Saturday, December 20, 2014

99 days

One lazy evening few months ago, I decided to sketch a bit in my nice tiny notebook. The one with yellowish handmade paper. I loved the black pens that I kind of took from my dad. He asked me if I would be using them. I was skeptical. But then I wanted them! I didn't know if I would use them ever, but I just said yes and put them in my luggage. And here I was, with the black pen and empty paper. Trying to draw. I had no clue what I wanted to draw. I just doodled a bit and was excited. I took some photos with my old phone.

I came across this blog where a lady drew for some 300+ days. Daily. And she posted the sketches online. Mostly pencil sketches. That's when I randomly decided to draw. For 99 days. Why 99? 9 is my favourite number and 100 is too cliche.

I used MS Excel to determine what would be the last day for the project. Well, it was my friend's idea. Obviously. Dec 18th it said. That's far. Super faaaar was what I thought. But then, one day at a time.

Slowly there was a theme  of sorts. I started drawing whatever inspired me on that particular day. It became this dear diary to me, but with pictures. I made my first tumblr blog. Uploaded them weekly. Learnt some editing techniques on picasa.

It was fun. I discovered myself in ways unknown to me earlier. My parents initially laughed it off. Because they felt that I used to draw much better when I was in 5th standard. I hardly got any feedback from friends. But he did remind me and would ask about my sketches, almost daily for reasons unknown.

Recently when amma was here, I was showing her pics of my latest sketches. And looks like she enjoyed. She really liked them. That meant a lot to me. I did get some feedback from Facebook friends. Not as much as I would have wanted.

Some of the questions that I encountered- Why did I do this? A lot of reasons. Did I plan this? Well, no. Will I do something about this? Maybe. Will I get anything out of this? Obviously. (Why would someone even ask me this question)

We are constantly losing our identity. Getting sucked into the corporate world. Falling prey to the materialistic pleasures in life. And one day, there you are, drinking and getting pained with life. Accusing life to be filled with boredom. Trying to find people to talk to.

If anything, I have learnt to be alone. I have learnt to enjoy my thoughts. I have learnt to keep my phone away and observe the sky and the roads and the traffic. I have learnt to lose myself and feel good about it.

Some small thing to connect to have that sense of belongingness. Some tiny thought to make you smile and feel good. One word to set you into that thinking mode. This is all you need. This is all I need. This is all we all need.

Here is the url-

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Another year comes to an end bringing with it a ton of "top ten" lists. The year end reminds you of your resolutions. Well, remember all those things that you resolved for the new year 2014?

I am soon going to be an year older and probably a bit wiser. This year I am not going to have any new year resolutions. I never predicted 2014 to turn out this way. An international trip, a fundraiser, resigning from my first job, getting my "first pay cheque" for the second time- were some firsts.

I am not going to make any grand plans for my future. None of the well-thought-hundreds-of-hours-spent-in-thinking level five year plans. Why? I think planning to that extent kind of restricts you. It paves a path and forces you to see the route. You see far. Agreed. But do you see the alternate routes? And detours get painful as a lot of things tend to get connected.

What makes me write about this? Well, I saw a friend of mine setting goals for Dec. Pretty lofty goals. I was reminded of the days where I set those kind of goals. It brought upon me a lot of misery. I started feeling bad for not reaching them. I was feeling conscious as I might have mentioned those goals to some people around.

Goals are a way of keeping you motivated. But do we account for the peace of mind and freedom which is much much much needed these days. I read somewhere recently- We are human beings and not human doings. It hit me really hard.

This has been a crappy post. I hope to manage my time better after coming back from work, I need to find ways of spending time in the long bus ride to office and back. I need to.. I have to.. I should.. There goes the loop.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The decked journey

I always wanted to do this. Sit in a train. By the window side. Music and Zimlog. The scenery outside. The trees shooting through the clouds. The clouds attempting to overlap the blue sky. Clouds overshadowing their lesser mighty friends. Netted sunbeams dancing on the green stretches of grass. The stones on the sides. One over another. Heaped up. As high as a hill. A hill which has just stones. The railway tracks that were laid decades ago. Shiny and smooth. Strong. Today, it is not going to be about people. The people around me. People lost in music. People reading books. Multilingual. People munching on those airbags filled with crumbs of chips. It is not going to be about food either. The oily vegetable cutlets. The soggy curd rice. The plastic rolls containing water to gulp down the food.
What is it going to be about? Well, I don't know. I will just write. Write, as the thoughts play hide and seek in my head. Continue to write as they put me in contradictory positions. Write, as the thoughts vanish. Vanish- like the pen that you so fondly purchased. Write until it seems strange. Write, till the ideas seem distant. As distant as those friends you once played snake and ladders with.

"Hope you will be doing what you want to." I don't know what I want. I kind of know what I don't want. I knew I did not want to sit in a corporate at this point in my life. So I left. I am going elsewhere. If I had life figured out at 23, what would I do the rest of my life?

The decked journey. It is a double decker train. Triple, I would say. The world looks different from this height. Much different for a short person like me. Perspective.

