Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Connection to India

The last trip back came at the right time considering I had almost no breaks this year - time to reconnect with family. I feel the need to go back home once a year to experience that love, warmth, selflessness, chaos, tranquility, dedication, simplicity, smell, home - each of these words evoke that strong sense of bond and connection that I have hardly felt at other places and I don't know exactly why I felt difficult to leave that place this time. Another nomadic year passes by, and the urge to call some place a home, some place your bed room for more than a year emerges much stronger than ever before. However, a feeling of peace settles in after a memorable and enjoyable year rounds off this decade.

On another note, I loved the couple of bollywood movies I watched and enjoyed every bit of it. Have not seen many bollywood movies in the last 4 - 5 years, but from my limited know-how, my recent favourite Bollywood songs are tagged below :)

"Iktara" (movie: Wake up Sid)

"Teri Ore" (movie: Singh is Kinng)

"Tera Hone Laga Hoon" (movie: Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani)

"All Izz Well" (movie: 3 Idiots)

"Shukran Allah" (movie: Kurbaan)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Whale watching in Boston

A weekend with Tarang and Swaroopa - was absolutely fantastic!

One of the key highlights was our unique whale-watching experience. Experiencing nature's beauty is something that intrigues, fascinates, energizes, touches parts of your heart and mind which is something only nature's creations can do.

So we started our journey at 12.30 from the Boston harbor at the Massachusetts Bay. Went about 25 miles into the Atlantic. Until then nothing - not a single sight of any life on the sea. So we had to go about 5 miles more across the waves further in, which got a bit nasty with the waves, though the feeling was incredible. At roughly after 14.30 there were some amazing sightings, different kind of whales around, mostly the humpbacks and the minkes. There were sights of fountains of water all around, and it was like a mix of emotions - frenzy, awe, peace - very difficult to summarize into words. They had been given names, however the naming convention followed is that these cannot denote gender generally not given to human beings.

I felt like an explorer amongst the entire journey, but also wondered how the explorers were on the sea for days and days. Besides the beauty factor, there is the anatomy it can handle the mammoth waves :) On our way back, the journey that lasted close to 5 hours, you can see 75% of the boat down with sea sickness, the extra 5 mile further I think got to most :), but every moment was worth it, something every one who visits Boston should experience!

Below are photos of some.

Whale sighting photos:

Some other photos capturing parts of Boston:

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

2nd Sep, 2009 - the band of god played...

Will keep it short here - Picture of savoring Coldplay with a bunch of friends at Bern.

Even the heavens poured that night (they had to :)), and to get soaked with friends singing along with Chris - priceless!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Excerpt from "Like a flowing river", Paulo Coelho

A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point he asked:
‘Are you writing a story about what we’ve done? Is it a story about me?’

His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson:
‘I am writing about you, actually, but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up.’

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special. ‘But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!’

‘That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.’

‘First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.’

‘Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpner. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.

‘Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.’

‘Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.’

‘Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. in just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action’

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sporty May and Sporty summer lined up!

The month of May has been by far a sports heavy month, and different kinds too, which has made my body feel great!

1. My first official run, not a big one though, about 5.5 kms, but still was much tougher than I expected. However, I made it somehow and felt great at my first shot at the run.

Somehow, I got on a snap :), not the best expression, but just shows how committed I was during the last sprint of 100 metres :P

2) Royal Zurich Cricket Club

Bring it on! Finally, joined the club here, early this month. Never played professionally before in India so this is definitely a different sort of challenge. Most of my team members are from Pakistan and about 3 to 4 Indians, and overall a great team of cricketers. I must say it's a battle to keep my place in the playing 11. Nevertheless, I think playing 35 / 40 over games with proper facilities and plus its CRICKET, that too, to play in Switzerland, cannot complain at all :)

The league for this season has started along with a couple of other tournaments and the summer promises to be a cracker!

Played 4 games this season now, won 3, lost 1 - Go ROYALS! :)

You can follow the details and the different teams here -

3) Squash

Squash has slightly taken a back seat, but continue to have about one game a week. But still, since the first game played in Netherlands and the competitive games with Jarda and Gee after the AI office hours, this will continue to be my passion :)

4) Lastly, my trip to Paris last weekend :). Definitely not a sporty one, but more on the artistic side. However, it deserves a mention due to my walking 10 hrs a day there.

5) Besides all of the above, mental sport is also now a crucial component of my life too :). I remember the times on the Indian MC playing chess with Chitgo. Now I have my flatmate, George who is another passionate chess player. With a chess board now that sits in the living table with classic pieces and a chess clock, it is definitely a great mental battle.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pl meet Ms. Pankha

Pl welcome a new member in my bed room - popularly known as "Ms. Pankha" (for the non-bhartiyas, it is referred to as a "fan")

For a couple of Indians who have been living in Zurich in the past year, namely Sab and Pasu - they know how these 3 piece of blades can bring you the best of sleeps.

Trust me she's a life saver, at least the few months in Europe when the temperature soares to above +30 degree celsius and you do not have fans nor air conditioning, she keeps you nice and cool when you asleep ;)

What will I do without you, my lil pankhu :P


Friday, May 08, 2009

Some more thoughts - 26th Nov 2008 terrorist attack

The entire terrorist attack probe is now becoming a drag - actually seems like an Ekta Kapoor TV serial (even the main character name starts with K - Kasab).
Jokes apart, this is really becoming ridiculous.

* Last week, I read they were probing into his age to see if he was a minor - well, let me not get started on this. Now once that is proved he is above 20, there is a trial now starting - oh hold on, today is May 8th, more than 5 months since one of the deadliest attacks to hit India.

