My seven year itch

No I am not married, though I worked a job that in my mind was more demanding than a wife.So last year after spending 7 years doing it, I quit and decided to go out and start a business. Before I quit I thought long and hard about what I was going to do and given that I have a wide variety of interests this was especially hard to do. Thus with all due respect to probability I decided upon pursuing two business ideas.

The first one is professional wedding photography. The way I went about it is pretty much simple, I covered two weddings pro bono as a portfolio building measure. The coverage of the second wedding was a resounding hit since I out did the ‘experienced’ photographer the couple had hired. The pictures from this wedding were used as cover pictures, profile pictures and were shared far and wide among the guests. This is when I realized that I had the ‘eye’ for photography. Thereafter I have shot a couple of weddings and other occasions. However given that I am new in this field and given the fact that I do not know a lot of people, the clients have been slow in coming. From what I understand the way to get around this pitfall is to advertise and ‘sell yourself’. This is something I am bad at. I would like my talent to do the talking and I hope that eventually this will be the way to my success.

The second one is I.T. consulting and training. This is something I believe many a new company and startups could use given that I have around 7 years of experience in executing a wide variety of projects in multiple domain spaces. However here too I have had limited success. I have analysed this and I can attribute this to many factors, the main ones being a. companies in Goa are not willing to invest in training for their employees and are more comfortable with their employees learning through ‘trial and error’ without realizing the long term negative impacts of such a strategy. b. There are a dime a dime a dozen ‘training institutes’ who give a third rate ‘training’ for dirt cheap rates.

So far ‘success’ has been elusive and some domestic issues have caused a significant chunk from my ‘nest egg’ to be wiped out. Right now my personal finances are teetering on the verge of collapse and new money is slow in coming.

Given all this, I have been asking myself the difficult question ‘Have I made a big mistake?’. So far I am happy that I am doing exactly what I wanted to do but am really distressed about my financial situation. But I would not consider it a mistake since I am someday gonna look back at this time and be glad that I did exactly what I wanted to do.

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Rat race

“The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”
-Lily Tomlin

I read the above quote way back in my college days and I thought I was not a ‘rat’ because social and academic pressures had no meaning for me back then. Its been more than five years since I graduated as an engineer and today when I look back at my life, both professional and social, I realized that I am a ‘rat’.

I asked myself what changed and how did this happen? The answer is nothing changed and that is how it happened. To be precise, in college I thought wrongly that I was not one of the rats in the great rat race. I thought that just because I did not study as hard as my colleagues or was not as much ‘into’ extra curricular activities that I was not one of them. The fact of the matter is that despite studying less I did make an effort to maintain my grades and I succeeded. Not only succeeded, I must say that I do pretty well for myself and a testament to this fact is that even at the peak of the recession not only did I keep my IT job, I actually even got a raise.

If I am doing OK, why am I unhappy? The truth is that despite my professional career doing ok, I find my personal life to be empty and devoid of meaning. I am constantly at cross roads between what I want to do and what others expect me to do. More often than not I end up doing what is expected and not what I want. And every time I meet these ‘expectations’ I feel no joy no happiness. I am like a rat in a maze who knows a way out of the maze but does not leave the maze because a rat cannot be expected to walk out of a maze!

This has to change and soon.

Da Vinci Code

In 2006 the movie The Da Vinci Code was released there was huge hue and cry raised by the catholics here in India. It was mainly because the movie alleged that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and had children.

I am Roman Catholic since birth and one of my oldest friends (our friendship goes back almost 21 years as of the date of writing this piece) came to my place and expressed this same outrage and thought that we should do something about it. To which I offered him my view on my religion.

I believe in Jesus not because he was not married or did not have children. I believe in the Man who could walk over water, calm the sea by speaking to it, heal the blind and above all in the Man that defeated death. So to me it does not matter if he was married or if he had children. I do not believe in Jesus as God because he did not have sex or have children, I believe in Him for being the Son of God and for being my Savior.

Words of Wisdom

Here are a few sentences from a friend which are very very apt at describing the situation

On my ex using me as an emotional crutch with problems with her current beau
“She needs a pillow to cry on. You are the pillow on which she sleeps on…with another guy”

On his being over cautious when taking certain decisions
“Sometimes the weight of the armor causes me to fall without anybody attacking”

I could not have come up with better analogies than this if I had to try.

