At the Crossroads

It is a difficult choice.

 

My dilemma is between should I invest more time in managing the quarry or should I leave the quarry be and find myself a more ‘educated’ career path, which is more befitting for my IIT degree as suggested by my dad and uncles. There is an old Chinese proverb that says a man in two minds is half dead. Yes, I am half dead right now.

 

Running the quarry is nice. Don’t get me wrong. Standing midst ear-splitting drills and rock breaking bangs, breathing in clouds of stone dust and feeling the full brunt of the blazing sun burning your skin, turning your complexion to an altogether different race isn’t what I had in mind. Neither am I talking about how often I have to get mad at people to get simple things done (some of the laborers wont take your orders seriously enough unless a few swear words appear somewhere in the sentence). What is nice is size we operate at. We move earth, blast mountains and crush boulders so that we can help someone build themselves a home.

 

What’s nicer is the difference my presence makes. Heavy duty planning, leading teams of people to effectively solve the engineering challenges the quarry throws at us everyday, and making lucrative amounts of money at the end of the week are all what makes my time here exciting. And the sheer size of operations.  We talk in hundreds of trucks every week. Besides I see one or two paths for the company to get bigger commercially. If earning money were everything, I ought to sit here for two or three more years and walk the company personally down that path.

 

But as one of my mentors had warned me, being a lone entrepreneur is lonely. Especially when the lone entrepreneur is an urban person running his business in middle of a rural nowhere. Hence the dilemma. Hence me being half-dead.

 

What would you do if you were me?

 

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Gratitude and it’s cool attitude

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a beautiful present and not gifting it.

I read this quote from Bala, and agreed. More than agreed. It inspired me to make it a point to always express my gratitude. Of course the receiver of your gratitude feels good (not if you overdo it, like some irritatingly sweet people I know) but you, the giver gets to have some attractive perks too.

One of the many perks is that you get to look cool. Damn cool, while at it. Doesn’t make sense entirely? Watch this. and the dude inspired from it, in the video.

Now why am I talking of this all of a sudden? Well its Cherry’s birthday soon and Im just doing my homework :D

Smart me?

“Smart girls are the overthinkers, the insecure ones, the different ones. They know what the real world is like. They analyze every little thing in life. Why? to avoid getting hurt. To find happiness. They stay up at night trying to think about every possible situation to get through all the problems. They think too much. They trust less people. Their insecurity proves their respect towards themselves. Of course they try to live away from the drama-filled life. Smart girls know their worth, now that’s the ones worth keeping by your side.”
Now why does this sound more like me?

Its my Birthday! How uncool is it not to make it big!

To my good fortune, my sis and me share the same birthday. As children, birthdays were always a big deal for us. All thanks to Amma who used to take great efforts to make the day very special for us. Here is a small storybook that gives you a glimpse of that.

After my hostel life began, my birthdays began to get awkward. Greedily, I began to expect the same attention from co-teenagers as I was used to getting from my family. Naturally the b’days ended up disappointing. Soon I abandoned the idea of celebrating b’days citing reasons of not being a kid any more (Whom am I kidding? :P)

After a few more years, as I grew independent, I realised that the trick to do fun b’days is to make your planning more event-centric and less people-centric (If this sounds Greek to you, don’t bother). With the new-found knowledge I began my zestful celebrations again. So this year here is how I’d like to celebrate the b’day weekend.

  • Run a 16K all alone. No company, no music. Just me.
  • Get a tattoo on my chest.
  • Volunteer to wait tables at Annalakshmi for Sunday lunch.
  • Watch a stand-up comedy show.
  • Take friends out for dinner.
  • Hit the dance floor with Sravz, my bestest dance teacher.
  • Movie with Susu and Msk. (This is more or less forced upon me :P)
  • Write another post in the memory of people who made my earlier b’days cherishable.

I will be good to start collecting my wishes in a few more hours. You better not forget to send me some ;)

With tonnes and tonnes of love.

My first half Marathon.
The Struggle part

I have completed my first half marathon! And that too, a trail marathon!

However thoroughly excited I might sound, the story began differently. When I registered for the marathon, I had three weeks to train. I surprised myself the first week by running 6K a day. The second week, I did a 10K and a 15K. The third week saw me doing three 10K s with an increasing pace (the best being 63 Min). All of them being my firsts overwhelmed me at my ease of running distances. I proclaimed to my friends that I am targeting to  finish the 21K trail under 2h 15m and secretly hoped to do it within 2h.

I had my first session of a workshop by two MIT Grads (MBA in Leadership, impressive isn’t it?) till Saturday noon. Unable to afford to miss it, I started from Chennai only on Saturday evening. This meant 5 hours of train journey, 3 hours of wait in the station and 3 hours of bus journey. More importantly at 6 in the morning, on the eve of the marathon, all the sleep I had is what I managed to gather during the travel and in a chair at the station. Hardly bothered with this and a few other things that went wrong, I started my race.

The first part of the run is called people. At the starting line, I found myself in the middle of a thick mob of people. A canal of Kaveri river runs along this narrow trail. The other side has lush green fields stretching to the horizon. But all I can see of this picturesque landscape is tiny glimpses of green from within the sea of heads and limbs. Wondering what kind of race leaves zero room to run for its participants, I waited for the mob to move. It took a good 20 Min or so for the faster ones to dart forward leaving behind the slower ones and some space. I started hunting for spaces and lunged forward, overtaking the slower ones. Though this unanticipated jumping and sprinting drained me of sugars in my body, I eventually found myself clear to run at my natural paces.

Soon, I found my rhythm and started to run comfortably. The flowing waters and cool farm breeze began to soothe me. But not for long. Wham!, went my left shoe slamming into a rock that stood firmly from the ground. The impact has crushed my big toe and I stagger dangerously out of balance. Just as I regain balance and assure the people around me that I’m okay, Wham! The same foot again! This is only the beginning of trial’s cruelty. A pretty girl running beside me advised to keep my eyes on the road (Don’t you get the wrong idea). With such little pieces of advice and observing others’ stances I slowly got used to the trail and began to pick speed. All through the run, I had to constantly cross people through narrow gaps between them, change paths to let returning runners through, run though the pits, up the mounds and jump stray bushes or loose stones. Stopping at every other aid stalls, I began to drink just enough to wet my throat but not enough for my stomach to sense anything alien (The first time I downed an entire cup of electrolyte, I felt my insides churning and vomit rising as I tried to run). Close to the half-line (after which we turn back and run the same 10.5K to reach the starting point) was a kilometre long stretch which went uphill with a not-so-gentle slope. This is where I was able to outrun a good bunch of people.

The next part of the run is called the struggle. It began probably after the 16K mark. My body is strained to levels it has never experienced before. Every muscle in my lower body is crying out to stop. It was pure torture. But I kept going. In small and easy, but steady and rolling steps. (Looking back, this is the what it is all about, isn’t it?). I would have been okay but for a girl in red. She would repeatedly run ahead of me and stop right before me. Every time I thought I overtook her for good, she would sprint and get ahead of me again only to stop. She and a couple of others like her really got on my nerves. I felt that energy is being sucked out of me every time someone-I-already-overtook, crossed me. And these three angels just kept doing that! Again and again.  At 19.1K mark, my persistence ran dry and I dropped into a walk.

I walked/limped/dragged myself for the next 800m or so. Though this was a huge relief on my physical self, regret started to pile up for giving up. Gathering everything I have left I sprinted across the last kilometre. A very satisfying run it had been! (especially because the cheering crowd at the finishing line)

Unfortunately I would be missing the Chennai Half (happening in IIT-M: Home Ground advantage?) having a cousin’s wedding scheduled on the same day. My next run would be Bangalore Ultra on Nov 13(Registered for 25K). Wish me luck!

P.S. My body took a whole two days to get back to normal.

When Merc advertises Human Brain…

From Ads of the WorldThis is an old ad I stumbled upon. While I am still wondering if there is any obvious connection between the nature of hemispheres and Merc, I loved this one. Nothing short of a masterpiece!

The text for the left brain reads:

“I am the left brain. I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.”

And for the right brain:

“I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feet. I am movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.”

A Conversation

This was the conversation at a dinner party. I was seated at a table for eight, all full and filled by people whom I am meeting for the first time.

ME: Its pretty nice in here, isn’t it?

Boy to my left: Yes, we come down here often.

The girl to his right: So Chetan, what are you majoring in?

ME: Civil Engineering, with a specialization in Infrastructure, for masters.

The handsome girl across the table: Civil engineers are responsible for most memorable erections… I hear… (with a straight face, over a slow glance out of the corner of her big eyes)

ME: Erec..?! (Suddenly turning red as sense hits me)…Oh…yes…pretty technical job… (completely lost at what to say next)…

Everyone around the table brings their hands over their mouths, trying hard to suppress their giggles while I resort to a mental facepalm and a sheepish smile. Sigh. #youwish