"Life is beautiful" I said. I said that after a long long time, he pointed out. Well, really? I haven't had the time to pause and feel that life is beautiful. Thus I am leaving this lifestyle behind in search of that lifestyle where a pause exists. In search of what exactly? I don't know. I haven't figured it out yet. At the end of this journey, I guess I will figure out what I was looking for. Or rather, what I was not looking for. And then I will move on once again. Loaded with more memories. Souvenirs. Hopefully, lesser luggage. "After all, we are human beings and NOT human doings" said some article. An article that I recently opened in that newly launched browser feature in Facebook.

"Discover your own music. You will love it." Appreciating the bits and pieces. Lyrics and the chords. The tune. The journey of a song. The journey with a song.

This is a great journey. Layers of thoughts decked in my head. The decked journey.

Friday, October 24, 2014

People and Philosophy

 " Philosophy like most other subjects, does not try to extend our knowledge by discovering new information about the world. Instead it tries to deepen our understanding through rumination on what is already closest to us. The experiences, thoughts, concepts, and activities that make up our lives but that ordinarily escape our notice precisely because they are so familiar"
Read this somewhere. (You could look up the source, if enthu. )

Once I shared those lines with some friends, I also learnt about this:

This sets up the context for what I have been going through for sometime now. Things which I had taken for granted when in college. In insti, I could just go to any friend and start a discussion about any topic under the sun, well, above as well. But you get it. I could just barge into someones room and listen to the ongoing arguments while munching home food. One could lazily sit in the canteen or CCD and overhear wild ideas spinning off! Such was the company of friends and foes :)

Post college, there was this long vacation before I got to work. It was a nice break where I did not have to think about courses or electives or responsibilities or paying mess fees. I kind of switched off and gave my head some much needed rest (and rust), I guess.

Once I got to Bangalore, I kind of struggled to keep this balance. The balance in the interactions with people around. The intellectual balance.
I struggled to find some space to run. I struggled to find some breathing space. The bright neon lights from the 8th floor office pantry did not help me much in this regard. Though this later led to meeting interesting people.

But people! People are a lot more than their weird beards, boring spectacle frames, heavy black helmets that they carry along, gelled hair, oversized jackets or dimples. Being a newbie at work, it did take some time for me to see and talk to people around me. The coffee breaks sans coffee exposed me to history, cultures, music from 70's, Socrates(?) and a lot more things which aren't right now on my mind. These made me feel alive and also made me miss the company of some of my insti friends.

These were three good months in Bangalore and I am sure I will miss some people. Oh yes, I resigned from my current job. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured on!

Below is the article that has been written by a journalist from yourstory. Yes, they featured me!

‘I have been running barefoot for the past 7 months. I completed Spirit of Wipro Half marathon barefoot. The next also should hopefully be done that way.‘

Bindu Upadhyay is an ambitious girl. Her love for running has been with her for a very long time, and is an important part of who she is. When at IIT Madras, Upadhyay was part of a running group called the Forest Gumps. The activity is so ingrained in her, this time around, she decided she was going to run for more than a personal desire.

Upadhyay’s latest campaign is to raise funds for children in rural Tamil Nadu, so they may have access to better quality education.

For anyone daunted by the thought of marathons, Upadhyay laughingly says, ‘You know, if you see me, you won’t think I run marathons. I’m quite chubby. Running is about fitness and stamina, so you don’t have to be thin or anything for it.’

Upadhyay’s ran half marathons in quite a few major cities in India, but Bangalore seems to be her favourite destination. ‘There are a lot of training runs in Bangalore, and it’s a very great place to have them. It’s very active,’ she says.

Over the next two months, Upadhyay hopes to raise Rs 150,000 for this cause. She’s already raised a cool Rs 66,595. Her inspiration to be part of this campaign began with her interaction with Eureka Child Foundations, the organisation that’ll receive the charity. Concerned by the low levels of education in rural Tamil Nadu, Upadhyay believed children, who we see selling cheap products on the street, should, instead, be gaining valuable knowledge in schools, so they may one day have a future of their own.

On September 21, Upadhyay completed the Spirit of Wipro Marathon. The Bengaluru Marathon is scheduled to take place on October 19th, followed by The Wipro Chennai Marathon on December 7th.

When asked why this was important to her, Upadhyay says, ‘I am someone who really believes in health and fitness. I feel that people should make an effort to be healthy, because it’s important to lead a healthy life. Also, I’m very passionate about spreading awareness about education for these children who are working on the streets instead of studying in schools.‘

Upadhyay’s concern for health and fitness also began when her doctor diagnosed her with a thyroid imbalance. She started with running short distances of 200 metres that would leave her exhausted. It dawned on her how out of shape she was, and probably, how out of shape everyone else must be, too, when they’re used to this modern-day sedentary lifestyle.

After two years of training, Upadhyay’s completed eight 10K runs and five half marathons of 21.1 kilometres. She believes running, or any kind of healthy activity, keeps the mind healthy and functioning much better, even at a creative level.

