Friday, May 18, 2012

Sri Lanka day 2

So finally after a good night's sleep, after many nights for both her an me, I wake up the next day suitably refreshed. She is a lot more tired and will take some more time. I spend that time sitting in the balcony reading raag darbari, watching the sea, the beach and Europeans sunbathing . I also keep on checking whether she has woken up from time to time.

Yesterday we saw masks of various mythological characters in the few shops which were open when we went for a walk . We will also start a pattern here which shall continue for the next few days, waking up late lazing around having a late breakfast, a late lunch and towards the end of the day running around trying to play catch up with time.

We leisurely have a simple breakfast, go for a walk on the beach and sit there for some time . A lot of locals have come for picnic to the beach. They are sitting under the coconut trees enjoying the snacks they have brought along. The lovers here are peculiar. All of them are enjoying their privacy and shielding themselves using an umbrella, something we will again see in Galle face in Colombo.

We come back to the hotel pack our bags and checkout. We tell our hosts about our next destination, Anuradhapuram and they suggest us some possible routes. We reach the main town bus stand in a local bus and eat at a chennai like restaurant.

A very normal way to have food in SL is when the waiter gets you a huge plate filled with Alu gondas and other such fried stuff. At first we thought that people somehow eat this whole stuff but after observing carefully we realized that you can eat whatever you want and leave the rest in the plate, you are only billed for what you eat.The pieces you have left will be presented to someone else.

Taking directions from some other locals,we take a bus for place b .Quite obviously, we overshoot place b and end up at place c. We reach C by about 2:30. A helpful auto wallah tells us that we just need to wait for some time and a bus for Vavuniya would come and take us there. We wait there for an hour and half. During this time the auto wallah gets some sawari and hands over our responsibility to another autowallah.  In due course he comes back and stands up to his responsibility again. We stand there on the bus stop along with just a few other passengers. All of them keep getting their buses and moving on, but our bus keeps us waiting. I chat for some time about Bombay , India, movies etc with the autowallah. Apparently he hasn't been to Anuradhapuram ever. All the time both she and I are getting more nervous, and I have started making my back up plans. Many buses come and go and each time we look with expectant eyes towards our auto wallah and he sheepishly says no not this one. All sign boards on the bus are in the local language.

After we have lost all hope suddenly the auto wallah stops a bus which was zipping past us and yells Vavuniya . Luckily the bus stops for us and we run and get into the bus. We barely have time to say goodbye and thank you to everybody at the bus stand. The bus has some disappointments. It is pretty cramped and all seats are taken. About standing for a couple of hours later we somehow manage to get seats. She meanwhile befriends a local guy and tells him the address of our next hotel mahenela.

The journey from Negombo to Puttalam is pretty scenic with sea on our left, but we are kept standing in this journey and cannot see much out of the window. Purtalam has one of the biggest lagoons which I guess we had also seen from our flight. We run along a railway track as well, but there are no trains on it. We and the railway tracks part our ways in Puttalam.

After Puttalam we get a place to sit.It has started raining heavily and is getting dark very fast as well. We reach our destination around 8 PM. Our stranger friend tells us to follow him when getting down from the bus. We follow him blindly. After getting down he asks us to get into the taxi which has come to pick us up. He explains the driver that we are headed for Mahanela, The driver fortunately knows the address and dutifully deposits us there. My fidgety attempt to pay him his met with a smile and a No. This is the only time we get into Taxis in Sri Lanka. At all other times we use tuk tuk.

Taxis in Sri Lanka are big. Almost in the shape of mini vans. All of them are of foreign makes. If one were to bring these taxis in small towns in India, they would easily accommodate about 50 people. The taxi development seems to have missed India and directly landed in Sri Lanka.

It is raining heavily and we have luckily managed to reach both our guest house and Anuradhapuram today.

The bus ride was pretty tiresome and we eat some rice that the lady of the house offers us. Tomorrow we will have a western breakfast for the first time, and take this yuk tum story further ahead .

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sri Lanka Day 1

We reached Colombo at around 11 AM. The immigration officer at Chennai, asked me whether this was my first time out of India, and I said Yes. The Security person struck up a random conversation with me as to from where I was and that he was from nearby as well. But later, I realised that he was merely double checking my place of Birth given in the passport.

The Immigration Q at chennai was long and dirty and only four counters were servicing the outgoing passengers, a lot of them to gulf. Colombo was exactly opposite. Neat and clean and better managed. I wanted to buy foreign currency from Thomas Cook at Chennai, but the buggest were offering a stupid rate and additional 10 % service fee.