Interesting Incident

I am very bad ass. If by that you mean, the little scrawny guy in school who got beaten up by the bigger guys. I guess that should convey very accurately the kind of terror I can strike into the hearts of baby seals!

So some time back I had gone to Pune on a business errand read job interview. It was an all night journey by bus during which I slept fitfully between some twisted fantasies of clubbing baby seals to death(I can’t stop mentioning baby seals today for some reason). It was early morning when the bus reached and I had to take an auto rickshaw to reach my lodge. So for the first time in my life I decided to actually take the auto right near the bus stand. Big mistake.

When I told the driver the destination, he said it was 40 km away from the bus stand. Now someone else would have called the bluff right away,but not me, I am not very good at geography(not that I am good at many other things apart from getting beaten up). Second big mistake.

As soon as I got into the rickshaw, the driver yells and asks another driver to get in right besides effectively blocking my exit from the auto. At this point(finally), I sense something amiss but I realized I was trapped in my ride to hell. Just to put things in perspective,people regularly keep getting robbed and killed by unscrupulous rickshaw drivers in cities like Pune. I frantically tried calling up my contact in the city, but I guess he was clubbing some seals and was too busy to answer my phone. At this point I decided to put all those years of practice violence to action and I started undoing my trouser belt (stop thinking that this is going to end with me describing some gay anime porn fantasy). I wanted to take the belt and try and strangle the driver while somehow managing to fend off the guy besides me.I did not have a clue as to how it would even be possible to strangle a man in front of me while being attacked from the side, given my ability to take a beating and not give beatings. Anyways,just as I was undoing the belt buckle another idea struck me. I faked a phone call,which meant that I was speaking on the phone while holding the end button down,in case it rings mid speech!!. In my phoney speech(cheap pun intended), I made it clear to them that I was being picked up at the location I was at. This took care of the fact that I needed to get off immediately and that someone knew where I was. I paid the minimum fare and got off. Thankful to be alive and with the satisfaction at seeing the drivers’ ill hidden frustration written in bold on their slimy faces.

Cause and effect

No matter what we do, sooner or later we are bound to take a bad step, make a mistake and hurt somebody or hurt ourselves as a result. To err is human. To make a mistake is not wrong as long as we take responsibility for the mistakes we have made and try to set things right. To admit to a mistake is no easy task and to even try to make amends is a daunting task for most of us. So what do we do when we cannot face the effects of our mistakes?

I do not know about you, I tend not to admit it to myself by running away. In running away, I have made worst mistakes because I am so busy running that I do not have the time nor the will to stop and consider the effects of my next action. In this way the army of my bad decisions and mistakes chasing me gets bigger and I start running faster chasing mirages of happiness, peace , contentment and the vicious circle continues and my life continues to burn. The worst part of the running is that I cannot even enjoy the things I used to enjoy, because my conscience beckons me. I have no peace.

I have realized this just recently and have stopped running. I have decided to face the effects ‘head on’ and try and correct what can be corrected. About what I cannot correct now, I have hope that a time may come for me to correct my wrongs. It is a tough struggle, but every success big or small brings about a huge sense of relief, closure and satisfaction sometimes enough to make me feel like a child again. Innocent and free!

Movie Critics

One of the many people who puzzle me in life are movie critics, here is why. Practically every movie that I have liked is one that has got either a thumbs down from the critics or a lukewarm ‘it was OK’ kind of review. Now before you jump off to write a comment and say that I have bad taste,let me say that I know a lot of people who share my views. The possible explanations to this inconsistency that I have been able to gather so far are

1. Me and the people I know have totally bad taste and we miss the point(s) that the critics seem to get.

2. The critics will just go ahead and bash every movie that has a tendency to be liked by the average movie goer in an effort to prove their superiority.

This just popped into my head as I was writing this post. I have way too much time on my hands to wonder about such silly things and more so to write about them. But then again what is life without the silly and not so silly musings?

In any case if you find yourself on the same side of movie critics as me then here are two movies that I would recommend WALL-E (English) and Rock On!! (Hindi)