The whole of December gone by, and no post from me. Can you imagine that? A month with no writing, no musing (on this site at least) and no ruminating out loud.
But then there’s always a reason for everything, isn’t there?
The month of December just whizzed past me – a whirlwind of sorts. I had some extra challenges at work, had to move into a new apartment, I went on a trip to India and moved houses there too – the works.
And oh, yes – I brought my family along with me as well.
In case you are wondering – yes, I am happy.
A month ago, 13 people interviewed me for a position. One of the questions that they asked was “why are you interested in this job?”
“Because it will be a career-changer for me,” I explained.
33 hours and over ten thousand miles later, I disembarked in Denver. My nose wasn’t bleeding due to the altitude – probably because I am no stranger to this city. A part of her always stays with me.
When I got off the shuttle, it was drizzling and the air was brimming with the scent of the fresh rain. But I was not as happy about it as I would normally be – I had left my heart behind in Mumbai.
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry
- Robert Burns, “To A Mouse”
When I started this blog, I meant for it to be a place where I can primarily share my thoughts with myself. So this weekend, I was pleasantly surprised to know that two people have actually nominated me for the “Versatile Blogger Award.”
Like many others, I tried to find the origins of this award. While I did not get any leads, lets accept the award for what it does – it helps you create and extend a community and helps bloggers and readers discover blogs they never knew existed. I stumbled upon the rules at the Versatile Blogger Award blog while writing this post:
- You must give credit to the person that has nominated you and create a link to their blog in your post.
- You must create a list of 15 blogs that you enjoy most and link to those as well. Then you must go and tell them you have nominated them. That means if you do not have 15, you cannot do this step. If you do not complete this step, then you cannot claim this award.
- Finally, you must create a list of seven things about yourself.
Thanks to SlavesIncStrip for the first nomination. “J” was supposed to be a character in a comic strip, but channeled the spirit of the blog author himself. In his own words, High On Coffee is “A book in the making”. I like that.
The next round of thanks is for Alan Schuyler for the second nomination. Alan runs a not-for-profit care center for cats, and his online presence (at least the one that I am aware of) includes a view of the world from his personal periscope. And a second pleasant surprise for me – my posts make him think too. I never realized that someone else could relate to many of them.
15 blogs that I enjoy the most? To be honest, there are only five that I follow regularly. But I think I will still accept the award and work my way up to 15. Call me unethical if you will. In any case, here’s my list (in no particular order):
Off the mainstream: A cocktail of rants, insights & personal opinions
Lafemmeroar: Hilarious, check it out for yourself
Seconds: Anthony is a second grade teacher, and writes about his experiences (mostly) at work
Finally, seven random facts about myself:
- I own a Royal Enfield Bullet Electra (this is what I miss the most here in Denver)
- I love hiking in forests with my wife and daughter
- I love photography and recently purchased my first digital slr (I’ve owned film slrs in the past)
- As SlavesIncStrip pointed out – I am trying to write a book
- I am on the coffee wagon since the past three months (four?)
- I love starting new things – not necessarily completing them
- I seriously regret purchasing a touch-screen smartphone
And now, let me stroll over to my nominees’s blogs and spread the cheer!
On most mornings, I don’t get a seat on the Light Rail – I have to stand at the door. At each station, I have to shuffle around to make room for passengers to get off and on. But today, I left from home earlier than usual and found a spot in the middle of the car. Standing at one place with nothing to do goes hand-in-hand with quality thinking time, and that’s what I ended up doing too.
After a long time, I gave some serious thought to my career. As of now, I am comfortably placed – I’m a senior project manager, and over the past six years I have graduated from managing single small projects to managing larger projects, to managing multiple small and large projects together. Considering my experience and expertise (I’m PMI certified since 2007), I can expect to grow into a Program Manager in the next two-three years. Another three years of experience there should qualify me for entry-level delivery management.
