Category Archives: Confessions

What I learnt since quitting my job a year ago?

Today, a year ago, was my first day after quitting my very first job. It was part-scary and part-exciting, so much so that I woke up from one of the best sleeps of my life and had a fit of paranoia in the same week. From getting up in Bangalore that morning to a year later, writing this blog from a small town on a river bank about 33 miles from London, it has been quite the journey. 2014 has been kind and excruciating, although when I look back, it’s only the good things that I can recall but the year has been challenging and if given a chance, honestly, I would change 100 different things in it, but I think it is okay to accept facts and move on. It’s been a year of Yoda-level wisdom gathering and epic goof-ups. I met some fantastic people in the past year, from riders in the mountains to fellow passengers who for some reason, never hesitated to share their story and add a life-tip after our conversation; maybe I made them feel that I could use some, and no doubt I could have used some, I can use some still. As much as this blog is about coming a full circle, it is also a hopeful look-out for the times to come.

What I’ve learnt since a year of quitting my job to move onto doing something I have wanted for a long time is what this blog is about. I’m still in the process of getting there, but I’m sure it’s going to be just fine.

You’ve Got To Really Want It! — I worked as an engineer in a technological firm and moved into photography without realising how utterly low my skill-sets were. The first week at the new ‘job’ was a jab to the gut, but you’ve got to Karate the shit out of the situation! You have got to use this to your benefit, because the less you know, the more there are opportunities to learn. And you have got to have the interest to learn, it is otherwise a downward spiral of non-recreational alcohol, binge-watching reality TV and gaining 10pounds in a week (and no, I don’t speak from experience). I wish, if I could tell the year-old me that you’re not as good as you think you are. There are so many out there who give up everyday and move-on; why do that if you can find the courage in yourself to power through and that could happen only if you really want it, so you’ve got to really want it.

Grow A Pair — The funny thing about priorities are that people like me, have it figured out but don’t necessarily have the drive to be loyal to them. When I look back, I wish I had the courage to do the software-engineered trash talk and say, “F*** this piece of code, I am done debugging”, but I didn’t. There were a few nights that I would sleep thinking of problems at work and how unhappy I was with the way ‘things’ were happening. It usually makes perfect sense, if you’re unhappy, make a change, but the courage to follow through changes and own their repercussions is down-right scary at times. I think, on this day, I have a lot more courage to follow through my plans and take decisions that I wouldn’t have risked taking a year ago — in pop culture term, I might be refereed to as someone who has grown a pair.

Being Paranoid Helps — But following this pair-growing phenomenon comes the phase of being paranoid and if you go by what I have to say, it helps. As paradoxical as it sounds, it is true. The process of making life-changing decisions follow the paranoia-filled uncertainty. And that is a good thing! New neural networks in the brain start firing up making it the phase of enchanted self-discovery while maintaining a flow and ebb of ideas that are affecting your well-being day by day. This for me, was the first week of my new found freedom, starting Feb 04, 2014 to Feb 09, 2014. Soon after this phase of brand-new neural network arrangement I was left with just paranoia! And just paranoia did great for me. I was always worried, always tensed and hence always prepared. In retrospect it was because of the fact that I really wanted to be a photographer, I still do. The paranoia is still around and in some ways I have arranged for a symbiotic relationship — it feeds off my constant worrying, I try to keep myself prepared in return. Trust me, being paranoid helps.

You Always Have A Plan B — Life’s too short to NOT do something you like and too long to experiment and fail with a thousand different things. I’ve had the pleasure of being passionate about a few things — from the want of being a professional sportsperson in high school, to later being a musician; for lack of a better understanding of ‘things’, settling for studying engineering (which I thoroughly enjoyed), to becoming a graphic designer and finally a photographer, that too in the first week of my job as a software engineer. But every phase has taught me something, much like it teaches everyone something. It is always helpful to nurture this feeling of “being taught” by experiences. And truth be told the way things work out, in hindsight, it seems like a carefully executed plan. We might always know it, but we always have a Plan B.

What’s The Worst That Could Happen? — As scary as it sounds, the analysis of this question, personally is the best stress buster. Ripping off John Mayer on his quote, as true to the fact that fear helps in being prepared of uncertainty, it’s also a friend that’s misunderstood. The way I look at it sometimes, if the worst that could happen isn’t that you “DIE! DIE! DIE!”, the situation is manageable. It got a little morbid there but the point I am trying to drive home is, more often than not, a Plan B lurks in the analysis to this question and isn’t too far from the ideal situation. Yes, instead of getting the utopian ‘there’ in the best possible time, if might take a little longer to make it, but it is still okay. So in my opinion, lay down all your scenarios, plan and deal with it (if it’s not death) because, what’s the worst that could really happen?

