Yet another bike ride from one year to the other

“One must try to make one’s life as pleasant as possible. I’m alive and it’s not my fault, which means I must somehow go on living the best I can, without bothering anybody, until I die.’
‘But what makes you live? With such thoughts, you’ll sit without moving, without undertaking anything…’
‘Life won’t leave one alone as it is.” – War and Peace

I am in a very interesting phase of life, a stage where one looks forward to a million possibilities on the professional front. I will be completing my MBA with two months and probably will be the end of college life . I will talk about college life later but at this juncture i want to think of what lies ahead for me and us . Read a very interesting article by the editor of Mint on get a life. A friend commented on one of my pics telling that probably the next year would turn out to be mostly working in a company. What I see from here is that most of my friends who graduate now and others who are in job are already married. The transition from group pics with friends to couple pics has already started. In a few years from now there will be a secure job , family , receding hairlines and increasing waistlines for most of us.All the interest in our friends job, affairs, rat race , success will just disappear and will shift towards getting a good house , car , children , health etc. College life was one phase of life when in spite of all the halla bol there was a lot of me time. Probably what will distinguish you and me in the next 10 years from now will be how one handles these years and how much is one closer to doing the me thing more and more.

2013 has been an interesting year for me. I have traveled to  many cities on job and also for leisure and the bike trip to Utrakhand was probably the epitome of all the trips.I would like to list down the places and cities just for personal memories:

1) Mumbai : Tournament at S P Jain ( Will remember tearing my ligament here and also the old monk ride back to Delhi in the cold)

2) Rishikesh : (Will remember it for the tent house stay , the rafting and hitting long sixes in a match with the locals)

3) Intership : Chandigarh, Kolkata, Bhubhneshwar ( Chandigarh was very impressive, a planned and peaceful city, at Kolkata had an awesome time with cheta and rawat, Bhubhneswar was fun with tuktuk and mama)

4) Utrakhand : Bike trip to Badrinath and other places ( Just one thing , ask me about my bike trips and this will top the list)

5) Sikkim : Sikkim was a solo trip , wonderful experience and will be remembered for walking in the rain under an umbrella.

6)Rachi : Was at home for diwali and the run to catch the train will always be remembered.

7) Mcloudeganj bike trip : This was a recent trip which witnessed the transition from 2013 to 2014 .

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I had always wanted to visit a hill station in peak of winter but had never thought that the trip would happen on a bike. We had rented the bikes from http://www.stoneheadbikes.com/ and I must say that the bike and the service was truly great.One aspect which raised eyes was that we were riding in the cold winter but on a personal level there was one more thing which was very challenging. I have succumbed to a hair line fracture of which i came to know lately and still managed the trip. The best part of Mcloudeganj is the trek to Triund and in winter it includes a stretch of 1 km where you walk on the snow.

I look at 2014 as a year of possibilities and a year to travel.I will be free post February until the joining date arrives. In between i plan to something really really big. I ran over 640 kms last year and i want to drastically improve on that. 2013 will also me a memorable year for all the fans of Arsenal FC as the club ended on the top by year end. I did read few books in 2013 and the most interesting one was Born to run by Christopher Mcdougall.

Whatever the new brings I am sure to take care of a few things. I will be conscious of my health, eat a lot of fruits and veggies, run , read , travel among whatever life brings to me.

Happy New Year dear readers.

Light up your lives : A Philips competition entry

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently”- Calvin & Hobbes

Last year at this time, lurking on the footboard of Rajdhani express I remember gazing at the passing green trees shrouded with red gulmohar trees. I kept gazing at the setting Sun, waiting for a new day on which I begin yet another chapter of my life. A few days back I returned from a bike trip to Uttrakhand and I admit that I am lucky to have survived the deluge. There was a point at 7 p.m., the last 20kms of the valley still left and another 300km to reach my destination; I see a blue lit sky with a beautiful cloud cover and a light emerging much like a halo. I stood there and gazed through the slit in the helmet with the engine left to idle itself. That moment and many other similar discrete moments in life are the moments of hope, of light, of realization of a dream, of eternal happiness, of peace and many other great feelings in life

I feel that your life at B-school is a binary function much like many other things in life. Our life operates through a switch here and it upon us to switch it on. My last one year has been on a switch on mode. I still remember the first rains at college when we ran to the football field and drenched ourselves in rain. The element of light has not been restricted to big things and often I have found it in beautiful smile, a shake of hand, a random laugh, b day celebrations, gazing from my window, humor in the class, cups of tea with friends, breaks between classes, lyrics of a beautiful song, solving a difficult problem, celebrating after a match, random dances, a guitar session between assignments and many more.

