Happy Birthday to Me!

I write this post while I am in midst of receiving lots and lots of wishes and blessings. Yes it is my birthday today! Had it been a year before, I would have been with a sorry face sitting in one corner of my office or a corner at my home, believe it or not.

It is true that birthdays mean different thing to different people and for me, for the past 6-7 years it meant a chore. A chore that had to be done, “thank yous” to be said and fake smiles to be flaunted since I used to be eternally sad and lie in self pity. Sorry to sound nasty, but questions like why was I born and why did I come to this world and what the hell am I doing used to trouble me immensely. I used to actually cry on all my birthdays for the past few years.

But this year has been contrastingly different and how! This year I feel happy on my birthday and feel that I want to live life to fullest. This year I actually feel blessed to receive the wishes and blessings from friends and families. I appreciate that they have spared time to wish me in whatever way possible and took efforts to make me feel special on my birthday. Receiving wishes and blessings is not a chore this year and most importantly I am not questioning my existence anymore!

I am happy with myself in all ways may it be emotional, physical, psychological or spiritual. I am happy that there are people for whom I really mean something and they are happy to have them in my life and those people are non other than my beloved friends! Parents fall in a different category sine they love us no matter what. When I receive a phone call or a whatsapp message or a text message I actually feel special. May be its the magic of the number 31 😀

On this birthday I do not feel that I have failed myself on the contrary I feel I have won in quiet a lot of situations. I feel I have conducted myself extremely well in crisis situation both in my personal and professional life. There have been so many downs than ups in my life but with God’s grace there have been always the super support systems named friends! They have always been around taking my tantrums, showering me with praises, patting my back when I do something good and also giving me an earful when I do something wrong.

The celebration began with this cake!
The celebration began with this cake!

On this birthday I choose to count my blessings. When I take a closer look around I feel that I am blessed in several ways than some of the less fortunate, by saying this I do not mean to demean anyone but I can’t really help but think this way. I might sound a bit materialistic by saying this, but with blessings I mean a comfortable home to reside, a cupboard full of clothes (err..  I am having a tough time to fit them in one cupboard, but let’s not get to that 😛 ) and several other things. Above all, I have my parents(however eccentric at times that they are) but yes I have them in reasonably good health and how many ever difference of opinions that we have I truly and unconditionally love then for who they are and for being around when I needed them.

On this birthday I believe is I have made peace with myself and this I think is because I am happy with myself. So this birthday I vow to forgive myself completely and permanently for all the mistakes that I have done in the past. I vow that I will take conscious effort to not let them trouble me anymore in the future and also not to repeat them again consciously. I vow to remain happy and try and keep the people happy who really matter to me. I vow to keep myself away from people who are not good for my emotional and psychological well being. I vow to keep myself physically and emotionally healthy but not letting external factors affect my health. I vow to travel light by leaving the emotional baggage behind and carry only important and positive things with me! 😉

So the birthday celebrations started yesterday when some of my special friends meet and gave me a pleasant surprise by getting a cake. It made me so very happy.

So I really, from the bottom of my heart want to thank all my friends and mom & dad for making me the person I am!

Chennai tales

Last week I went for an official trip to Chennai, this trip came as a blessing in disguise in many ways and let me tell you how! To begin with this has been an official trip after almost 2 ½ years. Holidays aside but official trips have their own charm. Apart from lot of work being done getting along with colleagues is pure fun (provided the colleagues are willing to have fun, it is very colleague specific 😛 ).

It was a 3 days drip and the intention of the trip was knowledge gathering rather technical knowledge gathering. So we took an early morning flight meaning 7 am and with me were 2 other female colleagues (we all 3 eventually turned into teenagers) and a male colleague(who right at the beginning of the trip felt like he was turning more into a shepherd with a herd of 3!). So something got into us when we boarded the flight we 3 started giggling right away much to the resentment of the fellow travellers.

We landed in Chennai and went straight to the work location. We all got to work right away and the sessions started one after the other. We had a sumptuous share south Indian food for lunch and were feeling drowsy right away, so great was the fatigue that everything after that failed to register in my mind. Since it was a KT session for me and I was at the receiving end of all the information the team was giving me, I was about to collapse with the weight of food in my stomach and information in my brain! Finally we had a coffee break and I thoroughly enjoyed the filter coffee. This is one thing I love about Chennai, the filter coffee gets better and better every time.

Finally we wrapped up for the day and headed to the hotel and it was such a blessing. We stayed at a hotel named Keys Katti-ma which was off OMR Road. It is an out and out business hotel with reasonable room space and reasonably good room amenities. It was such a contrast after my experience at Wildernest Resort. While I agree that both hotels are at a contrasting location, the amenities were also contrast at its best! We had to struggle getting one soap out of the staff at the Wildernest while these basic amenities were available easily and in abundance when asked at the Keys! The rooms were very cosy and comfortable, television of a good brand with almost all entertainment channels and most important it had a tea kettle with tea bags, coffee sachets and sugar which I missed dearly at the Wildernest! I am sorry to compare the two hotels but such stark contrast with a gap of a week was too hard to notice.

So we freshened up and went for dinner and were joined by one of our ex-colleagues who moved to Chennai few months back. There too the teenager inside us girls raised its ugly and humorous head and we dissolved into fits of giggle again much to the dismay of our other 2 male colleagues, one of which had already given up on us and joined out giggle spree. The dinner lasted for a hour and half and finally we retired to our rooms. The next day we went to office and it was business as usual.

