Jun 11, 2015

27 Things You Didn't Know About Mudit

1. He’s a hard core backpacker

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2. And an avid reader

3. A deeeeeep thinker

4. And can find the purpose of the universe in a cup


5. Can teach an old dog new tricks


7. Is popular with the girls


8. Across ages


9. And species

10. Suffers from beard pride


11. Though cleans up rather well


12. Has a certain sense of style

13. Can carry off anything with a swag


14. Even that!


15. Dances like noone’s watching

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16. From here


17. To here
He's come a loooong way!

18. Once enjoyed a good bath

19. Is consistent


20. And expressive

21. A chef in the making

22. And a Sanskari family guy

23. Will take google to great heights

24. Will touch the sky someday.

25. Yup, he is.

26. It’s his birthday


27. And here's another 26 reasons from last year

So here’s wishing him an awesommmmmmmme birthday!

Nov 6, 2014

War against the cliché

As a writer, semiqualified-patron-of-the-written-word, if there’s something I hate, it’s the cliché. (Thank you keyboard, took me forever to put an accent on top of 'cliche')
We’ve put people on the moon and mars, cars are driving themselves and the word “selfie” has made its way to the Oxford dictionary, and we’re still articulating through words and terms that have been used since the Romans ruled, and that do nothing but advertise how interesting and original you are.
Day after day, one’s subjected to the churning of the dreaded cliché in one way or the other. Celebrated even.

Here're some classics:

“I love being comfortable in my own skin/ My style is all about comfort”: Hey high profile 1 crore-for-a-brand-endorsement model, you’re not comfortable in your skin. I can see right through those layers of your latest SheMura CC cream, primer and bronzer. Your outfits are not exactly the portrait of comfort in that $434 outfit from Armani. I bet those underwires, and the soul-crushing tummy tucker, hurt like a bitch at the end of the day!
How about some originality and being specific “I like loose skirts that accentuate my calves and hide my thunder thighs”

“I’m just here to learn”- Spewed soveryoften at an interview. If i were the interviewer, I’d reject you right through. Look man, I’m not paying you a hefty salary every month so that you can “learn”. How about join some online courses that help you do just that? Please contribute to the Organization from what you’ve learnt already.

“I am single by choice”: I don’t get why every single person on earth feels the need to justify this, asked or not. All I’m asking is if you have a significant other in your life ( so that I can decide whether to hit on you or not, and if you're same sex, if I can hook you up with this amazing guy I have in mind), not a discourse on how you’re the picture of happiness and ultimate-not-mainstreamness by being single.

“How’re you?” |”I’m fine”-  Difficult to track its origins, but suffice to say that this phrase has been popular for about 1000+ years now. Research shows that 9/10, the reply is going to be “fine” and if the person is also nice enough, there will be a “fine..and you?” but in my 26 years of living, I’m yet to come across a reply to a how’re you that wasn’t a fine. If you must insist on asking the cliche question instead of a more specific “hey, I’m pinging you to help me with something that you’d think I’m too cheap to remember you only for”, how about some real replies like “I was fine till july, but then my cat died and I got fired, so I’m somewhere in the middle of being heartbroken, and hopeful that this chick and I might be on to something”

“I’m fun loving” : That’s offbeat. The rest of us just watch the “the killing” 5 times a day, trip on how morbid it is, and raise a toast to our unhappiness with bitter-gourd juice

“She/he/they/I am so nice”- Unless you’re a serious killer, or THAT guy who brings a 3yr old to the movies, it’s safe to assume, that everyone, in general is “nice”. Niceness is more a state of “being nice” (about something), rather than a quality to ascribe to someone for the long term. Surely you've had your bitchy moments, when you’ve divulged all that your ex did to you in super confidentiality, surely you’ve once lied your way around, but you’re “nice”. How about we get a bit specific about exactly someone’s nice? “She gifted me this exotic wine from her travels, she’s nice”

“Be yourself”- If there was ever a more life changing sermon in two words I wouldn’t know of it. So you’re a booger digging, open-mouth-munching, inconvenience-causing-machine but be yourself. Question to the dispensers of this valuable life advice, how come *YOU* get to tell me to “BE MYSELF”. Catch 22, much?