Find a Sensei. Trust the Sensei. — I was lucky to have found mine – Aneev. Brutally honest and extremely funny, that’s all you need in a master. What you’ve got to be is completely trusting, and that’s all. I held myself accountable for some of the most basic errors I made, if I could change this other thing, I would have liked to be harder on myself than what I was. The thing is, there is barely any room in this world for mediocrity; there are so many out there who could half-bake a cake and complain about the ingredients being wrong. Having said that, there is definitely no room for self-loathing as well, which is why it always helps to talk to your mentor and reason out your understanding of things. And who knows, the sensei might recommend you to apply for a photography programme in the UK over a round of beer after a good day of shoot and about six months later you could be writing about it for a blog. For that sake alone, find a sensei and trust the sensei.

Familia — The exceptional amount of support, trust and strength I have received from my family has been exceptional to the point that it was surprising! It counts a lot to talk to your family about what’s going on and the sheer enthusiasm with which they want to know about the recent changes. Nothing beats the fact that a year ago, I made a joke to my father (who back then had quite recently taken an early retirement from work) about being unemployed, suggesting that we’re the only ‘jobless’ ones in the family. It is under their protection and heartfelt support that I know that I can achieve what I have set out to. Always, love thy familia.

Don’t/Can’t/Won’t/Shouldn’t Quit — As I wrote earlier, there is barely any room in this world for mediocrity. Added on it the pressure of performance is the daily struggle of the once-much-celebrated Generation X. It doesn’t ever make sense to give up, unless you’ve tried a million different ways of making things work, because if you haven’t, the ‘change’ in itself is not justified. This is where I like to think about the 1000-day rule, it is pretty much the theory that if you’re working on an idea, giving it at least a 1000 days to workout is necessary. This is where the collective effort from my family, my sensei, my paranoia, my analysis to the dreaded question and my plan B helps. The way I look at it, if all else fails, think of doing that one that you find the most pleasure in, so much so that you wished it was the way of life – right there you’d know how to carry on.

I hope what I’ve learnt from this past year stays with me and keeps me moving forward. For better or for worse, it has gotten me so far, I don’t see why it won’t take me all the way.

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Rowling’s Fringe Benefits of Failure

The fringe benefits of failure has always been a source of inspiration, hope and belief that if you want something to work out and are ready to give in all you got, then it will eventually work out for sure.

But times have changed since the last time I read the essay. I find her as mystical as her characters that my generation grew up with, the writer of the brilliant series of ‘Harry Potter’, J K Rowling. I say the times have changes because the last time I read it, I was at a 9-to-5 job, frustrated out of the tasteless work I was doing, and completely oblivious to the fact that things were about to get better. I guess, we’re always oblivious. I’m sure, things ahead will work out for the best if I’m honest towards my work.

Back then when I read this beautiful lecture that Rowling gave at Harvard, it made me feel so weak. Not because, I couldn’t do what she’s done, but I was looking at myself, and I knew what I had to do but lacked the courage to take a step forward.

I always felt that when I found my calling, the one I was sent here to do, I would give away everything else and jump into the unknown to find it. Here, I was, knowing photography is what I wanted to do and learn the art, but I couldn’t let go of my work and go do it! That was not a very comfortable phase in my life.

Not that I couldn’t get things done where in was working, I was in fact doing a really good job, but every morning when I woke up, the question stared my face every time. I kept asking myself what’s the purpose of all this. Now, don’t misunderstand me for a fool who take risks that are way beyond human comprehension. I was determined that I would make a change and for the same, there had to be a plan.

Now, the funny thing about a plan is, it’s execution. More often than not, what seems like a brilliant plan up in your mind, often comes short outside it. So, there were changes, improvisations and above all, the one thing that always kills joy, the wait!

Being patient is not my thing. Getting-panic-attacks-out-of-excitement-and-fear, that’s more like it!

But then, things slowly started to fall in their place and one fine day I was all assured that I should quit the 9-to-5, and do something to move towards the final destination. Now, the funny thing about this is, is that I still don’t know what the final destination is, but I guess that’s just the part of the journey.

