Tuesday, July 31, 2018

9 Years in 'Merica - what changed, and, what didn't

How time changes! How time stays still!

Its been 9 years since I landed in the 'land of opportunities'. Came a 27 year old in the aftermath of the economic collapse, still here, at 37, in the time of Trump's America. The last 9 years have whizzed by - filled with many many memories bitter and sweet - mostly sweet.

What's changed - let's see. Here's a chronological punchlist. 8 years of working in America and a mid-management job have instilled a deep-seated obeisance to the power of the bullet point

  • 2009 - Started a Gator. UF MBA Option A, to be more precise. wanted to live the college life, get fit and play lots of basketball.
  • 2010 - Finished a Gator. MBA check, basketball captaincy (intramurals) - done. Extra coursework in Advertising to bask in OPT and stave off unemployability
  • 2011 - Go West Young Man. 8 months of job hunt resulted in one successful opportunity and a quandry. Handed an ultimatum to transplant to Los Angeles from Florida in a week. Made it. Great way to start a marketing career! 
  • 2011-2014 - Lived the remote employee life to the hilt. Managed demand generation and marketing roles at a couple of SAP platinum partners. Threw luncheons and handed sporting tickets all over Cali. Enjoyed the sights and sounds of Los Angeles.
  • 2014 - 6 month long distance courtship, whirlwind engagement and marriage. Lucky to be married to Dona
  • 2015-2018 - Go Northwest Not-So-Young Man. Stability and paycheck became important. Moved to Seattle. Matured into a completely pliant immigrant cog in the great American corporate machine. Comfortable middle-management role and the perks that come with. Blessed with beautiful Adya. Now a dad, settling into this phase of life.
What's stayed still - Gurudev. Still feel the same goosebumps and the same timelessness with him. Doing Seva and teaching courses still makes everything special. Only, now, there isn't a hedonistic rush to serve to experience the high. Now, there's a realization that the presence is eternal and Seva and its pleasure have matured. Guruji is still as vast, deep, twinkling and magical. Moments spent in his presence are still necatarine and other-dimensional - there's a completeness that's exclusively felt with Him. Nothing else, no other joy compares. Still grateful that i was lucky enough to have done the Art of Living course 20 years ago. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Early Learnings from a Marketing Career

Life is a fun, unpredictable journey - specially when I try to make it predictable.

In a couple of months, I will be a three year old professional marketer. Starting this blog is one of the most significant decisions I made to morph from an engineer to a marketing professional - many thanks to Bawa and Dinesh for their inspiration.

Some of the best lessons I learnt on this path -
1. Read a lot, specially good writing
2. The greatest word to conjure marketing magic - You
3. A picture is worth a 1000 words
4. Know thy audience
5. My personal favorite - something my last CEO told me - "The most important thing to succeed in business is to stay."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hobbit - A Soaring Triumph

A soaring triumph18 December 2012
The Hobbit brings Middle Earth alive in ways not seen during the preceding LOTR trilogy. Peter Jackson seems to be getting better in serving grand spectacles with every iteration. At 48 GPS, the difference is clear - no more judder, no more awkward CGI transitions no restrictive camera views, the Camera-work never loses its fluidity through the entire breakneck pacing and gorgeously choreographed action sequences. Some of the vistas simply take your breath away. This is cinema meant for the big screen.

The acting is absolutely top notch. Martin Freeman portrays the Hobbit's' spirit of adventure, their love for home and hearth, self-doubt, courage and above all, their hardiness well above what Elijah Wood could ever do. And the dwarves are played to rugged perfection by the 13 actors with all their pride, toughness and merriment. Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond are all splendid. Azog the pale Orc is truly menacing. IMO, though, Andy Serkis is the biggest triumph in the presentation, for he takes the challenge of meeting his own exceptional standards from movies past, and gleefully, malevolently raises the bar even higher. This is a Gollum far more visceral than you have seen before - more raw, more menacing, more confused, more playful and more vulnerable all at the same time.

Hardcore fans of Tolkien's fiction would revel in the abundant references to races and legends of the Middle Earth - from Gondolin to Rivendell. Just this first part of the Hobbit trilogy deepens your appreciation of the LOTR saga even more.

Strap yourself in, for this is the journey through Middle Earth that we have been waiting for ever since the movie was announced.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happiness at Work - the Zappos Way

"I wake up and can't wait to come into work!" - Sounds too good to be true?

Well believe it, for according to, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, and billionaire at 38, "For great customer experience, focus first and foremost on employee happiness." Lofty ideals made real - Halloween costumes, toys at work et al. This is one interesting video on how happiness is shaping an iconic brand - 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

RT: The Beauty of Spirituality lies in its subtlety @SriSriSpeaks

Gurudev's Twitter feed is a constant source of inspiration and warmth. You can find him @SriSriSpeaks.

I had a lot of fun reading them in order and they all seemed to make so much sense, even together! Guurji's Tweets, like Him, seem individually brilliant and collectively sublime. What do you think?

Title: The Beauty of Spirituality lies in its subtlety
11/4/12, 7:22 AM

Life works on strange laws of nature (Karma). One never knows when a friend turns enemy or vice-versa. Rely on your self reliance (11/3/12 7:36 AM). Just be happy and do whatever you can to make others happy. Serve and Smile; Have Serenity and Sensitivity; Do Sadhana and Seva (11/3/12; 7:27 AM).

Don't run away from emotions. Remain strong and centred in the midst of changing emotions. (11/2/12, 7:23 AM).Consistent practice for a long period of time with a sense of honor is needed to get established in the present moment. (11/3/12 8:02 PM)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Living Fully

“I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catch­ing fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my liv­ing to open me, to make me less afraid, more acces­si­ble, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my sig­nif­i­cance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blos­som and that which comes to me as blos­som, goes on as fruit.” ~ Dawna Markova

I stumbled upon this precious post by Lance Ekum here

Awaken to the music within your heart, and keep singing Your song.

Happy weekend!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dealing with Regret

In my earlier post, Dealing with Anger, I shared one of Guruji's quotes that helps protect the mind from anger. But what if anger still happens? What if, once anger has passed, the mind is entangled regret or guilt? What if you wish to 'purify' yourself?

Gurudev's path is filled with with so much love and heartwarming wisdom. Like a mother who warns a child against mistakes, but lovingly nurses it back should it still make them - Guruji reveals this beautiful sutra to deal with guilt or impurity -

"What should be done to free oneself from the feeling of guilt? We have to discover our purity. We do not have to go somewhere in order to get our purity. You should bring this awareness in your mind, 'I am pure'. For this awareness to exist deep inside you you have to increases your prana shakti or the life force energy. Sudarshan Kriya, meditation, bhajans, pranayama and everything else is done to increase the life force. Mind becomes pure and lighter. If some dirt comes and settles down on it and the mind becomes impure again, then waht should be done? We shoudl never forget:'my nature is pure'."

Picture courtesy - PrabuVijayan