But what after that? If I want to grow beyond (and even within) delivery management, my skill set is woefully lacking. Here’s what I will have to cover in the next five years:
- Understanding Finance (I’ve learnt this before, but the sword is rusty due to lack of use, so to speak – need to polish it up)
- Macroeconomics (I love Economics, so this should not be a pain)
- Strategy (never read this, but I know that it’s an essential weapon in any Senior Manager’s personal armory)
- One European Language (my personal inclination is towards German)
- Last week, I was told (by the client) that they want me here for as long as possible – at the very least a year more
- An hour ago, I was told (by my company’s Service Delivery Manager) that our management wants me to replace him next year – to stay in Denver for as long as my visa permits
- Me and my wife want to go back to India as soon as possible
Between these, how (and where) do I strike a balance? Each of these scenarios has pros and cons. Evaluating them is the problem – for that’s when practicality fights emotions; that’s when career duels with family.
I have a few months to announce my thoughts on this; I think me and my wife are going to have many a discussion before old man winter returns.
It’s been a long time since I’ve started working on my book. It first began with a longer story (which I am still hopeful that I’ll finish someday). A couple of months ago, I started working on a compendium of short stories.
The stories are there in my head – right down to the last detail, but somehow I am unable to bring them out on paper. Not sure whether it is writer’s block or something else – but the words just won’t come out. I am stuck in the opening scene, not sure what’s going wrong.
So I think I will try a different approach now.
Rather than completing the story one scene at a time, I think I will go ahead and create a first draft – a rough draft. Hopefully, with enough iterations, I should be able to bring it to life.
And more importantly, during this exercise, I will hopefully find out why is it that my longer book is languishing.
I have been reading Stephen King for many years now. I’ve not read all that he has written, but there are a few books which I read over and over again:
- Different Seasons
- The Running Man
- Nightmares and Dreamscapes
- Night Shift
- The Green Mile
- and many more
My wife tried to read them too, but didn’t like his writing somehow. But that’s OK; to each his own.
But why is it that I like Mr. King’s books so much? Is it the rich description of people’s emotions? The way he writes about the atmosphere? The small towns he conjures up? Or something altogether different?
I have tried to think a lot about it, and now I guess know what it is. It’s not any of the above, as you might have guessed.
I supposed I like his books because you can so easily immerse into them, and get lost in his world.
How many other authors have done that to you?
For the past 2 months, I have been trying to reduce my caffeine intake. I have decided upon a two-pronged attack – drinking Chai when I feel like some caffeine, or decaf when I just want the taste of coffee.
Of course, there are folks who deride decaf for various reasons – if I would, it would probably be for the loss of flavor. But I guess now I’ve come to terms with the brand I use (Folgers). It’s good – nay, it’s great.
Anyways – yesterday I had coffee at 5PM – after a long time I had a second regular coffee in the day.
I enjoyed it, but the real fun started later in the night. I just couldn’t fall asleep. After about two hours, I finally dozed off.
I don’t remember the last time this happened to me. But in a way, it’s good – I think this shows that my caffeine reduction is working.
Next plan – start walking every morning. I’ve already bought myself a pair of good shoes; more updates later.
My in-laws are here with us – they wanted to spend time with their daughter & grand-daughter, and we wanted to spend time with them. Well – they are here and we have been having a rocking time!
Last weekend was the first time in many months when we went out for a real picnic. On Saturday we visited Fraser (Winter Park), and on Sunday we went to Colorado Springs – to see the Garden of the Gods and the Cave of the Winds. My father-in-law is a Geologist, and he enjoyed every moment.
While we did have a lot of fun in all the places, we enjoyed the journey too. The road to Fraser wound through snow-capped mountains, and the road to Colorado Springs showed us spectacular vistas of open plains with the Rockies in the background. On the way to the Cave of the winds, the road cut right through the mountains, exposing the red rocks inside. Looking out of the car’s window, my wife said, “The US is beautiful after all.”
As far as I’m concerned – it’s nature that’s beautiful. And all countries that maintain their natural heritage will continue to stay beautiful.