). Also began with Suits, and am 4 seasons down. I also managed to see some good plays and Stand up comedies. A walk in the woods, starring Naseeruddin Shah and Rajat Kapoor was pretty good, and so was Anupam Kher’s ‘Mera Who matlab nahi tha.’ Saw some good performances of East India Comedy as well.

Some of the not so positive points are as follows:

1. Inconsistency with gymming/exercising:
I admit, I failed miserably when it came to go to the gym consistently, or sticking to a fitness regime. As a result, I have become grossly overweight, with a big protruding belly which everyone seems to enjoy making fun off, and gorging on junk. This HAS to change.

2. Failure with the Keyboard:
I tried to take some lessons, enrolled in Keyboard classes, but lost interest after a month, and it didn’t quite work out. The keyboard has been gathering dust ever since. The same goes for my telescope, incidentally. Though I have managed to see Jupiter and Saturn through it.

3. Yet to do some voluntary work, with an NGO or otherwise, as had planned earlier. Need to execute this in action soon.

4. Yet to learn a proper sport, such as tennis or squash. This has also been procrastinated due to one reason or another.

5. Again faced a heartbreak this year, and honestly am fed up of the same by now. Sometimes I wonder if it is even worth to fall in love with someone, knowing full well it wont get reciprocated. The feeling really sucks, to say the least.

6. Kind of lack planning when it comes to career goals. I admit I am extremely confused, and I overthink without any consequence or result.

7. Lack of social life, and inability to make new friends- I guess I have hardly made any new friends in the lasts few years, and at max, I just hang out with few of my colleagues, that too rarely. I guess my introvert nature, and apprehension at mixing up with strangers, has proved to be too costly. There are times when I feel extremely lonely, and yet have nobody to go to or speak to. That really makes me feel bad.

Anyways, with all the highs and the lows, I am hoping life is shaping out for the better. The future is uncertain, and as uncertain as it can be. I have no idea what is going to happen, good or bad. But what I have learnt is that we should appreciate all the small things in life, as ultimately, that’s what life is all about. There is no ultimate truth or discovery which we might believe we are pursuing. I guess we all have to learn to remain satisfied in that.

P.S.- I have heard about the new anime on Uchiha Itachi to be released in 2016. Really looking forward to that.


Saturday, October 17, 2015 0 comments

The Edge of Reason


Well, i think i will have to postpone my post on Europe for a while, till i figure out a structure for the same. However, one point for all travellers is to be on the alert throughout. Do not forget that tourists are always an easy target for thieves in any corner of the world. Do not get so immersed in your surroundings that you lose track of your valuables, especially your passport, wallet, insurance papers, etc. My friend had 500 euros stolen, that too in Switzerland, which is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world. And planning things properly in advance can save you lot of money and effort later on. Also remember that taxis are expensive throughout Europe and should be preferably used as a last resort, unless of course you have more than enough money to spare.

So, what is going on with my life lately. Of course, majority of my time is spent on work. There are some changes to be expected soon, and I am looking forward to it. Of course, by now I have realised the truth of corporate life as well. There is scarcely a job which anyone likes to do, but is usually forced to do. Till the time he or she finds something better to do. But there are few things i have begun to do. Concentrating on fitness for instance. I recently purchased a cycle, and go for drives on weekends. I admit, it is quite thrilling and fun. I guess i will try swimming next. It definitely isn't easy to try to be disciplined by waking up at 6 even on weekends but then it will reap dividends in the long run.

I perhaps need to do more on the social life front. And maybe do some acts of volunteering. That is next on the agenda. Oh, and yes, have resumed making anime sketches. Will post them on Facebook soon.

Till the next time, see you all. Have a happy Dushera and Diwali ahead.



Sunday, September 13, 2015 2 comments

Euro Trip Part 1


So finally I purchased an Apple product with my Macbook Air. I have to admit, I am impressed with the look and feel of this laptop. Of course, my preference was having a light and thin laptop with decent portability.

Anyways on to my Euro trip. This was the first time that i had ever gone out of India, so it was an exciting trip all the same. I had of course, no idea that the immigration queue is so long, both at the Mumbai and Heathrow airport(London). I had to wait for over 1.5 hours in the queue in the London airport. Nevertheless everything was smooth, and I did not face any inconvenience in travel. Lufthansa was the airline, and everything went by without any hassles.

