Things that make me happy…

Just came to know that today is the international day of Happiness. Just the day to list out the little things that make me happy 🙂 Here is the list, not in the same order.

  1. I remember during our school days, when Mom and Dad used to get us our new notebooks and textbooks. The smell in the books is something which I still remember. And the anticipation of new things that we are going to learn. I used to try and read as much as possible of the new textbooks as soon as they came in.
  2. Talking of the school days, who can forget the exhilarating feeling we kids used to go through for a little while after our exams got over. It felt like I was on the top of the world. I once told my sister that I feel like a free bird, flying in the sky 🙂 And she teased me about it.
  3. Coming back to these days..I am an avid gardener. And I feel immensely happy when I see sprouts coming out of the seeds I sowed. Greater happiness is when these little saplings  choose to settle in my garden (‘coz many small saplings don’t make it through to being a healthy fruit-bearing plant). Even greater happiness is when you see them fruit and when you are able to savour their taste.
  4. I am software developer. And it gives me great happiness when a piece of code I write works the way it is intended to work. Much greater happiness is when software created by me comes to someone’s use. And even greater happiness is when someone commends my work.
  5. It gives me happiness in trying out new software. When I am learning a new programming language I on the edge happy. It is like meeting a new girl friend 🙂 In my mind I keep measuring it up against my previous longterm girl friend (which is Java) 😀
  6. Happiness is when I get my pay-check from my customers.
  7. Happiness is when my investments bear good returns.
  8. Oh, happiness is when I am watching my favourite movie on the big screen. I’d be lying if I say that I don’t enjoy movies on my computer too. But on the big screen it is movie time with the whole family. And it is usually to sci-fi movies which even my sons dig. I am already being pestered about that we have watch Avengers-The age of Ultron on the big screen in 3D 🙂
  9. Happiness is when my wife cooks my favourite foods like Chicken Biryani, Baghara Baingan, Maa ki daal, Rajma, Broken Wheat Upma with Eggs, etc.
  10. Happiness is when I get praise for the cooking I do at home. My kids and my wife will always keep this cooking only for me: Egg bhurji / Omlette, Mushroom masala, Raita, etc.
  11. Last, but not the least happiness is when I am sipping my favourite drink 🙂
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That warm fuzzy feeling of positivity

I was very small at that time. Maybe 5 or 6 years old. But I still remember the incident. It is etched in my mind like a laser engraving on something hard. It was a weekend trip to the Charminar area for some shopping that Mom must’ve wanted to do, perhaps. For those who don’t know, Charminar is the center of the old city area in Hyderabad. It is always crowded there. People jostling for space. You can’t walk on the streets there without rubbing into each other. There are all sorts of people there. People who are there for shopping. Roadside vendors and of course the shopkeepers who are selling the famous stone bangles of Charminar.

I remember the whole family being on the trip. This inspite of me having a weekend off on Mondays and my sisters having theirs on Sundays. I don’t remember if we had our trusty little Bajaj scooter then. We must’ve taken an auto to this place. And we were going about hopping shop to shop in search of the best bangles at the best prices, I think. I was in awe of the whole place. The maddening crowd and the crazy paraphernalia on display in the shops. On the streets there were vendors selling Pomegranates, Guavas, Roasted Peanuts, Pineapples,etc. There were rag-tag vendors selling digital watches, pens, etc.

In all this hoopla I don’t know when I let go off the finger of my Dad that I was holding to or was it the other way around? I was lost in the middle of the crazy big market of Charminar. You can imagine I was in tears. I was crying and shouting out to Daddy and Mummy. I was winding through the market trying to find my Dad and Mom shouting for them, wherever they were. Looking at my plight some street vendor who was selling Pomegranates took me aside and was trying to calm me down. I was hysterical, as anyone can imagine. Millions of thoughts were going through my mind. Is this it? Am I ever going to see my family again? I don’t remember if I gave any meaningful replies to the vendor who was trying to pacify me. He was discussing with another vendor of handing me over to the Police. For some reason, that seemed to terrified me even more. For at that age us kids never had a good feeling of anything to do with Police.

And then suddenly I saw my Dad coming my way looking for me, frantically. He was closely followed by Mom and my sisters. You can’t imagine the warm fuzzy feeling I had there and then when I saw the familiar sight of my family. They were glad to have found me and I was more glad than them, I am sure. I remember my Dad picking me up and pacifying me, for I was hysterical by then. I don’t think we did much shopping after that. And I don’t think I ever let go of my Dad’s finger after that. At home my Dad told me of possibilities that could’ve happened to kids who get lost and get into wrong hands. Boy, was I more glad now?

This one memory of my childhood still gives me the goosebumps and also fills me with positivity and optimism for the future.