“Stand out”- Nope, you don't get to preach “standing out” if you’re selling a building with 100 identical apartments! Your brand is not fair in advertising “Be different” when that dress you’re selling has found its 136 other buyers, just like me.
Show up in hot pants and a corset during the annual traditional day in your office, and we’d talk about standing out.

Come on,  join this campaign to kill the cliché and save the language and promote originality.
Avoid the cliché like the plague. Actually, no. Hell, it’s a deadly disease, who does NOT avoid the plague? Avoid the cliché like that customer care executive selling credit cards and life insurance.

On a side note, has anyone EVER bought life insurance or a credit card from one of those?

Mar 12, 2014

One like = One stupid

Hey you internet person, I heard that you're going to the Tomorrowland festival in Belgium that costs $250, not to mention gets sold out in a few days but of course you serendipitously landed a free ticket from clicking a link on facebook with 253722 other people. That should be fun! Have you decided what you'd wear to the gig? Perhaps, the Zara dress you bought off that $50 voucher which they magnanimously gave you for sharing that link that never opened. So all's set then! I would do well to advise you at this point to climb on top of the shoulder of a fellow reveller yeti to get a great view of the stage area.
How about flights? Right, the crowd-sourced travel-funding-for-a-cause site whatsitname will sponsor that, of course!
"Ardant facebook would like to attend a world famous EDM festival" Now that's a worthy cause an invisible person and a complete stranger from another end of the globe would be compelled to put his hard-earned into funding!
Probably having a terminally ill disease would've made for an even better cause but then what's that a few likes cannot solve? That kid with a rare heart disease is already going surfboarding and cycling around the world because you liked the picture! Yes, YOU, of the contributor of a mighty like born out of a selfless direction of the click towards a thumbs up sign on a social networking site. Oh, that selfless mother in Japan who died trying to save her 4feet long infant from being trampled over in the aftermath of an earthquake and also managing to text him a nice long emotional SMS in the middle of dying, got nothing on you or Indian mothers, proud as we are of their sacrifices and heroisms!

A mention of India gets me proud of Incredible India and at this point I want to rise and break out into the National Anthem because after all our National Anthem has been voted the Best National Anthem in the world by the UN. What do you mean the UN cannot take some time off its busy schedule of saving war-torn countries and malnourished children of Somalia to judge a few national anthems? Ours is particularly melodic, I must concede. India no doubt is a country of colours, sounds, diversity and of festive brilliance, whose charms, even the NASA could not resist when they set up a special mission to shoot that picture of India during Diwali because the range of the fireworks that go bust in under 12 seconds make their way into the stratosphere for long enough and at the same time to provide the perfect picture. Particularly impressed by NASA's savvy with the social media, what with them having finally started releasing, nay, sharing pictures that have the potential to go viral. I think they should open an instagram account for an ever better reach, as going just beyond the earth is kind of passe.

Oh instagram reminds me, at this point i'm mighty jealous of you! You're living the life, ain't you? I mean you had 5 lattes at starbucks, (pity about them getting your name wrong, life sucks :/) , two amazingly-awesome steaks at the Smoke House Deli and a lemonade that matched your new #rayban #branded #love #new #awesome #shades. Surely you've been running a start-up or landed a great job that completely aligns with your skills and interests or congrats have you finally been selected to be do one of those brilliant, "Make $15000/day sitting at home" gigs? The last time I did it, I just felt it was too much money to handle and I gave it up. I know I could have bought twitter followers for some, but then the humble person in me just wants to be more real. So i just went ahead and put up a DP of myself...I mean my blonde, 36DD, bombshell version but hey I have 10,000,000 followers now! lol and to think some people actually do some research into putting out good content out there to get a place on the internet. Not everyone could be axing their own head, while someone stands there, recording the whole thing to put it out on facebook now, can they?
Well, anyway, I gtg. Things have to be liked, retweeted and shared.
You don't turn a super-successful & helpful person just by editing wikipedia, employing wit & humour or writing crap blogposts such as this one, y'know.


