The Inland Empire (Vol II)

I’m home randomly for the weekend before I go to New York City- TED Talk! Excited.  But you know what’s also exciting? The Inland Empire.  Taking a page from my roommate’s talks (yes I am a fangirl of Alicia Souza), I started noticing things.  Within 3 hours I saw:

  • 3 advertisements for “Bare n Legal Showgirls”- apparently that’s a big thing now. Regular ones weren’t enough, The IE likes the Barely Legal kind.
  • A drug deal go down- that’s what they use bus stops for now! Multitasking
  • An Amish family- I swear to God my parents and I were out eating lunch and there was an Amish family in the restaurant! It makes no sense to me either but that’s what I saw.  OR a family going out to a really weird costume party at 12 noon…
  • A new store called “IMPLANTS”
  • Lots of weird children running around the restaurant which…actually..seemed a lot like me and my brother when we were little. Oh god. Karma.

I’ve also been watching lots of glorious trashy TV (because my roommate judges me when I watch it in the apartment).  Man, America knows how to get real trashy.  Jersey Shore was nothing compared to My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.  Just sayin.

It’s home, what can I say.  Gotta love it.

 

Rabies

Only in India can you legitimately call your aunt and say oh hey, I don’t think I can come visit you in Chennai this weekend because guess what, as I was walking back from my yoga class yesterday morning, this rando stray dog decided to take a bite out of my leg, and now because we have no idea if this crazy dog was actually rabid (because I mean, I wasn’t exactly paying attention to his features, I was more just trying to get my upper calf muscles the hell away from his teeth) I have to stay back since the second course of my 5 shot rabies vaccination is on Saturday.  And only in India would she not even blink and say, oh yeah that happens. No problem.

 

The other funny thing about potentially having rabies is trying to figure out if you actually have symptoms for rabies.  It was incredibly sad, because as the doctor was reading off all the symptoms, it really seemed like I could have rabies..ALL THE TIME.  Headache (check, when I forget to eat lunch that happens, like that day in question).  Twitching (check- when I get stressed out my eyeball twitches, but lately it’s been my upper lip).  Fatigue (Check- can I say that just happens on the regular- I don’t think I even know what being peppy is anymore at work).  Doing things that seem strange to other people (that was seriously a symptom- I didn’t even know what to say to that one- I do strange things every day?)

So in conclusion, I am back in India, and now if another stray dog decides to bite me I’m cool, because I’m vaccinated for at least another 6 months.  The only request I have is that the swollen bits go down, or take a bite out of the other leg to even it out.  I wonder if there are stray dog gods I need to pray to.  There probably are.  I need to get on this.

Oddly enough, it feels really good to be back. Potential rabies and all.

Death

My friend and I had watched Donny Darko 2 days ago, and it was really messing with my head.  I think the thing that strikes closest to home is the fact that death sounds like such a lonely thing.  I think the thing that makes me the most afraid is being alone.  It’s such a dark concept.  And at least for me, that’s the thing that I associate with death.

But then I just finished Thrive, by Arianna Huffington.  She makes a few good points about the fact that Western society makes death such a taboo topic, and something we try to keep hush hush.  Which already makes the people who want to really talk about death, or understand death, feel a bit alienated. If you think about it, it’s the only thing that everyone, regardless of race, geography, or religion, experiences. It’s the one truly universal experience.  And she was talking about Greek culture, and how they view death as a wonderful thing, surrounded by the ones that they love.

I was thinking about it as we were living it up, dancing to our hearts content until 3:30 in the morning, celebrating my friend’s 30th birthday in Dublin yesterday.  It just felt so…fun.  Pure, unadulterated joy.  And I hadn’t felt so alive in such a long time.  It felt so good.

Which made me come to an epiphany.  If life is so wonderful and so joyous, I don’t believe that death, or what comes after, can be that bad.  Moreover, I refuse to believe that we are alone.  I don’t think we are ever really alone.  Given what I’ve experienced in life, and the wonderful network of people that surround you with love and support, I can’t believe that the next part of our soul’s journey is any different.  I refuse to believe that.  It just makes no sense to me.