Not everyone gets to turn their passion into a cause, but that’s just what Upadhyay has done, whether it’s running, her passion for fitness or actively helping in bringing education to those who are too under-privileged to access it themselves. If there’s any advice, then it’s just one that Upadhyay wants to give to those interested in her story: Just lace up and go run! ... read more on

Saturday, September 20, 2014

99 days

So I decided to sketch and ramble for 99 days. This is my attempt to get back to good old hobby- painting.

I have put up all my sketches here-
Numbered them from 99 as reverse counting helps! :)

Most of them are directly drawn in my tiny book with a black pen. I spend around 3 minutes to sketch. Maybe some extra time on Picasa to crop, edit etc. They are inspired by things that happen during the day or random thoughts that tend to settle in my head. I intend to dedicate all these 99 to people. *Project under construction*
I hope to pick up some digital tools soon. Any suggestions/tutorials?

I am excited to take this up for October-
Time to get an ink pen and another sketch book as well! :) #Inktober

I have written stuff in Zimlog- My journal. (Zim Wiki is awesome!
Nothing great on this front. The usual "TIL" and "What-I-did-today" stuff. Hopefully this evolves into something better.

If you have any such ideas, let me know! Maybe we can collaborate.

Meanwhile, here is one such sketch-

Friday, September 12, 2014

Once you cross that finish line

The endless, quiet roadways, shaded by outstretched branches of trees, have always inspired runners in insti, and a lot of people talk about how running feels good, both mentally and physically. Three years back, I would have had trouble believing it. I was diagnosed with thyroid and I still remember the first time I attempted to run. I managed to cover about 200 m, and was exhausted by the time I reached the stadium from GC! But from then, I began to run laps in the stadium, with motivation from our very own Half Ironman, Rudra ‘GPS’ Naik, and things improved with time. One day, my faculty advisor called us to his office and told us about the 2011 Marg Chennai Runners Half Marathon and 10K to be held in November at IITM. We signed up enthusiastically and managed to drag ourselves to the start line.
As they say, once you cross that finish line, you would have changed your life forever.
I started training regularly from August 2012 and continued to do so when I was in Bangalore for six months of 2013. Since then, I have completed eight 10K runs and four half marathons (21.1 km), thanks to the encouragement by my friends at Chennai Runners. The first time, I wondered whether the little training I did would suffice, but as I was running with my friend, I was very enthusiastic and positive about finishing.
Over time, I have fallen in love with running. It is a way of life for me. I enjoy my runs to the core; it’s not just a sport for me. I’ve even cracked some assignments and puzzles while running. It is a stress-buster, and every run is a learning experience. It is also my way of giving back to society by running to  raise funds for NGOs that are working towards improving primary education.
I run 3-4 times a week and I aspire to be more disciplined with my training. For the past 7 months, I have been running barefoot — there’s something about feeling the ground under your feet while running. However, one has to exercise caution: while it can fix issues with one’s running form, it can also lead to injuries if one is not attentive.
How the Forest Gumps became the IITM Runners Club
The group that trained for Pinkathon to raise breast cancer awareness – March 2014.
The club began in 2011, while we were training for the MARG Chennai Runners Half Marathon and 10k. We were a small group that met to run on campus every Saturday from 6:15 am. The club was coordinated by Adhokshaj Bellurkar, an alumnus who was then a Dual Degree student in Mechanical Engineering. He was one among the many who discovered — or reignited — their passion for running after joining IITM. He also began a Facebook group for the running enthusiasts of IITM — aptly named ‘Forest Gumps’. Information regarding Saturday morning runs would be posted there, and he even offered wake-up calls for those who wished to join. (Gathering a group of people to run on Saturday mornings is difficult!) Many of these people started from scratch and have gone ahead to complete half and full marathons. We also had 8-9 people gathering and running during the evenings as well. All it took to regularly gather this motley group of runners three days a week was a Facebook group and some enthusiastic runners to spread word.
What I love the most during our group runs is the conversation. We chit-chat and stretch together before the run. The faster runners usually go ahead and I stick with the beginners, if any. Running in a group is fun; it gives you a chance to push your limits.
Insti junta meet after TCS 10k at Bangalore. From left to right: Adhokshaj ( ME 07-12) Nagendra (CS 06-11) Lohit (NA-08-12) Bindu (ED- 09-14) Naga Jyothi (ME 07-12) and a participant from Chennai Runners.
Insti junta from four batches meet after TCS 10k at Bangalore. From left to right: Adhokshaj ( ME 07-12), Nagendra (CS 06-11), Lohit (NA-08-12), Bindu (ED- 09-14), Naga Jyothi (ME 07-12) and Aravind,Comrades finisher
After Adhokshaj graduated in 2012, I began to coordinate the runs with Prof. Preeti Aghalayam. In August 2012, we decided to formalise these runs and the Forest Gumps became the IITM Runners Club. All through August to November 2012, we had a lot of these morning and evening training runs. We sent smails in an attempt to reach more people, and organised three campus-wide runs during this time. The first one was open to all on campus and it saw an exceptional turnout — no less than 120 people for a fun 5k run. We had post-run refreshments and gifts for all the participants. The second one was organised in coordination with Mitr, which was generous enough to give a lot of prizes, and the third was held specially for research scholars. We also attempted to get more girls into running by offering free registration for a Women’s Day run in IITM, but it was disheartening to see very few of them turn up.
For Wannabe Runners
If you are a newbie and would like to get some ‘fundaes’, here’s what I would say: just lace up and go run. Start slow. Maintain a pace at which you can have a conversation without losing your breath. Don’t over-train. If needed, you may carry a small water bottle to keep yourself hydrated. I started with the run-walk method. It was helpful to gradually build my stamina without injuries. A lot of people complain about injuries due to which they stop running. If that’s the case, I’d advise you to strengthen, get fit and gain confidence.
Most importantly, lose all inhibitions and don’t get intimidated. We have all started out as beginners. If motivation is what you are lacking, there are a lot of inspiring stories and people out there to keep you going! Sign up for a race and train for it.
Running can be that component which you feel might be missing in your life. It can push you to have those adventures you always wanted. It can bring a whole new perspective to your life. You meet new people. You hear very inspiring stories. You get awesome medals!
Insti is one of the most sought-after places to run, be it for the greenery, lack of annoying traffic or those clean roads. After running outside insti for six months during my internship, I realized this the hard way. But I am glad I made the most out of it in my final year, and I suggest you do too–there are a lot of Gumps on campus who are very enthusiastic to help you get started.
Feel free to ping me if you have any queries, and hope to run with you sometime!
P.S- This article was published in our campus magazine-

