Monday, May 26, 2008

Running #16

Saturday's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 44 min 14 sec

Indoor. Good run.

Friday, May 23, 2008


The longer I work in a regular 9-to-5 job, the more I feel I'm not cut out for it.

I've always broken rules and despised authority and loved being the underdog. And now, I find myself fading. I don't know why. I don't know if I can handle this homogeneity that is forced upon us. It's slowly, very slowly, breaking my spirit. This despite working at a relatively liberal organisation.

I'm cynical about big business. Why must we work towards 40% profit growth? Why do we want to grow? What if I decided it's okay to not get my next raise and left work at 4 every evening, played football at the park, went home, showered, ate a healthy dinner, watched the sports news and went to sleep everyday? Would I really complain about not being paid well? Why do I feel like I never fully fit in at these big offices? I'm rambling.

Professional restlessness is kicking in.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


One of things I've always thought about is the similarity between driving on the road and living life.

Just like driving, you need to know when to put on the brakes. Sometimes, it's because there's a bad driver in the next lane or it's because you realise you're going faster than you should be. Life's like that too. Sometimes I come across people who will test my patience, maybe someone really aggressive for example. That's when I try and slow down, be tactful and avoid unnecessary friction and confrontation. Sometimes, I realise I'm trying to live too fast. Pack everything into my day without doing justice to anything. Another instance when I need to pull the brakes.

In life, I also believe, you need to know when to step on the gas. Sometimes, it's in dealing with another aggressive person or it could even be dealing with someone who is too passive and being an impediment in the bargain. When I say aggressive, I don't mean it in the conventional way. I don't believe you have to be shouting from the rooftops and rubbing everyone the wrong way when you're aggressive. It's more of an attitude. It's manifestation may be quite different and depends on the situation. It's just like when you're on the road and there's this inordinately aggressive driver in the next lane trying to cut you off. Sometimes, I believe, it's important not to take nonsense from such drivers. You need to keep them in check. Or sometimes, there's this cabbie cruising at 20 km/h in the right-most lane. He needs to know he's being brainless! :)

The point I'm making is this - one of the most important things in life is knowing when to slow down and when to push yourself harder. It's something I believe I could improve on.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Summer Skies

The sky at Marine drive was breath-taking yesterday. I drove by in the afternoon and it looked like a blissful sheet of blue with a few patches of white clouds and even fewer patches of dark ones. Picture perfect!

Then in the evening, as Mumbai city wound down, the sky took on mellow shades of orange, red, purple and navy. The lights sparkled in the distance, their reflections dancing on the water ripples.

I wish I could express the peace I felt being witness to the sight. But words fail us sometimes.

The Summer of '08 has been good. The sound of cuckoos as I walk to the gym early in the morning, mango milkshakes at breakfast and, of course, the clear skies.

I don't quite know what looking at the sky does to me. A sense of space that we so badly lack in urban life I guess. So easy on the eyes.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Running #15

Today's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 44 min 10 sec

Indoor. It was a good run with a strong finish. I didn't even feel tired. I think I'm hitting some form finally. Will wait for the next couple of runs to decide if I have. It feels great though! :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Long Way Gone

Just finished 'A Long Way Gone' by Ishmael Beah. It was amazing!

It's the story of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone, his life before the war started, his experiences during the war, the terrible things he had to do to survive and the road to recovery. It reminded me of the movie, Blood Diamond.

Reading about experiences like this threw up so many questions in my mind. But the one question that really lingers is how can humans can be so cruel to other people? I don't mean to be judgemental. I know circumstances can make the most gentle people do horrible things. But the question still remains.

Running #14

Today's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: I pressed the wrong button on the stopwatch :)

Outdoor. Surprisingly decent weather. Hot, but there was the occasional cool breeze. Marine Drive was beautiful this morning.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Running #13

Saturday's Run
Distance: 8 km
Time: 44 min 58 sec

Happy to hit a sub-45 time. But it was indoor so it was easier.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Perverse Opinions

I am amused by George Bush's and the White House's stupidity yet again. Just when you think he's been doing well for himself, primarily by keeping his mouth shut, he'll go and shoot himself in the foot, exhibiting his incompetence and complete ignorance by saying something like this “[India’s] middle-class is bigger than our entire population... When you start getting wealth, you demand better food... and prices... go up.”

So what are you suggesting, Mr. Bush? That our countries stay poor and our citizens remain malnourished while you fatten yourself on mac-and-cheese, greasy McDonald's burgers and beef steak?

