Jan 19, 2010

Twenty things in Twenty-o-nine

A New Year is a great occasion to take stock. 2010 marks the beginning of not just a new year, but also a new decade! Wanted to spend a moment to recap the 20 things that worked for me in 2009 and then may be dream 10 things that I aspire to do in the year 2010:

  1. Vipassana: The year started with a great introduction to meditation and a closer introspection at what spirituality means. Was able to do a ten day Vipassana course that I wanted to for some time. The impact has been transformational to say the least. Only thing is I haven’t been able to practice the technique ‘religiously’.
  2. 'The' Himalayas: Since I was a kid, I always wanted to see the Great Himalayas. In September was able to realize the dream and got a peek at the mighty mountain ranges when we made a trek to the Valley of Flowers, Hemkund, Badrinath etc. Have been amazed by the sheer scale of the mountains, the beauty of the ranges and the tranquility there. Few other things I did for the first time were skinny dipping at 15000 ft near Hemkund Sahib, white water rafting in the Alaknanda river and actually jumping into the river midway, jumping off a cliff from 15 feet into the river! What an adventure!
  3. Karate, Budokan style: The mind-body fusion and application that martial art calls for is kinda meditative. Signed up for a 3 month intro course - flexibility improved, endurance improved and overall I felt fit. Will pursue this further!
  4. Running: The affair with running continued this year too. Ran my second Half Marathon with a better time than the first one. The next event on the calendar is the Auroville HM in February.
  5. Cycling: This was a new one in 2009, and what an amazing ride it has been! The Freedom Ride held in August this year on India’s independence day was the longest, but there were many other short rides done with Hyderabad Bicycling Club and with Thunderbolts (cycling club at my workplace). Occasionally I take the cycle out for the office commute and some errands near home. It feels great and adds up to the environment cause.
  6. Yearend Trek: This year the Christmas long weekend was spent in Pench Tiger Reserve. It is becoming an annual thingie, just like the September trips.
  7. Technology Conclaves: After skipping them in 2008, I found myself attending the TiE ISB CoNNect and NASSCOM Product Conclave. It was nice to see and hear some great technology minds and get to know what’s buzzing in the Tech world. Singular insight: no value gained if you don’t have something to discuss about.
  8. Coding: The last few years haven’t seen me do much of coding, something I loved as a teenager (though had no computer then!) and later in college. So when I re-discovered the joy of coding in Python, and a web application framework called Django, it was nirvana again. I hope to develop some useful application during my spare time on weekends.
  9. Wii and gaming: As a kid I couldn't convince my parents about buying a home computer in 1989. Those days they had Sinclairs that used the television as a video output device. My parents fear was that I will end up playing video games, and I couldn't convey my passion for programming in BASIC. Later when I took up computers in a big way, I never got into gaming and avoided even stuff like pacman, tetris. This year, the success of Nintendo Wii drew me in, due to its active nature. Have enjoyed the device a lot, and plan to buy a few more titles.
  10. Books – The reading habit has fragmented heavily with the Web/Twitter/Blogs etc, not counting the many magazines and newspapers. With more twitter usage, I found myself using less of Google Reader. If reading a book is like having a full meal, I have moved to eating bite sized snacks. Can’t recall much except 1-2 fiction books like Lashkar and Art of Living (on Vipassana), Go Kiss The World. Hope to read some good books this year.
  11. Voting – I feel proud, having voted in the general elections in May and the Municipal (GHMC) elections in November. The least one can do to change the pathetic politics around is to vote. There is huge scope for improvement in enabling people to vote using technology and the internet. It is another matter that politics in the state sunk to its lowest in 2009.
  12. Honey I shrunk the commute! – In May, I took a strategic decision to move closer to my work location. This freed up almost two hours per day. The impact on quality of life has been great, helping me fret less and do more!
  13. Toddler to Child – My daughter Ritsika is now five years old, and not a toddler anymore! Each stage of a child’s growth is precious and a sheer miracle. At this stage, I look forward to more activities together.
  14. Table Tennis – The only sport on which I did relatively well as a child was TT. An inter-corporate seniors tournament held in December, gave a chance to dust off the racket and get into the game. Learnt from Madhu Kishore, a State level player about some basics which helped me make a Podium finish and also win a community TT event.
  15. Golf: My love-hate relationship with golf continues. There were months when I played the game regularly and times when I ignored the game. I love the elegance of the swing, the focus, and the walk in the greenery with like minded folks, but not the huge amount of time it demands. With more colleagues picking up the sport, the new year should see more golfing.
  16. The Year of Twitter: Blogging has taken a back seat with Tweets taking over! But I am slowly veering to the view that both can co-exist. Writing a blog helps one think clearly and long enough. My Facebook usage has also increased this year as more and more college mates get on the bandwagon.
  17. Carnatic music: Always loved the classic compositions by Annamayya and Tyagaraja. So was excited to be part of a hundred thousand people contingent that sang some select compositions of Annamayya. And guess what, this event was recognized as the largest such gathering ever, by the Guinness Book!
  18. Hello Ubuntu: While I haven’t yet said good bye Windows, I have switched my home computer to Ubuntu (a Linux version) – use it for email, photos, videos, coding, music etc. I now miss nothing in Windows (except iTunes).
  19. The year marked 11 years of my working career. One thing I learnt from Bagchi’s Kiss the World, one of the few books I finished during the year, was that there is nothing called retirement, leave alone early retirement. This put to rest some romantic notions I had about retiring by 50 etc. Had a fun time thinking about unsettling vs stability and what is the best time to have a reflection on mid-life musings!
  20. Well, I have to keep at least one (or more) things to myself!
Happy New Year Once Again! Have a blast in Twenty-Ten!