Of all these small things in life there is also a much bigger thing that light signifies in our lives, the light within ,  the light of passion, of desire to pursue something unique and pursue it in whatever circumstances. A B school really tests your waters because of the lack of time. My one year at college has brought me more close to the things I love. At the end of an hectic day of work with little sleep previous night, often people go to the comforts of a nap, it is at these days I have wore my studs for a game of football in the evening. Of the endless pages of study material, at the end of the day I switched on my light to read a few pages from a book for the love of reading, for the love of that smell that a book brings with it. Sometimes light goes beyond a passion inside, it is then that you become a candle, a source of light. People have brought in light in my life here and I too have done my bit. Being a long distance runner, I know the feeling of ecstasy that running brings with it. I have started a running club and have initiated many people into it, my way of bringing light in some lives.

“Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of good things. And no good thing ever dies”― The shawshank redemption

I would end this post with few lines from my favorite movie, light is hope, a quintessential aspect of life and I have found in the most precarious of situations. What it has done to me is a feeling that everything will be all right and this too shall pass.

Note : The contest here made me gauze at a tubelight just above my bed. It has been a part and parcel of my life as it has always given that fun in reading just because of the ample light. I checked out the brand and laughed at seeing,”Philips” engraved, this tubelight too has been a source of light in my life , something very important I must admit.

English

“It should not be denied… that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations, with absolute freedom, and the road has always led West.” taken from into the wild

Thanks you life for sometimes you bump me across interesting people. Had a conversation with a friend or let me say a confession as this is an era of those to name IIT confessions se lekar all college confessions. There was a time in my life when i had come back from a village and found myself totally lost in the city. It was one of those evenings when i found my brother kneeling before one of my neighbors and  he making fun of him just because we were from village and did not know the english or anything else like them. This was probably the most important day of my life because on that i had decided that i will show them in my own way. From that day to the journey of this day has been wonderful.They talk of year on year growth at b schools , we must see the growth of some of the guys i have met and they will realize everything is vanity.

I don’t now how the talk today came on our CAT exams when a friend told me his story. You must listen to him once for i will never be able to bring out the essence. It goes like this that this friend of mine was very very weak in english , to an extent that he could hardly speak anything till standard six. So he landed up in a small fight at school and landed up in the principals office. He could not comprehend what the master had to say and just kept on shaking his head in the affirmative.Later when his father told him that why he did not wanted to study in the school he just laughed off saying that he could not understand what his principal had to say. We also laughed off but there was something that small thing which made me realize that really life is wonderful. To the kid carrying his dad’s credit card and ordering a subway enumerating all the minute specifications he wants , my friend , me and many others may appear as foolish but somewhere the fun of life is all about all those small things in life.

I am a very professional guy and quite formal too. Even if the company has offered me a huge sum of money to spend daily on accommodation and travel I know i will be modest and return the rest like a good boy because  i have always been like that. The whole post reminds me and so does the evening of the day i wrote my cat in the evening slot. I brought in professionalism because i was playing football for a club and being payed. On the day of exam i was supposed to play in the morning and i could have excused my self but i knew the team needed me. I had to tell a lie , i told mom that i had exam in the morning slot and later called up that i had messed up and i had my exam in the evening slot and that there was no point in returning back. I played the game , went and rested for sometime in a restaurant and wrote my exam. I know you may laugh at me , call it ridiculous just like the hundreds who think that Chris from Into the wild was a recluse and made a wrong choice. Let me be honest , in life if you don’t do these things then there would be no meaning to life.