* Pakistan has been denying the fact that the captured terrorist was from Pakistan, wanting more proof (I think this went on for more than 3 months), I still dont know the official statment on this. It's all going round and round.

The only thing I have heard is everyone saying Pakistan should treat this more seriously and be more proactive in taking more action against terrorism (wow - is that something new? who would not have figured that out?)

* Where are the actions regarding making a special unit accountable to getting this case solved within a certain time frame? How about Investing X m$ in coming up with one of the most sophisticated intelligence bureau?
I wonder why would such simple ideas that come up in almost anyone's mind would not be implemented.

Well, not much you can do now except hope the current candidates during elections have this upfront on the agenda and have better priorities than the current ones, hoping they will do something radical about a grave issue that has been bothering our country.

Yes, actions have happened, but they are far from what would a normal, sane government who cared about peace, democracy and its people would have reacted.

Correct me if I am wrong, but following news everyday virtually - this is what I get out of this.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Support Meera Sanyal

During my AIESEC International term, I remember Meera inducted into the AIESEC alumni hall of fame at AIESEC International Congress, Poland, 2006.

In Dec 2007, she was appointed as Chief Executive of ABN AMRO, India.

A passionate AIESEC alumna, an inspirational leader, down-to-earth human being who has now decided to run as an independent candidate for Loksabha Elections in South Mumbai with a clear master plan to improve Mumbai. Details on the website:

Please spread the word in Mumbai & ensure leaders like these are at the right place.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Efficiency vs Effectiveness

In one of my client projects, we were talking about improving efficiency while the question behind this question was before talking about efficiency whether they were effective. I certainly believe in looking through both these lenses: whether we do the "right things" (effectiveness) and then talk about whether we do "those things right" (efficiency).

I also remember a time where I have gone on a road, and realizing may be this was not the road I should have chosen at the first place. I often get a comment to this which is not to keep on thinking, but to just do it - but I do not see these thoughts as black or white.

The point made here is to think about the right road (which will be an outcome of the experiences you build up in your lives) and then run on that road. The point is to pay attention to what we do, why we do, every day & keep that thought of being effective at a conscious level.

In the same light, I was watching one of the very recent TED talks by Barry Schwartz, an American psychologist. He talks about practical wisdom and doing morally right things while not been bogged down by rules. Rules are often used as a reactive measure to prevent things -and the point is not that "dont have rules", but first focus on morally right things and then have rules or incentives as a support framework.

Also in one of the comments, I read a quote - The difference between a smart person and a wise person is that a smart person can get out of trouble that a wise person wouldn't have gotten into in the first place.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Erin McCarley

Bumped into her songs and music while following Grey Anatomy's season 5 episodes. Had tough time to find her & her music, but eventually got there after some hard core googling. Erin has a melodious voice. I have 2 favourite songs of her - Pitter Pat (the video is above) & Love, Save the Empty, but it seems most of the songs in her new album (Love, Save the Empty) are worth checking out.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Atlas Shrugged

Amazing book – pure thrill to read (took me a long time to read – a lot of breaks in between , but finally I managed to finish it before the end of 2008 :))

After reading an epic of a book like that, there are many thoughts on that especially to the fundamental philosophy of Ayn Rand “Objectivism” in the book. I have tried to pen down some of my thoughts and it will be highly encouraging to hear from people who have read this book to get their viewpoints – on what points they agreed / disagreed / or simply fascinated you at some angle.

The central theme of the book is about John Galt and his speech and highlighting the quote summarized in the line below:

“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”

Few other thoughts that made this book very interesting for me:

Capitalism pro

I was surprised and to an extent about this (I don’t think I have read or heard this before) – not from an economic point of view only, but also from a moral systemic point of view – this is based because of its sync with the “reason” being the absolute of man and the ruling principle being justice. “Making money” through many conversations I had, is being looked at “ugly”, “morally wrong” and “selfish”. But the book displays a great angle of the same. In the book, the government is portrayed as comprising of looters and moochers (the term used very frequently throughout the book). They have been portrayed to demand others' earnings because they claim to be needy and unable to earn themselves. Even as they beg for their help, however, they curse the people who make that help possible, because they hate the talented for having the talent they don't possess. But this is under the claim of “doing social responsibility” / “having the heart for the needy” / “public welfare” and this is where the concepts get very interesting to read. The concept of “making money” to being opposite of “social responsibility and public welfare and working on a need that is greater than your own” is ridiculed.

The common man philosophy

A lot of emphasis is made on a man’s mind, his intellect and the characters portrayed as protagonist are man of high intellect. So, after reading naturally a conclusion that could go is – that well, heroism, great things = high intellect, but that’s where I think the character played by Eddie Williers is beautifully depicted as a man of modest intelligence. His character demonstrates the difference between intelligence and rationality. As mentioned in one of the quotes - intelligence is intellectual ability, whereas rationality is a method. Intelligence is a capacity for understanding, but rationality is a means of using one’s mind.

The title “Atlas Shrugged”

The novel's title describing Atlas who is holding the celestial globe on his shoulders, discussing what might happen if those holding up civilization suddenly decided to stop doing so. This is concept of the “men of the mind” going on strike – and this is depicted in one of the conversations by Hank and Francisco where he tells Rearden that if he could suggest to Atlas that he do one thing, it would be to shrug (on how they were exploited).

Last but not the least, the quotes highlighting Ayn Rand’s philosophy

I had written about it when I started in one of my earlier posts

There were many others which give you those “a-ha” moments, also the John Galt’s speech of - I think about 60 pages of pure intellectual & philosophical thrill, but I will mention one of them below:

“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine”