What does living life kingsize mean??
Is it the major paychecks buying you a small house in cuff parade? Is it the long limousine pick up which gets stuck in traffic jams. Or is it being an insomniac like the King Khan or being obsessed with the skin color like the king of pop? I agree size does matter <evil laugh> but what is this ‘king’ business?
As usual I ask my dear friend Google who has helped reduce half the world’s arguments on who has the right facts. I think Google gave the world not just great products but a way of life which is more informed and less ego driven. But that’s a Google Fanboy acting like a Sachin fan. Back to what I started with – so what is a King or rather who is a king?
noun \ a male monarch of a major territorial unit ; especially : one whose position is hereditary and who rules for life. one that holds a preeminent position; especially : a chief among competitors
So that’s what the English dictionary says. I am sure half the Calcuttans have internalized this by now as it is a definition from their forefathers. So would Rahul Gandhi be called a King? I am sure he fits in to the complete definition. Atleast for the Gandhi family/ Congress chamchas. So is it limited to the definition or is there more to it? The King Manu who we owe our lineage to says “By performing his duty as protector and punisher, the king flourishes”
And this is where I start deviating and disagreeing. The story writers of the past have so slyly put this fellow called the king on a moral high ground making him accountable for things he didn’t sign up for. Sounds a bit like a consultant’s work but lets not get there! So the accountability part is something slyly inserted into the definition by giving examples like Rama who in his own right never had the chance to chill thanks to the enormous amount of pressure on him. He is/became a God nevertheless. So it worked out fine for him in the end. But why does the king have to be born with the responsibility? Why can’t prince charles have drunken brawls? I am sure that would get him more youtube views than his wedding.
I really looked hard for a King and there was one king who was inspirational. I didn’t experience the aura of the king till I came close to him a few months back. Watching him from about 3-4 metres distance was one of the coolest moments of my lifetime. As he yawned, rolled and stretched the queen got him his afternoon lunch. And there was respect in the air. Respect not earned but just commanded. Was so cool to look at him not feel guilty about not protecting his kingdon from random backpack wielding irreverant paparazzi. He finds his own in his space. And the space is Nirvana. The place I am talking of is Masai Mara in Kenya where I was up close and not so personal with the lion. He really defines kingship for me. Because his life in true sense is big by every definition and should qualify for KINGSIZE
Learning to breath from an oxygen cylinder at 15 m depth in the Indian ocean, enjoying a hot plate of maggi at a height of 5602 m in the himalayas, watching the king of the jungle yawn and stretch from a ‘safe’ distance of 2 m in the Savannahs ….the list could go. As with the planet in 2012, the list also has to go on.
There was surreal bliss in having Turkish Coffee with some locals while discussing politics in the old city of Antalya with Meditteranean sea and snow capped mountains on one side and live music and bonfire on the other. The most breathtaking landscapes just presented themselves when we set out to see what all the fuss about Ladakh and its beauty is. And then we had to make more fuss about it as it was all that and more.
Took IIM Lucknow graduation photo in black robe and with parents. My dad already framed it! VIT had yellow robes and Vellore was not enough excursion to invite parents for convocation.
Africa became workplace. Olus, Wales, Bayos became household names and now a click follows every handshake. Easily an experience of a lifetime and what more can I ask from a new employer. Not to forget the experience of walking around with a bodyguard with a real gun!
Staying on the topic, its the year when I joined the consulting bandwagon. I have been enjoying the ride so far but this is a ride in which the terrain always keeps changing and you better not have travel sickness.
Flew business class, earned miles( and got obsessed for a while with them), stayed in posh hotels, made last minute flight bookings, complained about bad service – All the cool things of suit waale job – Check. And still ‘miles’ to go before I sleep as some smart ass said and a million others used in their SOPs
Easily the year for ‘self’. I have spent more time on ‘vacation’ than ‘productivity’. (Lets not get into the definition of productivity) Enjoyed the calm of home after the madness of BSchools and cherished the memories of travels to the most beautiful places in the whole wide world. And also wrote about it. If you have the patience - http://readro.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/an-unforeseen-sabbatical-a-six-month-long-vacation/
When I got my passport in 2005 I thought before it expires I should make sure all the pages are stamped. I have few aspirations and resolutions. This was one of those few. There are 2 pages left.
So many times I keep thinking how small changes in choices would have changed the present so drastically. But in the end the only that matters to me is that those are MY choices and there is no regret in any . I have learnt more from mistakes and failures than from success so I cannot complain. And this year has been no exception. I have made strong choices and will stick by them! Unless the glue dries up.
What else happened this year?? I guess I started thinking better in excel sheets and PPTs. There is so much in my head and sounds very different from what I have written. Looks like a situation where I am just writing for the sake of it. If you are still reading, accept my apologies.
Hope you guys listened to and spoke to your’self’ in 2012. Wish you all great learnings in the new year. Spread some joy
Random finishing Line – Its good to earn miles, because there are miles to go even after you get up!
Long time back when a friend saw my pic taken in a handicraft store he said it has a Moroccan feel to it. And I thought “Moroccan” was an adjective… Circa 2004
My first trip back from Lucknow to Hyderabad, friends called and said they are going partying at a pub called Marrakech and I asked them if it was a south Indian tiffins restaurant… Circa 2010
No wonder I was a poor geography student but I am slowly making up for it thanks to my job which sent me to Lagos. For all this who belong to my side of the normal curve in geography – Lagos is the biggest city of Nigeria.
Morocco was my first real weekend getaway in Africa. The long visa forms and la magnifique articles on the place did get me all excited about travelling there. At the outset the whole trip was a Turkish Deja Vu. To simply put it is the Turkey of Africa. The two languages spoken there – French and Arabic are enough to add an exotic background to the travails in that nation. There are very few things that really did stand out in Morocco
The national youth pastime of Morocco is eve teasing. For a nation with such strong cultural heritage, I would have guessed they would have atleast learned to respect their women better. Half the country travels on Lunas and I guess they just stop it with their legs when they see a young girl walking alone on the street. We also did get to hear our very own ‘ Jadoooo teri nazar’ from one of the guys. Yes Bollywood and ShahRukh are big here too.
The staple food of the place is Tajini and CousCous( Sounds like the language they use in the movie – Joker. yes I had to see that too in Lagos). You will also a lot of roadside stalls selling boiled snails. Was not a pleasant sight to see people pulling snails out of their shells to eat.
The exoticism comes from the Souks, the story tellers and snake charmers. The Jama El Fnaa square is ever buzzing with people. Not too much of a novelty to Indians but the Europeans do put their cameras to a lot of use there. Bargaining is like a cultural experience. Unless you leave and he calls you back to give you at a rate without a smile be sure to have gotten a raw deal.
Of all the countries I have visited, I have found the least English speaking people here. Unless you are asking a pretty Moroccan girl for help its quite painful to find your way. The pretty Moroccan girl just makes it less painful but equally difficult. The Riads that are converted into hotels are an experience. We stayed in one such place. Though they do get scary in the night they are very different from the regular run of the mill hotels.
It was my first trip with my Mckinsey colleagues. I thought I was not much of a romticiser of places until I traveled with them. Travelling is better experienced with the right brain I guess. A learning Abhi’s disbelief of Moroccan currency being stronger than rupee and Dhruv’s quest for getting the right ‘frame’ were the added attractions on the trip.
The last evening in Casablanca was atleast left just to romanticise the Rick’s cafe in the Casablanca movie ( I watched it after I came back from the trip. Pretty good btw) And the Hassan 2 mosque by the Atlantic was quite a wonder even while it was raining.
Random finishing line – When in front of a mirror dont ask it who is the fairest of them all, just ask which is the best mirror of you all. Its a more useful question.
That’s what they say for everything.. Its the universal acceptable thank you/sorry here. Here is Lagos, Nigeria.
Early days in consulting but long strides in the ‘consultant experience’ – A mail on 2nd day telling me that I am flying to Nigeria next week, Business Class on emirates, Car pick ups anywhere and everywhere, excel sheets, interviews, market visits, frequent flier points and Blackberry. All that I imagined packaged into my first study. So by the end of this I should know whether I belong here or not
But consulting is hardly about any of the above. There is a lot that’s happening here. The enormity of the clients, the nature of work and the size of impact. But there is a confidentiality which limits my expression
Now for the ‘you are welcome’ part. This is my first time in Africa barring a few hours of transit time in Egypt when I ticked off seeing the Giza pyramids. Lot of apprehensions about working here. Everyone was having their share of the fun telling me about their friend’s friend who had a not so friendly experience in Africa( this is how horror stories are spread btw) My mom almost started panicking as usual and there were some friends who were genuinely excited for me.
My first impressions about Nigeria are as disorganised as the places I have seen. But I guess to be here long enough to belong to write about it. For now I am having a tough time just trying to pronounce names of my client team members. I already found an Indian restaurant. Yes! we are here also Everyone speaks English but it will take a while for me to understand their accent. Traffic jams are long enough to take a half day leave. Firm handshakes are taken to a level where I had to put my hand in hot water for a while to forget the pain. Fashion is bright colors and the most intricate hair styles for women. “Most’ people are really friendly. They introduce you as the ‘white man’ I was wondering if I should be happy or sad about it
You are welcome if the post was too random. You are welcome for reading it patiently. You are welcome to Nigeria!
I never seemed to understand the need for a sabbatical. Who takes such long vacations?? Don’t you get bored?. As irony would have it, I ended up getting a good 6 month long vacation before I start work in 3 days time. It was a much needed ‘detox’ from one hell of an MBA and a necessary pre-condition for the consulting experience. I am really fond of writing year end posts. But this six month time was as exciting or better than any of the years in the past. So here comes more globe from me about it - An experience of an MBA guy who joins work after all his batch mates
I always wanted to be ‘well read’ but my restlessness never let me hold a book for long enough to finish books. Thanks to enough time at home I transformed from well informed to atleast little read. Brilliant books like India after Gandhi, Jaya, Empire of the Moghul introduced( or rather reintroduced) me to history mythology and the overlap between the both
Movies became almost an everyday affair. In theatres, on tv and on laptop, good movies had to be paid their due respect and horrible movies insulted. I watched almost every movie that released. Telugu movies are going down spiral and Bollywood is nowadays trying to catch up. But I did find my highs with all the characters of Gangs of Wasseypur and lesser known but true to heart movies like Kshay and Malegaon ka superman.
I have a new license. The license to Dive!
Grandma’s stories became all the more interesting. But for her intermittent nag for my marriage, her recounting of her life’s experiences(pre and post independance) and stories of old telugu movies were just a pleasure to listen to. I always wonder what she could have achieved if only she was educated.
It was a double bonanza with surprises. Surprises of meeting people who I did not expect to meet very soon. Maithreyi and Naveen announcing their arrival in style or rather suspense was such a good feeling. Thank you guys!
So much vacation needed to have its share of traveling and travel I did. Turkey, Egypt, Andaman, Rajasthan, Rishikesh, Leh, Srinagar were all more than their photos/blog posts worth. If you have not heard from me about any of these, you surely don’t know me or my show offs Andaman is undoubtedly the best beach in India and mountains cannot get better than Kashmir anywhere in the world. Some additions to this list also included some family visits to Shirdi, Tirupati, Native places etc
Fridays and Saturdays became poker nights. It is not about the money but the sheer joy of winning, losing and bluffing which kept me interested even though the gang is the same. Though the stakes were low the winner ended up buying the rest ice creams costlier than the won amount. So All is well Arguments have taken an all new level with gang. The old ‘intellectual debates’ have become personal ego clashes. Growing up has its own let downs. You also know you have grown up when 50% of the time with gang is spent discussing horrors/pleasure of marriage(even without experiencing it).
And this seems to be a peak season for marriages and engagements. It was a one off ‘I do’ before but nowadays everyday you hear a ‘me too’. Attending non Hyderabadi weddings became another holiday excuse where I overstayed wherever there was a wedding longer than the bride or the groom.
These 6 months have been a gastronomical delight. I didnt miss the kababs of Lucknow one bit thanks to the amazing variety of food travel presented and the awesomeness of ma and grandma’s cooking. The icing on the cake or the leg piece in the biryani has been the last month being Ramzan. Haleem at its usual best and I just needed a whole new wardrobe of pants of next size.
There was idleness. But strangely I enjoyed it. I kept telling myself I shouldn’t. I was scared it will give me much more happiness than my restlessness. Isn’t happiness what we seek? Will I be more ready than ever or not ready at all for my next phase is something only time will tell.
One big learning has been that relations change. I wouldn’t say they are meant to but it is logical. The rate of evolution/learning/growing is different for every single person. It is driven by the experiences people are going through everyday. And then you are almost talking to a different person. Then you cannot surely talk about the same things and well what do you talk about then?
The week long orientation at Mckinsey in Rishikesh( way before joining) introduced me to my cohort – batch of 2012 joinees and some seniors in ‘The Firm’. I have heard a lot about consulting and Mckinsey but I must tell you they know how to party as much as they know how to compete. It was a week long awesomeness with ‘group’ activities and the much famous riverside parties!
I hear my friends crib. Almost every day about their work. Thanks to the hyper active whatsapp groups I stay connected to all my batchmates and it sometimes not the best welcome to a post MBA corporate world. ( Even though it is a lot of fun to be on the other side) I know its not going to be easy. I am not going to be paid for it. But the search for life will be on. Its a job that makes you travel and meet people. However tough it can get, do you think it can get boring?
Random finishing line : If I use my Shazam App on someone reciting the Vedas, will I find God?
Another 10 days to get into a new profession in a new city in a completely new frame of mind.Fortunately or unfortunately(most likely the former) I am one of the last people in my batch to get into work after MBA and given the experiences of their first few months I am sure I am in for quite a bumpy ride
Which actually got me thinking a lot about my first job.
The place I still visit to warm smiles. And sometimes I am sure I made the people feel “here he comes again. how vella can he be??” Nevertheless I have been a more active xoogler( Ex – googler) when compared to a VIT alum or an IIM Alum. But I am really not sure if it is because it is my first job or it is because it is Google
I can go on and on about why it was such an awesome experience but it will be way too repetitive for anyone who has encountered a Googler. But Raghu asked me a question which got me thinking
What is it that you thought that you would miss but did not miss after leaving Google?
Instinctive answer : Salary ( But I did cringe over bank balance having one way traffic)
After thought : I really thought I would miss the chance to do so many cool things. There is so much always happening around and its amazing how you can get your hands on so many different things at Google. But in reality every place has this opportunities. And no excuse to not get our hands dirty
What is it that you thought that you would not miss but miss after leaving Google?
Instinctive answers : Pretty people(Trust me they are not everywhere) and free food( It was painful to pay for lays and coke in college)
After thought : A sense of belonging. Work life balance. I could be an exception but I did not encounter any ‘cut-throat’ competition at work. There was an upper limit to the meanness at the place and that too was pretty low.( The contrast in IIMs was mindless)
My friend Varun says work life balance is an excuse for underachievers. That’s him As much as I want to agree with him I am still greedy for life and that I found loads in my first job.
The greed will continue in 10 days time. The non-commercial break made living easy. But when everything is relative, extremes dictate experiences.
Random finishing line : When ‘it depends’, it is Consulting. When it is ‘relative’, it is marriages.
If you have landed on this page without reading my
then you have committed a sin which is of no consequence.
This post is to just share the photos from the trip patiently compiled into a video by Srikanth( See if you don’t know who he is, then its your fault of not reading the prologue part ).
Word of caution – It can be long and boring. Please bear with it if you are interested. If you are in for a quick read, this video is not for you.
This in no way is an escape from the photos I am going to bombard you with if you are my friend on FB. Atleast I dont have write anything here. If not looking at the people, atleast enjoy the backgrounds where this pics were taken