Find below a pic from rishikesh , a place where i am happy really happy.

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To all the friends there you all are wonderful.

Updates of a roller coaster journey

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.”

I broke a ligament a few months back and since then I have run a half marathon, a mini marathon and many miles on the treadmill at gym. I will be participating in another half marathon in April. However i am still unable to play football, sit on my knees, put load on my left leg , jump and always fear another rupture while climbing down stairs or coming down a trek. Why I write it here is that i want to again remind myself that everything is in the mind and i am strong.I had realized a week into the injury that i can’t live without running and that is the day i put a crape bandage and started running again. The first few kms on the treadmill was painful and often i had to take breaks or take support of the side holdings to run. Eventually the muscles get warmer and i could not sense the pain and ran. There may be a lot of media coverage on Lance Armstrong but to this day I remember what he wrote about pain. You may come across this post and just read this paragraph and pass by, but let me tell you one thing about pain , it makes living worthwhile. A year of college has just rolled by and looking back it seems to be a roller coaster ride. I will talk about the last few months update later but let me tell you about a recent trip to Rishikesh.But before that find below a pic after completing a half marathon in Feb.

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They correctly say that once your life goes haywire you must go in to the wilderness. Just spent two days in a tent at rishikesh gazing up at the stars and some awesome hospitality by footloose holidays. I have been a great admirer of sunsets and sunrises but rarely have i observed the moon that much. So one of these evenings the moon emanates almost between two mountain peaks much like the sunrise drawings we used to make when as kids. Slowly the moon hovered around and came overhead in a few hours of time making me wonder that how we ignore the  very basic thing on this earth, the earth’s rotation. It also made me realize that this is true with most of the things we do, we have become destination lovers rather than journey appreciates, things in our lives has become absolute and in this mad race we ignore the very basic facts of our sojourn for example you just forgot about the breath you took now. Before i forget find below a pic of us at the camp house.

footloose

The trip to Rishikesh once again reminded me of the frugality of our lives. One of the rafts toppled over in the roller coaster rapid and incidentally the guide with 20 years of experience succumbed to injuries. The whole trip i must confess was a roller coaster right. It started with the cancellation of plans on two consecutive days and then the ruckus onward and return journey’s  by bus. One thing is for sure it has taken away my faith from the online bus booking system.

  Last three months have been breathless and with the downs there have been amazing ups two like winning the first trophy as the institute sports secretary , running in spite of injury and many others.The next two months will be coming back to life and it will comprise of a lot of travel and book reviews.

Coming to the last year of college i have realized that our lives are much like that of the football kids who play under Friday night lights. We know and to an extent they know that they are special and this sometimes gives us a sense of achievement. To an outsider our lives would be a thing of envy but in the true sense it all about clearing about a couple of exams. Probably what we make out of here would define our success in life and it definitely is not all about a handsome paycheck. On a different note I was wondering about the fact that thus starts the last year of academic life. If i look back i have done a lot of things , travel , job , football , classes, friends , parties and on and on. Probably it is the time , the year to at least speak to someone of the fairer sex and befriend her.With friends at college below

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It’s a wonderful life

“Wind in my hair, I feel part of everywhere 

Underneath my being is a road that disappeared

Late at night i hear the trees  , they are singing with the dead 

Overheard…..”– Eddie Vedder – Into the Wild 

There is something wonderful about getting what you want and I have felt over the years that it is propelled by your desire. It may seem trivial that everyone desires but do they get it ? That particular desire which I am talking of comes from within and it can not come in the same proportion for all the things in your life. So it so happened that during a diwali break I almost landed up in a bike trip. I had already started in a car and had spent a day at Tosh and Kasol when my friend turned up on his Royal Enfield and layed the foundations of a wonderful trip to be.

