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.



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


#TheDatingDiaries : Online Dating is the Modern Equivalent of Arranged Marriage

If you think about it, I think that’s what it really is.  I mean, it’s two people that would have normally probably never met, coming together for a common stated purpose (hey lets see if there’s anything to this), and committing to try their hardest to make it work.

It doesn’t surprise me that 1/3 of the marriages that happen in the US started from couples meeting online.  You know what you want, go and find other people who want the same thing (and instead of caste or last name, prospects are filtered by common interests and life goals)

And although online dating has the walk out clause (unlike arranged marriage) maybe you get the same benefits.  Maybe this is the new way to meet really great people who you try to make it work with, but for some reason or other, it just doesn’t work out.  No fault of either party.

Maybe this is a way to continue filling my favorite BFF category from college: The “I Love You, But I Could Never Date You” category

As you get older, maybe this is the new way just to meet your new best friends.

Some food for thought

Happy Tuesday


Bringing Your Whole Self To The Table

I used to think it was normal to bring one part of myself to a relationship, or a conversation, or an interaction.  I don’t think there are many instances where I brought every part of myself to the table.  And I know that sounds like a strange thing to say (I mean Anu, are you saying you had your spleen extracted as a kid or something and you’re missing body parts?) It’s more parts of me that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with, that in certain situations I would downplay, or maybe exaggerate.

A very concrete example: I didn’t think serious tech startup entrepreneurs cared how they looked, or liked shopping, or liked being that sort of creative.  Because I was trying to be what I saw out there, the sure path to success.  I usually use this blog to write out what I think I should be doing, but sometimes it takes a lot longer for me to really be convinced, not just with my mind, but with my whole self.  Because I know I’ve written about it a few times, but I couldn’t consolidate that with my dreams of making it big in the tech startup space.  Which is why for the longest time, I didn’t appreciate the fact that man, I love shopping, I love dressing up, I love fashion, I love all that stuff.  It makes me happy.  I mean I DID acknowledge it, but I didn’t think I could practice that every day.  Only on vacations, only when I went back to the US, only in certain situations.  Places where it would be more normal, or I felt like it was a more normal thing. I don’t know, it’s kind of hard to explain, but in my head it made perfect sense.  And really, I was dying a bit inside every day, killing a little bit more of that part of me.

Which is weird to think about.  What parts of you are dying inside because they don’t get to be expressed on a daily basis?  And why don’t we feel like we can bring that to the table?  And if it’s really important to us, maybe we need to do something about it.

I think it really hit me when I realized people can tell something is wrong, and I wasn’t bringing  my whole self to the conversation.  In fact, it makes people a little wary because if they talk to you at different times, or in different geographies, or in different situations, you may seem like a different person.  And that could be a little bit scary, even make you seem a bit disingenuous.  Which is what really shook me up and made me take notice.  It was another painful session with Ruth of course, but still.  I’m glad it happened.

I thought about why people really like home- however they define it.  Maybe home is home, less because of what exists, but more because we feel like we have permission to express and be every part of ourselves, and be loved in the process, just for being us.  We have freedom to be what we want to be.

And maybe, in order to be a global soul, and make the world our home, we need to have the courage to bring our whole selves to the table, no matter what the situation, wherever in the world we may be, regardless of how it is received.  For the simple reason that that is who we are.

And if home is where the heart is, how do you locate where your heart lives?  Does it really have to live in one place?

All You Need Is Love

At least that’s what the Beatles tell us.  Maybe they are on to something.  Maybe the first step to enlightenment and zen is to fill your life with love.  And not the possessive, I can’t live without you, if you leave I will die love. Honestly, I don’t even know what that is.  I think that may be chemicals.  I feel like studies back me up on this (Because really, how long does that last?)  Yes, speaking from the resident expert on being in love which has happened OH so often in my life.  Anyway.


Point is- I think filling your life with the love that is simply an amplified form of appreciation for everything and everyone around you, is incredibly beneficial.  Be it your work environment, home environment, friends, family, whoever or whatever. Just be grateful and exude..well…love.

I honestly think that if we can manage to do that, it’s the first step to all the good stuff.

Yes, I am using the L word people.

Try it out- it may feel pretty awesome.

The Power of Slow

It’s actually quite refreshing to have the house to yourself and just have it be you, and your roommate’s dog, Charlie (who you adore).  It hasn’t happened in a while, but I realized that the power of Quiet, and the power of slow, may be some of the most underrated things out there.  It’s something I am not very great at, but I think it’s something that I want to focus on.  I think I’ve perfected the 364823493 miles per hour lifestyle- which has its advantages.  But now I want to veer left and try the super slow life. Or at least learn how to switch gears. 5 to 1.  I’ve got the 5 down, now I need to learn how to downshift to 1.  I think perfecting that shift is going to be clutch (pun intended).

It’s funny, in this fast paced life, some things you can’t force.  Like human relationships.  With your work colleagues. Your family. Your friends.  In this 140 character, ADD, 2 minute elevator pitch world, some things can’t be condensed into a sound bite.  You can’t substitute the hours you spend, doing nothing of real consequence, organically sharing life details and life stories.  Well, I think at work there are some things you can do (as Ruth has made me painfully aware/things I can do to improve), but in your personal life (family, friends, etc..) I’m not sure that’s possible. Or at least much, much harder to replicate

Which makes me wonder.  How do you keep relationships when you’re half a world away?  Is the base strong enough to withstand miles and miles and Skype calls?  What about new friends, family, relationships in general?  Maybe the point is that we slow down long enough to think about all those people we really care about, and build those relationships through whatever medium we have

And sometimes it starts with building that relationship with yourself.  Or at least saving time to be with your own thoughts, uninterrupted by phones, work, or the outside world.

(Dogs being the only exception)


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