Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Decade 2000-2010

Have been contemplating what my first post should be. Wrote a couple, but then decided to just sit in front of the screen and type away. I apologise for any grammatical or punctuation errors. I am going to write / type as I speak.

2000-2010. Wow! What a decade it's been - The most tempestuous decade of my life - No less than a roller-coaster ride. Enjoyed the peaks and the lows, though I spent more time in lows than peaks, but have grown manyfold stronger.

So how was it for me? Here goes my decade… Not necessarily in order of any timeline. It’ll be very boring then. The ride is going to be a bit jumpy but I promise it’d be interesting, so please enjoy with me.

I quit the family business in 2000 not knowing what was in store for me. It was not easy because leaving the family business meant leaving all comforts. Big decision, but yeah I did it!! It so happened that my Dadi (grandmother) had just had a fall and was bed ridden. This was the cause of her demise because till then she was totally independent and now suddenly for every basic requirement she had to be dependent on others. It killed her confidence and was sad to see such a strong independent woman have such a pitiful death. But the good thing is that every immediate family member was by her side at the time of her demise. I still remember that day as if it was yesterday. We got a call from the hospital (Lilavati) saying her vital signs were dropping and that we should come. I remember standing by her feet and giving her reiki for smooth passage to the other side. I saw her take her last breath and watched as her heart came to a stop some 30 minutes later. I was sad, but I was happy for her because the past few months were torturous for her, and now she would be with my Bada Papa (grandfather) after 16-17 years.

So I did get to spend four months tending to her as I was vela (useless) as I had no job. But I did land up on one 10 days before her demise. I do miss her and talk to her at times.

How did I land my job? Pretty funny actually. I was what you could call a party animal. Being a Sindhi, people anyways called me an AniMal as most Sindhi surnames end with Ani or Mal. Been also called ChiNdi because of my Chinese antecedent. My mother is Chinese albeit Indian born.

On the day of my interview I went to meet the President of a PR agency. I was waiting in the reception area and bumped into a person I would regularly bump into at Mumbai's party circuit. Didn't know his name though but we chatted for a couple of minutes, and he asked me to drop by his cabin for a coffee once I was done with my meeting. As the reception area was cut off physically from the work area, I sat patiently till I was called. Nervous and excited, this was after all my first interview. Didn't know what was right or wrong to say. Told myself – ‘what the heck just be myself and see where it goes’. Walked to the cabin and for a second I thought I walked into the wrong room because, in front of me was the person that I was chatting with a few minutes ago. We both had the "Oh! It's you look on our faces". Now that was a Kodak moment. LOL. The entire hour we chatted about everything else except the interview. At the end of it we were pretty pally you could say. But what really touched me the most was when he said that he would hire me because I was a nice guy and there was something special about me. I spent almost five glorious years with the agency and really rocked it - In a good way that is. It’s been almost six years since I moved on, but have fond memories of my time there. And we still remain good friends.

I became a whole new person in those 5 years. Responsibility, Accountability and Relationships were three new words added to my vocabulary. Not just as words but meant something too. Met some fantastic people and shared deep bonds. They were just not colleagues, but friends, friends for life.

Over the past decade I've come across people from all walks of life. And have developed some great friendship. The best that I've made. Some people inspired me. Some despised me. The ones that matter made a difference to me and can never be forgotten. Out of which one stands out. It was like you meet a person and you immediately know there is a connection. Like two bodies with the same soul. Soulmates?? Definitely!!! Sometimes words cannot explain these relationships and people cannot understand them. Why are humans so complicated? Life so uncertain and confusing? But again, would Life be fun if everything was orderly and certain? Nah!!!

In 2003 I moved bag and baggage to Bangalore. A very big move! Because this time I moved out of home. I was scared and terribly sad. It was not just about leaving home and moving to another city. I knew that I was leaving for good; never going back to Bombay. Barring the first three years of my life, which doesn't even count, Bombay was my life, my everything. All my friends were there. Other than my girlfriend (now wife) I didn't know a soul in Bangalore. This was a whole new beginning for me.

I cried at the airport. All through the flight. Starting a new life in a new place that was alien to me. More about leaving everything that ever mattered to me, but that's the whole thing about relationships. They never go away. My friends and I are as thick as ever. I do get to see them few times a year and we cherish every moment of it. Even at work people come and go. Some colleagues become friends and it is always sad to see them go, or go myself. Life is all about coming and going. Life's fluid and ever evolving and we need to change with it, else we get left behind. But relationships are for keeps.

In 2005, I quit the agency after almost five years and again shifted base. This time to Delhi. Somehow didn't feel as bad because, at the back of my mind I knew I would move back to Bangalore. My cousin and I founded a small retail business. Still in existence :-) after five+ years, not as small. But my time was short-lived. Barely 9 months. I was married for a year or so by then and my wife had quit her job and moved with me. It was tough for both of us to adjust to Delhi. More so for her as she didn’t know anyone and hated being holed up in the house. She didn't really get accustomed to Delhi so we moved back to Bangalore. Her previous employer was more than happy to have her back. This was the second time I quit without having a job in hand. And now I think it's second nature for me to quit without knowing what I'm going to do.