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Work life is so different compared to college. Everything changes. There are some things I have learnt and experienced. I thought I would just pen down some of them. Well, whatever comes to my mind right now. Not necessarily in the order of priority.

With the placement season starting in college, people display their sudden new found interests in "supply chain" or "manufacturing" or analytics" or "consulting". Yeah, THAT phase. I have been through that at various points. Now when I look back, it does seem silly. The choices that we make are largely influenced by people we interact with.

Assume you did not know anyone in this world. You are just this entity. You don't have anyone that you need to impress. You don't have to prove a point to someone. Would you still be making these choices? Is it money? Is it the "so-called" fame or elitism or is it true passion? Is it something that excites you?
This is a tough exercise. You might feel naked and exposed to yourself. The best way to move forward is to embrace it and know who you are. Exploring new arenas is a lot of fun. We all have those doubts in our minds about the choices that we make.

How do you know if you are really passionate about something? How would you know if it is something that you want to explore? Did you read about something which inspired you? Did you talk to people in that field as a result of this? Next up- Did you ponder why exactly this interests you? And you have awesome reasons? Wow! Did you put yourself in the shoes of someone in this field? Did you try anything to mimic it? Kudos. Well, not all are lucky enough to find their passion in their early 20s, be it career-wise or partner-wise!

I find myself enthused about a lot of things. But I have also observed that my interest levels die down exponentially at times. It is extremely discomforting to accept this. It happens sometimes when I try exploring new things. It is so exciting to be able to play a guitar, for example. I went ahead and borrowed one. It was just there in my room for a while before I returned it. I returned it and gave myself a lot of reasons on why I did that. I gave those reasons to myself and to people around me. Justifications.
I personally feel that we do get carried away by what others have done. Follow people you admire and see where life has taken them.

Whatsup in Bangalore? In the past 6 weeks, I have attended a "Jugaadathon". I am currently attending an IoT Hackathon. Both in the domain of healthcare. I am doing couple of online courses to pick up new skills. I am meeting new people and venturing into new ideas. I have continued running by finding a group in my area. But I have also spent lazy weekends watching House, once again. By just munching on food and watching more House episodes.

Exposing yourself to a lot of things is one way to go about finding what works for you. Interacting with people about their ideas fills you with so much energy and also does restore some hope in humanity and this world.
I am exploring. It gives me that kick to drag me out of my bed. People are awesome. They do such amazing things with so much passion and a smile on their face. Miles to go, glad to be moving and resting when tired.

Please let me know how you found your passion. Would love to listen to your stories!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

TCS 10k 2014

Where I lost myself, once again..

It all started with a ping couple of months ago. And I was just reminded of the amazing Bangalore climate. I told myself last year that I would do the 10k again in 2014. Well, I hope to do it every single year when I am in India. I went ahead and registered for the TCS10k after a tiring process of uploading photo and id etc.
Having gotten used to the usual stares from people when I told them I was travelling 300km for a 10km run, I started putting in more training miles (I count in kilometres though). Gradually the pace improved. I once did a sub 6:00 min/km 5.6km run too! The barefoot transition was working well for me. Stares and questions and “advice” from people? A lot. All set, I left for Bangalore by our dear KSRTC bus service.
Saturday. The race expo was at Kanteerava Stadium. Just across the road where I stayed for close to 6 months. Egg factory and a boring movie followed. It was fun. I was with friends. I had trained for the run to an okay extent(compared to earlier ones). Definitely not even close to my best. I recently started doing “intervals”. They are very addictive! The high I get after a kick ass run is nothing compared to all those shots of Tequila. I am glad I got a couple of them in those 2 weeks leading up to the event.