London is definitely a good city to move around. The first thing that i noticed, however, was that everyone practically rode a Superbike out here. And the car license plates had a different format for the numbers. As part of the tour, we visited the Lords stadium, Buckingham Palace, the Big Ben, and finally Madame Tussads. From there we were supposed to catch a Ferry to Holland.

Saturday, August 15, 2015 1 comments

What you need to know about Tour Agencies


Okay, I wanted to write two separate posts on my recent Euro trip experience. One would be about the places I saw over there, and my experiences, and the second would be about the Pros and Cons of choosing a Tour Operator (Since I went with one).

So in my first post, I shall be telling you about the advantages and disadvantages of booking a Group Tour through a Travel agency.
The popular travel agencies in India include SOTC-Kuoni, Thomas Cook, Cox & Kings, etc, which are all associated with the respective international brands. You can get customized packages, or you can go along with the Fixed itineraries which they provide. Usually booking in advance, can get you certain amounts of discount. The popular packages include Europe, US, China, etc.

The reasons for me opting for a tour operator were the convenience factor, especially considering the fact that I had never gone out of India before. The tour operator will do all the dirty work, ie the formalities involved for you to step out. This includes, processing of VISA, booking the flight tickets, the hotels, and the internal travel. All you have to do, is to provide your documents, passport, and do your luggage packing. They will take care of the rest(Once you pay of course). Hence, it is much more easy, especially if you are going out for the first time.

However, once you are aware of the entire process, you can definitely plan all of this on your own. It is not that difficult, and many of my friends do it. Do remember that booking in advance, can help you save lot of money. Nevertheless, that is not something I have done yet, hence am not the right person to advice for the same.

The above were the major Pros of going with a tour operator. You will also be assigned a Tour Manager, who will be there with you throughout the course of the journey. He will guide you with all the locations, and will also manage your time for the same. Ideally, he is supposed to have decent knowledge about the locations as well.

Nevertheless, in spite of all the above advantages, and convenience in booking the tour, there were lot of things which I did not like. However, I should mention that I had anticipated some of the same in advance, before I did the booking.

1. You may or may not like the other people in the group. But you will be stuck with them throughout. Obviously, Indians are known to cause huge amount of ruckus and chaos wherever they go, so if you put 50 strangers together, there is bound to be friction and differences arising, and you may not like that. However, there is still the possibility of you making a few new friends.

2. Check the package for the food options. Most Indian tour operators give you Indian food, and take you only to Indian restaurants, for Group tours. You may or may not like the option. In case you want to try the local cuisine, you will have to shell out extra money from your pocket, and you may not even have the time to go to a local restaurant.

3. Your entire time and duration, ie itinerary is fixed. You cannot just go wherever you like, or stay at a particular duration for how long you like. You have to move depending on what the Tour Manager tells you. And you will have to move with the rest of the group, whether you like it or not. This definitely turns out to be a dampener, as there are many locations which are just touch and go. So you can hardly say that you even saw the place properly.

4. In our package, the entire travel was done by Coach (bus), and needless to say we travelled long distances, which becomes tiring and uncomfortable. There were days, where we were travelling 9 to 10 hours continuously in the bus. The journey can be made much more easier, by travelling in train(Europe has some of the best train services), however most Tour Operators will only look at reducing their cost, and will opt for buses. Personally, I hate long bus journeys, and this was certainly the most irritating part of the trip for me.

5. Most of the hotels which are booked are budget hotels(of course depending on your package), located at the outskirts of the city. The rooms will be small and uncomfortable. Of course, it might be staying just one night, but if the day has been tiring, you would prefer to sleep properly at night. In one hotel, the air conditioner was not working, and they refused to even acknowledge it.

6. You miss out on the opportunity to interact with the local people or with travellers from different countries. This is something which you can only do if you are travelling on your own. You just wont get enough time to do this in a Group Tour.

So overall, though the places visited were good, but the cons outweighed the pros. Next time, I definitely will not be travelling with any tour operator. The best thing is to make a small group of 3-4 people and plan on your own. Fix your budget, decide which locations you want to go to, and make your plans. Its good to spend at least 2-3 days in one Country, in order to take your time and explore. Otherwise you will be in a rush just travelling from one destination to another.

This is me, signing off, soon to be back with my experiences in another post.



Sunday, May 3, 2015 0 comments

Some more complaints!!


