Sunday, December 13, 2009

My India

Early morning in the Pune Ernakulam express. A groggy-eyed me watches the world go by, bathed in the golden rays of the rising sun. Small hamlets rush by, their occupants just beginning their days. Small mud houses with thatched roofs and acres and acres of farmland all around. The sun continues its rapid ascent in the eastern skies, a blob of fire fast being tamed by the haze and fog of the morning. The wind rushes in through the open window, making me raise my jacket's zip upto my chin. It's the middle of winter. A train whooshes past, shrieking away to glory. The cold in the wind adds to the magic of looking out of the window, there's something quite inexplicable to it. A falcon starts the day's hunt in the distance.

The occupants of the train slowly start rising from their slumber, and start going about their morning duties in leisurely fashion. Such luxury would be rare for many of them in the normal course of their lives, and the sudden abundance of time seems to make many of them a bit confused. Or maybe it wouldn't be. I should stop looking at others through my rather clouded lenses.

A group of Sadhus are traveling in my compartment. They suddenly burst into prayer, performing their daily rites. The rest of the bogie looks on curiously.

A group of kids, just up, wave at us from another small hamlet we pass by. Cows and buffaloes roam around near houses, waiting to led to their daily pastures. A farmer pulls a lone reluctant bull towards some task which it is loathe to doing.

Small hills and large mountains escape by, as the train passes through a more or less barren landscape. Suddenly, as I've just got used to it, the forest closes in. How could I forget? The forests of Eastern Goa, the stunning evergreen forests in which a decade ago, I'd spent an incredible week. Down and down the train goes, leaving the deccan plateau towards the coast, skirting past the awe-inspiring Dudhsagar waterfalls, the rails a mere thread over the vast expanse of the valley.

As I sit at the window of my 6 Euro-for-24-hours, non AC seat, I look outside and think... this is India. My India. As I contemplate my future and wonder where I want to be, these are the moments which will drag me back, from all the wonders and magic of the outside world. Where a simple train journey will give me that unexplainable feeling of everything's-right-with-the-world, even when it isn't.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Last term at IIMK beckons...

It's the last day of the break between Term 5 and 6 of my MBA, and as I pack up and try to collect all the mess I have systematically spread all over the house, the myriad collection of chargers, cables, devices and accessories that our lives have become intertwined in, I am at a loss to understand my emotions. Am I happy or sad? Happy to be heading back to what would be the last few months on campus, or sad to leave home again, this time with the rather scary feeling that I have no idea when I would call this place home again. Leaving home for the MBA was different, there was a time frame attached to that, there was a fair bit of certainty involved. As I leave for campus this time round, I am staring at a lot of uncertainty. Where would my job take me, how far would it from what I call home now? Should I be happy and excited at the change and look forward to another new beginning, welcome the differences and new things, and try to get a role which would take me to new places and destinations and let me carry forward the experiences I so loved during my summer internship, or should I try to come back to what is essentially mine; my city, my people, my friends? These are tough choices to make, especially after I've spent a fortnight at home, experiencing so many of this things that made my life nice before all this circus started. How much of change is good, and how much is too much? When would I get tired of things being different and crave for the things back home? Do I make new friends and move on, or do I come back to the ones I have here, who, although having understandably moved on a bit with their lives, are still more or the less the same old folks I remember from my engineering days? Sometimes I crave for the awesome experiences I had in Europe, the feeling of instant friendships and deep connects that I experienced in a matter of hours, at other times, after a party or two in Pune with the old gangs, I tend to forget that this is not reality, not my present, but a fast-receding past which I am still fortunate to visit once a while.

Should I try to make my past once again my present and future and wallow in the comforts of known vistas and horizons, or should I step out and leave it all behind and move ahead? As much as I loved my experiences at IIMK and in Europe over the last 18 odd months, I do believe that change is often over-rated, and the known and comfortable past too vilified and under-rated. Should one keep striving for change, for novelty, for new experiences all the time, or is it fine to come back to what one loved after experiencing a fair bit of it?

Its a matter of weeks before my time at IIMK ends, and before I (hopefully!) make a choice about my work and location after my MBA. How do I even begin to tackle these questions is beyond me, and what I will do and how I will react when it comes to crunch is something which pretty much scares the stuffing out of me!