Says my dailymile log. Happy for 2014. ^_^
This was my first “official” barefoot run. On the roads of a new city. I was very apprehensive about it. Thanks to a Bangalore Barefoot runner, he assured me that the road would be fine. I just had to focus a bit to not get stomped by the heavy runners. I decided to wear a bright green T shirt to be noticeable. Well, to get some photos clicked as well!
Saturday night. Curd rice as dinner. It rained. Power cut. Hardly slept. Slight pain in my legs due to all the walking. That was a bit weird though.

May 19th. Sunday Morning! Race day! Walked to the stadium. Looong queues. Really long. At 6:10 am, I was still outside the stadium, trying to get in. And there I was. In section E. Stretching a bit. Once the gates opened, people just hurried with loud cheers. The atmosphere was very energetic! I wasn’t running with anyone in particular. I decided to pace myself and just soak in the city.

Just after 300m or so, I spotted the 75 minute pacer. We chatted quite a bit. He told me to just run with him and he would take care of my target (~70 min). He told me where to slow down a bit and kept encouraging me all throughout! Wow indeed. This was the first time someone was pacing me and I just loved the experience. I saw a couple of barefoot runners. Maybe 3-4. Some asked me questions about the absence of my shoes. The ups and downs on the route. Nothing like those flat roads on campus. Once we entered Cubbon park, I knew I was close to the finish line. I just didn’t accelerate much until I was just 200m away from the finish. I was trying to conserve my energy? I don’t know why. I could have accelerated earlier. Lesson learnt.

I felt that the run ‘ended’ very soon. I got my Personal Best. 67 minutes! It was amazing. I felt accomplished. It gave me confidence for the upcoming half marathon. I have miles to go. But this has definitely boosted my confidence. I am thankful to a lot of people for having made this possible. To my lovely host, to the pacer, my co-runner (who also got a PB), Gumps, insti (people and roads) and obviously, friends and family.

P.S- I would definitely want to pace someone, if they allow me to. Someday, I will. ☺
After the run. I love that T shirt! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

What would you change?

What one thing would you change in your life if you had to do it over again?

I believe in making peace with mistakes and learning from them, even if it takes months, at times. If not for mistakes of the past, I wouldn’t be what I am today. Every turn teaches us a lot and it depends on us how well we absorb and move on. I wouldn’t say my life is perfect. I wouldn’t want to change anything. I am here as a consequence of all my actions. Whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger- this keeps me going even in difficult times.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why can’t you? Get there.

It hurts when people just fling dialogues. I can’t do that. I can’t do this. Why can’t you? Have you given enough thought? Did you ask those 5 whys? Did you get to the bottom?Often we realise that the things that are being a road block are quite different from the actual problem. This is where the “Why” framework comes into picture. Ask. Ask again till you get to it.
I am trying to work on this aspect and try every now and then to take up challenges. Stretch your boundaries and venture into new things.
I have realised that I have placed a lot of limitations on myself based on very random things. I have learnt not to do that again. Never ever again. We tend to overlook so many opportunities as we conveniently blinfold ourselves. Recently I saw this old lady who was driving a 2-wheeler. It made me feel so good and proud. At the same time, I was filled with regret for having this unknown fear in me. Fear to try new things at times.
It hurts to see 20 somethings say that they can’t get up and walk a mile or two. Is it laziness? Is it lack of discipline? Self doubt?
Push your limits. Always. Get as far as you can. Enjoy the kick you get out of it. Well, why not? :D

23 or 38!

After the successful Bangalore trip, I boarded a KSRTC bus. And there was this lady beside me. Well, each seat had a TV screen. The image on my tv screen was mirror imaged and the one on her screen was upside down! Just like our lives, she said. That is how the conversation began. We discussed about the culture in Bangalore and the culture in Chennai and culture in general. We spoke about the sense of belongingness. We spoke about the sky. She spoke about Colorado. I spoke about my first trip abroad. We spoke about dating guys. She told me her story. Well, I didn’t have anything much to say. We spoke about running! And pets.
We spoke about a lot of things. It felt very warm because I could connect with her. It was a great experience talking to her as I learnt quite a few new things. Her open mindedness just numbed me for a while.
She is an entrepreneur. She was bubbling with energy which made me reflect on myself. Life is a long journey. Just keep moving. Do what you want to. Pursue your passion. Have some hobbies. Above all, just keep moving. Don’t you want to be happy and excited? Would you want a dull life, ever? I think she made me realise that it is all in our hands and it totally depends on how we handle various situations. Life can get very painful. It is not fair. But it does let you take charge and be happy.
Doing new things ticks people. The kick one gets out of it is awesome. I have resolved to myself that I would never let myself stagnate in this journey. When there is so much to do, how can one say that life is boring? It is definitely not all about having a partner or having all the money, right?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Freed um?