Epilogue: This post is a satirical attempt to bring to the fore the extent of gullibility to which some people are given to and believe things without thinking twice or applying reason or logic. Rushdie said "Most of what matters in our lives, happens in our absence". This post could be true of the internet where things are manufactured, exaggerated and quoted out of context and more people believe them, share them and form opinions on them than the people who actually see through the gaps.
The internet could be amazing for information and research from genuine people but it also is infested with faceless, anonymous people behind a screen churning out things to get clicks, share links, and other things that would put SEO geniuses to shame. Not to mention extract your personal data with your own very consent.
So do your research, employ common sense or just think "what's in it for them?". If it's too good to be true, it probably is not true.

Feb 28, 2014

A time of change...

"...Do you feel a change coming on,
Rolling out of the blue like a storm,
And it's throwing your dollhouse world in disarray
So you can rebuild or conform

How I wish you'd only see
How your own choices make your dream
Come out shining true before it can leave you
I wish that you could see
How your own choices make your dream
Come out shining true all around you...

I couldn't start this long overdue blogpost better than with the lyrics from "'change'' by my favorite- Poets of the fall; because if a word could describe my life in the last one month, it would be change.

It was on many occasions during my time at Google that i remember quipping "..But who in their right mind quits Google? I'd never do it" and here I am, exactly a month since doing it!

Even though I knew it even back then, it has been only been reiterated and confirmed that what i was quitting was not a company, but a life, a lifestyle and possibly everything I'd ever held close to me in the last four years.

I'd be honest. I have mixed feelings about coming back to family after living a fiercely independent life and yet it feels good to be served a steaming hot cup of chai & not be worried about if you've run out of cooking gas or milk or be inundated with love & licks from my dogs every evening, but I miss my home back in that city that always felt more like home than here. A house that turned home from 2 years of labour of love- right from fighting to get the flat, painting its walls to doing it up with random brick-a-brac and DIY, which I shared with different people who came to be family over the years; from conversations about Dali to the shades of nailpaints, a lot of music listening or just staring into the million lights glowing into the distance on the horizon as seen from my famous terrace, amidst moments, many hundreds of feet above the ground, this house was but a reflection of me and my life.

Then there was the Google life where everyday was almost a cakewalk, almost exactly like a scene out of 'Stranger than fiction' and yet so different. You were chauffeur-driven to the magnificent Google building, with a hint of pride in your head while swiping the 3D badge at the entrance, and just as you were whining about how sleepy you were or how you'd have liked to stay back home and slept some more, the smell & sight of freshly made gourmet breakfast (think organic eggs, jalapeño, kiwis!) filled up your senses and you couldn't want to be elsewhere at that moment. I wouldn't be lying if i said i still have dreams about the steaming hot sambar served every single day, the made-on-demand omelettes by the ever-smiling Vijay and the pancakes with the maple syrup- the breakfast I so loved coming to office for! And just as you were still soaking in the aftertaste of the glorious breakfast, you had some or the other big news in your inbox making you swell with pride. Google acquired another company? Hatched up another billion-dollar idea towards world domination? Or wait, another gift or schwags for the employees? Part of the everyday. Normal.

Then came the lunch. 
Another daily ritual of 25 something fancy dishes sitting on your plate, while you sat with your friends endlessly, possibly gloating or cribbing about the job at the best company in the world. Before you knew it, it was dinner time, and you basically went home a well-fed, satisfied, a proud Googler. life at google was but a life between meals and fun.