The fun started in the evening when we decided to the go to T Nagar for shopping. The journey took too long since we had to take lot of detours to avoid traffic. Whoever thought Mumbai has bad traffic should visit Chennai, you will suddenly start loving Mumbai once again! So we reached T Nagar in a cab and went straight to Geeta Cafe which one of the colleagues from Chennai had endorsed. When we were about to finish the meal it started pouring cats and dogs and we had only one umbrella. So we waited patiently but to no avail and we decided to brave the rain and walk 3-in-1 in the available umbrella and ofcourse our dear male colleague was left to fend for himself :-D. It was so much fun we actually thought we went back to college days. We went to Ramraj Cotton and then to Kumaran sarees.

Kumaran was almost closing down but the blessed souls left no stone unturned to show us sarees. Except me everybody had picked up 4 sarees on an average and their pockets were lighter by around 10000 rupees. By the time we reached hotel it was almost 11 in the night and decided to have a very light dinner and went straight to the restaurant. The stewards of the restaurant did not let us enter the restaurant saying that they are to replenish the buffet. We insisted that we do not wish to eat much but they insisted that the buffet must be replenished. We finally gave up went to our rooms and came to the restaurant once again only to find out that the buffet was replenished for just the four of us! We were taken by surprise and ate a little more than required just because the food was prepared for us. So much for guest delight!

We went back to the room and then came the last day! We went to office in high spirits and the sessions began again. Since I was meeting the offshore team for the first time we were reasonably comfortable with each other at day 3 which was sadly my last day with them. We reached a comfort level where we were readily cracking jokes on each other without feeling awkward. The Chennai team took us for lunch at Saravana Bhavan one of the very famous restaurant chains in Chennai and again we relished the filter coffee there!

We had booked a night flight which was scheduled to depart from Chennai at 9 pm. The moment we saw the airport the teenager inside us girls woke up from it sleep and we were back in spirits again. We giggled endlessly during the entire flight only to get dirty glares from the co-passengers around. The highlight of the trip was we calling each other “Shaktimaan” and dissolving in fits of giggle. So much for missing the childhood!

All in all it was an awesome trip in all aspects. The work was excellent, company great and awesome hotel!

HAPPY FRIENDSHIP DAY!

Since most of my entire world is celebrating friendship day today, I too feel like doing a post on a very special and unique friend, whose name I will withhold for obvious reasons. To be honest, I do not believe in celebrating days as such but nevertheless I feel they are needed sometimes to remember someone special like this friend of mine.

When I was in college, one of my friend introduced me to something wonderful and vast i.e. internet! She took great pains to teach me things like website, email address and most important chat rooms. Since PC’s were still a luxury then which we could not afford, we stuck to cyber cafes (and especially to one cyber cafe on whose owner she had a super crush 😀 ). She introduced me to chat rooms and the experience was amazing. I was more sceptical than ever since at that point of time talking to a complete stranger was still kind of out of bounds for me but I braved the chat rooms and found this friend and never did I imagine that our friendship will become so special for me.

For reference purpose let’s call him “Y”. So Y  and I meet in one of the chat rooms, the “ASL” was exchanged and we started chatting in the chat room itself. We gradually moved to messenger but it all began in a chat room where hundreds of people log in and log out, we found each other! Although we had exchanged our names and other details we nick named each other and post that we just could not call each other by our own names!

I remember once, we chatted for almost 3 hours me in cyber cafe and he at his place, the bashing I received from my parents after that is only known to them and me :-D. I am glad to say that we shared a very very special bond something that even we could not understand. I forgot to mention one very minute but important details, we stayed miles apart, he was studying so was I and so there was no chance for us to meet. So we chatted on and on. Internet access was still a luxury and we still had to rely on the cyber cafes and so that chatting sessions were restricted to once or maximum twice a week but we so looked forward to it.  We generally emailed the time to each other in between and decided to come online on messenger on the pre-decided time.

Since I was a teenager then, my outing and other activities were tracked by my parents and if for some reason I could not make it to the cyber cafe Y used to wait endlessly for me. The apology sessions and sweet nothings followed in the next chat. Y graduated before me and started working and by then we both had managed to get cell phones which were unreasonably expensive. So we progressed from messenger to cell phones but just to sms the time to chat on messengers.

When we were not chatting, we were writing the longest emails possible to each other. Long meaning really long, giving every possible detail of each other’s lives. The most beautiful part of it was that it was mutual. We never felt that the other person is less in the friendship than the first.

Eventually I too started working and the work related travelling was frequent. So we both had time and resources to talk and we abused them.. errr figuratively. We used to talk and talk endlessly most of the time till the balances on our prepaid mobiles ran out J . We used to wait for the day to be over and to talk to each other and at times when we had low balances on our mobile phones we turned to world upside down to have the mobiles recharged just so that we could talk to each other. Those were the days!

Then life happened! He got busy with his work and travelled to lots of places and could not talk to me, endless conversations became short hi and hellos and dried out in a couple of months. Below is a small snippet of email I dug out from one of my long lost emails Ids.

A conversation
A conversation

But whatever the case, he was one of my best friends and will always be a special one.

Miss you Y and wish you a very happy friendship day!