As if this wasn't an eloquent enough parading of the White House's foolishness, a few days later, they go and say oil prices are going up because of India and China. Hello!?!? Did we ask you to invade Iraq? Look at oil prices before your mass murder began, Mr. Bush. The numbers tell the story.

As if all this isn't shocking enough, the European Union, who willingly bend over for Bush and his cronies anytime they please and say 'Spank me hard!' with a big wide grin, asked the world (read: all 'developed' nations) not to overlook the, and I quote the EU Commissioner for Agriculture here, "elephant standing in front of them". Elephant = China and India.

You know what Mr. Commissioner, you really shouldn't overlook the elephant. You know why? Because one day it's going to trample all over your ass and drop a big huge douche on you.

Don't get me wrong. I love America and Europe. What would life be without Southpark, Hummers, French wine and Czech models?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I recently finished 'Gang Leader for a Day' by Sudhir Venkatesh and I found it fascinating. I've always been intrigued by lives in other cultures and Sudhir does a pretty good job of describing life for Black Americans in the Chicago housing projects. It's like a world of its own. They have their own way of governance because no cops bother to regulate the neighbourhood, neighbours steal from each other at times, prostitutes strut their stuff in the stairwells while kids play in the apartments. It's like a movie sometimes.

It's hard to believe people live like that in America. As an outsider who has never visited the country, one never hears about the ugly underbelly. But this book opens up a whole new American world. Street justice, no federal assistance and a society that has been left to fend for itself. One of my favourite dialogues in the book is when JT, the protagonist and resident gang leader, tells Sudhir to stop calling him a black or an African-American. He says, "I'm a nigger. Niggers are the ones who live in this building. African-Americans live in the suburbs. African-Americans wear ties to work. Niggers can't find no work."

It makes you wonder how things like this go on in America. The land of plenty and the land of the free. But I guess every country has its own shit to deal with. Some have more, some have less.

It's a book you will enjoy if you like learning about different cultures. If you're in the mood for racy, fast-paced stuff, this is not the book to pick up. There are times when it rambles for a bit. But if you have a bit of patience, I'm sure you'll enjoy the book. I quite liked it. But truth be told, I'm not a good critic. This is more opinion than critique.

On a different note, one of the things I've realised is that I don't like adult fiction. I prefer reading non-fiction, autobiographies and genres like that. The only fiction I enjoy is kid's fiction. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the like. I also tried reading Bill Bryson once but I just couldn't get myself to finish it. Most people like his books. Somehow, they just don't cut ice with me. Not quite sure why.

I'm now reading 'A Long Way Gone' by Ishmael Beah.

Running #12

Today's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 47 min 12 sec

Running after a long time but it felt good to be out there. It's so bright these days at 6.15 am! It's usually dark when I leave home for my run but now, it feels like 7.30 am.

A very tiring run. Maybe because I'm running after a long time. Plus the heat and humidity. But there was a nice gentle sea breeze blowing so that made it a little more bearable. The post-run stretch was painful. It never is usually. Probably because I was doing the stretches after a long time. I thought my leg was going to pull out of my hip when I did one of my normal cool-down stretches so I had to take it easy initially. Over the years, I've realised how important the warm-up and cool-down stretches are. They're absolutely imperative for anyone.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Back to Mumbai

Yup. Back in Mumbai after a hectic trip. Some highlights of the holiday...

  • Lying in a hammock by the Kerala backwaters reading a book for hours.
  • Checking out Opus in Bangalore with cousins to bring in a birthday. Went there on a... what was it... yeah, Wednesday night. There was some karaoke competition on and it was pretty good! Good music, good fun! Thanks Haathi! :)
  • The boat ride through the canals in Kumarakom, Kerala.
  • Dancing to a Daler Mehendi CD on repeat in Thrissur with inebriated uncles, aunts, cousins and oldies. The night ended with some disco Mallu music!
  • An evening swim in Kerala alone in the pool. Therapeutic. I don't remember the last time I swam and it felt great to get some exercise during the holiday. I need to start swimming!
  • Dealing with travel decisions where everyone in the family would suggest something different and everyone would end up annoyed. *Rolls eyes* It's funny looking back, but trust me, I had to do a LOT of deep, controlled breathing to stay calm :)
  • Travelling with kids can be a pain in the ass.
  • Visiting the beautiful temple in Thrissur. What a relief to go to a clean, well-maintained temple!
  • Stopping by Kaladi. The birth place of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, one of the greatest minds India has ever produced. The place had such a beautiful vibe. The temple bells, the running river, the chanting of the shlokas... felt blessed to have been there.

All in all, a very good holiday and wonder of wonders, I'm actually glad to be back at work. I hope some good projects come my way. Here's to a happy summer holiday season! :)