A quick fast forward to the present and I'm in the same boat. Quit my job without a clue of what’s in store for me. But hey, I'm not worried. I'm pretty confident about myself. Well, first time I was single, second time married, and like they say, thrid time lucky :-) with a beautiful 3 1/2 yr old daughter. Crazy, Looney?? Lol thats what all my friends say. Sure you can add more to it. Always welcome.

In Oct 2005, I moved back to Bangalore. Attended a couple interviews telephonically and moved to another agency. Though some friends thought it was an unwise decision, but hey I like to follow my heart. Have never regretted any of my decisions or actions. Have made many stupid and crazy decisions but only one is which I will regret all my life. Well yeah made my life tougher by each and every one of them but that's the thrill of living. You live once and live it to the fullest. No looking back.

Another glorious five+ years. Had a blast. Worked on some interesting brands. Met some interesting people. Made new relationships and strengthened bonds. But when it's time to move on, one just knows. And that’s what struck me last week. It was time for me to move on and grow. Also, to earn more :-)

So much has changed and yet remained the same over past decade. Suddenly from being in my 20's am now in my 30's. Most of my friends are married and have kids. Things change so much, but when we guys catch up, we still talk the same unintelligent and nonsensical things. Then with wives and kids we are a different animal.

Hmm Marriage! Wow. What a topic! Finally, I got married to my girlfriend of almost eight years. We started dating in 1996 and got married in 2004. Not all the years were great. Yes, like any couple, we did have our share of disagreements and also a couple or maybe more of split-ups. Marriage is a different ballgame, though am married for 7 years. Amazing isn't it :-)? - I don't think any man can say he is an expert in marriages. Marriage changes everything. Expectations, Responsibility, Relationships etc. So weird. I still do not get it why it should change things, specially if one has been with another for so long. Arranged Marriages - one can understand. Anyways, maybe another post on Relationships.

In 2007 we became parents. My! What a feeling holding your new born child 5 minutes after she was born. I asked the nurse, “what do I do with her” and she said, “she's your daughter go figure”. I had this pruney little things in my hand and she purred like a kitten. Staring at me with her small beady eyes, and a smile on her face. We named her Giannah, which means GOD’s Grace. Why Giannah? Well my parents believe in birth time etc and our pundit gave us 2 alphabets - G & S. Couldn't find a nice Indian name that was not common, so I decided to explore Italian, Greek and Spanish names. My first preference was Gabriella, after the great Gabriella Sabatini. But all thought it was too western. Second option was Selena - My wife shot it down saying all would call her Celina. I mean so what!!! Celina is gorgeous. So Giannah was the third option and everyone agreed. She's 3yrs and 7 months now. Has had her own share of 'experiences'. All was well till she somehow developed asthma around May this year. Broke her right arm in August. That was scary because she couldn't move it and we rushed her to the hospital at 1030pm. But the worst was yet to come. In October she came down with some viral infection, which in turn became pneumonia and again major asthma attack. Those 10 days were harrowing. I wish no parent has to ever go through it. Giannah was admitted in the hospital, and it killed me to see her on oxygen and needles sticking in her. The hospital was my base for 10 days. Didn't care about work just about my little angel. Two-and-half months since then, she's as healthy as she can be. No asthma attacks but the occasional sniffles. Due for a checkup this month and am not worried about it because she is hale and hearty.

So back to the present. Soon I will be jobless. This time not too concerned. I know I am good, and there will be a mad rush for companies to hire me. ;-) no no, I am not overconfident.

Can't wait for the 21st of Jan'11. Then a 10-day break. After almost 10 and half years :-)

Oh and almost forgot. Fell in love this decade. No better feeling. Even better than holding my new born baby. And I also started running. But I have another blog on my running feats. Just to keep it short. I started in 2008 because I touched 96kgs and also got into a bet. By november of the same year I was down to 78. No diet. Nothing. Just running. Now I am 82kgs. Have not run in almost 6 months. But I will start and aim to better my 10Km time of 52mins 30secs in May at the Sunfeast 10K. My longest run to date has been 27Km non-stop. Longest run-walk was 50Km. Fastest half marathon 21.1Km 2hrs 3 mins.

Hope you enjoyed this. Please feel free to leave comments.


  1. Lovely Gautam and straight from the heart! Love your spirit of adventure in life! Go where life takes you for the path is etched, it's just that it isn't seen yet. Good luck! - Regards, Tina

  2. superb post... waiting for the next one :)

  3. Gautam i like the way u have written the piece...very honest and earnest exactly the way you are. And if I'm not mistaken in your first job there were awesome people! I fondly remember all of them and hold them very close to my heart....cannot forget those days! Ironically that was your first and my last! But I still have good friends from there. We should all meet up sometime. You have the strength of conviction and you will always emerge as the winner!

  4. Tam!

    Waiting to read the next one!

  5. Love your honesty in this piece. I do hope our friendship is among the few that has made a difference in your life this past decade. waiting to read more.....

  6. this is so you.....but really nicely written...all those memories have come rushing back. those where the best days of my life too...


  7. We've talked on several accounts but I have never gotten to know you like what I read about you today.

    Its great to speak or write from the heart because people can feel it. I can feel you going through your mind and thinking about everything that passed by and all the things that you've gone through.


    Aaron aka @askaaronlee

  8. Thanks for sharing, bud. Great first post. :)