Monday, December 26, 2011

Truth Be Told...

It has been an eventful few months. Being the normally reticent person I am (at least online), it comes as a surprise to me that I feel this urge to let it all out on this post today. Two months ago, I found out that for me and a hundred and fifty of my colleagues, the end of the year will be our last day at our current job.

Since then my emotions have alternated between deliriousness at the freedom from a place that I had been unhappy at for a while and lost at having to start the job search all over again. Since then I’ve thought a lot about my work and my time there. Places and people and how much I enjoyed being part of it/them. I think about how the excitement of it all slowly morphed into dissatisfaction over the course of this year, at the pace of activity and the lack of challenge. Since then I have also realized that this year has been a blessing in disguise.

A Darden alum I spoke to gave me the best advice – it is not personal, move on. I have had the opportunity to meet with my colleagues since then and I take comfort in the fact that I left at the top of my game, having garnered respect from the people I worked with and knowing that they appreciated my contributions at work. And if I ever doubted that comfort, I have had help and support pouring in from friends, ex-colleagues, ex-bosses, neighbors… I am blessed to have this support system around me and I didn’t even know about it. No one gets anywhere without help and I certainly would be nowhere without the support, emails, phone calls, introductions and what-have-you that everyone in my network has been offering up.

Working in corporate America comes with its own share of risks, maybe more so than working in corporate India. You have to be competent, driven and constantly performing. But you also have to be visible and audible. But most importantly, at corporate-anywhere, you have to be good to the people you work with so that when you get thrown a curve ball you have the support system in place to make the most of it.

I am looking forward to the close of the year because next year I get to start all over again (more on that in a different post). I get to move to a different city/state, a different company and get to expand my professional network. My new company has a great relationship with Darden and a lot of Darden alumni, and I’m looking forward to connecting with them

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The End of Summer

I was thinking about summer vacations from my childhood today. I remember I used to have one or two months off in the summer (varied based on the school I went to, and I went to a few). Some summers we visited my grandparents, others I went to summer classes during the day. Funnily enough I remember with great clarity the summers from my childhood; my adolescent summers, not so much. I remember thinking back then on the last day of school that I wanted to do something “useful” that summer. I don’t know if I ever defined “useful”. Obviously I didn’t do much useful back then, else I’d have remembered. I’ve thought about those summers a few times since then and always wished I could get them back again.

Here in San Fran, I don’t know whether we really had a summer. Sure, we had some brilliant days but I wouldn’t know much about them if they came from Monday through Friday. My indicator was the view from my window at work, of the expanse of the Bay, of the flights coming in or going out from the airport a few miles south… and then on really clear days, you could see San Mateo bridge in the distance, the unmistakable lopsided arch the bridge makes. I may sound wistful, but I know for a fact that even on those days I had much rather be at my desk, working, than anywhere else. Adulthood is strange. You want the vacations, but then you don’t want the vacations.
And now, before we know it yet another year is coming to a close. I smell winter in the air. I see more leaves fly from beneath the wheels of my car when I drive out than I did a few weeks ago. The sun comes up later and sets earlier. I love the winter, especially in California where there is no snow to deal with. But suddenly, like the kid back in school at the end of a summer spent lazing in the sun, I feel like I may have missed out – on perfectly good weather, time, conversations, people. I want to wake up in the morning to sunlight streaming through the blinds, sit by the patio with the doors open. I want summer to come back. I want it to be the beginning of September again, the beginning of summer.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Baseball at the Ballpark

Last week I went to my first baseball game ever. My company holds its annual company day at the games every year, where they take all employees to watch a home game (right term?) at the Giants Stadium, tailgate included. If you know me you’ll know that I cannot be bothered to show up at a cricket game (though there are exceptions to that), and so I figured that I probably wouldn’t go to a baseball game any other way. This seemed like a good introduction to the sport and to understand first hand why this country is so obsessed with this sport even though they think cricket is the most boring game ever.
It is with a degree of amusement that I conclude that baseball, much like its bat-and-ball cousin from the east, is all about the hype and the emotion and less about the game. In fact, I will go so far as to say that baseball is probably the real gentlemen’s game, over and above cricket. There’s no chest thumping, fist-in-the-air declaration of strike/out, cursing at the batsman/striker and fighting with the umpire. The players come to the pitch, do their thing, chalk up their stats and leave. Home runs are action-replayed to the soundtrack of Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life or Van Halen’s Jump or any other heavy-riffed-guitar-playing-hair-band tune. Everyone has a good time, and crowd participation is way better and not resorted to throwing stuff on the field. Unfortunately, no one proposed on the big screen (or does that only happen on tv?)

So now that we have my expert opinion of the game out of the way, I have to spend some time ruminating on the stadium itself. Giants stadium, also known as the AT&T Ball Park, is H-U-G-E! Surrounded by the bay on three sides and downtown San Fran on the other, the view from up where we were was phenomenal. Blue blue ocean, dotted with boats of all sizes and the San Mateo bridge in the distance. It was great to see my colleagues outside of the cubicle setting, and good to catch a break in the middle of the week.

I wish the Indian cricket team would come play a game at the Ballpark. Now that would be a game I would gladly go to!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


picture from Fall 2008, welcome picnic for CO2010 at Flagler

Being loaded on medication and working in your pajamas gives you plenty of time to think. And be introspective. And acknowledge emotions you have suppressed because of your daily routine of being too busy.

