Ahoy 2016

Many people ask me what I am doing, now that I have got off the corporate treadmill and some venture to ask, “Nothing?”  To cut a long story short I just say that I am leading a relaxed and stress free life. No time like now to reflect on what I do and add a tweak here and there.

Ever since I rejoined the Soka Gakkai in Feb last year I have been back to reasonably active participation in District and Chapter level meetings. My prayers and chanting though not as regular as they should be, have picked up a lot. I am happy to be back on the path of seeking and wish to truly understand the mentor disciple relationship and what it means at a deeper level to practice for others. Last year was momentous because my wife finally joined me in the practice and largely due to my brother in law Ram’s prodding, the family chanted together both at Sheikh Sarai in Delhi and at our home in Bangalore.

The need to stay healthy and fit has always been a prime concern. Over the last year I continued sessions with my personal trainer and cycling. I am thankfully at a higher level of fitness at the end of the year than at the start. Once again I plan to participate in a 250 kms cycle ride at the Desert 500 event in February this year. I plan to dedicate this effort to cancer care and relief for the underprivileged sections of society and I am searching for an appropriate NGO to link up with. Sadly in 2015 a few more family members have succumbed to cancer or are engaged in battling the scourge.

Last year I finally went on a trek in the Himalayas with Sandeep Talpade and his group. I made new friends, enjoyed the trek and I am looking forward to another one this year with Sandeep or with any other capable organizer.

View from our high altitude camp
View from our high altitude camp

I finally got off the mark with the research and pre-work for a book I have decided to publish on the Anglo Indian community. I am enjoying connecting with my Anglo Indian school friends and other who may be helpful in developing the theme and story line of the book. I plan to visit Melbourne to connect with my friends and will spend most of the current year in writing this book. Blogging is also set for a revival as I work through the Blogging 101 exercises of Word Press. I am not sure about continuing with the Writer’s Bureau writing exercises as this has now entered the fiction writing phase which I am not keen on pursuing at this stage.

Engaging with friends for the book, attending meetings of the Soka Gakkai and actively keeping in touch with friends from my corporate and student days is ensuring a healthy social life. Family life is also thriving and I am feeling good about it. The months we spend in Bangalore to get away from the winter chill in Delhi is increasing engagement with family and friends. Another momentous event was my son Shirish’s marriage to his long time girl friend Corinna in Canada. My wife and I attended this beautifully conducted event in Canada.IMG_4325

I have been seeking opportunities for sharpening the saw but I can do with more concerted actions. A clutch of courses through Coursera have helped and I would continue this in 2016. I plan also to spend significantly more time on hobbies such as chess and photography. As a member of the blogging community I also plan to do my share of reading of the bogs I am following. The Blogging 101 exercises are helping me polish up blogging skills besides introducing me to likeminded bloggers with whom I share common interests and this is opening up for me a new social world.

Well I suppose I have my hands reasonably full but if anyone still wants to know what I do these days, I am leading a relaxed stress free life!!IMG_4355


The year 2013

The year gone by has brought a bag full of blessings from the Force. I have much to be thankful and grateful for and I look forward to the New Year with enthusiasm and a full complement of resolutions.

The blip was the demise of my brother Ravi, to the family scourge cancer, in February. Like all those who have battled against this dreaded disease, Ravi also had to undergo pain and discomfort during the last couple of months. Marie and Nicky looked after him with tender and loving care. At the final moments of his life, Marie and the children were with him and after he passed away late at night, they spent the rest of the night in prayer and remembrance of a wonderful husband and father.

When Ravi and I were the last survivors of our family, I wondered which of us would go first. Now I am the last of the family whom I miss very much. I published the book, “Hartland-The spirit of a family,” as an ode to my departed siblings. I am happy that the book has been fairly widely read and appreciated.

Book writing and publishing was a new activity for me during the year. I transposed several of my blog posts into two books; a travelogue titled, “The Unforgettable Decade”, and the book about my family, “Hartland – The spirit of a family”. The first of the two was written and published through the e-publishing platform Fast Pencil that I had stumbled upon last year .While it was a reasonably good platform for writing a book and very convenient for importing blog posts , it did not offer reasonably priced printing . I switch over to Partridge, the e-publishing subsidiary of Penguin, for the Hartland book and for the book on the Modi Xerox service outsource experience.

Partridge did a high quality job of printing the Hartland book, but this too is expensive as the printing is in the UK and delivery costs to India are high. I am in the process of finalizing arrangements with a printer in Chennai, for print –on-demand services. The printer has printed a few copies of the travelogue and has dispatched it to me. Once I confirm the quality of his printing and binding, I would have established a much needed service for the books to follow, particularly the book on service outsourcing.

The book I put considerable effort on right through the year was, “Building Winning Partnerships- A ring side view “. I interviewed over thirteen service outsource partners of Modi Xerox across the country and documented their journey as entrepreneurs in the book. It was a wonderful experience as I personally knew all of them well and was instrumental in setting them up as entrepreneurs, fourteen years or so ago. The manuscript is now with Partridge and I expect the book to be published in the last week of January or in February next year.

It was quite an experience learning the ropes in the publishing industry. I have finally given up on publishing through brick and mortar publishing houses .The industry seems to be going through declining profitability and all publishers are wary of taking on the books of new and relatively unknown authors. It doesn’t seem worth the effort and the long wait, to go through them.  Self publishing and promotion seems the best bet for now, as per my assessment.

A highlight of the year was the visit to Canada and the US where Aruna, Geetha and Prithi accompanied Deepa and me. We had a wonderful time and carry ever lasting memories of all the places we went too and the people we met. I had done all the planning and arrangements for this trip and was pleased that everything went off well and we all had such a great time. Deepa and I were away for almost two months while the others joint us for a three-week holiday to Waterloo, Niagara and Toronto in Canada and New Jersey, New York, Washington, Orlando and Houston in the US.

Activates on the professional front were low-key. The yearlong executive coaching and training assignment with HCL, post my retirement last September wasn’t very exciting. Nor was the consultancy assignment with Luxor. The Luxor engagement is likely to continue into the first quarter of next year and there are proposals pending with a couple more firms. However I am not very enthusiastic about these professional engagements these days and this is reflected in the low priority I have accorded to it in my plans for the next year. Forty plus years in the corporate world seems more than enough!! Besides there is so much to do and learn; something has to give way, I suppose.

Health was a big plus this year. Neither Deepa nor I had any major illness barring minor niggles now and then. There can be no bigger blessing than this when you are in the post retirement phase of your life. I was consistent with my fitness regime all through the year, barring the two months we spent at Canada and the US. My personal trainer has been with me all through the year and has kept me reasonably fit and in fine fettle to complete 250 kms of cycling at the Desert 500 Ultra cycling event in November. Last year I had attempted only 200 kms. I wrote about this event and my effort in an earlier post “The Eternal Battle”. It was truly a battle that was being played out in my mind and winning it was a major experience.

My daily prayers got back on rails during the later part of the year. I am so glad that I could re-establish this gainful practice once again and don’t intend to let it slip ever again. Likewise my reading is picking up and I plan to do a lot more reading and study over the next year.

As I said I am eagerly awaiting the New Year. I have lined up a whole lot of things to do but more about this after the New Year dawns. For now we are preparing for a cozy family get together this evening as we break in the New Year.