Day 61/ 365 – Retrospective for 2013

Wow.. 2013 is almost about to be over. Cant believe time has flown by so quickly this year. Personally this year has been very satisfying for me. Though I didn’t really set out with a to do list for the year, did manage to do some of the things which I wanted to do. Here are my top 10 things for 2013

  1. Trekked for 2 days in Himalayas – this was one of the best trips ever for me. I am never going to forget the time I spent in the mountains.
  2. Visited Leh – Ok – this was in continuation of the trek – but if there is one place which anyone should ever visit is Leh. It is just beautiful.
  3. Brought my first car – Always wanted to get a car and was finally able to get one. Really happy for that
  4. Donated blood for the first time – Had never donated blood ever in my life. Thanks to Saurav Roy’s persistence, was able to donate blood and felt proud about the good deed done.
  5. Clicked a lot of pictures – Captured a lot of pictures this year and learnt quite a bit of photography and thoroughly enjoyed taking pictures – birds, landscapes, covered an engagement and a  wedding.
  6. Ran Vasai Virar Marathon – this is something which I am not too proud about – finishing a half marathon in 3 hrs and 17 mins without much/ any practice.
  7. Scuba Diving/ Snorkeling – Ok.. this hasn’t been done yet, but will be done in the next couple of days. Saurav Roy, this better be good else I will have to take this off my list of achievements.
  8. Started Project 365 – Started writing again. I know I am running late by approx. 10 days  but what the heck, I am enjoying writing down my thoughts and sharing some of my photography work with everyone.
  9. Completed my Executive MBA – Ok. This is also not yet done. But would be completed on Saturday. After almost 18 months done with it. Finally Saturday’s would be mine, mine and only mine.
  10. Discovered a passion for traveling – covered so many places this year – Indore, Manali, Ladakh, Nathdwara, Pune, Nasik, Bangalore, Chincholi Morachi, Tarkarli (will happen in the next couple of days) etc.

The next year will bring about its own share of adventures. Looking forward to them eagerly.


Day 60/ 365 – Piano Man

I have been in love with this song since I heard it for the first time. I enjoyed it even more when I attended a Billy Joel concert in Washington DC in 2005 and he played this song as his closing number. I think it is one of the best songs ever.

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
the regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Makin’ love to his tonic and gin
He says, Son can you play me a memory
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
sing us a song tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright

Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there’s someplace that he’d rather be
He says Bill, I believe this is killing me
As the smile ran away from his face
Well I’m sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he’s talking with Davy who’s still in the navy
And probably will be for life

And the waitress is practising politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes, they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it’s better than drinking alone

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight.
Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright.

It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday,
And the manager gives me a smile
‘Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been coming to see
To forget about life for awhile.
And the piano sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say “Man, what are you doin’ here?”


Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight.
Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright

Day 59/ 365 – Peacocks at Chincholi Morachi

Last Sunday, we visited a village called Chincholi Morachi. The village is approx. 50 kms away from Pune on Ahmednagar highway. Chincholi means Tamarind trees and Morachi means peacock, thus translating name of the village as Village of Tamarind trees and Peacocks. The drive to the village is very pleasant with rolling hills on the side.  I had been here earlier along with Saurav Roy in December last year. As soon as we reached the village, we spotted a peacock  but before I could take a picture,  the peacock ran away. We then parked ahead on the side of the road and then entered the fields to observe some peacocks. We also ran into a local villager who told us how he feeds the peacocks on the daily basis and they are running away because we are strangers. By this time, we had already spent like 45 mins there. The villager asked us to stay back for some more time and the peacocks would come. However, we decided to make a move and head back to Pune. Overall, we had a good trip.

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Day 57/ 365 – Reminiscing Old TV days

Today while having lunch we, me and some colleagues, started reminiscing about old days when we just had state sponsored TV channel. In the early 90’s satellite TV had not yet arrived in India and there was just one state sponsored television channel, Doordarshan, which was free to air for everyone. So we were discussing about the various shows which were telecasted during those days. I believe the content quality of those shows is far more superior to anything that current TV shows dish out in the name of family entertainment. There used to be shows like – Malgudi Days, Gul Gulshan, Gulfam, Wagle ki Duniya, Nukkad, Mungeri Lal ke Haseen Sapne etc. The quality of those shows was simply amazing. I think even now a lot of people watch them on Youtube. I remember my parents watching Rangoli every Sunday morning – a song – which would play songs (old and new), then me getting all excited to watch cartoons – Duck Tales, Talespin, Jungle Book and then we would sit and watch Mahabharata/ Ramayana any of the two which is ongoing. Then at 1pm there would news for mute and deaf – where one news reader would read out the news and the other would use sign language to convey the same. There would also be a movie on Sunday afternoon. The evening would begin with regional news followed by a Marathi program – Aamchi Maati Aamche Manasa. On Sunday’s you would also have Surabhi – show where they would showcase different places in India along with other interesting topics, followed by English language programs. I remember I was so excited when Doordarshan came up with another channel – DD2 Metro. It was supposed to showcase some of the favorite shows during certain times of the day – everyday. So now instead of watching TV only on Sunday, we could watch some shows on DD2. With the advent of satellite television in India, Doordarshan gradually lost its place and now is probably only watched by people who cant afford to have a satellite connection.