The art of procrastination. It feels like there is a certain phase that most of us go through at one point or the other. You can call it by the term mid life crisis or something else. What is life meant to be anyways? Study, get a job, earn money, buy a house, car, blah blah, and continue working till you die? Is that it?

Sure, you might become a Corporate Czar one day, or a CEO, or a successful entrepreneur. What about it? Yes, you earned a lot of money, and fame to go with it. But what after that? Is that all there is to life? Pursuing materialistic goals with no ends to greed or desire?

It is past midnight now, and yet I don’t feel like going to sleep. I feel as if each day gone, is a day wasted. What am I really learning? Am I actually doing anything of any real importance, or is it just all superfluous? As is everything else. What happened to my dreams and ambitions? Is it all going down the vortex of a dark, black hole?

Why is it that I find it so difficult to connect with others? I try to seek blessings in solitude but all that does is leave a bitter taste in the mouth later on. Office work is already a routine, monotonous hum of complaints and mundane tasks. Travel is limited and offers short term pleasure. Am I just seeking to run away from it all?

Or is there really some higher purpose out there?


Sunday, April 5, 2015 0 comments

Mutterings


Some random mutterings:

1. I had a freak accident while coming back home in an auto. The autowallah dashed a car, riding at full speed. Fortunately for me, I escaped with only minor bruises. Was really very lucky I guess.

2. Till date I have not been able to figure out why some (Note: Educated) Indian parents still cannot digest the fact that their son or daughter can chose his/her own life partner. Quite a few of them still insist that their wards should only get married to a person of their choice (Note- Same caste, religion, region, blah blah). While this might seem okay in an arranged marriage, I have witnessed real life instances of a person having a boyfriend/girlfriend, and being forced to get married to another person against his/her will. Something which you might feel only happened in movies so far. Come on parents, learn to be a bit more broad minded. It will only serve you well in future. Do not think that you are the best judge for your child in every circumstance.

3. Finally catching up a bit on my Japanese. Need to clear N5 this year. Have started practicing Kanji as well. As they say- Nihongo wa Omoshiroi desu ne (Japanese is interesting).

4. If you want to get inspired, you can watch movies such as Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist, or the Samurai X live Action movie trilogy. They are really well made movies, with lot of effort gone into them. I love one scene in Street Fighter, where Akuma/Gouki trains in the Dark Hado path.

5. Job has become kind of repetitive and dull by now. I guess I need to focus more on where I am heading. They rightly say that most people are not satisfied with their corporate lives. It’s more like a struggle for existence.

6. Need to plan my first foreign trip. Hopefully Europe. Fingers crossed.

7. Finished reading Quiet. By Susan Cain. An excellent book on the power of introverts. A must read for anyone. Reading 4-5 other books currently.

8. Want to take up one sport this year. Inkling towards tennis or squash. But need to find the right venue.

9. Need to re-join the gym and lose some weight. Have really caught up on some inches on the mid-riff.

10. Want to buy a Bokken. No idea where I can get it in India though.


Sunday, January 11, 2015 0 comments

A New Year, as always


Yes, another year has passed, and I feel as if I am doing with the “Writer’ stage of my life. True, I have written numerous articles, have always been proud to have a CV point stating that I am an blogger, have mentioned that in numerous interviews as well, but I feel there comes a time when one should know when to move on.

The truth is that far few people are reading my posts than was the case earlier. Also, without a doubt the quality of my articles has deteriorated over time. Maybe its just that I do not get the feel or passion to write any more. I have moved on to other things, music, and drama[watching] for once.

2014 was a year of mixed feelings. I had my share of ups and downs, heartbreaks and joy givings, just like anybody else. Am not being overly optimistic and shall try not to be pessimistic either. Time just flies.

Yesterday I saw Naseeruddin Shah perform live in the NCPA theatre, donning the role of the legend, Einstein himself. And really, what a performance it was. Left me mesmerized to the core.

In life, there are so many things one wishes to achieve, but so little time to do them all. And I am sad to say that I have belonged more to the “Thinker’ than the ‘Doer’ category. But now, is the time for change. Now is the time to do something meaningful, and escape the clutches of negativity.

Books will be read, games will be played, hearts will be broken, songs will be sung. And yet the sun steadily rises and sets upon all our glooms and sorrows.
Now is the time to take initiatives and make the most of ones life.
Cheers to that. Adios.


 
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