I feel free. I don’t know why. Maybe because I know I will be staying in this heavenly place a bit longer. Maybe because of the songs playing in these tiny earphones. Maybe because I ate chocolate. Maybe because of people and room cleaning and clothes washing and what not. Maybe because I got high on the awesome smell of Oregano. Maybe because of YOLO and “carpe diem” (sophisticated according to some). Maybe because of sitting in this big room all by myself. Maybe because I can browse through my past and not feel bad. Maybe because my stay here is nearing an end. Maybe because I made this post about me inspite of a couple (or many more) of friends giving me all sorts of tags. ☺

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Not in the zone

I don’t know what is going on with me. But I don’t think I am in the zone. A bit unsettling it feels. It has been ages since I even paid attention to my feelings and emotions. Or did I decide to not care as much? I don’t know.
I went for a run today. I pushed my pace but it was humid!
Well, I was here (in my “lab”) all day. Maybe it was because a crappy piece of writing that I produced. My first ever cover letter. I knew it sucked and I couldn’t do much about it. I am not the kind of person who writes and then rewrites and reads. You get it I suppose. No flow. No sync.
All I need is some work to happen. Some progress to make sure there is a glint in my eye. And writing helps. Always. ☺

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

While on the go at Stanford

Before things would evaporate from my head(Mind you, it is pretty hot and humid here in Chennai), I have been bullied by a friend to pen down my experiences.
It was a very common sight to see people of all sizes and shapes(mostly fit) running, cycling, skateboarding, playing! Well you get it? They are into fitness. I saw a group of guys who were running super fast and they were conversing at that pace! A lot of girls were in those nice cute Nike shorts and I got 2 of those for myself too. I wish I to soon wear them here as well!
I ran there on the campus. A proper 60 minute run. It was cold(for me at least). Started at 8 pm. The terrain was fun with mild ups and downs all through. I started by taking right at every major turn till I was on the main road. My first stop was GSB! People in formals and black dresses everywhere. Typical I say. And then I came across the lake(which is dry now) road. Also saw the various engineering buildings etc where we used to go in the day for various sessions.
I gradually started drifting from the parts of the campus that I was familiar with and ventured into unknown territories. I reached a road which didn’t have lights though it was a main road! My cell phone flash light was on. The cyclists there need to have flash lights for their bicycles. I followed suit, though I was on my feet. I mostly used the bicycle lane as the footpath(where most of the runners were running and cruising!) was not suitable for running barefoot.
I saw the stem cell research lab(I think) and several other buildings. The sky looked like this huge dome with stars spilled everywhere. It was such a wonderful sight and I felt free. There I was! Running on some continent. Thousands of miles away from home. Thinking of all people at home(here, India). I was very inspired by a lot of things and thought about how we could make our place reach global standards.
Suddenly, a lady pulled her car aside and asked me if I was okay. I was startled. I thought she would shout at me or something. She was super sweet and asked if I was okay as I was running without my shoes! She also offered to drop me at GSB(I asked for directions). But then I didn’t want to stop running. I finally found the Hoover tower which meant I was close to my destination.☺
It was a bit weird to see cars stopping as soon as they saw pedestrians. Very very few 2-wheelers. Lot of people using their feet.
The fun run ended where I started. 57 minutes it was. So I just went elsewhere and came back in 3 minutes. Fine, it felt good to sprint in the end and complete it on a high note!
A wonderful sandwich was waiting for me. Also, I had to walk some 1 mile to reach the place where my team was working. Yes, it was super cold and I almost froze. Something else was also in store for me. Friends who wanted to hear about my trip. This post is dedicated to one such friend ☺

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hostile is the word

So as my Facebook wall and twitter posts say, I was at Stanford for a summit. Yes, one full week!

And needless to say, it has changed me. Made its mark in my otherwise normal (I doubt though) life. I will blog about various experiences in some days, I hope.

The most remarkable difference when I landed here was that I didn't feel about insti like I felt before. It didn't feel home. The people seemed a bit far. Something was amiss. It was very difficult to accept this whole change in scenario because insti was my second home. Home away from home.

I was generally telling my experience to people and in every conversation, I found myself telling others(and to myself) that I found the atmosphere over there very friendly. Smiling is such a small thing and the impact it has! :)
Be it the lady who helped me at the train station to get a ticket or the random guy who tried talking to me in Hindi(Oh yes, he was cute!). It felt very warm.

As I was confessing these to a friend, he uttered the word- Hostile. Hostile is the word. People tend to get worked up and express their frustration by being hostile.

If I could say something, it would be to smile and let it go! :) Being cheerful and active always helps and I just conducted an experiment to validate this claim. Challenge me if you wish to.