I landed in Sri Lanks with a lot of Indian currency and asked the counters outside the Negombo airport for  exchange but all of them refused. They only exchange dollars.

Luckily my debit card worked in an ATM and voila I had SriLankan currency.

We took a free airport bus service to Negombo Bus Stand. From there another Local bus to Negombo. From there a tuk Tuk to Hotel Topaz on Negombo Beach. As both I and wife were super tired and without sleep, we both hit our bunkers.

We only woke up in the evening and went for a walk on the adjacent road. Music was blaring from a nightclub and all were dancing, but no a single women in the nightclub. We went up the other end some restaurants were filled up by europeans and we were getting the feel that I was in Europe and not in Asia.

Tomorrow it will be 4 PM and I will still be in Negombo waiting for a bus, about 180 KM away from Anuradhapuram making back up plans of extending my stay in Negombo. And suddenly Vavuniya will happen.

Paauj Dam Rajkot

So I randomly end up in Rajkot for some office work. I had for some reason assumed that it was some city in Rajasthan.

I saw Pauj Dam and Kaba Gandhi No Delo there. Mr. Gandhi's childhood residence. 

People for some reason were feeding wheat dough to fishes near Pauj Dam. I asked two people their reasons:

A: If I offer something to fishes only then will God offer me something
B: You should offer something to Vimuk living things. Also you should serve people who need help.

I struck up a conversation with Mr B and he offered me a lift back up to certain place in Rajkot from where I could take a share rickshaw. 

Sometimes I think Life becomes so easy if I randomly strike up conversations with unknown people and befriend them. The same principle somehow never works in a corporate career or I haven't been able to operationalize it. It contradicts with some other stupid theories on not accepting mediocrity and some other crap like that.  

Things said about me: 

C: You are quite philosophical. A colleague casually asked How are you and I said, Life goes on
D( A friend many years back, somewhere in 2006) : Either you will be a spectacular success or a spectacular failure. What ever you do in life you will do something spectacular. 

My response to him was, you know success means different things to different people, and somehow I have been a bit itsy bitsy about accepting the conventional idea around success. Small House, Small car, Big House , Big car, Bigger...

Books I have been trying to read: 
1. Nanchilnadu: The political economy of agrarian change
2. Straw Revolution. 

Nanchilnadu is a mashup between history and economics. Of the two subjects the former I hated when I was in my school and the later I loved during my MBA days. When I come to think about it, I only enjoyed two subjects during MBA, Statistics and Economics. Marketing was crap, SCM was good to listen and talk about, but I never figured it. Finance was a royal tangent, where I use to discover fundamental concepts on NPV and B/s after coming out of the exam hall. Or rather that, my concepts were flawed and as such the exam was over and there was no point in figuring out the right concepts now anyways.

Straw revolution is about Naturalism and a critique about the practices of mass agriculture available today. 

Marriage changes viewpoints. Like:
  1. A macbook pro is not such a bad thing after all
  2. The need for a direction in life and the communication about it to others around you
  3. Cutting down on One's impulsive nature
  4. Patience. 
  5. Kids??? Which species is called Kids. No clue.
  6. Stability. 
  7. A plan for life. 
Yeh duniya maya ki bagule jivan mukti kar le

BTW i discovered another super BS philosophy about life. Life is about finding problems, articulating them and solving them. Love is a team sport. So we keep finding our entanglements and fixing them, and life keeps on passing.These niggles will be there always. It will be like this forever. EIther you find contentment today or you will never find it.

My repartee: Contentment is Growth's anathema. Though better people than me have found the correct proportions to mix the both and live a fulfilling life.

This corporate life has indoctrinated me a bit. I have started thinking about salary, grades, promotions, performance etc. I was snapped out of this when a senior said this: 

I don't care about money. It felt like hearing myself a few years back. 

I have other things which are working for me here, my work is good, my boss is fine, I have been able to perform etc. 

For others of his batch a few things did not work out, like some freaked out thinking about money, some did not get a good boss, some got shitty work. And so they moved on.

Though I might be short in the long term about a corporate career, I have realised that in the short term, while I am in it, I need to be more hopeful. And keep working towards it with my magic wand on systems, constraints, objectives, iterations, indifference etc.  

In rajkot I had a special Khandawi opposite some cinema. Hotel was called some Lodge. And lunch in Bhabha Hotel. ON my way back stayed in Ahmedabad for a day and bought a couple of chunries from few shops near footpath near Piramal Garden. 

Where are we heading silicon valley?