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Day 55/ 365 – Dhoom 3

One of the most eagerly awaited movies of the year – Dhoom 3 releases today. There is so much buzz about the movie, that most of the tickets have been booked for the weekend. The general story line of the movie is – The bad guy steals, the good guy catches him, the bad guy becomes a good person or dies. Nothing different, right? The Dhoom franchise is famous for making its bad guys look really cool in the movies. In the first movie we had John Abraham who looked super cool riding a Hayabusa bike and robbing banks and casinos alike. Then we had a super suave thief with Greek God looks in Hrithik Roshan in Dhoom 2 who would steal the rarest of rare artifacts and now Aamir Khan who plays a clown thief with a weird face tattoo who robs (God knows what) in Dhoom 3.


The only constant characters in the movie series are the good guys – Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra. While Aamir is already an established super star, the careers of the other two baddies – John and Hrithik really took off after this movie. The other thing that has evolved with this series is the location where the baddies operated. John operated in India, Hrithik – the world over as they tried to show it and Aamir – primarily in the US as the trailers show. Another thing that has worked in the favor of the franchise is that so far the movies have been slick and fast paced. I am hoping that same continues in the upcoming movie. I just hope that in this movie – Abhishek Bachchan dies and Aamir wins.. buhahaha.

Day 53/ 365 – Plan work better

Recently my wife has been spending a lot of time at work as she is handling multiple projects. Each of those projects are requiring a significant amount of her time resulting in her working pretty late into the night. Now I personally don’t prefer to spend more time at work unless there is some deadline or something unplanned has come along. However, most of the times I prefer working my 9 hours and then head home. Since my wife has been working overtime (and not getting paid for it also), I just thought to share some of things which I follow which helps me plan my day/ work better.  Not to say that my wife does not do this.

Warning: All of the below does not work when you receive unplanned tasks or something from the management (which is always, usually urgent).

1.       Plan your day

I spend at least 30-45 minutes planning my day and the activities which I need to accomplish in the day. I set out a to-do list every morning and allot numbers on those activities depending on the urgency level. The to-do list keeps getting updated once the day has begun with all the new activities getting added at the bottom of the list. The goal of the day is to accomplish everything that I have identified that needs to be completed today. Obviously, if any un-planned work occurs, the above does go for a toss. However, 90% of the times this works.

2.       Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize

Normally we have tons of things which we need to do and more often than not they are always urgent and someone, somewhere is always waiting for it. So what I do in such scenarios is, think and analyze if they are really that urgent. One of things that help me do this – I always ask the person by when he/ she needs the data or the report. I always request for dates which ensures that I am working on only those things which really need to be done today. This helps me avoid spending my time on other things which can be dealt later.

3.       Learn to say No

I had read somewhere “Always find a way to say a Yes”. I tend to disagree to this saying. I believe there are times when you need to learn to say No. I prefer saying a No, rather than agreeing to deliver a task by a certain amount of time and then failing to deliver it or not doing a quality job. Normally we have a tendency to please everyone and we tend to bite more than we can chew. Initially I would feel, if I say a no, what would the other person feel etc. However, as I grew professionally, I realized that it is alright to say a No if you have valid and genuine reasons behind it. Most of the times, your boss would understand and tell you not to worry about it.

4.       Meeting Prioritization

We all have a lot of meetings that we need to attend. I haven’t yet worked in an organization where I haven’t had multiple meetings scheduled in a single day. The best way to gain sometime is to analyze and understand whether you need to attend all the meetings. I normally identify the meetings which are absolutely essential for me to attend and plan my work around those meetings. There are a few days when all I do is attend meetings – during those days I ensure I don’t have any deliverable assigned for those days. Normally such days are few and far between and you would normally know them about a week in advance. Kindly check the your meeting Calendar on a regular basis. Seriously. It is the best tool to the plan your day.

These things have been working for me. Feel free to share what works for you.

Day 52/ 365 – House Hunt – Meeting with prospective seller

As mentioned in my earlier posts, I have been searching for a home for quite sometime. This weekend, we finally found something which we were interested in buying and so we asked the real estate agent to arrange a meeting with the seller this week. The meeting happened today and it didn’t go as planned. Since me and wife are both salaried professional, we wanted to get a home which would be financed by the bank. The bank normally finances 80-85% (depending on your credit scores and eligibility) of the agreement value. The seller however was only willing to make an agreement which was less than Rs. 49 lakh as he wanted to avoid the TDS (tax deductible at source) which needs to be paid if the agreement value is more than Rs. 49 lakhs. The total cost of the house was coming to 80 lakhs, so this would basically mean that bank would give a loan of Rs. 40 lakhs and the remaining 40 lakhs would need to be managed by me. I was very surprised on hearing this. The reason the seller cited for not making the agreement for more than Rs. 49 lakhs was that once the TDS is deducted, there is no guarantee that money would be refunded by the Income Tax officials.  Apparently the seller had some really bad experiences with the tax authorities and he didn’t want to take any further chances. The estate agent asked me if there was anything I could work out. I replied in negative saying that since we are salaried, this does not work for us.  The meeting finally ended with the estate agent promising to revert back to us with some kind of decision by the end of this week. Not feeling very hopeful about anything being worked out for this place. kandivalinds16hc