Cut to today, I'm sitting at my desk at the new job, just about to get into a call with Ogilvy about a creative brief. It's a fashion retail company so I'm surrounded by (arguably) pretty clothes, swatches of fabrics, and discussions that regularly feature words such as "Spring Summer Collection pictures send karna". There's no foos or a barista here and people mean business. 
Google's high-end and then-seemingly normal technology has been replaced with old school system of taking physical notes, screen projectors and actual meeting with people. I feel like I'm back to 2005 technology-wise. 

But on the bright side, every day I'm learning something new about this new world of retail, fashion and marketing and waking up to the fact about how little i actually knew!

From a tech-intensive MNC and an internet giant to an offline fashion retailer from an Indian biggie, the transformation between the careers is ever more pronounced. 

I've made a business one-day trip to Delhi already and felt that the trappings of being a manager are finally setting in. From being one of the 30 in a team to someone making decisions for 30 to follow up on, my first taste of authority and a sudden free will to shape my work after a data-centric, process-oriented work culture feels good but intimidating. 

The aforementioned unlimited, gourmet, tasty and not to mention free food has been replaced, actually not quite replaced by but substituted by orthodox-ically rationed, just about edible and sodexo-coupon enabled "meals" at this company. I still look to make friends or come across a comforting face here, and for company, flip through the hundreds of print magazines lying around here or chat with my boyfriend endlessly because well, now long distance. A
nd while I've discovered a perfect travel companion in him from our trips together, i almost hate depending on technology to connect with him, as thankful I am for our triumphantly digitized contemporaneity as opposed to earlier spending all our time together at office and outside.

Surely and admittedly all this sounds like an enormous sacrifice tradeoff for no apparent reason and while I still have no clear response to people's constant & much animated "why did you quit google/ who quits google/ what's better?" which i invariably get from everyone i feel comfortable enough to update on, somewhere in my head I know i've made the right call. "Magic happens outside of your comfort zone", i'd read somewhere, and while i'm yet to experience magic, i know as an individual and as someone who couldn't be satisfied with being just satisfied, i've taken the right call.  I think it's important at some point to stop feeling smug about WHERE you work and shift the focus to the WHAT you do. There's just an infinite amount to learn and do for one lifetime, limiting oneself to one job is like living 5% of what's possible. 
Career wise, it was also a good time to leverage my skills and innate interests to become a specialist, not a process follower. To choose a life of learning, challenge and DIY over a life of comfort creatures and good food which clouded your judgement of what you were capable of.

Clearly, at this moment, I toggle between conundrums and life of a deep-seated nostalgia and longing for what I've left behind, an intense period of all the adjusting and dealing with changes and a growing sense of excitement about what lies ahead. And while google and my life that existed whilst i was at google still haunts me, while i crave for a spinach-corn croissant from the 1st floor cafe every now & then, i cringe at not being able to see my people as often as I'd like to and still go Banjara hills before Bannerghatta road when thinking of my home, i know but moreover hope that this change is good, for my growth, my dreams and aspirations as an individual. I think i take solace in the fact that, i've moved on from being a cog in the wheel to being someone helping set the wheel in motion.

To change.

Dec 30, 2013

And that's a wrap...

It's that time of the year again. The Gregorian calendar turns around in 2 days.
I'm at work, having just come back to Hyderabad this morning, after a short trip to Bangalore. (The 3rd time in this month!)

The office is scanty, with an odd head popping up here, one odd keyboard tap there, just the way I actually prefer it to be, what with most of the team away on vacation. (or in Goa, in other words!) and here i am, doing this "my year in review" thing, more as a documentation exercise for me, than because everyone else is doing it. (I'm a Cancerian, I preserve everything!)

While quite admittedly, I'd still consider 2013 to be one of the most banal years ever career-wise, what with me being in a team I didn't belong, doing work I didn't believe in or working towards goals I never aimed at, just trudging through a general state of inertia and stagnation (as verbalised in the last post on here); at least it got me spurred into thinking about the big picture and deciding to shake the status quo and get out of the comfort zone. And here I am, all set to make a BIG change in the coming year, after making what was probably one of the most difficult but inevitable decisions I've had to take in my life.