I can’t tell the difference between a weekday and the weekend anymore. It’s either a time when I’m working, or when I’m not, so it’s funny, weird and complicated, all at the same time!

I hope years and years later, I’ll look at this and smile, be proud if the fact that I tried. Success, or not, this will surely be a journey to remember. And success, and/or failure is again, relative if you ask me. Ask me? Yeah, please do.

Give the essay a read here or play this YouTube video from the graduation ceremony.

There are indeed many benefits of failure. I’m not sure if I’ll have the fortune or misfortune of finding every single one of ’em, but I’m sure every single one would teach me things that I’ve not known before and would make every moment a little more special. There are indeed so many fringe benefits of failure.

I end this from an excerpt from her speech which I often read, “You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

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Wishful Thinking

Sometimes when I pick up my phone and browse through my contacts list, I cannot help but notice remarkable people in there, who are inspirations, friends, admirers and special. Obviously, there are those who I don’t know personally, like the guy who came to fix my broadband internet connection and gave me his number in case, it stops working again, or, the guy who delivers water barrels to my place. The latter aren’t on my speed-dial however are must-haves for my efficient day-to-day function.

With technology taking a jump in innovation, execution and performance, every day I come across numerous applications that bridge the communication gap across regions and relations. I wish there was an app that could transcend across the living, dead, imaginary, supernatural and the divine. If so, I would have a word with the following greats.

Nikola Tesla – He’s been an inspiration to many generations. A futurist, way ahead of his time, he is the pioneer of the modern alternating current electrical supply system. Tesla believed in the idea of progression and was, therefore, kind-hearted to those who used his patents. You name it, Hydroelectric Power, Radar, X-Rays, Remote Control, Neon Lighting, Wireless Communication, directly or indirectly is the consequence of the work that Tesla did. The unit Tesla is in his honour and is the unit of magnetic induction. If I could, I would ask him the approach, with which he solved a problem, more importantly, the questions he asked himself to vision a better world. I would learn and talk a lot!

Source – forbes.com

Lord Vishnu – Yes!  Brahma is the creator of the universe and Shiva is the destroyer. Vishnu is the preserver and protector of the universe. His role is to return to the earth in troubled times and restore the balance of good and evil. So far, he has been incarnated nine times! There is no doubt that you must have him in your group of 5, for reasons that include divine wisdom, but his attributes of Jnana (omniscience), Sakti (power), Bala (strength), Aisvarya (lordship), Virya (energy) and Tejas (splendor) could be a never-ending lesson that we can talk about.

Source – stephen-knapp.com

My Grand-Maa – Today, as I look back and think of my childhood, I see her everywhere. She’s always been important to me and will always be. I see her among the stars every night and make sure she’s always in my prayers. I wish she could have been in reach still so I would ask her how it is there in heaven and would confirm that she’s happy. 🙂

Mom & Dad – For me, Mom & Dad are a single entity. Incomplete without the other, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be together here as well. I’ve seen instances where kids forget their roots and leave behind the ones who helped them all the way. Lucky for me, they are on my list and it is fun to have them around, dropping quick texts and pictures to keep me up-to-date with whatever they’re doing.  

Parents to the groom

Mom & Dad

Tyrion Lannister – Okay! So this is pretty obvious, I’m a Game of Thrones buff! But I have my reasons to have this little fellow in my group. Yes, he is cunning, but is kind as well very witty, heartbroken quite many times but never hopeless. An ultimate survivor that he is, he never fails to turn the odds in his favour, with his quick thinking and excellent execution. A good judge of character, I feel I could learn a thing or two about human behaviour from this genius yet underestimated character.

Source – ebayimg.com

Ah! Wishful Thinking.

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That’s how we do it! – Indian Weddings

Indian weddings are crazy! And that’s an understatement.

Before you draw any sort of conclusion from the above mentioned, I’d like to clear by saying that I mean it like a good kinda crazy! There’s so many rituals spread across so many days. The whole family gets together and it doesn’t stop just there. There’s friends, neighbours, the whole community and much much more.

People dance, they sing folk songs, young ones flirt and the old ones gossip! You might ask, what is so different about it then? Well, everything! Because we do it the Indian way. And that’s epic!

The whole ordeal of an Indian wedding starts with setting up the date for the wedding and other ceremonies which aren’t of any less importance. Then, it begins! The preparation.

Shopping. Priest. Clothes. Gifts. Caterers. Location. Transport. Puja Samagri (Elements to be used in a Hindu prayer service).