Which means that I believe I am coming to terms with death.  I don’t want to ignore it, because it’s something that I feel is terrifying if you don’t face it head on. It’s something I’m embracing as the universal shared experience, which really, helps me live my life more fully- knowing that there’s something greater out there I can experience after this amazing thing called life is finished.

Life Curation

If you look at all the best design houses, what they do is they pick the designers they like best and showcase his/her work.  I realized this as I was walking through Dublin. A brand, or a store, is known for its curation of designers of a certain bent.  Each store has its own brand, and needs to adhere to that brand accordingly.

Imagine if you were a design house, and you were in charge of the curation of your life.  From the shoes you wear that day to each and every choice you make- you are creating and curating your brand.

It’s a trip if you think about it that way.  Every single choice you make has an effect on your brand. Brand you.

What would you do differently if you knew it actually mattered in the grand scheme of things, if everything you did was noticed?

3 Years in India

I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since I moved to India.  Well, it feels like 2 seconds, and it feels like 20 years, all at the same time.  Time is funny like that.  I heard that time is actually a time scape, where it all exists at the same moment and every possibility is already laid down for us in a quilt like layer and all we have to do is pick which future we want, every possibility unfurled at every moment along our lives.  Or at least that was my lay-man interpretation of a physicists description of time.  Which makes sense to me, because I don’t experience time like a fluid river going past me.  There’s too many ways in which it feels both long and short, and 1 year running NextDrop in India feels like 10 years working my last job.

in some ways I feel like I have aged at least 10 years, and in some ways, I have learned so much about things I don’t know, I feel like I’m an adolescent again, or even younger.

Child- like wonder.  I heard that is the key to creativity, and the key to staying young, the key to staying happy.  The key to everything really.  If we can maintain that state of child-like wonder, to realize how much of the world there is still left to see, how much there is still left to understand, how vast that space is of what we don’t know, I think that is a life well lived.

I think the one thing the last 3 years has taught me is humility.  Humility because I am now beginning to fathom how much I don’t know.  And probably will never know.  But I can at least try, and spend my life trying.  Spend my life using the knowledge I have accumulated to better the state of humanity, but also living in child like wonder at the large expanse of the unknown.

Living with the knowledge that there will always be something new on the horizon.

It’s a comforting thought really.  The world of the unknown isn’t flat.  It’s infinite.

 

Fitness and the Such

It’s really easy to stay healthy when things are going well. But what happens when things (either work or personal life or both) are a hot mess?  That’s when everything else is a hot mess and you start to feel your downward spiral.  Luckily, before I spiraled too far down, my vacation hit, so that’s where I’m at right now.  For a later post- the necessity of vacation and recharge (she writes, as she is happily recharging on the French Riviera, visiting her favorite grandfather), but for now, I was thinking about fitness.  Or my lack thereof.

I want to be able to dance like a crazy woman until I’m 95 (or basically until I die), and I want the option to open a yoga studio with my roommate should I be in need of a good business and some cash (pretty lucrative business if you do it right, I’m telling you).  Yesterday, I went out with my grandfather and his lady friend and he was twirling the both of us around like it was 1945.  That needs to be me.  I want to make sure that’s me when I get to be 84.

I’m really good at having a good fitness routine when my life is calm.  Which is about 2 months out of the year.  Most of the time the shit is hitting the fan and I’m just trying to get to the next day without the entire business imploding.  (Not really, but most of the time it feels that way- I’m working on that too).

I’m currently reading the book Thrive, by Arianna Huffington. It’s not exactly a, I can’t put this book down sort of read, but I don’t think it was meant to be that way.  It’s about how we can redefine success and make sure we are not only successful in the professional realm, but we are also healthy and happy to boot.  Good vacation reading at least.