The new year will be a harbinger of change, (yes i just used the word harbinger. My fax machine is proud) and how! A new job, a new (old) city, a new country perhaps, and a new lifestyle. But more on that as time goes along. I know now what Delhi must feel like with Arvind Kejriwal coming into power and all.

Other than that, I think the other highlights of 2013, have to be all the traveling I did through the year.
Beginning off with the Bombay trip in Feb, the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and Varanasi in March, the summer vacation in Japan and the semi-work trip to California and a one day stint in Amsterdam, respectively.

While going to the Kumbh Mela had me discover a completely new side of India, an overwhelming one, it also made me believe in faith and people's unflinching devotion to it.
The fact that thousands of people from across the length and breath of the country would travel all the way, despite their limited means, to a place just to take a dip in a river deemed holy, made me truly believe that if you believe in doing something badly enough, the odds for making it happen could always work for you, including having a tatkal railway ticket getting confirmed at the last moment!

Travel-wise, the solo 10-day vacation in Japan was a definitive moment in the year. The country, that I confess I knew nothing much about apart from the conventional image of it being one of the most hi-tech, advanced places in the world. The sheer natural beauty, diversity and the way it pays attention to aesthetics, not to mention crazy, had me awed, for a long time to come. Spending a whole day with the Cherry Blossoms or trying to remain standing while tackling an outrageous moshpit during the tool gig at the Ozzfest are definitely experiences I'm not to forget for this lifetime.

Mt. Fuji as seen from the annual Shibakazura festival, Japan, 2013.

Travelling to the US in Sept, a second time to the country, was also an experience worth taking back from 2013. Not that the trip was the most extraordinary per se, but the fact that for the first time in all my years of working at Google, I finally stepped into the GooglePlex and during Google's 15th birthday anniversary at that! And that, definitely was a plus. Everything I'd seen or heard about the disneyland-like world of Google's silicon valley HQs was every bit true and more. A city in a city by itself. Hearing Larry and Sergey live at the TGIF was a (googler's) dream come true.

Me at the GooglePlex, circa sept 2013.

Personal relationships wise, like all other years, 2013 was no exception with lot of new friends, interesting conversations, random-chilling, a new flatmate, and also when some friendships fell through. All my best friends from college (along with 153495 other people I know) got hitched, leaving me subjected to family's "your turn" looks again!
The most interesting aspect here, had to be, dating someone from work, twice at that and changing my whole perception about the concept of dating a colleague and clearly not being against it anymore. I'd agree. It's not bad at all, and definitely gives whole new reasons for coming into work, when all else fails.

And of course while I'm writing this on my blog, and am likely to share this on social media, how could I leave alone, this facet, apparently interspersed with my life- Social Media!
While I have gradually become less active on facebook over time, twitter emerged, rather remained, as the clear winner as far as pie share of social media's realm went. Gained about a couple thousand followers in the year, made it to a couple of buzzfeed posts but I think the biggest feat as far as my digital participation goes was starting the travel blog, finally, which I hope will see a lot more posts and traction in the new year, which hopefully means MOAR travelling!

I don't have any resolutions for 2014 (just like no NYE plans either) but probably buzzfeed has already come out with a list for all of us to get inspired by. Or I'd just refer to my "25 things I learned in life" post again for direction.
I definitely plan to be more spontaneous next year! (heh) Talking of which, just got a tattoo, rather spur-of-the-moment, a few days ago, and the second one at that, first being exactly 6 years ago!) As always learning to play the guitar, a new language and teaching at a school will return as my top unfulfilled wishes.

I do hope that it will be a year as exciting-in-parts, as fulfilling travel-wise and less disappointing career-wise, than this year.

Here's to new beginnings and old wines.
Here's to blurred pasts and crossed lines.
Have a good one, everyone and thanks for dropping by, always!