P.S- I am not generalizing. I am no one to judge. These are just my opinions. All said and done, I love my insti for what it has made me. For the friends and foes, for the memories, for the opportunities, for showing me what reality is.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

For now

A perfect holiday would be away from the smog filled sky. Gazing at the stars. Eating ice cream. Butterscotch with chocolate. No wafer please. For now.
Travelling in a train in conversation with a stranger. Maybe a book or maybe a person. Or just me.
Watching the traffic from a high rise building. Void of thoughts. Or deeply contemplating about stuff. The yellow cheesy moon trapped between leafless trees.

An year or two ago, a perfect holiday was a semester without classes. That's my present. It feels nowhere close to a holiday. Times change and so does our sense of comfort. So does our sense of happiness and joy. And so does our sense of other materialistic pleasures.

Then what keeps us going? These dreams of perfect holidays? The lists of places that we wish to see? The food items that we want to taste? The things that we want to buy? Or just the pleasure of being with people we like, people we love and people we adore?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Duke TIP summer internship

The internship that I did after third year. (Summer 2012).
Well, this was published in our campus magazine, The Fifth Estate. I thought I should have this one on my blog as well, for various reasons. Thanks to the editors for making this concise and decent.

I spent my summer at the Infosys campus, Mysore. I was recruited by Educational Initiatives (EI) as a Teaching Assistant for the course ‘Design Challenges: Physics and Engineering’, for students of standard VIII. The program was conducted by Duke University. My work involved teaching design in theory, setting up practical experiments, executing them, conducting evening sessions, and ensuring all students were keeping pace with the teaching.
I applied for this internship after receiving an email via smail. My resume was short listed by EI and then confirmed by a professor. The next round was a telephonic interview with the HR representative of EI. The questions involved dealing with homesickness, academic pressure and bullying, among others. The experience of being a GCU Counselor significantly helped in the interview, and I was selected for the internship.
The Infosys campus is in the outskirts of Mysore. Apart from comfortable accommodation and good food, it offers a nice environment for academic pursuits. I had an instant bonding with my colleagues. The instructors were from USA. They were highly curious about the Indian education system. My students were an inquisitive and tech-forward lot. I could even sense a generation gap sometimes. Fortunately, they still looked up to their seniors. The cultural diversity in our team led to lots of enlightening interactions.
I taught them the basic design process, and Design for X, which they had to apply in all design projects. Our students were taught to brainstorm and critically analyse ideas. They then had to make relevant calculations and convince us (the professor and TA) about their designs. We also showed them interesting movies about engineering failures.
We designed experiments to measure the acceleration due to gravity, coefficient of restitution, BCD to seven segment display and logic gates. Among the big design projects were Popsicle bridges and catapults built with PVC pipes, which were a huge success. I went a step ahead to help them understand and love mathematics. I asked them to draw triangles and measure trigonometric ratios, and confirm their answers using calculators. They used this understanding to make simple inclinometers to measure the height of buildings.
In the evenings, we had problem-solving sessions pepped up with games to build their creativity. Music, arts, crafts, dance and sports were all focuses of the evening. “Uses of a toothbrush” was an exercise where the students came up with over 30 uses! Weekends were full of treasure hunts, lip-sync sessions, dances with a DJ, and sports fests.
The program was so eventful that time flew, and three weeks quickly passed. Everyone got emotional while bidding their goodbyes. The students expressed their happiness, saying they had fun and learnt a lot. I am proud of having made an impact on bright young minds, getting them enthusiastic about design. I will cherish this experience forever.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

In search of answers

Today I had to say things that I didn't mean. I had to do things which I didn't want to? Why?
Well, I don't know. I am still looking for answers that fit in. We find things that we look for.
I have to choose between a run and a trip with friends. I see myself with a book in my hand, hair flying out of the window as I search for things that I want to see.
Why do we make the choices that we make? What makes us do them?
I can't help but wonder how I landed up in certain situations.

Look at this image that I found on the internet today! The colours are so lovely. There is so much more to it than the colours that are attempting to blend and the zig zag words. So much more.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Read, reflect and maybe, run!

I read this article on Medium.
"Whatever problem you’re facing right now, somewhere in the history of mankind, someone probably much smarter than you has written about it. Save yourself the trouble and learn from those who have already figured it out."

Those words right there made me so happy. The reason? I thought about something like that an year or two back. And it felt good to see someone write about it.

I have been spending time reading and customizing my feeds. I have ignored books this month, but I will get back. Very soon. I find reading as a very interesting task. It really connects you to who you are and obviously connects you with some great minds.

Writing helps you in clearing your mind. Remember all those times when people motivated you? times when you made others happy? instances where you put some awesome arguments and philosophy? Jot them down, I say. You may or may not read them later in your life. But you know, just have them there. Reflect.
Also, it is a stress reliever. It is a way of emptying your head with those thoughts. Thoughts that keep bothering you. Thoughts that need attention and thoughts that are just there. Write them down and you will feel lighter.

Talking about feeling lighter, exercising is another way. What challenges you physically and makes you feel accomplished?
I have running and swimming on my plate. The running target for Feb is making me go out there and run. Be it a 2k or a 10k.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Let go?

Getting stressed, frustrated about work that didn't happen, random excuses and what not!
We all have those bouts of guilt. 
I was down with cold and didn't run or exercise for quite a while. It made me mad at myself. I was being very unproductive. All other work was getting affected. Thanks to the negative aura that I was generating. 
In these situations there are few things that can be done-
1. Get out and get your work done.
2. Put peace and accept the current situation.
3. There are more "temporary" fixes which we all do. 
Options 1 and 2 seem to have their own advantages(and disadvantages). See what works best for you. Realising that you are in this situation itself is a big deal. More than half of the problem is solved. Just then and there. Why? Your mind starts working and tries to reach the state of comfort.
My mind told me to just accept what is going on and to go with the flow. Maybe it is also because of the abundant free time. 
Talking of free time, I have a couple of hobby "projects". No deadlines. I am sketching/doodling. I have some small targets on the running front.
But deep down, I know, something is missing and I am looking out for it. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Paths and Destinations

 "Yesterday, there was this snail going on the road. SiZHky picked it up and placed it elsewhere. It took a moment or two and then kept crawling and running. You know, it panicked. So maybe it tried to run.
What if a giant picked you and put you in Mongolia? What would you do? You are already in Mongolia now, aren't you? The human brain and its ideas. Amazing. Do you panic when your mind wanders? How do you feel when it goes places? Does it fill you with excitement? How active are you?
The more I think, the more alive I feel. So much is there to not feel bored. Yet we feel bored. Ah, these chain of thoughts. "
I penned this in my zimlog around 2 months back. I tried to connect with those emotions and it felt different. Good different or bad different? Mixed emotions maybe. I felt a bit sad for the snail, that day and today.
Did it lose its way? Did it go back home? Or was it trying to get away? Was it just wandering?
It makes me wonder how people change our paths. All the detours and roads not taken.

Writing helps. It lets you peek into the past and helps you reflect. And so do photos!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fear of loss

I was writing in my log(zimlog, as I call it) about what I would like to do during some of the weekends(or perhaps, weekdays). Traveling, maybe watch movies and definitely read books.
Traveling sounds very cliche because people keep talking about this. But yes, if given a choice between a nice big dinner treat and a weekend away, a weekend away would be the obvious choice. I think so. Now, I hope so. (Dinner sounds yum!)
And movies? I have seen very few movies. Wait before you conclude anything. I saw a lot of TV series and some of them, a lot of times. My friends tell me I am lucky! There are a lot of good movies out there. And we even have a list of movies with ratings and comments. So that is settled.
I am craving to buy a nice bookshelf. Probably, I might make one on my own. That sounds very exciting! I haven't read much either. But I have done some decent amount of reading these last two years.  I also bought some books. That reminds me- I need to be a bit more careful about not losing books. I fear losing my books. My collection of things, in general (I think I would rather use the word "misplacing"). But fine, wherever they are, someone would read them. That seems comforting.
Books, movies, conversations with friends(near and far), traveling. Some lonely time away in the company of people. Solidarity in a crowded place.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Classical evening and TGoST

Paluke bangaramayana and jo achyutananda and TMKrishna and what not. Carnatic music is bliss. So is reading.

I got two amazing books as my birthday gifts, one of which I have been carrying with me, everywhere. So to be guilt free, I will just read the novel. I will ignore the 20+tabs open with all sorts of research papers which talk of, you know, my "research" topic.  The God of Small Things. Yep, as others work on their DDPs, or maybe not.

Work in progress?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Simplicity. Minimalism. Barefeet.
I am trying to run with minimalist running gear. No music at times. Barefoot running is awesome.
One needs to be careful though. Injuries, gravel, glass pieces and those red insects(yes, they are back!). It connects you to the earth and the way the feet react is so different. Some zen state. Some days, time just flies. But well, I do have those days when the road seems never ending.

Photo credits- Sarthak
The moment my foot strikes the tar road, it just feels so right. The breeze gives me a gentle push as I lose myself on the roads. I am aware of the surroundings, the tiny gravel poking into my feet, my ponytail swaying, other runners overtaking me, the synchronised breathe, the occasional neon light in my watch, bright white lights of vehicles complementing the dim yellow street lights, trees arching to create some tunnel like feel.. It is just beautiful and in a way, perfect.

One last sem in insti. Just 4 months. As many mid night runs as possible. Campus is awesome in the morning, they say. I intend to run early in the mornings too. Start before sunrise and end with some nice hot breakfast in mess.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Running stats and milestones

I clocked ~390 kms. My target was what, some 500ish kms. But then, one needs to listen to the body. It was a fun year!

March 3- 10k, Contours run for women, Bangalore
March10- 10k, Run for Women, Chennai
May 19- 10k, TCS, Bangalore
June 2-10K, Anandayana, Bangalore
June 9- 10k, Ajmera Thump, Bangalore

July 7- 21k, Dream Runners Half Marathon, Chennai
August 25- 21k, Airtel Hyderabad Half Marathon, Hyderabad

Goal for 2014- Run injury free. Raise funds for an NGO. Mileage for the year- 700-800km.
Auroville on Feb 9th. Bring it on.