A couple weeks ago, my Strategy professor from Darden, Prof. Greg Fairchild, was in San Francisco to discuss a case born out of his research into social enterprise. We discussed a venture capital firm that believed in investing in companies that brought in a double bottom line – social good as well as the profits. I remember sitting in a class during the first couple of weeks at Darden – don’t remember which – where we repeated in unison to the question, why do you do business – “to make money.” Graduation and plus-one later, Darden has been great about drilling into my head that a business is about more than just the money. I cannot tell you how many times in the last year I have reminded myself of that lesson.

I took a friend with me to Greg’s case discussion. My friends and family being in India, and my own lack of words to describe my experience at Darden, I have never been able to fully share what it feels like to be sitting in a Darden class. So when the opportunity presented itself, I took one of my closest friends to the Marriot for this discussion. Driving back home and ruminating on the experience and the discussion, she told me that that evening was the happiest she had seen me in a long time. At the time I assumed I was just happy to meet a professor whose class was one of my favorite ones at Darden. My friend argued that there was a certain energy in the “class” – and in me – that evening that she had not seen before (and she has known me for over six years now).

This weekend is my first year reunion at Darden and I will not make it there. As I read blogs of current students at Darden, I almost wish I was back there. I’ve realized what my friend was talking about. I miss Darden, so very much. I miss being there, being challenged every day, being forced to think about big pictures and social good and learning life’s lessons. I have realized that my ability to throw myself completely into something I am doing has resulted in me filling up my calendar with “work” things and forgetting about big picture living. And when I am with my Darden crowd – at a brunch, at a case discussion or a happy hour – I come alive, because here are the people that prove to me every day that it was not a dream. That it happened and that I will always have those two years at school.

I stand by my decision of not attending reunion due to various constraints, but come Saturday I will be wishing I was sipping wine at Flagler Courtyard and catching up with friends and professors and the staff at Darden, telling them of all my adventures since I graduated last year.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

And the Groom Wore Flip-flops!

Post backlog...

In February, I headed down to the Florida to participate in my first American wedding, to be a part MV’s very special and very beautiful wedding. It even ended up being a reunion of sorts! A bunch of us from the Bay Area met up at SFO and flew in to Fort Lauderdale together. From there we drove down to Islamorada, the venue of the wedding and the resort where we were to stay the weekend. There we met up with classmates from different parts of the country. And best of all, we had friends coming in from London and Paris too! It felt like Beach Week all over again – lazing by the pool, Bloody Mary’s for breakfast, beautiful sun and ocean… and I even saw a Jelly Fish (now I know what they look like!)

MV, a fellow section D’er is the epitome of grace and everything that’s classic and timeless. And her wedding was just an extension of her personality! The night before the wedding was a barbeque by the pool where the guests mingled with the couple and other friends. It was great catching up with people I haven’t seen since graduation, finding out about their new post-Darden lives and exchanging stories… People seemed happy in their new routines and yet nostalgic about their time at school. The wedding was beautiful; the couple took their vows as the sun set and a gentle breeze blew in from the ocean. MV looked more beautiful than ever, if that is even possible! She was radiant in her wedding gown. The groom wore a casual khaki suit and flip flops! After the ceremony, we gathered at the pier for a picture of the couple with their Darden friends. The couple took the floor for their first dance to lit sparkles and warm fire on the pier. And then a lovely dinner, where MV and CG had ensured that the vegetarians had enough options. Dancing followed and then we hung out by the pool one last time before we left after breakfast with the couple the next morning.

My first American wedding was more enlightening than I’d ever imagined. I don’t know any two people who are as good together as MV and CG. I was touched by their warmth to their guests despite it being their special day, touched by their thoughtfulness (welcome packets of aspirin, beer, granola bars etc) and as always, in all admiration for their beautiful ceremony.

It was a wonderful weekend, one that I’ll remember for a very long time. Best wishes MV and CG! Here’s to a life full of happiness, laughter and love.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

No more excuses

Sunset picture from my window at work

It seems to have become a trend of sorts for me to disappear from my blog for weeks on end and then resurface with a post on an excuse for my disappearance… like anyone’s counting! I won’t make excuses this time. I’ve thrown myself headfirst into my (not so new now) work, into settling down in this (not so new now) city and just generally reconfiguring life and times overall. At some point I even had a nice end of year post crafted in my head all ready to be hashed out on the keyboard but I let it go. Now it seems that the urge to write has built up inside until I finally was able to put fingers to keys to hash this out before Facebook, Netflix and all the other distractions on the interwebs drag me away again.

In the months since I last posted, I have found and made a home for myself in this wonderful area and while not everything has been perfect, I think I have made peace with the fact that that’s exactly how it’s going to be – not perfect but good and definitely something I can work with. I have been trying desperately to get my reading habit back but I’ve had to contend with just reading the California drivers manual!

The weekends have been passing by in a blur of social and home-related activities. In the nesting process, I have a project every weekend that I have to tackle… one weekend it was the linen closet while another it was the bookshelf. Needless to say nothing gets done a hundred percent but I am working on it. Add to that a baking/cooking project and a mandatory me-night that I’m trying to make a habit out of. I want to spend the next few months reaching out to the community at large, trying to get to know places and faces and events around the Bay and discover newer interests and pastimes.

The Darden group in the Bay is a large and fun gang of people and so there have been frequent meet ups and social events. We recently even hosted current Darden students at our respective work places and I’ve had a very satisfying time playing alumnus to students and helping them with my insights on school and recruiting (which is after all the all consuming sole conundrum of business school life). Slowly but surely it is becoming a way of life to make time for Darden centric events – be it phone calls with students or socializing with the D-crowd in the Bay.

I think I am on track in the reconfiguration-of-life project!!


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