I think that if I can squeeze about 30 minutes of exercise in every day, and eat 2 meals at home, I will be a happy camper.  The goal is to achieve that runners high, because that high takes me through to the next day, and it helps me perform at my best.  And that is key in my line of work.

One of my main challenges is to distinguish exercise from my creative time.  Let me rephrase that.  I believe that the higher up you rise in an organization, the more white space you need to think and be creative.  For me, that happens when I’m moving (or for Arianna Huffington, while she hikes).  Again, this deserves it’s own post (in due time), but the bigger our organization grows, the more creative time I need to plan what’s next for our company.  That being said, I usually conflate exercise time and creative time (because the actions are usually the same).  Which means that I usually end up getting lots of good ideas, but not enough runners high.  Le sigh.  So to fix that, I’m going to differentiate the two from now on, and schedule them as such. Lucky for me, I now have moved within walking distance to both the gym and a yoga studio, so that should be doable.  (Yes, that was my criteria for moving into a new apartment- proximity to gyms and/or decent exercise facilities).

I think I’m going to have to have some creative time in the morning, and fitness time in the evening.  I think that’s how I’m going to break down the day when I get back.  At least that’s the way I’m going to try and do it.  Lets see how that works.  When I get back to Bangalore.

But in the meantime, I get to do a lot of beach swimming, reading, walking, and general doing nothing-ness. It’s pretty great.  I cannot complain.

Lots of love from Menton

When Atlas Shrugs

It’s amazing what happens when you get sick.  I’m shocked at how many things fall through the cracks.  Which, to be fair, is more a commentary on how many things that are going on simultaneously (obviously not on auto pilot).  I guess I’m proud, but also horrified at what would happen if I was really out for extended periods of time.

Actually, it’s less about that, and more about I don’t have the luxury of just..getting sick anymore.  I have to be proactive about being sick.  Which means that I need to take an hour to close out all the things on the calendar and cancel meetings, as needed, before I check out.  Sickness isn’t just…getting sick.  It’s closing out things to take a break and recover.

It’s crazy.  I guess it’s called growing up and having responsibilities and such.

Life eh?

#TheDatingDiaries : Love Lessons From the 3rd Grade

I should have learned my lesson in the 3rd grade, it would have made life a lot easier I think.  There was this boy, Ricky Martinez, and I thought he was cute.  And so I told people.  Not in a gossipy way, but more in a like a, the sky is blue, the grass is green, Ricky Martinez is cute, do you want to go play tetherball now?  I really didn’t think it was a big deal.  But other people thought it was a big deal.  Especially other girls, they went around saying, oh my god Anu has a crush on Ricky Martinez! And I was thinking, yes, I think he is cute, so what?  Can we please get on with tetherball now?  (I really liked tetherball at the time).  And then in the 3rd grade we had to run for class governor (yes, they tried to teach us about the American political system at a very early age), and of course I wanted to run for governor.  And lo and behold, Ricky Martinez was on my campaign.  Except, me being me, I didn’t really think about it.  Ricky Martinez is on my campaign, why wouldn’t he be on my campaign?  I am going to run an awesome campaign, everyone should be on my campaign.  And then he started making posters which said “Vote for Anu, XOXO”.  Except the problem was that he didn’t know what XOXO meant.  Now if nobody knew what it meant we’d all be in the clear, but of course there’s always some smart alec in the class who spreads the word that XOXO means hugs and kisses and it’s very obvious now that Ricky likes Anu.

Now I have no idea what happened after this, (obviously I was too busy wondering if I had enough glitter and crayons to make all the posters I needed to cover the classroom) but all I know is that a week later, Ricky Martinez was not on my campaign, and he was making posters for my competition (sans XOXO).  And then I lost.  I was sad.  Maybe a little about Ricky Martinez.  But mostly about the fact I wasn’t governor.  AND I used all my glitter and crayons for next few months.