When you are alone, sometimes you do talk to yourself . Of the many books I have read there have been characters who have lived a lonely life and sometimes have spoken to inanimate things. Do you remember Wilson and Tom Hanks from Castaway. The Dug Dug Dug Dug.. of a Royal Enfield never lets you be alone, whenever I am on the road alone that particular sound reminds me of a companion , of a power , of a reliable friend , of comfort and thus it turns makes me formidable. I hope you get my point your bike is your sole companion in your journey on two wheels and most of the time it treats you as you have treated her.

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God has placed beauty in the strangest of places. You may find it in the yellow leaves sprinkled on the road or a purple flower in the wilderness of a mountain and even in an author’s imagination. On my way to Rohtang pas in the evening I found beauty everywhere , at every turn , in every rock and among all the long trees. I found myself once again in that precarious situation with a valley on one side and beauty all around. I think that is how nature has placed things around us and makes us work for it time and again. For all that joy that you may have felt on achievement of a goal i am sure one reason for the ecstasy would definitely be of the pains that you may have taken.For me  then it was about the beauty in spite of the cold in my hands , the tiredness from the long days ride and the mental fatigue of concentrating hard on dangerous roads. I have often been told and so do i guess you have been too but then my philosophy is to experience it and then judge whether you want to do that again or not . For me two wheels is a symbol of freedom for when the wind the gushes through me on the roads it just makes me purer.The picture below was clicked on this marvellous evening.

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What makes a trip , a day special is how different you treated the day. In the twenty some diwalis that i have witnessed I remember 3 of them , one of course was the one in which i burned my hands. The other was a night spent at Yercaud with a set of 60 year olds who had left their families just to reunite. That night was a revelation and I remember one of them saying us that we must continue biking , continue living these adventures as eventually there will come a time when there will never be enough time. This diwali too was special and its memories will always be etched in my mind. Heading to Shimla on the bike we couldn’t make it in time and so had to halt at a village around 30km in total wilderness. They do not celebrate diwali here but they are familiar with the concept of hospitality. A night at one hand filled me with gratitude and on the other the realization that contentment in life can be found in the weirdest of places that one can never envisage.

Life has changed a lot over the last six months, from the freedom and happy life of a NGO to the daily rigours of an academic programme. I have learnt one thing in the past six months that no one can stop you from happiness. I had tales of how much work one has to do in a MBA programme but i was determined to enjoy myself along with the academics. I ran 3 half marathons , played lots of football, went out for one long bike trip , read books and started writing paid reviews for Flipkart and so on. In a way life just went on and it has eventually taken a normal course. I am finding less time to write and this post was long in the queue. Would like to end this post with a pic of the latest half marathon and some lines from the movie UDAAN.

marathon

छोटी छोटी छितराइन यादें बिछी हुईं लम्हों कि लौ में 

नंगे पैर उनपे चलते चलते इतनी दूर आ गए हैं 

कि अब भूल गए हैं कि जूते कहां उतारे थे

A paragraph on yourself

It is great to find sometime to be back on this space.Life is hectic and I am fighting it out.In one of the introductory lectures on WAC(Written analysis of cases) we were supposed to write a paragraph on ourselves without mentioning the trivial details like home town, graduation college, academic record etc. In fact it was bringing out  some aspect of yourself in a different and probably a creative way.It is an interesting exercise that one must undertake for fun.Here is my entry which had to be done in 10 minutes.I am happy that for writing out this I did not had to think much and the flow came naturally.Here is my entry on the same.

                       I have always loved the window seat on a train right from my childhood. I have taken many train journeys with my nose in between the bars of the window, eyes on the parallel rails and cool breeze blowing past me.One of the favourite past times being counting the number of stations that the train stopped at. However, till date the train journeys from Howrah to Tata  incite the same emotions as a kid for there are plenty of football fields on the route and the very sight of one made me jump. Football has been a part of my life since childhood. It has been the source of inspiration , a reward which has made me conquer all the obstacles in life.When I was a kid, mom used to make me do my homework on the pretext that I would be allowed the play football once I completed my homework.Soon this award system went into my system and I started rewarding myself by working hard and football as a treat.The same habit has made me sail through my graduation and it is there still.I have learnt leadership, perseverance, patience, cooperation, teamwork, ethics, organization, concentration, and many more attributes from football. But my greatest learning from the game has been that on friendship.I have always been a great friend and have a plenty of good friends and of all of them the ones i made playing football are still the closest to the heart.I treasure that feeling when I get so engrossed in what i am doing that nothing else matters at the moment.My times on the field have been like this. Often after a game of football , lying on the ground , looking up at the stars I have found peace, a connection to eternity. Life at a B school is tough and sometimes in the evening while returning from classes I too have the urge of sleeping but then there is some invisible force which drives me to the field.I have always been the one who has a pair of studs in his bag.I have drawn my strength from the game and  have lived my days on a day to day basis and i hope with every passing day I keep drawing the strength, the hope to move on.

The Gurgaon Half marathon and life in general

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Tell me not, in mournful numbers,

Life is but an empty dream!

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.

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Life is real―Life is earnest―

And the grave is not its goal:

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.

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Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,

Is out destin’d end or way;

But to act, that each to-morrow

Find us farther than to-day.

You know what is the most easiest thing to do in life ? To give up. For me life has taken a complete U turn. Over the last 45 days i have written 28 exams , 14 PPTs , assignments, the number I can”t recall and a plethora of classes.A B school never sleeps and time runs fast here. To top all this,there is someone toiling harder and the pressure soon becomes a pressure cooker. There is no life here or rather one forgets about the possibility of life.

So last Sunday I ran , I ran for my life , for all those  people who had forgotten that it existed. With almost no practice , humid and difficult conditions , these were the toughest 21 kms till date but at the same time equally exhilarating.It marked the slow coming back to life.Post marathon there are at least 15 people who have started running and the upcoming Delhi marathon will have a good participation. It feels good to bring back life here, in mine and many others.

To the readers, i have been not writing much and this is again a small and uninteresting post.But every post has a significance , a personal one here, to remind myself of the things I love and in future if  I feel like accepting a defeating probably this post will give some motivation.Happy running to all of you.

Time for school a B-school

“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness”

Once again, lurking on the foot board of the Rajdhani Express I let the cool wind blow across my face, for in few hours my life is going to change and among many  things that may change I will really miss this wind with the freshness of rain. But this is how life is, at every juncture one has to leave behind things and move forward. What I leave behind today is a great set of friends and the evening football with them, my bike and a bagful of memories . I had once written about  the reason of pursuing a MBA and i am glad that to this day it is very much the same.

The biggest of dreams can be very simple, until you go to college, that is.You know what shooting stars do to you ? They make you realize that one thing that you really wish at a moment of time.B-Schools test your passion and commitment, for here you come one day and all of a sudden you find that there is no time.A month of stay here has brought me closer to the things I love to do, especially Football,writing and reading.I have taken pains to pursue all of them and can safely say that I live for them. It is not time, it is not the work, it is not you friend next door but you will realize that it is you.So for all of you who have embarked upon this journey find time for the things you love for that is the only thing which is worthwhile.

Seeing the concern of these 20 something class mates over a piece of paper which they call CV, I wonder how mechanical our lives have become.There is a life beyond assignments, case studies , presentations. God has bestowed us with another opportunity to relive our lives.Recall that last day of your college and also the first day. Was it the mad race that made those 4 years special? Did friendship happen to you over an interview or was it a natural process? Remember that first rain when you danced with your friends, remember all those B day parties, the nights you spent singing, intoxicated in friendship and all those talks over a cup of tea. Ya we are back , our life is back, we are back  to college and let it be a Dejavu.

Every thing said and done , let’s not forget that this is also an opportunity , redemption for some while for others, coming of age.I guess these 18 months will be a crucial step towards our careers and in no way can we neglect it but the biggest lesson of all will be in forming an opinion of self with which we agree to. Every thing has to be taken in the right spirit,even though subjects may just go tangent at times but that is what makes the subject all the more interesting , sometimes you may have no time to sleep but you will always have the pleasure of completing your job. We have to create a halo , a bliss , a joy in our professors jokes, hard laugh on classmates petty mistakes and above all our own endeavour to spread joy and make others laugh.