You might think you’re done, but wait! You’ve got to shop more! And there’s more left to do. You need a,

Flower Guy. Decoration Guy. The guy who sets up the Pandal (The structure that covers the entire marriage ceremony area). The make-up experts. The guy who will help out the priest. The family experts who know your customs right, cause you cannot obviously go wrong in that! And God forbid, if you dare as much as singing the wrong phrase of the song, the marriage won’t be accepted by them Gods.

Too much exaggeration, yeah? Not even close!

Okay, so you’re covered with everything? Nope. You’ve gotta shop again! More! And then some more.

And wait. Guest list? Menu? Who’s picking up, them guests? The wedding car! The band. The baajaa! The barat. Cracker guy. The photographer. The video guy. The DJ. The orchestra. And there’s still left some shopping to do.

Eventually, one reaches a point where you just stop caring and live the whole experience wishing things just fall back into place. The sleepless nights, the shooting BP, the falling bank balance, the crazy times, the happy times, the emotional times. The time when everything is over and all you have is a handful of memories of how it worked out perfectly.

I was part of my brother’s wedding and it was something of this sort. It was fun and in the end when you see everyone else smiling and having a good time, you feel, for real, that it is all worth it! Worth the tension and worth the near-death-experience.

Posting some picture that I managed to take during the wedding, in between the madness!

Yes. You! You are getting married.

Yes. You! You are getting married.

Mom with the Bride-to-be.

Mom with the Bride-to-be.

A beautiful moment.

A beautiful moment.

The Haldi Holi kicks in after the rituals are done. Madness! :)

The Haldi Holi kicks in after the rituals are done. Madness! 🙂

Signifies truth, happiness and enlightenment.

Signifies truth, happiness and enlightenment.

Parents to the groom

Parents to the groom

To be in the spotlight.

To be in the spotlight.

Underneath the canopy of light.

Underneath the canopy of light.

The Groom

The Groom

It gets emotional here on.

It gets emotional here on.

My partner in crime

My partner in crime

Relieved

Relieved

Gotta refuel.

Gotta refuel.

Part of the famous 7-Phere rituals, when the bride and the groom roams around 'fire' 7 times and takes 7 pious promises.

Part of the famous 7-Phere rituals, when the bride and the groom roams around ‘fire’ 7 times and takes 7 pious promises.

The overwhelming support.

The overwhelming support.

Happy Face

The Promise

All throughout the wedding.

All throughout the wedding.

This is epic and means so much!

This is epic and means so much!

It's official now! :D

It’s official now! 😀

P.S. If you like the pictures I’ve taken, you can follow my photography blog on facebook, it’s called Shot, Framed & Hanged.

Cheers 🙂

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All It Takes To Reck A Car Is A Dumbass & A Second

A Dumbass & A Second – We’ve got a lot of ‘One Seconds’, infact, we’ve got some 60 X 60 X 24 of it. Where the latter is hard to find sometimes, that’s where I come in. A day in my personal history which I’ll always remember (and probably get chills) as ‘the-day-I-wrecked-Dad’s-car’. Man, I felt like jumping into the river so that it could take me to the land of no-four-wheel-drive! And no, that’s not Iran/Iraq…well, maybe it is but that is not the point. The laws of physics does work and I practically experienced it when that ‘thing’ came right in front of my car. Now, I’m not saying that it was all the constructor’s fault. Yes, I admit, I should have gone around it, but come on, gimme a break – I’m new to the whole four-wheel drive thing!

All that said, I can’t explain how petrified/terrified/scarified/horrified I was after the whole incident. Its something like you’re doing a decent 40 on your speedometer, singing songs which go something like ‘la..lala..lalalal…lal…’ and bam! there you go! done! finished! You car’s a wreck. I can’t ever ask more forgiveness from Dad. Lucky for me, He’s (Dad, Yea, I refer to Mum & Paa in capital notation) super-duper cool! I’ll never forget the first thing he asked me when I called him saying I wrecked his car. He said, “Nothing happened to you, right?”

Ah… How much I felt like crying. Well, me, the protagonist aka ‘Dumbass’ of the story learnt a valuable lesson (which I totally forgot, after the concussion). So on my ending note, I’d say, “Dad, I love You and I promise not to wreck Your car ever again!” (That is if He lets me drive His car ever again). Its funny how we, the children, fear Them, our Parents, when They see us with nothing other than love in Their eyes.

Thanks Dad. You are and always be my hero and I wanna be like You someday.

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