I guess I don’t really know the moral of the story.  Maybe it’s that people take all of this “I love you” and “relationship” stuff pretty seriously.  And apparently I can’t go around telling people that I like them.  Or love them (God forbid).  Or you know.  Anything romantic-y in nature.  In general.  Because apparently I do that.  And apparently it’s not ok.  I don’t really know.

I think I feel just as oblivious and lost and confused as I did back in 3rd grade.

I can’t believe I’m expected to know about these things.  Eesh.

Dear world.

Please don’t expect me to know about these things.  They make no sense to me.

Love,

Anu

Swimming and Business

I went swimming with a friend for the first time in about a billion years yesterday, and it was the most thought provoking and enlightening exercises I have undertaken in a while.

At first I tried to swim laps and I failed miserably.  I couldn’t even get halfway before stopping, panting, out of breath.  Which was weird because I didn’t think I was THAT out of shape, in general.  Luckily my friend diagnosed the problem, and gave me the swim breathing 101.  It all revolved around deep, well timed inhales and exhales.  After he showed me the technique, I  swim to the other end without stopping, no problem (which was my goal for the day).

And that’s when I stopped to think.  It’s crazy how much of a difference breathing makes.  The more intentional, and slower I went, the faster I got to the other side of the pool.  Which was so strange and counter intuitive for me.

But I was thinking how that relates to life.  And more specifically, work.  We live in a world where we are supposed to go at 100 miles an hour, and the faster our life speedometer goes the more successful we are.  But is that really the best way to be effective?  Is that the best way to get to the other side of the pool?

If I learned anything from swimming, I’m questioning this notion.

Food for thought.

Happy Monday

So This One Time, When I Tried To Be A Robot

I think I’ve written about this, but I was basically experimenting with trying to live alone on a proverbial island.  No man is an island – but maybe women can be?  I didn’t want to rely on anyone or anything and just hack it on my own.  And I realized that was possible, it just wasn’t optimal.

I now know how I hacked college.  It was so tough.  I sucked at everything and I thought I was the stupidest person in the world.  I would break down like no other (definitely in the beginning, and I just got used to it by the end), but I never felt like it was all over.  And I saw people around me doing that, and feeling like that and I thought it was ridiculous.  Because I always had perspective.  I always knew that there were things outside college – there was this thing called life! And I knew that you didn’t have to be good at school to be good at life (My favorite quote from one of my awesome civil engineering friends, Nalat)  That stuck with me, and I learned that early on, and that’s how I survived the hell which was undergraduate engineering education.  I had a dream, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

And then I did it, I started living my dream, and 3 years later,  I lost perspective.  And I was unhappy

But that’s it- right? I think life is all about finding perspective.  Whatever you’re doing, you need perspective

I always had perspective in college, that’s what helped me get through tough times without feeling super depressed.  Some people get perspective through travel or new experiences.  I realized I get perspective from people.  Meeting new people, hanging out with my favorite people, and just…being reminded that there are other things out there, and it never gets too bad, and you always have other options.  I guess I was in denial about it (no really, I CAN be a robot!), and then angry about it, and then I accepted it, and now I’m doing something about it.  I’m finally getting around to making my life in India- filled with people that I love and care about.  And that makes me so happy.

I’m one of those people that runs away when I feel too caged in.  When I feel like I don’t have options, and when things are making me unhappy. (Yeah, commitment phoebe much?) But it’s different when you realize you ALWAYS have a choice.  And you have people in your life that will help you through and will love you no matter what.  And even better, people who are just like you, who feel just as weird as you feel MOST of the time (you feel  like an alien species TOO?! YES! I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE!)

And maybe it’s all about finding those people and making sure to spend quality time with them (on at least a monthly basis)

Because after those sessions, life just starts to make sense again.  And you feel like hey, I can do this.  Things aren’t too bad. Bring it on world

It’s just strange when you realize it took you 3 years to figure out something that was staring you in the face this whole time

What can I say- I’m just a stubborn git sometimes.

Well whatever it is, I think I’m moving in the right direction, stubbornness and all

 

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