Little steps I took 5 years back which paid big time…

You are in a stable IT job which is well-paying. And you are not working too hard. In fact you get to spend a lot of time in the cafeteria drinking tea/coffee and chatting with your colleagues. You also get to leave work early like 4:30pm to beat the peak hour traffic! Everything is comfortable about this life. Isn’t it? And you are still not happy with your work. What do you call a contradictory existence like this?

It is an existence without a purpose. And when faced with such a situation I was so unhappy that I sometimes couldn’t sleep at night. Those were the days in late 2009 and early 2010. I was faced with a dilemma. To keep living this hollow life or seek another job? Or perhaps go the Entrepreneurship way?

Let us look at the option number 1 (pursuing another job). It requires time for preparation. It requires time to attend interviews during office hours. And after all that, what do I get? Not a great big jump in position. Because you didn’t have much to show for your work in the past few years because of the hollow job you were carrying on with. So, what do you get? The same old wine in a new bottle. Will I be happy with it? How long will I be happy with it?

Let us look at the option no.2 (the Entrepreneurship route). What does it offer? I had listed offerings as the following:

1. You are not pursuing some growth chart prepared for you by your managers or the society. Society? Yes the society needs to look at you as growing through the years. No matter how much you liked the work you were doing, you can’t be seen carrying on with old roles as that would mean that you amount to nothing.

2. You are your own boss. You are going to do what makes you happy.

3. You have the choice to work closer to your house. Heck, you can work from your home for all you care. So no stress of dealing with the damn traffic everyday.

Well, this platter of goodies comes with its own share of risks. What if you are not able to get any paying customers? How will you pay the bills and EMIs? Well, I was lucky that my loan payments had just got over. I had not even a dime of loan left on me. But the question still remains. How will you pay for other bills like Children’s education, food on the table, travel costs, petrol for the car(s), etc.?

You know that you have the savings to last you for a few months of such an experiment. And if things don’t work out the way you planned it then you always have the option of walking into a new job. But there is this another big obstacle to surmount. How are you going to convince your wife about this great idea you are toying with? For, God knows, that wives will give all solace in the world for your troubled mind but shudder to think of you leaving the safe confines of a well-paying job. This idea is the most outrageous idea they hear in their lifetime. Why would anyone want to leave a well-paying job to pursue a fluid thing like Entrepreneurship which is loaded with uncertainties.

So, seems like my greatest fear was for a few months was how to broach this new idea with my wife. I took up the courage and talked with her about it and after a few days of revolt she gave in. It has been a rewarding journey of 5 years for me. I haven’t led a more satisfied life before. I haven’t slept so well for years together, before.

 I was going through the website of Housing.com. And this commercial of theirs reflects so much positivity in the same way my little step 5 years back brought me.

When my sons were little….

Rachna and I have raised our two boys hands-on ourselves without any help from any ayah or mother or relatives. We are very proud of that. Now, they have grown up into two little brats who squabble a lot over many things but above all they are two good little fellas. But we still do remember the times when they were little and recalling their antics cracks us up.

As first time parents of a boy there was a lot of learning going on. We didn’t know that boys and girls have different types of diapers. The boy’s diapers had extra room for their wee-wee 🙂 Oh and one of the first lessons a parent of a boy learns is to keep the boy’s wee-wee down when putting a new diaper on the baby. So that when he pees it doesn’t wet the t-shirt or onesie the boy is wearing 🙂 Always attend to the wee-wee first and hide it under the diaper even when putting a new diaper. Because you never know when he will let out a golden fountain 🙂

The first two months for both our babies was a terrible one for us. The elder one had colic and the younger one had acid reflux. So, both of them used to keep us awake at night. For the elder one’s colic we used to do a small trick which we had picked up during our lamaze classes. We used to put him in the car seat and take him for a car ride. We used to keep driving circles of our block until he slept off. We would then silently bring him into the house on our tip-toes. But more often than not he used to wake up as soon as we opened the door of our house. Those were stressful times but it cracks us up thinking about it now.

Slowly we started to bring a routine on the boy. We used to give him a warm water bath before putting him to bed. We never missed to put a body lotion after his bath. It kept his skin from drying in the dry air of the summer. And, of course, a fresh diaper. Then feed him until he was satisfied. This routine never failed us in getting that much needed rest that we deserved after the whole day of looking after him 🙂 In the morning our little bundle of joy woke up with such sweet smell around him. It felt like to just keeping on sniffing him. He had to have his feed as soon as he woke up.

When my elder son grew up a bit it was his favroite past-time to ask me to draw his favorite logos when were retiring to go to bed. He used to watch a lot of commercials on the TV. So he was very familiar with the logos of the popular brands like Maruti, Hyundai Santro, etc. I had once indulged him by drawing him the logo of Maruti and Hyundai. And he would never tire of asking me to draw it again and again, day after day. And I would be very happy to do for him.

There were many such sweet little antics my boys indulged in when they were very little. More on them later. I was seeing this commercial on the TV when I felt I needed to relive these memories: